View Full Version : 5.25 disk drive secrets for BBC B micro

December 8th, 2007, 05:21 PM

My BBC B micro came with a couple of 5 1/4 inch disk drives but NO disk software. I want to start experimenting with these but before I do I need to know what type of drives they are. Are they double or single sided, or 40 or 80 track?

Is there any way to tell just by looking somewhere inside the drive? A google search on the model numbers reveals nothing, which is not suprising as they are so old.

Has anyone got any ideas on how to tell the difference?

Of course one way is to boot the machine, then see what disk formats can be written and what's can't. Problem is I don't have a boot-disk. I'll have to try to get an image to a 5.25 floppy somehow, but it would be good to know what the drives are first.

December 9th, 2007, 01:17 AM
Hm, my floppy drive has a switch on the front for 40/80 tracks. Otherwise I wouldn't know. Perhaps you can type in a program to format a floppy with either number of tracks and see if the drive fails or not. I tend to remember there is no format command built into the DFS until the last few Master versions?

December 9th, 2007, 03:48 AM
yes, I'll try and format a disk. The BBC micro seems to have disk support built into the BASIC in ROM so I mightn't need an OS disk as such.

I won't be able to find out for a few days though. Obviously these drives haven't been used for a while. I switched on the disk pack today and "poof"!, the magic smoke appeared. Sure enough, one munted capacitor in the disk drive power supply. It looks easy enough to replace though.