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Thread: Tool For Floppy Drive

  1. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    DIR only reads the directory of the drive, not the files.

    On your XT you may want to verify the readability of the files with the command:

    COPY /B A:*.* NUL

    Which will read all files in a directory (but not those in a subdirectory) and drop the data in the bit-bucket.
    I like to use Norton Disk Test to check floppies.

    It will verify the format and data of every sector for readability.

    Been using it for ~ 30 years and it's never failed me.
    ☀☀☀ Visit Take Another Step for both computer and non-computer related discussions. ☀☀☀

    If you're looking for DS/DD or DS/HD 3" or 5" floppy disks, PM me. I've got some new, used, and factory over-labeled disks for sale.

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  2. #32
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    Stone, there are a lot of programs that can do that. But you already know that. Some even allow you to take a stab at repairing a bad sector.

  3. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    Stone, there are a lot of programs that can do that. But you already know that. Some even allow you to take a stab at repairing a bad sector.
    Since I don't really want to start a new thread for what is pretty much the same topic: Can anyone recommend some program(s) to test the read reliability of a 5.25" DSDD drive in an IBM XT?

    I know CheckIt can do a few tests, and Norton (as mentioned above); but would these be enough? ImageDisk has its own test procedures as well, but its documentation consistently tries to talk me out of using it with an XT controller (even though it can lock the data rate to 250kbit/sec, and I fail to see any other show-stoppers there).

    I want to assess whether I can consistently create good images from good disks, whether home-made or factory-duplicated; using raw binary, Teledisk and ImageDisk (if it does work). So "just try copying some files" is not what I'm shooting for here.

  4. #34
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    Well, on an XT, I've used Align-It--it's pretty picky.

    However, it uses a proprietary test diskette. I doubt that there are any remaining in the wild.

    Bottom line is probably an oscilloscope and an alignment diskette might be what you're looking for.

  5. #35

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    Thanks, Chuck, but that might be overkill for my use-case (in terms of investment if nothing else). Is there a 'close enough' software-only testing solution, given that I'm not planning to write any floppies back at this stage - only read them?

  6. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by VileR View Post
    Thanks, Chuck, but that might be overkill for my use-case (in terms of investment if nothing else). Is there a 'close enough' software-only testing solution, given that I'm not planning to write any floppies back at this stage - only read them?
    Quote Originally Posted by Stone View Post
    I like to use Norton Disk Test to check floppies.

    It will verify the format and data of every sector for readability.

    Been using it for ~ 30 years and it's never failed me.
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    Stone, there are a lot of programs that can do that. But you already know that. Some even allow you to take a stab at repairing a bad sector.
    .....
    ☀☀☀ Visit Take Another Step for both computer and non-computer related discussions. ☀☀☀

    If you're looking for DS/DD or DS/HD 3" or 5" floppy disks, PM me. I've got some new, used, and factory over-labeled disks for sale.

    There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in. -- Leonard Cohen

  7. #37

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    Thanks Stone, I've noted your recommendation (my own post should've made that clear) - I'm seeking input from others as well, as unthinkable as that notion may seem

  8. #38
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    My last question is still unanswered: If I wanted to calibrate/align a floppy drive such that I could be confident the disks it writes can be shared with others, is an alignment disk mandatory to perform this calibration? Or is there some other way to perform the work?
    Offering a bounty for:
    - A working Sanyo MBC-775
    - Documentation and original disks for: Panasonic Sr. Partner, Zenith Z-160 series
    - Music Construction Set, IBM Music Feature edition (has red sticker on front stating IBM Music Feature)
    - Any very old/ugly IBM joystick (such as the Franklin JS-123)

  9. #39
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    If you have a known-good (i.e. manufacturer's sample) floppy, you can hook a scope to the read channel (if you can find where to do it) and adjust for maximum output. It's not perfect by any means, but at least indicates some chance of success.

  10. #40

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    Nothing is as reliable and accurate/repeatable as a analog alignment disk and a scope OR alignment tester.

    There were two types of alignment testers available at one time. Analyzers which were used primarily at factories to test the quality of incoming drives before they were installed in computers or assemblies, AND Drive Alignment Testers that were designed to be used in a production environment to test and adjust floppy drives being serviced or manufactured.

    Used Drive Analyzers are available on eBay for between $200-$2000. Major Manufacturers that you might encounter on eBay included Wilson, and Brikon. The Wilson and Brikon Analyzers did not come from the factory ready to be used as Drive Alignment Testers. I believe that both manufacturers offered an Optional Feature, which was the functions that were needed to adjust the alignment on a floppy drive. Unfortunately, Drive Analyzers I have seen for sale on eBay do not have any markings as to whether the drive alignment functions are present or not, and the Sellers don't seem to know the difference (or even care if the equipment works properly).

    I have and use Drive Testers (on a daily basis, that were made by a company in Canada named Lynx Technologies. Lynx Technologies manufactured both floppy drive and hard drive testers. They have proven to be very reliable over the 30 years they I have operated them (At one time they were distrbuted by Specialty Tool Products), but there are no circuit diagrams or service support available for them. Right now I have three Lynx Floppy Drive Testers, and one Lynx Hard Drive Tester. I'm constantly looking to add to my supply of spare testers, and would consider selling them if I could find more. Unfortunately, Lynx Technology of Canada they went out of business close to 20 years ago. The Lynx Testers show up on eBay every once in a while (at very reasonable prices, I paid about $25 each for a floppy tester and a drive tester last year, original prices were $500-$1500), and there is a NSN number, so they do show up at US Government Surplus Auctions/Sales occasionally,

    The digital alignment disks, (in the hands of an experienced technician) are almost as accurate.

    Baring that, formatting, writing, and switching disks between a known good drive (back and forth a minimum of three times), and a test drive is the only (less reliable) way to determine interchangeability. When I repair or service or test a floppy drive, it involves being connected to a Drive Exerciser first (mechanical function testing), then to a Drive Tester (alignment testing), and then on a computer with a known good drive (for function testing).

    If you want to make sure that your drives are operating correctly, and will produce disk that are interchangeable, you need to get your own alignment testing equipment, OR contract with an experienced Floppy Drive Technican to see that the work is done properly.
    Last edited by MicrocomputerSolutions; February 20th, 2018 at 12:51 PM.

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