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Author Topic: Floppy Disk controllers
baker_nat
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Member # 116

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Icon 1 posted March 28, 2003 04:57      Profile for baker_nat     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If you were on the forums a few years ago, you may remember me talking about my 486, well I have re-claimed the machine, but the floppy drives don't work, or more precicely the computer's handling of the drives is bad.

I have come up with two possible causes of the problems: -
* The mobo battery is dead
* The FDD controllers are nackered

I was wondering if anyone had any other suggestions as to what it might be?

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http://www.splashtech.co.uk/natb

Posts: 171 | From: england | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
uilleann
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Icon 1 posted March 28, 2003 08:12            Edit/Delete Post 
* The mobo battery is dead
Does the PC's clock tell the correct time? (Type date or time in DOS to check) If the date/time is wrong, then it is possible that, if the BIOS is not very smart, that it could have forgotten what to do with the disc drives. If you suspect this, then pop into the BIOS set-up screen and see what it thinks the drives are, and correct the information.

* The FDD controllers are nackered
I reserve some suspicion that the drive controller circuitry has failed, but it is possible.

I was wondering if anyone had any other suggestions as to what it might be?
If both drives have stopped working, then I assume that the drives themselves are not at fault. Do both drives share a cable, though? Has the cable come loose on the motherboard, or the contacts become dirty in the connections?

It also might help if you were to describe what exactly is happening - what error messages do you get? How do the drives behave when you try to look at a disc? Give us something to go on. I assume that the discs themselves are OK?

- uilleann

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Shinaku
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Icon 1 posted March 28, 2003 13:27      Profile for Shinaku   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Ok, this might sound a bit thick, but change the ribbon cable around. You know you have one end in the floppy drive,well call it End A, and End B in the motherboard, change it around so you have End A in the motherboard and end B in the floppy,
It works on mine.

Posts: 312 | From: Sheffield, UK | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
uilleann
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Icon 1 posted March 28, 2003 21:19            Edit/Delete Post 
What I think that is achieving, by disconnecting and reconnecting, is scraping off any thin layer of dirt or corrosion that has formed on the contacts. I don't suppose the cable has decided that it wants to run the other way around now.

I know I've had problems in the past with this happening.

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Mr Bill
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Icon 1 posted March 29, 2003 22:37      Profile for Mr Bill     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by Smegedinashed:
Ok, this might sound a bit thick, but change the ribbon cable around. You know you have one end in the floppy drive,well call it End A, and End B in the motherboard, change it around so you have End A in the motherboard and end B in the floppy,
It works on mine.

Huh? You must be thinking of your HD cable. 'cause floppy cables aren't reversible. A floppy cable generally has three connectors; the mobo end, and two drive connectors seperated by a twist in some of the wires (this is how the PC tells the A: drive from the B: drive). As the machine in question is a 486, the possibilty exists that the two drive connectors may even be completely different. 3.5" drives use a dual row pin connector, and 5.25" drives use a card edge connector.

But this isn't helping baker_nat.

1) I would suggest trying what the others have mentioned (removing the cable and putting it back on), and give the drive a thump. Sometimes when a floppy hasn't been used for a while, the mechanism sticks.
2) If you can get another floppy that you know is good, try it on the existing cable to find out if the problem is with the drive itself or not.
3) try a different cable if you can get one
4) If it turns out that the controller is toast, prowl the used PC dealers and try to find an ISA controller card (getting pretty rare and pricey though).
Hope this helps.

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Will work for taglines...

Posts: 378 | From: Down the hall, second door on the right | Registered: Oct 2000  |  IP: Logged
uilleann
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Icon 1 posted March 30, 2003 10:54            Edit/Delete Post 
I skipped all sorts of sections of the development of home computers, so I never followed drive development, but I did find that at least some 3.5" drives are compatible with my 8-bit micro - kinda worrying actually :) And all of them used the same kind of connector, so maybe something else changed that I never noticed.

Curious to hear of wire twists - I only know of ID selection (0, 1, 2 or 3, where 0 and 1 would be A and B) using jumpers on the board on the drive itself.

Incidentally, I have a spare Intel 8271 drive controller chip over in the drawer if anyone needs one ;-) (no, this is not an ISA one :)

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