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Disk Drive Cleaning


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#1 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:42 AM

I've had several people now tell me to clean the heads on my Atari 810 drives as they might be dirty. My question is Exactly where is the 'head'? Also, what's the best way to do this? I took a q-tip dripped in alcohol and rubbed it on the white plastic circular object that clamps down on top of the disk, and also on the black circular object on the bottom that the other side of the disk sits on. I assume these are the two things that you have to clean since those are the only things that seem to touch the disk? I didn't see any dirt come off so I'm not sure if they're just not dirty or I'm just not doing this right.

Interestingly I read something from Atari that said NOT to use cleaning disks. Why would this be?

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#2 Bryan ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:52 AM

The big round thing that spins the disk is the hub. The head assembly is the part behind it that slides on rails. There is a felt-based pressure pad on top, and the head is the shiny white-ish part beneath it (the disk is read from the underside in a single-sided configuration).

You cannot use cleaning disks unless they are single-sided, meaning the top hole is blocked. Double-sided cleaning disks will tear up the felt pad.

Edited by Bryan, Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:53 AM.


#3 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 18, 2009 7:36 AM

Ok so I lightly rub the head with a Q-Tip and I should be good? I'll try that tonight. Thanks for the explanation, I really never poked around inside a disk drive.

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#4 Fletch OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 18, 2009 12:23 PM

The older these drives get the more frequently I find it important to keep them clean. I tend to just leave the cases unscrewed these days for quick access to the heads.


Ok so I lightly rub the head with a Q-Tip and I should be good? I'll try that tonight. Thanks for the explanation, I really never poked around inside a disk drive.

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#5 Bryan ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 18, 2009 9:03 PM

If the head is dirty you can usually see a stain on the Q-tip after cleaning. I usually put a little rubbing alcohol on the Q-tip first.

#6 classics OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 18, 2009 9:48 PM

Here is a before and after of a dirty r/w head. The cleaning advice above is good, just a q-tip with a little alcohol will work fine.

Steve

Attached Thumbnails

  • before.jpg
  • after.jpg


#7 MEtalGuy66 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 19, 2009 6:55 AM

Dude.. Theres no need to take your drive apart.. 810s are a bitch too work on..

Just get a normal 5.25" cleaning disk and cut a small piece of index-card or other thin card stock (Or if you really wanna do it right, sacrifice an old floppy disk and cut a piece of the black plastic instead of using the paper card-stock).. Place it over the long oval shaped access hole on the TOP SIDE of the cleaning disk, and secure it in place with a wide piece of cellutape.. make sure the piece of material that you cut and the piece of tape is larger than the oval access hole, but small enough not to interfere with any of the other holes.. Make sure you can still spin the center hub of the cleaning disk by hand.. You now have a SINGLE SIDED Cleaning disk!

Now.. instead of pouring alchohol (cleaning fluid) onto the cleaning disk, use an eye dropper and only apply just enough cleaning fluid to saturate the white material.. You would of course, apply this to the oval access window on the BOTTOM (uncovered) side of the cleaning disk ONLY...

Now stick the disk in the drive, with the side you just covered facing up, and let her rip.. Won't tear up your felt, and will clean the lower head (single sided drives read/write to the bottom side of the disk).

Oh yeah.. When you're done, put this cleaning disk aside and be sure to only use it for single sided (eg. 810 & 1050) disk drives.. Keep another DOUBLE SIDED cleaning disk for your XF551s and PC floppy mechs..

Edited by MEtalGuy66, Sat Sep 19, 2009 7:02 AM.





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