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Help! Weirdness and insanity!


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#1 Opry99er ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 3, 2019 11:12 AM

Quick rundown:

At the CTIUG meeting, we had an issue with a PBox or card or something.

We were able to read and write to disks just fine, and we initialized and formatted a couple of disks.

On our third initialization attempt, the system refused to format a disk. It still reads and writes just fine, but it will not initialize. We tried multiple 32k cards, multiple disks, and 3 different disk managers. We also swapped drives.

We can read previously formatted disks, AND write to them--just cannot format/initialize.


What in the good hell would cause this?


Consoles tried:

Modified console (Vic Steerup)
Unmodified console (Ron Klein)


32k tried:

32k onboard a RAMDisk
Standard TI 32k


Drives tried:

Two separate 5.25" TEAC half height double sided drives


Disk managers tried;

MENU Disk manager (on RAMDisk)
DM1000 (on FinalGROM)
TI standard Disk Manager 2 cartridge
DM1000 (on XB2.7 cart)


Floppies tried:

4 different brands, all known to work on other systems.

#2 videofx OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 3, 2019 11:24 AM

The only thing that I don't see listed is a different floppy controller. The floppy controller sounds like the culprit. Also just for giggles I would try the floppy controller in a different slot in the PEB



#3 fabrice montupet OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 3, 2019 11:50 AM

Track 0 dead? 



#4 Opry99er ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 3, 2019 11:51 AM

I was thinking floppy controller as well... Thinking though, why would it be able to read and write, but not initialize a disk?

Weird!

We will try moving the disk controller to another slot. That's a good idea.

#5 fabrice montupet OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 3, 2019 12:07 PM

Maybe your controller can't access to track 0, this track is accessed during the format operation. 



#6 Opry99er ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 3, 2019 12:08 PM

Interesting... wonder what would cause that, fabrice? I need to look at the schematic I suppose

#7 mr_gw454 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 3, 2019 12:59 PM

I just tried moving the controller.  That did not seem to help.  I am still able to read and write disks without issue, just can't initialize them.  Such a strange issue!  What part(s) in the controller could fail and still allow most functions to work? 

 

Thanks everyone for your help so far.  Really appreciate it!



#8 HOME AUTOMATION OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 3, 2019 1:10 PM

Sometimes drives fail in a manner that causes physical damage to the disks! Particularly the to the inner or outer tracks, this can permutate the results when diagnosing other problems, if unnoticed.



#9 Lee Stewart OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 3, 2019 6:37 PM

As long as you use only 90 KiB diskettes in the system, you could try FORMAT-DISK and/or DISK-HEAD with TI Forth to see whether sectors 0 – 3 can be written.  See Chapter 5 of the TI Forth Instruction Manual (2nd LES Edition) in the TI-99/4A development resources thread.

 

...lee



#10 arcadeshopper OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 3, 2019 6:55 PM

I've seen specific drives act this way. It is likely a cap gone bad on the drive or controller.. after this many years..  

 

people have complained they cant format the disks i sell on the pushbang drives for instance, but replacing them solves the problem

 

Greg



#11 sparkdrummer OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 3, 2019 7:41 PM

If you have one of the disks you formatted before things went flakey I would VERIFY that disk to see if all sectors check ok. I then would check that same disk in another system. Possibilitys I thought of were head alignment went south or motor speed if off. Another possibility is see how free the head moves on the rails.

#12 RickyDean OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 4, 2019 7:01 AM

If this FDC card has socketed IC's, take each one out and test it on a Mini Pro or some similar device to see if there are problems there. You haven't stated a controller brand so at this time I am assuming a TI controller, so unless there has been mods done in the past, I would say that all the IC's are soldered straight to the board, which will make it much harder to diagnose. I just got two Foundation Memory cards functional again last week by testing and finding some bad IC's, due to age and storage.



#13 mr_gw454 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 4, 2019 7:08 AM

I appreciate everyone's suggestions so far.  As an FYI, this issue is being experienced with 2 identical TEAC drives.  I only have a cable that supports the use of a single floppy drive, but swapping drives (for testing) produces the same results.  Disks can be read and written to, just not formatted.  If I write to a disk in one drive, it can be read back without issue on the other drive.  I am looking for one more 5.25" drive to add to the test.

 

Thanks!



#14 FarmerPotato OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 4, 2019 9:46 AM

Quick rundown:

At the CTIUG meeting, we had an issue with a PBox or card or something.

We were able to read and write to disks just fine, and we initialized and formatted a couple of disks.

On our third initialization attempt, the system refused to format a disk. It still reads and writes just fine, but it will not initialize. We tried multiple 32k cards, multiple disks, and 3 different disk managers. We also swapped drives.

We can read previously formatted disks, AND write to them--just cannot format/initialize.


What in the good hell would cause this?
 

I looked for IO Error 43 in the TI disk DSR source code. I did not find it yet.
 
It means Illegal Operation on Seek/Rewind/Restore.
 
Some guesses:
1. I wonder what is the expected error when you enable Protect Disk (the anti-copy protection flag, letter P on sector 0)
 
2. There was an error trying to move the head to a particular track (but this should be a 6 not a 3)
Maybe it is a power supply issue. Try a different Pbox? Drives draw the most power when spinning and seeking.


#15 arcadeshopper OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 4, 2019 10:07 AM

are both drives powered up? if so try with just one powered and the other completely unplugged



#16 atrax27407 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 4, 2019 10:20 AM

Have you checked the cable for continuity?



#17 mr_gw454 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 5, 2019 5:34 AM

are both drives powered up? if so try with just one powered and the other completely unplugged

 

I need to check that tonight after work.



#18 mr_gw454 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 5, 2019 5:35 AM

Have you checked the cable for continuity?

 

No I have not.  Is there a pin specifically related to the disk initialize process?  I needed a dual floppy cable and planned to order a new one from ArcadeShopper soon.



#19 mr_gw454 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 5, 2019 5:37 AM

If this FDC card has socketed IC's, take each one out and test it on a Mini Pro or some similar device to see if there are problems there. You haven't stated a controller brand so at this time I am assuming a TI controller, so unless there has been mods done in the past, I would say that all the IC's are soldered straight to the board, which will make it much harder to diagnose. I just got two Foundation Memory cards functional again last week by testing and finding some bad IC's, due to age and storage.

 

Yes, it is a TI controller.  I'm looking for any working loaner to see if it helps with the issue.



#20 mr_gw454 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 5, 2019 5:37 AM

 

I looked for IO Error 43 in the TI disk DSR source code. I did not find it yet.
 
It means Illegal Operation on Seek/Rewind/Restore.
 
Some guesses:
1. I wonder what is the expected error when you enable Protect Disk (the anti-copy protection flag, letter P on sector 0)
 
2. There was an error trying to move the head to a particular track (but this should be a 6 not a 3)
Maybe it is a power supply issue. Try a different Pbox? Drives draw the most power when spinning and seeking.

 

 

Power supply has been mentioned twice.  I do have access to an empty (spare) PEB and will be trying that out as well. 



#21 mr_gw454 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 5, 2019 5:39 AM

As long as you use only 90 KiB diskettes in the system, you could try FORMAT-DISK and/or DISK-HEAD with TI Forth to see whether sectors 0 – 3 can be written.  See Chapter 5 of the TI Forth Instruction Manual (2nd LES Edition) in the TI-99/4A development resources thread.

 

...lee

 

Hi Lee.  I'm interested in this test.  I've never used Forth, but will look for it and see what happens.  Thank you!






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