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Rick Dangerous

Atari 1050 Disk Drive Care Tips and Questions

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So i've really been enjoying my 1050 DD. I did notice that it's just a little more finicky then carts as far as reliability goes, and though it's amazing how many of them work (considering their age) I have received a few bad disks in the mail recently. Last night I heard some squealing and squelching noises coming from the device and had a "boot error" on the screen. My concern is that one of the rings thats glued to the inside of the data disk (pictured) may have come off in there and is gumming up the works. Luckily when I heard these noises I shut it off and was subsequently able to load all disks. I guess my questions are:

 

-What is good regular maintenance to do on these devices (I.e. should I blow a duster into it, or take it apart and clean it regularly?)

 

-What is the preferred resting state of the device for longevity? (Should I leave it empty, a disk in, a disk in and closed?)

 

-If the glue has dried up on those center rings, best to re-glue or just take them off. Or should I consider the disk dead and not risk putting it in the machine in any condition?

 

-Other thoughts?

 

I already make sure to only play my Atari Discs on that side, not flipping to any other side in fear of the disc spinning the other way and particles coming off. Easy enough to do since why would I play the Commodore 64 side on an atari?

 

Thanks!

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post-38373-0-04567900-1450800578_thumb.jpg

Edited by travistouchdown

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I'm not an expert, but a 1050 I was using heavily suddenly stopped working with scrolling "BOOT ERRORS" every time I tried to use it. I opened it up and cleaned its head, which resolved the issue. I was so pleased that I did the same to a drive that had problems for years, and it brought that one back to life as well. :D :thumbsup:

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I'm not an expert, but a 1050 I was using heavily suddenly stopped working with scrolling "BOOT ERRORS" every time I tried to use it. I opened it up and cleaned its head, which resolved the issue. I was so pleased that I did the same to a drive that had problems for years, and it brought that one back to life as well. :D :thumbsup:

 

Awesome thanks. How does one "clean the head". Any youtube videos or step by steps anywhere? I assume the 1050 is pretty easy to take apart being a rectangle..

 

I'm not there yet (it's still working well overall) but definitely want to keep this idea in my back pocket for a rainy day.

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The 1050 has 4 screws, accessed from the bottom, which will allow the top 1/2 of the case to come off.

 

To clean the head, a little 90% rubbing alcohol on a q-tip and a gently wipe usually is sufficient.

 

The only other maintenance item is the rubber belt -- else run it till it stops working and then figure out what broke;)

 

I've had a screeching noise from one of my 1050's as well, it was due to some sort of clamping error, which wouldn't allow the disc to spin freely -- the screech is the rubber belt slipping.

 

That same 1050, I lubed the top "idler wheel" when I had it open as I noticed it was stiff. I used a light-wight machine oil, specifically a pen oiler used for clocks. That manuver improved the reliablity of the drive considerably.

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The 1050's have 6 screws. Remove all 6 and leave the front attached to the top. Clean the head, but try not to bother the pressure pad. Best Electronics has belts. Make sure you know if you have a Tandon or World Storage mech.

 

http://www.best-electronics-ca.com/8-bit_.htm

				Atari 1050 5 1/4 Tandon Drive Mech. Drive belt (Atari 1050's assembled in Singapore)
			
				CB101140
			
				$6.00
				
			
				Atari 1050 5 1/4 World Storage Drive Mech. Drive belt (Atari 1050's assembled in Hong Kong)
			
				CB101149
			
				$8.00
			

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The 1050's have 6 screws. Remove all 6 and leave the front attached to the top. Clean the head, but try not to bother the pressure pad. Best Electronics has belts. Make sure you know if you have a Tandon or World Storage mech.

 

http://www.best-electronics-ca.com/8-bit_.htm

				Atari 1050 5 1/4 Tandon Drive Mech. Drive belt (Atari 1050's assembled in Singapore)
			
				CB101140
			
				$6.00
				
			
				Atari 1050 5 1/4 World Storage Drive Mech. Drive belt (Atari 1050's assembled in Hong Kong)
			
				CB101149
			
				$8.00
			

Um, yes what he said, 6 screws. I've had mine open so much the last couple months, I haven't bothered putting the 2 face screws back in.

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I've found a lot of issues with disks not booting / starting to get bad sectors, are due to combinations of the disks physically not turning, and the 1050's pressure pad that rests on them being worn away.

 

You can try roughing up the surface of the pad a bit with the end of a paperclip. I have replaced a few with some made from old cassettes but they don't seem to last too well. This is covered in "Don't Dump Your Drive" article in Page 6 magazine Issue #75 If anyone has some proper spares pads please post.

 

Also try:

manually turning the disk inside the sleeve a little first.

 

slightly opening the disk lever to take the pressure off.

 

I have one drive that when the room is cold they don't boot until you eject them and they always load on the 2nd go. When the room is warm it is fine, so I guess this is down to some tolerance / contraction of the device!

I find some of the floppies I purchased in the late 80s are much thicker sleeved and work much better than some of the really old ones which seem a bit thin and squashed.

 

I had a squeeling noise for a while on a drive that had been in storage (from someone else), but over time and with use it is now fine.

 

Another thing I've done before is to lubricate the metal bar where the head slides along with a little petroleum jelly using a cotton bud.

 

Saying this I have only 2 of my 4 1050 drives working, and they don't always see eye to eye :)

Edited by therealbountybob

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Best Electronics has the pressure pads. I've seen adhesive backed felt pads that might work if the felt is close enough to the right type (there's probably better pad materials out there as well).

 

I've discovered that 'pad-whine' is often the result of aging disks that don't glide well under the pad anymore causing stiction. The pad can become loaded up with material being shed by old disks as well.

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It might be helpful if there were a couple pics of where the "idler wheel", and "the metal bar where the head slides along" are, and where to add a couples drops of oil.

Also, where to get replacement belts, or at lest the specs for them.

I have a couple 1050's could use some of this LTC

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I have a 1050 that I restored. It wasnt working and by lubing the drive rails it now works. I cleaned it up best I can and it seems to be working fine now. But it has an annoying rattle sound when the disk spins. Its not the disk. It seems to be coming from the hub. Only when the lever is pressed down. With or without a disk. Ideas?

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I wouldn't use petroleum jelly on anything near plastics. It migrates and softens/cracks some plastics. Use a lithium or silicone grease.

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I lube the rails and top compression hub bearings with 3-1 oil. A few drips on a qtip and apply to rails, and a few drips into the seams of the top compression hub/ring. (best to remove it from the mech to do this) I had used grease on the rails in the past but that's messy and ugly.

 

If you only get the noise with the door closed, I suspect the noise is coming from the top compression ring.

Edited by Nezgar

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-What is the preferred resting state of the device for longevity? (Should I leave it empty, a disk in, a disk in and closed?)

 

You should not leave a real magnetic disk inserted. The constant contact with the head could cause some flaking oxide or drying disk lube to break off in 5 years or so. Head contamination, that kinda thing. That's why most drives of the era shipped with cardboard "remove before use" dummy disks installed.

 

Cardboard inserts also prevented 2-sided (2-heads) drives from crashing their heads together. The heads would rest on relatively thick and cushioning cardboard. An added benefit is the heads resting on the cardboard would effectively "seal" them from dust accumulation.

 

If the drive is going to be shipped. Then you also want to close the door with a cardboard fake disk inserted.

 

If you do not have a cardboard "remove before use dummy diskette" then leave the drive door open and put a baggie or piece of plastic like a flap to act as a dust cover.

 

---

 

I had my 486's 5.25 1.2M drive door open for nearly 15 years and it read just fine, after I ran head cleaner through it for a few seconds. I'm really amused to see people amazed that a head-cleaning session will up the reliability factor and "revive" dead, error-prone drives. This is maintenance that should be performed on a regular schedule.

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-If the glue has dried up on those center rings, best to re-glue or just take them off. Or should I consider the disk dead and not risk putting it in the machine in any condition?

 

You can take them off. But. You'll just get a slightly shorter lifespan as the clamp area might possibly experience slight subtle wear with repeated insertions.

 

I used to use an impossibly tiny amount of liquid plastic cement (for model airplanes) or superglue. I only used it on rings that were still attached. If they fell off I treated the disk more carefully and "bounced" the closure mechanism up and down to help center it.

 

Once they fall off, you need to be absolutely sure you can get them centered. Any off-axis positioning will cause the tracks to vibrate or warble and maybe mis-read.

 

The presence or absence of a hub-ring won't affect the longevity of the drive. Just the disk.

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So i've really been enjoying my 1050 DD. I did notice that it's just a little more finicky then carts as far as reliability goes, and though it's amazing how many of them work (considering their age) I have received a few bad disks in the mail recently. Last night I heard some squealing and squelching noises coming from the device and had a "boot error" on the screen. My concern is that one of the rings thats glued to the inside of the data disk (pictured) may have come off in there and is gumming up the works. Luckily when I heard these noises I shut it off and was subsequently able to load all disks.

 

I wonder if you had a bad disk, or crap built up on the head. See. The squealing noise might be the head grinding or sliding over a build-up of oxide + dried lube. Even just a few seconds of noise will make a snowball effect and scrape the oxide off an entire track. Your disk will have a tiny see-through clear ring. And the head will be caked, ready to attack the next disk.

 

You fix this with a head cleaning disk. I had this happen on a number of crappily made disks on my Apple II. It's as grating as the chalkboard sound, you know?

 

---

 

Squeals or grinding from the compression hub might simply be coming from the spring or tensioner. A tad-drop of machine oil can fix this. Just keep the oil away from plastics.

Edited by Keatah

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As far as blowing the dirt and dust out, well, if you do that, do it completely. Use enough volume and pressure so that you actually remove the debris instead of simply redistributing it inside the drive's housing - and onto the head.

 

If you do blow it out. Your next step is going to be using a drive head cleaning diskette. Repeat after me, My next step is going to be using a drive head cleaning diskette.

 

If you don't have one, then you will take the drive apart and manually clean the head. Repeat after me, I will take the drive apart and manually clean the head with a Q-Tip and alcohol.

 

---

 

If your drive is single-sided it will have a pressure pad to keep the disk in contact with the head. The PP loves to collect tiny particles. these particles can grind the disk in a tiny area and eventually kill it. So. Consider this..

 

Most cleaning disks for single-side drives have one cut-out opened up for you, and the other side closed to protect the PP from abrasion. I tend to disregard that and will clean the PP with just a couple of seconds of use of the abrasive/open side. Just a couple 1-2 seconds. A quick blip. Motor on, close, open, done. But the head itself should get 20-30 seconds. Got that?

 

If you are cleaning a dual-head drive, then you have both sides of the cleaning disk cut-out for you, and no pressure pad, so 20-30 seconds.

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If no cleaning disk, I use Qtip dipped in Isopropyl alcohol, and rub it on the head directly. Since you need the drive cover off to do this, it's often easy to see gunk accumulation on head. It should look almost glass-smooth on most when clean. Isopropyl alcohol also evaporates quickly unlike water, but make sure it's dry before use and don't touch it on the top pressure pad - it will destroy it (speaking from experience)

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Having worked with and preserved thousands of disks. I can say that in addition to alcohol on the head-cleaning disk, I've used plain water, too. Water and alcohol clean different types of gunk. Sometimes I put a dab of A on the disk, then rotate it 180, the put a drop of W.

 

The end result is a series of Alcohol, dry, water, dry sequences. It's not just to play around and have fun. It was a necessity after working with old disks. The cleaner disk is now a visibly tan/brown color!

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I lube the rails and top compression hub bearings with 3-1 oil. A few drips on a qtip and apply to rails, and a few drips into the seams of the top compression hub/ring. (best to remove it from the mech to do this) I had used grease on the rails in the past but that's messy and ugly.

 

If you only get the noise with the door closed, I suspect the noise is coming from the top compression ring.

How do you clean and lube the compression ring? I was able to stick a q-tip in it and let the ring spin while pushing the lever down, that got it clean. But not sure where to lube it. I did put a few drops of oil on top of the hub ring where it moves down.

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A drop there is usually sufficient. Oil tends to migrate.

 

You can always remove the C-ring and apply oil directly to the spring and points of metal-metal contact. I prefer this method so that minimal oil is used and there's less chance of it being thrown off and sprayed where it ain't s'posed to be.

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