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Where to get 5.25 DS DD Floppies?

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In an exercise in futility, I have about 40 blank disks from 35 years ago.  I just got a XF551 (360k) drive.  I'm finding a close to 50% failure ratio of formatting my disks.  They go the "junk" pile to be retried at 40 tracks when they fail.  My question is where to get new ones.  Amazon and Ebay has NOS.  No guarantees.  I feel that is lighting money on fire and tossing out the window.  Any input?  FWW this is not a long term solution but a tool to reorganize my 90k disks and test the ones that fail to see if maybe they are higher density or double sided.

 

Thank you

 

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I have 'many' 35 year-old diskettes that generally work just fine. Are you sure that the drive itself is OK? How does the format fail - can you read sectors on a failed disk with a sector editor like DiskWiz? Be aware of the XF551 density - it gets confused sometimes.

 

For the most part:

 

Old Atari disks (APX and such) are questionable.

 

Old 3M disks are very good.

 

HD disks will not work, no matter what.

 

Any disk will work Double Sided.

 

The oxide will shed on many ICD disks.

 

Good luck.

 

Bob

 

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What Bob wrote, is my experience too. I have a pile of no-brand disks which work really great. They look like sh*t but they work, and they are absolutely old. 

 

I love using real disks. The I/O sound, especially when it is High Speed, makes me happy. 

 

When you buy NOS, which means a carton with a shrink-wrap, I doubt you can go wrong. 

 

 

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During Format I get.  Error 173 - Couldn't format in DOS XE.  The floppies I have were/are in a shoebox  Not stored well. They were originally "bulk" swap-meet disks and the lowest cost quality / cost available at the time.  Now they are all I have available.  That is good info on the disks.

 

Thank you

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@marius - That makes me feel better.  I will say I can hear the fails are binding or sticking, not a consistent spin like the good ones.

 

Thank you

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I've bought a couple NOS retail boxes of DSDD disks (10 each) in the last few years and the ones I've tested out have been just fine. I've also got a couple dozen of my own original 80's disks that I had and used as a kid. All of them, across every brand and even the Atari (Inc. and Corp.) disks all read good. My vintage originals from my days as an 80's Atari kid were tossed haphazardly into a box and packed away by my Mom sometime while I was mostly living away at college. I guess she gave some of that old stuff back to me because I found them about 6 years ago in my garage, having been stored there for almost 14 years in this house alone, plus who knows where or how they were stored in the intervening decades. But they all work. Unfortunately, these are maybe 1/2 of what I used to have. Maybe another mystery box will appear with the rest someday. :)

 

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I've got my diskettes from ebay. 

You just need to be patient and wait until double density new disks show up a 10 or so dollars in US. 

As long as they are TDK, Maxell or Verbatim you should be good. 

 

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7 hours ago, Marius said:

What Bob wrote, is my experience too. I have a pile of no-brand disks which work really great. They look like sh*t but they work, and they are absolutely old. 

 

I love using real disks. The I/O sound, especially when it is High Speed, makes me happy. 

 

When you buy NOS, which means a carton with a shrink-wrap, I doubt you can go wrong. 

 

 

Me too.

 

Over the last decade or so, I've bought NOS brands 3M, Kodak and Tandy. They have worked fine and still do. I was also given a "shoe-box" home-made wooden crate full of pirated disks, some auto load, some menu (see picture below; at one time that box was completely full of floppies). They were 25-30 years old when given to me, though I believe they were kept in storage in a closet for years, but half did not come with sleeves (I've used up all the sleeves for good disks I've found so far) and they were in non climate controlled storage units for a couple of years at least before I bothered with them.

 

When I ran out of NOS disks about a year ago, I started going through these and re-formatting all that had software on them I already had on other disks. So far it has been about a 50% rate of bad disks, But there has been no rime or reason based on name-brand.

 

Disks that look in great shape and are top brands that I expect to work, don't, and off-brand and no-name that I didn't to work looking in poor shape did. I have managed to salvage more unused back-sides than front, as many were only single sided or back-sides were less used. I just use a paper hole-puncher to make a notch for the backside.

 

I have also salvaged some disks that come back with a format error, but I attempt to right software to them anyway, and often the software fits on the disk before it gets to the bad sector(s). I use APE's Prosystem for writing to disks on my Happy 1050 in what ever speed and density is appropriate.

 

 

20200209_204425.jpg

Edited by Gunstar
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On 2/9/2020 at 8:57 PM, Gunstar said:

I have also salvaged some disks that come back with a format error, but I attempt to right software to them anyway, and often the software fits on the disk before it gets to the bad sector(s). I use APE's Prosystem for writing to disks on my Happy 1050 in what ever speed and density is appropriate.

The Stock 1050 ROM, and happy 1050 is nice, because they will actually format all the tracks first, before verifying. With SpartaDOS at least, you can then go and write the directories afterwards, if you beware of the bad sector landmines :) On a couple disks I use for general mucking about with, I used DiskRX or EDDY to find the bad sectors and map them as 'in-use' in the bitmap. Then you can still use 99% of the disk for daily use, as it will skip the bad sectors.

 

I remember there used to be a utility for SpartaDOS that would automatically do this, and collect them all to an official file in the directory to ensure disk checkers didn't get confused by sectors marked in-use, but no file allocated to them... Anyone remember/have that progtam?

 

US Doubler 1050, and other mods format and verify each track before moving to the next, so for disks with bad sectors, it will only ever format as far as the first track with a bad sector...

 

 

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8 hours ago, Nezgar said:

The Stock 1050 ROM, and happy 1050 is nice, because they will actually format all the tracks first, before verifying. With SpartaDOS at least, you can then go and write the directories afterwards, if you beware of the bad sector landmines :) On a couple disks I use for general mucking about with, I used DiskRX or EDDY to find the bad sectors and map them as 'in-use' in the bitmap. Then you can still use 99% of the disk for daily use, as it will skip the bad sectors.

 

I remember there used to be a utility for SpartaDOS that would automatically do this, and collect them all to an official file in the directory to ensure disk checkers didn't get confused by sectors marked in-use, but no file allocated to them... Anyone remember/have that progtam?

 

US Doubler 1050, and other mods format and verify each track before moving to the next, so for disks with bad sectors, it will only ever format as far as the first track with a bad sector...

 

 

Thanks, I will look into these other disk-salvaging options. As far as the 1050 I use with APE's prosystem, it is a Happy upgraded drive, so either Happy 1050's still format first and verify later, or Prosystem bypasses the standard way the drive formats and allows formatting before verifying. After all, it has the "quick format" which does just that without verification at all. 

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I found a guy on e-bay with sealed boxes, I bought 30 disks.

 

Thank you everyone for your input.

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So I spent time this morning formatting a box of floppies.  It really was fun.  The XF551 is really a nice drive.  I'm glad I'm getting to use it.  I missed it's feature set back in the day.

 

Thank you

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