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BBC B+ Disk Drive issue

Guys, I'd like a bit of help diagnosing a fault with my Beeb +.   I've 
bought a BBC + 64K, monitor and disk drive in various eBay auctions of 
the past 2 years.  After finally buying a good example of the disk 
drive, I put all my kit together and carefully loaded a genuine Aviator 
disk in the drive and - nothing....  I've tried every disk I have (from 
various sources) and I can't get anything to load via disk.  The drive 
spins but doesn't read.  I bought a spare drive and had it shipped from 
overseas, as my first drive exhibited the same symptoms, suspecting that 
it was the drive at fault.

Looks like it might be the DFS but the thing is soldered to the 
mainboard, so I'm a bit stuck.  Unfortunately also, there's no error 
message from my Beeb, the cursor just blinks patiently as the drive 
spins.  What can I check from here?  (By the way, I have an official 
Acorn service manual but nothing like this is covered...)

Perhaps I'd be better swapping the B+32K mainboard for a vanilla B with 
a DFS onboard?  Wish I could get one here in Australia.....
0
3/1/2008 5:18:13 AM
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Hi Steve.

I have problems with dirty drive heads which can be cleaned with cotton buds 
and isoproyl alcohol; although I would expect an error and not to experience 
it on two drives in a row so I think this is unlikely.

I assume the DFS or ADFS rom is recognised with an appropriate DFS or ADFS 
header on the boot screen. If not check the rom chip is seated, or remove 
the rom without bending the pins, check all the pins are clean, and blow out 
any dust from the socket and reseat. Sometimes I use the edge of a ruler to 
bend the all the pins on the chip out a little on each side, before 
reseating the chip to improve the contact against the socket pins.

Check you have correct filing sytem for the disks you are using, games are 
generaly on DFS systems, and will not read if you are using ADFS filing 
system; but I would expect an error message if this was the case so I think 
this is unlikely.

Check the loose socketed chips, go through all the socketed chips on the 
motherboard and apply a little pressure to seat them a bit firmer.

Check the disk cable, if you used the same cable for both drives I would try 
another cable. If one of the connections in the cable is broken, that can 
cause this behaviour. If you can't find an bbc cable, you can use an old pc 
cable with the edge connectors so long as you don't use the connectors with 
a twist in the cable between them.

Check the disk drive connector on the bbc board, just check the connector 
pins are clean, not loose, bent, or missing.

Check the 1770 disk drive controller, this chip should be socketed, but the 
chips can get loose. remove the chip without bending the pins, check all the 
pins are clean, and blow out any dust from the socket and reseat.  It is 
possible the 1770 controller chip could be faulty and would need to try a 
replacement.

If all that fails, would need to investigate deeper in to the dfs circuitry.

The B+ has a 1770 disk controller, and it is easy to hook up a basic 3.5 pc 
drive, it should connect with a standard pc cable so long as you use the 
connectors without a twist between them. You will need to source a double 
density (not high density) floppy disk with an Acorn DFS or ADFS image on 
it. If you have a double density disk, you can use omniflop software to 
write a DFS or ADFS image to it on a PC.

I hope that helps.

Regards,
Paul. 


0
reply.to5648 (218)
3/1/2008 11:40:46 AM
paul wrote:
> Hi Steve.
> 
> I have problems with dirty drive heads which can be cleaned with cotton buds 
> and isoproyl alcohol; although I would expect an error and not to experience 
> it on two drives in a row so I think this is unlikely.
> 
> I assume the DFS or ADFS rom is recognised with an appropriate DFS or ADFS 
> header on the boot screen. If not check the rom chip is seated, or remove 
> the rom without bending the pins, check all the pins are clean, and blow out 
> any dust from the socket and reseat. Sometimes I use the edge of a ruler to 
> bend the all the pins on the chip out a little on each side, before 
> reseating the chip to improve the contact against the socket pins.
> 
> Check you have correct filing sytem for the disks you are using, games are 
> generaly on DFS systems, and will not read if you are using ADFS filing 
> system; but I would expect an error message if this was the case so I think 
> this is unlikely.
> 
> Check the loose socketed chips, go through all the socketed chips on the 
> motherboard and apply a little pressure to seat them a bit firmer.
> 
> Check the disk cable, if you used the same cable for both drives I would try 
> another cable. If one of the connections in the cable is broken, that can 
> cause this behaviour. If you can't find an bbc cable, you can use an old pc 
> cable with the edge connectors so long as you don't use the connectors with 
> a twist in the cable between them.
> 
> Check the disk drive connector on the bbc board, just check the connector 
> pins are clean, not loose, bent, or missing.
> 
> Check the 1770 disk drive controller, this chip should be socketed, but the 
> chips can get loose. remove the chip without bending the pins, check all the 
> pins are clean, and blow out any dust from the socket and reseat.  It is 
> possible the 1770 controller chip could be faulty and would need to try a 
> replacement.
> 
> If all that fails, would need to investigate deeper in to the dfs circuitry.
> 
> The B+ has a 1770 disk controller, and it is easy to hook up a basic 3.5 pc 
> drive, it should connect with a standard pc cable so long as you use the 
> connectors without a twist between them. You will need to source a double 
> density (not high density) floppy disk with an Acorn DFS or ADFS image on 
> it. If you have a double density disk, you can use omniflop software to 
> write a DFS or ADFS image to it on a PC.
> 
> I hope that helps.
> 
> Regards,
> Paul. 
> 
> 
Thanks for all the info Paul.  I actually have a brand new BBC 3.25 
floppy drive too that I haven't used yet - I'll try out the DFS with 
that too.  I'll also try reseating all the ICs and give the board a good 
cleanout.

The DFS definitely is active and comes up on the bootup screen.  The 
1770 definitely isn't socketed on the B+ also, it's soldered in firm 
which makes replacement a pain, and makes me think I'd get on better 
with a vanilla B board.

Steve
0
3/1/2008 11:32:04 PM
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Experts have lots of theories, but the one that seems likeliest would be a grind.

Google's cloud business nabs Home Depot as client
By Sarah McBride SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc, long an also-ran in cloud services, has scored an important victory in its effort to win ...

World extra: Former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, 46, dies after fighting cancer
Press of Atlantic City World extra: Former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, 46, dies after fighting cancer Press of Atlantic City FILE - In this Oct. ...

Supreme Court upholds workers' class-action verdict in setback for corporations
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court dealt a setback to corporate America on Tuesday by upholding a nearly $6-million class-action verdict for a group ...

The Syrian Electronic Army was careless with Gmail, Facebook
If you're a hacker, it's a good idea to stay away from Facebook and Gmail to communicate with your colleagues. Three men, who allegedly were ...

Making money is cool again for young Silicon Valley startups
Investors packed Y Combinator's prestigious Demo Day on Tuesday to listen to startups pitch their business. But those pitches had a different ...

Nintendo is reportedly ending Wii U production this year
Nintendo launched the Wii U at the end of 2012, but sales have fallen far short of the company's expectations since then, and now a report claims ...

Sarah Palin Signs To Host Syndicated Court Show For ‘Mountain Men’ Producer
Former Alaska Governor, Vice Presidential candidate, Fox News contributor and reality star Sarah Palin is looking to return to television as ...

Resources last updated: 3/23/2016 6:39:12 AM