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el_jeffe

Mac Plus Floppy Drive - should I replace it?

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Was having a discussion with a coworker about floppies on vintage computers. He suggested I probably shouldn't bother replacing the floppy drive at all since there are all sorts of solid-state card devices out there now. I just feel like my Mac Plus won't be fully 'restored' until it gets a working floppy drive.  No reason I can't have both but it does make me wonder if the floppy drive is really needed. 

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If you ever have a need to dump and preserve floppies as Disk Copy 4.2 images, you will absolutely want to have one.

 

Generally I agree with the sentiment that floppies should be used sparingly. There's limited quantities of them out there, and they're all living on borrowed time.

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I agree that a computer doesn't feel completely restored without a working floppy drive.  I have a Mac SE that I restored from multiple machines, yet was frustrated by the lack of a functional floppy drive.  Tried cleaning and lubricating one or two drives without success.  Maybe three; I don't remember anymore.  Finally bought a working one (from LaPorta I believe) so that I could finally have a fully functional machine.  (Of course, now it may be having SCSI problems but that's a separate issue. . .)

 

I have a Floppy Emu for it, so a floppy drive isn't absolutely necessary but it just doesn't feel like it's a fully functional computer without it.

 

I will primarily use the Floppy Emu with it, but it's nice to know there's a working floppy drive in there should I ever need it.

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1 minute ago, LaPorta said:

You know, if you ever don't need those other 800ks... ;)

 

I'm sure I will need them, especially if the three Mac Pluses I mentioned in another thread all turn out to have defective floppy drives.  But, I may have to pay you to fix them for me at some point. ;)

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A slight aside, but how much should we tear down a Mac Floppy drive when deep cleaning/lubing?  I’m working on my first (Mac Plus) and I currently have a seriously dirty drive in 3 parts—the disk sled assembly, the main board/head/spindle lower unit, and the eject motor/gear assembly.

 

Should I be tearing it down any further or stop here?

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You don't need to tear it down further; in fact all you really need to do for lubrication is remove the top "disk sled" along with the other sled on the bottom. Just don't try disassembling the head/stepper motor assembly because you'll probably mess up the alignment.

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28 minutes ago, AwkwardPotato said:

You don't need to tear it down further; in fact all you really need to do for lubrication is remove the top "disk sled" along with the other sled on the bottom. Just don't try disassembling the head/stepper motor assembly because you'll probably mess up the alignment.

OK, thanks.  I went ahead and took off the eject gear assembly because I ordered a replacement gear for the fragile one.

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Speaking of, can these drives be repaired if they're out of alignment or have other issues? Mine has a broken eject gear but it also does not read disks even after cleaning and lube. Wondering if it's just cheaper to replace it.

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That can be a few things. Could be the drive heads making insufficient contact. Could be head alignment. There is a procedure for doing it with a few instruments in the Pina books.

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