[vcf-midatlantic] Needed 5-1/4” Cleaning Floppy

Herb Johnson hjohnson at retrotechnology.info
Sun Aug 16 13:40:05 EDT 2020

> Alexander Jacocks said: 
> Unfortunately, I have a bunch of drives that came to me dirty. So, cleaning disks is good, but doesn't directly address the need.

The discussion has branched between "cleaning floppy diskettes" and 
"cleaning floppy drives". And "cleaning disks" is ambiguous; what's to 
be cleaned?. I myself, do not care for minimalist posts.

Here's a primer on floppy drive issues of "dirt".

A floppy drive is a mechanical mechanism. They get dirty because they 
are exposed to desktop environments but rarely cleaned. Drive mech's 
oils produce sticky surfaces.

To clean a drive one has to remove dirt and debris. Age causes greases 
to turn hard; greases must be removed and replaced. Age damages flexible 
plastics and turns them to goo or hardens them: they must be removed and 
if necessary for function they must be replaced. Some things wear out 
from abrasion - head pads, rotating mechs.

And: the drive heads are little electromagnets with a coating of epoxy. 
In time the epoxy wears off, the magnetic gap starts to open. Magnetic 
particles in that gap "short out" the magnetic signal, increasing read 
and write errors. Drives have other problems: read the fine ancient 
drive manuals if the manual for your drive doesn't discuss diagnosis and 
details of function.

In any event, material can gather on the read-write head - that's bad. 
Very bad. It will scour magnetic coatings off the diskette. And the 
debris will "infect" other diskettes. So #1 priority is to keep the 
heads CLEAN and to clean them as soon as you observe diskette scouring 
or hear a "screeeeeeech" (not to be confused with noises from the disk 
head hub as it rotates, a similar sound). As has been discussed, one 
Q-tips the heads or uses a cleaning diskette (noun), either with an 
alcohol solution.

regards, Herb Johnson

Herbert R. Johnson, New Jersey in the USA
http://www.retrotechnology.com OR .net
preserve, recover, restore 1970's computing
email: hjohnson AT retrotechnology DOT com
or try later herbjohnson AT retrotechnology DOT info

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