How wrong we were

I recently put a call out to the three Macintosh collectors I knew to see if any of them had accidently ended up with an Apple II 3½ Drive in their collection by accident. They’re easy enough to identify as they have an eject button, whereas the Mac version did not.

Greg (Who is pretty much the #1 patron of this whole blog with his kind gifts) turned one up in his collection and offered it to me. I gratefully collected and we discussed the drive.
We had no idea of the status of the drive and these are always an interesting thing to work on. Greg mentioned “It couldn’t be harder than a Macintosh Floppy Drive” (cue ominous thunder overhead).

I got the drive home, and decided to have a look inside the unit before I used it. As I opened it, I noticed rust. This is never a good sign. As I slowly disassembled it, I realised that inside, it consisted of two major sections. There was a daughterboard with the eject button and the drive LED plugged in, and plugged into the back of that was a drive I recognised almost immediately. It was a Macintosh style floppy disk drive, complete with eject motor!

“Ruh Roh”

First up, the drive motor section was rusted enough to be creating friction. I carefully removed the drive motor cover, removed the rust with fine sandpaper, vinegar and isopropyl alcohol, until it was a polished surface again. The drive was now spinning freely.
The mechanism was very sticky, so I carefully cleaned it with cotton buds soaked in more iso. This was followed by a careful re-greasing until the mechanism opened and closed reliably, using the eject lever.

But it won’t work. Plug it into the Apple IIgs and… nothing! The drive light lights up briefly and that’s it. No drive movement. No eject. The boards are monolithing surface mount, so there’s very little I can service on it. Next time I have the Mac apart, I might swap out the FDD from that, just to test, but for now, I’ve hit a dead end. Without a second unit, I can’t diagnose this one, let alone fix it.

Also, next week I’ll be getting my BMOW FloppyEmu, which will supercede this drive completely, so I won’t be pushing too hard on this one.

Published by ilike8bits

I collect old computers and consoles

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