ScuzzBlog: Diaries January 2021

Entry 30th January 2021: Post 2: Power XL Drive - Troubleshooting problems

Power XL Drive - Troubleshooting problems

Time to go in deep on the faulty Power XL Drive. First up she was
not being recognised by the computer. I zoomed in on the switch to
the rear of the unit. To do this unscrew the base screws and slide
the insides out of the metal sheath. Problem with any sliding type
switch is that they rely on contact with metal parts. Sadly when
a switch is left in store for a long time, the exposed part goes
dull and can prevent the contact. Cleaning is easier said than
done. The interface was held on by the port connector. Removing
the two threaded nuts and rear nuts freed the whole thing and the
black plastic slider fell out. Inside was a female slider over a
small metal interface. I cleaned both. The problem is in putting
back together. Man is not blessed with three hands and I needed
to hold the interface tight, hold the nut on the rear of the port
connector and also screw with pinchers. Trick is to stick the nut
to the plate with grease and then slowly ease the receiving screw
thread and turn without pushing on the nut. Took a while.

Next I removed the floppy from the case by unhooking the power
and the floppy ribbon. These cases are always a Chinese puzzle.
So spend a bit of time looking for raised metal clasps and places
to prise the case open. Don't take any screws out you don't need
to. This box was easy. There were just four screws in the top.
The top then pinged off. The base is hinged from the front face
plate with the port slot in. The back of the case requires a
thin screwdriver inserted in the raised metal to simply unclip
the case and lift it clear. There were no screws in this part.

Next I inspected the worm rod and it was dry and so I added a
little Vaseline. I then used head cleaner on the read/write head
top and bottom. Everything else looked fine. Without re-assembling
the drive other than power and floppy cable I hooked the drive
up to a stock Amiga 1200 without hard drive or accelerator. I was
surprised to discover she booted into WB 1.3 and 3.0 with no
problem and recognised the disk entry and clicked like a good'n.

Moving to the machine with the high density patch on hard drive
did not work. She just made this dreadful clanking sound. The
drive does format the disk and see the capacity but will not
finalise or initialise the process.

I dragged over another A1200 but this time removed the HD patch
and the PC1 from the devs:dosdrivers drawer. Made no difference
the drive still failed. What was worse was that selecting to
boot DF1 from the two mouse button down menu, she still made the
dreadful noise and refused to boot.

I swapped back to the stock A1200 without hard drive and the drive
worked without fault as a DD drive of the lower capacity. This
makes no sense. Sadly I ran out of time and had been scratching
my head for the last hour trying to figure it out. For me there
seems to be more of an electrical data fault than a mechanical
moving parts issue. I believe the drive is working. What I don't
think is working is the interface. The logic chip that sends the
signals may be fried and the unit works by other methods when
seen by the Amiga as a standard floppy drive. But why only a
stock Amiga without hard drive works, can only be attributed to
the floppy disk and hard drive disk, both being called Workbench
and the Amiga filling in from the hard drive when available for
missing data. Can only be that. Either way she is busted.

The drive did give up one morning after a session of working.
There was no slow failure over time and random issues. She just
stopped working. To me that is always a chip failure. I tend to
simply swap out when that happens. That is the joy of having a
lot of additional kit. So I swapped out the drive. With this
XL drive I am out of options. I am not about to try and re-align
a drive. That would be close to impossible, and I don't think
it would make any difference.

Game over .. She's back in storage. For now.

Drive working as DD drive | Noise when using as a HD drive.

Power XL Drive - Troubleshooting problems

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Last updated 30th January 2021

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