ScuzzBlog: Diaries March 2021

Entry 15th March 2021: Post 1: Amiga 600 - What to do with a failing hard drive.

Amiga 600 - What to do with a failing hard drive.

I sense that far too many give up on their hard drives before
trying to recover the data. Generally happens when someone gets
an Amiga and assumes the drive is dead. I tend to not give up
that easy. I have discussed the freezer trick before, but today
all I do is wait a while.

The A600 has this issue of a stuck head that just refuses to
play ball if left for any length of time. This is quite a common
failure. As long as you just get the read error and not a clear
mechanical 'graunch' then it's a lazy head and just needs time
to get up out of bed. So I leave her running a while and then
return.  and a few soft boots later and she is fine.

I realised early on that to safeguard my interest in the Amiga
I needed a second Amiga computer. May sound extreme today, but
in the day it wasn't that expensive. The point being that just
having access to another computer lets me undertake other tasks
while not compromising my main computer.

The first thing I did was invest in a Parnet cable and then I
simply copied my hard drive onto the second Amiga. This meant
I had a working back-up that I not only could use but also have
as a safeguard in case of disc failure. Has never happened.

So when the A600 started to play up I simply connected the
parallel ports together with the Parnet and copied over the
contents of the drive. I have been waiting for the drive to
finally give up the ghost but she plods along, albeit with a
bit of a nudge and a few soft boots.

I rarely give up on drives and pride myself on keeping most
that I have alive. I wouldn't swap any for a modern flash card
cus they just have no heart. I have to hear both the floppy
and the hard drive on my machines. It's my first guide in terms
of just what the computer is up to.

Rather than show an image of the lights working on the A600 I
thought today I would feature a before and after so you can
hear the sticking drive and then the drive kicking in. Having
the full back-up takes off the pressure of replacing the drive
though probably I should be scheduling in once the world
gets back on its feet again.

Just a word of caution. Do remember to take care lifting the
case on the A600 as there is an LED connector bottom right.
Also the A600 are notorious for ribbon failure. They seem to
get very brown and go brittle. So avoid flexing too hard.

Happy days.

Left is stuck | Right is running

Amiga 600 - What to do with a failing hard drive.

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Last updated 15th March 2021

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