Apple iic disk drive trouble

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Hi everyone! I just recently acquired an Apple iic off of eBay and for the first day, the disk drive seemed to be functioning properly. Now, when I insert a flop py disk, it only gives me the Check disk drive message. It still sounds like the drive is working and the Disk use light turns on, but I still don't get anything. When I flip the disk over, howeverj., it tells me that the disk has no DOS to boot, so the drive must be reading something, right? Is it possible that I destroyed the disk information? Or could it be a drive problem? And if it is, how can I fix it?
Also, whenever I tried to save information onto the floppy disk before this, all I got was a pound sign and a list of random numbers. Any help on that would be greatly appreciated also.
Thank you!

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bushnrvn's picture
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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

I ran into similar symptoms when I picked up my IIgs a couple years ago.

The bad news is that these symptoms are indicative of quite a few possible problems. The only way I was able to get the issue fixed was through trial and error.

Is there anyway you can try the disk in another drive? Does another disk in the same IIc present the same results?

Since the drive did work very recently and the opposite side of the disk is read at least enough to show there is no DOS available, it is very likely that the disk itself is just done for. Floppies of even the most recent vintage are very unreliable.

That said, my drive issues in the IIgs were eventually resolved by replacing the RAM card. Like I said, these symptoms could point to any number of issues.

Have you tried something like ADTPro to make a fresh copy (although on old media) of the disk?

I'd be glad to help you troubleshoot, and I know there are others here who are much more informed than I am about low-level technical bits. Perhaps they will shed some light on the possible causes.

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

DOUBLE POST - PLEASE DELETE

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

Maybe I should have mentioned I have no other floppies to test currently and I have absolutely no idea what ADTpro is. I am extremely new to the vintage computing world. I do, however have floppy disks coming in the mail so I can test it out on those.

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

I have some advice. Do a search on the Apple fritter for disk drive cleaning/maintenance, and do that first. If you need to get some copies of the Apple //c disk set that came with the computer (including the System Utilities Disk), let me know with a private message (often shortened around here to PM) and we can work something out.

Mutant_Pie

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

I agree with above posts. It can be a bad floppy, a misaligned drive, dirty heads, etc. Check some posts, specially the great SpeedyG disk calibration series:
http://www.harrowalsh.de/Elektronik/APPLEBOX/appleboxdownload.htm
Good luck!

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

So I got a copy of AppleWorks today and it worked! But now it's telling me that the drive read write notch is covered. Any thoughts?

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

By any chance were you trying to Write to the Appleworks Disk?

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

No, I was only trying to run the program

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

Maybe I should expand on that a little bit. The programs itself opens and tells me to flip the disk. when I do, the date comes up and after I enter it, the program tells me to check that the disk is in drive 1 and to make sure that the read/write disk is not covered. Also, I still can't get the drive to save. When I enter the save command into basic it still shows up with a whole bunch of random numbers and I have no idea what they mean. Any help on either of these issues would be greatly appreciated.

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

Maybe I should expand on that a little bit. The programs itself opens and tells me to flip the disk. when I do, the date comes up and after I enter it, the program tells me to check that the disk is in drive 1 and to make sure that the read/write disk is not covered. Also, I still can't get the drive to save. When I enter the save command into basic it still shows up with a whole bunch of random numbers and I have no idea what they mean. Any help on either of these issues would be greatly appreciated.

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

Well after all this mess about operating a disk:

How about first reading a ProDOS Manual ???

http://mirrors.apple2.org.za/Apple%20II%20Documentation%20Project/Software/Operating%20Systems/Apple%20ProDOS/Manuals/

How about reading second the Appleworks Manual or a book about Appleworks ???

http://mirrors.apple2.org.za/Apple%20II%20Documentation%20Project/Software/Applications/AppleWorks/Manuals/

Fact:
After booting and starting AppleWorks - it requests the flipping - assuming that the secand side of the disk
may contain data and tries to save it there....
This requires of course that at the correct side there is a writeprotection notch open !
Sometimes in old days people had a SWITCH at their drive to enable writing and therefor not requesting a notch...

MAYBE IT´S A GOOD IDEA TO LEARN BASIC WALKING ( i..e. Handling ) BEFORE TRYING TO JUMP WITH A PROGRAM ???

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

Before you can use the SAVE command, you need to have loaded a Disk Operating System (DOS) written for the Apple II into the memory from a bootable disk. DOS 3.3 came on the System Master Disk that came with these computers, until it was supplanted by ProDOS8 (for 8-bit computers as opposed to the ProDOS16 for the Apple IIGS), and is a good starting point. If you need to get either type of System Master Disk, which will have a few utilities on it, let me know with a Private Message here at AppleFritter.

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

Ok.
First off, I would like to thank you for the help. I discovered my problem and understand what I was doing wrong.
Second off, I would like to point out that my username is helpneeded14 for a reason. I did not know that I needed a DOS. I am new to computing like the original post said. I would greatly appreciate it if you were more patient with me in my quest to better understand the world of programing and DOS. Also, I am mot patient with these kind of things. I have a nickname of bulldog because I latch onto ideas and I can't let go of them. I obsessed over the Apple iic for TWO YEARS before I could actually afford it. So once again I thank you for the advice and have a good day, speedyG.
helpneeded14

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

helpneeded14 wrote:

Ok.
First off, I would like to thank you for the help. I discovered my problem and understand what I was doing wrong.
Second off, I would like to point out that my username is helpneeded14 for a reason. I did not know that I needed a DOS. I am new to computing like the original post said. I would greatly appreciate it if you were more patient with me in my quest to better understand the world of programing and DOS. Also, I am mot patient with these kind of things. I have a nickname of bulldog because I latch onto ideas and I can't let go of them. I obsessed over the Apple iic for TWO YEARS before I could actually afford it. So once again I thank you for the advice and have a good day, speedyG.
helpneeded14

No explanation necessary, most of us got where you were coming from. In my limited time here I have learned that everyone is eager to help. Speedy is extremely knowledgeable and is VERY generous in passing that knowledge along to others and/or providing for all to take advantage of. You need to just brush off the short, sometimes caustic manner in which he speaks (types) to people. I think a lot gets lost in the translation as English is not his first language (yet this board is basically English in every post)and I am not fluent in German Wink
Zan

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

To Zan8675
Thanks for that. That made my day way better! And now I know what caustic means!
Thank you!
helpneeded

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

To Zan8675
Thanks for that. That made my day way better! And now I know what caustic means!
Thank you!
helpneeded

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

Whoa sorry triple repost.

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

Helpneeded14,

Zan is correct on a few points.
Speedy does get short with folks on occasion...even at times with me. lol

He is very knowledgeable and English is his first language.
He is an American Vietnam Vet who moved to Germany after the war for medical reasons.
He has been there so long that sometimes he forgets his English syntax.

That does not mean that he refuses to help anyone.

He is an "Old School Electrical Engineer" and has probably forgotten more about electronics and circuits than a lot of people know. If you read all of his comments throughout the threads and go to his web site you will see.

'Nuff Said.

Steven Smile

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

gsmcten wrote:

Helpneeded14,

...and English is his first language.

See that? learn something new every day (but there is no WAY you could tell from his posts, hence my (incorrect) assumption! My bad for sure!

Quote:

That does not mean that he refuses to help anyone.

Absolutely. As I said, VERY generous in sharing his vast knowledge! (and I for one am very grateful for that!)
Smile

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

How did you guys finally solve the 'write protect' problem? I'm having the exact same problem with my Apple //c and its internal drive, which refuses to write. Just like helpneeded14, I noticed the problem when trying to boot Appleworks and the program refused to save the date setting. I've since tried various programs like ADT, Mecc Computer Tools… none is able to write or format a floppy that's in drive 1. Plus, Mecc CT gives erratic drive speeds on that drive. The external drive works fine, though, and it's the one I always use to write new floppies with ADT. That's why I never noticed the problem before…

I've tried cleaning the notch sensor in the disk drive but the only improvement I could get was "check disk or disk door drive" when trying to format with ADT. So I cleaned it even more and now I'm back to the beginning, my Apple //c thinking the notch is covered…

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

So just again here:
a good point for starting to solve problems with disk drives is at:

http://www.appleii-box.de/H084_1_AppleIIDiskService1.htm

there are 4 pages - each of them covering one topic of the problems with details and pictures....
some parts related specifically to the IIc drive have been added too.... where it seemed to be needed...
if you follow up those pages the most problems can be solved ....

and this pages have been mentioned in dozends of threads before too...

only in case that warnings have not been taken serious and the cables have been connected wrong
damages might have occured in the electronic part....

and such problems have been also treated in several threads up till now too.....

so it´s just like i explained before...

searching the former threads with the searchfunction in the upper right corner...
sincerely speedyG

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

Thanks for these helpful pages. Honestly, I've spent the day looking for that type of information… Google ain't what it used to be Wink
I will read them thorough fully of course, even though I'm no tech at all…

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

mocheez wrote:

Thanks for these helpful pages. Honestly, I've spent the day looking for that type of information… Google ain't what it used to be Wink
I will read them thorough fully of course, even though I'm no tech at all…

I think that Google is doing fine, eBay's Search, now that's another matter.. Search for "Apple 2" or "Apple II" or "Apple ][", and the amount of iPod "stuff" that comes up is Incredible!!!

I think that Google is "stuffed" with "current Apple stuff", where as "Commodore" and "Atari" and "Sinclair" and "Trash 80" or "CoCo" are pretty unique searches...

AppleFritter is the place to come to, to "pick the brains" of some of the finest Apple Hackers, like
speedyG.. Have you seen his Apple Box Page??

MarkO

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

Marko,

I have even mentioned Speedy up on the Apple II group at Facebook.

Several folks up there have had questions and I knew Speedy had the answers, so I pointed them here.

Steven Smile

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

Frankly, I've been browsing Apple II resources on the net for probably more than a decade (not everyday, of course…) and it's the first time I've stumbled upon such a rich and documented website (Speedy's)… I used to have lots of tech stuff before, both printed and digital, when I had my Apple collection, but unfortunately I sold everything some time ago and I'm now back at the beginning with all the problems related to owning vintage gear, plus Murphy's Law knocking at my door Wink

Throughout the last couple of days I've had to deal with : one Apple //c internal drive refusing to write… Suddenly same thing occurred with both drives in my DuoDisk on the //e… And at the end of the day, when I finally decided to chill and relax with some Galaxian session, I discovered the fire button 1 was dead on my Apple joystick… But yeah, I must not let myself go, keep cool and take one problem at a time.

The Duodisk problem was solved by opening and disassembling everything, up to the controller card and its components (it was cracking everywhere…) and putting it back together. Now it reads and writes fine.

The Apple //c is still ill, though. I've run all drive tests I could find, including Datalife Disk Drive Analyzer. All tests (alignment, speed, etc.) passed successfully, except the write test where it invariably asks me to remove the write protect tab on the notch, even though all disks I've tried are unprotected. I have no idea how the notch sensor works and couldn't find any documentation about it. It looks like it works like some kind of photoelectric cell and I wondered if some dirt may have accumulated inside the little holes, thus blocking whatever signal is supposed to go from one part to the other, forcing the computer into thinking the notch is covered. Just my 2 cent…

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

General information:

In the "classic" Apple DISK II drives there has allways been a microswitch that has been used for the write
protection tab
. Thats also the reason why at that drives at the outer side of the frame bearing that switch
one screw has been "adjustable" - meaning that you can untighten it and carefully slip the switch up to the position
where the switch is operating at and the tightening the screw again....
In later drives ( in general those which have been made from third party companies ) the light barrier system was introduced to the public.

This systems have two general points of faliure: dirt or rest of former writeprotection tabs slipping
in front of the lens and blocking the light barrier ( so that needs carefull cleaning and removal of dirt and
unwanted rest parts of writeprotection labels ...) - or second:
the Light emitting diode not operating for several reasons ( one might be a broken wire or alternate a damaged voltagelimitation resistor ) and the broken wire MUST NOT BE visible !
Sometimes the wire gets broken inside of the isolation cover.... so only reliable verification on that is true measurement of the voltage.....

In general this light barrier systems have 4 connecting wires:
One with voltage for LED - it should show up with approximatly + 1,8 to + 2,5 Volts constant voltage and
the wire to ground ( following the wires to the circuitboard often identifies this wire leading to a trace that
is generally "fatter" than the other traces...)showing up with 0 Volts -

and at the Phototransistor side of that light barriersystems one trace also leading to a resistor and ground and one wire ( the one that should "switch" leading to the "detection" electronics ( in general a logic gate of an IC starting with 74LSxx ( where xx is in general a 02,04, 05 or 125 - depending to the design made by that company )

this wire is the one that should show 2 kinds of electrical level:
a kind of "low" ( between 0 Volt and 0,8 Volt ) or "High" ( between + 2,5 Volt and + 5 Volt )
depending to the fact if the barrier is blocked or not.

In very rare cases the LED is damaged and does not emit any light and therefor the Phototransistor does
not recieve in any condition the light
and the electronic circuitry assumes the barrier to be blocked indicating a permanent Write-protection.

In such case the component must be removed and replaced with another barrier similar to the used one ( requires comparing the datasheets ).
Experienced technicians
sometimes also can replace such a damaged light barrier system instead
with a simple microswitch ( like used in old drives ) and just connecting the switch wires - replacing the Phototransistor )...

sincerely SpeedyG

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

OK, I think I can help with a hack: recently i added a switch to my external drive to allow writing on both sides odf a disk without cutting the notch. You just have to join the orange and violet cables to allow writing, I attached a photo. Hope it helps.
//c drive

Javster

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

Thanks SpeedyG, but the tech part is out of my knowledge…

I blew some compressed air inside the sensor… It seems to have had an effect for a while since I could suddenly write on a disk using Datalife, but with an error at the end. And then it went back to the original state of thinking the notch is covered…

javster wrote:

OK, I think I can help with a hack: recently i added a switch to my external drive to allow writing on both sides odf a disk without cutting the notch. You just have to join the orange and violet cables to allow writing, I attached a photo. Hope it helps.
//c drive

Javster

What do you mean? Where and how do I join them, exactly?

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

This topic related to the write protection seems to be an issue....
therefor i will add one more page to the "basic about" pages in my site
that will treat this topic and the modification about using an external switch
instead of the microswitch or light barrier system.
It will contain detail pictures and description how to handle such task.
It will be added within next 5 days.... so you might review the pages in the site after
27th of May 2014....
speedyG

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

Sounds like a good idea Mr. SpeedyG, since very few Apple II hardware websites seem to mention that write notch sensor… Even its existence!

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

page related to write protection added at:

http://www.appleii-box.de/H084_1_AppleIIDiskService2a.htm

speedyG

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

mocheez wrote:

Thanks SpeedyG, but the tech part is out of my knowledge…

I blew some compressed air inside the sensor… It seems to have had an effect for a while since I could suddenly write on a disk using Datalife, but with an error at the end. And then it went back to the original state of thinking the notch is covered…

javster wrote:

OK, I think I can help with a hack: recently i added a switch to my external drive to allow writing on both sides odf a disk without cutting the notch. You just have to join the orange and violet cables to allow writing, I attached a photo. Hope it helps.
//c drive

Javster

What do you mean? Where and how do I join them, exactly?

You see the photo? wiggle the cables out, is easy if you push a pin on those square holes where the number 5 is, it will allow the cable to get out. Then just put a "loop" (a clip maybe) between the slots where you took the cables from.
Enclosed is another photo with the loop, hope it helps.
Javster

http://oi59.tinypic.com/10qduvp.jpg

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

Hello javster,
i just explained it also in the added page with usage of your first picture.
The difference:
using a loop like you did, disables the write protection permanently.

Some won´t want to do that..... If for example copying disks from an Original...
In such case it´s better to protect the Original from mistyping in the program,
knowing that the drive, that contains the Originaldisk is really locked up against writing permission....

otherwise some newbie might copy empty disk over the Original and loose the contents...

in my page therefor all alternates are using a switch and one last proposal even adds a LED to
indicate the status of the switch ( similar to the solution i used in my drives )

with one exception:
i have in nearly each computer a erphi disk controller permitting the use of 160 tracks and 640 kb per disk -
so i have 2 Teac double drive stations with each 2 Teac 55F ( so both drives can bear 640 kB offering
1,3 MB total for both drives together and therefor my drives have also additional switching between 40 and 80 tracks
and a LED indicating that too.... and i only have 3 Original Apple DISK II Drives and a DUOdisk station.

The pictures you made are great !
sincerely speedyG

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

Hi SpeedyG,

You have to forgive me, I didn't look at your link when I responded. You are right, my solution is a "hack" just to make it work for his problem, and not a permanent solution. In fact, I actually added the switch with a fancy twist: in one position, the LED will be green meaning the disk is readable, in the second position the LED will light red, indicating you will not be able to write.

My knowledge is very limited and like others, I am happy and thankful of your posts and replies, I always learn something new from you. Let me know if you ever need more photos, I'm good at that. Smile

Kind regards

Javster

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

Hello Jayster,

the use of a duo-LED is of course realy cool !

I just wanted to keep it simple for those, like from Mocheez above...
nothing complicated, where you have to keep care of polarity and knowledge about
switching polarity.... that´s stuff the advanced users know anyhow...
it´s rather more just a reply to the fact "that no other stuff is availiable"
( Though i didn´t realy try to search if that´s true... )- just explaining the basics
- as simple as possible - as fast as possible and with simple DIY solution for beginners...

Thats why i call such pages in that row "Basics about..."
I intend to make a bunch of such pages in next year ....

besides:
i allready made proposal to set a new thread line here collecting the links to such pages....
experience of the last years show: newbies are to lazy to view back more then few months...
or miss the ability to use the search function
and for sure a lot of other members here have created similar valuable "basic" pages
( just for example the exchange of all electrolytic capacitors in the MAC
or the "re-attachment" of the asics in a stove... ?

I´m sure if such a kind of "library of basics pages" would be created
and the most important threads just relocated to that thread by admin after closing that thread
( no direct access by the members - members only passing over proposals of relocation )
it would be a valuable enhancement for newbies finding faster access to important pages
... even if they have been made years ago...

anyhow that proposal didn´t get many friends up till now ...

instead a lot off stuff is repeated again and again...

speedyG

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

Thanks people for your very helpful advice! I think I'll go for the "loop" hack. Not only because my tech skills are very limited (if not inexistent) but mainly because I don't see myself modifying an Apple //c case to fit leds and switches Wink

SpeedyG, you're right when you say that all important information should be gathered and advertised. And it's also true that newbies - like me - hope to find what they're looking for in the latest posts and are too lazy to browse throughout the years…
It took me some time to complete my knowledge and realize that some things were finally possible and that would have prevented me from throwing away valuable computers (like my former Mac 128k and Apple //e monitor) that probably just needed some new capacitors or else… The good news is that I now stopped to think that if it doesn't work then it's broken Wink
Paradoxically, it's that lazy-non-tech behavior that helps us find cheap stuff on the used market (that's how I ended up buying a mint 1985 Sony Walkman for just a few cents, a few days ago… Previous owner must have thought it was dead because the tape was not moving but in reality it just needed a new drive belt )

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

Welcome to the Disposable Society..

When it doesn't work anymore, it's time for a new one...

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

Quote:

You see the photo? wiggle the cables out, is easy if you push a pin on those square holes where the number 5 is, it will allow the cable to get out. Then just put a "loop" (a clip maybe) between the slots where you took the cables from.
Enclosed is another photo with the loop, hope it helps.
Javster

http://oi59.tinypic.com/10qduvp.jpg

All right. But what do you do with the two free cables, then ? Do you just let them hang loose? What if they get to touch each other? Isn't it better to isolate them?

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

you are correct - it is highly recommended to isolate them with tape or schrinkhose...
speedyG

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

All right. I made the mod. The drive now writes, but it stays on all the time... Like when you boot on a disk, the drive sounds like it's still reading and the led stays on, even though the program is fully loaded...

UPDATE : I had removed the wrong orange cable at first, and when I put it back in its hole, it was kinda loose, and so was my loop. So I tightened everything and now it's okay.

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

mocheez wrote:

All right. But what do you do with the two free cables, then ? Do you just let them hang loose? What if they get to touch each other? Isn't it better to isolate them?

Well, I agree with SpeedyG, but in this case those two cables are from the switch, those cables don't go anywhere or carry any other signal.

Happy it worked!

Cheers - Javster

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Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

Hello mocheez,
glad to hear it´s solved....
of course you now should bear in mind that the write protection is permanently disabled at this drive -
unless you don´t remove the loop and join bach the cables.... this bears some risk while using copy-
programs as explained above.... you should mark the drives and keep one with writeprotection enabled
and while performing copyprogram use the habit to put original ( or source- ) disks allways in
writeproteced drive,
while copies are generated at the drive without the write protection !
cheers speedyG

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Posts: 10
Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

It's driving me nuts… It was working, I had managed to save the printer setup in "Print Shop" (which I couldn't do until the mod). So now I've put back my copy of AppleWorks (with which I discovered the write problem in my drive in the first place) and I'm back to where I started. The drive won't write, Datalife DDA fails… It's like every time I boot back AppleWorks, everything goes bad again…
I feel like crying, right now…

speedyG's picture
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Joined: Nov 16 2011
Posts: 2377
Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

Sounds to me like you moved back the drive in the IIc case and while moving back the
wire untightened again
.... it seems the solution was working while the drive was
outside of the case ??? or did you use not isolated wire and it worked while the
metal case top was off and wire getting shortened while fixing back the shielding top ?
That metal shielding is electrical fixed to ground ...

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mocheez's picture
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Joined: Apr 26 2014
Posts: 10
Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

Well, I used about the same wire as on the pictures… with black plastic around. Seems though that it worked while the //c was apart and metal shield was removed, while I was testing, and that problems occurred once the //c was put back together… The odd thing is that - even before the wires mod - it seems to work for a while every time I open up the //c and move things around, and then it invariably goes wrong again after a few minutes of use. Could that be some faulty connector or else? Nevertheless, I will try and take it apart again, hope to make it work, and test it a bit deeper while it's taken apart, and I'll only put it back together once I'm sure it works 100%… And we'll see.

MarkO's picture
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Joined: Dec 10 2011
Posts: 666
Re: Apple iic disk drive trouble

I have noticed this same issue with my 5.25" Drives, when connected to a 3.5" drive connected to my Apple ][gs, ROM 1 machine..

No Reading or Writing, just the Drive Motors won't turn off..

MarkO