Apple IIe, Duodisk No Access Light

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Hi all,
I was excited to find in a closet at my school an Apple IIe. It seems to be in good shape other than it being a bit dirty. The IIe was attached to a Duodisk with what I assume was the right cable. It booted fine and went straight to the Apple IIe screen, and a ctrl-reset takes it to basic mode.

My school had thrown out all of its 5.25 floppies, as I think there were some DOS disks lying around that were considered rubbish. All I had were some random 5.25 floppies that I found, that weren't DOS or ProDOS disks.

I used the cassette-in port to load some games from Apple Game Server, but I wanted to load some for quick access on to floppies. Using Apple Disk Server, I tried to load some games on to the floppies I found, but every time it showed a disk error. The drive sounded like it was working, and the access light lit up, however. I thought that perhaps the head needed a clean, so I pulled it apart, and being the hasty person I am, I forgot to take a picture of the connections. I later realized that the floppies were write-protected, so that may have been why it wasn't writing.

I cleaned the heads using some Q tips and methylated spirits. When I put it back together, I used some pictures I found on the internet to make sure everything was plugged in right. However, when I tried to load on to the disks using Apple Disk server, I heard a soft, low-pitched buzzing for a few seconds, which then stopped, and no access light. At this point I used ADTpro to audio-bootstrap DOS, trying to format the disk using INIT. However, this also showed what I believe was an IO error.

From that point on I have been trying to find a diagnostics program that will run on RAM, to diagnose the disk drive. If anyone has any suggestions, your help would be appreciated. Also, if anyone knows why the drive may not be working now, I would really appreciate your help.

Thanks

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Joined: Jul 5 2016
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Re: Apple IIe, Duodisk No Access Light

Hi,

A couple of points.

Cleaning the heads with methylated spirits is not ideal as it leaves a residual, you should have used isopropyl alcohol.

You should also make sure the 5.25 disks are Double Density (DD) and not High Density (HD).

Cheers

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Re: Apple IIe, Duodisk No Access Light

dc99 wrote:

Hi,

A couple of points.

Cleaning the heads with methylated spirits is not ideal as it leaves a residual, you should have used isopropyl alcohol.

You should also make sure the 5.25 disks are Double Density (DD) and not High Density (HD).

Cheers

I had read isopropyl was better, but unfortunately, as a student, it may have been hard to get alcohol into the school, so I had to rely on what I could find.

Also, wouldn't the access light still light up if it has the wrong type of disk? I ask this because before cleaning the heads, I got an access light despite accidentally using write-protected disks. Is it possible that perhaps the IO card in the Apple IIe or the logic board in the drive are gone?

Thanks

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Re: Apple IIe, Duodisk No Access Light

Hi,

Yes the points I raised are just general observations and would have no effect on the drive starting up or not.

When you turn the computer on it will attempt to boot disk 1 so you should be hearing/seeing drive activity.

Can you clarify do you currently get any drive activity on start-up?

Cheers

CWJ_Wilko's picture
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Re: Apple IIe, Duodisk No Access Light

LikaVos wrote:

[
Is it possible that perhaps the IO card in the Apple IIe or the logic board in the drive are gone?

It's very possible, but the replacement components aren't that expensive or hard to track down.

You can use any disk (or no disk) and still see the read write light come on. If you are not getting any light on boot, or at any other point, then the drive and/or the card will most likely have a failed component.

It would be helpful to see some high resolution pictures of both the DuoDisk circuit board and the interface card as well. Users here can then:

  • Check your cabling, to see whether your reassembly was the culprit here (I have a DuoDisk to compare these against). Try to take pictures of the cabling as-is without moving things around, it might be an easy way to pinpoint which component could have been affected and by what.
  • Check for any obvious surface damage from a fried/melted IC or other component that may indicate a failure.

You should check with your school to see if they will allow you to bring in the isopropyl, it's a common cleaning element for all sorts of tasks. Schools can be funny with these rules - if they let you hold onto methylated spirits, they surely wouldn't have a problem with isopropyl.

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Re: Apple IIe, Duodisk No Access Light

Thanks for your help guys.
I'll bring in my DSLR tomorrow and take a few pictures.

LikaVos

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Re: Apple IIe, Duodisk No Access Light

Hi,
Here are some pictures of the IO Card Expansion and the DuoDisk Drive. Hope they are helpful:

Picture 1
Picture 2
Picture 3
Picture 4
Picture 5
Picture 6

LikaVos

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Re: Apple IIe, Duodisk No Access Light

Frustratingly, it doesn't look too bad to me. I don't know what's up with that goop on the solder pad, coming off C22 in picture 5.

I can take mine apart to check the connections tonight maybe.

Is that a PAL Apple //e?

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Re: Apple IIe, Duodisk No Access Light

I checked tonight, and it seems like your connections match mine. My analog board was a different revision, not sure if earlier or later, which was interesting.

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Re: Apple IIe, Duodisk No Access Light

CWJ_Wilko wrote:

I checked tonight, and it seems like your connections match mine. My analog board was a different revision, not sure if earlier or later, which was interesting.

I gues that's both good and bad, as some bad connections could lead to some fried chips. But it also doesn't bring us any closer to a solution.

CWJ_Wilko wrote:

Is that a PAL Apple II?.

I believe so, I assume it is an Aussie model considering that's where I live.

LikaVos

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Re: Apple IIe, Duodisk No Access Light

Hi,

You never clarified do you actually get any drive activity when you start the computer? Where in Australia are you.

Cheers

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Re: Apple IIe, Duodisk No Access Light

Aussie here too! More here than I would have thought.

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Re: Apple IIe, Duodisk No Access Light

dc99 wrote:

Hi,

You never clarified do you actually get any drive activity when you start the computer?

Booted the Apple with my ear to the drive this morning, and found out drive 1 was spinning up at the Apple IIe menu. I left it for a few minutes and it kept going. I then ctrl-resetted and then the spinning stopped for a fraction of a second, before going for another 2-3 seconds and finally stopping. I assume this indicates it is trying to boot from drive 1, but the lack of any access light worries me.

dc99 wrote:

Where in Australia are you.

Cheers

I'm from Sydney Smile

LikaVos

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Re: Apple IIe, Duodisk No Access Light

LikaVos wrote:

Booted the Apple with my ear to the drive this morning, and found out drive 1 was spinning up at the Apple IIe menu. I left it for a few minutes and it kept going. I then ctrl-resetted and then the spinning stopped for a fraction of a second, before going for another 2-3 seconds and finally stopping. I assume this indicates it is trying to boot from drive 1, but the lack of any access light worries me.
LikaVos

That all sounds like its working, except for the indicator light. When you turn on the //e and it beeps, can you hear the 'CLAK CLAK CLAK CLAK' noise coming from the drive? This is the firmware forcing the head to Track 0. On the DuoDisk it can be quite soft, but still distinct.

I would try boot strapping ADT Pro again and seeing if you can't get it to write to a disk (make sure it's not read only!).

If this doesn't work, I could arrange to post you a few diagnostic diskettes to check things out. I'm in Canberra.

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Re: Apple IIe, Duodisk No Access Light

Sorry for the late reply,

CWJ_Wilko wrote:

That all sounds like its working, except for the indicator light. When you turn on the //e and it beeps, can you hear the 'CLAK CLAK CLAK CLAK' noise coming from the drive? This is the firmware forcing the head to Track 0. On the DuoDisk it can be quite soft, but still distinct.

I tried booting again, no clack clack as far as I can hear. Here is a recording of the boot if you guys want to check it out: Apple II Boot Audio

First beep is boot, second beep is ctrl-resetting. Sorry for the background noise, it's hard to find a silent space in a school. I will try bootstrapping again when I have more time, probably tomorrow or later this week.

LikaVos

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Re: Apple IIe, Duodisk No Access Light

Hi,
I bootstrapped the IIe using ADTpro, and ran the INIT command. I had recently bought some 5.25" floppies, but it turned out they wer high density. Oh well.

Anyway I ran INIT and the IIe gave this error:

DISK ERROR: I/O

However what was interesting was that I noticed the drive giving a ClACK CLACK sound, as well as whirring. Here is a recording: INIT Audio (The click is me hitting enter)

I tried INIT using Drive 1 and 2 and they both gave the same error and sound. Would the disk error just be down to the HD drives, or could it be related to another problem? Thanks.

LikaVos

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Re: Apple IIe, Duodisk No Access Light

Hey mate.

This thread sheds some light on your specific issue, I think: http://atariage.com/forums/topic/251124-apple-iie-and-ii-plus-disk-ii-issue/

It's for Disk II and not DuoDisk but similar symptoms. I think you've probably blown one or more chips on the DuoDisk analog board (inside the DuoDisk). I haven't sourced spares for these yet but they shouldn't be too hard to come by. If the bill comes to <$20 then I would say it's worth replacing all them to see if there is any change.

BUT...

If you don't fix whatever caused the blowout in the first place, it'll do the same thing again with the new chips. If you're positive that your work is 100% correct then go for it, but I would be painstakingly checking all the connections and looking for any shorts once more before booting it up. Of course it could have just been a total fluke that one or more chips blew, it does happen from time to time.

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Re: Apple IIe, Duodisk No Access Light

If a Duodisk analog board cannot be found, then it may be possible to install two analog boards from A9M0107 5.25" drives.

It was an idea I came up with a while ago to mod the Duodisk to make it daisy chainable.

It also has the advantage that you would no longer need to look for that special Duodisk cable that is getting hard to find.

All you need is to figure out the pinout and solder some wires from one board to the other doing a, "internal daisy chain" and the rest is self explanatory.

Smile

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Re: Apple IIe, Duodisk No Access Light

Hi,
Received some DS/DD floppies in the mail today. I tried using apple disk server to format them, but still got the same disk error. I will hopefully try bootstrapping DOS tomorrow and try INIT'ing some disks.

LikaVos

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