Disk II Drive Read/Write Error

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Joined: May 18 2014
Posts: 9

Hello guys, this is my first post on these forums. I'm a very frequent member of the MacRumors Collector's forums, but I am coming here because of the immense expertise some members here posses for the Apple II machine. I'm a very well educated Mac advocate but my new II Plus is my first Apple II and it is a totally different beast.

I have a 64K Apple II Plus and 2 Apple Disk II Drives. The first drive came with the computer from the previous owner. He reported that before he shipped it, that it was working perfectly sand he had pictures to demonstrate this. However, upon the Apple II's arrival in Ireland from the UK, it no longer seems to be able to read any of the 20+ disks that it came with. When trying to boot from any disk it makes a series of rapid clicking sounds for about 20 seconds before giving up and going idle. When I use any drive utility software (booting from SD card adapter), it gives me a "RWTS READ ERROR (40)" when I try to initialise a scratch disk or calibrate speed or anything.

I opened it up and fiddled about to see if I could find any obvious flaws. One thing I thought was strange was a white circular turntable below the the disk and under the lens. It seemed to have a little needle on it like an record player but it kept skipping off. This was the cause of the constant revving sound the drive gives when I insert a disk. It just keeps clicking really quickly instead of going to the usual "zzzt zzzt click zzzt" that should accompany these drives. I recorded a video of the drive in operation while partly disassembled to show what is happening when it is reading.

Thinking the drive was faulty and that I was in over my head, I purchased a second DISK II drive, this time from the USA. Same story again. Same errors, same problems. I would think that perhaps the interface card is to blame, or possibly the system itself, but...
It works perfectly when I bootstrap ProDOS 8 with ADTPro via audio cables and also boots perfectly from an awesome Bulgarian SD card drive that plugs straight into the Disk II interface card like a real disk II.

I am really annoyed that neither of my drives work at all. I have taken them apart, and cleaned them both thoroughly inside and out, including the "lens" on each.

A video of my problem can be seen here

Any help at all would be GREATLY appreciated, thank you! Mac

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13" MacBook Pro, 2.3GHz; 16GB iPhone 4s; 8GB iPod Touch 2G ; 23" ACD ; Power Mac G5, 2GHz DC ; Power Macintosh 8600 ; Macintosh Classic II ; Macintosh 512Ke ; Apple II Plus ; Apple Monitor III

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speedyG's picture
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Joined: Nov 16 2011
Posts: 2413
Re: Disk II Drive Read/Write Error

Hello Snoviet,

just besides for the protocol - this is the at least 12th time repeating the same advice
because new members seem to refuse reviewing former threads related to this topic:

read the 4 pages at:
http://www.appleii-box.de/H084_1_AppleIIDiskService1.htm
you will find there nearly all information related to the DISK II drives.....
and if you follow up the instructions there and advices i have given in last dozend of former threads you will
be able to solve the problem....

sincerely speedyG

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the second part includes less friends but a lot more joy on life....

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Joined: Oct 9 2013
Posts: 367
Re: Disk II Drive Read/Write Error

Snoviet, WELCOME!!

Also, look for me in the MacRumors Collector's forums soon, gotta get back into my Mac mode too!

Here is a link with some really helpful (and detailed) information that may help you. You can thank SpeedyG for all the work on that site!

I was unable to view your video (youtube kept giving me an "error - try again later" message) but Speedy's site has all the info you will likely need. In addition, sometimes even I forget something I told someone previously, so also do a search on this site for "Disk ][" or "Disk Drive" etc. You'll pull up tons of threads with helpful information. (I like how the searches lead to other things I did not even know I needed to know!)

Just thought I'd try a different tact for a response to your first post.

Again, welcome. Everyone here has helped me tremendously, hopefully we can do the same for you.
Zan

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Joined: May 18 2014
Posts: 9
Re: Disk II Drive Read/Write Error

speedyG wrote:

Hello Snoviet,

just besides for the protocol - this is the at least 12th time repeating the same advice
because new members seem to refuse reviewing former threads related to this topic:

read the 4 pages at:
http://www.appleii-box.de/appleboxAppleIIDiskService1.htm
you will find there nearly all information related to the DISK II drives.....
and if you follow up the instructions there and advices i have given in last dozend of former threads you will
be able to solve the problem....

sincerely speedyG

Ahh thank you, please excuse my ignorance as I have yet to become accustomed to the ways of this particular forum. Thanks for the advise, I will give it a go. Hopefully I have nothing but a regular run of the mill DISK II 101 problem that's easy to sort out, even for an Apple II beginner such as myself!

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13" MacBook Pro, 2.3GHz; 16GB iPhone 4s; 8GB iPod Touch 2G ; 23" ACD ; Power Mac G5, 2GHz DC ; Power Macintosh 8600 ; Macintosh Classic II ; Macintosh 512Ke ; Apple II Plus ; Apple Monitor III

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Joined: May 18 2014
Posts: 9
Re: Disk II Drive Read/Write Error

Zan8675 wrote:

Snoviet, WELCOME!!

Also, look for me in the MacRumors Collector's forums soon, gotta get back into my Mac mode too!

Here is a link with some really helpful (and detailed) information that may help you. You can thank SpeedyG for all the work on that site!

I was unable to view your video (youtube kept giving me an "error - try again later" message) but Speedy's site has all the info you will likely need. In addition, sometimes even I forget something I told someone previously, so also do a search on this site for "Disk ][" or "Disk Drive" etc. You'll pull up tons of threads with helpful information. (I like how the searches lead to other things I did not even know I needed to know!)

Just thought I'd try a different tact for a response to your first post.

Again, welcome. Everyone here has helped me tremendously, hopefully we can do the same for you.
Zan

Thanks to you also, it's nice to see such a great community with active members such as yourselves readily available to help out on this very particular topic. Thanks for the advise! I might be hanging out around this forum for quite some time i believe! The video was uploading just a few hours ago and the link was posted about an hour before it was finished uploading, so it's working now.

Thanks again, I'll head off to do some research!

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13" MacBook Pro, 2.3GHz; 16GB iPhone 4s; 8GB iPod Touch 2G ; 23" ACD ; Power Mac G5, 2GHz DC ; Power Macintosh 8600 ; Macintosh Classic II ; Macintosh 512Ke ; Apple II Plus ; Apple Monitor III

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Joined: May 27 2009
Posts: 943
Re: Disk II Drive Read/Write Error

It is important to discover why the head carriage assembly and its tracking ball is not following the groove in the white plastic disc.

1- is the head carriage assembly binding or having its motion restricted?
2- is the guide ball skipping because of no tension from the copper plate/spring?
3- is the stepper motor not allowing the disc to get into position to allow the ball to fall into the track?
4- is there a problem with the stepper motor control circuit?

I strongly suspect #1 and #2, so start there.

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MarkO's picture
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Joined: Dec 10 2011
Posts: 667
Re: Disk II Drive Read/Write Error

This thread reminds me of a Disk ][ I got a couple years ago...

It was packed in a Box with Foam Peanuts, and the Drive was not in a Bag...

So the cause was, a Foam Peanut inside the drive in the way of the Head mechanism...

MarkO