Best hardware diagnostics software

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Hi, I have an Apple //c and a //c plus, and want to run diagnostics on some drives and hardware. I have copy II plus, Apple II diagnostics, and Locksmith, but none have an extensive diagnostics program, can anybody recommend something better?
Regards

Javster

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Joined: May 27 2009
Posts: 942
Re: Best hardware diagnostics software

Just in general, I've found no one single program to be best. I just use several programs + burn-in time, and for disks I sometimes run them at all angles, upside down, sideways. Have them read old home-formatted disks, new disks, copy protected disks. Watch voltage levels, check timing signals, and more.

And other hardware, you still have to almost manually test it too, make calls, receive calls, run answer/originate, use a purpose made shitty line, checksum the firmware. Those just some of the things I do if and when I get a new modem for example.

There's really a ton of different things you can do that suffice for pass/fail on a piece of hardware.

I forget the name, but there's a test suite that really does a ton of things with the 6502.

In the meantime why not start here and see if any of these are useful?
ftp://ftp.apple.asimov.com/pub/apple_II/images/disk_utils/diagnostics/

Look for 2 pdf files, Apple_ii_diagnostics_review.pdf and apple II Diagnostic Info.pdf to get a summary of what else is available and what the tests cover. I'd attach them to this message, but I have no idea how. I can barely do a picture file, let alone a pdf!

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speedyG's picture
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Re: Best hardware diagnostics software

Hello javster,

if you meant only testing the drives ( at least i understood the posting above that way )

then the "Datalife Diskdrive Analyzer" would be the thing you are searching for.

BUT (!) :

allthough there is a image availiable at asimov - you should not use it !
The problem is the fact that that Disk has intermitting tracks that can not be copied !
ONLY the ORIGINAL DISK works correct !

IF NOT USING THE ORIGINAL DISK:

The results displayed by copies generated with ADT from the asimov image
will only display non reliable results !

further information at:

http://www.harrowalsh.de/Elektronik/APPLEBOX/appleboxdiskiipage3.htm ( trackalignment )
http://www.harrowalsh.de/Elektronik/APPLEBOX/appleboxdiskiipage2.htm ( speedalignment )
including the pictures you have contributed from the IIc drive ( as mentioned in the text )

and related to the posting from Keatah,
well the first problem is that Apple never made a "General" testing disk....
aech Testdisk distributed to the dealers as so called "Apple Dealers Testdisk"
had been only for one specific model...
so by that you need the Disk for:
Apple II and II+
Apple IIe
Apple IIc
Apple IIGS
and finaly
Apple III.

Only with the entire set you will be able to test the different ROM-versions ( at least the "official versions" )

and besides: in most cases the companies that distributed hardware have also added a disk containing example programs
and very OFTEN also diagnostic programs with their hardware
.... so it´s highly recommended to keep that disks within
your collection of testing disks...
( just for example the utility disk for the APPLE SCSI card contains such detection and diagnostic routines too )

remark to Keatah:
if you just have uploaded the pdf-file to a location availiable in the internet
and set here just a plain link to that file
the user here may click that link and view the PDF-file within his browser....
it of course requires that the user has a pdf-plugin of the adobe reader in his browser
( works with MSIE and FIREFOX ! )
example:
http://www.harrowalsh.de/Elektronik/APPLEBOX/Manuals/speedadjustment.pdf

this also works with plain text files:
ftp://ftp.apple.asimov.com/pub/apple_II/images/disk_utils/diagnostics/APTEST.txt

sincerely speedyG

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gsmcten's picture
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Re: Best hardware diagnostics software

Hey Speedy!

What are you doing up?
I thought you turned into the "Great Pumpkin" at midnight?!

LOL

Smile

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Steven (gsmcten)

"Apple ][.....It's ALIVE!!!!!"

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Posts: 942
Re: Best hardware diagnostics software
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On a clear disk you can seek forever..

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Joined: Apr 24 2012
Posts: 251
Re: Best hardware diagnostics software

Nothing in concrete, just recentlly acquired 5 drives and wanted to test them, make sure they were working fine. For the 5.25 I use a disk speed utility but for the 3.5 can't find a suitable program.
Regards
Javster.

Drives

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Posts: 942
Re: Best hardware diagnostics software

I don't recall any 3.5" diagnostics either. It was about this time, both with the introduction of 3.5" floppies and 10 and 20MB HDD that storage devices were becoming abstracted and more like a black box.

Tolerances and timings have become so precise that adjustments and fiddling with the stuff (hardware and software wise) that only hobbyists with eeXXpensive test equipment could really get into them.

Today, any storage device *is* a black box. You put you stuff into it, you take your stuff out of it. Any failures beyond simple connector issues are reasons enough to throw it away and get a replacement.

While there are modern-day utilities and data recovery products peddled on the internet, for modern-day disks, it's really all stuff related to the high-level file system, and has nothing to do with the hardware or real data recovery. It's all undelete stuff or utilities to peer into and take advantage of a bug or slack or redundancy in the filing system. So ultimately if the hardware falls out of tolerance there's nothing the non-laboratory-equipped layperson can do. Not so in the early days.

In the early days you could adjust speed, or perhaps try several different disk drives if you couldn't read a disk. Or you could easy read everything except for the bad sector or individual bytes. You could turn knobs to adjust read sync timing or move some kind of piece of metal to change the head positioning.

As a matter of fact, I think a lot of this (black box) stuff happened when they started putting microprocessors into the disk drive housing, think C-1541 for the C64, and the 810 for the Atari 800 computer.

Gone are the days you could nudge the head 1/4th track by messing with software in the host computer. Or having all sorts of fun with copy protection, or MORE fun trying to remove it. And there have been times when I've had an unreadable floppy (it just wore out) where I could press on the head or push it in one direction and get one last successful read to "recover" something.

Today's storage mechanisms, this kind of trickery isn't possible, you even expose them to non-clean-room air, and they blow up on you.

It was (is) kind of nice, and interesting, that the Apple II series consoles had little or no abstraction going on. Unless you wanted to by using a high-level language. The disk mechanism, despite DOS 3.3, was always accessible and always controlled by the main CPU in the console, directly.

I was fortunate enough to have an Atari 800 and C64 in conjunction with my Apple II, back in the day. And let me tell you, the reliability and simplicity of the DISK II was unparalled (no pun intended, for the other two drives are serial interfaces!).. If I wanted to save anything long-term, it went onto an Apple floppy. And 35 years later it has proved to be the correct decision. I have 6 unreadable floppies out of nearly 4100. An outstanding record! 2 I have recovered with BagOfTricks and other stuff. While I'm able to read some C64 and A800 disks, way too many have failed or drives come out of alignment. Not so with the Apple II!

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Posts: 794
Re: Best hardware diagnostics software

speedyG wrote:

Hello javster,

if you meant only testing the drives ( at least i understood the posting above that way )

then the "Datalife Diskdrive Analyzer" would be the thing you are searching for.

BUT (!) :

allthough there is a image availiable at asimov - you should not use it !
The problem is the fact that that Disk has intermitting tracks that can not be copied !
ONLY the ORIGINAL DISK works correct !

IF NOT USING THE ORIGINAL DISK:

The results displayed by copies generated with ADT from the asimov image
will only display non reliable results !

I have recently purchased disk drives from Stephen Buggie, the one who makes the BUGG power supplies.

He always gives out copies of the Datalife disk when you purchase his disk drives. His copy of the Datalife test disk is different from the one from Asimov.

I tried copying it with Copy II Plus and it didn't work until I tried 5.25 bit copy from Copy II Plus.

I do not know if Buggie used this method to copy those disks.

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Joined: May 27 2009
Posts: 942
Re: Best hardware diagnostics software

Back in the day, one of my crackers could adjust a Disk II mechanism by ear. Amazing! And then we'd test the drives with the Analyzer (like above) and they'd be spot on.

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speedyG's picture
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Re: Best hardware diagnostics software

You can also do with calibration blade like in the page i mentioned above.....
speedyG

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jwg1962's picture
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Posts: 198
Re: Best hardware diagnostics software

I have been looking for an alignment disk for the Apple II drives for about a year now.

I got a new Oscilloscope this year and have been dying to compare the different methods of alignment to see if the disk and o-scope make a huge difference in the alignment.

I want to write a paper and maybe do a presentation at the next K-Fest, but so far the alignment disk for the apple drives has eluded me.

J

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speedyG's picture
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Re: Best hardware diagnostics software

then you should make a walkthrough my pages mentioned above... you will find there
quite complete descriptions and pictures....
speedyG

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Joined: Apr 24 2012
Posts: 251
Re: Best hardware diagnostics software

I agree with SpeedyG, have used the Locksmith 6 disk speed test, just thought there was a program that tested all hardware. Actually following his tutorials I fixed the speed on a couple of my first drives.
Cheers
Javster

falen5's picture
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Joined: Jan 1 2017
Posts: 58
Re: Best hardware diagnostics software

another newbiw question
Im using disc drive analyzer to test my floppy drives

I insert a blank floppy and press 6 - init a scratch disc

when i run tests the program wont work , saying 2 unable to write data to disc, its either not initilised properly or the door is open

what is a scratch disc??

Is some kind of special floppy??

if it is, can anyone reccomend another program i should use to test floppy head alignment, drive speed , etc etc -

cheers people

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Posts: 794
Re: Best hardware diagnostics software

I believe that a scratch disk is a blank disk which you don't need to use later because the diagnostic program does weird stuff to it when it's testing the drive.

falen5's picture
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Re: Best hardware diagnostics software

thanks insanitor

I took an old floppy , formated it, then use disc analyzer to init and format it

but no joy - no matter what test i try i get the same as above

Its terrible being a newbiee

will try another program

speedyG's picture
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Re: Best hardware diagnostics software

falen5 wrote:

another newbiw question
Im using disc drive analyzer to test my floppy drives

I insert a blank floppy and press 6 - init a scratch disc

when i run tests the program wont work , saying 2 unable to write data to disc, its either not initilised properly or the door is open

I'm sorry to tell - but it seem you did not read my page carefully....
I published there a warning that the disk generated from the image won't work !
From the Disk Drive Analyzer only ORIGINAL DISKS work correct !
what is a scratch disc??

Is some kind of special floppy??

if it is, can anyone reccomend another program i should use to test floppy head alignment, drive speed , etc etc
Scratch disk is a unformated blank disk !
But useless
- because of the point explained next paragraph above !

please reread the pages and followup pages at:

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

with special eyemark to:

http://www.appleii-box.de/H084_2_AppleIIDiskService2.htm

and:

http://www.appleii-box.de/H084_3_AppleIIDiskService3.htm

with attention to the text above of the picture of the original Analyzer disk.

speedyG

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falen5's picture
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Re: Best hardware diagnostics software

I heard you speedy on copied images - i got elite to work earlier by trying a different image, was the third image and it finally worked - lesson learnt on disc images

i have disc analyzer on 2 discs - the first is an original called 'master diagnostics' where all the tests seem to work except disc analyzer (problem described above)

so i got an image of it from the net , wrote it to floppy, same result

Just didnt know if a scratch disc was a special kind of floppy or not. I havnt heard that name before

Im working on all my apple ii stuff, while im waiting on parts. Its the first time I have ever had time to go through them ( have all the apple ii stuff over 2 years)
Got another disc duo working today. First cleaned heads. would not read. Had to remove the main board , clean it and reseat all the chips - working great

2 days ago I was on a disc ii ( i have 3 of them). 2 working. But this one just would not read.Its actually the floppy drive from the AIO machine im working on. I thought i had it fixed but I mixed up which drive was which.Anyway ,I ended up convinced the read write head was simply dead after swapping analog board from good drive , etc etc . So decided to remove head AGAIN, this time decided to follow the fine read/write head wires. They were glued in places by some red stuff. Anyway just beside the spring mechanism for the 'disc press down foam' the 4 wires are secured under a small plate. Open screw , removed plate, wires came free. From this point the wires travel down beside the spring thingy(just before going under the arm) into more glue. Before could get my glasses on the 4 wires basically fell off. They were totally rotted. Wire plastic very brittle.
I thought 'weh hey, found the problem'. Next 2 hours doing some delicate soldering and tape wrapping. Metered out the 4 wires from analog board connector to the head itself. all looked good. reassembled. To my shock the thing is still dead. I know the analog board is good. I have adjusted the disc speed with the 50htz pattern on back of the spindle.

Im wondering if the resistance in these wires in important. While soldering I lay the wires side by side (2 to 3 mm overlap) and soldered them that way, instead of twisting them. So im pretty sure i have change the resistance of the 4 wires.

enough for 1 day. No wonder my eyesight is kaput!!

ADDITION !!!!!

just going through your pages "NEVER touch the screw that fixes the sliding-
limiter ! It is upmost important to keep this part exactly in the position as it left the factory ! "

Im not 100% sure if i did. This makes sure the head is 90 degrees to the radius of the disc/ paralel to the data on the disc right!!!!.........think I might have a possible bo bo!!