Atari 520 STFM Floppy Disk Drive constantly spins - fixable?

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Atari 520 STFM Floppy Disk Drive constantly spins - fixable?

Postby Elvis1990 » Sun Feb 12, 2017 11:43 pm

I have an Atari 520 STFM which when powered up the floppy disk drive just constantly spins really fast, until powered down. There's no disk in there. after a minute or two TOS appears, but the drive is still spinning like mad.

It's the version of the drive with the wide eject button, if that makes a difference, like this one: http://www.classiccmp.org/dunfield/atarist/h/1040rs.jpg

Is this a regular fault? (I can post a video if it's something usual, to help illustrate the problem.)

Is it fixable?

I know the floppy drive can be replaced, but is it possible to fix the original one that's in there?

Thanks!

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Re: Atari 520 STFM Floppy Disk Drive constantly spins - fixable?

Postby spiny » Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:01 am

it's fixable by just putting a disk in :)

it's not a fault, TOS is just constantly trying to find a disk to read.

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Re: Atari 520 STFM Floppy Disk Drive constantly spins - fixable?

Postby Elvis1990 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:51 am

Ha.. it sounds like it's about to eat the disk, not read it!

I tried putting a disk in, I can just about hear the head moving about underneath the constant noise/spinning, but after several attempts I get the error:
Drive A: is not responding. Please check the disk drive, and insert a disk. If it is a hard disk, check its connections.

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Re: Atari 520 STFM Floppy Disk Drive constantly spins - fixable?

Postby exxos » Mon Feb 13, 2017 12:33 pm

Might be a belt driven drive with it being a long button one, Belts are failing these days.
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Re: Atari 520 STFM Floppy Disk Drive constantly spins - fixable?

Postby Elvis1990 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:38 pm

Would a failed belt cause the drive to continuously spin?

Here's a short video showing the sound it's making: https://youtu.be/IQszuJWXiY4
It sounds deeper in real life, and much louder than in the video.

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Re: Atari 520 STFM Floppy Disk Drive constantly spins - fixable?

Postby exxos » Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:41 pm

It will spin for about 45 seconds until it gets to desktop. Then it should turn off. Your video doesn't run for that long.
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Re: Atari 520 STFM Floppy Disk Drive constantly spins - fixable?

Postby Elvis1990 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:14 pm

Ah sorry, but as per my first post: TOS appears after a while, but the drive motor continues to spin.

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Re: Atari 520 STFM Floppy Disk Drive constantly spins - fixable?

Postby exxos » Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:26 pm

I would try formatting a floppy and see what happens. If it won't format, then I would suggest changing the belt, or replace the drive. I can't remember much about the long button drives, if they spin all the time or not (assume they all don't) , though some are single sided drives, so something to bare in mind also.
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Re: Atari 520 STFM Floppy Disk Drive constantly spins - fixable?

Postby ijor » Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:26 pm

It is normal for drives to keep spinning for ever if they are accessed without a disk. This will happen with all Atari drives, doesn't matter button size or single or double sided; and also with most third party ones as long as they are Double Density. High Density drives behave different.

Led will (or should) eventually turn off. But motor will not.

But of course, not being able to read a disk is something completely different. Could be the belt, could be the disk, dirt, and several other reasons.

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Re: Atari 520 STFM Floppy Disk Drive constantly spins - fixable?

Postby exxos » Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:19 pm

If there is a floppy inserted and the desktop has a box like "not responding" then the floppy motor will stay on. However if the floppy is ejected the floppy motor should always turn off, If it doesn't then something is wrong somewhere. Same behaviour for DD and HD drives.

The only exception I have noticed is with TOS206 on the STE, the motor stays on for a few mins after power up, then eventually turns off and behaves as normal.
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Re: Atari 520 STFM Floppy Disk Drive constantly spins - fixable?

Postby ijor » Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:57 pm

exxos wrote:However if the floppy is ejected the floppy motor should always turn off, If it doesn't then something is wrong somewhere. Same behaviour for DD and HD drives...The only exception I have noticed is with TOS206 on the STE


You obviously didn't check what you are claiming. A drive without a disk won't stop spinning because there is no way to stop it other than hardware reset. And the TOS version has nothing to do with this. It is not a software or firmware issue, it is how the FDC works.

Depending on the TOS version the led might turn off. But the led is not connected to the motor signal, it is connected to the select signal. Just because the led is turned off doesn't mean the motor is off as well. The motor signal would still be on, check the signal and you will see. Note that for that reason you can't see directly if the motor is still spinning. Depending on how noisy it is you might hear it or not.

The difference between DD and HD is that HD are somewhat smart drives. They won't keep spinning without a disk. DD drives are usually very dumb in that sense. If the motor signal is asserted they would spin no matter what.

If you connect a second drive, an original 354 or 314, you will see that both drives always spin together, even when one (or both) has no disk.

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Re: Atari 520 STFM Floppy Disk Drive constantly spins - fixable?

Postby exxos » Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:19 pm

Have a video as proof that the motor will ONLY turn on when there is a floppy inserted regardless of what TOS is doing. What you are saying is just total nonsense.

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Re: Atari 520 STFM Floppy Disk Drive constantly spins - fixable?

Postby ijor » Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:16 pm

exxos wrote:Have a video as proof that the motor will ONLY turn on when there is a floppy inserted regardless of what TOS is doing. What you are saying is just total nonsense.


But the drive in the video is not an original Atari ST (STFM) drive. Is it?

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Re: Atari 520 STFM Floppy Disk Drive constantly spins - fixable?

Postby exxos » Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:37 pm

ijor wrote:
But the drive in the video is not an original Atari ST (STFM) drive. Is it?


Regular epson drive as fitted in like 80% of the machines I have seen. The HD sony drives behaves the same way. Would be very bad mechanics to have the floppy motor turning while the transport mech was in transit.
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Re: Atari 520 STFM Floppy Disk Drive constantly spins - fixable?

Postby ijor » Wed Feb 15, 2017 3:34 am

exxos wrote:Regular epson drive as fitted in like 80% of the machines I have seen.


That's not the typical STFM drive I've seen. Either you in Europe got more modern drives, or you are including STE machines. The drives I've seen were mostly belt driven with a much more rudimentary board. The one you show it is obvious "smarter", more akin with HD drives so no wonder it doesn't spin without a disk.

Get a long button drive, which probably are the oldest ones, and you would see what I mean. Not only they spin without a disk, the external units spins even when the computer is off.

See for example, the drive pictures at this post: http://atariage.com/forums/topic/208904 ... try3104997

Yes, it is not the best idea to spin without a disk, and that's why more modern and smarter mechanisms don't do it. But the drives in many machines (all 1040 STFM I've seen, I think) behave like that. If you have one of those, you were used in some cases to insert a disk into an already spinning drive.

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Re: Atari 520 STFM Floppy Disk Drive constantly spins - fixable?

Postby Mal7921 » Wed Feb 15, 2017 10:18 am

ijor wrote:
exxos wrote:Regular epson drive as fitted in like 80% of the machines I have seen.


That's not the typical STFM drive I've seen. Either you in Europe got more modern drives, or you are including STE machines. The drives I've seen were mostly belt driven with a much more rudimentary board. The one you show it is obvious "smarter", more akin with HD drives so no wonder it doesn't spin without a disk.

Get a long button drive, which probably are the oldest ones, and you would see what I mean. Not only they spin without a disk, the external units spins even when the computer is off.

See for example, the drive pictures at this post: http://atariage.com/forums/topic/208904 ... try3104997

Yes, it is not the best idea to spin without a disk, and that's why more modern and smarter mechanisms don't do it. But the drives in many machines (all 1040 STFM I've seen, I think) behave like that. If you have one of those, you were used in some cases to insert a disk into an already spinning drive.


Tsk tsk...

No properly connected and functioning floppy drive regardless of density, capacity or physical size should spin without a disk inserted. In over 30 years of using floppy drives in many environments on many systems, I have never seen a floppy spin continuously that is set up and working properly.

The drive will spin up as soon as a disk is inserted to get the mechanism to grip the spindle, then shut off. It will not spin without a disk or when the disk is not being accessed as this is unnecessary wear on the mechanics.
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Re: Atari 520 STFM Floppy Disk Drive constantly spins - fixable?

Postby Maeke » Wed Feb 15, 2017 10:51 am

ijor wrote:
exxos wrote:Regular epson drive as fitted in like 80% of the machines I have seen.


That's not the typical STFM drive I've seen. Either you in Europe got more modern drives, or you are including STE machines. The drives I've seen were mostly belt driven with a much more rudimentary board. The one you show it is obvious "smarter", more akin with HD drives so no wonder it doesn't spin without a disk.

Get a long button drive, which probably are the oldest ones, and you would see what I mean. Not only they spin without a disk, the external units spins even when the computer is off.

See for example, the drive pictures at this post: http://atariage.com/forums/topic/208904 ... try3104997

Yes, it is not the best idea to spin without a disk, and that's why more modern and smarter mechanisms don't do it. But the drives in many machines (all 1040 STFM I've seen, I think) behave like that. If you have one of those, you were used in some cases to insert a disk into an already spinning drive.

Only the older stf(m) had long button drives, later ones (like my stf) had short button drives. So saying that long button is typical and not the drive shown by exxos is wrong.

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Re: Atari 520 STFM Floppy Disk Drive constantly spins - fixable?

Postby ijor » Wed Feb 15, 2017 1:15 pm

Mal7921 wrote:No properly connected and functioning floppy drive regardless of density, capacity or physical size should spin without a disk inserted. In over 30 years of using floppy drives in many environments on many systems, I have never seen a floppy spin continuously that is set up and working properly.


I didn't mean that the drive spins always. As I explained in a previous post in this thread, the problem starts with a feature of the FDC that keeps the motor signal asserted. The FDC needs to count revolutions to turn off the motor. Without a disk inserted the FDC won't be able to count revolutions.

So what I meant is that those drives keep spinning even without a disk inserted but, of course, only as long as the motor signal is asserted. What happens is that as I explained above, the FDC would keep the motor signal asserted when there is no disk.

What I said that older ST external drives spin when the computer is turned off, is because they lack a pull up. So until you turn on the computer, the drive senses the motor signal as being asserted.

The drive will spin up as soon as a disk is inserted to get the mechanism to grip the spindle, then shut off


If all the drives you have seen behave like that, then you haven't seen drives old enough. Older drives are too simple. They don't have electronics capable of that kind of smartness. Older PC XT drives, for example. You can even check the schematics of the original IBM XT drive, there is nothing like that. Most drives for 8-bit computers (Atari 8 bit, C64) didn't even have an index sensor. Some older 8" drives didn't have a track zero sensor!

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Re: Atari 520 STFM Floppy Disk Drive constantly spins - fixable?

Postby ijor » Wed Feb 15, 2017 1:20 pm

Maeke wrote:Only the older stf(m) had long button drives, later ones (like my stf) had short button drives. So saying that long button is typical and not the drive shown by exxos is wrong.


That wasn't my experience. But I left the ST scene rather early so I might be wrong on that. Anyway ...

Older drives, and certainly those with a long button, behave as I described. They spin even without a disk. If somebody believes I am wrong then try one of those drives.

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Re: Atari 520 STFM Floppy Disk Drive constantly spins - fixable?

Postby czietz » Wed Feb 15, 2017 1:29 pm

ijor wrote:Get a long button drive, which probably are the oldest ones, and you would see what I mean. Not only they spin without a disk, the external units spins even when the computer is off.

[...]

Yes, it is not the best idea to spin without a disk, and that's why more modern and smarter mechanisms don't do it. But the drives in many machines (all 1040 STFM I've seen, I think) behave like that.


If by "long button drive" you mean one with the wide eject button underneath the drive, I have a 1040STf with such a drive and it does not spin without a disk. My "Scheibenkleister" book mentions that there are drives that behave like you describe -- spinning whenever "motor on" is asserted, regardless of whether a floppy is inserted or not. However, I haven't ever seen one, so I don't think there were really standard in STf(m) machines.

Or maybe you're right that STs produced for the European marked had more modern disk drives for some reason...

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Re: Atari 520 STFM Floppy Disk Drive constantly spins - fixable?

Postby ijor » Wed Feb 15, 2017 1:40 pm

czietz wrote:My "Scheibenkleister" book mentions that there are drives that behave like you describe -- spinning whenever "motor on" is asserted, regardless of whether a floppy is inserted or not. However, I haven't ever seen one, so I don't think there were really standard in STf(m) machines ... Or maybe you're right that STs produced for the European marked had more modern disk drives for some reason...


Hmm. Interesting. May be it was a difference between the Us and the European units after all.

I am currently out of home. But I have (at least) two drives that spin without a disk. Back at home will open them and see exactly which mechanism model they are.

And again, I was so used to hear the external 314/354 spinning before turning on the computer (with or without a disk). Nobody ever had such one? Anybody at the Us?

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Re: Atari 520 STFM Floppy Disk Drive constantly spins - fixable?

Postby Mal7921 » Wed Feb 15, 2017 1:49 pm

Nope. No drive will work as you have described, partially because they are designed not to operate without a disk inserted. Only if there is a fault somewhere could this possibly happen.

My STfm had the single sided drive with the long button, my STm had an external double sided floppy with long button, my TT had an Atari high densiti drive and the Galcon has a similar drive. I have USB floppy drives for transferring data to and from older systems, a double sided double density drive in the Aniga 1200 and various floppy drives in my various retro Macs, they ALL work as I and Chris have described and at least our descriptions have been consistent.

I used to strip floppy drives down and align heads by eye and have worked with drives on vintage instruments (8 inch drives on fairlight cmi and emulator samplers) to the ill fated 2.8 inch drives so beloved by Akai and many other Japanese manufacturers in the mid to late 80's. Not something I've disclosed here often (or ever quite possibly), so I can quite safely say I know what I'm talking about with floppy drives.

Hard drives on the other hand, that's different, but I've really said enough.

Safe to say, the floppy drive mentioned at the top of the thread has an issue. It should not be running without a disk in, though it may try to do so on start up due to the way the ST was initially designed. This will sound like a stutter, but the main drive motor will not spin. This was because the original shipped machines had TOS and GEM on floppy and as a result, enables us to have auto booting games, which other systems which had the whole OS in ROM from the start don't have (hello Acorn).

Hope that helps somewhat
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Re: Atari 520 STFM Floppy Disk Drive constantly spins - fixable?

Postby Maeke » Wed Feb 15, 2017 3:09 pm

btw my stf has a c070789 rev D motherboard, probably built week 34 year 1988. So yeah it is a bit more recent than the long buttons stf(m).

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Re: Atari 520 STFM Floppy Disk Drive constantly spins - fixable?

Postby ijor » Thu Feb 16, 2017 1:50 pm

Mal7921 wrote:Nope. No drive will work as you have described, partially because they are designed not to operate without a disk inserted. Only if there is a fault somewhere could this possibly happen
... so I can quite safely say I know what I'm talking about with floppy drives. ...
Safe to say, the floppy drive mentioned at the top of the thread has an issue.


I am not here for judging anybody's knowledge. But saying that absolutely no drive can work the way I describe is simply impossible for you to tell.

It is obvious that no drive will be designed intentionally to rotate without a disk. But many of the earlier drives were not designed to verify that a disk was actually inserted.

As I said, all my 1040 STF machines had such a type of drive. czietz just posted above that those drives were described in a very reputed german book. And you could also check the original service manual, probably covering the earliest model: http://info-coach.fr/atari/hardware/_fd ... ual_v2.pdf

See how the motor signal enters the drive and goes directly to the motor unit. Is not processed by the control logic as all the other signals. As a matter of fact there doesn't seem to be any signal that tells the control unit that a disk is inserted.

Obviously I was wrong believing that this type of drives were the most common ones. I am suspecting now that they were much more common in the US. All of you are located in Europe. It is conceivable that the OP's drive is faulty. But it is much more likely that he has such a drive as mine, and possibly his machine is from the US. There were multiple complaints in the forum about drives that don't stop spinning. I never paid attention to the poster location, but I am suspecting now most were from the US.


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