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2 disks destroyed while using pasti:Solved, disk degradation

Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 5:17 pm
by snoopy
pasti produces concentric scratches on both an ste and stf. Just killed 2 rare originals (not yet pastifyied - Powerpack 4 Ger Hostages and Powerpack 4 Ger Matahari). It also produces these scratches when pastifying the pasti disk itself. opened the STe and watched what happened during pastyfying. the drive head starts on the outside and the scratches seem to be produced by it staying too long on one spot. then a "too many weak sectors" error occurs and another original is gone forever... (maybe not? if someone knows how to fix this, speak up)
I opened another thread decribing it from the hardware side in the hardware forum. To get the hardware people's viewpoint.
What do you think?
cheers, snoopy

Re: 2 disks destroyed while using pasti

Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 6:59 pm
by ijor
Ouch, sorry to hear about that...

Scratches are produced when something is physically/mecanically wrong with the drive and or the disk. "Staying too long" (unless you mean hours) at one track normally doesn't produce any damage.

It could be because of debris at the disk or at the drive. It could be also because the disk surface lost its lubricating layer.

You must be very careful because this is usually contagious: A disk is very dirty with some foreign material or debris, you put in the drive and try to read it, now your drive head is also dirty ... you put a different disk, etc, etc. In extreme cases, the drive head might tear off the disk, this in turn produces lot of debris that stick to the drive's head.

The "too many weak sectors" error message is just an effect of this situation. Note that it doesn't necessarily means the disk is destroyed.

So first make sure all your drives are clean. It would be much better if you can open them for the cleanup. Then, use some dummy disks to make sure they are really clean. Get some old disks that you don't care too much about them, and try to format them, read and verify a few times.

At this point you should be confident your drives are ok. But you still don't know what is the situation with your disks. This is more difficult to handle. What I use to do with disks that are "suspicious" or potentially dangerous, is to test them at a PC with some old (not 100% working) PC drive. This procedure doesn't protect the disks, but it protects the "precious" ST drives.

Re: 2 disks destroyed while using pasti

Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 7:52 pm
by snoopy
Hi Ijor,
thank you for your quick reply. Your explanation sounds in part congruent with my observations...
I tested it on 3 Ataris, one which I saved from the dump only recently and which had no prior contact to any of my disks:
STe 1: Reading normal disks i.e. playing some menu disk game... no scratches.
STe 1: Pastifying original disk or pastifying old menudisk... scratches and some originals killed. All pastifyed disks, even the ones that survived have these concentrical scratches.
STF: Reading normal disks fine. Pastifying original or normal disk produces even worse scratches than Ste 1. Tried Originals I used in STe 1.
STe 2: Had no prior contact with any of my disks. Pastifying a normal disk produces no scratches (I won't try any of the originals until this problem is solved).
The only problem I have here is, that normal reading of disks produced no scratches on any of the machines. Only using pasti did.

I opened one of the Ataris and watched it scratching one of the normal disks in pasti mode (from the outside to the inside) so I'll start cleaning that one. Using cotton buds and propanol would be my idea for cleaning the drives (I have no cleaning disk and don't really wanna spend another 10 bucks just for the possibility that it might work). How does this work?

Is there a possibility to save the two originals (or at least get an image of them?) since you said the weak sector error might not necessarily mean the disk is destroyed? Can I get rid of the scratches on the other originals?


Re: 2 disks destroyed while using pasti

Posted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:18 pm
by dlfrsilver
Hi Snoopy, i have imaged more than 80 games of mine on both Atari STF and ATARI STe. I got no scratches whatso ever.

This could mean that either :

1) Your game disks were not in good shape

2) Your drives were dirty.

I have some originals that use weak sectors, and never had that kind of problems whatsoever. Just out of curiosity, what are the titles names ?

Maybe we already did them or even other guys like me or else own them ?

Re: 2 disks destroyed while using pasti

Posted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:31 pm
by wongck
I encounter floppy disk being scratched (rings) when my disk itself is dirty and the drive head tries to read it again & again.
Normally a good wipe with some soft tissue damped with IPA will do.
That's what works for me.
BTW, this is normal disk not pastifying at all.

Re: 2 disks destroyed while using pasti

Posted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:46 pm
by DrCoolZic
Having a program dsetroying a diskette does not make too much sense even if reading track many times.
Of course I assume you have the disk protect tab set!
As other people have mentioned this is either a problem with drive or diskette beeing dirty.

Re: 2 disks destroyed while using pasti

Posted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:53 pm
by wongck
If disk is dirty, the write protect tab "set" will not help. It's the read head that's collecting the dirt and thrashing it.

Re: 2 disks destroyed while using pasti

Posted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 6:32 pm
by snoopy
Hi all, thanks for responding.

Addition, just couldn't resist:
Ste2: pastifying normal (non-original) disk: no scratches. Pastifying another original - no scratches. Pastifying the next original , again scratches (all damaged originals are from different atari packs. ). Maybe there are some disks that do scratch and some that don't. Maybe other people noticed the same.

The damaged disks are:
2 Atari compilation Menu disks (red/white label similar to the Atari Discovery compilation: disk one: Moon Patrol/Mousetrap and disk two: Beyond the Ice Palace and Thundercats this Pack has 5 disks), me and others over at Atarimania couldn't find the corresponding Atari compilation. 2 disks from that compilation are sold on ebay here: ... 255889e142 the 2 disks on the left. We've got the 2nd disk on the left but not the first. So if anyone has got it or at least could decifer whats on it... (the only thing I can read on the photo is a "1"). Maybe someone knows this compilation or has got it and can preserve the rest of the disks. Maybe someone of the German crowd may remember that compilation.
And 3 Atari "Powerpack 4" disks are non-readable (white disk, white label) containing Matahari, Space Racer and Hostages. But I managed to pastify one original from this pack without scratches: Turbo Cup.

I still think pastifying all remaining originals is a good idea, that's why I wanted to preserve my collection in the first place. But in my experience, there are disks that may not survive the process. They may not have been the best quality disks when they were sold, since they were in budget compilations. They may also have been too old or just badly stored (to me they looked flawless, but you can never be sure of the condition of the magnetic surface, even if it looks perfect).
There are other originals that I pastified without scratches on the same machine while these compilation disks get shredded. Some compilation disks get these scratches and are still playable some are completely destroyed. The problem is not limited to one machine, but three, one of which never got in contact with "contaminated" disks.
Anyway, I will not use pasti on these disks anymore, but I encourage others to still use it and pastify as many disks as possible. Just before you use pasti the next time, check the magnetic disk before and after. Maybe it's a recurring problem. Maybe someone with more insight than me should look into it.

By the way, is there a remote chance to write my pasti files back onto disks? I got a usb floppy drive (pasti works with that), since my board does not support my old internal floppy drive anymore.

Cheers, Snoopy/rolo