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22287Re: [midatlanticretro] How can I tell if my SMD disk head is crashing?

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  • Mr Ian Primus
    Aug 12, 2011
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      --- On Thu, 8/11/11, c f <christopher.h.fenton@...> wrote:

      > When I loaded it, everything was fine for a minute or so, but then I
      > began to notice a high-pitched whining noise coming out of the drive.

      Eek. That sure does sound like a head crash...

      > I retracted the head assembly, stopped the disk, and attempted to
      > inspect it and the head assembly. Everything looked fine as far as I can
      > tell (the disk is a bit difficult to examine, as you need to look at it
      > through the tinted plastic of its cover).

      You can remove the dust cover to get a better look. I'm not sure about the smaller packs, but on the 300mb disks, look inside the center spindle - there will be a round hole in the center. By inserting something into that hole (like a pen), you can disengage the ball bearing catches that hold the top cover on, and lift off the dust cover. From there, use a flashlight to check for scratches on the disk surface.

      > I then retried the same procedure, and the high pitched whining noise
      > started again right away when I loaded the heads.

      That sure seems to point to a head crash, since it only whines when the heads are loaded. You should also be able to inspect the heads themselves. Look for any oxide scrapings or buildup. Did you clean the heads before you tried loading them?

      It's possible you're hearing something else... but a head crash should sound like metal on metal. A real terrible head crash would result in lots of brown oxide dust. Examine the pack for any trauma.

      Even if it did crash, all is not lost - heads do turn up. I know a guy that might have some. I've never done a head replacement though - but it is documented in the manual (and it's a lot of work...).

      -Ian
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