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Wang 8" floppy disks, what is so special...

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  • corey986
    So I borrowed a couple of Wang 8 32 sector floppy disks from someone. They are 3m and have a metal reinforcement ring. I tried them in the Helios and I can do
    Message 1 of 6 , May 13, 2014
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      So I borrowed a couple of Wang 8" 32 sector floppy disks from someone. They are 3m and have a metal reinforcement ring.

      I tried them in the Helios and I can do a disk copy to them (I am assuming my disk I'm copying isn't full) but I cannot format them as a data disk. They "condition" ok. I'm fine formatting as data disks some old disks I had that came with the Helios and were blank. The wang disks fail on the inner tracks near the hub.

      The only thing I can think of is the hub is screwing up the speed or something of the disk or the disk near the hub doesn't sit right.

      My drive has a rebuilt motor, aligned heads and the voice coil is in perfect condition. So it only seems to be these wang disks. Could it be the box they came from was bad? This was a box from that guy on eBay. When I started posting around about the Helios working, a friend lent me his unopened box since his wang system isn't running yet.

      Thanks,
      Corey
    • Systems Glitch
      ... I have a ton of these if you need more for testing. (offer intentially extended to the list) Thanks, Jonathan
      Message 2 of 6 , May 13, 2014
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        > My drive has a rebuilt motor, aligned heads and the voice coil is in perfect condition. So it only seems to be these wang disks. Could it be the box they came from was bad? This was a box from that guy on eBay. When I started posting around about the Helios working, a friend lent me his unopened box since his wang system isn't running yet.

        I have a ton of these if you need more for testing. (offer intentially extended to the list)

        Thanks,
        Jonathan
      • corey986
        Thanks. Are your disks aluminum ring or plastic. The aluminum ring is pretty thick. I did find a 5 1/4 with a plastic ring and it seems much thinner. Thanks,
        Message 3 of 6 , May 13, 2014
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          Thanks. Are your disks aluminum ring or plastic. The aluminum ring is pretty thick. I did find a 5 1/4 with a plastic ring and it seems much thinner.

          Thanks,
          Corey
        • Systems Glitch
          ... IIRC they re plastic, but I d have to double-check. Thanks, Jonathan
          Message 4 of 6 , May 13, 2014
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            > Thanks. Are your disks aluminum ring or plastic. The aluminum ring is pretty thick. I did find a 5 1/4 with a plastic ring and it seems much thinner.

            IIRC they're plastic, but I'd have to double-check.

            Thanks,
            Jonathan
          • retro
            ... Suggestion: make sure other people can read the Helios disks you make. Bad news to find out otherwise, years later. The best clues are 1) other disks work
            Message 5 of 6 , May 14, 2014
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              On 5/13/2014 6:58 AM, corey986 wrote:
              > So I borrowed a couple of Wang 8" 32 sector floppy disks from someone.
              > They are 3m and have a metal reinforcement ring.
              >
              > I tried them in the Helios and I can do a disk copy to them (I am
              > assuming my disk I'm copying isn't full) but I cannot format them as a
              > data disk. They "condition" ok. I'm fine formatting as data disks some
              > old disks I had that came with the Helios and were blank. The wang disks
              > fail on the inner tracks near the hub.
              >
              > The only thing I can think of is the hub is screwing up the speed or
              > something of the disk or the disk near the hub doesn't sit right.

              Suggestion: make sure other people can read the Helios disks you make.
              Bad news to find out otherwise, years later.

              The best clues are 1) other disks work OK and 2) the Wang disks fail on
              the innermost tracks. That suggests to me, the problem is in the
              magnetic media on the Wang diskettes, as the inner tracks require the
              highest density (bits per circular inch) for recording. Either the media
              (by which I mean the magnetic coating) is failing from age, or was not
              well-made in the era.

              Alternatively, it may be that your drive is not producing enough write
              current on the innermost tracks; some media need it, some do not. You
              will have to do some homework on "increased or reduced write current", a
              feature on some older 8-inch drives, and discussed in the brand's
              manuals for that drive (example Shugart 800/801).

              Alternatively, you might try bulk-erasing the Wang disks and try again.
              Magnetic domains get stuck sometimes. Also your read/write head may not
              lay the same width of track as whatever wrote to it previously;
              therefore you don't have a complete erase. this is a classic problem
              with writing 360K disks with 720K 5.25-inch drives; the 80-track drives
              use a thinner track, the old thick 40-track is not erased or
              overwritten. 8-nch drives "should" have the same track widths. But
              standards didn't begin as standards, oldest stuff may not be standard.

              Not the least: make sure your read/write head are clean of debris.
              Little magnetic particles "short out" the heads, magnetically.

              Whew! This represents the challenges of vintage magnetic recording,
              particular to floppy disk technology but not much different from mag
              tapes, cassette tapes.

              herb


              --
              Herbert R. Johnson
              http://www.retrotechnology.com OR .net
            • corey986
              Herb, Thanks for the info. Yes my disks read on another Helios. When my drive was being rebuilt, disks were swapped back and forth on purpose. The entire
              Message 6 of 6 , May 14, 2014
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                Herb,

                Thanks for the info.  Yes my disks read on another Helios.  When my drive was being rebuilt, disks were swapped back and forth on purpose.  The entire drive was calibrated by scope back to factory and all the bearings were either replaced or cleaned and repacked.  I am wondering the write current issue you mention could be it?  Maybe the Helios just can't use these disks.  It has no problems with other ones so far.

                Thanks,
                Corey


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