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floppy drive problem

Posted on 2000-05-18
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Last Modified: 2010-04-27
I have an old Dell computer.  The floppy drive gives this message no matter what disk I put in it:  "disk is not formatted, do you want to format it now?"  I put a new floppy drive in.  It worked fine a couple of times.   Now it says the same thing.  After a bunch of trial and errors, I'm not even sure I have the cable connected to pin one anymore.  What should I try and how do I identify pin 1 on the drive itself.  I know where it is on the cable.  Thanks for any help.  Tonya
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Question by:harrah
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5 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:compmania
ID: 2821671
Normally pin 1 is toward the power cable on the drive.

I think the drive is ready to be replaced, when floppy drives stop reading disks right they have had enough dust and want to go to the big wastebasket in the sky.
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Expert Comment

by:magarity
ID: 2821676
If the cable is on incorrectly then it won't work at all, so I doubt that is the problem.  However:

Pin 1 is almost always closest to the power connector.  Look on the circuit board next to the row of pins.  There might be a little bitty '1' near either end, or a '32', or simply a little arrow.  The '1' and the arrow point to pin 1 while the 32 points to the opposite end.  There might also just be a little circle or dot.  Look at the circuit board for ANYTHING different printed at the two ends of the row of pins.

A lot of floppy makers assume that you will assume that the pin 1 is closest to the power connector and don't mark it at all.  Come to think of it, I don't remember seeing a floppy with the pin 1 away from the power, so those are extremely rare if at all.

regards,
magarity
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Expert Comment

by:Otta
ID: 2821734
> I don't remember seeing a floppy with the pin 1 away from the power.

I've seen many such units.

When looking at the "back" of a F.D., pin 1 is always on the "left".
If the power-connector is located to the "left" of the data-connector, then pin 1 is closest to the power-connector; however, if the power-conector is located to the "right" of the data-connector, then pin 1 is furthest from the power-connector.


However, if it is a *VERY* old Dell computer, the F.D. could be strictly a "double-density" (720Kb) drive, rather than a "dual" (D.D. and High Density:  720K and 1.44MB) drive.

Take two brand-new diskettes (or two old Mac-formatted diskettes) and 'FORMAT' one diskette at 720Kb, and 'FORMAT' the other diskette at 1.44MB.

The drive could have a mechanical problem with the micro-switch which detects the "second" hole in the casing of the diskette.  A 720KB diskette only has *ONE* hole in a bottom-corner of the diskette-case, whereas a 1.44MB-certified diskette has two.
If the drive mis-detects that second hole, you could get that error-message.

If you have the ribbon-cable "flipped", then the light on the front of the drive will *always* be on.

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Expert Comment

by:compmania
ID: 2821738
I have never seen one with it away either so I don't think they even make them (unless apple makes them that way, seems they do almost everything else different)
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dev_human earned 100 total points
ID: 2821928
This assumes disks unreadable by your drive can be read by another drive:  You might try cleaning the drive by spraying compressed air inside the floppy slot, but be careful to keep the can upright to avoid spraying propellant on the heads.  If there is dust on the heads, or on the stepper worm gear this might fix the problem.  The cost difference between a can of compressed air and a new floppy drive is pretty small, so it might make more sense to replace the drive if you don't already have compressed air.
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