Osborne 486, Greaseweazle Pt 2

Ever since I got a Greaseweazle last year, I’ve been on the hunt for a 5.25" floppy disk drive so I could rip some of my C64 games. Most of them hovered around the $100AUD mark, plus shipping, plus I’d need a cable.

Osborne 486 PC with the lid offA week or two ago though I spotted on Facebook marketplace, out near Mum and Dad’s, a full Osborne PC system (sans monitor) for $100, with the floppy drive in place. So I organized with the seller to have Dad go pick it up, and then this weekend was my niece’s birthday party so I’d be in proximity to Dad to take it off his hands.

Got home and started playing with it, and the first thing I noticed was the light on the floppy drive stuck on. A long unused memory groaned and strained under the pressure and bubbled to the surface, wherein I remembered that this generally means one of the cables is on backwards, and since the 5.25" drive is indexed the 3.5" drive was probably the culprit. That was correct, but I still didn’t have video… and upon further inspection I found that the CMOS battery had shat all over the board. Thanks, Varta!

Anyway, playing with the Greaseweazle, I managed to do some semi-successful rips, including what appears to be a playable Spindizzy. I had less success with a couple of other disks, and then went to bed as I was very tired from driving 4-and-a-bit hours round trip.

Woke up the next morning and jumped straight into shoving the first disk of my C64 copy of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles into it. This proved to be a dreadful mistake, I’m not sure what happened over night but the drive started scoring disks and I destroyed quite a few tracks before I noticed.

I tried cleaning it throughly before testing again with my sacrificial GEOS disk, and it’s still doing it. Then while trying to take it apart for further inspection, I managed to undo the wrong screw and have almost certainly screwed up the alignment completely…

Try as I might, I can’t seem to find the amplifier output, or anything that even closely resembles it, while probing with my oscilloscope, which means I can’t re-align it by the eye-pattern. Thinking about it, I am wondering if something on the head died and that’s why I can’t find any eye-pattern-like signals, but I’m not sure what would cause that plus the physical damage to the disks?

Either way I’m pretty bummed at destroying my childhood Turtles disk. I still have three of them, presumably in good shape, and if I find another drive that works I can potentially re-image it if someone out there has a flux image of the exact disk, but I’m quite gutted anyway.

Horsham, VIC, Australia fwaggle



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Horsham, VIC, Australia

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