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Can 3.5" Floppies be Lubed?


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I have a number of floppy disks that sequel to high heavens and make other nasty noises when put in a drive and of course, are not reading correctly. They don't appear to have mold on the surface and I don't think that is the source of the noise.

 

Is there anything that can be done?

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I know that when my 5.25 incher screams, it's not for lack of lube. But the outer layer is worn away and the oxide (the data) is bunching up under the head. The rotating disk has literally become a speaker cone playing out the vibrations coming from the disk membrane pinched by the head.

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I have a number of floppy disks that sequel to high heavens and make other nasty noises when put in a drive and of course, are not reading correctly. They don't appear to have mold on the surface and I don't think that is the source of the noise.

 

Is there anything that can be done?

Spray them down with lube then contaminate the disk drive, and every other disk you put in that drive? Sounds like a winner to me...

 

Best to get something industrial if you're gonna do it. Gotta be something strong enough to half melt that flimsy black wafer spinning inside.

 

We use this stuff at work... :evil:

673000_lube-all.jpg

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When working with wonky disks, it's good to have a spare disposable drive with the cover off, ready to clean the head manually every disk. By the way, the source of squealing might be the head surface, and you may want to try an automotive wax on it. I did that several times. And it worked wonders till it wore away and was abraded away by, you guessed it, bad disks.

 

Treat the head. Because treating an old vintage magnetic surface is very risky..

 

Once a disk is treated with something, who knows what the future longevity of it will be. After treatment with arbitrary chemical you may only have a few hours to retrieve data before the oxide is loosened.

 

Many different formulas of lube, oxide, and binders, and adhesives were used back in the day. So what works on one disk might kill another. Best advice is to experiment on same-type disposable disks and use sparingly whatever you're using.

 

I did find Silicon Di-Electric grease to work well in some cases. But it naturally attracts dust from the inner lining of the disk housing. So there's that. I also would recommend spreading only a tiny fraction of a milligram. A dab big enough to fill the letter "o", on a cloth and across the whole disk, both sides. You want a coating so thin you can't even see it.

 

A friend of mine had done silicon spray (no petroleum distillates formula) on a Q-Tip and applied that to the disk. The rotational movement and head seeks distributed it nicely.

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I cracked open one of these disks and there is a small compartment in the middle where the metal part of the center of the disk is. There is actually a raised piece of plastic that goes around it. My idea was to dampen a q-tip with some sort of light lubricant and see what happens, but I am afraid of contaminating the drive.

 

I cannot tell where the sound is coming from. If it coming from the piece of metal (the part of the disk grabbed by the motor) rubbing against the plastic shell, then that would seem a good candidate for lubing.

 

I would not even dream of putting lubricant on the actual Mylar disk.

 

I guess the only way to find what is going on is to open the drive and try to determine where the sound is emanating. I honestly have no idea. The disks do not appear to have any mould on them (I've opened the door and looked). They have been stored in plastic diskette holders in a basement though. I think that is probably one of the worst places I could have stored them. If the actual Mylar disk is contaminated with mould or something, how would I know? Is this something you can see? Would viewing them under a black light help?

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