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would just like some 2c opinions on disk drive cleaning


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Hello all. As no one could offer any info on my last post, I am wondering if any of you have had success with using 5.25 floppy disk wet cleaners to remove dirt on the heads of the disk drive/s? 

I was thinking maybe that is all that is wrong with the drive I have, as it worked perfectly in the past.  I don't really see myself opening up the comp and doing an  alcohol Q tip cleaning, but those disks are quite expensive on Ebay.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

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I use wet cleaners on my Commodore drives, as well as standard TEAC drives in my TI.  They work just fine.  I have on old kit and refill set from a long time ago.  I dread the day when I run out, but I generally do not need to use them.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Your safest bet for effective cleaning is opening up the computer, (6 screws) removing the drive (4 more screws) and then opening it up (another 4 screws) to get to the read/write head.

There may be a few other screws involved, but it's not terribly difficult.  

Once you've exposed the read/write head assembly, just lift up the little pressure pad with your finger and wipe the read/write head with a cotton swab soaked in isopropyl alcohol, or my favourite head cleaning solution, Ronsonol (aka "Zippo" lighter fluid).

There's a pretty good take-apart video here:


This is far more effective than janky cleaning diskettes.

Edited by Baldrick
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Hi and thank you for the information. I watched that video, but it isn't clear how to get through that black casing area to get to the actual drive head?  (He has the whole drive detached and I wonder if the whole drive just connects inside via that plastic white type cable end, but does the drive end need to be disconnected entirely to get at the drive head? )  Do you know if you can just leave the drive still connected inside but still get at the drive head without removing the actual drive's connection plug in there?  The actual cleaning of the head looks easy enough, and as long as I keep the screws exactly in the same place they were should I remove them, that, hopefully, shouldn't be a problem. 


So in short, is that drive head easy to get to?  The video doesn't quite show that navigation exactly and I am definitely not what you'd call a "techie" type.

Thanks in advance.

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The drive needs to be unplugged and removed. It's connected with a very short ribbon cable. Just make sure when you put the ribbon cable back on the drive, you have it lined up properly and not shifted over slightly. On the mainboard side it's keyed so it's easier to align. You can see how the ribbon cable looks if you look at the instructions for installing the Big Mess O Wires drive switcher: https://www.bigmessowires.com/switcher/ Which as a //c owner myself, I highly recommend the floppy emu and drive switcher. It can even allow the floppy emu to emulate both drives. 


The black casing with holes is just a metal shield around the drive. It comes off easily with 4 screws. 

Edited by nick3092
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Hello Nick. So from what you mention, it sounds like as long as I open her up by removing the outer screws, then remove those 4 screws of the black casing metal shield around the drive, that should come right off, yes?  Then all I have to do is unplug the ribbon cable at the drive's end to remove it, then clean the heads, being careful to align it exactly/properly as it was and not shift over slightly as you say, put the black casing back over it, rescrew that, close all the screws on the main computer.  (I don't see myself getting this switcher you mention.)


Did I get the entire procedure correct?  Feel free to add to/embelish any points as if you were about to undertake manually cleaning this drive head yourself in your reply.  91% alcohol and cotton swabs ok?  I am amazed I am even considering trying this!

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Basically these are the steps - open the //c case (leave the 4 drive screws on the bottom of the case alone for now), disconnect the drive ribbon cable, remove the 4 screws on the bottom of the case that hold the drive in, lift the drive out, remove the 4 screws around the side of the drive that hold the metal shield on, clean the head. And yes, 91% IPA with a qtip is fine. I usually give it 2-3 cleaning passes as long as I have the drive open to be safe.



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