Thermalwrong wrote on 2021-01-14, 01:42:
I think potentially the floppy drive 1.44mb uses a different set of heads on the LS-120, perhaps those are out of alignment or broken/dirty? In my experience, only the LKM-F934 and later are particularly good (and they fail in their own ways), but the previous versions are slow and quite prone to failure
Horun wrote on 2021-01-14, 02:30:
Agree ! From memory the heads on LS-120 are very small compared to floppy heads. I remember this Warning: Do not clean them with a floppy disk cleaner disk or it can ruin the heads. May that was already done and why it has issues with floppies.
One thing: the tracks on LS-120 disks are very small compared to standard floppy tracks. Have you tried reading a floppy recently written off a known good 1.44Mb floppy drive ?
You could be facing the problems of the 360k vs 1.2mb floppy disk/drive read/write issue with track size issues, just a guess. I never kept a LS-120 drive as the Zip drives were much better IMHO
Hey guys, thank you for the ideas! 😀 I'm trying to answer them one by one:
As far as I can tell the drive has two heads, one on the upper side of the disk, one for the lower side - just like a regular 1.44M floppy drive - but possibly with multiple gaps (that's the term I found here, there's also a high res pic of the head assembly on that page. direct link)
Since at least mechanically the head assembly seems to be one part and the drive reads/writes LS-120 disks fine I'm doubtful of a misalignment issue. As stated before the drive will also often start copying a file or two before it craps itself. If a file is copied the copy is usually intact which would also make an alignment issue less likely in my (admittedly uneducated!) opinion.
However if the read/write heads contain different gaps for either disk format one gap may be dirty while the other isn't. The heads look pretty clean though. A defect on one part of the head is also not impossible though again usually the drive will start copying files in either direction initially (and often create one or two working files!) but then just stops and blinks.
This is why I'm inclined to think the drive is actually operational and the issue is related to user error rather than a failed drive. (Though possibly that's just wishful thinking!😅)
Thank you, Horun, for pointing out the dangers of using regular cleaning floppies with this drive! I had read another thread here pointing out the dangers so I was aware but if I wasn't I would have killed my drive for sure so thank you for mentioning this!
Does anyone have an idea of how to clean the heads without risking damage while not having access to the official cleaning disk?
I didn't mention this before but I have tried freshly formatted 1.44M floppies in this drive as well as formatting floppies with the drive. The drive initially reads all known good floppies (reads directory listing and copies 0-2 files on freshly formatted and/or written to disks as well as factory driver disks) but it fails within a few seconds when trying to format a floppy disk.
By the way I'm not that interested in using the drive for reading/writing LS-120 disks, I'd much rather get it working to read/write regular floppies at double the speed. Also apparently those drives are much better at reading failing floppies than regular FDDs.