ASR-10 Floppy drive intermittently working

Hi, I have an ASR 10 that the floppy Drive seems to intermittently have a problem reading or writing discs. And the problem seems to be getting worse. I normally boot from a SCSI SD emulator board so this problem isn’t the end of the world, but I tried to copy an operating disc for somebody the other day (on the floppy drive) and it was being super finicky. I did some tests unplugging my SCSI setup and booting straight from floppy and sometimes it would boot fine. sometimes it’ll just tell me to insert disc when the disc is in there(even after taking it out and putting it back in several times). Sometimes it will do it’s clicky stuff like it’s working and sometimes when you insert a disk it will just blink its yellow light and be silent. Sometimes it will start to load and then revert back to please insert disc. Sometimes when it boots and I try to copy a floppy itl tell me the source disk isnt formatted when it is. Sometimes when the copy would work it then says the destination disc isn’t formatted when it is. Sometimes it would work better to copy just the OS instead of the entire floppy with the samples because it would say the data is corrupted. All different combinations and variabilities of partially working and not working at all. Originally I thought it was the floppies themselves but most of them are newer and I no longer think this is the case. It sounds like either a chip is going bad or the floppy drive itself. Anyone have any further knowledge? I found a replacement floppy Drive from a supplier on eBay, but if its a chip this will be a waste. Maybe somebody has seen this behavior before and has a better knowledge? Thank you🙏

If you can find another ensoniq floppy drive to see if that will work. I was under the impression that ensoniq floppies were slightly different than standard PC on the older units, and they may not be fully compatible.
But I had similar issues and it ended up being the floppy unit, most likely the heads are worn.

Check your wiring as well, Ensoniqs have a much tighter cable pull out than normal connections and have warnings of always grabbing it by the connectors and not by the cables when removing them.

I know that old Amiga floppies can work with older ensoniqs - the floppies were able to store a much greater amount of data because the OS was controlling how the heads moved - and managed to be able to track from edge to edge (or close to it) . This enabling games developers to provide anti copying software along the edge of the floppies or just more data in general per floppy.

the other thing you could do which is probably the best thing as far as price and convenience is to use those floppy emulators, which will work on ensoniqs.

getting your old floppies into the pc, there are programs that will read the contents using a PC floppy disk, which works most of the time. though you will get some errors on floppies because the data on the edges cant be read on the pc floppy drives.

Chicken systems has many ensoniq focused products, that will help you out. some of their programs are a bit flaky, and the programmer can be a bit of an issue (I think he may have a bit of Asperger’s Symptoms, at least his correspondence seems to indicate it) He does respond to issues with his programs in a fairly timely manner, and considering he is the only one doing it, and that the need for beta testers to refine the software is limited, the consumer ends up being the beta tester. But the prices are very reasonable, so you do get what you pay for. well recommended, if you don’t mind his slightly off comments. His programs do work, and when they are properly set up are actually very powerful. his translator product is quite good at conversions.

BTW ensoniq stores the OS on the edges of the disc i believe and if your floppy is stating corrupt files it may be that the heads are just not getting to the edges - it could be wear in the mechanism or the disks may not be up to par. the later being an issue I have had. Always use non high density disks if possible, they use a different magnetic emulsion, and will require different bias - very much like the old cassettes, any floppy drives that can read these disks will automatically change its bias.

Thanks for the input. I think I have the problem fixed. I got a different Drive off of eBay that seems to work fine. I am hip to the chicken systems software and have considered getting it. I guess i just have never ended up truly needing it. I do use a scsi to SD box, I just wanted my floppy drive to work as well for making backups. i think im all set for now. Thank you for the knowledge. Definitely learned a bit from your response :metal:

It’s not likely to be a chip or PCB fault.
More likely to be out of alignment or a bent or dirty head.
If it’s belt driven then this is more likely to be the problem.
If you would like me to take a look please get in touch. I have over 35 years experience in fixing these and use the industry standard equipment of the time.
Regards Mark.
01666 824031. UK
From outside UK +44 1666 824031.

New Floppy discs with tape over the HD hole should work fine.

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hey Mxc59, I have many older floppies that don’t work and I think its because the disk has dislodged itself from the center spool.
Have you ever had issues like this before? its not the drive itself - it works with other disks. But it seems that I can rotate the center spool, but the disk itself seems not to rotate.