HP86B and disc drive


I've finally obtained a dual disc drive for my HP86B, Does anyone know if the drive needs special 3.1/2 inch discs, as I can't seem to make it recognise the disc I place in the drive. When I try to "initialize", I just get an error message "130 Disc". The disc I am using is an old Hewlett Packard brand micro flexible disc, single sided. Or have I just purchased a "dud" (drive bought through eBay, no guarantees of course).

Also, there are four wires coming from the base of the unit, two black, one yellow and one red, ending in a plastic plug. Any ideas what these might be for?

Bill in Cooma, Australia


Bill Lafferty wrote:

> I've finally obtained a dual disc drive for my HP86B, Does anyone
> know if the drive needs special 3.1/2 inch discs, as I can't seem
> to make it recognise the disc I place in the drive.

Since you haven't mentioned what drive you have, I assume its either an 9121 or an 9122. If its an 9122 and you do not have the EMS ROM, you are in trouble.

The 9121 drive uses single sided double density floppies.
The 9122 drive uses double sided double density floppies. By contrast modern PCs use double sided, quad density floppies.

A quick & dirty way to test the drive is to use some tape to block the quad density hole on your floppy (on the opposite side from teh write protect slider), but you really should just go and buy a bunch of double density floppies from eBay.

Now a small plug for my web site, www.series80.org. Now that you have a floppy drive, you may want to start thinking about transferign programs and data from other systems. Chack the page
for tips on transferring diskette images to Series-80 diskettes.


PS I have no idea what the four wires are for. They are not standard on the HP drives I am familiar with.



I agree with vp, you should try and use double sided double density floppies. Most 3.5" disks are high density, and are clearly marked 'HD'. A double density disk is normally any 3.5" disk that dosen't have HD on it. (Also HD floppies have a write protect hole and a second hole (for auto-detection), double density only have the write protect hole).

I have a big pile of double density floppies, most of which were either magazine cover disks or sent out by an anti-virus software company (this was long before the days of downloading AV updates over the internet).

Before trying to format a floppy on your HP I suggest you try and format it on a PC. On my machines I have to use either Windows 2000 or Windows 98, and select '720K' format. For some reason XP seems to have dropped the ability to format this size. Out of every 10 disks I normally find 1 that won't format with no bad sectors, this then goes in the bin.

The other thing to check on your drive is the LED lights, the drive performs a self-test on power-up. The manual for the 9121 is on vp's (great) site.



PS - the four wires are probably come from the power supply (+12V, +5V and earth). Make sure the ends are insulated with tape! If you don't need them I would sugest you open up the case and unsolder them to avoid shorting them and damaging your disk drive (or at least blowing a fuse).

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