Actually had an RL02 crash today....

Bob Armstrong bob at
Fri May 2 13:40:27 CDT 2008

   . and, although I use RL02s all the time, this is the first time it's
happened to me.  The odd thing is, the pack was clean and in good shape - in
fact, the same pack had been used within the last week without any problems.
I knew right away when I spun up the pack that something wasn't quite right
- it made an unusual noise when heads loaded.  Not a horrible screeching or
even the metallic "tinging" sound associated with a crash; more like a soft
"swish" noise that I hadn't heard before.  It wasn't very loud at all; if I
hadn't been right in front of the drive I wouldn't have heard it over all
the fans.


  I spun it down and checked it out - the platter has a really obvious scuff
mark ring around the upper surface where the head touched down, and the
upper head in the drive had a lot of oxide on it.  Surprisingly the lower
head also had some oxide on it too, although there are no obvious crash
marks on the lower surface of the platter.  Fortunately the damage on the
upper surface didn't go all the way down to bare metal, and I figured the
heads might actually be OK.  I cleaned both of them with some Texwipes and
alcohol and all the oxide came off, so I found another pack (one that I
wouldn't care too much if it crashed too :-), mounted it and gave it a try.
The drive appears to be OK despite its adventures, so I'll count myself as
lucky this time.  The original crashed pack is a write off as far as I'm
concerned.  Maybe I'll make a clock out of it.


  I'm really curious though as to what could have gone wrong.  The original
pack had been used before, and recently too, without any problems and when
they're not mounted the packs are stored inside plastic garbage bags to keep
dust and dog hair out of 'em.  I'm always really fastidious about keeping
the drives closed and clean inside, and RL02s usually aren't that fussy
anyway.   It kind of worries me that despite all the precautions they might
decide to up and crash at any time, but I guess that's life with a classic
computer.  Anybody else have any similar experiences?



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