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© Dave 'Spaz of TLB' Moss

WORKING WITH A 5¼" DISK DRIVE by Richard Karsmakers

 Since of couple of weeks, I am proud to have a 5¼" disk drive in 
my  posession (included in one of those Cumana  3½"+5¼"  drives). 
Originally  having  hated those very  floppy  floppies,  monetary 
matters  made me switch to one of those good old drives  again  - 
after all, the 3½" disks cost about 5 times as much as those very 
floppy ones.

 Many people, having bought one of those 5¼" drives, will come up 
with some questions.  I also came up with these questions,  and I 
have found an answer to most of them.

1) What  is  that strange click that I hear every time  when  the 
   drive starts working when a 5¼" disk is actually inserted?

Answer:   That  is  the  so-called  "head  load".  It  may  sound 
irritating,  but it's perfectly harmless.  It can be disabled  by 
opening  the drive,  inserting a disk and using a small screw  to 
keep the head permanantly where it is with that disk inserted.

2) How can I boot from drive B?
   Loading  accessories  CAN  be done,  using  a  program  called 
"Freeboot" that I got from our French distributor.  I busted this 
program, however, so that I will have to wait another while to be 
able  to  do it again.  Bootsector loading is  quite  impossible. 
Those  are  the answers with regard to  software  solutions,  but 
there's a hardware solution,  of course. You can make a switch on 
the drive select A and B leads in the plug that fits in the  back 
of your computer.  Switching these causes drive B to become drive 
A  and  drive  A to become drive B.  Booting  from  5¼"  is  then 
possible.  If  you intend to make a switch there,  make sure  you 
turn off your system if you switch (I don't know what happens  if 
you don't).

3) Can I use white label disks?
 Of course you can,  but you'd better copy everything to 5¼" with 
verify ON in that case (I really like FCopy 2.0).  And disks that 
use 10 sectors per track can only be copied to better quality 5¼" 
disks.

That's  all there is to tell.  Especially the 'head  load'  makes 
many  people  think that something is wrong  with  their  drives, 
which  apparently isn't the case.  I can advise everybody to  get 
his  hands on one of those 5¼" drives - it really makes  a  whole 
difference in the wallet!

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