Disc fault 18 woes

Yesterday, I received a Pace 5.25″ floppy drive for my Beeb. When I plugged it into my Beeb and tried to format a disk with *FORM80, I was greeted with the message:

“Disc fault 18 at :0 00/00″

I opened up the drive, and watched it in operation with the cover off. It looks like the disk is spinning, but it doesn’t seem to do much else.

I then tried another floppy drive that I had, an unbranded 5.25” floppy drive and was greeted with the same error. This drive made a rather concerning grinding noise when I tried to *CAT the disk.

The only common thing between the two floppy drives is that they are both powered by the Beeb’s auxiliary power port. I’m thinking that the drives might not be receiving enough power. The Pace drive uses a standard Molex power connector inside, so I’m going to try hooking up a PC power supply to the drive and seeing if it works when externally powered.

(Long-overdue) Update (May 13 2017): I believe the problem may be as simple as the heads on the drive are dirty. I am going to give them a clean and see what happens.

The Domesday Player

A few months ago, I was helping to clear out an old storage room, and amongst the assorted gubbins I came across this:


This is a Philips VP-415 Laservision player, also known as the ‘Domesday Player’. Needless to say, I was excited. This particular player was one of the many components of a Domesday System. The Domesday System consisted of a BBC Master (with a 65C102 co-processor, SCSI interface and video filing system ROM), an Acorn Trackball, a monitor, a remote control and this Laservision player. It was part of the Domesday Project, a project to make a modern version of the Domesday book in celebration its 900th anniversary.

I spoke to the people whose store room I was clearing out about the player, and between us we decided to donate it to the National Museum of Computing. On 17 July 2013, the player arrived safely at the museum, where it will either be used for spare parts to maintain their existing Domesday Systems or put into use as part of a new Domesday System.

Econet upgrade fitted

Yesterday, I finally got round to fitting the BeebMaster Econet upgrade I bought for my Beeb (number 3 on the “My Micros” page). The process was fairly straight-forward, with most of the time spent on trying to find R46 on the motherboard! This was my first time soldering something outside of practice, so some of the solder joints looks a bit ropey, but it looks like contact is being made on each of the joints, so it should be all good.

I haven’t yet plugged the Beeb into the TV since fitting the upgrade, as I finished at 10.30pm last night and had an early start in the morning. I did, however, plug it into the wall and power it on briefly. The Beeb responded with a “BEEEEEEP-bip”, so it’s looking good.

Edit: It’s alive! I plugged the Beeb into the TV, and pressed N+Break and it came up with “Econet Station 128 No Clock”, so it looks like the upgrade was a success! I won’t be completely sure until I can get the Beeb hooked up to an Econet (which won’t be for a while), but it’s looking promising.



Welcome to Sam’s Microblog. Here I will be mostly rambling about vintage microcomputers and their associated technologies. I hope you will find this blog an interesting read.