After keeping my eyes on eBay for a long time, I managed to finally score an Apple II DuoDisk. I've seen plenty come and go, but they were either too expensive (over $100 bucks), or they nailed you on the shipping.
I admit, this one looks like it's seen better days, but at least it was only $40 bucks. It also includes the floppy cable. That has to count for something!
There's just one problem. A big problem. Look what the Post Office did to it! It arrived in a box that was all beat up and split down the side. Despite the seller’s best attempt at wrapping it in bubble wrap and surrounding it with styrofoam peanuts, it still arrived in pieces.
I can't believe they smashed it. A 30-year old piece of vintage tech absolutely ruined because of none other than someone else’s incompetence and carelessness! The people at the Post Office are savages.
On the bright side, when Apple IIs smash, they smash like dinner plates. It makes it a little easier to glue back together. It's not the kind of plastic that bends before it breaks, making it impossible to glue back.
I just hope that since it's only 3 pieces, it’s an easy fix.
I'm lucky I only spent $40 bucks on it. I'm also lucky that the damage is on the back. I just hope with a little glue (and maybe some Bondo) that you won't even notice it. In any case, I'll probably keep my eye out for another one and use this as a "good for now" unit.
The seller accepted returns with postage paid, so I immediately contacted him for an RMA number. He issued a full refund, which was very generous. He also said not to bother sending it back. (No sense on paying for shipping for something he's going to just throw in the garbage.)
I did also notice a little chip on the front that looked fresh. If it was an old crack, it too would be discolored. I sifted through the bubble wrap and packing peanuts and found the missing pieces.
One positive thing is that it still has all its feet.
If it had arrived in one piece, I would have given it a good scrubbing and a dip in some retr0brite when the weather got nice. However, seeing as I plan on swapping it out with a better one anyway, a light cleaning with some rubbing alcohol is all it's going to get.
I popped it on top of my Apple II and fired it up. Drive 1 works, but Drive 2 does not. In fact, the disk won’t even go in all the way and the door won’t close. Looks like that drive took a pretty hard hit.
Time to crack it open and see what’s going on. Getting inside is easy. You just have to remove these 8 screws.
Once the lid is off, just remove these 4 screws and slide the drives out about an inch.
The drives are still connected to each other, as well as the case LEDs. Once the lids are off, you just have to remove 2 more screws and a bunch of cables.
Once the drives have been separated from each other, you can pull them out of the enclosure. You can then remove the logicboard from drive 1.
Once the logicboard is removed, you can lift out the black spacer and remove the last 2 screws.
Both drives are identical. If you ever get your hands on a drive with a bad logicboard, it’s good to know it can always be used to replace drive 2.
Ha! Look at that. A styrofoam peanut! I wonder how long that would have been in the drive before it caused a problem.
So, let’s have a closer look at drive 2 and see what’s causing the jam ups. Hum, well that doesn’t look right. Something tells me that’s not supposed to be sticking up like that. Not to mention, that metal pulley looks all twisted.
I compared it to drive 1. The difference is obvious. It’s just as I had suspected. It’s supposed to be flush with the chassis, and the pulley isn’t supposed to be all bent out of shape.
I did the best I could to push it back into position. The pulley isn’t perfect, but hopefully it’s good enough.
I inserted a disk and it went right it without a problem. It also ejected nicely.
I put the whole thing back together and started the Apple II back up with my disk tester app. I ran a suite of tests against drive 1. All systems go.
I then ran it again on drive 2. Although everything passed, the drive sounds terrible.
It sounds like hamsters are turning the wheels.
So it looks like crap and it sounds like crap, but at least it works. As I said before, it’ll do for now. I’d really like to put it under the monitor, but I’m afraid with the back portion of the enclosure missing, the whole thing will just collapse under the weight. I think I’ll just play it safe and leave it on top for now.