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Fun with RL02 Drives

Posted <2017-06-14 Wed 23:10> by Aaron S. Jackson.

Enormous thanks to Dave W. for dropping off a stack of RL02 drives, plus an RX02 today. bnl came over and we had some fun powering them up slowly with his variac (Thank you, bnl). Nothing exploded! One of the RL02 shows the fault light but voltages appear fine and stable. The other RL02 seems to work fine but we won't know for sure until we hook it up with a PDP-11 (soon!). The RX02 also powers on fine so that probably works, assuming the disk heads are clean.

Originally they were set to 110v. Glad I checked that before doing anything. On the faulty drive, all the voltages on the test points are fine. It's actually impressive how spot on the power supplies in these things are. If it says 8v, you'll get 8.00v, at least according to my meter.

The disk packs were inside the drives but the heads were still parked, so they should be fine. They are incredibly clean so I have high hopes for them.

<2017-06-17 Sat 10:15> This morning I read that the fault light should be illuminated if there is no controller attached. Makes sense, as the controller provides a clock signal. So maybe the one we thought is broken, isn't broken at all. I ended up testing the bulbs and there are few which have burnt out. Seeking replacements. Shouldn't be too hard to find.

<2017-07-20 Thu 22:27> I forgot to mention that I tried two types of bulbs. GE-73, which is the correct type of bulb, which run at 14v. These were quite expensive since I could only get them from Farnell. However, I also bought some 12v automotive dash bulbs, which are the same fitting, but designed to run at a slightly lower voltage. They work fine too! They were also significantly cheaper. I believe I got about 20 for £3. All I need now is the cables and terminator. If I cannot find them, I will have to make them myself.


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