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Cleaning/Repairing Crashed RL02 Heads

Posted <2018-02-19 Mon 21:14> by Aaron S. Jackson.

As you may have read from my previous posts about my RL02 drive, one of the drive has crashed heads, which ended up ruining my only good cartridge. Since the heads were dead, and the pack was unreadable, I decided to have a go at fixing the heads anyway. I have cleaned the pack with IPA before and after the first crash. Cleaning the heads with cotton swabs and IPA alone didn't touch it.

Here are the heads before cleaning, click to see full size or you won't see any difference:

I bathed them in 99.9% isopropyl alcohol at 60c for about 20 minutes, occasionally taking them out and wiping them fairly gently with a cotton swab. The mug is separate from the water so that I have better control over the temperature, and to avoid wasting lots of IPA. Please excuse the dirty cooker.

They actually looked pretty decent after this cleaning. My original plan was to follow CuriousMarc's advice and use an IPA bath in an ultrasonic cleaner, but perhaps in this case it is not necessary.

Here I am checking the heads after installing them again. I was concerned that I might have damaged them some how during this process, but they looked good.

The heads now load without crashing into the pack, so I consider this a success. It also makes me less concerned about spending money to buy a working cartridge. So, hopefully I will be able to get one soon.

Finally, a bonus picture of my PDP-11, fully loaded, all slots populated. :)

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