Meaning of RD54 Beeps

Jon Elson elson at
Tue Apr 14 22:49:50 CDT 2015

On 04/14/2015 05:24 PM, Robert Jarratt wrote:
> Yes, I didn't mean to suggest it was a proper buzzer, so 
> it is the chirping sound you mention. I think it is the head
> Right, so it sounds like it is indeed a recalibration. I had wondered if it
> was something to do with the drive getting up to speed, since I have
> replaced the power transistors that drive the spindle. I suppose I am not
> sure what kinds of errors would cause this to happen, but I am pretty sure
> the read errors must be related. Perhaps I should format the drive in one of
> my MicroVAX 2000 machines.
When the drive has just spun up, it may do a long sweep of 
the heads and make that sound.  After that, any time the 
controller sends the reset command to the drive, it will run 
slowly from wherever it is to cylinder zero, so you may get 
another long recal sound.  I seem to recall on the VAX you 
got two recal sounds when booting, once when you hit the 
reset button and the Q-bus got a reset signal, and once when 
Files-11 came up and reset all the drives.

An occasional recal might not be too worrying, but if it 
does a lot of them it probably means lots of read errors are 
occurring.  This should show up in the system logs.

Generally, any time the drive can't read a sector header, or 
the header indicates it is on a different cylinder than 
expected, the controller will order a recalibrate.  Those 
would be logged as a seek error.


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