RL02 Tracking

Aaron Jackson Aaron.Jackson at nottingham.ac.uk
Mon Dec 21 17:38:55 CST 2020

>> > I've posted a few times over the years about RL02 drives and my
>> > difficulty getting them working (no luck so far!). I've spent the past
>> > few days working on one of them and have made some progress.
>> >
>> > The status currently is that the heads will load, and the ready lamp
>> > flashes as the heads wobble back and forth very slightly,
>> I dropped an RL02 cartridge, and needed to get it to load
>> one more time to get programs off it.
>> The ready lamp was a dim, slightly flickering glow.  I
>> figured the platter had been knocked off center.
>> I loosened the bolts at tapped it a bit until it looked
>> better centered.  It took a couple tries, but then the ready
>> light came on fully bright, and I was able to mount the disk
>> and read it.
>> I don't know if that could be your problem.  If you get a
>> solid servo signal with the motor disconnected, then this is
>> not the same problem.
> To add my two cents, I've also seen this behavior on RL02 packs that have
> been degaussed.  It might be worth your time to find someone with a known
> working RL02 drive (or known working RL02 pack) so you can confirm that
> your packs are good.

Thanks Jon, that's handy to know for the future but indeed solid servo
signals with the motor disconnected.

Presumably the servo bursts would not be visible if the cartridges had
been erased that way, since this is encoded in the data tracks
themselves. However, it does make me wonder if the cartridges have just
been exposed to some wild temperature fluctuations, since the signal
from either appears to be a little weak. I suppose the worst thing this
would lead to in my case is over compensating the read/write head
adjustment, which means actually good cartridges don't work. I'll try
and get hold of another cartridge from a friend once it's safe to do
so. Although, he hasn't attempted to get his RL02 drives working yet


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