Bad heads on RL02: Worth replacing

Chris Zach cz at
Mon Dec 16 22:01:33 CST 2019

On a funny side note, I have a -30 rating on Imgur now since a few of 
the posts of these drive heads were posted with names like "dirty 
bottom" and "clean top".

Ooops. Looks like drive heads are not a proper kink...

On 12/16/2019 10:57 PM, Chris Zach via cctalk wrote:
> Well, I did check the head pretty thoroughly before installing it: One 
> problem was there were dirt particles that were not coming off so I used 
> the tip of a tweezer to loosen them up. Note I do this to watch dial 
> faces from the 1870's (oddly enough also porcelain) so I'm pretty 
> careful and am not making major scratches into that ceramic head.
> But I did a finger check, it's smooth.
> I'm wondering if the problem is the leading edge of the head is angled 
> down or something: From the debris on the leading edge it's looking like 
> it is digging into the pack. Not sure if this can be adjusted, or even 
> what adjusting the head would be like.
> Interesting. I'll check the pack next weekend for damage before trying 
> it in the good RL02 to see if it has any more errors on the disk.
> C
> On 12/16/2019 7:23 PM, dwight via cctalk wrote:
>> The head likely has something on it that you missed. Use your finger 
>> to feel the head. Your finger is quite sensitive to tiny roughness. Of 
>> course, clean your finger oil off before putting it back in. Make sure 
>> that first landing area is smooth and flat. Almost all of the head 
>> needs to have the cushion of air. With things stationary, look at how 
>> the head comes down on the surface. The larger part needs to be 
>> parallel to the surface. Most heads have a slight curve on the leading 
>> edge to help trap the air.
>> Dwight
>> ________________________________
>> From: cctalk <cctalk-bounces at> on behalf of Chris Zach 
>> via cctalk <cctalk at>
>> Sent: Monday, December 16, 2019 3:07 PM
>> To: CCTalk mailing list <cctalk at>
>> Subject: Bad heads on RL02: Worth replacing
>> So one of my RL02 drives (bought on Ebay years ago) is eating RL02
>> packs. Makes tings, then the disks have errors in my other RL02 drive.
>> Took a bit to figure out which drive was eating what, but I'm 100%
>> certain it's this newer drive.
>> So pulled the heads. The top one had significant gunk on it, the bottom
>> one a bit. Pics below.
>> Top:
>> Bottom:
>> With alcohol and lintless swabs I managed to clean both of the heads up.
>> Top:
>> Bottom:
>> Then put them back in the drive and mounted a scratch pack. With finger
>> on the load/run I let the drive spin up and when I heard tinging I
>> immediately spun down. Hopefully I didn't trash my scratch pack.
>> Top head has gunk, bottom one had a few flecks, but looks pretty ok.
>> Top:
>> Bottom: (picture didn't upload)
>> Obviously the head is crashing, any idea why and if it's worth replacing
>> the head or should I put this drive out for parts? Yes I cleaned the
>> RL02 pack before putting it in.
>> Never dull.
>> CZ

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