One fun aspect of 1970s-era hard disk drives is that they are big, clunky and are fairly easy to repair without the need for a clean room. A less fun aspect is that they are 1970s-era HDDs and thus old and often broken. While repairing a CDC 10 MB HDD for the upcoming VCF East event, the folks over at [Usagi Electric], this led to quite a few struggles, even after a replacement 14″ platter was found to replace the crashed platter with.
These CDC HDDs are referred to as Hawk drives, and they make the associated 8-bit Centurion TTL logic-based computers so much faster and easier to work with (for a 1970s system, of course). Despite the large size of the components involved and the simple, all through-hole nature of the PCBs, issues that cropped up ranged from corroded DIP switches, to head alignment sensors, a defective analog board and ultimately a reported bad read-write head.
Frustratingly, even after getting the platters to spin up and everything moving as intended, it would seem that the remaining problem is that of possibly bad read-write heads, as in plural. Whether it’s due to age, previous head crashes onto platters, or something else, assembling a working Hawk drive turned out to be somewhat more complicated than hoped.
We definitely hope that the bunnies can get a working Hawk together, as working 1970s HDDs like these are become pretty rare.