Disk Drive Disappointment

Up until now everything has been going better than expected, which means it's well beyond time for something to blow up in my face. This would of course be the disk drives. As they were mounted lowest in the racks (except for the PDUs) they had the lowest prospects of survival. It was also expected that even if the drives themselves had survived, their non-removable filters would be contaminated with mold and they would destroy the HDAs when spun up. That said, it's best to try and know than forever wonder, so I set about getting the drives out for inspection. The first Lambda (the rustier one) had two drives installed, one NEC and one CDC. These were large, heavy, and it was just about at my physical limit to get them out of the rack. Not only that, the rack slides were rusted solid, and it took a lot of WD-40 and outright manhandling to get them out. I ended up having to sit on the ground at the back of the rack, hold onto the rack with both hands, and push them out with my feet.

Disk drive removal process

The NEC drive came out first. It wasn't actually connected to its rack slides, it had simply rusted in place. It did not have a mounting kit at all, and I have to get a leg underneath it to hold it while I pulled it out and got it to the floor. The drives weigh 80+ pounds by themselves. Both of them together weigh more than I do.

LMI disk bracket support leg

The CDC drive was mounted in the LMI-supplied bracket, which had a spring-loaded support leg underneath that dropped down as soon as the front of the drive cleared the rack. This made it a little easier to manipulate. It looked significantly cleaner than the NEC. It transpired that both drives were set for 240V, and the rest of the system was 120V, so I don't think the drives were original to the system when they ran last.

CDC innards 1

With the case removed, the CDC did not look bad inside...

CDC innards 2

but even though the AC side of the power supply appeared OK, the drive acted stone dead when given power. No smoke, no lights, no nothing.

The power supply looked clean enough inside...

CDC PSU innards

minor surface corrosion, no sign of leaking or failed caps, no smoked components; Diagnosing this without documentation is going to be a chore. It was set aside for later.

Most of my pictures of the NEC didn't turn out. Here's the configuration switches:

NEC switches

It looked OK and the AC side of the PSU appeared OK, but I didn't catch the 120V/240V switch when I first plugged it in. The PSU showed an alarm light. (In my defense, the switch is concealed behind a metal access cover.) Once I discovered the switch was in the wrong position, I changed it to 120V and plugged it in, but as soon as the drive was switched on the power supply popped and released smoke with a visible flash. I plan to take it apart later and see if it looks salvageable.

Multiple people have offered to loan me drives in the meantime until either one of these can be resurrected or an emulator can be built. My long-term plan is to emulate the storage anyway. Once I have enough money to have a drive shipped here, I'll be taking one of them up on the offer.

Next order of business is dumping the SDU ROMs so I can investigate the V102 changes in LambdaDelta. I had already written most of a program to do this ahead of time, as I was expecting to do it.