How To Repair A Brother Knitking Floppy Disk Drive
I have two knitting machine floppy disk drives, one a Brother FB100 and the other a Knitking FDD19, that have sat on a shelf for years. About a month ago I decided to dust off their boxes and fire them up.
Unfortunately, all I got were some whirring noises and error messages, despite very little use.
Depending on what equipment I had plugged the drives into, be it a PPD or an actual knitting machine, the error messages came with different descriptions and numbers. Most suggested that the unit wasn’t working because it had no power, recommending that I check cables and/or replace batteries.
On the PPD, I got “Error Message 4 – To find error of external device check following points:
1. Setting Place
2. Power Supply or Battery
3. Interface connector
Turn off switch of pattern programming device, switch on and start all over again”
When the drive was plugged into the knitting machine, it depended on which machine I used which error message I got.
On the 930e I got error message 3.
The manual on page 164 indicates this is due to “The interface cable is not connected”
On the 950i I got error message 2.
The manual on page 102 says “either no batteries have been fitted into the unit, or the AC power adapter is not connected”
The drives definitely had power and connected interface cables. What they both also had were completely stretched out drive belts.
Upon opening the drive, it was obvious from pushing with a finger that it was very loose. The belt could no longer grip the wheels to turn them.
It doesn’t take much stretch – my worn out belts measured 9.25 inches, a mere quarter inch beyond the length of new replacement belts.
To fix the drives, you will need to watch the excellent repair video by Diana Sullivan.
Then, you will need to order a new belt. I found conflicting references online that either said the drives required a 9″ x .025″ x .125″ flat belt or other sites that said an 8.5″ x .025″ x .125″ flat belt was better for these Tandy built devices.
Since shipping was the biggest expense for what are essentially fancy rubber bands, I ordered both 8.6″ (the closest size to 8.5″) and 9″ online from Suburban Electronics. The flat belts arrived quickly and both sizes worked. Time will tell which size is best.
The belts cost $1.39 each plus a flat rate of $7.95 for shipping. I ordered a total of eight belts and the shipping was still $7.95 – a great option if ordering for several knitters in your guild.
Now, back to knitting.
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April 10, 2016