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Thread: Famicom Disk Drive Repairs

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    Default Famicom Disk Drive Repairs

    Looks like every once in a while, game collecting karma deals me a decent hand.

    I got my "untested" Fami Disk system (I think it was a steal at $32 WITH an AC adapter) last month to find that it had a melted belt.

    Got my replacement belt today, and followed the www.jfgoods.net guide to replace the belt and re-set the magnetic disk-reader head.

    First I replaced the belt and tested it out and repeatedly got Error 22 which I believe is "can not read disk sector 01", so I went back in and did the head-adjustment, and when all was said and done, I've now got a cosmetically great condition Fami Disk Drive that boots games in like 3-4 seconds flat!

    Total cost on the system, about 12 disks, and a replacement belt was well under $100. I think that's pretty good based on what I've seen on eBay or elsewhere.

    While it wasn't the hardest repairs I've ever done, it certainly wasn't the easiest - and if anybody ever comes across a unit that powers up and works electrically/electronically (I'm a klutz with a soldering iron), I'd be more than willing to help out with belt replacement / head tweaking if said person in need of help is willing to get a replacement belt and ship it all out to me.
    Last edited by Frankie_Says_Relax; 03-27-2008 at 12:10 PM.
    "And the book says: 'We may be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us.'"


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    Good to know, thanks for the post. I've got a Twin Famicom with buzzy sound while playing carts and loading issues with the disk games, need to try and get this fixed one of these days. Where did you buy the belt?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bones11 View Post
    Good to know, thanks for the post. I've got a Twin Famicom with buzzy sound while playing carts and loading issues with the disk games, need to try and get this fixed one of these days. Where did you buy the belt?
    FJGoods.net ebay account.

    I'm pretty sure that's the only place you can find them these days.
    "And the book says: 'We may be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us.'"


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    Excellent, looks like they are selling replacement belts for the Twin Famicom now, will have to crack open my system to see if that is the culprit. Thanks for the scoop!

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    No problem.

    I noted that on the standard Fami Disk System that the reason the drive belt likely melts/breaks is due to how high the belt rests on the main drive gear ...

    it's literally as high as it can be without falling off...

    I'm going to be VERY careful not to jar the system when putting it in or taking it out of storage, because as TIGHT as the belt is when it's attached, and as straight as it seems to be on repeated rotations (I manually advanced the gears for three or four complete cycles to make sure it wasn't going to un-seat itself on normal usage) ... I'd imagine a bump or two could un-seat the belt.

    I wonder if the Fami Twin belt/drive is actually smaller/larger, as the step by step instructions I used were for the Twin, and they matched the internals of the standard drive visually.
    "And the book says: 'We may be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us.'"


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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie_Says_Relax View Post

    While it wasn't the hardest repairs I've ever done, it certainly wasn't the easiest - and if anybody ever comes across a unit that powers up and works electrically/electronically (I'm a klutz with a soldering iron), I'd be more than willing to help out with belt replacement / head tweaking if said person in need of help is willing to get a replacement belt and ship it all out to me.
    I bought an FDS from Andyarcade on gamegavel for only $5 plus shipping. The belt was melted so I got a great deal. I may take you up on that offer when I get a new one. The most I've done so far is to open it and clean the belt goo off of everything. What a mess. But now it's all clean and ready to go.
    I'd love for you to help out man. I'd pay for shipping both ways and make it worth your while.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cobra Commander View Post
    I bought an FDS from Andyarcade on gamegavel for only $5 plus shipping. The belt was melted so I got a great deal. I may take you up on that offer when I get a new one. The most I've done so far is to open it and clean the belt goo off of everything. What a mess. But now it's all clean and ready to go.
    I'd love for you to help out man. I'd pay for shipping both ways and make it worth your while.
    Make sure the unit powers up and displays on screen (as, I can't help with anything beyond a belt replacement/head alignment) and, as I stated in my first post, I'll be more than happy to repair another ... it doesn't take long, so all I'll need from you is for you to get yourself a belt and pay for shipping both ways.

    If I get it running, anything you'd like to give me above and beyond that is your call!

    Drop me a PM if/when you get your hands on a replacement belt.
    "And the book says: 'We may be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us.'"


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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie_Says_Relax View Post
    Make sure the unit powers up and displays on screen (as, I can't help with anything beyond a belt replacement/head alignment) and, as I stated in my first post, I'll be more than happy to repair another ... it doesn't take long, so all I'll need from you is for you to get yourself a belt and pay for shipping both ways.

    If I get it running, anything you'd like to give me above and beyond that is your call!

    Drop me a PM if/when you get your hands on a replacement belt.
    Oh yeah. The first thing I did was plug that bad boy in. It powers up nicely, and it's teases me so. Mario and Luigi playing like that.... The only problem is there's this thing which can only be described as a "white bar" scrolling down the length of the screen. It's transparent, but annoying. I think that's because I'm using a Yobo NeoFami.
    But yeah, I'll drop you a line man. Thanks.

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    I spent many, many hours figuring out an exact science to FDS head retuning. I bought a $40 micrometer and eventually figured out the exact sweet spot distance the head must be tweaked. I can do it now without even testing it more than once almost 90% of the time.

    I can post this info if anyone wants it....I'd have to dig up my notes.

    -Rob
    The moral is, don't **** with Uncle Tim when he's been drinking!

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbudrick View Post
    I spent many, many hours figuring out an exact science to FDS head retuning. I bought a $40 micrometer and eventually figured out the exact sweet spot distance the head must be tweaked. I can do it now without even testing it more than once almost 90% of the time.

    I can post this info if anyone wants it....I'd have to dig up my notes.

    -Rob
    Since I've had my hands dirty with the repair work, I'd love to see your notes on it.

    The guide I used simply had the head at the maximum distance away and then loosened, spun, and tightened with the set screw parallell to the back. (If that makes sense) Seems to have done the trick getting my unit to read hard and fast what it wouldn't at all prior to adjustment.

    But, yeah, if you've got an even more detailed guide, please share.
    "And the book says: 'We may be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us.'"


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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie_Says_Relax View Post
    Got my replacement belt today, and followed the fjgoods.net guide to replace the belt and re-set the magnetic disk-reader head.
    That's jfgoods.net.
    Contributing Writer, Retrogaming Times Monthly 2004 - 2013
    Chief Editor, The Retrogaming Times 2016 - Present *NEW RETROGAMING HOBBYIST NEWSLETTER!*


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    Quote Originally Posted by InsaneDavid View Post
    That's jfgoods.net.
    OMG thanks!

    Good eye! Damn my website dyslexia! I can fix a Fami drive belt, but I can't type a damned website correctly.

    At least there's nothing registered to the other site and Google is smart enough to re-direct results to the correct site.

    I'll go fix that in the main post.
    "And the book says: 'We may be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us.'"


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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie_Says_Relax View Post
    OMG thanks!

    Good eye! Damn my website dyslexia! I can fix a Fami drive belt, but I can't type a damned website correctly.

    At least there's nothing registered to the other site and Google is smart enough to re-direct results to the correct site.

    I'll go fix that in the main post.
    The earlier link was confusing me like you wouldn't believe. "Cannot find server ...damn, I know I've been to that site before... no, these are recent posts... hmm... why won't it connect... router settings are fine.. hmm... oh, wait a minute..."
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbudrick View Post
    I spent many, many hours figuring out an exact science to FDS head retuning. I bought a $40 micrometer and eventually figured out the exact sweet spot distance the head must be tweaked. I can do it now without even testing it more than once almost 90% of the time.

    I can post this info if anyone wants it....I'd have to dig up my notes.

    -Rob
    Please do, it might come in handy if I ever get an FDS again.
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    Is there anywhere I can get a belt besides ebay? The idea of paying $23 for a tiny piece of rubber turns me off. I mean I will if I have to, but man.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cobra Commander View Post
    Is there anywhere I can get a belt besides ebay? The idea of paying $23 for a tiny piece of rubber turns me off. I mean I will if I have to, but man.....
    Just bend over and take it like the rest of us.
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    You don't absolutely need an original Nintendo belt.

    I repaired both of my FDS drives with a belt that I found at a local VCR repair store. I measured the inner diameter of one worn out FDS belt, guessed at how much smaller an original would be, then went to the store armed with my measurements.

    If you can find a place that sells individual random belts with I.D. and O.D. values on the package (inner diameter and outer diameter) you will likely be able to find something pretty close to what you need.

    The belt that I found was the correct I.D. but actually quite a bit thicker, and therfore sturdier, I hoped) than the original Nintendo belt. It was also twice as wide as the original. I took some very sharp scissors and cut the belt in half longways, producing two belts of the correct width and inner diameter.

    Many hours of disassembly, reassembly, and adjusting later I have two working Famicom Disk Systems.

    My feeling is that the belt doesn't have to be as perfect as many of us seem to think. If you consider that fact that Nintendo engineers most likely intended to create a drive that was to keep working after years of belt stretching you would think that they probably made their own belts a little small when new, expecting them to age and stretch, and built the drive gears and pulleys to be able to work well with slight differences in belt tension. My drives have been working great since I rebuilt them about 7 years ago, and I certainly don't think I was so lucky to be able to find the exact perfect replacement belt, or that I did an amazing job trimming the width, either. There is great chance that you'll be able to look around and find something that will work for you, too, even if it's only "pretty close".

    Good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie_Says_Relax View Post
    OMG thanks!

    Good eye! Damn my website dyslexia! I can fix a Fami drive belt, but I can't type a damned website correctly.
    Don't feel bad. Until I actually went to the site I thought you guys were talking about JFG Foods website and thought "JFG makes mayonnaise and Famicom parts?"

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    I've run into trouble with my disk system. I just bought it with a (now tested and working) famicom in a (rather cheap) as-is untested auction with no cords. The famicom is up and running (with its tiny cord length-- any help is appreciated here with that problem). The disk system powered on and showed the mario-luigi silliness.

    A few days later, my copy of SMB2J arrives. It's the official nintendo disk. I put in in and am greeted with a scary noise and error 27. Having read extensively about these pesky things before purchasing mine, I pop it open to find an utterly vanquished belt: twisted, melted, and broken. Ew!

    Since there are currently no belts available, even on that famous eBay store, I had to improvise. I'm currently using a rubber band. Hilariously, it actually turns the things inside. The head moves like it's supposed to and everything. I got excited then.

    However, ever since, I've had only trouble. I constantly get errors between 21 and 27 on the same disk (my only one). I've adjusted the head the best I know how, and get different errors depending. The felt thingy is looking a bit frayed too, which might or might not be another cause of issue.

    A serious problem as well is that, for one, it's my only disk and thus no others can be tested. The other problem, of course, is that I've never seen the thing running to know if this disk could be bad. By the array of errors received, I can only guess that it's the system, but I dunno.

    Any help in this matter is appreciated, and pictures of any of the inner bits can easily be posted if necessary.

    EDIT: It's working now-- I had to adjust the speed of the motor, which I didn't know how to do. Found a forum post that said something about the small hole behind the yellow sticker. Turning that a bit to the right did the trick!
    Last edited by aclbandit; 07-11-2008 at 02:08 AM.

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