Servicing the A3000's floppy disc drive

As part of the cleaning and restoration of an A3000, I took the time to service, clean and test the internal floppy disc drive as it was showing signs of twenty one years of heavy use and dirt build up. With the A3000 being floppy disc based without an upgrade, the area around the drive gets a lot of physical interaction and with an opening to the outside world, the internals of the disc drive can get clogged with dust and fluff. You can see in the photo below that an A3000 can get quite grubby in this area and would benefit from a significant clean.

The A3000 floppy disc drive

Removing the disc drive

Once the lid of the A3000 has been removed, the A3000 disc drive is easily accessible with a power connection and data cable on the rear. The drive is mounted on four posts of which, one can be seen in the photo below. The posts are accessed from the underside of the case and each contains a screw which holds the drive into place. Removing the fixing screws releases the the drive so it's important to have one hand on the drive when the final screw is released to make sure it doesn't drop off its supports and damage the motherboard below.

The A3000 floppy disc drive

Stripping the drive

Once removed, the drive can be stripped using a small screwdriver to gently lever the clips holding the upper part of the drive shielding in place. Once removed, clean the case removing any dirt, debris and rust spots as required using some metal polish wadding such as Brasso.

The A3000 floppy disc drive

The front fascia of the drive is also clipped into place using small plastic clips. As these clips are quite old, they are susceptible to snapping if too much force is used so great care is required to remove the fascia. 

The A3000 floppy disc drive

Once the drive is stripped to this state, visually inspect the internals of the drive and use a suitable vacuum cleaner or canned air spray to clean out the dust and debris from the drive chassis. Take care not to disturb the worm drive or drive heads when cleaning out the chassis. If you do not have a head cleaning disc as detailed below, at this stage, you can clean the heads manually using some Isopropyl Alcohol and small pieces of chamois tipped cleaning sticks. DO NOT use cotton buds as the small fibres in the tips can get lodged in the drive head and permanently damage the drive.

The A3000 floppy disc drive

Below you can see the drive parts after they have been cleaned and made ready for re-assembly. The fascia must be fitted first and then the shielding re-clipped into place making sure that any lip is placed correctly into position.

The A3000 floppy disc drive

Once cleaned and re-assembled, the drive is ready for re-fitting and should look something like the photo below.

The A3000 floppy disc drive

Refitting the disc drive

After the drive has been cleaned and serviced, refit into the case by use of the four fixing screws and then connect the power and data cables to the rear of the drive. Once re-fitted, if you have a 3.5" drive head cleaning disc and accompanying cleaning fluid, use it to safely clean the heads of the drive before testing the drive reading from and writing to a floppy disc.

Floppy Disc cleaning kit

The final photo shows the cleaned and serviced drive re-fitted into the newly cleaned case all ready for action.

The A3000 floppy disc drive