Vintage hardware walking disk drives

With the proper programimg, could one make the big old 14" drives with the voice
coils, walk or dance across the room? I am sure I read that some where online, any one
know where?


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I do recall reading a story about the big drive at Moray House in Edinburgh on the Interdata mini doing something similar - at times of high load the system would freeze only to resume a short time later - the cause was the connector which would vibrate loose but fit well enough once the drive shaking had stopped.

Maybe @gtoal knows about this? I can’t find the document in the archives though.



I found this
but much better this discussion

With different search terms there are different results (and maybe depends on country, browser etc)

walking disk drive -dead programming
Without term programming I had to exclude death because many results are about walking death.

I found the document:

It’s a good read. Remember late 70s, 32-bit “mini” so should fit your time-frame very well, Ben…

(One of the school kids who used to visit that the document refers to)


This was more my time-line from the 70’s.

I once looked after a VAX 11/750 with an RM05 Winchester drive. When the system was being installed, the engineer ran a confidence test on the drive, but he’d forgotten to screw the feet down to the floor, so it was free on its wheels.

At some point, the drive started to inch out of line and lurch across the room. We both had to hold onto it until the test completed.

Apart from worries about the drive mechanics, we were concerned for the cabling.

As it happens, the engineer managed to.catch a big ribbon cable in the drive mounting rails and sliced it in two! Fortunately we were an electronics-oriented company (flight simulators) and made up a replacement.

That was a day!

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