Today we set up our production line to process the 25 disk cartridges I retrieved from Xerox PARC earlier in the week. First we open each cartridge to inspect and clean the disk surfaces. Next, we read the entire contents of the cartridge into my FPGA based disk tool from a Diablo disk drive.
Next, the data from the disk tool is uploaded to a PC and formatted into Simh format. Finally, we check that each image boots up or can be opened. If there are passwords protecting the cartridge, we use a program to unlock them.
By the end of the session, we had 13 successful extractions of a cartridge and found two cartridges irreparably damaged when we opened them. One was missing the protective cap on the cartridge, exposing the edge of the platter where it had become bent at some point in the past.
There were three cartridges that had minor crash damage, which we will attempt to read as the last three cartridges once we deal with the other six cartridges on hand.
We picked up enough oxide to need to remove and clean the heads on our drives before we take on the last nine packs during the next session. We have found that we can clean the heads in about 90 minutes, thinks in part to the ultrasonic cleaner that loosens the impacted oxide on heads. Then, we can complete an alignment in less than an hour.