Prism: Replacing Drivebelts

A long long time ago (in a galaxy very similar to our own) I wrote for small-press fanzine “PD Power”, published by Prism PD. It was all about the ZX Spectrum, specifically the Public Domain software scene – this was after the demise of wonder-zine Your Sinclair, which kind of marked the end of the commercial side of the machine. I actually had a column (oo-er) in the magazine, some of which I actually wrote, all about the Spectrum +3 – I was a little miffed when I saw other people writing under my name, but these things happen when you’re as popular as I.

So, I’ve recently been playing around with some of my old software and I found the sources for the articles written by me, in Word-Master format. Rather than lose these forever, except to the small number of people who saw the magazine, I thought I’d re-post the articles here, complete with (in some cases) lawyer-unfriendly typos – really, in the first article about replacing drive belts a typo actually stated that “Prism PD and I, Icabod, accept any responsibility for, well, anything really.” – Uhm… so far nobody has taken me up on that claim, and I’d like to now publicly withdraw my comment. Phew.

Anyway, the first of the articles is below the break, and is that very same 3″ drive-belt replacement article.

Hallo Peoples.

Alas, my +3 has finally bitten the dust… well the disk drive has anyway. It just won’t read disks at all. But I know the problem. That damned drive belt keeps slipping.
So like a true Speccy user, out come the screwdrivers, off comes the top, and away with a load of prodding.

If your +3′s like mine then after unscrewing the 7 screws on the outside (2 on the side of the drive) the top-half can be gently lifted off, after removing the LED plug and the keyboard membranes. The top half can then be discarded. Take out the two screws on the left of the drive, and un-plug the two sets of cables (a 26-line parallel lead, and a 4-line didgy-looking lead). You can now take out the good old Amstrad (sic) 3″ FDD.

Unscrew the 2 screws at the front of the drive, and remove the front panel. Then unscrew the 3 screws on the bottom. Near the back of the drive, on the left & right sides, are 2 more plugs, similar to the ones removed earlier (2-line:left, 4-line:right). Remove these, and you can now lift off the circuit board by about 1.5″ (any more would require cutting and re-soldering wires… too much hassle). At this point a pin may fall out. Don’t worry, just keep it safe for the time being.

With a screwdriver or other long, thin implement (oo-er) hook out the drive-belt. It may be worth cleaning both of the drive wheels. Just put a drop of meths onto a cotton-bud, press against the wheel and the turn it. Do this for both wheels… it just cleans off the gubbins. Now you just need to put in a new belt. I don’t have one, so I just turned the old one inside out (so the rough side is against the wheels) as a temporary fix.

When this is done, take the pin that fell out earlier. This is the write protect pin. It’s not needed, but you won’t be able to to write or erase disks without it. Place the pin back into the hole it fell from (to the top-left of where a disk would be). It should be positioned so that, when depressed (or happy) it pushes 2 contacts together.

After doing this, replace the screws, and plug in the plugs. Then replace the front panel. It may be useful to use a very small amount of WD-40 to lubricate the spindle on top of the drive. Use a pin to apply a drop… DO NOT SPRAY IT!!

Place the drive back into the computer, re-attatch all of the un-attatched bits, and fix it all up right smart-like. Then just plug in and (if all has gone well) play.

A quick point though. Doing this, you can say goodbye to your guarauntee, etc. Also Prism PD and I, Icabod, accept any responsibility for, well, anything really. If you get electrocuted or ruin your copy of “Space Crusade” (good game) don’t come running to us. It worked for me, anyway.

Cheerio, Icabod

PS. Quick Hi’s to Gangster, Bogie, LA, Vision, Jacek, Datasoft, Zack, Speccy Freax Everywhere.

There you go. I’ll post the other articles, along with some stuff that never made it into print, as and when I can be bothered. Wonderful.

One Comment

  1. Posted April 18, 2008 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Just a note to mention that I’ve updated the stylesheets for the site to allow me to try and format this article correctly. Which means it may not look right until your browser refreshes the stylesheet. But it won’t look horrible, either.