Heathkit H89A – floppy config & attempted boot

I’ve tried every disk in every drive with what I thought was the working configuration, to no avail.  Every failure is the same: hitting ‘b’ to boot, getting ~5 seconds of disk activity, and failing with ‘? Boot Error’.  Heads appear to be in impeccable condition, and the disks look clean.  Here’s a closeup of the heads on the hard sector drive:

Floppy drive head closeup

And here’s the collection of disks I’m working with:

img_6437 img_6439

SW501,4 controls which card to boot from:
0 = H88-1 Card at P506/P512 (the right most slot), I/O Port 174
1 = Z89-37 Card at P504/P510 (the left slot of the right bank, I/O Port 170

I’ve tried both; 0 boots to the internal, hard sector disk, 1 boots to the 1st drive in the H-37 enclosure, a 96tpi soft sector drive.

The internal drive is set to Unit Zero (or DS1) for use with the H88-1 card
Screen Shot 2016-08-14 at 3.45.36 PM

But wait, we can also use this drive as a soft-sector drive on the the Z89-37 controller.  Note that the drive settings are different:
Screen Shot 2016-08-14 at 3.45.44 PM

Yes, it’s backwards.  My predecessor was nice enough to not cut the links, but to simply bend the pins of the package out.  unfortunately, they’re super fragile, and a single attempted bend broke the pin, several times. I ended up using a portion of the original package and some wire.

Note that J4-J7 needs to be set correctly on the Z89-37 card.  It’s now set to J4, meaning the single drive ID’s as DS1 plugged into P3 (the top port on the card) is Drive 0.

As I was shuffling connectors and moving the board around, this happened (took me a few minutes of failed boots to spot):

I temporarily crammed it back in, and got to the H: prompt.  Still won’t boot to a disk.

I wonder if this is noteworthy:
Every boot attempt seemed to take the same amount of time to fail (3-4 seconds), regardless of which configuration or even if a disk was present.  When I jump J4 on the Z89-37 (what I believe to be the correct config), an attempted boot without a disk tries indefinitely and never fails.



Heathkit H89A, First Light

Progress continues.  I tested the regulators and they were fine.  I ultimately traced the problem to C513.  It was shorted, and has been replaced by a comparable ceramic cap.

After bringing her up on a variac, I’m greeted with an H: prompt!

I ran a memory test, which is one of the routines in the monitor ROM.  A full test would take over 2 days, so I just let it run for a bit after quitting.


377377 is 64K in octal.

There’s a routine you can enter manually that prints characters to the screen:


Finally, there’s a routine to run a drive speed test.  Using a tweaker to adjust to 200:


Unfortunately, I can’t get it to boot off any medium I have, either hard sectored on the built-in drive, or soft sectored using the external H77 drive.  Not sure what to try next…