Winchester Hard Drive Noises

on-topic Acorn-related news and discussions not covered by the other forums
User avatar
Posts: 59
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 2:48 pm
Location: East Yorkshire

Winchester Hard Drive Noises

Postby cjr8bs » Sat Jul 22, 2017 5:18 am

Having just recreated a working disc image of the long dead 8BS Winny, I am dead chuffed. I was getting to think, has anyone recorded or if not, could someone please record the sound of a Winchester Hard Drive in action? I would like to put it in to the 8BS sound archives.

Or was it just mine that sounded like an aircraft taking off?

Posts: 464
Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2016 11:05 am

Re: Winchester Hard Drive Noises

Postby Coeus » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:51 am

I don't think I have anything of the right vintage but you raise an interesting point about the noise.

As far as I know there was a change of head actuator technology in the second half of the 1980s. The earlier type of actuator, which was present in some 20Mb disks we had at work at the time, used a stepper motor just like a floppy but obviously smaller steps and a much faster stepping rate which gave a noise a bit like a floppy stepping but quieter and much higher pitched. That was replaced by "voice coil" technology where there were no discrete steps because the base of the head arm was simply being attracted to one of two electromagnets and the controller would read from one of the platter to work out when it had gone far enough rather than counting steps. From comments I heard the first implementation used a dedicated servo surface, which explains why it was used mainly on large multi-platter discs, whereas later ones can read the embedded IDs. The "voice coil" drivers replaced the "whirr" of the previous drives with a "click" as the head moved.

Posts: 916
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2016 12:50 am

Re: Winchester Hard Drive Noises

Postby Commie_User » Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:37 am

Are there still any working Winchesters in hands like ours??

You may have to do a Radiophonic Workshop and recreate.

User avatar
Posts: 1631
Joined: Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:56 am
Location: Maarn, Netherlands

Re: Winchester Hard Drive Noises

Postby DutchAcorn » Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:40 pm

I have a working Winchester drive but the actual MFM drive in it has been replaced with a more modern 3,5" version (I think from the early nineties). I'll be happy to record the sound if no one else with an original drive reports.

What sound(s) do you need? Off-On start-up? Disk access? Idle operation?

User avatar
Posts: 5346
Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2008 4:51 pm
Location: Manchester

Re: Winchester Hard Drive Noises

Postby danielj » Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:32 pm

I have a Tandon 10MB winnie I can start up for you, but the spindle's so loud you can't hear the disk access....


User avatar
Posts: 6791
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2011 4:46 pm
Location: Looking forward to summer in Somerset, UK...

Re: Winchester Hard Drive Noises

Postby 1024MAK » Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:46 am

This may not be what you are looking for, but there are some YouTube videos of drives spinning up.

Fujitsu M2294 14" Winchester HDD Disk Spin Up

Quantum 2040 8" Hard Drive First Power up.

Hard Drive Spinup Sounds 1
(PC old/low capacity)

Gigantic rusty old IBM XT hard drive roars back to life

For a "Complete BBC Games Archive" visit NOW!
BeebWiki‬ - for answers to many questions...

User avatar
Posts: 1631
Joined: Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:56 am
Location: Maarn, Netherlands

Re: Winchester Hard Drive Noises

Postby DutchAcorn » Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:11 pm

Here's mine starting up...
(107.83 KiB) Downloaded 11 times

User avatar
Posts: 2475
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2009 4:59 pm
Location: Lost in the BeebVault!

Re: Winchester Hard Drive Noises

Postby BeebMaster » Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:38 pm

Ooh what a lovely thread!

Here's a Seagate ST225.
(562.8 KiB) Downloaded 17 times

I always thought the Miniscribe 8425 had the best sounds, but I don't have one handy.

User avatar
Posts: 3691
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:23 pm
Location: Newton Aycliffe, County Durham

Re: Winchester Hard Drive Noises

Postby daveejhitchins » Sun Aug 13, 2017 6:53 pm

This may be of interest - for hard drive aficionados :D

Dave H :D
Parts: UM6502CE, GAL22V10D, GAL16V8D, AS6C62256A, TC514400AZ, WD1772, R6522, TMS27C512, AT28C256
Products: ARA II, ABR, ATI, AP6, MGC, AP5 . . .
For a price list, contact me at: Retro Hardware AT dave ej hitchins DOT plus DOT com

User avatar
Posts: 74
Joined: Sat May 13, 2017 10:17 pm
Location: Zürich, Switzelrand

Re: Winchester Hard Drive Noises

Postby hjalfi » Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:49 am

<helpful type="not">
Possibly the best hard drive noise video I've seen:

<helpful type="still not">
So when I was at school we had a computing lab with a network of Masters with a Winchester file server in a cupboard --- probably a L3 with a 30MB Winchester. I eventually ended up using over half of it for my programs, by which I mean crap. Eventually the system died when it got struck by lightning and I lost all my stuff. Not bitter at all about that.

The Winchester had a fault. I believe what happened is that the sealed bearing for the platter had failed, and as a result it screeched, constantly, loadly, inside the soundproof cupboard but still. So if you just used an MP3 of aggravating metallic screaming, you would at least be technically correct (which is the best kind of correct)...

Return to “general”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Rich Talbot-Watkins and 5 guests