SomeGuy's Explanation of Wabash Disks

edited April 2017 in Hardware
Talked to SomeGuy earlier today and asked him about Wabash floppies. He complained about them in a couple of threads and piqued my curiosity. Google searching got me nowhere. If you're like me and don't know what Wabash floppies are, here's a good explanation. This was our conversation.
BigCJ wrote:
Could you tell me more about Wabash floppy disks? They've been mentioned around here every so often and I can't find much about them on Google.
Appreciate it,
C.J.
SomeGuy wrote:
Wabash was a brand of floppy disk. They commonly came in both 8" and 5.25" variates. They were extremely low quality and probably the worst brand ever made. Even brand new, after just a few uses they would start shedding oxide losing data and dirtying your drive heads.

Recovering data today found on Wabash media is very tricky. It usually involves "baking" the cookie to temporarily strengthen the binder. I've found washing with hot water is also somewhat successful.

If you just throw one directly in a drive today, you are guaranteed to get immediate screeching against the drive head (due to friction from the loose oxide and decomposing binder) and immediate shedding.

There is more discussion about these disks on the Vintage Computing Forum.

There was one other thing I wanted to know, and I guess I'm an idiot because I asked SomeGuy instead of going to Vintage Computer Forums like he told me.
BigCJ wrote:
Okay, thanks. Just one last question and I'll leave you alone. When you say "baking," how is that done?

SomeGuy was kind enough to reply with what he knew, however.
SomeGuy wrote:
I have not used that technique myself so I am not sure of the exact details, but you literally remove the magnetic "cookie" from the plastic jacket and put it in an oven. Off hand I don't recall at what temperature or how long, or what to set it on to keep it from sticking, and such. But that temporarily strengthens the binder material that holds the oxide to the mylar disk.

Like I said, look at the discussions on the vintage computing forum. Chuck Guiz (ChuckG) had posted some lengthy information about that over there a while back. He does professional data recovery for a living.

BTW, general discussion like this really should be on the forum.

I figured it'd be a good idea to post this info for the less learned, like myself. Hope you guys like it.
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Comments

  • Somebody remind me to never hae a private conversation with you.
  • 02k-guy wrote:
    Somebody remind me to never hae a private conversation with you.
    This coming from a man who can't even spell the word "have" correctly, I wouldn't want a private conversation with you.
  • If you think Wabash floppies were the worst, you have never seen GMD-130 floppy (ГМД-130). Some of them even catched fire when working. Also in late 80s we used to write important files to 20 floppies. And guess what? None of them were read-able in 1997. We had then send those floppies to Convar, and even they weren't able to read all data from a single floppy. They had to read 7 floppies with same data in order to fully recover the data. And they couldn't use the same laser as usual, 'cause as I have already said, the were very easy flammable.
  • Wow, Russian floppies. Well, if someone wants to make an explosive youtube video: http://www.ebay.com/itm/10-pcs-Floppy-d ... 2774901199
  • Some of them even catched fire when working.
    And I thought "Halt and catch fire" was just a silly error. The Russians don't usually have failures so catastrophic, but they really go all out when they do, don't they?
  • BigCJ wrote:
    02k-guy wrote:
    Somebody remind me to never hae a private conversation with you.
    This coming from a man who can't even spell the word "have" correctly, I wouldn't want a private conversation with you.


    I'm Scottish. And I'm a girl.

    "http://www.dictionary.com/browse/hae";

    hae
    /heɪ; hæ/
    verb
    1.
    a Scot variant of have

    I do believe that the word "idot" always tranlslates to "idiot" - but well, you're the expert.
    There was one other thing I wanted to know, and I guess I'm an idiot because I asked SomeGuy instead of going to Vintage Computer Forums like he told me.
  • BigCJ, O2k-Guy, can we please not have public fights? I don't need any responses to this further, let's keep this topic on track here on out. Thanks.
  • stitch wrote:
    BigCJ, O2k-Guy, can we please not have public fights? Thanks.
    Yeah, and I want this thread back on topic. There's only one eBay listing for a Wabash disk, and it's from Hungary. I would like to see those Russian floppies in use, though.
  • НГМД 6022 That's how device for those disks was called
  • НГМД 6022 That's how device for those disks was called
    You mean the drive that read the disks? If so, was that a specialized drive just for the flammable floppies or a standard 5.25" drive common in Russia?
  • Standard Soviet floppy disk drive, which cost more than an average person earned in 2 years. Maybe the device itself was the main purpose which caused fire but I'm not sure.
  • Standard Soviet floppy disk drive, which cost more than an average person earned in 2 years. Maybe the device itself was the main purpose which caused fire but I'm not sure.
    I would not be a happy camper if my floppy drive caught fire, especially if it was truly as expensive as you say. There were never any American drives or disks smuggled into the country?
  • In later years (I mean 1988) we were using IBM machines and floppies and also we've got an Epson printer, I think those things were given to us illegally because of COCOM. But believe me, using a printer which doesn't make dying sounds when printing was such a boon.
  • But believe me, using a printer which doesn't make dying sounds when printing was such a boon.
    I'll bet it was. You know anyone who still has one of those old Soviet drives?
  • Sadly but no. Offtopic: When we sent the floppies and the drives to Microsoft to Germany, so they can test our russificated version of MS DOS 4.01, and MS Works, they disassembled our device and later said, they haven't never ever ever seen that bad made piece of equipment.
    gates.jpg
    rso.jpg
  • Well, at least the hardware worked for a while... Shame that no one has a drive. I'd like to find one and try an unbaked Wabash disk in it just to see what dies first, the disk or the drive.
  • The whole problem with soviet electronics was that chips and other stuff like that were made in non-sterile factories so more than 60 percent of them were broken out of factory.
  • The whole problem with soviet electronics was that chips and other stuff like that were made in non-sterile factories so more than 60 percent of them were broken out of factory.
    Wow, that defective rate is astoundingly high. At least now, most if not all electronics are made in clean rooms to prevent contamination. What did Microsoft have to say about the Soviet software you sent them?
  • That wasn't Soviet software. It was their own software, particularly MS DOS 4.01 and later MS DOS 5. Our project was to translate Microsoft software to Russian. It worked pretty well, but after the dissolution of Soviet Union they decided to do everything on their own and moved all this to Ireland. We were all offered job but most of us refused, because we didn't want to move to Ireland (or Germany)
  • You can read about that project more at http://static.opennt.tk/rus_dos_vadim.html Use google translator if you don't understand Russian
  • That wasn't Soviet software. It was their own software, particularly MS DOS 4.01 and later MS DOS 5.
    Oh, you said the software was "Russiaficated" so I figured it was hacked by the Soviets in some way before it was given to you. Well, other than just saying IBM, what machines did you use later in your employment? Did they upgrade to 3.5" floppies?
  • Maybe my English isn't that good as I thought :D By saying Russiaficated I meant that Microsoft gave use the source code of DOS to us to translate it to Russian, make Cyrillic keyboard and display drivers, make russian version of Microsoft Woks suite. We mainly used IBM machines, since most of soviet computers were PDP-11/34 clones and DOS didn't support that type of computers. We also used SM-1420, UKNC, DVK,
  • Yes, I'm reading that article now and see what you meant. I don't know any of those brands, Soviet made?
  • yes. most of them were just worthless clones of DEC VAX and PDP or Intel 8080. There is this website: http://www.leningrad.su/museum/main.php?lang=0
    it really damn slow but it's like a virtual museum of computers and calculators made in the societ union.
  • stitch wrote:
    Good Lord, man! Well, I guess it's like I said: when the Russians fuck up, they go all the way.
    yes. most of them were just worthless clones of DEC VAX and PDP or Intel 8080. There is this website: http://www.leningrad.su/museum/main.php?lang=0
    it really damn slow but it's like a virtual museum of computers and calculators made in the societ union.
    Thanks, I'll have to check that out sometime when I'm not on browsing on a phone.
  • It seems that the website I mentioned is down. Here is link to full mirror http://redirect.opennt.tk/museum.html
  • I remember that we actually ported MS DOS 5 to PDP 11/40 because most of consumer-available computers back then had processors cloned from PDP. It was compiled using Эльбрус-3 (Elbrus-3) or БЭСМ 6 (BESM 6) I'm not really sure, since we had both of them and I wasn't responsible for those projects.
  • edited January 2017
    PDP... I'm not familiar with it. Is that a PC clone or a mainframe?

    EDIT: Never mind, I did a Google search. PDP11s were a big series of minicomputers.
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PDP-11 PDP were line of minicomputers. Soviets cloned PDP's CPU and created lost of brands of home computers. Elbrus and BESM were soviet original piece of hardware made with no cloning. Ebrus was a minicomputer and BESM was a supercomputer
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