|Re: 67 card reader problem - help!|
Message #4 Posted by Les Wright on 23 Mar 2007, 5:42 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Dave Bowman
Dave, I don't have an answer for you. I hope you find one.
The sickening "run on" noise is one I am well familiar with. It is a generic symptom of a failed card reading. In my experience, it accompanies almost all HP67 card reading failures. I don't know what it means for sure. I do know that when it doesn't happen and the card still fails to read, that means usually corrupt card--the card passed normally but the calculator seemed to find no data at all.
I recently received an expertly restored HP67 and I must admit that coping with the sensitivities and idiosyncrasies of the card reader is enough to drive me nuts. I have learned a few things:
1. I try to do card reading and certainly writing with the thing plugged into AC. When the battery begins to flag even slightly, the motor gets sluggish, cards pass too slowly and sometimes get stuck, read failures occur and, most importantly, write failures occur even though the calculator gives no indication that this has happened. Indeed, I have been running my HP67 lately on AC trickle charge most of the time. Yes, scandalous I know!
2. I wash my hands before handling cards. Seriously! I had pizza for dinner one night this week, and evidently my fingers were more oily than I thought, since cards would not feed normally, would get stuck even with a full charge and AC power. Alcohol cleaning of the cards, a thorough handwashing, and a single pass of the evil red card was required to keep the oily residue from propagating further.
3. Inserting the card requires gentleness and good timing. Push it slightly too quickly, it will pass a little too quickly and misread. Hold onto it just a little too long when the motor engages, and that messes things up too. Getting the "touch" has taken me lots of practice.
4. When writing cards of something important I make multiple backups. As I get more comfortable I probably won't be so obsessive about this.
I recently acquired a plasmoid refurbished HP41 card reader and have found it much more forgiving, provided that the calculator is working properly and the batteries are good. Indeed, plasmoid is quite clear that read/write errors should be an uncommon occurence in a working card reader. However, I do know that my errors on the HP67 are getting fewer with experience and practice. I am glad I have the HP41 card reader, though--since it can read and translate HP67 cards, and is more robust in general, if I get repeat errors on a card passing it through the HP41 reader is diagnostically useful since error messages are more specific. For example, CARD ERR almost certainly means bad card, whereas MALFUNCTION or no error at all means the card probably needs good cleaning before the fussier 67 will accept it, or there is something localizable to the HP67 (usually flagging power, or olive oil on the pinch rollers!!!!).
I really hope you solve your problem. A working card reader on these old calcs is a joy, and I really appreciate why our forebears in the 70s were so amazed by the 65 and 67. But a goofy card reader is sort of frustrating and sad, since you just can't tap into the mystery and power of these old machines if you can't save your programs.
Good luck, and keep us posted--