[Coladam] MI Disk Drives

Jim Notini jnoti2 at comcast.net
Tue Jul 5 23:56:48 CEST 2011


> Jim - my guess is that you are misinterpreting things. As a dealer I
> only got one drive from Mark that was DOA; that is how I ended up with
> the "spare" board. (The backstory is long and complex). But the three
> that I bought for myself (2 x 320k, later 1 x 720) are still up and
> running. So is an Adam drive, provenance forgotten, converted to a 720k.
> I also have a couple of original Adam drives that work.

Nah, I'm not misinterpreting things re. the M.I. drives as I used phrases 
like "I have heard from a limited number of people that their drives", "Is 
the rate of failure any more or less than is/has been experienced in the PC 
World? Maybe not" and "As a whole, probably not the best "case study" ever 
done, but with such limited numbers to draw from....". Also, I am referring 
to the here and now, not a DOA that you received directly from Mark Gordon 
that could be easily replaced since he was in business at this time.

> It was my experience that only the toughest Adam diehards would pay the
> price of an MI drive, which for the originals if I recall correctly was
> about $300 back when that was serious money. (The original Adam disc
> sold for $400 here -  think I still have a box with that price sticker
> on it).

The M.I. drives listed at $199 for the 5 1/4" 320K, $229 for the 3 1/2" 720K 
and $269 for the 3 1/2" 1.44Mb, plus those were just suggested retail prices 
and they were sold for $10-$20 cheaper than those listed prices by NIAD and 
some other mail-orders. Yes, still a considerale amount of money then and 
now, but plenty fair in my opinion. If you want to use an abandoned system 
that is supported by Homebrewers, then it's almost a certainity that 
hardware items are generally going to cost more... software is a lot easier 
to sell at a lower price point than commercially released software for other 

In my neck of the woods the Coleco 5 1/4" Disk Drive sold for $269.95 in 
early 1984 when it first was released and by the last half of 1984, they 
were being sold for $199.95 by local Toy'R Us and other retail outlets... so 
I guess we were a little more lucky concerning the price south of the 
border. That's not to say that in other parts of the States that the price 
wasn't higher for these and other items (large market, means more possible 
sales, means easier for the retailers to place lower prices on items).

> By contrast I have generally been unwilling to sell Coleco drives
> because they are so failure-prone. I'm told that the villain is the hot
> spot - rectifier? - on the controller board, which simply fries all the
> components around it. First the drive won't write, then it won't read,
> then it won't even recognize there's a disc in place. It seems that the
> culprit is pretty well certainly the board but even if the drive
> mechanism is salvageable, it only responds to its own controller so is
> pretty useless otherwise. Anyway I do not want to sell anything unless I
> am pretty certain that it is working and will continue to work, and
> given the prices Coleco drives bring I could not do so in good conscience.

Yeah, that makes it very tough to, IN GOOD CONSCIENCE, sell a drive for the 
price of $150-$225 (depending on what the package includes) to someone. As 
I've mentioned to you, I've sold 4 ADAM System bundles and 1 5 1/4" Disk 
Drive on the AtariAge MarketPlace Forum and have had lengthy discussions 
with each buyer about the pitfalls of buying nearly 30 year old equipment... 
especially since this stuff wasn't manufactured with the highest standards 
in place by Coleco, but if taken care of properly it should last a good 
number of years more. The good thing about selling to other AtariAge members 
is that they usually fully understand the pitfalls of buying and using these 
older systems and are generally very appreciative when someone takes the 
time to fully test items, bundle in a bunch of useful items and then pack it 
all up to the point that it could survive a military air supply drop! 
There's a lot of opportunity to sell items on AtariAge (I was contacted by 2 
other people after I had a deal settled on the fourth system I sold), but 
most buyers on there are very frugal so your not going to make a fortune... 
but you will be getting an ADAM system into the hands of someone who wants 
one, appreciates it and most importantly adds to our numbers!

> So my guess is the MI drives will only be pried from cold dead hands,
> and the Coleco drives are dead and dying, which explains the market. But
> I could be wrong - it's been known to happen.

Ain't that the truth. It almost brings a tear to me eye to think of all the 
systems and drives that ended up in landfiless as well.


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