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286 Parallel Port cdrom no labelling, drivers unknown

SpookyZalost

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ok, so I've waited a bit, made sure registration went through, researched a bit on the forum, did some google searching (how I originally found this place), but so far I'm having no luck, so I thought I would ask if anyone else might be able to shed some light on this dilema I'm having.

I have a PS/2 Model 50 running MSdos 5.1, works fine, runs the original simcity really well, and I've recently gotten a parallel port CD rom drive, which hardware wise checks out, loads up on newer machines ect...

now the computer bios picks up the parallel port cd rom, so I'm fairly certain this is a drivers issue, though I'm not sure where, and I've tried to use generic drivers without much more success than hardware being detected, I was hoping somebody could give me an idea how to go about getting my old 286 to detect the cd rom, which I believe is from around the same time (mid to late 1980's?), wost case, I may have to drill the screws because they are stripped so I can get at the case and see what the manufacturer of the drive is inside the enclosure, but I would like to avoid that if possible.

I don't intend to play music or anything, just be able to read larger data chunks than what's on floppy discs, however slow that may be, though I do understand that the amount of memory available might be an issue, so I'm somewhat unsure if I can get this much farther.

but if anyone might have an idea about how to get this working, I would love to hear some suggestions, about the only thing I haven't tried is finding an audio card with a parallel port CD connector, or installing some form of 286 compatible unix, other than that, I'm fairly stumped.

any help would be appreciated, and thanks in advance!
 

Chuck(G)

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Parallel port CDs usually aren't really parallel port--there's a bus replicator to SCSI or sometimes IDE in the box that hooks into a conventional CD-ROM. As far as I'm aware, there's nothing in the PS/2 BIOS that can identify any specific device on a parallel port--it's all done with loadable drivers.

So my first question is: Do you really have a parallel port drive or is it a SCSI device? Many devices of the time used the same DB25 connector that parallel devices used.

What machine were you trying it on where it worked? Who made the CD-ROM box?

Just trying to get some basic information...
 

SpookyZalost

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So my first question is: Do you really have a parallel port drive or is it a SCSI device? Many devices of the time used the same DB25 connector that parallel devices used.

What machine were you trying it on where it worked? Who made the CD-ROM box?

Just trying to get some basic information...

ok, I used it on my 486 which has a parallel port in the back, that one is running a light weight linux distro, (very lightweight) and it seemed to show up ok and I was able to mount it as a disc drive after some tweaking and config file editing.

also tried it on my Pentium 3 which was running crunchbang, again worked with some tweaking, I didn't try it on a win 98 machine yet, but I probably should.

the external case for the cd rom has no labeling at all, no stickers no model numbers, nothing, other than a label written on tape to give it a number probably for a server center or a computer lab, the screws are stripped so I decided against trying to open it to see what the manufactuerer is nor if it's a scsi or ide drive, I will see about having some pictures uploaded after work to give you guys a better idea about what I'm talking about.
 

SpidersWeb

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So if I'm reading it correctly, you've got the IBM PS/2 Model 50 to load a driver and detect the CDROM? If so, that's an extremely good start.

Did you add MSCDEX with the correct options in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file? <-- this is what actually assigns a drive letter and makes it accessible in DOS.

p.s. drive wont be from the 1980's, more likely 1992-1995 would be my guess.
 

SpookyZalost

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So if I'm reading it correctly, you've got the IBM PS/2 Model 50 to load a driver and detect the CDROM? If so, that's an extremely good start.

Did you add MSCDEX with the correct options in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file? <-- this is what actually assigns a drive letter and makes it accessible in DOS.

p.s. drive wont be from the 1980's, more likely 1992-1995 would be my guess.

well the drive lights up on bootup, it recieves signal, and I'm guessing there is some hardware communication, and the driver I used was the free dos one, as well as a few other generic ones, which seem to get part way but won't detect the drive completely, my thoughts are that it's because it's not internal, but that's just a guess.

Below are some pictures I took of the unit, the last one being a stripped screw, of which there are at least 3

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/94631310/retro%20hardware/IMG_20140219_232734.jpg
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/94631310/retro%20hardware/IMG_20140219_232802.jpg
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/94631310/retro%20hardware/IMG_20140219_232915.jpg
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/94631310/retro%20hardware/IMG_20140219_232943.jpg

there is no identifying information, my theory is that the case was bought and a drive put inside instead of a whole unit being bought.
 
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SpidersWeb

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well the drive lights up on bootup, it recieves signal, and I'm guessing there is some hardware communication, and the driver I used was the free dos one, as well as a few other generic ones, which seem to get part way but won't detect the drive completely, my thoughts are that it's because it's not internal, but that's just a guess.

Well the PS/2 has no CD-ROM support whatsoever. If the drive flashes on startup it's probably just the computer initialising the printer port.
I was hoping you had a driver installed which was detecting it. The generic ATAPI drivers wont work, but a generic one designed for parallel port drives might - what drivers have you tried? What do they say?
 

SpookyZalost

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Can you post a clear photo of the back of the unit, please?

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/94631310/retro%20hardware/IMG_20140219_234452.jpg

Well the PS/2 has no CD-ROM support whatsoever. If the drive flashes on startup it's probably just the computer initialising the printer port.
I was hoping you had a driver installed which was detecting it. The generic ATAPI drivers wont work, but a generic one designed for parallel port drives might - what drivers have you tried? What do they say?

mostly just the generic Dos CD rom drivers, it's sorta like they run, but don't detect anything, and if it's just initializing the parallel port, that makes sense as to why the light and the drive powers up on boot.
 

luvit

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I agree that's SCSI. Here's why:
Parallel port external CD-Rom Drives only had one centronix connector. Your device has two centronix connectors.
The 2nd port would be for SCSI daisy-chaining multiple external devices or the 2nd connector would allow for a required SCSI terminator.
 

krebizfan

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I agree that's SCSI. Here's why:
Parallel port external CD-Rom Drives only had one centronix connector. Your device has two centronix connectors.
The 2nd port would be for SCSI daisy-chaining multiple external devices or the 2nd connector would allow for a required SCSI terminator.

Are you sure that Parallel Port CD-ROM drives had only one Centronics port? I haven't seen any device for PC parallel port using Centronics connector except for printers. All the parallel port enclosures I have seen have had 2 DB-25 connectors (one to the computer and the other for passthrough to printer) which is a problem since Mac targeted SCSI enclosures used the same DB-25 connector but get unhappy if attached to a parallel port.

Note for the OP: I can't say for sure with that enclosure but many of the SCSI enclosures I have the SCSI ID switch on the back doesn't do anything. You may have to open up the enclosure and extract drive to manually set the correct SCSI ID.
 

Chuck(G)

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I've got a parallel port device here with one DB25F and one "Centronics/Amphenol" 34-position female connector, the idea being that you simply grabbed another printer-to-PC cable and inserted the thing between your printer and the PC.

But what's on the OP's CD-ROM box are 50-position "Centronics/Amphenol/Blue Ribbon" connectors, used extensively in the SCSI-1 days--and by many office multi-line telephone systems as well. I seem to recall that the Dataproducts printer interface was 50-position as well, but not the Amphenol-type connectors--and the computer end was usually a DC-37M.
 

luvit

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Yeah, I can stand corrected. I've only used a few parallel port drives.
The two drives I've installed with Centronix connectors did only had one port.
I did install another with two DB25 pin connectors.. one for a printer piggy-back.
But alas, the numeric SCSI ID selector is likely the best answer that's it's SCSI.
 

SpookyZalost

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before I went and messed with the drivers again I went and checked the cable and the ports on the back, I'm fairly certain that it's a scsi connector on one end and a parallel port on the other, with the parallel port connecting to the back of my PS/2 Model 50
Tried to take steady pic's to show what I mean
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/94631310/retro%20hardware/IMG_20140220_171407.jpg
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/94631310/retro%20hardware/IMG_20140220_171513.jpg
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/94631310/retro%20hardware/IMG_20140220_171616.jpg

considering what I know now... would it be easier just to get a scsi add in card and use a scsi to scsi cable for the drive?

I was thinking about getting one eventually, mostly because I have a 9 drive scsi hdd array which I was thinking about using for extending the storage on the computer.
 
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NeXT

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The model 50 does not have onboard SCSI. You're plugging into the parallel port which is NOT SCSI compatible. That other port you see next to it is a 25 pin serial port.
 

SpookyZalost

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that's the cable that came with it, but then I think the person just gave me a random cable to connect it.

I think I'll get a 16bit MCA bus SCSI controller card with my next paycheck to see if that fixes the problem, I've seen several and they are not that expensive.
 

Chuck(G)

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You'd see a lot of older parts with cables like that--they're still SCSI, but employ the old "Apple SCSI" DB25 connector, though the convention wasn't limited to Apple by any means. I've got several SCSI cards with DB25s on them. One or two even have stickers above the connector saying "SCSI". The terrible thing is that the DB25 SCSI on a PC sometimes isn't exactly the same as that on an Apple! :rolleyes:

I suspect that the Commodore Amiga was also complicit in this reprehensible practice of using DB25s for non-datacomm applications, though IBM also promulgated the mess by using them for parallel interface as well.

At any rate, this is a SCSI cable:

MAC_Scsi_01.jpg


Just more voodoo to add to the SCSI story. The problem was that the ANSI SCSI committee never formally specified the exact connector to be used.

To make matters even more confusing, this is a printer cable:

sieee128ab.jpg
 
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