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Floppy Problems and Bus Questions

antiquekid3

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Hey guys,

I recently got a boat load of computer stuff from the late 90s. With it were some Asus motherboards. These have 6 PCI slots, one AGP slot, and one 16-bit ISA slot. As many of you may recall, I recently got an IBM 5160. The MFM hard drive is already starting to go. Several times it has refused to boot. Finally I turned the drive upside-down, and it's been more reliable. However, I'd like to make a full backup of this drive before it finally hits the dust.

I have a Panasonic 5.25" drive (JU-475-2), but it refuses to work in this motherboard. I have the floppy cable connected correctly (I have triple-checked), and I set up the jumpers according to this PDF: http://www.alphamicro.com/dss10/40200A03.pdf. I have tried configuring it in the BIOS as both a 360K and 1.2M drive. No difference. The LED isn't even lighting. However, the drive does spin until I insert a disk and fold down the lever. It slows to a halt. Until I remove the disk it won't move. Any suggestions? I was going to install this so I could copy files from the IBM to floppies, and then copy them onto the new computer (running Win98, by the way).

I took out the Tandon drive from the IBM, and it works great. I would rather keep it in the IBM though...plus, it's full-height, and I want some more drives in my tower.

Also, how can I connect my MFM drive to my motherboard? Will an 8-bit card work in a 16-bit slot? What do I need to do in the BIOS to get it to work? That would make copying files VERY easy.

Lastly, can I make a disk image once (or if) I get the MFM drive connected? With that image, could I copy it to an IDE drive and boot from it?

What would ya'll do if you wanted to preserve the contents of the drive?

Kyle
 

Chuck(G)

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Why would a guide for an Alpha Micro system have anything to do with a PC? Here's what I think the jumpers should be for PC; all indicated jumpers are on. If not mentioned, assume the jumper is off:

TM, DS2,DS,AT,DC,CX,SP,DA,MM
 

antiquekid3

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Chuck, did you look at the PDF? Page 9 (which is page 13 of the actual file) has the jumper settings.

The TM jumper doesn't have a set of pins installed. It's defaulted to off as well. What would that do anyways?

I'm going to give it another try. I shall report my findings.

Kyle
 

Chuck(G)

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Yes, I did--and the jumperings are wrong for a PC. Alpha Micro systems were sui generis.

TM is the terminator jumper. Some drives have this pinned, others do not. If you have one with a header, leave the jumper on.

There are numerous discussions on the forum about transferring data between systems using parallel or serial ports.
 

antiquekid3

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Alright, that makes sense.

The drive works! Chuck, you're a genius! Thank you so much for your help! And it works without the TM jumper installed.

Do you have any suggestions on hooking up my 8-bit MFM drive controller to the 16-bit ISA slot?

Kyle
 

Raven

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16-bit slots are (afaik fully) backward compatible with 8-bit slots, so you should just be able to pop that card into a 16-bit motherboard and it will work.

The long section of a 16-bit slot literally *IS* an 8-bit ISA slot, after all.
 

Chuck(G)

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I'd say that the chance of a XT-style HDC working in a recent (what, P3?) box in addition to the normal IDE hard drive is pretty remote. I'd use a serial or parallel "Laplink" cable between the two and use any of the PC-to-PC transfer packages, such as Norton Commander or LapLink (there are many others).

It might be possible that the 8-bit XT controller would work if it's the only hard disk in the system, but then, that doesn't get you where you want to be.
 

Ole Juul

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. . . The MFM hard drive is already starting to go. Several times it has refused to boot. Finally I turned the drive upside-down, and it's been more reliable. However, I'd like to make a full backup of this drive before it finally hits the dust. . . .
Forgive me if I missed something in this thread, but the above statement made me wonder if you have done a low level format recently. When you do, remember to do it in the orientation in which the drive is going to be used. Anyway, perhaps you know this stuff and that is why you are getting ready for a backup. :)
 

antiquekid3

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Wow, I'm surprised someone hasn't done what I want to do before! It seems as though there'd be SOME way to hook up an MFM drive with an IDE drive. It also would seem as though this would be the easiest way to transfer and backup data. That way you don't have to go installing software and hooking up a cable between two systems.

By the way, my motherboard is an Asus P3B-F. It's from ~2000. Old enough to have a 16-bit ISA slot, but new enough to run a Pentium II. It'll be a nice system for (eventual) compatibility.

I haven't done a low-level format at all. I guess the last time that was done was...I don't even know. I love the sound of the Seagate drive, but if it proves unreliable in it's standard position (which is NOT upside-down!), then I would like to upgrade with the XT-IDE card. However, before I give up hope on the MFM drive, I would like to LLF it. I mean, why not use it until it breaks? For the kind of stuff I'm doing, I'm not concerned about losing data.

Here's my latest problem: I wanted to hook up a 3.5" drive with my 5.25" drive as B: and A:, respectively. However, when I connect them, neither drive works. I've changed the BIOS settings to 1.2M for the 5.25", and 1.44M for the 3.5". I made sure my connections were good too. I also swapped the drives on the cable and changed the BIOS to match. Any clue why neither drive responds?

Kyle
 

Ole Juul

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Wow, I'm surprised someone hasn't done what I want to do before! It seems as though there'd be SOME way to hook up an MFM drive with an IDE drive. It also would seem as though this would be the easiest way to transfer and backup data. That way you don't have to go installing software and hooking up a cable between two systems.

Well I don't know how you're going to connect drives without cables. :) Seriously, connecting a cable and placing a file on each computer ("installing software" as you call it) is not nearly as much work as making this post. A cable is the time tested way to transfer data. Choose from serial, parallel, and NIC - whichever suits your fancy. Everything looks like a challenge if you haven't done it before, but I assure you that once you've done any of those three transfer methods, you will be able to do it with other computers in just a few minutes. :)

I haven't done a low-level format at all. I guess the last time that was done was...I don't even know. I love the sound of the Seagate drive, but if it proves unreliable in it's standard position (which is NOT upside-down!), then I would like to upgrade with the XT-IDE card. However, before I give up hope on the MFM drive, I would like to LLF it. I mean, why not use it until it breaks? For the kind of stuff I'm doing, I'm not concerned about losing data.
MFM drives should be low level formatted as a matter of regular maintenance. If you don't know how long it's been then now is the time. The physical position is a matter of accounting for slack in the mechanism. These drives can sometimes run for a long time, however if the number of bad sectors is starting to get large, then perhaps it's time for the XT-IDE card solution.

Here's my latest problem: I wanted to hook up a 3.5" drive with my 5.25" drive as B: and A:, respectively. However, when I connect them, neither drive works. I've changed the BIOS settings to 1.2M for the 5.25", and 1.44M for the 3.5". I made sure my connections were good too. I also swapped the drives on the cable and changed the BIOS to match. Any clue why neither drive responds?

1/ enable the drives in the BIOS
2/ connect suitable power cables
3/ assume or check that both drives are configured as "B" (default)
4/ connect a proper data cable with the right twist

If you did all that then something is broken. :)
 

Chuck(G)

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Wow, I'm surprised someone hasn't done what I want to do before! It seems as though there'd be SOME way to hook up an MFM drive with an IDE drive. It also would seem as though this would be the easiest way to transfer and backup data. That way you don't have to go installing software and hooking up a cable between two systems.

Like I say, try it--but don't be surprised if it doesn't work.

By the way, my motherboard is an Asus P3B-F. It's from ~2000. Old enough to have a 16-bit ISA slot, but new enough to run a Pentium II. It'll be a nice system for (eventual) compatibility.

Heck, people used Slockets and 1.4GHz Tualerons with that board. It's not all that old.

... a 3.5" drive with my 5.25" drive as B: and A:, respectively. However, when I connect them, neither drive works. I've changed the BIOS settings to 1.2M for the 5.25", and 1.44M for the 3.5". I made sure my connections were good too. I also swapped the drives on the cable and changed the BIOS to match. Any clue why neither drive responds?

Do both activity lights come on when you power on? If so, one of your drives is connected with the cable "upside-down".
 

modem7

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Wow, I'm surprised someone hasn't done what I want to do before! It seems as though there'd be SOME way to hook up an MFM drive with an IDE drive. It also would seem as though this would be the easiest way to transfer and backup data.
It is certainly possible (not guaranteed) to get an MFM drive/controller up and going in a Pentium based computer, in addition to an existing IDE drive.
See post #12 of earlier thread http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?10200-ST-225-MFM-in-newer-PC/page2

Note that there though, a 16-bit MFM controller (an AT MFM controller) was used. An 8-bit controller will present possible problems. For example, one possible issue is that being an 8-bit card, it is designed for a 4.77MHz bus, and won't run reliably (or at all) in faster machines.

The 8-bit HDD controller (XT controller) uses different I/O,ROM,INT,DMA resources to that of a 16-bit HDD controller (AT controller). Therefore, I would not expect the BIOS in a Pentium based computer to be aware of an 8-bit HDD controller.

Code:
    I/O      ROM   INT  DMA
-----------------------------
XT: 320-32F  C800  5    3
AT: 1F0-1F7  -     14   -

As with any ISA card addition, you have to worry about clashes with I/O,ROM,INT,DMA. In a Pentium based computer, INT 5 is reserved for use of a second parallel port.

So if you are going to try this, you only need to just plug in the controller card. If it works, great. If it doesn't, leave it at that. I certainly won't be entertaining more discussion on the subject.

It also would seem as though this would be the easiest way to transfer and backup data.
Easiest? What about the use of an external ZIP100 drive connected to the parallel port?
 
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