• Please review our updated Terms and Rules here
  • Exhibitor application for VCF West 2022 is now open! If you are interested in exhibiting, please fill out the form here.

ST-225 hard drive not being read by WD1002A-WX1 controller

Rubix

Experienced Member
Joined
May 20, 2007
Messages
150
Hi all, I recently was very lucky to having been given this early PC's Limited Turbo PC from 1985. This was the very first Dell PC.

I was able to boot it from floppy, using a different monitor. The monitor that came with it, gives a garbled image and I'm not sure if it's the monitor, or me using an incompatible cable. The monitor cable was missing when I got it.

The problem I'm facing now, is that I can't get the computer to read from the hard drive. The cables were disconnected when I first got it, and the controller cable was damaged. I connected a different controller cable which now seems to make the controller and drive initialize properly. The drive mechanically sounds as it should; it spins up properly, does the whole seek tests and then the LED turns off. Then a short blink. Once the POST is done, both drive A: and C: light up looking for a boot sector, but it doesn't find anything.

Booting to PC-DOS 2.0, I can go to C: but it can't read the drive. The light doesn't even come on. When I try to list the partitions with FDISK (option 4), I see the drive LED blink for a bit and then FDISK throws an error saying it can't read from the drive.

Interestingly, the exact same things happen when I disconnect the data cable entirely. I tried a different data cable, but that gives the same results.

I attached pictures of the controller with the jumper settings and the cable connections. The controller card's BIOS is the Super Bios.

Controller settings can be found here: https://stason.org/TULARC/pc/hard-d...L-CORPORATION-Two-MFM-ST506-412-driv-221.html
Hard drive specifications can be found here: https://stason.org/TULARC/pc/hard-drives-hdd/seagate/ST225-21MB-5-25-HH-MFM-ST412.html

I checked all the jumpers on the card, and it all seems correct. Does anyone have any suggestions what I could try next? Thank you!
 

Attachments

  • 2021-12-18 18.29.49 small.jpg
    2021-12-18 18.29.49 small.jpg
    552.8 KB · Views: 8
  • DSC00837 small.jpg
    DSC00837 small.jpg
    335.1 KB · Views: 8
  • 2021-12-28 12.43.25 small.jpg
    2021-12-28 12.43.25 small.jpg
    282.8 KB · Views: 7
  • 2021-12-28 12.43.31 small.jpg
    2021-12-28 12.43.31 small.jpg
    220.8 KB · Views: 8

ST251

Experienced Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2020
Messages
86
Location
Northeastern US
unfortunately, the drive may have lost its low level formatting after (what I assume was) sitting in storage for a long period of time. if you're not trying to recover any data, I'd recommend attempting a low level format.
 

Rubix

Experienced Member
Joined
May 20, 2007
Messages
150
unfortunately, the drive may have lost its low level formatting after (what I assume was) sitting in storage for a long period of time. if you're not trying to recover any data, I'd recommend attempting a low level format.
If there's some advice I trust, it's from an ST251 hard drive ;) Haha. I was considering performing a low-level format. I don't necessarily need to save old data that may be on the drive, but I am curious to see what's on there.

What do you think about the fact that disconnecting the data cable makes no difference at all in how the drive behaves?
 

ST251

Experienced Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2020
Messages
86
Location
Northeastern US
in my experience, having no data cable connected would produce the same result as an unformatted drive.

what you can try to do before trying to format it (if you have the tools, etc.) is download a copy of SpeedStor (here: http://minuszerodegrees.net/software/speedstor.htm ) and run it on that PC and see if the non destructive tests pass (controller test, seek test, defect manager > scan surface ). If you try the surface scan and most, if not all of the sectors are reported as bad, don't be alarmed and run a low level format.
 

Rubix

Experienced Member
Joined
May 20, 2007
Messages
150
Thanks! I tried the low-level format, but it quits with error code 80. I still suspect there's something wrong with the data channel.
 

Attachments

  • 2021-12-28 13.26.42 small.jpg
    2021-12-28 13.26.42 small.jpg
    143 KB · Views: 9
  • 2021-12-28 13.27.42 small.jpg
    2021-12-28 13.27.42 small.jpg
    102.5 KB · Views: 9

Rubix

Experienced Member
Joined
May 20, 2007
Messages
150
That results in error 20 (controller failure) when trying the low-level format.
 

ST251

Experienced Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2020
Messages
86
Location
Northeastern US
ok so the controller is definitely doing its business. can you take a photo of the current jumper configuration, or is it unchanged from the photo in the first post?

also, try formatting with speedstor and see what it says

forgot one thing, how is the drive jumpered?
 

Rubix

Experienced Member
Joined
May 20, 2007
Messages
150
I changed the configuration back to what it was. I did try the jumper on pin 2&3 but that doesn't make a difference, so I changed it back to 1&2.

I think the drive is jumpered correctly. I think this indicates drive 1, right?

I want to try Speedstor but I'll need to prepare a more modern computer for that with which I can write to 360K floppy disks.
 

Attachments

  • 2021-12-28 14.01.58 small.jpg
    2021-12-28 14.01.58 small.jpg
    346.8 KB · Views: 3

Rubix

Experienced Member
Joined
May 20, 2007
Messages
150
Alright, thank you so much for your help! I had a PII with a 360K disk drive that I used for this sort of work. I'm gonna dig it up!
 

ST251

Experienced Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2020
Messages
86
Location
Northeastern US
No problem, it's just hard trying to do it without it in front of my face :p remote support isn't really my thing
 

jafir

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2018
Messages
920
Location
Arkansas
I wouldn’t trust that the jumper configuration for the built in drive table matches the website in your first post. I’d recommend using dynamic. You could also run sstor /romlist to see what’s in the table on the card.
 
Top