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 Hope for "dead" MFM drives? View next topic
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Erik



Joined: 28 Feb 2006
Posts: 121
Location: LI, NY

PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 5:57 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I have two IBM XT's and both of them the hard drives decided to conk out on me over the past year or so. The drives don't make any horrible noises (they actually sound like they're spinning up fine). I do get the "hard drive failure" error code from the POST test. I'm wondering if worth the time to bother to reformat the hard drives? And if so, how do I do such a thing on a drive the computer won't acknowledge? (I read somewhere about a low level Debug format???)

And finally, one of my XT's the PSU fan burnt out. What would be the worst case senerio if I didn't get it back up and running?

Thanks!

(And by the by, both of these drives used to work w/o a problem in the past)
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Puckdropper
Site Admin


Joined: 02 Oct 2004
Posts: 761
Location: Not in Chicago

PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 7:37 am Reply with quoteBack to top

It's worth playing with, especially if you can do it during work. Just say you're "expanding your understanding" or something like that.

The standard checks should be done: Cable fit (take them off and put them back on), controller card in the proper socket, etc. Spinning up is good, do you get a LED?

Worst case scenerio is you don't get the PC up and running. If, however, you run the PC without a power supply fan, things could get hot, very hot. It could even catch fire if it gets hot enough. It'd most likely do so when you left the machine doing a LLF and you decided to take a shower, catching your house on fire quickly. You'd have to run out of the bathroom to get out, and wouldn't you know it one of the firefighters would slip on a hose or something and sue you for negligence even though you didn't put the hose there and you'd wind up with no clothes, no money, and worst of all, no computer.

To get the full effect of the rest of this post, run the following in Qbasic:
Quote:

PRINT
PRINT
PRINT
PRINT
PRINT
PRINT
PRINT
COLOR 14
PRINT " LOOKS LIKE YOU DIED!"
COLOR 15
PRINT " GAME OVER"
SOUND 400, 7
SOUND 350, 6
SOUND 300, 5
SOUND 250, 4
SOUND 400, 7
SOUND 350, 6
SOUND 300, 5
SOUND 250, 4
SOUND 200, 4
SOUND 150, 4
SOUND 200, 4
SOUND 150, 4

_________________
>say "Hello sailor"
Nothing happens here.

>score
Your score is 202 (total of 350 points), in 866 moves.
This gives you the rank of Adventurer.
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Erik



Joined: 28 Feb 2006
Posts: 121
Location: LI, NY

PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 1:44 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

lol! Hey that's my Gameover code for Wry! Razz

Well I certainly don't want firefighters putting a hose through the window while I'm showering, so perhaps I can see if I could do something about the fan. (Maybe sodder on one from another PSU? ...*gets flash back of the last power supply he took apart and exploded*)

About the LED's, one computer the light stays on. The other computer it goes on as if the drive was being accessed and then just isn't. Any ideas?

Update: I tried formatting with the Debug information on this site. (G=C800:5) I got it to open up the low level formatting program on my one hard drive controller and on the one hard drive it said it was completed. After that I went into FDISK and it still said there was no fixed disks on the computer.

After this I tried my second hard drive and hard drive controller using the same command. (It's an IBM controller and full height 20mb drive) It didn't open any program is just spit the same 1701 POST test results I get when I boot up. Could this mean that this hard drive controller is corrupt?

Well finally after that I mixed and matched the two. I put the "working" hard drive controller (the one that opened the program) with the full height drive. It went to format but exited with "error code 80". So I'm thinking that there's probably no hope for that drive?

...but what about the other one? Is there a way to get the system to see it?
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wdegroot



Joined: 03 Feb 2006
Posts: 488
Location: pennsylvanai

PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 10:44 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

wit an xt not with an at
the light will just blink or stay on for a short while
on an at it will usually just stay on.

the wd controller or the dtc is ok.
just don't ever use the original full lenget xt card
it will not respond to the debug script.

sounds like you did all the right things.
there is a remote possibility that it is a cable

--------

but it sounds like the board or the drive is " cooked"
there is a certain chip on the st-225, st-213 card that dies.
usually before the drive or the platters.
so don't take them apart for target prectice.

you may find another that has a bad platter or motor.

another situation is if you swapped controllers , the controller may be set for only certain drives and return errors with a different drive after a ll format..
for example: you could start with a properly operating 20 meg st-225
put it on some controller and it would work properly.
BUT.. if you tried to reformat it it would not GO.
look on the info pages,m the answers were put there and should give all the abnswers you need.
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Puckdropper
Site Admin


Joined: 02 Oct 2004
Posts: 761
Location: Not in Chicago

PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 2:08 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Of course it's your game over code... Where do you think I copied it from? My scenario just sounded so much like a Wry thing I had to "display" that screen.

Quote:

look on the info pages,m the answers were put there and should give all the abnswers you need.


Walter's probably referring to this:
http://www.uncreativelabs.net/textfiles/#drives

_________________
>say "Hello sailor"
Nothing happens here.

>score
Your score is 202 (total of 350 points), in 866 moves.
This gives you the rank of Adventurer.
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wdegroot



Joined: 03 Feb 2006
Posts: 488
Location: pennsylvanai

PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 4:28 am Reply with quoteBack to top

yes I repeat there are 5000 files on th4e old cd going back years.
I just extracted many of the interesting text files./
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lither



Joined: 12 Feb 2005
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 1:31 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

the program come with the controller is too simple
another low level format program such as spinrite is a better choice.
If it still failed , it would be a damage of the track 0 .
in the MFM HD track 0 damage is not as fatal as the modern HD. There is still some method to relocate the track 0 but it runs the risk of kill the disk forever.
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Jorg



Joined: 03 Dec 2005
Posts: 41
Location: Netherlands

PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 4:45 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I have the same problems with my ST-412 drive in my XT. It spins fine, low level formats (says it does), but can't read afterwards or use fdisk.
Looks like the magnetic layer is gone.

Best test for me was the DiskManager program.

_________________
Hey you with the pretty face, welcome to the human race!

IBM 5150 5155 5160 5162 5170
IBM 5151 5152 5153 5154
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wdegroot



Joined: 03 Feb 2006
Posts: 488
Location: pennsylvanai

PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 6:01 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

spinrite, and i used it a lot.. is not a low level format program as such
it is a low level format REPAIR / VERIFY program.
my experience has been if you cannot do a LL format at the most basic level no other program will work. there was a routine thqat employed either linux or , i think, cp/ m that would low level format a drive with a bad track zero. dos' fdisk would NOT
accept a disk with a bad track zero or creat a system so the 2nd partition could be made bootable. some Other operating systems do allow or permit this.

be aware that many st-213 cards have "st-225" near the center hole. that can be used to repair a faulty st-225. the chip on the pc board is often the FIRST thing to fail.
it looks like a 14/16 chip bit with middle pins merged. it is some kind of a head driver chip. near one edge near the rear or front middle.

the st 251 drives had a totally different board. their problem was the lube that caused the heads after the drive was heated, to stick to the platters.
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ryan no log
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 1:44 am Reply with quoteBack to top

A little less technical recommendation, BEFORE YOU bother trying the LL a drive ALWAYS try to let the machine warm up a good 10-15m then CTRL-ALT-DEL, if that doesn't work turn off then try again, see if you can get the unit to boot off a floppy if the hard drive keeps giving a failure (you should be able to because the XT bypasses a portion of the HD tests when a floppy is in the drive)
, see if you can boot off the floppy disk and see if you can change over to drive C: If you can you might be able to run spinrite and fix the drive well enough that 3rd party utilities are unnecessary.

One machine I had would only work if I turned it on, let it set running 15m, turn off the power supply turn back on wait for disk failure, hit ctrl-alt-del, boot off a floppy, run the disk parking program, ctrl-alt-del, then it would boot and run flawlessly off the hard drive.

For some reason the drive wasn't parking correctly and this is what it took to get the drive working right. Amazingly that same machine ran excellent without issue for weeks at a time so long as it was left on.

Good Luck
Erik



Joined: 28 Feb 2006
Posts: 121
Location: LI, NY

PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 10:12 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

ryan no log wrote:

let the machine warm up a good 10-15m

I'm going to try that right now. (Btw I have the old original keyboard so there's no "CTRL" button Razz

About the chips... is there any way to see if they're gone? or am I just going to have to rip it out and test it?

And finally, any suggestions on where I can find any of these programs to give them a try?

Thanks a bunch.

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Puckdropper
Site Admin


Joined: 02 Oct 2004
Posts: 761
Location: Not in Chicago

PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 10:25 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

DAGS.

Have you looked where CAPS LOCK is supposed to be? I haven't knowledge of seeing a keyboard without a CTRL key.

_________________
>say "Hello sailor"
Nothing happens here.

>score
Your score is 202 (total of 350 points), in 866 moves.
This gives you the rank of Adventurer.
View user's profileSend private messageVisit poster's websiteAIM AddressYahoo MessengerMSN MessengerICQ Number
wdegroot



Joined: 03 Feb 2006
Posts: 488
Location: pennsylvanai

PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 3:23 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

" low level format" programs, when used on an xt may not work or give freaky results like " divide overflow"
mostly they were designed to work with an AT and above.
remember that the llf on a xt and an at are different and one does not recognize the other.

i will have to see if the one mfm drive i have here is still good
the chip: i think the number is something obtuse
that you csannot order a chip by that number.
I will look at the one st-225 I have inside and see.
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creepingnet



Joined: 19 Oct 2004
Posts: 137
Location: Lynnwood,WA

PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2006 3:18 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

On the subject of drives that park improperly, I somehow managed to get the CDC IDE Hard Disk (which was basically an HH RLL drive with an IDE adapter circuit on it) in an old Deskpro 386 working once by lubing the Head mechanisim with 3-in-1 oil. It worked FLAWLESSLY after that.

Here's a strange one. My old XT clone that I had was hackneyed together by me to have an MFM and an RLL hard drive in it on an RLL controller (ST-238R and an ST-225). When run with the 238R alone it ran fine, but gang up the 238R and the 225, which I know was kinda risky, the 238R would give Data Seek errors after getting warm, and the 225 would read fine and dandy formatted to 30MB! Reboot and the computer ran fine. Really weird, but kinda neat that I could at least get it working with an MFM and an RLL drive on the same controller, and have it work without harming anything.

_________________
84' Tandy 1000(a)
90' GEM Computer Products 286
12' Franken-486
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wdegroot



Joined: 03 Feb 2006
Posts: 488
Location: pennsylvanai

PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2006 4:25 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

it's been said over and over, that a 8088 CANNOT run 2 controllers.
maybe it's true, but i was given a sy stem to work on that had
originally a st-225. the owner bought a st 277- 60 meg ( really a rrl version of the st-252 40 meg) with a xt 27 x - rll card.
he just plunked them in and they seemed to run
but after I backed up and ll formatted the drives the drive letter sequnewce changed.
before hand the drives did not have drive letters assigned as expected, after the format and reinstall they followed the rules. forget the exact details, it was a long time ago.
I don't think the rll 8 bit card had an as\dress jumper,
I was aware of that as there was a mod/jumper used when the cards were used on a tandy 1000 .
t5here were schemes to run 4 st-4096 ( 80 meg) mfm drives in a xt.
yes i have a few somewhere. 35-45 watts of power consumed
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