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mbates14
May 31st, 2008, 03:19 PM
I have a compaq portable 2. it has a type 2 hard drive in it.

I dont have any clue as to what controller system it uses. it looks like the drive itself is MFM, but then there is a piggyback board on the bottom of it, which uses a single IDE like cable (key pin in different spot, so cant use IDE). and says Winchester on the controller card.

The drive itself is a MiniScribe 8425.

never heard of it. but anyway, i formatted up a compaq setup disk to set the bios to type 2 (battery dead).

When the machine restarts, powers up. the drive spins up, and the head will seek across the disk, and return back to its home position on the stepper servo opto-interrupter.

but as soon as the BIOS tries to test/access the disk, the disk makes a funny chopping noise, and returns back to home. and keeps repeating this cycle. I watched the stepper servo, the chopper noises is the servo doing a single step at a time. it will single step across the entire platter, and return back to home. and repeat this cycle. it will do this like 10 times before the bios reports Hard Disk 0 error.

is the drive shot? or will a low level format save it? if the heads were bad, it wouldnt pass the power up check? only does it when bios accesses drive.

vwestlife
May 31st, 2008, 06:54 PM
Is it an 8425XT? The "XT" suffix indicated MiniScribe's "IDE-XT" interface which was completely incompatible with anything except MiniScribe's own controller. It wouldn't even work with other IDE-XT controllers from Seagate or Western Digital.

Otherwise, if the drive itself has two edge connectors (one is the same size as a floppy cable, the other is smaller) then it is a MFM drive, and has some propetary interface or controller hooked up to it.

Regardless of the interface used, these MiniScribe drives were loud, slow, and cheaply made. The magnetic oxide on the disc platters develops thin spots which gradually show up as more and more bad sectors, and the junky rack-and-pinion mechanism which moves the heads back and forth develops mechanical free-play over the years, which throws the drive out of alignment with the data that was previously recorded on the discs.

Nonetheless, these MiniScribe 8xxx-series drives were extremely popular in the '80s because they were among the first 3" hard drives to be widely available at a low price.

mbates14
June 1st, 2008, 03:59 PM
no its an MFM drive with some proprietary WD1002 controller. or some shit piggy backed on the bottom of the drive. which uses an IDE-like cable that runs back to the ISA card. the drive has 2 cables comming out into this board. and this board has 1 cable going to the ISA card. dont know, something compaq used.

Anyway... the drive is shot. used the dos Drive Manager, and all sectors were bad. either hte heads crashed or the platters are shot.

vwestlife
June 1st, 2008, 04:54 PM
The Portable II is a 286, so you should be able to rip out that proprietary stuff and use a standard IDE-AT drive and controller. You might need a controller with an onboard BIOS to support anything larger than what the Compaq's predefined drive types allow (usually only up to 100 MB or so).

mbates14
June 2nd, 2008, 05:16 PM
dont really need anything larger than that. seriously, whats out there that a 286 will run that you need 100mb of space for? and only 640k of ram??

Mike Chambers
June 3rd, 2008, 01:10 PM
yup, sounds to me like the R/W heads keep smacking into the inside wall of the drive because it can't find address mark 0.

it's basically the same thing i did when i was back in high school waiting for class to end... smacking my head against the wall.

i agree with vwestlife, try a regular IDE controller. if it IS a 286, that's great because you can use any old 16-bit ISA disk controller. they're literally a dime a dozen. go on eBay or even just a google product search, you'll find a ton of them for under 10 and even under 5 dollars... many of them still in the original shrink wrap.

that is the one thing i really hate the most about XT systems. you have to scour the globe for an 8-bit IDE controller and pay top dollar because they're so rare, otherwise you are going to be looking for another 20 year old MFM drive when the one you have in it goes belly-up. you may or may not get one that is still working. if it is working, it might just blow up a month later. it's a crap-shoot.

vwestlife
June 3rd, 2008, 07:19 PM
that is the one thing i really hate the most about XT systems. you have to scour the globe for an 8-bit IDE controller and pay top dollar because they're so rare, otherwise you are going to be looking for another 20 year old MFM drive when the one you have in it goes belly-up. you may or may not get one that is still working. if it is working, it might just blow up a month later. it's a crap-shoot.
Generally the MFM/RLL drives that are still working fine today are the survivors; the flakey ones have all bit the dust years ago. I've had the best luck with Seagate. Their old hard drives almost always either work fine or don't work at all. On the other hand, MiniScribe drives have been terribly flakey for me; they'll seem to work at first, but then problems like bad sectors and/or stiction will get worse and worse until the point that the drive is no longer usable.

Mike Chambers
June 3rd, 2008, 08:28 PM
Generally the MFM/RLL drives that are still working fine today are the survivors; the flakey ones have all bit the dust years ago. I've had the best luck with Seagate. Their old hard drives almost always either work fine or don't work at all. On the other hand, MiniScribe drives have been terribly flakey for me; they'll seem to work at first, but then problems like bad sectors and/or stiction will get worse and worse until the point that the drive is no longer usable.

that's very strange, i hear that from everybody about seagate vs miniscribe.

my experience has been the exact opposite. i have a seagate ST-251 that stopped working many years ago, but the miniscribe i have still kinda works... i think i need to LLF it though... it's been acting up lately. i don't trust it these days.

for kicks, i tried hooking that seagate up again a few weeks ago but all it does is click and buzz until i get an HDD failure message.

mbates14
June 4th, 2008, 05:11 AM
you know something. i had an old mac SE burried in the corner that still starts up and boots fine.

Took out the hard drive, and its the exact same miniscribe. 8425. haha.

but the problem is, its got a SCSI mainboard instead of MFM mainboard, but since they are the same drive, i swapped the controllers from the other drive. same problem. so i know for a fact its a failed drive controller board on the drive itself. so i stuck my SCSI board back on the miniscribe drive and stuck in my ISA SCSI card i had laying around.

the problem is, the SCSI card doesnt have a bootrom. :-( so i have to load a dos driver from a disk before itll see the card. only problem is, i dont have a dos driver. AVA-1505. any ideas?