View Full Version : Experience with SCSI card readers / multi-media readers??

January 7th, 2012, 06:46 AM
I asked myself what could i use for backupping and easy file transfers..
I thought of using tape drives.. They are easy to get, but mostly they are expensive.. And the big disadvantage is, the data doesnt last long on tapes..probably data couldnt stored longer then perhaps 10 year or so..

Maybe ZIP drives or a Jazz drives? No i dont know, because i have never used those too..

I found SCSI card readers... Could that be to solution on old pcs, for what i want to use for my purpose??

I want to know, do they work good on older computer like 8088-XT and 80286.??

I dont care if they wont work with swapping.. If the system boots and the compact flash or SD card are detected to work that seemed fine to my. If i only can backup and transfer files to harddisk that would a very big bless to me..

And i want to know, do you guys have experience with those SCSI card / multimedia readers?

January 7th, 2012, 09:39 AM
Tapes, depending on the type, can last a very long time. I've handled DC600A types that were more than 20 years old with perfect success. 8" floppies can easily retain their data for 30-40 years. Half-inch tape can go for half a century, if stored correctly.

But that's not the point.

Even if you find a suitable backup medium, you'll eventually run into the situation where the gear to read it won't interface with your system (standards change) or you can't get any new media without paying an arm and a leg. (For example, I have used DC300, DC600A, DC6250, DC1000, DDS2, DDS3, DLT2, DLT4 tapes, Sparq, Jaz, Zip, 4.2GB MO and hard disk as backup media) Even if you don't use it often, the mechanicals of a tape or disk drive can break down. Even CD-R and DVD-R have limited lifetimes, depending on whom you ask.

Rather than thinking of backups as etching in stone, think of them as writing in wet sand.

You really need to renew your backups on more modern media periodically--and hang on to the originals

Nothing, absolutely nothing, is forever, except for the consequences of being naive.

As graphic examples of what I've said, someone located a half-inch tape that I wrote back around 1973. It's recorded in 7-track 556 BPI odd parity format, archived by a program that no one even remembers. I've got a single 8" hard-sector disk here written by an early word processor. I'm getting to the point where I can understand the logical structure of the disk, but the actual content and organization escapes me (it's definitely not ASCII, EBCDIC or anything else I can recognize. And there's no directory of files as such either).

January 7th, 2012, 10:09 AM
But what media should you recommend me to use? Are there easy alternatives? And would working great?
And do you have experience with that scsi card reader option?

January 7th, 2012, 10:26 AM
Overpriced and sunsetting (mostly made for old Mac users) is my take on them. And be aware that, depending on your XT controller, you might be limited to no more than 1GB cards.

If what you want to do is backup from an XT-era system and use SCSI, I'd recommend setting up something like a ZIP drive (SCSI version). Better yet is to simply network your machine with another one. I can transfer files between my XP system and my XT clone using either ftp or NetBEUI protocols. When the data is on your more modern system, your options for archiving open up considerably.

If you're using an XTIDE card, you could plug in one of those double-headed CF adapters and back up your data to the second CF.

January 9th, 2012, 03:09 AM
How big in size are the cassettes if iam going to use a SCSI zip drive? Are there bigger ones then 250MB..per tape
And is there an easy way to transfer (just click and copy)?

How do i need to setup a network under dos environment?? I dont have experience with that.. And require it more memory from my XT computer?? Could it be off handled with the upper memory area, because i have enough mem there.. Or could it been handled by the expanded memory??

January 9th, 2012, 07:08 AM
The highest capacity ZIP drive with SCSI was 250MB. But this is an easy option to move files between systems since the more modern system could have a matching USB ZIP drive and the disk is simply moved between systems. Note: ZIP uses disks (basically overgrown floppies) not tape. Simply copy files to the disk and then copy it to wherever you plan on long term storing the backup.

If you really need more than 250MB, there are several options. A simple method would be to buy an external SCSI enclosure and place a SCSI hard drive in it. Disconnect it from the XT's controller and attach it to the more modern systems SCSI controller and move several GB at a time. Multiple removable cartidge drives of 1GB+ exist with SCSI interfaces like Iomega Jaz, Castlewood Orb, and Syquest Sparq and Syjet. I don't know if any work with a XT.

Someone else would have to explain a working tape alternative. While I suspect that getting a tape drive to work with both the XT and the more modern backup system is possible, you also need software that handles the same format on both systems. Otherwise, you have backups but not spare copies. I want my backups on modern disks or optical media not on close to 20 year old tapes with propietary storage formats.

DOS networking will require lots of memory. I would suggest using 2 bootup options with different config.sys and autoexec.bet : a normal operation mode without network drivers and a network mode that you only boot into when connecting to a different system in order to backup files.

January 9th, 2012, 07:36 AM
DOS networking will require lots of memory. I would suggest using 2 bootup options with different config.sys and autoexec.bet : a normal operation mode without network drivers and a network mode that you only boot into when connecting to a different system in order to backup files.

Exactly what I do with a DOS 6.22 system running on an XT. CONFIG.SYS has a [Menu] option that I exploit very heavily. Having some EMS helps with Microsoft networking--you can remove quite a bit of the LAN software to it.

But a PC/XT with more than 250MB of files on it would have been extremely unusual for its time.

January 9th, 2012, 05:27 PM
I think the external scsi harddrive could be a solution..
The networking shouldnt be a bad option either.. I always could get an Expended memory board..

But i dont like the hassle with config.sys and autoexec.bat to configure it in a boot menu.. I would have it to be very simple.

Yes i know that 250mb would be unusual, but i do it only because iam a little bit affraid that iam dont have enought space on it when iam going to use a database of games..

It wouldnt work with a scsi zip drive.. because of its storage limit of 250MB, when iam going to use an 540MB SCSI drive for it..maybe i could switch tapes.. But its much easier on a external scsi drive..

January 9th, 2012, 08:28 PM
CONFIG.SYS menus are very simple. Try this page (http://dos.rsvs.net/DOSPAGE/CONFMENU.HTM) for an example. Not much harder than writing a batch file.

Alternatively, you could devise a boot floppy to boot when you wanted network access. There's no reason that the network drivers themselves can't be on your hard disk when you boot from floppy.