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View Full Version : XTIDE, Does anyone sell one? Will it work in my situation?



uriahsky
April 3rd, 2012, 01:20 PM
Forgive me if my post is a bit premature. I am reading about it but I am always in such a rush to get things working that I get a bit bogged down and could use some clarification.

I have a 286 and I replaced the original MFM hard drive with a IDE Controller and am now running into the 504MB barrier and am having trouble with this. Will the XTIDE controller enable me to use a standard IDE drive on my 286? If so, is there anyone who sells one ready to go? If not, I guess my next best choice is a overlay. I can't seem to find Ontrack Disk Manager for DOS. Is it out there somewhere? The only overlay I can find is ANYDRIVE.EXE but the instructions are a little confusing at this point.

3. Run ANYDRIVE 0 <Cyl> <Heads> <Sects> ......
This will create the Master Boot Block and partition the Drive to contain
ONE partition for all of it. The Partition is not activated!

Is it saying to leave CYL, Heads Sects blank or fill them in with the smaller drive selection in step two or ?? Step 2,

2. Configure some smaller Harddrive-Size in the BIOS Setup.

Does anyone have any experience with this program and might have some tips on using it?
Thanks
Russ

DOS lives on!!
April 3rd, 2012, 01:30 PM
Yes, I have used ANYDRIVE many times and would be glad help you on it. What ANYDRIVE is telling you to do is to fill in the cylinder, heads, and sectors blanks in with the specifications for the hard drive that you're trying to install. And when ANYDRIVE sets itself into the boot block, it will use the provided drive specifications to communicate with the computer on startup to access the drive. It asks you to configure a smaller HDD size in the BIOS so it can have a basic way to communicate with the hard drive without finding non-existant free space (hence find a smaller size). Once you get the drive going, format, FDISK, and SYS C: the drive.

Follow the instructions carefully, they'll explain everything. (It is a little confusing the first time). Let us know if you need more help.

hargle
April 3rd, 2012, 02:17 PM
Does your IDE controller have an onboard ROM BIOS that can be removed or disabled?
If the ROM chip itself can be removed, then it could be replaced with a ROM that has the XTIDE universal BIOS installed, and that would break your 502MB barrier.

uriahsky
April 3rd, 2012, 07:38 PM
Yes, I have used ANYDRIVE many times and would be glad help you on it. What ANYDRIVE is telling you to do is to fill in the cylinder, heads, and sectors blanks in with the specifications for the hard drive that you're trying to install. And when ANYDRIVE sets itself into the boot block, it will use the provided drive specifications to communicate with the computer on startup to access the drive. It asks you to configure a smaller HDD size in the BIOS so it can have a basic way to communicate with the hard drive without finding non-existant free space (hence find a smaller size). Once you get the drive going, format, FDISK, and SYS C: the drive.

Follow the instructions carefully, they'll explain everything. (It is a little confusing the first time). Let us know if you need more help.

Is there a recommended size drive I should use? I was planning on using a Quantum Fireball St. It has a listing on the front for a bunch of different sizes.

1.8 3128/16/63
2.1 2092/16/63
2.4 4708/16/63
3.2 6225/16/63
4.3 14848/16/63
6.4 13329/16/53

Does it matter which one I use?

Do I need to enter precomp and landing zone, I am not sure what those are.

When I tried to run it with the following I got "no file found"

anydrive 0 <3128><16><63>

I am probably missing the obvious.
Thanks for the help.
Russ

My IDE hard drive card does not have a bios on it. I couldn't seem to find one that works on a ISA or EISA motherboard. Is that what the XTIDE card is for?

pearce_jj
April 3rd, 2012, 10:48 PM
I've been musing on the idea of making a small and cheap ISA board with just a flash chip on it, for this type of purpose. The xtide-universal BIOS could be loaded in to it. But I'm not sure there is enough demand.

twolazy
April 4th, 2012, 12:01 AM
Could always develop one and share the eaglecad or whatever files, I might make one or 2 for fun. Always wanted to make my own isa card from scratch! :D

slincolne
April 4th, 2012, 12:40 AM
I've been looking at this myself (for an unrelated project). There's a sample schematic on page 207 of Lewis C Eggebrecht's 'Interfacing to the IBM Personal Computer' that looks simple to modify.

It's for an addressable SRAM board using a 74LS688 octal comparator for high end address comparison, 2 x 74LS244 buffers for driving the address bus, and a 74LS245 for a bidirectional buffer. It has a group of 4 x 2K SRAM's selected using a 74LS139 (all 5 chips could be replaced with a single 6264 SRAM - add a DS1210 and a battery and you've potentially got something).

I was thinking about a switchable SRAM board for boot ROM development (i.e. with a RO/RW/Disable switch) but there's a bit more logic for that (and I haven't yet made the effort to locate the Eagle parts for the ISA connector).

I've also got a dedicated 8-bit ISA EPROM board (probably a good starting point).

I don't know if I'd fab the board myself - I don't like my chances with double-sided PCB's - and there are others on this forum with some serious background.

Is this another potential collaboration ?

pearce_jj
April 4th, 2012, 12:51 AM
Hmm, so maybe this is a goer. I'll draft up a design today and post it later.

It's going to be very simple though, literally just an SST39SF0x0 flash with the 1st 32KB of it mapped into the PC address space between A000 and F800 selectable via a DIP switch block. Bascially the same as the ROM part of the original XT/IDE controller but with a flash chip instead given that 28Cxxx chips are very expensive now. I've already got a programming utility for the chip.

DOS lives on!!
April 4th, 2012, 03:39 AM
Is there a recommended size drive I should use? I was planning on using a Quantum Fireball St. It has a listing on the front for a bunch of different sizes.
Once you find the right settings, then you input them into the ANYDRIVE 0 comand. Once you get the drive going, ANYDRIVE will let you see the whole drive, but use at least MS-DOS 4.01. DOS 3.3 can't go past 32mb.

You've got the list of cylinders/heads/sectors, but I can't figure out what the 1.8, 2.1, 3.2, 4.3, etc... numbers are. Do you see any of those numbers anywhere else on the drive?

Krille
April 4th, 2012, 04:44 AM
I was planning on using a Quantum Fireball St. It has a listing on the front for a bunch of different sizes.

1.8 3128/16/63
2.1 2092/16/63
2.4 4708/16/63
3.2 6225/16/63
4.3 14848/16/63
6.4 13329/16/53

Does it matter which one I use?

That list is for different submodels of the Quantum Fireball ST series. You need to find out which model you have.


Do I need to enter precomp and landing zone, I am not sure what those are.

No, those are for really old drives.


When I tried to run it with the following I got "no file found"

anydrive 0 <3128><16><63>

That tells DOS to feed the "anydrive 0" command data from the file 3128 (which probably does not exist). ;)
It should have been

anydrive 0 3128 16 63

instead but as I said, you need to know what model you have.

Krille
April 4th, 2012, 04:54 AM
You've got the list of cylinders/heads/sectors, but I can't figure out what the 1.8, 2.1, 3.2, 4.3, etc... numbers are. Do you see any of those numbers anywhere else on the drive?

I'm going to assume that you haven't had your first cup of coffee yet? :D

hargle
April 4th, 2012, 05:28 AM
My IDE hard drive card does not have a bios on it. I couldn't seem to find one that works on a ISA or EISA motherboard. Is that what the XTIDE card is for?
We're running a lot of topics in this thread, but the XTIDE controller is an 8-bit ISA card, primarily used to give you IDE on your PC/XT class of machines.
In your case, you have a full 16 bit bus, thus you do not need the actual controller (you'd get way less performance than your 16 bit bus would allow for).
All you need is the software (BIOS) that was developed with the XTIDE controller, you load that BIOS onto an EPROM, put that EPROM into a 3COM NIC card, and you're good to go.
Or you buy a generic IDE controller that has better support for your hard drive size. They are not expensive, because you're getting a 16 bit controller.

Topic #2: I won't try to stop anyone from developing new hardware for old machines, but I don't see a need for a drop in card with just an eeprom on it when there is a ready supply of usable NIC cards that you can put a ROM into and still also get NIC support without using any slots up. I suppose the new card would be better for flash upgrades, but that's the only advantage I can see.

DOS lives on!!
April 4th, 2012, 06:45 AM
I'm going to assume that you haven't had your first cup of coffee yet? :D
Maybe those are different versions of the ST drive, and it lists all the versions on one label (I hate that). Do you see any of those numbers anywhere else on the drive other than the general list of specs?

pearce_jj
April 4th, 2012, 07:32 AM
Hargle, it just seems to me there's been a fair few "how do I use the universal BIOS" threads recently, and with the 28c64 chips getting on for 10 each in the UK now, I think we could have an 8-bit board with 1Mb flash on it, complete, for a lot less than that with 4 to 8x the capacity available. Plus not everyone uses a NIC in such old machines.

Actually I was wondering if it could enable PC/XT users, for example, to try different revisions of the IBM BIOS's, by removing altogether the factory BIOS chips. Justa thought anyway :)

Stone
April 4th, 2012, 08:33 AM
Too bad you can't use 2732 chips as I've got lots of them lying around. :-)

NobodyIsHere
April 4th, 2012, 08:44 AM
Hi,
I wonder why the 28C64 chips are so expensive in the UK? The are $3.75 at Jameco in the US and can probably be found for less on eBay.

I think the issue with using a larger memory chip is it will require some kind of address latching if you plan to use the whole chip. Otherwise you'd be restricted to a narrow 8KB to 32KB window to access the ROM just using the lowest memory addresses of the chip. If it gets bigger than 32KB it will start taking up too much ROM space in the upper memory region and be difficult to find a place for it.

While I've seen ROM only ISA boards before they aren't very common. They can be built with only few parts the economics of making a dedicated ROM-only ISA PCB is going to make it difficult to make the project viable at low cost. It would require an impractically large number of boards to recoup the tooling, shipping, production and other costs.

I think the suggestion to use either a NIC or empty motherboard ROM socket is your best bet or repurpose and already existing ISA board with a ROM socket. Just removing unused components from an XT-IDE V2 PCB would lower the costs quite a bit. Using a smaller PCB would also reduce costs but not much since it is already inexpensive.

Just my 2 cents. Good luck! Thanks and have a nice day!

Andrew Lynch

pearce_jj
April 4th, 2012, 08:44 AM
Yes plenty available, but they need an EPROM programmer AFAIK. With flash we can write endlessly within any system with a standard ISA slot. Assuming this would be self-assembly job the PCBs might be about 3 and the components about the same again, plus the assembler would get the satisfaction of making their own simple ISA board, something I think helped make the original XT/IDE such a success :)

SpidersWeb
April 4th, 2012, 12:23 PM
I'd certainly buy a couple. Especially in that price range.

twolazy
April 4th, 2012, 06:33 PM
Im still digging the idea of these simple eprom cards. Since we are talking about the extra space as well, would it be possible to fit/boot msdos off it like a tandy? I own a few 3c503/3c509 cards, but tbh I'll never use networking on my XT's. Seems like a waste of power to me... These eprom cards seem right up my alley! :D

uriahsky
April 4th, 2012, 07:27 PM
It is hard to tell what exact model these drives are. They seemed to have left that insignificant piece of information off of the label, or I am missing the obvious. I put it in a computer and it came up saying it was 3.2gig size. I then ran it with the following format.

anydrive 0 6225 16 63

and I got a message saying that the cylinders should be between 0-2048. Did I do something wrong or is this just a limit on the number of cylinders on anydrive?

I have about forty IDE drives under 10Gig and two that don't have too many cylinders, but both of them are broken.

Do I need to order a smaller drive or are there any other options. I would like something that is robust and reliable and very compatible if possible.
Thanks again for the help. I really appreciate it.
Russ

SpidersWeb
April 4th, 2012, 07:37 PM
Apparently so.

"anydrive 0 2048 16 63" should work fine with your larger drive though, and allow you to access up to 504Mb. This is because anydrive doesn't provide LBA encoding etc (which the XTIDE BIOS does) it just changes a few memory locations before DOS boots. You'll need to fdisk, format, install DOS etc - and keep a boot disk with anydrive handy because you may need to run it on your machine again after fdisk and/or DOS install. 504Mb is heaps.

I never used anydrive because the first BIOS I tried it on gave me 'hard disk configuration error' every power up :/ But obviously not everyone gets that.

EDIT - NB: if you can set 2048 16 63 in your BIOS I don't think there is any need at all for anydrive <-- I can't remember if you have custom drive types available or not.
EDIT 2: and out of curiousity what did you do with the MFM?

pearce_jj
April 4th, 2012, 11:48 PM
Im still digging the idea of these simple eprom cards. Since we are talking about the extra space as well, would it be possible to fit/boot msdos off it like a tandy? I own a few 3c503/3c509 cards, but tbh I'll never use networking on my XT's. Seems like a waste of power to me... These eprom cards seem right up my alley! :D

Re boot, yes this is certainly possible with flash chips and indeed eeguru's PC-Jnr side-car IDE project does that I think. However implementing that and keeping the board small & cheap would probably mean heading for a CPLD to control it instead of a through-hole 74520, and of course we'd need a BIOS for it too.

uriahsky
April 5th, 2012, 01:40 AM
Apparently so.

"anydrive 0 2048 16 63" should work fine with your larger drive though, and allow you to access up to 504Mb. This is because anydrive doesn't provide LBA encoding etc (which the XTIDE BIOS does) it just changes a few memory locations before DOS boots. You'll need to fdisk, format, install DOS etc - and keep a boot disk with anydrive handy because you may need to run it on your machine again after fdisk and/or DOS install. 504Mb is heaps.


EDIT - NB: if you can set 2048 16 63 in your BIOS I don't think there is any need at all for anydrive <-- I can't remember if you have custom drive types available or not.
EDIT 2: and out of curiousity what did you do with the MFM?

I thought I had it working but I am getting some errors and things don't seem to be working 100% right. Here is what I tried.

I set my bios to 2048 16 63 and then set any drive to the same thing.
It seemed to work but I get some write errors and files don't seem to be operating correctly. It shows that it is 1.0GB or right around there. Is it supposed to show this amount? or 504 or the actual size of the drive 3.1GB? Is anydrive only suppose to go up to 504MB?

I tried to set my bios to the actual size of the HD and not to use anydrive. It seemed to work but it wouldn't boot.

Perhaps I should just order a ISA hard drive controller. I didn't see any that looked like they had a bootable ROM on them on eBay. I still have the MFM drive. Do you want to trade me for a controller that will work with my computer and will allow me to use a 2-6GB hard drive?? I just want this thing to work as reliable as it can.
Thanks
Russ

uriahsky
April 6th, 2012, 05:32 PM
In your case, you have a full 16 bit bus, thus you do not need the actual controller (you'd get way less performance than your 16 bit bus would allow for).
All you need is the software (BIOS) that was developed with the XTIDE controller, you load that BIOS onto an EPROM, put that EPROM into a 3COM NIC card, and you're good to go.


OK, I am ready to try this route since the others didn't work. Do I have to use a 3COM NIC card, or can I use any network card that has BIOS chip on it? And do I burn the the XTIDE chip with no modifications. Is there a site that has a guide on how to do this?
Thanks again,
Russ

pearce_jj
April 6th, 2012, 11:07 PM
You need a board with a ROM socket, a 28C64 EEPROM chip and the board needs to pass /MEMW to the chip (I've no experience to suggest whether /MEMW is or isn't an included signal on any particular NIC, but it just occured to me that since they were probably designed for a read-only 2764 some boards at least may not have the signal routed there).

Then download the xtide-universal BIOS, and run xtidecfg to configure the AT build for your controller, and write it out to the ROM. Any BIOS ROM shadowing should be disabled for this bit, but can be enabled again once it's done.

Re the little ROM board I was talking about, I'll get back to it soon as my time has been absorbed by compatibility issues with my 8-bit Compact Flash board. But in any case the lead time on the PCBs is about a month after ordering.

HTH!

RBARDY
April 8th, 2012, 07:09 PM
Your main problem is that you have run into the dos drive size limit due to the ibm design standard of 1024 cyl 16 hds 63 sectors the max size drive works out to 528 meg any ide drive with more cyl hds secs has to be limited to 528 meg unless the controller has a special bios you are stuck with the ibm standard however scsi controllers can bypass this since the controller bios handles the drive without a cmos drive type

pearce_jj
April 9th, 2012, 12:31 PM
First cut of the simple ROM board I was thinking about (many thanks to those that have posted or PM'd their interest in this).

Another set of eyes, as ever, would be very much appreciated. Eagle design files and more detail are available here (http://vintage-blog.peacon.co.uk/wiki/8bit-rom-board).

8491

uriahsky
April 9th, 2012, 08:20 PM
I ordered a NIC card that will hopefully work, I don't mind the 528MB size limit I just want to be able to use one of the many larger sized hard drives that I have, even if I don't get the full capacity. That will work right? I can put a 2GB size drive in my 286 but only access 528MB with the XTIDE bios right? I am going to order a SCSI controller for when this options fails and then perhaps someone can maybe sell me one of the ROM board cards that is in the post above in case that doesn't workout. If not I will order either an older 504MB hard drive or a newer motherboard. I new this would end up being difficult.
Thank you
Russ

SpidersWeb
April 9th, 2012, 09:47 PM
Just try it and experiment, see what happens.

1024 x 16 x 63 would be a good start for CHS.

twolazy
April 9th, 2012, 10:09 PM
First cut of the simple ROM board I was thinking about (many thanks to those that have posted or PM'd their interest in this).

Another set of eyes, as ever, would be very much appreciated. Eagle design files and more detail are available here (http://vintage-blog.peacon.co.uk/wiki/8bit-rom-board).

8491

Woot! TY TY TY ! ^_^ Now I gotta figure a way to get a few bare boards or someone to go in with me on them >.> Guess worst case I can etch my own...

hargle
April 10th, 2012, 05:34 AM
I ordered a NIC card that will hopefully work, I don't mind the 528MB size limit I just want to be able to use one of the many larger sized hard drives that I have, even if I don't get the full capacity. That will work right? I can put a 2GB size drive in my 286 but only access 528MB with the XTIDE bios right?
No, the 528MB limit is a BIOS limit. The 528MB limit you are seeing now is due to your existing IDE controller's BIOS limitations.

If you replace your existing IDE controller's BIOS support with a ROM containing the XTIDE Universal BIOS, that 528MB barrier turns into something closer to an 18 Petabyte barrier (or something insanely huge like that). DOS however has 2GB barriers on the size of your partitions. You can have up to four 2GB partitions under DOS 5 and 6. If you use freeDOS or something newer, I believe then you will be back to being able to have a single partition of 250Gb or more.

Stone
April 10th, 2012, 07:07 AM
No, the 528MB limit is a BIOS limit. The 528MB limit you are seeing now is due to your existing IDE controller's BIOS limitations.Are you sure the limit is from the controller's BIOS and not the motherboard's BIOS? The actual controller is on the drive, not the IDE interface card.

hargle
April 10th, 2012, 09:36 AM
I didn't want to confuse the issue any further.
The BIOS is somewhere. On a card, embedded in the motherboard BIOS, it doesn't really matter.
We get that out of the way, by either disabling the IDE controller/setting the drive types to "none" in setup or removing any BIOS chips on the card. Then install a device that adds the universal BIOS and off we go.