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Gabriele72
May 19th, 2014, 12:39 PM
I've picked up an Olivetti M24 recently (model XP1050) which seems to be working but I can't get it to boot from HD.
It has no bus adaptor board inside but a single addon card (plugged where the bus adaptor/extender was supposed to be), a Western Digital MFM controller which drives a classic Seagate ST-225 HD.

MB dip switches are set to bypass the controller ROM and use the M24 ROM.
The controller is a WD1002A-WX1 with no BIOS EPROM installed and W3 Jumper open ( = No BIOS ROM ).
Suspecting a HD failure I have low level formatted it in a 386 machine with a NCL MFM controller, FDISK'ed and installed Olivetti MS-DOS 3.30.
It now boots fine in the 386 but once moved back to the M24, POST utters:

[...]
Fixed Disk Ready
[...]
ROM BASIC not available

I think jumpers to set HDD type have no effect if the controller ROM is bypassed, so what could possibly be wrong?

Stone
May 19th, 2014, 12:48 PM
You can't format an MFM drive on one type of controller and then expect it to work on another type. If you use the WD controller you will be able to get it to work -- with the NML controller it's highly unlikely to work when you switch it to the WD. That's just basic HD technology.

george
May 19th, 2014, 12:50 PM
Is the correct HDD type set in CMOS memory with the help of setup utility? As far as I remember these PCs require external setup utility (e.g. on a diskette or other media).

george
May 19th, 2014, 12:57 PM
You can't format an MFM drive on one type of controller and then expect it to work on another type. If you use the WD controller you will be able to get it to work -- with the NML controller it's highly unlikely to work when you switch it to the WD. That's just basic HD technology.
I don't agree for AT machine and AT MFM controllers ;)

SpidersWeb
May 19th, 2014, 12:59 PM
As Stone mentioned, the low level format will not be compatible with the other controller.
You will need to low level format it on the Olivetti.

Chuck(G)
May 19th, 2014, 01:05 PM
Create a boot floppy, then low-level format the HD using the WD controller.

Also, note that there's a pretty good collection of manuals and software here (http://www.olivettim24.hadesnet.org/)

Gabriele72
May 19th, 2014, 11:47 PM
Thanks everyone for the answers. I had no idea different MFM controllers weren't compatible at low level format.
I have the original DOS 3.30 diskettes and the M24 Customer Test disk but I seem to miss the HD utilities.
Will the debug command work to format the HD or do I need something else, if not could someone send me a disk image with the necessary setup utilities?
Thanks in advance.

Stone
May 20th, 2014, 02:45 AM
Debug should work with this controller.

G=C800:5 is the correct command to initiate a Low Level Format.

Jumper settings, etc, can be found here:

http://stason.org/TULARC/pc/hard-disk-floppy-controllers/U-Z/WESTERN-DIGITAL-CORPORATION-Two-MFM-ST506-412-driv-221.html

george
May 20th, 2014, 08:28 AM
Debug should work with this controller.

G=C800:5 is the correct command to initiate a Low Level Format.

Jumper settings, etc, can be found here:

http://stason.org/TULARC/pc/hard-disk-floppy-controllers/U-Z/WESTERN-DIGITAL-CORPORATION-Two-MFM-ST506-412-driv-221.html
Nonsense.

Chuck(G)
May 20th, 2014, 08:41 AM
Why is anyone even arguing about this? The link (http://www.olivettim24.hadesnet.org/doc.html) I gave has complete documentation, right down to Olivetti's documentation for the WX1, service manual (which covers installation of a hard disk), and operations guide. The software (http://www.olivettim24.hadesnet.org/download.html) has all of the original software images--and a program to write those images to disk. Heck, somewhere on the site, there's a schematic of the system.

Would that other old systems be as well documented!

Agent Orange
May 20th, 2014, 11:01 AM
Nonsense.

George,

I'm just curious and interested. What exactly do you not agree on?

george
May 21st, 2014, 08:55 PM
Debug is a debugger. It is nonsense to say it works or does not with HDD controller(s) ;)

SpidersWeb
May 21st, 2014, 09:26 PM
Debug is a debugger. It is nonsense to say it works or does not with HDD controller(s) ;)
I'd follow the docs that Chuck provided, but it isn't nonsense. Most aftermarket XT hard drive controllers have a low level formatting tool stored on their EPROM - usually you'll find this at C800:5 - so we use debug to say "g=C800:5" to start executing the code there.

(In this case the controllers Boot ROM is disabled, so if anything came up it'd be the Olivetti ROM at best).

george
May 21st, 2014, 09:50 PM
A debugger is a tool to examine other programs. And it works regardless of HDD controllers. Whether your particular controller has a BIOS extension or not or what EP it has is not related to the debugger at all. So to say that a debugger works with HDD controller is nonsense ;) One could use a 5 byte simple DOS COM file to make a single instruction jump to the EP.

Chuck(G)
May 21st, 2014, 10:12 PM
With all due respect, George, semantically, you're correct. But I believe that Stone was using a bit of mental shorthand by saying "Debug should work with this controller" instead of "You should be able to use Debug to access the proper HDD BIOS extension entry point to perform a low-level format on the drive attached to the controller." At least that's way I read it.

Gabriele72
May 24th, 2014, 12:22 AM
I was aware of the use of DEBUG.COM to access BIOS routines, but I thought the controller supplied with the M24 had no onboard BIOS, in fact the BIOS EPROM is missing. I think it's under direct control of the M24 BIOS.
I found the LLF utility for the AT&T6300 that Trixter uploaded some time ago and it did the job. Then FDISK and FORMAT from Olivetti MSDOS 3.30, a bit of SYS C: and the M24 is back online, shiny & new (well... almost :D )

Chuck(G)
May 24th, 2014, 08:39 AM
Olivetti's own notes say tha there could be several extension BIOSes or none for the WX1. So even they weren't sure. My own 6300 has an 80MB hard card, so while the 6300 BIOS reports the presence of a hard disk, it stops short of reporting the capacity. Just a message like "Hard disk is" and then nothing. It all works, just a little curious.

Rubix
January 28th, 2018, 02:38 AM
Thanks everyone for the answers. I had no idea different MFM controllers weren't compatible at low level format.
I have the original DOS 3.30 diskettes and the M24 Customer Test disk but I seem to miss the HD utilities.
Will the debug command work to format the HD or do I need something else, if not could someone send me a disk image with the necessary setup utilities?
Thanks in advance.

Hi Gabriele, would it be possible for you to make a disk image of that Customer Test disk?

David_M
January 28th, 2018, 05:30 AM
Why is anyone even arguing about this? The link (http://www.olivettim24.hadesnet.org/doc.html) I gave has complete documentation, right down to Olivetti's documentation for the WX1, service manual (which covers installation of a hard disk), and operations guide. The software (http://www.olivettim24.hadesnet.org/download.html) has all of the original software images--and a program to write those images to disk. Heck, somewhere on the site, there's a schematic of the system.

Would that other old systems be as well documented!
Some people just love to argue lol