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Mike Chambers
November 11th, 2006, 08:28 PM
okay, today i finally found and picked up an ISA FDD/HDD controller that works on my "TURBO-XT" 8088 machine. it's a 16-bit SIIG card but it seems to work fine on the 8-bit bus.

i am able to boot up MS-DOS disks and get to the prompt no problem. now, my question is this: since there is no interactive BIOS setup of any kind on that thing, how do i access an HDD from MS-DOS since i don't have anywhere to tell the machine the drive info like cyls, heads, and sectors? DOS can't pick up this information automatically, right?

it's an IBM 256 MB drive from about 1993.

any clue? thanks!
-mike

Jorg
November 12th, 2006, 12:35 AM
You might need a setup disk for your machine, or maybe its possible (and better due to the size of the disk) to use the Diskmanager programme.

Luke
November 12th, 2006, 12:46 AM
Chance that drive will work are small...
Card will handle drives wich are described in machine's BIOS.
Most 16-bit cards were using computer's BIOS to control drive, if your have BIOS on your card then it will work.
If not, you'll be able to use diskette drives only.

Anonymous Coward
November 12th, 2006, 03:35 AM
Getting IDE to work on an XT is pretty tricky. Since XT BIOS normally does not support hard disks (about 99.9% of all XTs), you will need a controller that has its own BIOS built-in. Not only is this type of controller difficult to come by, but a majority of those available are special "8-bit IDE" cards that will only work with 8-bit drives. Very few 8-bit drives exist, and they are usually about 40MB capacities. I am aware of an XT-bus controller that supports 16-bit IDE from a company called "Acculogic", but I have never used it myself. They pop up on ebay sometimes. You will probably have better luck finding a decent SCSI card for your XT. I recommend one with a boot ROM, and Future Domain chipset.

the xt guy
November 12th, 2006, 05:30 AM
Luke and Anonymous Coward are right. With these type of cards, the I-O ports may work, the floppy controller might work with a 360K 5.25 floppy (but not 1.2 or 1.44 meg. floppies) but the HD controllers almost certainly won't work at all in an 8088.

A SCSI card is best if you want to upgrade an 8088 to a more reliable hard drive. Not all SCSI cards have a bootable BIOS though.

I remember a few years ago, over on the Uncreative Labs site, someone having trouble with Future Domain SCSI cards in the 850 series, because some had bootable BIOS'es and some didn't. (I believe it's the 850ME and 850MER cards that do not have the BIOS). I think the cards without the BIOS had just an empty chip socket or just solder pads where the socket was supposed to go.

Mike Chambers
November 12th, 2006, 11:00 AM
Luke and Anonymous Coward are right. With these type of cards, the I-O ports may work, the floppy controller might work with a 360K 5.25 floppy (but not 1.2 or 1.44 meg. floppies) but the HD controllers almost certainly won't work at all in an 8088.

A SCSI card is best if you want to upgrade an 8088 to a more reliable hard drive. Not all SCSI cards have a bootable BIOS though.

I remember a few years ago, over on the Uncreative Labs site, someone having trouble with Future Domain SCSI cards in the 850 series, because some had bootable BIOS'es and some didn't. (I believe it's the 850ME and 850MER cards that do not have the BIOS). I think the cards without the BIOS had just an empty chip socket or just solder pads where the socket was supposed to go.

actually, with my SIIG 16-bit IO/fdd/hdd controller in there, i'm using dual 1.44 MB 3-1/2" floppies and they read the full 1.44 MB capacity. 3-1/2" drives rotate at 300 RPM just like the old 360 KB 5-1/4", so the XT doesn't have any problem reading it. at least that's what i've gathered. could be wrong. all i know is it works :)

i think as long as the XT board sees that the drive is the proper speed, the rest comes down to your OS. MS-DOS 3.3 and above support 1.44 MB HD floppies.

i'm actually using Caldera DR-DOS 7, becuase for some reason MS-DOS absolutely refuses to boot. the disk reads and it says "Starting MS-DOS..." but then as soon as it tries to execute IO.SYS, it locks up.

curtis
November 12th, 2006, 03:57 PM
actually, with my SIIG 16-bit IO/fdd/hdd controller in there, i'm using dual 1.44 MB 3-1/2" floppies and they read the full 1.44 MB capacity. 3-1/2" drives rotate at 300 RPM just like the old 360 KB 5-1/4", so the XT doesn't have any problem reading it. at least that's what i've gathered. could be wrong. all i know is it works :)

i think as long as the XT board sees that the drive is the proper speed, the rest comes down to your OS. MS-DOS 3.3 and above support 1.44 MB HD floppies.

i'm actually using Caldera DR-DOS 7, becuase for some reason MS-DOS absolutely refuses to boot. the disk reads and it says "Starting MS-DOS..." but then as soon as it tries to execute IO.SYS, it locks up.

Have to presume you have no manual.

Many of the early PC MFM, and RLL drives were accessed via debug.

Seagate was famous for their g=c800:5 to get into the controller's ROM to low-level format and set up the hard drive.

Not sure if this is true for IDE, but...

Have you tried SIIG's website? There's probably on the website, but you might be able to contact someone in their tech support who can help you out with manuals and/or drivers.

Curtis

chuckcmagee
November 12th, 2006, 05:40 PM
Yes indeed, I even remember the "g=c800:5". Course, in CP/M land, doing stuff in Debug/DDT was the thing to do.

Mike Chambers
November 12th, 2006, 07:15 PM
Have to presume you have no manual.

Many of the early PC MFM, and RLL drives were accessed via debug.

Seagate was famous for their g=c800:5 to get into the controller's ROM to low-level format and set up the hard drive.

Not sure if this is true for IDE, but...

Have you tried SIIG's website? There's probably on the website, but you might be able to contact someone in their tech support who can help you out with manuals and/or drivers.

Curtis

actually, the complete manual for the IBM drive is on their web site.. it includes ALL the info any programmer would need to create a complete DOS interface for one of these drives. since it's IDE i'm guessing all that info is standard for early IDE drives too, so it might just work for any of them.

but alas, my specialty (quickbasic) is not exactly the choicest language to make a device driver like that. i could definately write code to access it all from within a program, but writing TSRs so other programs and DOS can use it isn't exactly a piece of cake in QB... plus it'd be horribly slow. :(

Anonymous Coward
November 12th, 2006, 09:44 PM
Your situation with the 1.44meg drives working is very interesting indeed. It should not be possible unless either your card or motherboard has BIOS support for it. But, there is another possible but unlikely situation. Perhaps Caldera DOS has some sort of software workaround for this. That might explain why you can boot Caldera DOS and not MS-DOS. Can you get any other 1.44meg bootdisks to work on your system?

Mike Chambers
November 13th, 2006, 12:15 AM
Your situation with the 1.44meg drives working is very interesting indeed. It should not be possible unless either your card or motherboard has BIOS support for it. But, there is another possible but unlikely situation. Perhaps Caldera DOS has some sort of software workaround for this. That might explain why you can boot Caldera DOS and not MS-DOS. Can you get any other 1.44meg bootdisks to work on your system?

nope. nothing else i've tried works at all. that includes FreeDOS and even the ELKS linux subset kernel for 8088/8086/186/286 CPU's... even that gives me "Boot Error"

i think it must be the card having BIOS support, because i've NEVER been able to boot the thing with HD 3-1/2" until like 2 days ago when i picked up this used SIIG controller card at an electronics parts store. i've tried 3 other cards on it in the past.

i believe it was dongfeng from here that told me he does the same thing on one of his XT's... the dual 1.44 floppy works great for him too. i wonder what kind of interface card he uses. dongfeng, if you read this let us know please! :D

Luke
November 13th, 2006, 04:22 AM
Here's the odd part though, I notice it only likes to run DR-DOS. It hangs on MS-DOS 3.31-6.22, it also hangs with PC-DOS, but with DR-DOS, it loads up perfectly fine. Either way, it's an interesting Hardware situation to say the least. I had a clone with an original IBM PC BIOS awhile back, put in a 16 bit controller and a 1.44M drive, and the 1.44M would only work as 720K, go figure....

That was Mad Mike. As I remember Dongfeng use 720 disks on his XT.

Propably DR-DOs do the trick and support 1,44 disks on machines without BIOS extention.

Mike Chambers
November 13th, 2006, 09:34 AM
That was Mad Mike. As I remember Dongfeng use 720 disks on his XT.

Propably DR-DOs do the trick and support 1,44 disks on machines without BIOS extention.

i wonder what would happen if i tried booting a 720 KB DD floppy with MS-DOS. i think i will give that a try and see what happens.

Terry Yager
November 13th, 2006, 09:53 AM
I think we've already established that the BIOS on the MB is standard, so it's likely that the controller board is the 'special' part.

--T

dongfeng
November 13th, 2006, 11:28 AM
Sorry, I just read it!

I only use 720kB drive on my XT. In fact, it is 1.44MB drive, but it only works at 720kB capacity. It was Mad-Mike who managed to use dual 1.44MB drives :)

Mike Chambers
November 13th, 2006, 12:01 PM
Sorry, I just read it!

I only use 720kB drive on my XT. In fact, it is 1.44MB drive, but it only works at 720kB capacity. It was Mad-Mike who managed to use dual 1.44MB drives :)

ah, that's right! not sure why i thought it was you. so, Mad-Mike, if you're there... how did you do it? :)

and dongfeng, if you're interested in using 1.44 MB disks you could try using Caldera DR-DOS 7.01 (maybe other vers too, but thats the one i'm using) it might just work :)

dongfeng
November 13th, 2006, 12:18 PM
I'm not sure it will work, since I am using original IBM low-density controller card. Actually, I don't have the 3.5" installed right now since I don't have the additional mounting bracket made up!

mbbrutman
November 13th, 2006, 01:23 PM
It was hashed out here:

http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?t=4479

Basically, MadMike has a standard XT with an upgraded controller. The upgraded controller doesn't have a BIOS chip on it that I could detect, so DOS must be providing the software support for the HD diskettes.

Anonymous Coward
November 13th, 2006, 04:23 PM
Hmmm...DR-DOS is very interesting. I would really like to know how it does this.

To Mike Chambers:

Once you boot the machine up under DR-DOS, are you able to read other 1.44meg diskettes that were not formatted using DR-DOS? And by "read", I mean a full read with the ability to properly execute programs.

Luke
November 14th, 2006, 05:32 AM
DR-DOS diskette propably have first few sectors in DD format and rest is HD.


You just need any controller, that will handle HD, it can't be genuine IBM controller or any other double-dentisity only controller.

Mike Chambers
November 14th, 2006, 06:31 AM
DR-DOS diskette propably have first few sectors in DD format and rest is HD.


You just need any controller, that will handle HD, it can't be genuine IBM controller or any other double-dentisity only controller.

my other two HD controllers don't work on it.

mbbrutman
November 14th, 2006, 06:40 AM
DR-DOS diskette propably have first few sectors in DD format and rest is HD.


You just need any controller, that will handle HD, it can't be genuine IBM controller or any other double-dentisity only controller.


Extremely unlikely. DISKCOPY can't handle mixed formats.

Mike Chambers
November 14th, 2006, 07:57 AM
Extremely unlikely. DISKCOPY can't handle mixed formats.

that's what i was thinking. i dont think that's really possible.

it's not like it doesnt read the HD MS-DOS 6.22 disks at all. it loads them, and runs at least some of the code. the screen will say "Starting MS-DOS..."

then it will attempt to load IO.SYS (i'm assuming that, it's not like it tells you what it's doing) and it seems that particular file has some code that ends up locking the system.

Anonymous Coward
November 14th, 2006, 04:20 PM
my other two HD controllers don't work on it.

That's because they are probably 16-bit cards. Some 16-bit cards work on the XT-bus, but not all of them.



it's not like it doesnt read the HD MS-DOS 6.22 disks at all. it loads them, and runs at least some of the code. the screen will say "Starting MS-DOS..."

then it will attempt to load IO.SYS (i'm assuming that, it's not like it tells you what it's doing) and it seems that particular file has some code that ends up locking the system.

I've tried booting 1.44meg disks on 720k drives as well, and what you are describing is pretty consistent with my experience.