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DeChief
May 26th, 2016, 06:10 AM
I recently got a Toshiba J-3100GT Model 002 laptop in fantastic condition with a carry case and all the manuals, and I was looking to install a hard drive in it just for the novelty of doing some 286 gaming (mainly Spear of Destiny and Duke Nukem. I might upgrade to a 386 or 486 if one will fit) but that's proven to be more difficult than I originally thought. After a bunch of research I have discovered that the computer uses a very specific Toshiba-made hard drive controller card to connect to a JVC JD3824R00-1 hard drive (as seen here http://electrickery.xs4all.nl/comp/divcomp/26pinHD.html). I've found a few places online that sell the 20mb HDD, but I can't seem to find anything on this controller card.

Does anyone here have one from a T3100/J-3100 that they would be willing to sell me? Or are there any alternatives that I could look into? Going off of the maintenance manual (http://www.arvutimuuseum.ee/portables/download/005/ToshibaT3100.pdf) port PJ8 is where the hard drive controller is supposed to plug in. Looking on the motherboard this is a 34-pin IDE connector, just like a lot of old floppy drives I've seen. I tried looking for some adapters and such to see if I could run an HDD through the computer's parallel or serial ports on the back but I couldn't find anything on that either, so I'm sort of stuck as to what I'm supposed to do.

I ran a little test in DOSBOX and I confirmed that I could install games to a floppy instead of an HDD and run them from that, but I'm limited to 720kb as I'm 99% sure the laptop's floppy drives don't recognise 1.44mb disks (I tried so many times to boot 1.44mb IBM PC DOS 2HD disks I had made, and none of them worked, but when I formatted a 2DD disk to 720kb and put a >1.44mb IBM PC DOS 3.30 image on there it booted just fine. I also tried formatting a 2HD disk to 720kb with a DOS 3.30 image but it didn't boot in the laptop). Another option would be to put a 1.44mb drive in the computer that has a 34-pin connector just like its original drives, but then I still wouldn't be able to run a lot of games that require more space to be installed.

Any suggestions at all? I'm posting this pretty late and I'm tired as all hell, so if this post isn't the most coherent thing in the world then please don't hold it against me :p

Stone
May 26th, 2016, 07:13 AM
You could set up a parallel port network and run whatever you wanted from the server's HD. Of course, that would limit the laptop's mobility (unless the server turned out to be another laptop).

DeChief
May 26th, 2016, 07:41 AM
You could set up a parallel port network and run whatever you wanted from the server's HD. Of course, that would limit the laptop's mobility (unless the server turned out to be another laptop).

Hmmm, that could work. Could I possibly get a parallel to ethernet adapter, and then just connector an external ethernet hard drive to it? Would that work?

SpidersWeb
May 26th, 2016, 11:47 AM
If you buy another - I'd recommend you get a T3200SX, T5200 (or better) - you get normal 40 pin IDE, 386 processor, 1.44 floppy, VGA with much better grey-scaling on the orange plasma, and ISA - so you have options like sound cards network cards (and thereby expansion ROMs) and SCSI. For fitting an aftermarket hard drive there are workarounds you have to do on those too, but it's much less involved.

Stone
May 26th, 2016, 01:16 PM
Hmmm, that could work. Could I possibly get a parallel to ethernet adapter, and then just connector an external ethernet hard drive to it? Would that work?I don't know anything about external ethernet hard drives.

I was referring to two computers being networked directly via their respective parallel ports.

The one with the hard drive is the server and the one with only a floppy drive is the workstation and runs programs from the server's hard drive.

DeChief
May 27th, 2016, 12:53 AM
I don't know anything about external ethernet hard drives.

I was referring to two computers being networked directly via their respective parallel ports.

The one with the hard drive is the server and the one with only a floppy drive is the workstation and runs programs from the server's hard drive.

Ah, I see. Well I don't have another computer with a parallel port, and I doubt a USB to parallel adapter on a modern system would allow me to interface with DOS.


If you buy another - I'd recommend you get a T3200SX, T5200 (or better) - you get normal 40 pin IDE, 386 processor, 1.44 floppy, VGA with much better grey-scaling on the orange plasma, and ISA - so you have options like sound cards network cards (and thereby expansion ROMs) and SCSI. For fitting an aftermarket hard drive there are workarounds you have to do on those too, but it's much less involved.

At this point it's more about not wanting to let this thing beat me :P

modem7
May 27th, 2016, 04:26 PM
In the day, the typical expansion limitation of laptops sometimes resulted in the use of various devices attached to the laptop's parallel port. The photo at [here (http://www.minuszerodegrees.net/images2/external_drives.jpg)] shows three such devices ("daisy-chained" together) attached to the parallel port on my IBM 5170.

Note that you cannot boot from these types of devices, because they require a device driver to operate. DOS based device drivers for my three devices are on the IBM 5170 and loaded at 5170 boot time.

DeChief
May 27th, 2016, 04:42 PM
In the day, the typical expansion limitation of laptops sometimes resulted in the use of various devices attached to the laptop's parallel port. The photo at [here (http://www.minuszerodegrees.net/images2/external_drives.jpg)] shows three such devices ("daisy-chained" together) attached to the parallel port on my IBM 5170.

Note that you cannot boot from these types of devices, because they require a device driver to operate. DOS based device drivers for my three devices are on the IBM 5170 and loaded at 5170 boot time.

I found a sealed backpack HD unit on eBay last night, and after doing some testing I confirmed that I can install the driver for it (found in a thread here) onto another floppy disk and run it after using the DOS boot floppy, allowing me to use the hard drive (I tested it in DOSBOX). So I've bought that sealed unit, here's hoping it works out.

DeChief
August 20th, 2016, 07:03 AM
Time for a really late reply and bump! The parallel HDD works great, but there's just one problem: it eats up too much ram. On the Toshiba J-3100GT I've got, it takes up a little over 200kb of the available 640kb which leaves me with not enough ram to run the few games this thing is capable of running with its gas-plasma CGA display (Duke Nukem I need you!). I managed to snag ANOTHER Toshiba 3100 model (a J-3100GT041 this time) that has 1024kb of ram in it, as well as a hard drive! But unfortunately as is my luck these days, DOS 3.30 gives me an HDD controller error on startup, so unless I can find a way to fix that I'm still stuck using the backpack HD unit.

That would still be fine though because I've got more ram in this one, right? WRONG! DOS refuses to let me use the other 384kb of memory when its assigned to expanded OR extended (this laptop gives me a boot menu when the HDD fails to initiate, unlike the other laptop that just asks for a DOS disk right away). It recognises it and I can set it to either expanded or extended memory, but DOS 3.30 just shows me 640kb. I've tried putting HIMEM on the 3.30 boot disk and editing config.sys so that it runs, but it just says I've got 64kb more than the 640kb and won't let me do anything with it. No mention of the further 320kb...

After doing some searching I've become a bit confused, found some stuff about protected mode but don't really know what to do with that information. Could somebody point me in the right direction?

Stone
August 20th, 2016, 07:35 AM
The parallel HDD works great, but there's just one problem: it eats up too much ram. On the Toshiba J-3100GT I've got, it takes up a little over 200kb of the available 640kb which leaves me with not enough ram to run the few games this thing is capable of running with its gas-plasma CGA display (Duke Nukem I need you!).The parallel port network I mentioned above uses approximately 8Kb of memory on your WORKSTATION Computer. :-)

DeChief
August 20th, 2016, 08:03 AM
The parallel port network I mentioned above uses approximately 8Kb of memory on your WORKSTATION Computer. :-)

Right, well, if I don't manage to get this other ram working then that'll be my solution. But I really would like to be able to fix this ram thing.

mR_Slug
August 21st, 2016, 03:47 PM
This is a bit of an over-simplification...MS-DOS can only usually directly address 640KB of ram. 640 to 1024KB is reserved for device ROMs. With 1024KB total RAM, your system either uses the extra 384KB for shadowing device ROMs in this range, or it moves the extra RAM into the extended memory range.

In the former method you cant use this 384KB by default. There are memory managers such as QUEMM etc, that allow parts of the 640 to 1024KB area to be used by DOS. DOS 6 can use parts of this too. You may be able to free up a bit of ram with DOS 6, but trying to free up 200KB is AFAIK impossible.

In the latter method, you just have a hole in the 640 to 1024KB range. The 384KB that starts at 1024KB is only addressable as extended RAM (for the most part). HIGHMEM.SYS is often used for this in DOS. Your driver needs to designed to work with extended memory.

If you are running DOS you cant use protected mode, it runs in real mode.

Expanded RAM is a bit different, In its usual incarnation it takes a 64KB section in the 640 to 1024KB range, and then maps 64KB of expanded ram into that section. The difference with expanded ram is that you can write data to that area, then instruct the system to swap parts of that 64KB range out, and swap in empty memory. It's kinda like a jukebox, you can have megabytes of data in total, but you can only use one disk at a time. The problem is the software has to be able to tell it when to swap. Your driver needs to designed to work with the expanded memory.

As far as i can see your only option is to shrink the 200KB driver. Unless there are some options to reduce the RAM usage of the driver, see the manual, your stuck with re-engineering the driver, or trying a different approach entirely.

The parallel port network mentioned by stone is one of those options.

I used to have an old Toshiba, cant remember the exact model no, that has a full-blown 8-bit ISA connector that has space for a half-length card. It was behind a panel you had to unscrew. If you have this then there are many more options for you. IIRC that had what looked like a 50-pin SCSI interface on the custom internal hard drive, but it may have been the weird 34pin interface you have. It certainly was not SCSI.

Hope this helps

DeChief
August 22nd, 2016, 01:21 AM
This is a bit of an over-simplification...MS-DOS can only usually directly address 640KB of ram. 640 to 1024KB is reserved for device ROMs. With 1024KB total RAM, your system either uses the extra 384KB for shadowing device ROMs in this range, or it moves the extra RAM into the extended memory range.

In the former method you cant use this 384KB by default. There are memory managers such as QUEMM etc, that allow parts of the 640 to 1024KB area to be used by DOS. DOS 6 can use parts of this too. You may be able to free up a bit of ram with DOS 6, but trying to free up 200KB is AFAIK impossible.

In the latter method, you just have a hole in the 640 to 1024KB range. The 384KB that starts at 1024KB is only addressable as extended RAM (for the most part). HIGHMEM.SYS is often used for this in DOS. Your driver needs to designed to work with extended memory.

If you are running DOS you cant use protected mode, it runs in real mode.

Expanded RAM is a bit different, In its usual incarnation it takes a 64KB section in the 640 to 1024KB range, and then maps 64KB of expanded ram into that section. The difference with expanded ram is that you can write data to that area, then instruct the system to swap parts of that 64KB range out, and swap in empty memory. It's kinda like a jukebox, you can have megabytes of data in total, but you can only use one disk at a time. The problem is the software has to be able to tell it when to swap. Your driver needs to designed to work with the expanded memory.

As far as i can see your only option is to shrink the 200KB driver. Unless there are some options to reduce the RAM usage of the driver, see the manual, your stuck with re-engineering the driver, or trying a different approach entirely.

The parallel port network mentioned by stone is one of those options.

I used to have an old Toshiba, cant remember the exact model no, that has a full-blown 8-bit ISA connector that has space for a half-length card. It was behind a panel you had to unscrew. If you have this then there are many more options for you. IIRC that had what looked like a 50-pin SCSI interface on the custom internal hard drive, but it may have been the weird 34pin interface you have. It certainly was not SCSI.

Hope this helps

Thanks for explaining all that, it definitely does help. I just checked and the GT041 does indeed have an 8-bit ISA connector, so that means I should be able to get a half-length ram card for it right? Would there be any problems finding drivers, or should it just work right away?

Stone
August 22nd, 2016, 03:09 AM
Thanks for explaining all that, it definitely does help. I just checked and the GT041 does indeed have an 8-bit ISA connector, so that means I should be able to get a half-length ram card for it right? Would there be any problems finding drivers, or should it just work right away?I don't think a ram card is what he had in mind. More ram is not the solution. Basically the usable ram is maxed out and you need a solution that uses less ram.

DeChief
August 22nd, 2016, 03:16 AM
I don't think a ram card is what he had in mind. More ram is not the solution. Basically the usable ram is maxed out and you need a solution that uses less ram.

But what was the point of mentioning the ISA connector then? And also, are you sure that the usable ram is maxed out? This laptop shipped with 1mb from the factory, there must be a way to use it.

Stone
August 22nd, 2016, 03:44 AM
DOS can only use 640K (with a few minor exceptions) no matter how much memory your system has. Unless you can find another way to load that 200K driver elsewhere it's going to eat 200K of ram of the top of your 640K DOS ram. There are methods to get ~708K or so for DOS to use but is that even enough for your purpose?

krebizfan
August 22nd, 2016, 04:21 AM
Odd, I remember the Backpack Hard Drive having lower memory consumption than this. Maybe the documentation lists a way of cutting buffers in conventional memory or shoving some of it into EMS if the Toshiba can take an EMS card.

mR_Slug
August 23rd, 2016, 03:32 PM
Sorry I didnt mention this in my last post, it was getting a bit long.

If you have the ISA connector, you could use an XT-IDE card. It may even be possible to use the original internal drive bay, by running the cable back into the laptop, YMMV with this.

Alternatively use one of the CF type cards with the XT-IDE cards if it will all fit inside the space. Alternatively, put the XT-IDE card in the machine and run the cable out to a standard IDE drive. I have not used the XT-IDE card myself but it is very well supported.

Another (period correct) solution would be an 8-bit ISA SCSI card + HDD, but these are difficult to find.

You will have a much more straightforward environment, in that there is no need to load a 200K driver to access the HDD. You could still put the external drive to use to ease file transfer, just don't load the 200k driver when you need to run programs.

Hope this helps.

DeChief
August 23rd, 2016, 05:41 PM
Odd, I remember the Backpack Hard Drive having lower memory consumption than this. Maybe the documentation lists a way of cutting buffers in conventional memory or shoving some of it into EMS if the Toshiba can take an EMS card.

Maybe, I'll take a look.


Sorry I didnt mention this in my last post, it was getting a bit long.

If you have the ISA connector, you could use an XT-IDE card. It may even be possible to use the original internal drive bay, by running the cable back into the laptop, YMMV with this.

Alternatively use one of the CF type cards with the XT-IDE cards if it will all fit inside the space. Alternatively, put the XT-IDE card in the machine and run the cable out to a standard IDE drive. I have not used the XT-IDE card myself but it is very well supported.

Another (period correct) solution would be an 8-bit ISA SCSI card + HDD, but these are difficult to find.

You will have a much more straightforward environment, in that there is no need to load a 200K driver to access the HDD. You could still put the external drive to use to ease file transfer, just don't load the 200k driver when you need to run programs.

Hope this helps.

Both of those sound like fantastic ideas, I'll see if I can find an affordable XT-IDE card or a compact flash solution. Thanks!