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View Full Version : IBM 5170 w/ AMI BIOS will not read, but will write to IDE disk



Kevin Williams
January 25th, 2017, 08:46 AM
Hey Everyone,

I have a few 5170's I'm working on and I hit a really weird issue. I am trying to use a 128mb DOM IDE module on a 16-bit IDE card with the AMI Bios in a 5170. I was able to make the chips, and it's coming up fine. The module I'm using has a geometry of 492 Cylinders, 16 heads and 32 sectors which is well below the 504mb limit. The machine comes up with this setting, sees the HD, lets me FDISK and format and then, nothing! After playing around some more, I booted from a floppy and go right to the C drive no issue. It will let me create a directory, and copy files from the floppy. I then just tried to run command.com from the root, and then I get a read error. I then noticed, I cannot seem to read anything from the drive no matter what I do! I thought perhaps it was just responding too quickly, and the only other drive I have sitting around is an older 200gb IDE. I set it to 1024-16-63 which is the 504 limit, and I get the exact same behavior. Maybe this drive is too fast too?

Whatever the case, I'm really perplexed on what else to try short of getting an older HD. I was hoping this setup would work.

Has anyone seen this, or any suggestions?
Thanks!
-Kevin

Stone
January 25th, 2017, 10:08 AM
The first thing I would try is FDISK /MBR. That will rewrite the master boot record on the DOM and possibly correct any error that might be preventing it from booting. This can always be a problem that is quite easy to rectify if it is. Even though it appears that the problem is larger than just not booting it never hurts to try.

If you want the old IBM 0665 30MB MFM drive from a 5170 I've got one of those for sale.

Kevin Williams
January 25th, 2017, 10:18 AM
Hey, did fdisk/mbr. It not only won't boot, but I cannot read any file even if I boot from floppy. I'm thinking since my machine is 6mhz, perhaps the card is too fast in responding and causing some timing issues. I'm guessing most cards want to run @ 7.33, or whatever it was that the bus speed settled @ for the ISA standard.

I don't really trust the old MFM drives. I have 10 5170's, and not one of their drives worked. :-)

Thanks!
-Kevin

Stone
January 25th, 2017, 10:22 AM
Does the card work in another machine, IOW, is the card known to be good?

Druid6900
January 25th, 2017, 10:26 AM
Go into FDISK and make sure the drive partition is set to active.

I've found that, sometimes the DOS will do it automatically and, sometimes, it won't.

Stone
January 25th, 2017, 10:32 AM
Go into FDISK and make sure the drive partition is set to active.That wouldn't prevent reads or writes after a floppy boot.

Kevin Williams
January 25th, 2017, 10:51 AM
Yeah, I have a ton of these IDE combo cards, and they're all brand new. In fact, I'm selling some on eBay as I bought about 25 of them from a local computer dealer that went under last year, and they have worked in everything I've tried them in. It's these guys:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/16-Bit-ISA-IDE-FLOPPY-PARALLEL-SERIAL-AND-DUAL-FANS-FIX-YOUR-OLD-PC-NEW-/272533374697?ssPageName=STRK:MESE:IT

I just kept enough to fix machines as I repair them. The partition is active, and I've actually done about everything that makes sense IMO. I feel like it's a timing issue. I even had to go through about 5 VGA cards before I found one that was happy in this machine, and I already thought the slow bus might be the culprit with these guys. They are all 6mhz, so I'm assuming the bus is too, or even slower. :-)

I thought the DOMs would be perfect as you can only get a 504mb partition to work on the AMI bios due to the ancient limitations of it.

It's just weird that it will write all day, but nothing else.

Thanks!
-Kevin

Druid6900
January 25th, 2017, 10:52 AM
That wouldn't prevent reads or writes after a floppy boot.

Actually, you're right, it shouldn't.

However, the OP says that he can write to the hard drive, just not read from it, so, as you suggest, it may be the IDE card.

I can't see two drives behaving in exactly the same manner.

Perhaps using a "dumber" IDE controller would tell us something.

Kevin Williams
January 25th, 2017, 11:08 AM
There's a jumper for IOCHRDY, which I tried too and it didn't help. I found that this may help with some older machines, but not in this case.

Stone
January 25th, 2017, 11:52 AM
While I don't know exactly what the hangup is I will venture a guess that it does have something to do with the card. If you have a more standard IDE interface, try that.

Flamin Joe
January 25th, 2017, 03:46 PM
I had an issue with getting a 386 to boot off a compact flash drive. Read in multiple places to use fdisk /MBR to fix it but it did nothing. In the end out of curiosity I tried one of those drive overlay programs, I think it was EZ-BIOS? Problem solved. Might be worth a try.

SomeGuy
January 25th, 2017, 05:03 PM
Try completely zeroing the MBR sector and then re-fdisking it.

The fdisk /mbr trick only fixes boot code, not partition info. And for whatever reason deleting and recreating partitions won't always clear out extra set bits.

Stone
January 25th, 2017, 06:16 PM
Since this problem has manifested on multiple, dissimilar media it's not very likely a Master Boot Record or even a Partition problem but rather the common factor between them which is this somewhat uncommon IDE interface that being used.

Stone
January 25th, 2017, 06:29 PM
Kevin... just a shot in the dark.

What DOS are you using with this 5170? If you're not using 5.xx or later -- you need to.

Kevin Williams
January 25th, 2017, 08:02 PM
I'm using DOS 6.22, wasn't the max part size around 30mb on 3.3, I forget what it was on 4.0 now. Ok, I just found an old Maxtor 7245A 234mb drive, and its working in the 5170. I'm guessing the reads are coming back too quickly on both the DOM, as well as the 2005 era 200gb Maxtor I tested. Bummer, the old IDE drives are not easy to find (working) anymore either. Maybe some super-slow old CF cards will work, but I don't know that I have any more right now.

Seems the controller is working, but I suspect even an old controller won't be happy with the newer disks and will present a problem. At least I can get one of these guys running. I'm thinking if I built a small buffer board between the DOM and the controller on the data bus it would work, but I bet the 6mhz 5170 is about the only AT machine that would need it. :-) I thought it was nice to have the 6mhz versions, but I'm starting to think they are more trouble than they are worth!

Thanks everyone,
-Kevin

Chuck(G)
January 25th, 2017, 08:57 PM
Does this card/BIOS allow for setting the transfer mode? If so, set PIO Mode 0--stay away from DMA.

AlexC
January 25th, 2017, 09:09 PM
I had an issue with getting a 386 to boot off a compact flash drive. Read in multiple places to use fdisk /MBR to fix it but it did nothing. In the end out of curiosity I tried one of those drive overlay programs, I think it was EZ-BIOS? Problem solved. Might be worth a try.

I had similar symptoms - write but not read - with an AST 386 laptop using a CF-IDE adapter. A 32MB or 16MB card with DOS 3.30 was fine. Anything larger, or using a different version of DOS, was not. I tried dozens of different cards.

I also found that drive overlay software solved the problem, whatever it was - I could then use a 4GB card with any DOS version.

Stone
January 26th, 2017, 02:39 AM
Bummer, the old IDE drives are not easy to find (working) anymore either. Maybe some super-slow old CF cards will work, but I don't know that I have any more right now.That 30MB IBM MFM drive I mentioned above works fine.

I also have some working IDE drives in 80MB, 170MB, 250MB, 340MB and 365MB sizes if any of those sizes interests you.

And I have other sizes as well.

DDS
January 26th, 2017, 04:33 AM
Message deleted due to posting in a caffeine deprived state. ;-)

Kevin Williams
January 30th, 2017, 11:09 AM
Got it working with a lo-tech CF adapter! It wasn't working with the original AT BIOS, but it's working with the AMI. Just disabling the IDE controller, the lo-tech is plenty fast for this dinosaur!