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Pet4016
November 27th, 2017, 06:00 PM
I have an IBM 5160 640k model, and I want to add a hard drive. I have an IBM MFM controller card, will any MFM hard drive work with it? I see lots of hard drives eBay but without the controller cards, can I use any controller card with any hard drive? How do you set up the hard drive when there is no BIOS? Are hard cards a good choice? I read somewhere online that there are 8 bit IDE cards I can use to mount a IDE hard drive what kind do you guys reccomend?

lutiana
November 28th, 2017, 08:35 AM
I recommend grabbing an XT-IDE card from Glitchworks (http://www.glitchwrks.com/2017/11/23/xt-ide-rev4) and using a modern IDE drive, or a Compact flash to IDE adapter and a CF card. Much easier to get and maintain than MFM stuff is these days.

The way I see it, the only reason to go MFM would be if you wanted the machine to be period accurate, which some people do want to do, however IMO this makes the machine less useable and much more prone to failure.

Chuck(G)
November 28th, 2017, 08:54 AM
You can use any MFM hard drive with a legacy controller, within limits. It's not uncommon for older XT-type (8 bit) controller cards to have limits of anywhere from 32MB to 80MB. You can get around that with a modified BIOS, but if you're dreaming about an XT with a 1GB MFM drive, that's not going to be realistic.

Retro Canada
November 28th, 2017, 09:02 AM
MFM drives are noisy and prone to errors. You just can't buy any refurbished MFM drive free of bad sectors. You just need one application freezing to get a head crash and then the sector is gone.

I have 2 MFM and they are slow, unreliable and NOISY AS HELL! Serious, they have mechanical moving parts outside the case! I can't use them past midnight, not that they turn into pumpkins but they will wake up everybody in the house...

Get a XTIDE and a real IDE drive or a CF card. You can even use those Hitachi microdrives 3K4 they are real deal micro-hard drives. They work like a charm and don't run out of writing cycles.

vwestlife
November 28th, 2017, 09:31 AM
You just need one application freezing to get a head crash and then the sector is gone.
What? A head crash is when the hard drive's heads, which normally float on a cushion of air when in operation, come into physical contact with the drive platters. There is no way for any application to do this, either intentionally or due to an error. A head crash can only be caused by mechanical failure of the drive, or it being violently jarred while in operation.

KC9UDX
November 28th, 2017, 09:40 AM
What? A head crash is when the hard drive's heads, which normally float on a cushion of air when in operation, come into physical contact with the drive platters. There is no way for any application to do this, either intentionally or due to an error. A head crash can only be caused by mechanical failure of the drive, or it being violently jarred while in operation.

What, you never kicked a computer when a program crashed? :onfire:

As much as I love tangible mass storage, and despise SD cards being used for this purpose, I can't imagine acquiring "new" mechanical hard drives for old computers anymore. I have hard drives failing pretty regularly and so far no problems with SD cards in this service.

Stone
November 28th, 2017, 09:49 AM
You just can't buy any refurbished MFM drive free of bad sectors.DUH!!!

FWIW, you couldn't buy a new MFM drive that was free of bad sectors. :-) What do you think the track map that was glued to the top of the drive was all about? It was a list of bad sectors as the drive came out of the factory. So how would you ever get a refurbished drive that was free of bad sectors?

glitch
November 28th, 2017, 09:57 AM
Plenty of XT-IDEs to go around! Bare boards, parts kits, and fully assembled+tested are available. I've still got a few industrial Flash modules as well. Aside from being one of the folks selling XT-IDE stuff, I do typically recommend that PC hobbyists keep away from real MFM drives if they don't already have one so that the MFM drives can be used in things that have no other convenient option. Like AT&T UNIX PCs.

If you do go with a MFM drive, make sure you keep good backups. Even if it's just hobby stuff, the disk will eventually die and you'll be stuck repeating your setup work again.

Do some research on your controller and see if you can find out which drives it is compatible with. Typically, to format a drive on an XT-class machine, you invoke the low-level format program via DEBUG. Some cards would come up with a prompt, but for most you run DEBUG and execute something like G=C800:5 (depends on the controller, but this was commonly the entry point for the onboard low-level format).

vwestlife
November 28th, 2017, 10:03 AM
FWIW, you couldn't buy a new MFM drive that was free of bad sectors. :-) What do you think the track map that was glued to the top of the drive was all about? It was a list of bad sectors as the drive came out of the factory. So how would you ever get a refurbished drive that was free of bad sectors?
Even brand new hard drives today still come from the factory with bad sectors on them. They're just masked off so that the operating system, and in turn you, don't see them.

SpidersWeb
November 28th, 2017, 10:24 AM
For someone that isn't fussed about how the data is loaded and/or just doesn't want to deal with all the cables/ROM config/finding gear etc etc, then XT-IDE is perfect, and I'd also remove a floppy drive and fit a GoTek USB emulator (because writing 360KB floppies to failing media is even less fun).

But I did want to add that I don't think the world of MFM is a horror story, my IBM's and actually about 10-15 other systems are running 1980's MFM drives without data loss, without failure, and without making huge amounts of noise. You can and likely will find bad drives, but they're not all like that. So if the OP wants to stick 1980's, I wouldn't run from it.

Chuck(G)
November 28th, 2017, 10:33 AM
"Huge" is relative. I'm used to working in near silence--listening to the birds outside my window, the rain on the roof and the wind in the trees. I'll occasionally power up some piece of old gear and be stunned by the relatively large amount of noise it makes. A couple of years ago, I needed to power up a 486 desktop with a 760MB ESDI FH drive in it. The first chance I got, I swapped the drive and controller out for something quieter--it was almost too much.

Kazblox
November 28th, 2017, 11:02 AM
If you're crazy like me, go SCSI! Future Domain controllers boot ANYTHING, as long as the block size of the media is what the operating system expects (MS-DOS likes a block size of 512.)

glitch
November 28th, 2017, 11:08 AM
If you're crazy like me, go SCSI! Future Domain controllers boot ANYTHING, as long as the block size of the media is what the operating system expects (MS-DOS likes a block size of 512.)

That used to be the way to go, before Hargle started on the first XT-IDE! Works pretty well, and you can boot from e.g. Magneto-Optical disks, which are quite durable and writable on modern PCs.

Retro Canada
November 28th, 2017, 11:25 AM
You have to turn the computer off when an application freezes right ? What if the drive is in use ?

Retro Canada
November 28th, 2017, 11:28 AM
My track maps are empty, at least on paper.

ibmapc
November 28th, 2017, 12:12 PM
You have to turn the computer off when an application freezes right ? What if the drive is in use ?

That would be a head "landing". Not a crash. Not ideal, but, usually not harmful to the media unless the machine is jarred pretty hard during or after the power down.

SpidersWeb
November 28th, 2017, 02:09 PM
You have to turn the computer off when an application freezes right ? What if the drive is in use ?

The heads can touch the surface on spin down no problem at all. Parking the heads is only necessary when moving the machine.
What you don't want is the head sitting on track 0 when the courier drops it down a flight of stairs.

Often I like to park the heads just as a good measure*, but these drives are no where near that fragile.
That would've been a massive engineering oversight.

* my thought is that this leads to reduced wear on the first few tracks which is where the head usually lands unparked, and if there is a bump/earthquake/stiction issue I want it at the end of the drive

Chuck(G)
November 28th, 2017, 02:40 PM
The need for parking disk drives went away when manufacturers decided to lift the heads (unload) automatically as the drive spun down. This has been the case since the early 90s, as far as I know. So for 10-30MB drives, maybe it still applies. After that, not so much--yet you can find sites that recommend running a utility that supposedly parks heads.

vwestlife
November 28th, 2017, 03:37 PM
IBM referred to hard drive parking as "prepare system for relocation". Nowhere was it ever written that hard drive parking was necessary every time you shut off the computer. And many hard drives have survived being moved and shipped without being properly parked beforehand. It's just an extra safety precaution.

Chuck(G)
November 28th, 2017, 04:04 PM
How do I park the heads on my SSD? :)

SpidersWeb
November 28th, 2017, 04:27 PM
How do I park the heads on my SSD? :)
Just press the any key.

KC9UDX
November 28th, 2017, 05:31 PM
Make sure to defrag it first. I know many people who insist you have to do this, nevermind the fact that it even defeats wear leveling..

Retro Canada
November 28th, 2017, 08:20 PM
remove a floppy drive and fit a GoTek USB emulator (because writing 360KB floppies to failing media is even less fun).

Does GoTek support 360k media ? I want to play with 8088 xenix but my 5.25 floppy drive is unreliable... :/

SpidersWeb
November 28th, 2017, 08:35 PM
Does GoTek support 360k media ? I want to play with 8088 xenix but my 5.25 floppy drive is unreliable... :/

I haven't tried it yet, but I have the 720K Double Density version which I expect to be able to write 360 and 720 images too since those two formats are identical except for the track count.
I'll see how much trouble it gives me. Planning to use it as my OS installer when installing software / operating systems on new machines because I've spent too much time writing floppy disks this last week.

vwestlife
November 28th, 2017, 10:39 PM
You can't do this with an SSD...


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yISqCAnROh8

RuudB
November 28th, 2017, 11:02 PM
I have an IBM 5160 640k model, and I want to add a hard drive.
For you and anyone interested, I have some hard disk cards laying around. I live in the Netherlands.

dorkbert
November 29th, 2017, 08:45 PM
if you're dead set on rotating media drive, stock power supply might not be adequate.

vwestlife
November 29th, 2017, 09:33 PM
if you're dead set on rotating media drive, stock power supply might not be adequate.

You must be thinking of the 5150 PC, whose 63.5 watt power supply wasn't quite enough to power the 5" hard drives of the day. But the OP has a 5160 XT, whose 135 watt power supply was adequate to power the full-height 5" hard drive it originally came with.

romanon
November 29th, 2017, 10:21 PM
42197

jeeeesus, what a ramblings...

Retro Canada
November 29th, 2017, 11:18 PM
I love spongebob :D if you are trying to make me upset you're are losing your time, thing I believe you have spare for doing this...

Kazblox
December 5th, 2017, 07:39 AM
Future Domain controllers boot ANYTHING, as long as the block size of the media is what the operating system expects (MS-DOS likes a block size of 512.)
Ok, maybe I lied. Tried seeing if the v8.2 BIOS could detect my internal Zip100 drive, and that was a no go. SCSIDIAG could see it though.

willyk
December 5th, 2017, 09:24 AM
Spidersweb: I am interested in your post. Would you care to mention a few of the MFM drives you have that are still reliable? I am not questioning your experience, it just doesn't match mine. 3/4 of the MFM drives I have a dead. But I do own a few in XT's that worked when I last booted them about 5 years ago. In the later days of the DEC PDP-11 there where several manufacturers selling drive replacement boxes and controllers using MFM drives in place of standard DEC drives. I own one of these (with a dead MFM drive) and have interacted with 3 people who own early 1980s Mcleyvier Synthesizers that used a similar system. The five such Synthesizers known to exist are all dead due to MFM drive failures. Sadly the owners were musicians and they made no backups! I also would recommend alternatives to a physical MFM drive. However I believe there is at least one MFM drive emulator which is supposed to be reliable: http://www.pdp8online.com/mfm/. This would be an alternative to the ide controller approach which I have no experience with but sounds interesting.

SpidersWeb
December 5th, 2017, 02:13 PM
Spidersweb: I am interested in your post. Would you care to mention a few of the MFM drives you have that are still reliable?.

Here is a few of mine that I have running MFM/RLL reliably [and that have been used often enough I can vouch for them]

IBM PC XT - ST412 - MFM (can't hear it over the PSU fan)
IBM PC XT 640KB - ST225 + NEC D5126
IBM PC Portable - ST-251 (good pick because of the auto parking)
IBM PC AT replica - Maxtor XT-110 (might be a 170).
Random T3200 Clone - 3.5" MFM (can't remember which model I installed, sounds like a cat meowing when turned on, works great, laptop smells like rat urine though)
Exzel PC XT CGA - ST225 + ST225
Exzel PC XT MDA - actually can't remember what I put in it, but it's most certainly MFM
DTK PIM-640 clone - ST412 - MFM (1983)
DTK PIM-640 clone - Miniscribe 3.5" 30MB RLL on a card (1987) [didn't work when received, hit with screwdriver, works a champion over a year later)
IPC AT - ST-238R - RLL
Commodore PC-10 - ST225
Commodore Colt - 20MB hard card
Commodore PC-40 - can't remember, runs fine
Wang PC 286 - ST-251 - MFM
Wang Professional - ST-225 - still running off original factory format because I haven't got around to backing it up yet.
IBM RT - 2 x 380MB ESDI,... third drive works too but was getting a bit loud (bearing wear)

I've got other systems too and a box of tested ST225's and spare tested Maxtor XT1000 series drives + tested NEC's etc etc but I haven't used those often enough to guarantee they're reliable in all aspects. But my known good list is a lot bigger than my box of dead guys.

The highest failure rate for me occurs when I buy bulk lots of random drives, especially server stuff (or cheap 3.5" MFM drives), then you start getting in to 50/50 territory.

A fresh low level factory format is important. If that hasn't been done since it left the factory, it's certainly going to play up and start losing data.
But overall my motto is "if it spins it wins".

bobba84
December 5th, 2017, 02:27 PM
hit with screwdriver

Percussive maintenance saves the day again!

Stone
December 5th, 2017, 02:59 PM
I also have several MFM or RLL drives that still run fine. They are:

Seagate:

ST-225 X 2
ST-238R

Maxtor:

XT-1140 X 2

Kazblox
December 5th, 2017, 03:52 PM
The ST-225 amazes me. Mine had absolutely no sector errors and survived a wacky shipping adventure in which the faceplate came off, along with some minor damage to other stuff surrounding it such as the AT&T 6300 it was in. And it still worked!

Casey
December 10th, 2017, 04:13 PM
Just press the any key.

...But I can't find the key marked "any."

I used to knew a fella at Computerland who swore someone called in with that exact complaint.

Retro Canada
December 10th, 2017, 04:22 PM
My 2 MFM HDD stopped working all of sudden, could it be the controller ? It's a WD 1002-S

All I get now is a 1701 error. It was working a week ago where I installed xenix86 on it. The light on the ST255 does not even turn on. The drives they start, spin, but there is no activity. I'll check the cable as well...

Pet4016
December 28th, 2017, 05:49 AM
OK ,so here's where I'm at. I have a 5160 with the first gen Bios. I've found a lot of western digital MFM cards on ebay and a lot of MFM hard drives. If I buy them separately I can get around 40-80mb for around 60 for both the card and drive. If I get a pair from a vendor it's like 150. What should I do.

Also I tried to contact xt-ide and it was a very generic response. I was trying to find out if XT IDE will run a standard IDE drive I have a few old small ones. One I think is like 40mb. Would XT IDE run a 1.44 or 1.2 drive? Does anyone make a card that let's you just run a memory card of some sort and the pc recognizes it as a hard drive? Also are hard cards junk?

Krille
December 30th, 2017, 05:25 AM
Also I tried to contact xt-ide and it was a very generic response.
Who exactly did you contact?

I was trying to find out if XT IDE will run a standard IDE drive I have a few old small ones. One I think is like 40mb.
XTIDE Universal BIOS supports IDE drives so it should work with your old drives. But that's just the software part of "XT IDE", it ultimately depends on what controller you use (the hardware part). I guess you're referring to the XT-IDE rev 4? If so, the answer is yes, it should support your old drives.

Would XT IDE run a 1.44 or 1.2 drive?
Sounds like you are talking about floppy drives here. The answer is no.

Does anyone make a card that let's you just run a memory card of some sort and the pc recognizes it as a hard drive?
If by "memory card of some sort" you mean Compact Flash cards or SD cards, then yes.

Also are hard cards junk?
I've never had one so I wouldn't know.


What should I do.
My advice is; don't bother with the old MFM drives and controllers. Get a Lo-tech 8-bit IDE adapter. You'll get the highest performance and the widest support for drives. If you can't find one of those, then get an XT-IDE rev 4 card from glitch.

Stone
December 30th, 2017, 05:46 AM
Also are hard cards junk?Hard cards are nothing more than a hard drive physically mounted on a controller card so you don't need a drive bay for the drive itself.

I've got a Quantum 170 MB hard card that works fine if you're interested in one.

Casey
January 1st, 2018, 06:21 PM
For someone that isn't fussed about how the data is loaded and/or just doesn't want to deal with all the cables/ROM config/finding gear etc etc, then XT-IDE is perfect, and I'd also remove a floppy drive and fit a GoTek USB emulator (because writing 360KB floppies to failing media is even less fun).

But don't the GoTek drives emulate a 1.44 floppy, which raises issues if one is using a pc/xt machine? Or can you configure it for 720k use? I imagine either way you get a lot of floppy images on even a small thumb drive. :)

Caluser2000
January 1st, 2018, 06:41 PM
You can use a generic multi i/o card with 34pin header for the fdd and a utility called 2M to get a XT class system to use 1.44meg floppies.

https://sites.google.com/site/misterzeropage/

To quote:

"High Density Floppy Controller

1.44meg drives are probably one of the most frequently requested upgrades to XTs. However, in this modern age 1.44meg drives are quite obsolete, so this upgrade is now much less necessary than before. But of course that didn't stop me from doing it anyway! I still happen to use 1.44meg disks on a regular basis, and it can be quite convenient when you're stuck in a shitty situation. I had actually been trying to get a 1.44meg drive into my XT for many years, but I was never able to procure one of those magic "high density floppy controllers" that everybody talks about. Sometimes you can find them on eBay for a pretty penny, but it's really not worth it. An HD floppy controller with its own BIOS is probably your best choice if you want to be able to boot off a 1.44meg or 1.2 meg disk, but if all you need to do is to be able to read and write these disks, there is another option available. A long time ago some very smart person wrote a great little program called "2M". This software was mostly used for stuffing up to 2MB of data onto a standard 1.44MB disk, hence the name "2M". However there are a few other interesting features that come with this software package, notably the little known (and seldom used) BIOS extensions for AT and XT systems that allow you to run high density drives without the need for special card with a dedicated BIOS. There is only one requirement: you must use a floppy controller that supports the faster spindle speeds of high density drives...99% of XTs do not meet this requirement. Thankfully these cards are a dime a dozen, and can be frequently pulled from 386 and 486 class machines. You will find that many 16-bit IDE multi I/O" cards of 386/486 systems will work just fine (minus IDE functionality) in an 8-bit XT slot. In this way you can have serial, parallel and floppy (and sometimes a game port) all on a single card. Many XTs require THREE separate cards to supply all these features! And of course you also get the benefit of having a 1.44mb or 1.2mb floppy drive in your XT by loading a small 3.9kb TSR. One of the advantages of using a TSR rather than having the physical floppy BIOS is that the TSR can be loaded and unloaded as needed. An HD floppy controller with a dedicated BIOS will occupy a small chunk of your UMB memory, which can be annoying if you run a UMB manager like QRAM to make that space available for drivers. QRAM allocates UMBs in 16kb blocks, so you risk losing a precious 16kb of memory. If anyone is interested in running a 1.44meg drive in their XT using 2M, I highly recommend a generic floppy controller running the Winbond chipset as shown."

Caluser2000
January 1st, 2018, 08:09 PM
I forgot to add you can boot off of 1.44meg drive on an xt class system using a generic 16-bit multi i/o card if the boot disk has DRDos 7.x on it.

A-ko
January 1st, 2018, 09:28 PM
with the exception of a totally dead Miniscribe drive that was in a filthy PB500 I got last year, every single MFM/RLL hard drive I have works reliably...knock on wood.

My experience with ST-225s is especially good. The one in my Zenith Z-158 that was abused and full of mud works flawlessly with zero bad sectors.