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Thread: Weird file access problem in MS-DOS. Boot floppy works, boot HDD broken.

  1. #11

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    I don't know if the version i have is updated from the basic v4.01. Im not trying to use it though, just copy the file. I've cut the file down and I can't really understand why it causes so much of a problem.

    The offending file now consists of 1Fh followed by 00h upto 0x1001 followed by FFh upto 0x2001 followed by 00h upto 0x8ce5.

    Image.jpg

    There are no special drivers loaded, just the DRIVEPARM to fix the FDD to 1.44MB.

    When I copy the file, as far as I can tell the controller just stops and reset's the SCSI bus. Very peculiar.
    Looking for: OMTI SMS Scientific Micro Systems 8610 or 8627 ESDI ISA drive controller, May also be branded Core HC, Please PM me if you want to part with one.

  2. #12

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    Anyone know where to find a manual for the Seagate Elite 1 ST-41600N? There's nothing on the seagate ftp server and the .TXT file is very short. I'm trying to work out if the continuously flashing LED indicates a problem.

    The drive has a 256K cache. I'm wondering if perhaps the memory chips are faulty. The theory I'm working on is perhaps the if the cache is 50% filled there's no issue writing. OTOH, a fast transfer* that fills the drives cache runs into a bad RAM chip.

    I tested the controller on another drive and it seems to work.

    I'm still none the wiser why that particular file causes such an issue.

    *Yes it's from a floppy, but the cache controller probably just bursts the data to the drive.
    Looking for: OMTI SMS Scientific Micro Systems 8610 or 8627 ESDI ISA drive controller, May also be branded Core HC, Please PM me if you want to part with one.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mR_Slug View Post
    This is all without loading any special drivers for the caching function. The controller can see 470MB of the HDD. Anything past that requires a special type 153 partition and drivers loaded. Strangely all this complex add-on stuff works perfectly.
    Based on your issues, maybe it doesn't work perfectly?

    Answer to why MS-DOS 4.01. I'm trying to build a 1990 system.
    There is no reason whatsoever to run MS-DOS 4. It has so, so many bugs, from EMM386, to SHARE, to FASTOPEN... just don't run it. If you want to be 1990-period-correct, run DR-DOS 5 which supports large drives. Alternately, run Compaq DOS 3.31 which also supports large drives.

    I'm now trying to work out the peculiar problem with copying emm386.sys from dos 4.01. I don't need the file, just confused why it totally kills the HDD until hard reset. I've split it up from 80KB, and got ~50kb that gives me a problem. I've tried to cut it up further but then it copies fine. There are large areas of zeros. I'll see if i can chop it down.
    I'm strongly suspecting your controller, or some other hardware issue. I don't think it's related to the file, the disk, or the floppy drive. Have you tried a minimum configuration, such as removing everything except the floppy controller, disk controller, and video card?
    Offering a bounty for:
    - A working Sanyo MBC-775
    - Documentation and original disks for: Panasonic Sr. Partner, Zenith Z-160 series
    - Music Construction Set, IBM Music Feature edition (has red sticker on front stating IBM Music Feature)
    - Any very old/ugly IBM joystick (such as the Franklin JS-123)

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trixter View Post
    Based on your issues, maybe it doesn't work perfectly?
    Yes, I've been playing with DOS 6.22 on another drive, same controller and it's all fine. So it's pointing to the drive.


    Quote Originally Posted by Trixter View Post
    There is no reason whatsoever to run MS-DOS 4. It has so, so many bugs, from EMM386, to SHARE, to FASTOPEN... just don't run it. If you want to be 1990-period-correct, run DR-DOS 5 which supports large drives. Alternately, run Compaq DOS 3.31 which also supports large drives.
    Yeah your right. I thought I would see just *how* bad it is. Though the FDD issue is a BIOS problem, and I think the drive is at fault. Still starting with DOS 4.01 was asking for problems. I thought most of the issues were solved in the .01 version. OS2 museum, goes into a lot detail on 4.x, but last time I checked there was an issue with the site.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trixter View Post
    I'm strongly suspecting your controller, or some other hardware issue. I don't think it's related to the file, the disk, or the floppy drive. Have you tried a minimum configuration, such as removing everything except the floppy controller, disk controller, and video card?
    Yep it's min config, the only other thing apart from the HDD controller is a spare FDD controller to eliminate the issue with the FDD controller on the HDD controller, that I now know is a BIOS issue. It's a multi-io but everything else is disabled with jumpers. And everything else is definitely disabled, had 2 others that have a jumper to disable the IDE but don't.

    I think its the drive. When I got it it required a low-level format. I'm guessing the thing wasn't tested properly. A charitable explanation would be that it may have been in a system with a non 512K sector size (or something) and appeared to work. I'll try it in another system again.
    Looking for: OMTI SMS Scientific Micro Systems 8610 or 8627 ESDI ISA drive controller, May also be branded Core HC, Please PM me if you want to part with one.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mR_Slug View Post
    I think its the drive. When I got it it required a low-level format. I'm guessing the thing wasn't tested properly. A charitable explanation would be that it may have been in a system with a non 512K sector size (or something) and appeared to work. I'll try it in another system again.
    I've found Speedstor (available on modem7's site) to be very good at LLF'ing and verifying MFM drives, so I'd give that a shot. Any bad sectors it finds can go into the hard drive bad sector table, which they'll always return bad for DOS (ie. spinrite won't be able to try to force them as usable again).
    Offering a bounty for:
    - A working Sanyo MBC-775
    - Documentation and original disks for: Panasonic Sr. Partner, Zenith Z-160 series
    - Music Construction Set, IBM Music Feature edition (has red sticker on front stating IBM Music Feature)
    - Any very old/ugly IBM joystick (such as the Franklin JS-123)

  6. #16

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    I'll have a look at speedstor, I didn't know it works with SCSI drives.

    I've been testing the drive in a more modern system with linux and I can't find any issues with it. BTW the constant flashing LED is a "heartbeat LED" (if it works like the Elite 3). I've been trying to use the sg_utils to see if there is anything odd about the drive. One thing I don't seem to be able to do is set the write caching:

    sginfo -c -6 /dev/sdb
    Code:
    Caching mode page (0x8)
    -----------------------
    Initiator Control                  1
    ABPF                               0
    CAP                                0
    DISC                               1
    SIZE                               0
    Write Cache Enabled                0     <------
    MF                                 0
    Read Cache Disabled                0
    Demand Read Retention Priority     0
    Demand Write Retention Priority    0
    Disable Pre-fetch Transfer Length  0
    Minimum Pre-fetch                  0
    Maximum Pre-fetch                  96
    Maximum Pre-fetch Ceiling          0
    FSW                                0
    LBCSS                              0
    DRA                                0
    NV_DIS                             0
    Number of Cache Segments           4
    Cache Segment size                 0
    Non-Cache Segment size             0
    The output of:
    sdparm -6 -a /dev/sdb
    WCE 0 [cha: n, def: 0, sav: 0]
    Indicates that write caching cannot be enabled, so I guess it's just a read cache.

    I tried setting the RCD (Read Cache Disabled) to 1 and saving it:
    sdparm -6 -a /dev/sdb
    RCD 1 [cha: y, def: 0, sav: 1]
    Setup the drive in the 486 system and still get the same problem.

    I can't figure why this controller wont work with this drive. Controller works with other drives, drive works with other controllers. Both are 5MB/s SCSI-2.

    Does anyone know what could be causing the incompatibility?
    Looking for: OMTI SMS Scientific Micro Systems 8610 or 8627 ESDI ISA drive controller, May also be branded Core HC, Please PM me if you want to part with one.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mR_Slug View Post
    I'll have a look at speedstor, I didn't know it works with SCSI drives.
    Actually, I'm not sure it does -- sorry, I thought you had an MFM drive. Apologies.
    Offering a bounty for:
    - A working Sanyo MBC-775
    - Documentation and original disks for: Panasonic Sr. Partner, Zenith Z-160 series
    - Music Construction Set, IBM Music Feature edition (has red sticker on front stating IBM Music Feature)
    - Any very old/ugly IBM joystick (such as the Franklin JS-123)

  8. #18

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    Nailed It. Turned out the controller was not providing term power. There's no setting for termination on the controller at all. I'm not sure if this is a function of the controller or the NCR53C90A chip it uses. Evidently when the large block of 0s followed by a large block of 1s were sent over the bus the controller gave up. Got the drive to provide term power to the separate terminator and bingo.


    I did decide to go with your recommendation on DR-DOS 5 eventually. Never used it before, very impressed. Seems to work fine with the controllers TSR's despite the manual stating DR-DOS was unsupported.

    Thanks for everyone help.
    Looking for: OMTI SMS Scientific Micro Systems 8610 or 8627 ESDI ISA drive controller, May also be branded Core HC, Please PM me if you want to part with one.

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