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Thread: Retrieving data off SCSI-1 drive

  1. #1

    Default Retrieving data off SCSI-1 drive

    Hi all,

    While building my "era accurate" pentium 2 machine, I found my very first computer stashed away in the basement. I plan on restoring it someday, but it's not a priority right now..
    That machine was powered by a 286, had DOS (and Win3.1 if I'm not mistaken). The main hard drive is a 5.25" Seagate ST-296N, 85MB though a SCSI1 interface.

    My question is simple, but the answer might not be so much... How would I go about retrieving the data off that drive, as cheaply/painlessly as possible?
    I would like to image the disk and create a VM (for nostalgia, of course), until money allows for a proper restoration.

    At first, I though about buying a SCSI card with a more modern interface (PCI), but now I'm thinking buying an ISA IDE adapter, to use with a CF card.
    I've worked with IDE, but I am unfamiliar with SCSI. Whenever I look up "SCSI" I find a lot of printer-like cables, rather than the 50-pin ribbon+pins that my hard drive uses.

  2. #2
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    Does the 286 with SCSI card still work?

    Otherwise, on a modern machine with a PCI slot, you can use something like the Adaptec AHA2940, which should be plentiful. It does have a 50 pin header on it for internal drives, as well as the usual SCSI connector for external.

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  3. #3
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    A Pentium 2 should have ISA slots and a 286 will not have SCSI on the motherboard so it is using an ISA SCSI card was well plus cable. So you can just take the HD, cable, and SCSI card and stick it in your P2 machine and see if it boots or is readable.
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  4. #4

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    The easiest thing to do is to find somebody nearby that has access to a Linux machine with a SCSI card. The Linux machine can be used to make a block-by-block image of the drive that you can then examine in a virtual machine or use as a backup.

    Your original machine probably had a SCSI 1 or a SCSI 2 controller in it. SCSI has been obsolete for a while, but if you can find Adaptec PCI SCSI cards fairly cheaply on eBay. The 50 pin cable you describe is internal cabling; the bigger cables with the printer like connectors on them are for external expansion units.

    I would image the drive, but then not use it. They have a limited lifespan, and every hour takes away from that. Exercising them once in a while is a good thing, but for daily use go with something more easily replaced.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by mbbrutman View Post
    SCSI has been obsolete for a while
    Only parallel SCSI.
    Serially Attached SCSI is definitely current, and at this moment faster than SATA.
    And even parallel SCSI is still pretty common, you can easily find PCI-E Ultra320 cards - but probably 68-pin only, so you would also need a 68pin<->50pin adapter to attach a SCSI-1 drive.

  6. #6

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    I'd pick up a PCI SCSI controller for a modern system, if you have one to stick it in. Useful for a variety of purposes.
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    If you are a windows person then pick up a SCSI card, image the disk , create a VM to boot. You might need to fiddle with the windows config to get the rightdisk driver loaded. I can't remember if WINxx just used the cards BIOS or if it loaded specific SCSI drivers. Its best to image the disk as soon as possible. If its flaky disks often degrade quickly so its important to recover the data and not mees with the drive.
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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xacalite View Post
    Only parallel SCSI.
    Serially Attached SCSI is definitely current, and at this moment faster than SATA.
    And even parallel SCSI is still pretty common, you can easily find PCI-E Ultra320 cards - but probably 68-pin only, so you would also need a 68pin<->50pin adapter to attach a SCSI-1 drive.
    Point taken, but also slightly misleading. SCSI was both a command set and a bus protocol. SAS drives today keep the command set but entirely threw away the bus protocol that parallel SCSI used. (The transport is entirely different.)

    In the context of this thread there is only parallel SCSI. And I haven't seen a parallel SCSI drive for sale in probably 10 years.

    (I used to make SAS hard drive firmware for HGST before Western Digital bought them.)

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by agashka View Post
    While building my "era accurate" pentium 2 machine, I found my very first computer stashed away in the basement. I plan on restoring it someday, but it's not a priority right now..
    That machine was powered by a 286, had DOS (and Win3.1 if I'm not mistaken). The main hard drive is a 5.25" Seagate ST-296N, 85MB though a SCSI1 interface.
    My question is simple, but the answer might not be so much... How would I go about retrieving the data off that drive, as cheaply/painlessly as possible?
    Does your Pentium 2 machine have an ISA slot? The '286 almost certainly uses a separate SCSI controller card so just plug it in with the disk attached and it should appear. The only thing you might have to do is disable the card's on-board floppy controller.

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