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Thread: Attention Hard Drive Experts - Compaq LTE 5000 Hard Drive Replace With SSD

  1. #1

    Default Attention Hard Drive Experts - Compaq LTE 5000 Hard Drive Replace With SSD

    Hi Guys,

    As an extension to my original question about vintage Compaq laptop hard drives and compatibity with new drives, I've still not solved this. So I thought I'd start from scatch, with another Compaq laptop, this time a Compaq LTE 5000. I have two of these Compaq LTE 5000 laptops which both work flawlessly with their original drives. So here goes.

    Every replacement drive I've tried in this Compaq LTE 5000 laptop is not being seen by the BIOS - and therefore not being seen by the O/S either. On a side note, I do have a 5000 series with a CF to 44 pin IDE adapter that does work, but I'll leave that out of this because I don't know what's so special that this CF to 44 pin IDE adapter works and nothing else seems to work! Anyway...

    I put both the old HDD and the potential replacement HDD in my IBM T30 laptop to get the specs. Here are the screenshots when I put eithr drive in my IBM T30 laptop.

    Here's the spec of the original Compaq LTE 5000 drive - this works in the Compaq LTE 5000 laptop:

    IMG_3149.jpg IMG_3150.jpg IMG_3151.jpg

    Here's the spec of the potential replacement drive. This is made up of a mSATA to 44-pin IDE/PATA adapter (which I actually bought off eBay), and an INNODISK mSATA D150Q 2GB mSATA SSD drive. And heres the disk tool reading:

    IMG_3148.jpg

    But the potential replacement drive is not recognised by the Compaq laptop BIOS at all. The BIOS says: No Drive.

    Here's what I've tried/verified/summaried:

    • The new adapter works correctly. Verified working correctly in an IBM T30 and a IBM T400. Worked in both machines using the subject SSD and another SSD to be sure.
    • The SSD adapter works correctly. Verified working correctly in in the above test; and in a Lenovo desktop with a PCI mSATA adapter to 100% sure.
    • The compaq Laptop drive works in the T30 as expected. I knew it would, but just ruling as much out as possible.
    • The new drive is not even recognised by the Compaq laptop.
    • I've also tried a CF to IDE adapter with a 2GB and a 512MB CF card - again, not regognised by the laptop. I've verified the CF cards work, and this whole assembly also works in my IBM T30.


    So, what I'm summarising is: This must be BIOS related. After all, if the BIOS cannot detect the drive... And I can't get any disk overlay software to detect it either. I've even tried a few other programs like WHATIDE, which ignore the BIOS detected HDD specs. But that couldn't see it either. It's as if the drive is not even there. So, I can't even use drive overlay software to fool the BIOS.

    So then I thought back to a contribution to my previous thread by the member "Krille" where he said:

    Quote Originally Posted by Krille
    AFAIK, no USB adapter support CHS-only drives.
    Whilst in this particular instance it is not USB related, this got me thinking. If the BIOS can only deal with CHS-only drives and my potential replacement drive does not give a CHS signature, perhaps then the BIOS literally switches off the IDE controller?

    This is pure speculation of course. In truth, I have no idea what's actually going on here.

    Any help with this is appreciated, even if it's speculative.
    Last edited by exs1s; January 18th, 2019 at 05:12 AM.

    LTE & Deskpro Enthusiast

    Current Models: Compaq LTE Lite 4/25, LTE Lite 4/33, LTE Elite 4/75, LTE 5000, Deskpro 386s

  2. #2

    Default

    Here is the short story:

    Use a Disk-On-Module - that is a nearly bullet-proof solution. A Disk-On-Module is designed to be an IDE hard drive replacement, and as such it will implement all of the required features including CHS addressing. I used a Disk-On-Module to replace the hard drive in my IBM L40SX.

    You can sometimes use a Compact FLASH card with an adapter but it is not guaranteed to work - it depends a lot on the specific CF card that you use. And although all CF cards probably do wear leveling, you want an "industrial" one to make sure. DOS and older filesystems can be hard on FLASH based media because meta-data writes to the filesystem require a lot of rewriting of the FLASH. Which is worse because the classic filesystems are using 512 byte sectors and FLASH uses 4KB units for reads/writes.

    By the time you get to the mSATA SSD drive on an adapter you really have no idea what is going on unless you start disassembling the Compaq BIOS. Maybe it doesn't like the CHS parameters that are being returned - if could think they are too large or incorrect in some way and just assume it's a bad device. You would have to know how the BIOS is interrogating the drive in order to figure out what is bothering it. You can find/write software to send/receive IDE commands to the hard drive even if the BIOS won't talk to it, but that still won't tell you why the BIOS doesn't like the device. (But doing that at least will confirm that the device is connected, getting power, and able to send/receive bytes on the adapter.)

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by mbbrutman View Post
    A Disk-On-Module is designed to be an IDE hard drive replacement...
    Please correct me if I have this wrong. The way I uderstand it, a Disk-On-Module is a fully integrated IDE replacement. I would prefer to get the hardware I have working if possible. If not, I will definitely look at this as an alternative option.

    Quote Originally Posted by mbbrutman View Post
    ... You can find/write software to send/receive IDE commands to the hard drive even if the BIOS won't talk to it, but that still won't tell you why the BIOS doesn't like the device. (But doing that at least will confirm that the device is connected, getting power, and able to send/receive bytes on the adapter.)
    Could you tell me what software options to try. I know you can't link to download sources from here, but the names of the software and an indication of what they do would be very helpful.

    LTE & Deskpro Enthusiast

    Current Models: Compaq LTE Lite 4/25, LTE Lite 4/33, LTE Elite 4/75, LTE 5000, Deskpro 386s

  4. #4

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    Probably not much help but did you try jumpering the adapter for 'cable select', Doing a quick google and according to one website there is a bios update which allows the use of hard drives up to 8Gb, But the author does not recommend it, See here: http://greyghost.mooo.com/lte5000/as...downloads.html

  5. #5

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    I'm not quite sure what you mean here. A Disk-On-Module is a device that looks like an IDE disk drive to your machine. It does not replace the IDE controller. DOM is an SSD - it is using an IDE interface instead of SATA.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Malc View Post
    Probably not much help but did you try jumpering the adapter for 'cable select', Doing a quick google and according to one website there is a bios update which allows the use of hard drives up to 8Gb, But the author does not recommend it, See here: http://greyghost.mooo.com/lte5000/as...downloads.html
    Hi Malc. Yes, I did try this - on both the potential replacements I tried. Nothing appeared to make any difference. Thanks for the link. Another member PM'd me that link too. I'll take a read.

    LTE & Deskpro Enthusiast

    Current Models: Compaq LTE Lite 4/25, LTE Lite 4/33, LTE Elite 4/75, LTE 5000, Deskpro 386s

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by mbbrutman View Post
    I'm not quite sure what you mean here. A Disk-On-Module is a device that looks like an IDE disk drive to your machine. It does not replace the IDE controller. DOM is an SSD - it is using an IDE interface instead of SATA.
    Yes that's what I understaood. Like this one?

    LTE & Deskpro Enthusiast

    Current Models: Compaq LTE Lite 4/25, LTE Lite 4/33, LTE Elite 4/75, LTE 5000, Deskpro 386s

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by exs1s View Post
    Could you tell me what software options to try.
    DBAN (Darick's Boot and Nuke) should be able to tell you. Just don't select 'autonuke' or you could wipe every drive in your system.

    Read up on it first if you decide to try it. It comes in both CD/DVD and Floppy flavors and you'd need to boot from either variety to use or try it.
    PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by exs1s View Post
    So, what I'm summarising is: This must be BIOS related. After all, if the BIOS cannot detect the drive...
    That would be my guess as well. I remember updating the firmware on a harddrive a long time ago and that update was specifically for compatibility with Compaq machines. I didn't need the update, I just did it anyway figuring a newer version can't hurt (and it didn't).

    I've even tried a few other programs like WHATIDE, which ignore the BIOS detected HDD specs. But that couldn't see it either. It's as if the drive is not even there.
    This really made me curious so I loaded WHATIDE.COM in IDA Pro (a disassembler) to see how it works and it really does communicate directly with the drives, but only after checking the BIOS Data Area for installed harddrives - so if the BIOS doesn't detect the drives then neither will WHATIDE.COM.

    I believe our own Chuck(G) wrote a similar util and it is available somewhere on here - you might want to try using that instead.

    Quote Originally Posted by Malc View Post
    Doing a quick google and according to one website there is a bios update which allows the use of hard drives up to 8Gb, But the author does not recommend it, See here: http://greyghost.mooo.com/lte5000/as...downloads.html
    Wow, that link made some cobweb shake loose - I remember fixing a laptop for my best friends dad somewhere in the late 90's and I did that exact BIOS update, it made the POST take a *lot* more time.
    Looking for a cache card for the "ICL ErgoPRO C4/66d V"

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Krille View Post
    Wow, that link made some cobweb shake loose - I remember fixing a laptop for my best friends dad somewhere in the late 90's and I did that exact BIOS update, it made the POST take a *lot* more time.
    Yes it does. I just downgraded the firmware on my LTE 5000 since the delay was so annoying.
    I have a Major in Post-Apocalyptic Economics.
    Wanted: Any PC-Compatible Reciprocation Dingle Arm

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