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Thread: Seagate ST-506 issues

  1. #1

    Default Seagate ST-506 issues

    I’ve had this drive for several years, and have never had luck getting it to work. When I low-level it with my WD MFM controller in my 5150, the light will come on, the interrupter will stay still for a bit, and then it will step about half way through, then it says “format complete”. Clearly not! It hasn’t even stepped through all 153 cylinders!


    I know the ST-506 is a very “dumb” drive, so is a special controller needed?


    Either way, working or not, I will always keep it, and it will always be the crown-jewel of my MFM hard drive collection, as its historical significance is monumental for computing in my opinion. I remember how excited I was when this drive came in. It was a dream come true for me


    I also just realized last night that I was running with the wrong DS setting! These drives use an incredibly annoying system for changing DS. You have to “punch” out these little contacts on this removable part. Hard to explain, but if you have seen one, you’ll know what I’m talking about. I thought my ST-412 was configured correctly all this time, but it wasn’t! I had been using this piece from my ST-412 on the 506 because I *thought* it was configured correctly! Happy to say that correcting this fixed all of the weird issues the ST-412 had, but the 506 is still a no-go. The ST-412 will be used in my IBM XT build.


    Any ideas? The drive sounds fantastic. Bearings couldn’t be better for an almost 40-year-old drive. The stepper seems to move fine as well.

  2. #2
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    The ST506 is slow-seeking. Try a 15 msec. track-to-track seek time--I seem to remember that when I did that, things started behaving. Since your controller is issuing stepping pulses faster than that, the drive doesn't always complete a seek.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    The ST506 is slow-seeking. Try a 15 msec. track-to-track seek time--I seem to remember that when I did that, things started behaving. Since your controller is issuing stepping pulses faster than that, the drive doesn't always complete a seek.
    Makes sense. I’ll check my controller’s document and see how to change that.

    Thanks!

  4. #4

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    ST-506 is only 5 Meg. What level of DOS will you be using. It has to be one of the original levels as later ones require 10 Meg as a minimum.
    Dwight

  5. #5
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    I used my ST506 with a patched Xebec BIOS on PCDOS 2.1, if that's any help. Before that, I used an SA1000 4MB 8" hard drive using a WD1001 controller hooked to a homebrew ISA card and my own driver.

    So hard disk options are actually pretty flexible, if you're willing to do the work.

  6. #6

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    I’ll use whatever will work with it. I don’t currently have any plans to use it in a system, I just really would love to get it running. I believe this one came from a Rainbow 100 originally, which is a system I’d love to get someday.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by compaqportableplus View Post
    [snip] These drives use an incredibly annoying system for changing DS. You have to “punch” out these little contacts on this removable part. Hard to explain, but if you have seen one, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
    They are called DIP Shunts. TE Connectivity (Amp) is one source. A 16 pin shunt (8 positions) is part # 1825190-7. Sorry, can't figure out how to attach the datasheet for them.

    HTH,
    Tom

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by hornbetw View Post
    They are called DIP Shunts. TE Connectivity (Amp) is one source. A 16 pin shunt (8 positions) is part # 1825190-7. Sorry, can't figure out how to attach the datasheet for them.

    HTH,
    Tom
    Cool. Thanks for the info.

  9. #9
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    Meh, I generally install a male DIP header with the appropriate pins soldered or a DIP switch. You could even jam bare lengths of AWG20 wire in the socket pins. It's all good.

  10. #10

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    I got this thing working! I followed instructions on another thread about using an ST-506 with a WD XT-GEN controller, just like what I have in my IBM XT, and it works! Put DOS 3.3 and Windows 1.01 on it, which about half way fills it up.

    Only has about two or three bad sectors. Not bad considering it had a 5-year component design life!

    This thing would be really cool in a 5150, but I would have to have some sort of secondary storage as well, since 5MB just isn’t enough for everything I want. Or maybe I’ll save it for a Rainbow 100.
    Compaq - “It simply works better”

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