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Thread: Philips p3230 hard drive replacement

  1. #1

    Default Philips p3230 hard drive replacement

    Hi,

    I'm in the process of restoring an old Philips p3230 PC (286 machine). The original harddrive, a Seagate ST-157A no longer works unfortunately and the setup program of the PC only supports a limited number of old drives (tandon, miniscribe, rodime, connor, ....).
    I don't have any of the supported drives.

    Just for the heck of it I inserted a 1gb western digital IDE drive in the PC, and was able to format it (40MB) when the PC was still configured for the ST-157A.
    I wasn't able to boot from the drive, but could boot from a floppy and see the drives content.

    What kind of options do I have to replace the hard drive so that I am able to use it properly and boot from it.

    I don't really care about size, and have no problem installing for example a 400MB hard drive if I can only use 40MB.

    Thx.
    Retro enthousiast. Love everything < 486. Learning and sharing on my little channel

  2. #2

    Default

    If you think Western Digital drives are compatible with your machine I have some you might want to try.

    They are : 120 MB, 170 MB and 250 MB.

    I also have a Conner 170 MB.
    PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RetroSpector78 View Post
    Hi,

    I'm in the process of restoring an old Philips p3230 PC (286 machine). The original harddrive, a Seagate ST-157A no longer works unfortunately and the setup program of the PC only supports a limited number of old drives (tandon, miniscribe, rodime, connor, ....).
    I don't have any of the supported drives.

    Just for the heck of it I inserted a 1gb western digital IDE drive in the PC, and was able to format it (40MB) when the PC was still configured for the ST-157A.
    I wasn't able to boot from the drive, but could boot from a floppy and see the drives content.

    What kind of options do I have to replace the hard drive so that I am able to use it properly and boot from it.

    I don't really care about size, and have no problem installing for example a 400MB hard drive if I can only use 40MB.

    Thx.
    Try one of these?
    http://www.memorydepot.com/ssd/listc...atid=edc-1se40

  4. #4

    Default

    You may also want to look here:

    https://forum.system-cfg.com/viewtopic.php?t=3096

    which appears to have a link (at the bottom of the page) to the setup utility on floppy disk. Probably handy if you want to explore other drive capacities.
    Last edited by T-R-A; July 18th, 2019 at 06:51 PM.

  5. #5

    Default

    In this case they don’t need to be time period correct, so I was wondering to what extend a drive with different geometries could work with the “known” drives. Or is it impossible to make it work with other drives.

    I don’t mind installing a 400mb drive and only being able to format 40mb of it.

    I was surprised to see the cmos not complaining about the 1gb drive and that I was able to format it.
    Retro enthousiast. Love everything < 486. Learning and sharing on my little channel

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by T-R-A View Post
    You may also want to look here:

    https://forum.system-cfg.com/viewtopic.php?t=3096

    which appears to have a link (at the bottom of the page) to the setup utility on floppy disk. Probably handy if you want to explore other drive capacities.
    That’s the setup utility I’m using, and contains over a dozen different drives, but no user type where you can specify a custom geometry
    Retro enthousiast. Love everything < 486. Learning and sharing on my little channel

  7. #7

    Default

    Old machines (8088/86 and 80286) generally didn't do custom drive geometry. Being released around the DOS 1.x to 3.x era, there was seldom a reason for the BIOS to support drives more than 100MB or so.

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by T-R-A View Post
    Old machines (8088/86 and 80286) generally didn't do custom drive geometry. Being released around the DOS 1.x to 3.x era, there was seldom a reason for the BIOS to support drives more than 100MB or so.
    That brings me to my original question. What happens when the cmos is configured for a certain cylinder/heads/sector combo and you insert another one ? In this case the pc boots fine and says hard drive ready. I could format the drive and put stuff on it, but was not able to boot from it. What is the technical reason behind that ? And can you make other drives work if you for example make sure they have the same number of heads, but less / equal / more cylinders....
    Retro enthousiast. Love everything < 486. Learning and sharing on my little channel

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RetroSpector78 View Post
    And can you make other drives work if you for example make sure they have the same number of heads, but less / equal / more cylinders....
    Other drives may work (as you have already discovered). You may not be able to boot from them due to the geometry mismatch but if you're willing to boot from the floppy the hard drive is useable.

    Once the machine is booted you can then remove the floppy disk. In order to prevent the machine from occasionally asking to insert the floppy you can put a copy of command.com on the hard disk and a line in your autoexec.bat... set comspec = C:\command.com and you won't be asked for the floppy again when the transient portion of command.com is needed.
    PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RetroSpector78 View Post
    That brings me to my original question. What happens when the cmos is configured for a certain cylinder/heads/sector combo and you insert another one ? In this case the pc boots fine and says hard drive ready. I could format the drive and put stuff on it, but was not able to boot from it. What is the technical reason behind that ? And can you make other drives work if you for example make sure they have the same number of heads, but less / equal / more cylinders....
    Before you give up on the 1GB drive try the following:

    - Boot from floppy with FDISK/FORMAT on it.
    - Run FDISK and delete all the partitions present on the drive.
    - Set up a 40MB partition and make sure it is set as 'active'.
    - Reboot the PC and boot from floppy again
    - Run 'FORMAT C: /s'
    - Reboot; see if it boots up from the HDD. If it does not then boot from floppy again and....
    - Run 'FDISK /MBR'
    - Reboot and see if it boots from the HDD.
    System 80 Expansion Interface located! Thanks to all who helped out and the good people in the NZ vintage computer forums!

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