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Thread: WTB: MFM controller for 5150

  1. #1

    Default WTB: MFM controller for 5150

    I have a 5150 that came with an IBM MFM hard drive but no controller. Does anyone have a compatible one?

  2. #2

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    I've got a Western Digital WD1002-27X RLL 8-bit card and a Seagate ST-238R drive that's paired with it for sale.
    PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stone View Post
    I've got a Western Digital WD1002-27X RLL 8-bit card and a Seagate ST-238R drive that's paired with it for sale.
    I only intend to see if the MFM drive I have now will work, so I just need a controller. I'll use a CF card for a more reliable hard drive, but this one might have interesting things on it, and I'd like it to be usable if possible.

  4. #4
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    It will be an XT-class MFM controller going into your 5150.

    In case you are unaware, be aware of the information at [here]. Additional info at [here].

    Quote Originally Posted by JNZ View Post
    ... but this one might have interesting things on it, ...
    The only way to guarantee (repeat: guarantee) that you can do 'plug and play' with previously used 'MFM' drives (i.e. connect controller and drive, then watch drive boot, then list existing drive contents) is to use the same make and model of controller that was used before (what is now missing). In some cases, even the same revision of the controller's BIOS ROM may be required.

    Variations of that result in hit-and-miss.

    Quote Originally Posted by JNZ View Post
    ... and I'd like it to be usable if possible.
    After the hardware set up, you would low-level format the drive, followed by partitioning, followed by a high-level format.

    If you want to use all of the capacity of your hard drive, you will need an XT-class MFM controller that supports the cylinder/head geometry of your drive. For potential controller suppliers, what is the make and model of your drive?

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by JNZ View Post
    ...but this one might have interesting things on it, and I'd like it to be usable if possible.
    The only way you'd be able to access the data on that drive is if you ran it with the same controller it was initially used in conjunction with.

    MFM LLFs were different among various controller brands and generally not interchangeable. So, unless you have or get the same controller you'll not be able to see anything on the drive. IOW, if you connect it to a controller which is not the one it was initially used with it will appear to be... unformatted.
    PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

  6. #6

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    Thanks for the information. I'm surprised by the level of incompatibility between controllers. What was it about their design that made them like that? Something about the precise placement of the head or the encoding?

    The HDD is a WD25 IBM HDD, with apparently no information on the drive about its geometry. I believe this is the original type of drive that comes with the computer, and might be considered "type 13" for the BIOS.

    According to the sticker on the back of the computer, it has a 200W PSU

  7. #7
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    There was a bit of jealous IP concerning ECC on the early ST506 controllers. I suspect that that's most of the cause.

  8. #8

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    Since 5150 didn’t come with hard drives, it would be hard to say what card was used when the drive was added, but since it’s an IBM drive there is a good chance it was an ibm card too, I’d guess. Or is there a chance this is actually a 5160?

    Where are you located? Maybe someone local could help. I’ve got the later style card mentioned here: http://minuszerodegrees.net/ibm_xebec/ibm_xebec.htm

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by jafir View Post
    Since 5150 didn’t come with hard drives, it would be hard to say what card was used when the drive was added, but since it’s an IBM drive there is a good chance it was an ibm card too, I’d guess. Or is there a chance this is actually a 5160?

    Where are you located? Maybe someone local could help. I’ve got the later style card mentioned here: http://minuszerodegrees.net/ibm_xebec/ibm_xebec.htm
    I'm in Utah, but I'm not aware of that many retro computing enthusiasts here.

    The machine is a bit unusual in that it's a 5150 but it has a Microsoft Mach 10 "supercharger" card, which gives it an 8086, making it equivalent to an XT, I believe.

    It sounds like a reasonable bet to say it used a HDD and controller out of a 5160, but I suppose there's no way to know for sure now. I suspect it had a floppy drive too, but that bay is missing, as are any FDD controllers.

    Maybe the Mach 10 had some compatibility information that'd give me a clue? It's hard to find information on it. (Other than this review: https://books.google.com/books?id=oD...h%2010&f=false)

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by JNZ View Post
    The machine is a bit unusual in that it's a 5150 but it has a Microsoft Mach 10 "supercharger" card, which gives it an 8086, making it equivalent to an XT, I believe.
    No, not really... an XT also has an 8088 in it same as the 5150.
    PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

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