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Thread: Emerald Systems SCSI-HAC/AT (NCR 53C94 Chipset) Help with Drivers

  1. #1

    Default Emerald Systems SCSI-HAC/AT (NCR 53C94 Chipset) Help with Drivers

    s-l1600.jpg
    not my card, but an identical looking unit from ebay

    So I've found this card in a pile, no additional information about it. Tracked down OEM NCR drivers for the 53C9x series chips, but I can't figure out how to employ them. http://www5.ncr.com/support/support_..._library_53c9x

    Driver package comes with a CAMC9X.SYS and DISKIDD.SYS. No documentation whatsoever. I added the CAMC9X.SYS as a device in CONFIG.SYS, it loads, prints a copyright line and then that's that. No confirmation of hardware detected, no errors. In fact it does this regardless of whether the card is even present in the system!

    I have the card's DIPs set to what would appear to be the default settings as per the silk screen. Tried loating DISKIDD.SYS as a device as well. Also prints a line or two of copyright info and then just carries on. Doesn't acknowledge a hard drive connected to the bus nor add a drive letter. The CDSCSI-2.SYS at least does print an error about the CD not found (but I have a CD drive on the bus too.)

    I'm well familiar with SCSI generally, it's not an issue with SCSI-IDs or termination I assure you. Does anyone have any experience with using this driver package? Switches, documentation, anything?

  2. #2
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    Future Domain was one of the vendors that went with CAM (common access method) drivers instead of ASPI (advanced SCSI programming interface) used mostly by Adaptec. If you can find disks for FD PowerSCSI, I believe they include a translation layer to translate CAM to ASPI, which would let you use more commonly-available DOS SCSI drviers, such as ASPICD.SYS.

    The alternative would be to boot something like NT, 2K or XP and see if you can find a Windows driver.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    Future Domain was one of the vendors that went with CAM (common access method) drivers instead of ASPI (advanced SCSI programming interface) used mostly by Adaptec. If you can find disks for FD PowerSCSI, I believe they include a translation layer to translate CAM to ASPI, which would let you use more commonly-available DOS SCSI drviers, such as ASPICD.SYS.

    The alternative would be to boot something like NT, 2K or XP and see if you can find a Windows driver.
    that's really cool that I can translate CAM to ASPI - but I'm still not convinced that the CAM driver is even working correctly

    the fact its loading behaviour doesn't change when I physically pull the card really bothers me

  4. #4

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    found the file in the Power SCSI package called ASPIFCAM.SYS, according to the docs that's exactly what I need

    I'll try it out with ASPICD.SYS and see if that does anything

  5. #5
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    Well, okay, let's look at this thing.

    There's obviously no ROM BIOS for it, so it was made to connect to a non-hard disk device.

    Emerald Systems' line of business was tape backup. They sold a lot of the stuff from QIC-02 to DLT/SLT, usually with a SCSI adapter. I suspect that this was one such adapter; given the age, probably DDS or 8mm.

    Clearly, the NCR generic adapter doesn't see your card.

    So where to go from here? Your best bet would be locating the Emerald software (backup) for this thing and see if there's a SCSI driver in that package. Otherwise, put this in an Windows box and see if it can find a driver.

  6. #6

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    It really irks me that I can't even specify an I/O port to the NCR driver.

    I'm guessing that either a) the driver is designed to work only with a ROM BIOS loaded into memory or b) the OEM motherboards and/or cards that used the 53C94 chipset all used a fixed port address (what is it?)

    Emerald software of any kind doesn't seem to be easily located, but what about a finding different manufacturer that also used the same NCR chip on their card?

  7. #7
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    The chip itself doesn't tell you how it was interfaced for that particular card. In particular, most NCR/SymBIOS chips are oriented toward memory-mapped I/O, which is one of the reasons that you'll find this particular chip on Macs and Amiga machines. How NCR implemented their own design is anyone's guess.

    Unless you want to write your own driver or use Linux, you're still best off trying to find the Emerald software package that includes this card.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    Unless you want to write your own driver or use Linux, you're still best off trying to find the Emerald software package that includes this card.
    sadly that will make this card a dead end, because I cannot find a damn thing from emerald systems out on the net

  9. #9
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    Googling Emerald Systems turns up some old PC Mag reviews that kind of imply their tape backup software didn't load any kind of driver in config.sys at all, that the backup software (ASP) drove the hardware directly. If that's really how they rolled I suppose it's possible there never were proper general-purpose DOS drivers for their interface cards.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eudimorphodon View Post
    Googling Emerald Systems turns up some old PC Mag reviews that kind of imply their tape backup software didn't load any kind of driver in config.sys at all, that the backup software (ASP) drove the hardware directly. If that's really how they rolled I suppose it's possible there never were proper general-purpose DOS drivers for their interface cards.
    that would be really sad and dumb, but it's certainly possible

    would basically make this poor card trash

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