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Thread: Data recovery from unknown ST-225 MFM hard disk

  1. #1

    Default Data recovery from unknown ST-225 MFM hard disk

    Hi,

    I have bought a scrap lot which contained a Seagate ST-225 MFM hard disk. I am interested which data is stored on the disk - not to find any personal things but maybe some unknown software/device drivers.

    I have tried to read some data with different controllers:

    National NDC5125
    WD1003V-MM2
    WD1003-WA2
    WD WA6VR (RLL)

    But Speedstor and Norton Diskedit dont show any data at all.

    I am quite sure the drive is OK. I have tried to low level format the last track (614) only with speedstor (dont expect that any data is there) and it seems to work fine. Afterwards I can perform the read / write tests on this track only without any error.

    So what do you think the chances are to read the data from the disk? Do I have to find the exact controller the drive was low-level formatted with? Or is there some compatibility? Maybe that drive was never used..but this is unlikely?

  2. #2
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    There are a lot of different controllers from different vendors; you'll go nuts trying to find the one used for your drive.

    There is a "do all" ST506 interface project from David Gesswein that might be what you want--depends on your level of curiosity.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by predator99 View Post
    I am quite sure the drive is OK. I have tried to low level format the last track (614) only with speedstor (dont expect that any data is there) and it seems to work fine. Afterwards I can perform the read / write tests on this track only without any error.
    There is always the possibility that track zero is hosed. If that's the case there is little to nothing to be done.
    PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    There are a lot of different controllers from different vendors; you'll go nuts trying to find the one used for your drive.

    There is a "do all" ST506 interface project from David Gesswein that might be what you want--depends on your level of curiosity.
    Thats a great project. Its a bit expensive for a one off, but as a tool for reading and emulating its the bees knees...
    ... one other thought, its not been formatted RLL? I know its not an RLL drive but it was something folks tried...
    Dave
    G4UGM

    Looking for Analog Computers, Drum Plotters, and Graphics Terminals

  5. #5

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    And one more possibility... How about all those 8-bit controllers? Many ST-225s were used in 8-bit systems.
    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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    Not to mention non-WD-based controllers...

  7. #7

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    Thanks for your replies!

    The project from David Gesswein is indeed very interesting and new to me. But for my little task too much effort and too expensive.

    As you can see in my list of tested controllers...
    National NDC5125
    WD1003V-MM2
    WD1003-WA2
    WD WA6VR (RLL)
    ...I already tried RLL and non-WD.

    8-bit is an idea, I have some of these in spare and will try.

    In the mean time I made an experiment with another ST-225: I low-level-formatted the drive in the WD1003-WA2. Then exchanged the controller with the NDC5125. Its a completely different one. Result: Drive is booting without problems...so differences between controllers cannot be that huge? I will also test this drive with a 8-bit controller later...

  8. #8

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    I’ve tried controllers from seagate and dtc in my XT in addition to the original xebec. While I didn’t try every possible combination, at no point was I able to swap controllers without low level formatting again.

  9. #9
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    I gotta hand it to the unintentional security of these older 2-cable drives and controllers. The amount of trouble a drive separated from its controller can cause when trying to read the data back is amazing. You have so many variables beyond the controller BIOS revision that suddenly comes into play such as chip revision and embedded firmware.
    [Need something to waste time on? Click here to visit my YouTube channel CelGenStudios]
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by predator99 View Post
    In the mean time I made an experiment with another ST-225: I low-level-formatted the drive in the WD1003-WA2. Then exchanged the controller with the NDC5125. Its a completely different one. Result: Drive is booting without problems...so differences between controllers cannot be that huge? I will also test this drive with a 8-bit controller later...
    Actually it isn't very different at all. The NDC5125 is a rebranded WD1003S-WA4.
    PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

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