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Thread: IML via PCMCIA?

  1. #1

    Default IML via PCMCIA?

    Hey all! So I'm trying to get creative with my PS/2 95A and want to try and stick the convenience partition onto a PCMCIA card so the machine would effectively be able to startup and run the setup utility via the card, then load an OS via the six disk RAID I plan on installing into this system.

    Now, I know the 9533 (PS/2E) can boot via PCMCIA, but that's an ISA system and not a MicroChannel system. From what I know about MicroChannel, I'd likely find myself with a "Chicken and the Egg" type of problem when trying to do this, as the convenience partition will hold all of the system information which needs to be loaded, but the convenience partition will be on a card in the system and, if I'm not mistaken, needs to have it's ADF loaded to function, but the ADF will be on the convenience partition, but... well, you get the idea, I'd effectively have a paradox on my hand if this is this case.

    Has anyone tried this before or know if what I'm trying to do would work?

  2. #2

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    I'm not familiar with the 95A at all but I have been working with other types. I only know one thing: if you need an ADF for a certain device, it won't be recognized until the ADF has been loaded. So if you need an ADF for the PCMIA, it first has to be loaded from another device. So this isn't a typical "Chicken and the Egg" type of problem: you first need God to make you a chicken that on its turn can lay the egg. What about a floppy that can do the trick?
    With kind regards / met vriendelijke groet, Ruud Baltissen

    www.baltissen.org

  3. #3
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    Do you mean PCMCIA or SD CARD. Given that SD Card and IDE are pretty much the same, I think any one with such a solution would be popular as that would allow failing MFM and ESDI drives in MCA to be replaced cheaply, whereas now you probably need a SCSI card and say an SCSI2SD card. I know some one did manage to get the setup running from hard drive, but don't have time to google now.

    My plans for my P390 is to try and get FlashFloppy working as a floppy...
    Dave
    G4UGM

    Looking for Analog Computers, Drum Plotters, and Graphics Terminals

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruud View Post
    I'm not familiar with the 95A at all but I have been working with other types. I only know one thing: if you need an ADF for a certain device, it won't be recognized until the ADF has been loaded. So if you need an ADF for the PCMIA, it first has to be loaded from another device. So this isn't a typical "Chicken and the Egg" type of problem: you first need God to make you a chicken that on its turn can lay the egg. What about a floppy that can do the trick?
    Thing is, I'm not entirely sure if you need an ADF to boot from a PCMCIA storage device. I don't have one that I could test this theory with. As I've said, the 9533 was capable of it (if I recall correctly) but it was an ISA system, not MCA. You could use a floppy, but that kind of defeats the purpose of what I'm going for here, which is essentially a small fixed storage device shoved into a PCMCIA slot that the system will IML off of, then after which it would boot to the OS on the RAID. If this isn't possible then I'll just stick the convenience partition onto the RAID as per normal. I'm just trying to be creative here


    Quote Originally Posted by g4ugm View Post
    Do you mean PCMCIA or SD CARD. Given that SD Card and IDE are pretty much the same, I think any one with such a solution would be popular as that would allow failing MFM and ESDI drives in MCA to be replaced cheaply, whereas now you probably need a SCSI card and say an SCSI2SD card. I know some one did manage to get the setup running from hard drive, but don't have time to google now.

    My plans for my P390 is to try and get FlashFloppy working as a floppy...

    I mean a PCMCIA storage device, like a PCMCIA hard disk or flash storage card shoved into a PCMCIA slot that will solely be for holding the convenience partition of the system, instead of putting said partition onto a hard disk.

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    Quote Originally Posted by g4ugm View Post
    Do you mean PCMCIA or SD CARD. Given that SD Card and IDE are pretty much the same.
    I think you're confusing SD for CF card, which is basically IDE. SD cards use a completely different SPI interface and protocol.

    It's why SD to IDE adapters require a complex interface chip while CF cards basically just need a passive adapter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ButINeededThatName View Post
    Hey all! So I'm trying to get creative with my PS/2 95A and want to try and stick the convenience partition onto a PCMCIA card so the machine would effectively be able to startup and run the setup utility via the card, then load an OS via the six disk RAID I plan on installing into this system.

    Now, I know the 9533 (PS/2E) can boot via PCMCIA, but that's an ISA system and not a MicroChannel system. From what I know about MicroChannel, I'd likely find myself with a "Chicken and the Egg" type of problem when trying to do this, as the convenience partition will hold all of the system information which needs to be loaded, but the convenience partition will be on a card in the system and, if I'm not mistaken, needs to have it's ADF loaded to function, but the ADF will be on the convenience partition, but... well, you get the idea, I'd effectively have a paradox on my hand if this is this case.

    Has anyone tried this before or know if what I'm trying to do would work?
    You are correct. Chicken and egg.

    Lets start from scratch. They are totally different beasts! The only similarity is the "PS/2" monika. (well they could have the same CPU)
    The 9533 has an on-board (so on the planar) IDE controller, and is ISA rather than Microchannel so it will boot from the IDE without any firmware loaded, so its pretty easy to get it to boot from a CF card which is basically IDE. If it has the PCMCIA adaptor it will boot from that as well. From:-

    http://ohlandl.ipv7.net/9533/4_Slot_PCMCIA.html

    " It is an ISA bus system and, in common with IBM's other PS/2 ISA bus systems, does not have a Reference diskette

    so things work without a floppy..

    Contrast that with the 95A. This has the same planar (motherboard) as my PC Server 500, has only floppy support on the Planar, is Microchannel and won't do anything without having some sort of config loaded from ADF files. No MCA card will work without its settings being stored on the motherboard. => so you are correct. Even if you can get it to boot the set up program from hard disk you need some sort of floppy to set it up so it will boot from hard disk.

    Just to make things worse its also a total PITA as it needs a media sense drive and won't work with normal floppy drives.
    Mine "just about works" but I went through loads of floppy drives before I found one that works. As older disks are liable to shed their coating I too am looking for a solution that does not need real floppy disks/

    As far as I can see the best way forward is to try and get Gotek Floppy drive to work in this system with either FlashFloppy or HXC software.

    The FlashFloppy software supports 2.4 but not Media Sense so I am going to need a hacked cable or adaptor board, but from what I can see this is the only way forward.
    Dave
    G4UGM

    Looking for Analog Computers, Drum Plotters, and Graphics Terminals

  7. #7

    Question You have woke me from my timeless slumber...

    Quote Originally Posted by ButINeededThatName View Post
    Hey all! So I'm trying to get creative with my PS/2 95A and want to try and stick the convenience partition onto a PCMCIA card so the machine would effectively be able to startup and run the setup utility via the card, then load an OS via the six disk RAID I plan on installing into this system.
    Let's get down to brass tacks...

    All needed ADFs must be present to configure, BUT NOT TO USE a micro channel machine. So once the MCA device is properly configured and the configuration saved, you don't need a refdisk or convenience partition. You have a 95A, which can only use Flash-based complexi WHICH POST WITHOUT AN IML DRIVE.

    Now, here is the big issue, WHAT is the PCMCIA slot running on? Is it on a Card reader on a SCSI controller [like PCD-47 or ADTRON SDDS] or is it on the IBM "STINGER" based PCMCIA /A?

    If it is hanging off a SCSI controller, chances are good that the system may lay a convenience partition, no idea if it can use it [I've never done that]. Hmm, fascinating. You jolly well should be able to boot into the RAID, that's why Flash based complexi were made.
    Last edited by ardent-blue; February 19th, 2020 at 02:59 PM.

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