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Thread: Seagate ST-238R fails with verify error after lowlevel format

  1. #1

    Default Seagate ST-238R fails with verify error after lowlevel format

    So first of all, I am no expert so bare with me
    After my initial problems because I hooked up ST-238R wrong (its been too long ago) I was very happy to see the harddisk being detected.

    I started a lowlevel format using Disk Master 5 and several hours later it was done, or so I thought, it had failed.
    Then I tried the lowlevel format included in the BIOS of my Bitac AT, that also ran for a while (although a lot faster) and it said completed but now when I boot the system its still not ok; comes up with a Fixed Disk 0 Verify Error.

    Its not making any weird noises (no grinding, smooth sounds) to me but then again, no expert.
    Is there something I am missing or something I could try or is the drive toast ?
    The controller used is a WD1003V-MM1

    Any help/suggestions appreciated (again hehe, don't hope its a picnic again.....:P)
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  2. #2
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    A Rom initiated LLF format only take about 20 minutes max for a 30mb hard drive.
    Are you able to hear any seek activity from the drive or indication the head is sweeping the platter during the format?
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  3. #3

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    I do, i hear it when the system starts up and I also did a seek test with Speedstor and that actually passed (I could also hear the tone change if that makes any sense)
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  4. #4
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    Check the smaller data cable. Make sure it is plugged in so pin 1 matches the connector on both ends, and that it is connected to the correct header on the card.

    Some formatters, especially BIOS formatters do not verify what they write, will still run and appear to succeed even if the data cable is completely disconnected.

    Also, the ST-238R is an RLL drive, and the WD1003V-MM1 is an MFM controller.

    It is possible to use this controller with this drive, but you will only get 20MB of storage instead of the normal 32MB. When formatting with an MFM controller, you must use 17 sectors per track instead of the normal 26.

  5. #5

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    Owww aaaaahhh(rg)

    Ok, I've got it now I think :

    - I misread on stason, I saw ST412 and thought MFM
    - I also had my doubts about this floppy controller with IDE (LLC-6625) that had an off option for the IDE but it kept on interacting somewhat, so changed that now for Silicon Valley ADP60 card and it is already acting much nicer, it even lets me mix the MFM and IDE controller, DM sees them both and also in the correct order
    - Need to search for RLL controller and for now get the ST251-MLC1 out

    Thanks! All basic stuff probably but a mistake is quickly made as you can see
    I'll post the results of the ST251 and also RLL if I can find an RLL card (have two boxes full of cards but that is no guarantee)
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  6. #6
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    SomeGuy's comment about the data cable is a good one, make sure that's 100%, I've had that exact thing happen to me a few times - all going well, then it can't read the drive after I've finished - often to find the cable was connected wrong / upside down or wasn't making good contact.

    ST238R should still run fine as an ST225 (Type 2) drive, MFM and RLL are the same "ST412" interface just different data encoding.
    Low level format should've changed the encoding and it should have worked correctly - as long as you set it up for 17 sectors per track instead of 26.

  7. #7

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    Uhu, the 26 was my problem. It is all starting to make sense again.

    So the ST-251 lowlevel formatted perfectly, the defective list according to speedstor was the same as written on the disk.
    The highlevel formatting did produce some bad sectors but think its not too bad :


    Now the next mission is to find an ESDI controller and RLL controller :P
    Last edited by SunDown79; May 27th, 2020 at 10:32 AM.
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  8. #8
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    That is great to hear. If you plan to keep that drive on that controller, you might consider running Spinrite next.

    Now that you have verified that the controller and cables work, you can test the ST238R on the MFM card. It won't hurt the drive, you just have to keep in mind you have to use 17 sectors per track and it won't give as much space. (But if the drive completely fails, then a proper RLL won't do much good)

    Also keep in mind the drive would obviously need to be re-low level formatted when attached to any different model of controller.

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