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Seagate 5.25 "vaporware" drives ST206 and ST278

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    Originally posted by chris_nh View Post
    Forking this thread from the for sale forum:

    So yeah, the ST206 was apparently one of the early models they worked on and it appears to not have made it out to the market.

    I found the same with the ST278 ... the Seagate ST11R tech document describe this model drive, but it does not appear to have ever made it out to market.

    | ST277R| 65.5 | 6 | 820 | 26 | Yes |
    | ST278R| 65.5 | 6 | 820 | 26 | Yes |

    Anyway, I'd love to find an ST206 or ST278 ... I would like to imagine that a few examples do exist, if Seagate built them at all. Anyone ever come across these?
    I have a drive labeled ST278R that I just put on the bench. It has 615 cyl and 6 heads. Pretty weird, actualy 'literally weird' I bought it at Weird Stuff in 2014 marked as not working.
    I'll document it and put pictures up on bitsavers. Makes me think the 820 cyl stepper positioner drives never made it out.

    Well, looking at the defect list, it goes up to cyl 729. Now I'm wondering if someone stuck a different head positioner microcontroller on the board at some point.


    It looks like the cylinder problem may be the rev of firmware in my ST21R. I just was able to format the drive out to 820 cyls with a DTC controller. I have a later rev of firmware on another card, I'll have to try formatting it with that version.
    Last edited by Al Kossow; May 18, 2021, 08:29 AM.


      That’s insane! I guess they actually exist.

      Definitely don’t junk that drive, even if it doesn’t work!
      Compaq - It simply works better


        I wonder if anyone saved any of the MiniScribe bricks.


          Originally posted by vwestlife View Post
          I wonder if anyone saved any of the MiniScribe bricks.
          That would really be something!
          Compaq - It simply works better


            Originally posted by compaqportableplus View Post
            That’s insane! I guess they actually exist.

            Definitely don’t junk that drive, even if it doesn’t work!
            It works. I also found an ST277R in my pile of drives but that one seems to have a head positioner problem.
            Need to take pictures of them. I also wonder how the 277R differs from the 251, which was a common drive that is also 820cyl 6hd
            A project for today is trying to format and test the 251 with RLL controllers.

            I don't understand what is going on with the ST21M or R boards that I have. None of them work past 615 cyl and I've tested the drives
            with a bunch of other controllers now that all work to 820 on the 278R and 251


              Very interesting and rare find with that ST-278R drive, and probably one of the best guarantee stickers ever!

              The ST277 and ST251 are basically the same drive and the ST-251 will work OK as RLL, but it might have a higher error rate and it is likely the data won't be as reliable for long term storage as a legit ST-277. The boards between these models can generally be swapped as/if needed. The ST-251 control boards tend to have a higher failure rate than other models, but they're still awesome drives. Auto park heads yeah!


              I believe these controllers will do dynamic config and will go up 1024 cylinders. I'm wondering if perhaps your PC has a configurable BIOS and might be the 615 cyl limit? Is it by chance limited to 32MB partition because of DOS version or formatting utility limitation?

              Do you have any more pics of the ST-278R to show the control board side? Thanks for sharing the info about the drive.


                Were there any other 5.25" IDE drives besides the Quantum Bigfoot series?


                  Originally posted by vwestlife View Post
                  Were there any other 5.25" IDE drives besides the Quantum Bigfoot series?
                  There were a small number of drives made by Gigastorage (aka Belfort Memory International), a startup that purchased what was developed by Priam. Using 1997 Disk Trends as a reference, there were almost 5 million Bigfoot drives made but only about 27,000 5.25" drives made by manufacturers other than Quantum in the capacity range of 1 to 5 GB. Gigastorage would be a subset of that.


                    Originally posted by chris_nh View Post

                    I believe these controllers will do dynamic config and will go up 1024 cylinders. I'm wondering if perhaps your PC has a configurable BIOS and might be the 615 cyl limit?
                    I think it is something weird with just the Seagate boards and the built-in hard disk utility in the AMI bios I'm using. None of the other controllers I've been testing have the 615cyl
                    limit. I'll try bringing up DOS and running the real Seagate formatting utility to see if I can find the root cause. This happens with the last eproms I know of for the controller (1.5/1.7)