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bootable SCSI ISA cards

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    bootable SCSI ISA cards

    I have two ISA SCSI cards neither appear to be boot or rather recognizable from the BIOS as far as I can tell.
    Can you recommend some boot-able 16bit ISA SCSI cards to be on the lookout for?

    #2
    My go-to 16 bit card is the Adaptec 1522/1542 card. Built-in floppy controller too, and depending on which revision, the floppy can often do single-density.
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      #3
      Just curious--do either of your non-bootable cards have a socket for a PROM? (i.e. what are they?)

      I like the Future Domain 16xx cards as well as the ones made by DTC and Ultrastor.

      Comment


        #4
        None of them have sockets, I have the fallowing SCSI cards
        Symbios SYM20403
        Adaptec AVA-1502E
        Must Systems AZ-SCSI

        I also have a sound card with a built in IDE interface, but no internal expansion bays. However from what I understand if I get an XT-IDE bios chip that might open up my options. Also my 3com Etherlink III also doesn't have a a ROM socket. Although I am still a little muddy on how to get the chip and how it really works.

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          #5
          I have an adaptec SCSI that came with my SCSI Floptical - a 21mb SCSI Floppy Drive and I actually have 5 floptical disks. It also reads standard 3.5" floppies as well and boots from the drive.

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            #6
            JUst an idea...

            On the couple non-bootable SCSI controllers I have (DOS machines), what I did was use a small IDE drive to hold the AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files, as well as the SCSI drivers. Once the SCSI drivers are loaded, all the other software can be on the SCSI devices.

            The IDE drives I used were only 80mb.

            Joe

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              #7
              Originally posted by haightc View Post
              I also have a sound card with a built in IDE interface, but no internal expansion bays.
              Originally posted by Grandcheapskate View Post
              JUst an idea...

              On the couple non-bootable SCSI controllers I have (DOS machines), what I did was use a small IDE drive to hold the AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files, as well as the SCSI drivers. Once the SCSI drivers are loaded, all the other software can be on the SCSI devices.

              The IDE drives I used were only 80mb.

              Joe
              Booting from a floppy seems like a reasonable alternative.
              PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

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                #8
                I can speak for the Adaptec 1502 and Symbios 20403--they were bare-bones controllers sold to the scanner market. You can get ASPI support (and hence disk and CD) for them, but there's no provision for booting.

                After all, why would someone want to boot a scanner?

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                  #9
                  This is sort of a weird resurrection of a year old thread, but if anyone is still looking of decent ISA bus bootable SCSI controllers then you can't go wrong with an Adaptec 1542, as was mentioned near the beginning of this thread. I must have a few of the different revisions of them around. They should be fairly easily found at cheap prices.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by gslick View Post
                    This is sort of a weird resurrection of a year old thread
                    Was thinking same...

                    Originally posted by gslick View Post
                    but if anyone is still looking of decent ISA bus bootable SCSI controllers then you can't go wrong with an Adaptec 1542
                    ALSO thinking the same.

                    The entire 1542 line are in my experience the BEST in ISA SCSI adapters, if for no other reason than that unlike most other ISA SCSI adapters, it actually seems to properly implement being hot-pluggable.

                    Back in the early 1990's I was working for a place where one of the clients had pretty much built their entire business around the Compaq portable III using a custom card to turn them into EKG machines. They also had a desktop version for calibration and office testing, but the portable was more popular with hospitals... but they had a problem.

                    1) Extra hassle of an external parallel drive since the data had to be shipped off for proper analysis.

                    2) Compaq PC3's were drying up in the supply channel since they were already out of production

                    3) Next generation information gathering required more powerful systems in both processors and storage capacity

                    4) The custom card for the PC3 was unreliable and often broke loose in shipping.

                    But I remembered from the back of Computer Shopper that there was a company selling PC3 style cases -- nearly identical -- but with a full height floppy bay, internal room for a 3.5", and that took a standard mini-AT motherboard... So I got my boss to order one for evaluation, built it up as a 486DX/2-66 with a 1542C, removable SCSI 1 gig hard drive (which was batshit storage for a PC in '92), internal 512 meg for booting and software, and one of the client's desktop cards plugged into it.

                    Which from the time I showed it to the client to the time I left the company, they bought those suckers like hotcakes. We had several hundred deployed 'in the wild' with pretty much every model of 1542 Adaptec ever made, with zero failures, zero issues, and greatly sped-up deployment. They were just rock solid reliable and even replaced their desktop models.

                    ... and being we're talking about a lunchbox where they would get shlepped around by medical personnel not computer experts, that's a harsh environment where failures should (and typically were) common. See the pile of junk actual Compaq's the client had piled up in the corner. (Always regretted not asking "Hey, could I have a couple of these?")

                    Though some custom changes I made to the case of the PC3 clones helped with the shipping issues as I took a page out of the PC Jr's playbook, and took some lexan and hot-cut slits into it which was then epoxy'd to the lid. When you put the cover back on it, the slits lined up with the control cards meaning they couldn't lift up out of their sockets during shipping. Was a cleaner solution than going down in there with a hot-glue gun like you saw so many companies do.

                    If you can find them the 1542CF -- here's an older pic of one from my collection:


                    Is the best of the best of the best -- with honors -- to come from Adaptec for the ISA form factor. I usually HATE software controlled hardware settings, but the card never failed me, it's auto-detection of other hardware is (in my experience) bulletproof in that it even seems to go "hey, there's ROM here, let's not put our ROM there" and show a "Rom Conflict, check AHA-1542 Address switches" message -- and is still PRE "plug and play" meaning you still retain far more control over it from its ROM than you would relying on the system BIOS to place the IRQ's, DMA channels, and ports.

                    But if you want to go the old-school jumper route, 1542B is a fine and dandy card that is otherwise identical.

                    Hell, that 1542CF pictured above is in my 286-20 clone driving a 1 gig seagate right now.... though that drive is probably being pulled to see if it will work with a ST-02 V3.0.0 in a XT clone.

                    Bottom line, if I need SCSI and have a 16 bit ISA slot available, AHA-1542 or GTFO.
                    Last edited by deathshadow; April 27, 2017, 08:04 AM.
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                      #11
                      I have a 1540A (1542 without floppy section populated); older version on a full-length ISA card. If you're interested, drop me a line. I have the 1542CF (and a pile of others) already.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        One thing to note with the Adaptec AHA-1542 is that the on-board FDC controller chip used varies with the different versions.

                        That should only be an issue if you want to read and write images of certain disk formats which are non-standard for PCs.

                        The FDC registry link here says the earlier AHA-1542 versions use some flavor of an DP8473 FDC controller while later ones use some flavor of an 82077 controller, which apparently does not support Double-Density with 128 bytes sectors.

                        http://www.classiccmp.org/dunfield/img/index.htm

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                          #13
                          I've got a tested AHA-1542CF that's available.
                          PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by deathshadow View Post
                            But if you want to go the old-school jumper route, 1542B is a fine and dandy card that is otherwise identical.
                            1542B has one problem: 1 GB HDD size limit in BIOS.
                            Apparently there was some BIOS/firmware update to allow up to 8.4 GB, but I can't locate it. Any help?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Have you tried updating it with the BIOS from a 1542C?

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