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How to connect a CD-ROM to an old 486?

Posted on 1998-02-27
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Last Modified: 2008-02-01
I've got an old 486DX/50 Mhz lying around that I want to upgrade a bit and give to my son to play with.  I recently replaced the old 4x CD-ROM in my Pentium system with a 24x, and I want to install the 4x in the 486.  The IDE connectors on the motherboard are in use (by the 3.5" floppy drive, and the 528 MB harddrive), so I got hold of an ISA IDE card to which to connect the CD-ROM.  There is already an available power cable.
So I hook everything up and boot the system, and I get a Drive 1 error message.  Then I get a message which asks me if I want to go into Setup or press Enter to continue.  The same thing happens whether the CD-ROM jumper switch is set to master or to slave mode.  It appears to me that the boot process thinks I am trying to add a second hard drive and is looking for me to specify the drive type.  I tried changing setup to Automatic Detect on hard drive 1 (the second hard drive), and that didn't work either.
I'm thinking it shouldn't be this hard to install a CD-ROM.  Do I have to replace the BIOS chip (flash BIOS this isn't)? Am I just doing something dumb?  Should a get another IDE cable with 2 connectors, forget the IDE controller card,
and connect both the existing hard drive and the CD-ROM to the the IDE connector on the motherboard?  Any thoughts or suggestions out there?
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Question by:bbecker
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17 Comments
 

Author Comment

by:bbecker
ID: 1129810
Edited text of question
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Expert Comment

by:jhance
ID: 1129811
When you installed the ISA IDE controller, did you set it to be the SECONDARY IDE controller in the system?  If not, then you have a conflict between the two controllers.  Change it to the secondary position, put you CDROM as MASTER on it and you should be in business.
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Author Comment

by:bbecker
ID: 1129812
I believe that you might be on to something.  I'm about to head home and give it a try.  My only question at this point is: how do I set this card to be the secondary controller?  Is this likely to be a jumper switch on the motherboard, or the new controller card (or both!)?  Or do I do this through the Setup routine?  I don't have an instruction manual (who reads 'em anyway) for either the motherboard/PC or the controller card.  I know you're working blind, but your guidance would certainly be helpful.  I'll be monitoring my email from home.  Thanks much for your help
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Expert Comment

by:jhance
ID: 1129813
If the card is adjustable, there should be jumpers on it to change the settings.  If you don't have the manual, however, you might have trouble.  It could be marked on the board itself, or they might have a web site.
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Expert Comment

by:rmarotta
ID: 1129814
bbecker,
I don't think you need an additional controller card. (Your floppy is on a different connector from the IDE.) Just get an IDE cable with sockets for two hard drives. (it will have three connectors on it) Connect the CD to the middle one. Pay close attention to the pin 1/cable stripe orientation, set the CD as "slave" and you should be all set to load the drivers.
Hope this helps,
Ralph

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Author Comment

by:bbecker
ID: 1129815
The IDE controller card was made in China, and there are no markings either on it, or the box it came in, to indicate the manufacturer.  The only markings are W83777 Ver 1.0 and FCC ID: ID2-W837787AA). There is a diagram on the controller card, referring to jumper switch 3, but I can't figure it out.  The diagram looks like this, where I use a one(1) and a zero(0) to indicate the two settings (altho I may have my off and on reversed):

JP3:  PRTMOD
PRT    0  0
EPP    0  1
ECP    1  0
EXT2   1  1
FDD                    (the EXT2/FDD appear connected)

but the actual JP3 switch consists of 9 pins, in a 3 x 3 array, in which the first two columns of pins are marked PRTM and the rightmost column in marked IRQ, as shown:

 PRTM IRQ
7 * * *  1
8 * * *  2
9 * * *  3
    JP3

I assume that the diagram is referring to only the two leftmost columns (pins 4 thu 9), and the other column does something with the IRQ.  But I'm confused as to what the diagram is telling me to do for several reasons:
1. I don't know what the abbreviations (PRT, EPP, ECP, EXT2) stand for.
2. Since I don't know what they stand for, I don't know which one applies to my situation, although the EXT2 sounds promising.
3. The current (out of the box) jumper settings seem to bear no relation to the diagram.  Currently, there are jumpers connecting pins 8/9, 4/5 and 2/3:

7  *  *  *  1
      I  
8  *  *  *  2
   I     I
9  *  *  *  3

where the "I" is meant to show a jumper connection between pins.

I bet you thought this was going to be an easy 100 points.  Unfortunately, you didn't count on my ignorance.  But I'm still hoping to give you a high grade because I'm nearly certain that you are sending me down the correct track, if I can only get by the fallen trees blocking my way.  Can you make any heads or tails out of the jumper diagram?  Thanks much.
   


   
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Expert Comment

by:rmarotta
ID: 1129816
Why do you think you need to install an additional controller?

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Author Comment

by:bbecker
ID: 1129817
Ralph
I just saw your response to my question.  I will give that a try.   The only problem with your suggestion is that there is such a stretch between my harddrive and the CD-ROM that I may need to have a custom, extra long IDE cable made for me.  None of the cables I have currently are long enough, or have sufficient cable length between sockets.  I need about 8 inches between the two drive sockets, and then about another 10 inches from the middle drive socket to the motherboard socket. Nothing is simple.
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Expert Comment

by:rmarotta
ID: 1129818
bbecker,
I know what you mean about nothing simple....
A longer cable should not be too much of a problem to find as  they're not uncommon and most computer stores or shops should have what you need.
To test your system, you might try to connect the CD-ROM before installing it in its drive bay.  With the case off the computer, perhaps you can just lay it down next to the HD temporarily.  Close enough to get it connected, being careful not to short circuit anything that it may be contacting.
I use a piece of plastic to insulate the components when doing this. A piece of foam or rubber mat will do.
Let me know if you have a problem.
Ralph

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Author Comment

by:bbecker
ID: 1129819
Ralph,
Still no go.  I was successful in attaching a second hard drive to the system according to your instructions.  But in order to do so, I had to go into the Setup routine and tell the System BIOS that this Slave drive  was a Type 25 drive.  The Auto Detect feature might have worked also, as the Master hard drive is successfully auto detected.  So it appears that my real problem is the System BIOS -- How do I make it recognize the CD-ROM drive?  Auto Detect doesn't work with the CD-ROM drive.  I do have a software utility named USERHDD.EXE on the support diskettes that come with the PC that allows me to set a "custom" drive configuration, but what do I use for  the number of heads, tracks/sector,etc for a CD-ROM drive?  One other note, the BIOS chip on my motherboard has a little sticker on it that says Flash BIOS, so maybe I can flash upgrade the chip, if this becomes necessary (assuming I can figure out the BIOS maker, version, etc).
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Expert Comment

by:rmarotta
ID: 1129820
bbecker,
You don't need to worry about the BIOS in order to get the CD-ROM operating.  Just connect it up properly as a slave drive, and then load its drivers at boot-up.  The software will detect the CD and make it accessible from DOS.
Do you know how to configure your config.sys and autoexec.bat files for the CD-ROM?
If not, let me know and I'll give you a sample to see how it's done.
Ralph

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Author Comment

by:bbecker
ID: 1129821
Ralph,
I'll try setting up the CD-ROM again, according to your suggestion.  But it sounds like you are  saying that the System BIOS error I get when I intially attach the CD-ROM will go away, once I load the MSCDEX driver into the autoexec.bat/config.sys.  I'm afraid I'm a bit skeptical. Because my BIOS won't recognize the CD-ROM as a valid drive, it doesn't assign a drive number to it.  So then, when I load the MSCDEX driver (using the Mitsumi supplied driver diskette), all I get is a message that more or less says "no such drive exists."
Bob
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Expert Comment

by:rmarotta
ID: 1129822
bbecker,
1) Your BIOS doesn't assign the CD-ROM's drive letter....
MSCDEX.EXE does this, so do not select a second hard drive in your BIOS settings. Select "none".  The cd letter assignment defaults to the next available drive letter, which is D:, in your case. (if you only have one hard drive installed)
2) MSCDEX.EXE will only work if you have FIRST, successfully loaded your CD's device driver file in config.sys.  In the case of a Mitsumi IDE it should be something like: DEVICE=MTMCDAI.SYS (if I remember it correctly)
3) The error "no such drive exists" message that you receive when MSCDEX tries to load is because the device driver wasn't properly installed first.
Let me know if you have trouble with the syntax or how to get the CD operating.
Ralph

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Expert Comment

by:rmarotta
ID: 1129823
bbecker,
I should have added the following to the statement in config.sys.
DEVICE=MTMCDAI.SYS /D:MSCD001
Where "MSCD001" can be any eight character name of your choosing.

The line in autoexec.bat should read:
C:\(correct path)\MSCDEX.EXE /D:MSCD001
Be sure the "/D:" switch exactly matches the name specified for the CD-ROM in your config.sys.

Just ask if you need any more.
Ralph

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Author Comment

by:bbecker
ID: 1129824
Ralph:
Eureka! Success at last.  Thanks a ton for your patient help.  I am however stalling on awarding the grade (and points) because jhance, and not you, are identified as my "active" expert.  I am going to click the "Reopen" radio button, which I hope will allow you to take over active expert status, at which point I will award you a well deserved A.
Bob
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Accepted Solution

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rmarotta earned 100 total points
ID: 1129825
Bob,
Glad to be able to help.  I'll bet there was a little bit of "persuasion" at your end to get the thing running.(your son)
I know how my kids keep after me whenever there is a problem with their computers!
Best regards,
Ralph

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Author Comment

by:bbecker
ID: 1129826
Again, a very big THANK-YOU!
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