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HD fails to boot

Posted on 1998-10-14
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
The CMOS battery died on my kid's 486/DX. At about that time I (attempted) to install a sound card. I replaced the battery and reset the CMOS settings manually--the auto-detect feature would not work. After inputting the correct settings (Cyl 1050 Heads 16 Sectors 63), the CMOS puts the HD capacity as 565 (or something like that)--it should be 540MB.

The HD is a Connor CFS540A 540MB. Upon rebooting, it gives me a HD Failure error. I wonder if I messed up the cabling somehow.  I've rechecked the power connection--the drive sounds like it's spinning. I've rechecked the ribbon cable. It appears to be connected to the board and the HD correctly (and thence to the CD ROM.)

Any ideas, anyone?
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Question by:redfox072197
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Author Comment

by:redfox072197
ID: 1126859
Edited text of question
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Expert Comment

by:yung
ID: 1126860
Redfox,

Generally the cable will have a red strip down one side. Make sure this is closest to pin 1 on the controller. The cable should only go one way into the drive itself, but it could be wrong way round on controller. Is CD working? If it's working, and it's piggybacking, then its not the cable. Have you changed the order that you attached the CD and hard drive, it may be getting the master slave thing wrong. If you  change the order of the connections on the cables then you need to tell the hard drive by changing its jumpers to reflect this.

In the CMOS, it will guestimate the capacity from the settings.
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Author Comment

by:redfox072197
ID: 1126861
I finally found the specs for the drive on Seagate--forgot they acquired Connor. The specs indicate some older BIOSs may need the Heads set to 32 to lower the number of cylinders below 1024. I'll try what you suggest and the higher head setting tonight when I get home.

Let you know tomorrow what, if anything, works.

Thanks for you help.
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Expert Comment

by:MATTCEI
ID: 1126862
The CMOS failure was probably due to installing the sound card.Just inserting or pulling a card can sometimes clear cmos.

As for the differences in hard drive size,CMOS counts bytes per megabyte slightly differently than the manufacturers do.Your drive size in CMOS is probably correct,even though slightly different, for a drive marked 540MB.

The Auto-Detect not working and the HD Failure message are due to the same thing - the system's not seeing the HD on a hardware level.Don't worry about HD parameters,the system's not even getting that far yet.

Likely suspects:

-Look for a CMOS setting something like 'Enable Hard Drive 32Bit Access',change it to Disable if Enabled,or vice-versa.

-The cdrom NOT being connected.Since the HD is jumpered as a master,it's seeing no slave.Red stripe on the ribbon cable should go towards the power plug on both drives,and towards the '1' or some similar marking for pin 1 on the controller.(I'm assuming you havn't changed any jumpers on the drives yet.)

-The controller card is not properly seated.Especially likely if it's Vesa Local Bus.Look closely at the edge connector(s) on the card - verify all are into the connector to the same depth.

-Pull that sound card.It may be hanging the bus.
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Author Comment

by:redfox072197
ID: 1126863
Your answer sounds knowledgeable and thorough. Last night I tried re-setting the CMOS settings and that did not work. I verified that the ribbon cable is connected correctly on both the CD ROM and the HD, and the the jumpers on the HD are correct (as master). I also verified that the ribbon cable is connected to the disk drive controller securely.

I'll run through your suggestions later tonght when I get home and let you know tomorrow what kind of results I obtained--and accept your answer if it works. I know it should work...I'm just not doing it right...

Thanks for your help.
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Accepted Solution

by:
sospal earned 100 total points
ID: 1126864
you can isolate the reson by doing the following:
1- try to see if you HDD is working in another computer
2- if step1 is ok then you have to try another known good HDD with you IDE controller
3- if step1 is false then their is problem with your HDD and i am fraid that it is damaged .
4- if step2 is false then you have a fault controller and you have to replace it .

finally your problem must isolate in HDD or controller .
GOOD LUCK
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Expert Comment

by:MATTCEI
ID: 1126865
If no luck,try changing the HD jumpers to 'single drive' and unplug the cable from the cdrom drive.
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Expert Comment

by:btphelps
ID: 1126866
Turns out none of the answsers offered are correct. The problem was that, along with the CMOS settings being lost when the battery died, I had reconnected the HD ribbon cable into the secondary IDE controller instead of the primary. Now up and running. Thanks for the help, though!

Brian
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