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MDA Hard Drive

Posted on 2000-04-03
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Last Modified: 2008-02-01
I am trying to salvage a friend's novel from a Seagate ST-212. I have the IBM 5150 that the drive was in, and have moved in a graphics card from another PC. I can boot the 5150, but get garbage from the keyboard after the boot. I can't get into the BIOS setup. I have an IBM clone that has a ST-251 drive. I've tried the ST-212 in the clone, with and without the MDA FD 10MB adapter, but get errors on initializing the controller. I can boot both PCs from floppy disks, but can't get to the hard drive. Help! I just want her files!
Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Question by:nkbr
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by:RoadWarrior
ID: 2682580
If you boot from a dos floppy, with the harddrive in the 5150, and you run FDISK, can it see the drive? Please be very careful to exit FDISK without  changing anything!
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by:SysExpert
ID: 2684402
OK, From what I remember, the 5150 does not even have a BIOS you can boot into, too old, but I may be confusing the model number.
You need the IBM diagnostic floppy which allows you to make BIOS changes. A real pain !
Anyway, if you plug the drive into a newer computer, with a BIOS in EPROM
 you have to set the drive type to match the drive you are trying to use. Old computers had between 26 and 45 drive settings, with the last 1 or two setting, user definable.
Get the specs on the 212 from seagate or theRef site, and I'll look for my copy , and try to see if you can gain access.
I hope this helps.
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by:SysExpert
ID: 2684434
ST-212
       
   Legacy

   
  Capacity:10.0 MB
    Speed:3600 rpm
  Seek time:65 ms

--------------------------
  Cylinders:         306
    Heads: 4
   Sectors: 17
  SeaFAX#:   212
Thats the info that has to be pkugged into the BIOS.
I hope this helps.
   
         
         
       
       
       
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by:RoadWarrior
ID: 2686177
I usually find that these older type drives usually refuse to work on a different system until they have been low level formatted on that system. Obviously this is not something you want to do if you are trying to recover data. Actually that is kind of untrue, I usually find they need reformatting to work on  a different controller, especially 8bit - 16bit. If you are trying to look at the disk on a 16bit PC AT class computer, you should be aware that the Fixed disk adapter has a different IRQ and resource range on 8 bit machines than on 16 bit machines so therefore you will not be able to be set it up in bios setup with an 8 bit controller and will not be able to boot off it. You might be able to see the disk on an 8 bit controller in Linux on a 16 bit machine, this isn't a trick for the linux novice though.

Off to do some research on the 5150 to see if the PC and XT tricks apply to it.  All I can recall about the beast is it was IBM mainframe divisions answer to the PC and could run either dos or cp/m 86. I think the original harddrive for it was something like a 5+5 winchester in a seperate box, methods of setup for anything later might be controller specific. So it would help if you have the manufacturer of the controller, or what names are on some of the chips on it.

What type of graphics card do you have in it now? It might "only speak mono" (it might use the ram base address for a color adaptor for something else) Probably is booting into Basic or something at the moment (depends on ROM modules installed) that doesn't address the video adapter correctly.

regards,

Road Warrior
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by:RoadWarrior
ID: 2686285
Doh, the numbers confused me, I was thinking the 5150 was a little earlier than the "PC" but it is in fact the "PC" anyhow most of the above applies.

You probably have an IBM/Seagate disk controller there, you have to invoke the debug command to set up the harddisk on those beasties. Officially called the ST10, but often referred to as the ST-506/412 controller after the drives it was designed for.

Actually I have some parts for this machine, not a HDD controller though, have a motherboard, ram card, floppy interface, display adapter and a serial port. I got one for  cents at a flea market because I wanted the box :-)

Are you sure that's a seagate 212 and not a 412? ST 412 would be the most common 10mb drive to find in one of these systems. Cylinders heads sectors are same as given above for the 212 though, so it don't matter too much.

Darn it, 6 years ago, the info was on the web for setting these up, I put one in an XT for someone about that long ago, can't find anything now, will have to go hunting in my own archives.
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by:nkbr
ID: 2687543
RoadWarrior and SysExpert -

Thanks, both of you for your comments. I need to correct something. The issue with garbage from the keyboard got me boggled. I don't think the 5150 is recognizing the hard drive or floppy at all. When I went in to verify things and check fdisk, I realized that it was booting into BASIC and would do so with or without the hard drive and with or without the floppy. It was in the clone that I could boot from a floppy and at least get the hard drive to spin up. The system didn't recognize the hard drive (set to type 1 with the parms above) but, at least I think, an old  utility called ASQ recognized that the hard drive was there. Let me do some more with the clone. Is there a chance we can make the FD adapter work in it? I can't find any specs on it at all. The model of the adapter is IBM 1501492. It, again, was in the clone that I got the error initializing the controller. I will check more closely and report back. And yes, I'm sure it's ST-212. I don't know anything about the debug command.
Thanks VERY much.
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by:nkbr
ID: 2702482
FINALLY - I've been able to spend a little time on this again. Hope you'll still hang in there with me.

Great progress - I think. The 5150 boots the hard drive and runs a batch job to set up  Word Perfect! The floppy is inoperable - don't know if it's the floppy controller card (6181682 - CONT FD 8 BITS IBM XT) or the drive. I have a few other floppy drives, but none of them seem to work either. I'm not sure where to go from here. The keyboard still produces garbage. I have to have somewhere to copy the files to. What do you think?
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RoadWarrior earned 300 total points
ID: 2702739
Floppy drive not working:

Now there is a bit of a tale to tell here. The way floppy drives were originally designed was to be drive ID selectable from one to four with a jumper or switchblock or whatever, you will see this on many drives at the back, now you don't usually need to mess with these, but here's the reason for their existance. When floppy drives of the standard type were first employed they were used on a straight through cable and the first drive A: drive was set as DF0: on the cable, it didn't matter which connector it was connected to, the second drive was set as DF1: and became the B: drive. Now some bright spark came up with the Idea of using a twisted floppy cable to swap the drive ID lines over and setting both drives as DF1, so therefore the drive on the end after the twist had it's DF1 lines aactually connected to the DF0 lines of the interface and was seen as the first drive or A: drive and the second drive, in the middle of the cable was B: drive as set and connected. These early PCs usually had a straight through floppy cable with no twist and therefore their A: drive is set to DF0.

So you have several ways to try and set it up, bearing in mind that the original drive is set this way (for untwisted), and depending on whether you have replaced the straight through cable with a twisted cable.

The floppy interface in this machine will only support 3 types of drive, 160/180k single sided 5 1/4 inch, 360k double sided 5 1/4 inch (original equipment) and 720k 3.5 inch. No high density drives will work, i.e. current standard 1.44mb 3.5 inch drives or 1.2Mb 5 1/4 inch drives. (It may possibly support some types of 8 inch drive too, but I guess you ain't interested in that)

So first, make sure you have a type of drive that is compatible with the interface. If you wish to use the original drive, use it with a straight through cable, or place it on the B drive connector on a twisted cable. This will make it A drive, you can't use another drive on the twisted cable in this way when you have the original drive on it.  Any other drive you have is probably set up to be used with a twisted cable and not a straight through cable, so use a twisted cable with any other compatible drive in the conventional manner.

On my origanal IBM drive the method of selection appears to be via a plug in terminator just above the edge connector, (16 pin IC in a socket) with this in place I beleive the drive is set to df0 that would work as A: drive on an untwisted connector. However there is also a jumper in a 16 pin block to the above left of there that also may alter the setting. The B: drive I have has no terminator. I beleive that nowadays the termination is selected by the cable and all drives are set terminated. Is probably easiest to use either orginal cable and drive together OR replacement twisted cable and drive together. You can try moving the jumper link in the IC socket, probably one step either way will select the drive to be DF1: so it will work with a conventional cable.

well I hope that is fairly clear and gives you some clues to sorting the floppy drive out, a few years ago, it took me months to learn about this through trial and error, I had one old PC with a straight cable and one with a twisted cable and took forever to figure how to swap drives between them!

regards,

Road Warrior
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by:RoadWarrior
ID: 2702774
I am fairly confident that the jumper positon required on on original IBM drive (5 1/4 full height 360k) to set it as B: drive on a straight cable or A: drive in a twisted cable is the 3rd set of holes from the left on the IC socket. The second set of holes sets it as A: drive on a straight cable, or the straight portion of a twisted cable. I am a little unsure because I can't remember whether I had these drives working in a standard current PC since I took them out of the IBM, I think I did and reset the jumper accordingly.

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Expert Comment

by:RoadWarrior
ID: 2706494
Aha, found the debug info I was looking for.
This will get you into the BIOS of the original harddrive controller (hopefully)
with the controller and disk installed, boot from a dos floppy with debug on it.
run debug
at the prompt type
G=C800:5   (enter)
this should take you into the controllers bios setup menu.
Sorry, don't remember what it looks like in there, been a long time.

regards,

Road Warrior
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by:nkbr
ID: 2718270
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by:nkbr
ID: 2718271
Many, many, thanks from me and my friend, RoadWarrior. She just left with diskettes in hand and we are both absolutely thrilled to have the data salvaged. I found an 83-key keyboard today and got the floppy drive operational. A long process involving three PCs transferred the files and I converted them to Word. If the book is published, we'll send you a copy!

Wonderful mechanism, this Expert's Exchange!
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by:RoadWarrior
ID: 2718455
Great, glad to have helped!
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