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Connecting 8 IDE devices on Win2K workstation? (worth 150pts)

Posted on 2002-05-07
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
Well...here I go again!
I originally asked this question a few years ago (see:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/jsp/qManageQuestion.jsp?ta=hardgen&qid=10073280
The end result was a controller made by GSI.  Unfortunately, since upgrading to Windows 2000, the GSI product no longer works.

I purchased a Promise Ultra100 but it doesn't work with CD-ROM drives (and nowhere in the manual does it state this).  In case you haven't read my previous question. In a nutshell, I'm seeking a controller card that will allow me to connect 7 CD-ROM drives to a computer.  1 IDE and 3 CD-ROM to the built-in IDE interface (on motherboard) and 4 IDE cd-rom drive on a PCI controller (that controller was made by GSI).  

BTW, GSI went bankrupt a few years ago.

Thank you
Shawn
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Question by:sconnell
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:slink9
ID: 6996152
Have you looked at SIIG? - http://www.siig.com/products/ide/index.html
An even better idea is to go SCSI for this application.
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Expert Comment

by:EricWestbo
ID: 6996288
Cables Unlimited Ultra ATA 133 PCI Controller Card
Manufacturer Part No: KSI-571B

Supports all ATAPI CD ROM, DVD ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, LS-120, MO, Tape and Zip devices

http://www.cablesunlimited.com/products/product_dynamic_pages/indivisualitem.asp?groupcode=I2795

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?sku=C250-1072&SRCCODE=INCEPTOR


hope this helps

/ew


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Expert Comment

by:Kyle Schroeder
ID: 6996358
I agree with slink9...you'll have much better luck using SCSI, its designed to support this many drives directly, plus you could get an external SCSI connected tower with 7 5 1/4" bays and not have to take up space in your case (or server rack as the case may be).  The drives will be a bit more expensive than IDE, but they're generally more reliable and higher performing.

-dog*
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magarity earned 150 total points
ID: 6996710
"Promise Ultra100 but it doesn't work with CD-ROM drives"

Yes, it does.  I have one here and it certainly works with both CDROM and DVD drives.  Please check the cabling and the master/slave settings on all drives.  If your unit is simply defective it can be replaced under warranty.
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Expert Comment

by:1175089
ID: 6997112
What kind of CD-ROM drive ? Some old /very very old/ CD's uses proprietary interface /not standart IDE/...
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Expert Comment

by:magarity
ID: 6997135
I don't have my digital camera here today and no capture device.  If this question is still open tomorrow and doubts still exist about the Promise I will post pictures of my 7 CDROM and 1 hard drive installation using the FastTrak100 controller.
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Expert Comment

by:slink9
ID: 6997159
I don't believe you!! :) :)  What do you use 7 CDRoms for?  I have a CDRW and DVD and am quite happy with them.
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Expert Comment

by:1175089
ID: 6997173
Tks for the pictures in advance, but I want to know about sconnel's CD-rom...
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by:magarity
ID: 6997221
"What do you use 7 CDRoms for?"

Read the link to the original question given (no need to buy the answer).  This is for a server and he needs to for some reason use the original CDROMs rather than copy them to a share directory.  That may sound strange, but at the school lab where I worked as a student there were plenty of applications that needed to check an original CD.  We just pointed that at the stack of CDROMs attached to the server.  OK, those were SCSI, but that's what the server happened to have.  There is no reason why it won't work with IDE except something defective in either the computer in question's BIOS that doesn't allow external controllers or he has a simply defective controller.

sconnell, to avoid us all having to buy your old question, could you please post the particulars of your system's make and model here?  Thanks!
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Expert Comment

by:slink9
ID: 6997244
Makes sense to me.
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Expert Comment

by:magarity
ID: 6997261
I may have figured out why you think the Promise doesn't work.  First of all, when the computer is first turned on, the Promise will detect all the CDROM drives but then the computer's BIOS summary will show no drives, yes?  If the Promise doesn't detect them and they are plugged in and jumpered correctly, this is simply a defective unit.  Get another.

HOWEVER, if the Promise detects them but the computer doesn't regognize them, it is because with no hard drives attached so the Promise card doesn't load its overlay BIOS.  Booting to DOS or even to Windows without the proper driver will not detect any drives attached.  When I set up my test configuration, I plugged the hard drive in there (since the onboard controller is really slow) and all works perfectly because the overlay was installed.  

I retried it with just CDROMs and the system at first behaved as though there are no drives.  If your hard drive remains plugged into the motherboard, the overlay will not load and your system will behave as though there are no CDROMs.  Installing the Promise drivers should correct this situation.  Also, connecting the hard drive to one of the Promise channels will prompt the card to load its overlay and suddenly the system's BIOS will list the CDROMs in its summary.  The operating system may or may not detect them without the Promise driver as well, though I recall from the manual if you are booting off the Promise (and you are), you need to have the drivers preinstalled on the hard drive.

This is the nature of all add-on IDE controller cards, not just Promise brand.
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Expert Comment

by:jlauster
ID: 6997417
sconnell,

Please go through your old questions (some go back as far as 1999) and close them out by accepting the comment that was most helpful. Most of these questions have quite a bit of input.
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Expert Comment

by:patch575
ID: 6997874
Make sure there is enough power to run all the devices.  
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Expert Comment

by:magarity
ID: 6999377
My Promise Ultra100 card and four CDROM drives attached:
http://www.transpacificglobal.com/card.jpg

Card inserted into Pentium2 based test system along with two more CDROM drives on internal (motherboard) IDE channels and two IDE hard drives:
http://www.transpacificglobal.com/assembled.jpg
(I know your project requires 7 CDROM drives and I only have 6 here but I couldn't spare any from other currently running tests)
The Ultra100's splash screen showing detection of the four attached CDROM drives:
http://www.transpacificglobal.com/splash.jpg

The WindowsXP "My Computer" box listing all 6 CDROM drives (D through I), the titles of the inserted CDs and the two hard drives (C and J):
http://www.transpacificglobal.com/xplisting.jpg

Conclusion:
The Promise Ultra100 controller works with four CDROM drives attached.  A single Intel x86 system works with 8 IDE/ATAPI devices attached.  Therefore, sconnell's Promise is either simply defective or maybe the attached CDROM drives are jumpered/cabled incorrectly.
Resolution:
Replace defective unit or cable/jumper attached drives correctly.
Regards,
magarity

PS - While I'm, taking pictures...  For those who know me here and are curious, here is my messy office in which I while away the days:
http://www.transpacificglobal.com/officeworkbench.jpg
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Expert Comment

by:slink9
ID: 6999615
And I thought my work area was messy!!  You are brave.  Now when are we going to see Magarity as EOTW?
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Expert Comment

by:magarity
ID: 6999620
Additional notes:

I used a separate power supply for the 4 drives on the Promise card because I don't have any power cable splitters.  See patch575's comment about providing enough power to so many devices.

All drives were 100% ATAPI compliant.  See 1175089's comment about using pre-ATAPI standard drives.  If you've scrounged old 1x and 2x drives for this project, that may be the cause of the confusion if they are not fully ATAPI compliant.
An additional CDROM drive came free after lunch.  It was put in place of the secondary hard drive and as expected all 7 CDROM drives work with one hard drive.  I have to soon disassemble this Frankenstein machine to reclaim the drives for other projects.
I am leaving for a week long computer-free vacation starting tomorrow PM, so any followup questions need to be asked pronto.
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by:magarity
ID: 6999636
"And I thought my work area was messy!"

I tried to straighten up when I first started but it was driving me nuts so I gave up.  It isn't possible to be neat when you need to test examples of 11 different platforms/motherboards with a wide variety of add-on cards in an 8' by 12' room.  Especially when a 1/5 chunk is taken up by a desk with a regular PC on it.  Hey, I have to have somewhere to do EE while waiting for tests to run!
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Expert Comment

by:1175089
ID: 6999650
Mitsumi, Teac, Sony, Samsung ???
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by:slink9
ID: 6999708
Vacation?  Can I go?
Actually, I have been on a forced 5 1/2 month vacation.  I am waiting for enough business to come in from my new business so I can survive on it.
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Expert Comment

by:magarity
ID: 7013648
OK, looks like sconnell went on vacation too.

What happened during the week?  Still no response?
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by:EricWestbo
ID: 7013810
sconnell...

where do we stand on this?

/EW
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Author Comment

by:sconnell
ID: 7014083
Hey sorry people....

I was (still) on vacation.  Went camping in Strathcona park (Vancouver Island) -- Simply fantastic for those who never been there.  The whole island is beautiful, except for Nanaimo, it's a trash town.

Anyhow, since I have a very slow connection... I'll be brief until I return (next Tuesday).

slink9: SCSI is not always better.  It would have cost 2-3x as much to do the same with SCSI and no real performance gains (for the intended application).  

Magarity: Your explaination to slink9 is correct.  Your ability to interface your CD-ROM drives to the Ultra-100 intrigues me.  

I'm using Panasonic DVD drives (which shouldn't be the problem).  The motherboard is an Intel 440BX-2 (a little old now) and the OS is W2K.  The Ultra100 doesn't see the 4 DVD drives at boot up, nor does the W2K driver help after the OS boots up.

I'll check cable configurations on my return. Failing that, I have an extra card but I doubt it's a card failure (quite rare these days).

Thanks for all your input!
Shawn
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Expert Comment

by:EricWestbo
ID: 7014220
>> I'll check cable configurations on my return. Failing that, I have an extra card but I doubt it's a
card failure (quite rare these days).

Oh my goodness.  No you did not.  Rare?  Like, I have to assume that your definition of rare is a bit different than mine... kind of on the scope of "M$ OS bugs are 'rare'."  :)

ESD, EMP... and many more can kill a card before you ever get your hands on it.  That or I am just UN-LUCK-Y!  ::chuckle::

I'm just gonna listen in from here, cause my suggestion went over like a fart in church...

/EW
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Expert Comment

by:magarity
ID: 7014233
"Your ability to interface your CD-ROM drives to the
Ultra-100 intrigues me."

They are standard ATAPI compliant devices.  Whether hard drive, CDROM, ZIP, DVD, CDRW, or whatever, it is no mystery that they work with the Promise Ultra100 ATAPI controller.

Yet another idea:  Some motherboards share IRQ and/or IO addresses between one of the PCI slots and something else, like the built in IDE controller or video.  This would explain why an PCI controller card would not work properly.  Check that the slot you have already tried is not such an address shared slot or just try another PCI slot anyway.

If you are still having trouble, there are still questions above that we need answered to help you with this:

Does the Promise card's BIOS screen detect ANY kind of drives?  If you plug in the hard drive, does it detect it? (no need to boot, just see if the startup splash screen lists the HDD)
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by:magarity
ID: 7014247
PS - Yellowstone ruled.  Moose, bison, muledeer, bald eagles, wolves, grizzlies (and cubs), black bears (and cubs), brown bears, coyotes, etc, etc, etc.  Sunshine and warm temperatures the entire time.
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by:Moondancer
ID: 7015208
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Expert Comment

by:magarity
ID: 7068250
Is sconnell still on vacation?
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by:Moondancer
ID: 7068299
Nope, logged in 6/10, but didn't take care of questions, sorry to say.

Can you please guide me here on a fair outcome so I can close this?

Thanks,

Moondancer - EE Moderator
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Author Comment

by:sconnell
ID: 7068323
EricWestbo: Of course, ESD can damage an ESD sensitive product.  I meant "rare" in the sense that it is 'rare' for a product to arrive DOA.  Most large manufacturers have adopted ISO 900x standards, which means they follow rigid manufacturing rules and theoretically, product comes out the same way consistently.

magarity: I'm back now!  In answer to a previous query, there is a lot I must do to diagnose this problem.  I posted this question just before leaving on a holiday in hopes that someone had already encountered the same issue.  With the previous (now obsolete) controller, it was a simple matter of plugging it in.....  I'll follow more standard diagnostics this Wednesday evening.

Moondancer: I'll go through each one of the links you provided and comment.



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by:Moondancer
ID: 7068361
Please do, thank you.
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by:magarity
ID: 7068716
"With the previous (now obsolete) controller, it was a simple matter of plugging it in.....  I'll follow more standard diagnostics this Wednesday evening."

Awaiting followup questions.  Don't think MD is pushing you to close this one up.  As soon as you have any more leads or questions, I'll be happy to respond promptly.
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by:Moondancer
ID: 7068756
Well said, magarity, thanks.  The ideal is to keep questions active, and work towards a goal, not to close them prematurely.
:) Moondancer - EE Moderator
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Author Comment

by:sconnell
ID: 7071379
Moondancer:  I believe I've covered all the 'outstanding' questions.  Please note that a number of these were answered by myself and perhaps should be archived for the benefit of others (and EE).
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by:Moondancer
ID: 7071464
I will go through them all now.  If you've answered them yourself, I will refund points to you and move them to our PAQ at zero points to close them.  The PAQ is our Previously Asked Questions database, which can help others.  Ideally, as I go through them, that will be clear.

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Moondancer - EE Moderator
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Expert Comment

by:magarity
ID: 7247436
sconnell!

When can I ditch those pictures off my web server that prove this project is 100% feasable?

Note you've never responded to queries re: are these genuine ATAPI compliant CDROM drives or old pre-standard 1x and 2x drives?  I will maintain this is the problem until you provide makes and models of newer drives to prove they are standards compliant.  In this case, blame should not be assigned to Promise or any other brand controller; you simply need to spend $15 each on current model drives or scrounge them from newer machines.

When combined with the huge delay, it becomes more and more annoying that your only concession is that my proof is 'intrigues' you.  I think all the experts here will agree that this is an issue either with your particular machine's BIOS or pre-standards complaint CDROM drives and not your initial adamant claim that Promise makes a shoddy product.  For the skeptical, I've even provided photographic proof.

*******************************************************
What is there to continue to dispute given the provided pictures proving a Promise Ultra-100 controller can handle 4 CDROM type devices?
*******************************************************

Please see "Hardware" category's top 10 experts list if you have any concerns about me making anything up.

Heck, I even explained for you to the people who thought you were some kind of wierdo for wanting 7 CDROM drives.
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Expert Comment

by:Kyle Schroeder
ID: 7249280
magarity:
Somewhere up there sconnell said that the drives were all Panasonic DVD drives, so I wouldn't suspect there would be any ATAPI compliance issues with them (but you never know...).  Maybe he needs to update the Promise and/or the drives' BIOSes?  Do the drives work OK connected to "standard" IDE controllers?

-dog*
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by:magarity
ID: 7249417
Ah, it was buried in there but I see it now.  OK, well, two of the drives I used were Toshiba DVD, so trying to blame it on DVD won't work.  Also, Promise doesn't have an update to address this issue:
http://www.promise.com/support/download2_eng.asp?mode=download&product_id=11

I think either the motherboard manufacturer needs to be contacted or the IDE controller tried is simply a defective unit and need to be replaced.
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Expert Comment

by:Kyle Schroeder
ID: 7249688
Well sconnell didn't say he had an Ultra 100 TX2, but an Ultra100.  The BIOS/driver for this is at:
http://www.promise.com/support/download2_eng.asp?mode=download&product_id=18

-dog*
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Expert Comment

by:magarity
ID: 7249714
Page 6 of the manual given on that link specifically states that the controller supports all IDE compatible "devices", not "hard drives only".
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Author Comment

by:sconnell
ID: 7275148
I'd answer these questions in a more timely manner if EE would work when attempt to post.

I tried to post this response on
Fri August 30, 2002 @1130h - fortunately I now copy my messages before clicking the submit button.

---------------

I'm back!  

I've dumped the original server board - it was an old Intel 440BX and installed a Intel 815EEA board (1.13GHz).  I have not had time to go any further due to other commitments.

magarity: Thanks for the photos - you have proven that the card should work.  My problem was definately not jumpers especially considering I swapped it with a previously working GSI controller.  

BTW, quite possibly the problem was with IRQ sharing (set in the BIOS).  No matter, I'm better off with a new faster computer anyway.

>are these genuine ATAPI compliant CDROM drives

YES.

>adamant claim that Promise makes a shoddy product.

I don't believe I ever made such a claim.

Where do we stand today?  My new $#%& server doesn't start up!!  I haven't had anytime to look at this but I will in the next 7 days.



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Expert Comment

by:magarity
ID: 7275660
">adamant claim that Promise makes a shoddy product.
I don't believe I ever made such a claim."

Ah, then you forgot this:

From http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Q_10073280.html :

"BEFORE you suggest the Promise Technology product...STOP!  It's doesn't work!  This company mislead me, their product doesn't work with CD-ROM devices.  I'm currently stuck with a useless product."

Anyway, your new server not starting up is beyond the scope of this question.  Once you get it working, plug in the Promise card and it will run all your CDROM drives, PROVIDED IT IS NOT SIMPLY A DEFECTIVE UNIT.  THIS HAS BEEN HASHED OVER BEFORE AND YOU DO NOT ADDRESS IT:  HAS THE PROMISE CARD BEEN SIMPLY REPLACED?  DEFECTIVE SOLID STATE UNITS ARE RARE BUT DO EXIST.  SIMPLY SWAP THE UNIT FOR ANOTHER UNDER THE WARRANTY.
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Expert Comment

by:Netminder
ID: 7329308
Force-accepted.

Netminder
CS Moderator
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Author Comment

by:sconnell
ID: 7563086
Hello magarity,

Not really wishing to bring up stuff from the past but your reference is simply not fair.  
My original complaint about Promise was quite true but that was in 1998!!!  Promise controller DID NOT support CD-ROM drives.  It's now 2002 and Promise has come far and they are quite a respected company.
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