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Two Deskstar drives fail on first use with Promise Ultra100 TX2 controller card

Posted on 2003-03-15
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Last Modified: 2007-12-19
I recently purchased a Promise Ultra100 TX2 hard drive controller card and installed it in an Antec MB-5981 Super 7 motherboard supporting UDMA/33. I bought a new 40-pin 80 connector cable ($9.95 at Electronics Discount) and used it to attach an IBM Deskstar to the Promise card. I was careful (with the PC powered off and not plugged in) to attach the cable's black cable connector (marked
ATA100/133 PRIMARY) to the HD, and the blue connector (marked ATA100/133 SYSTEM BOARD) the the HD1 connector on the card.

On bootup I got the message: Primary Master hard disk fail. This was a working hard drive up until this moment.
It wasn't ATA100 or ATA66, just an older Deskstar I had on hand. I just wanted to see if the hookup would run the way I'd connected everything.

Then I removed that HD and attached a second working IBM Deskstar ATA100 drive to the the card in the same manner.  On bootup I got the same error.

There is only one way you can attach the connectors to the hard drive and the card, so I couldn't have inserted them  in backwards. I can't imagine how two hard drives could fail from being connected to a HD controller card. I'd used several Promise EIDE cards years ago in 486 PCs with great success.

I installed each failed drive to another PC, and neither fdisk nor Partition Magic would recognize that a hard drive was present - so they do seem ruined by being hooked up with the controller card and cable.

Can anyone shed any light on this? I really wanted to speed up two Super 7 PCs I have using ATA66 or ATA100 hard drives with Promise Ultra66 or Ultra100 controller cards.
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Question by:gfisch
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LVL 41

Expert Comment

by:stevenlewis
ID: 8144719
>I installed each failed drive to another PC, and neither fdisk nor Partition Magic would recognize that a hard drive was present - so they do seem ruined by being hooked up with the controller card and cable
you did go into the bios and tell the PC that the drives were attached?
try disabling the on board IDE controllers so it will look for the drives on the promise card
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by:stevenlewis
ID: 8144776
one other thought, you did practice good ESD protection policies?
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Author Comment

by:gfisch
ID: 8145081
to stevenlewis:
Yes, I went into the BIOS and auto detected the first drive, then checked to make sure the information was correct (size, cylinders, heads, precomp, landz, sectors and mode were correct for that drive). I made sure that the jumpers on the drive were set for Primary Master, and that the BIOS info was for  the Primary Master as well. I attached the end connector to the drive (not the middle connector).  

If you mean good ElectroStatic Discharge protection policies, I'm always careful to have power off. (PC, monitor, any other attached devices plug into my surge protector, so turning its power off shuts everything down). Then I unplug the power surge and place both hands on metal in the case (power supply box) to release any possible static electricity before touching anything else in the case. Not that I've never made a mistake (in upgrading and building my family's PCs for 10+ years), but I am careful about doing this.
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Author Comment

by:gfisch
ID: 8145088
One thing I don't know, and would appreciate someone telling me, is how to disable the on board IDE controllers so the PC will look for the drives on the promise card.  
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Expert Comment

by:sathishkumar_sri
ID: 8145107
gfisch, the problem may be because you have not configured your drive as master. Refer to the jumper settings on the hdd and configure it as Master.

Also try using another IDE cable to check if the drive is detected properly. Most times a HDD may not be detected properly due to a bad IDE cable.
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LVL 41

Expert Comment

by:stevenlewis
ID: 8145114
In the bios, tell it that no hard drives are connected
and make sure the bios for the promise card is enabled
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Author Comment

by:gfisch
ID: 8145117
One thing I don't know, and would appreciate someone telling me, is how to disable the on board IDE controllers so the PC will look for the drives on the promise card.  
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Author Comment

by:gfisch
ID: 8145140
to stevenlewis:
Sorry, I found in the BIOS (Integrated Peripherals) that I can disable the OnChip IDE First Channel and also the OnChip IDE Second Channel so, as you said, the PC will look for the drives on the Promise card. I'll try that with another drive (and be especially careful to practice good ESD procedures). Thanks for the quick and helpful reply!



 
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LVL 41

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by:stevenlewis
ID: 8145143
It does concern me that the two drives aren't recognized in a different machine (assuming the bios on that machine supports that size drive)
I'm wondering if a.) it's the promise card or b.) the posersupply n that machine is toasting the drives
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Expert Comment

by:stevenlewis
ID: 8145145
posersupply = power supply LOL
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Author Comment

by:gfisch
ID: 8145225
sathishkumar_sri, I checked the drives to be sure each was configured as master. Both drives are on my desk now, so I rechecked, and the jumpers on each drive set it to Master. (To clarify, I only installed one for each test, so wanted each installed as primary master.)  

I don't have another 40-pin, 80 connector cable to test with, and of course can't test using the two ruined drives. You're right though - a HDD may not be detected properly due to a bad IDE cable. That's why I tested each drive on another PC to see if it ran correctly or failed on that pc. (Was careful to give the BIOS the correct info on the drive being tested.) Both failed. Then I used fidsk (4, View) and PQ Magic to see if they'd recognize either of the drives, but fdisk said No fixed disks found, and PQ Magic showed no drive(s) present.    
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stevenlewis earned 1000 total points
ID: 8145264
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Author Comment

by:gfisch
ID: 8145314
stevenlewis, thanks for your suggestions.
<In the bios, tell it that no hard drives are connected>
Yes, can and will do that. (grin)

<and make sure the bios for the promise card is enabled>
The pc I was testing on recognized the Promise card. Is there something else I should do to be sure the bios on the promise card is enabled?

<It does concern me that the two drives aren't recognized in a different machine (assuming the bios on that machine supports that size drive)>
These are not large HDDs. One is 3.25 GB and the other 15.3 GB. The BIOS on each PC I tested them on does recognize and correctly run drives that size (either by AutoDetect or I can manually enter the drive info in the BIOS.)  

I remember now that at one point I attached the cable to a HDD with the PC and power surge powered off, but the surge protector was plugged into the wall socket. I dismissed that, thinking with the surge protector off, that wouldn't toast the HDD -- but perhaps it did.

One reason I posted my question here was to see if any of you know whether or not a controller card could toast a HDD.  I know some have been modified to serve as RAID controllers. I bought mine used but really can't see how a card could do such damage.

Rather than the power supply toasting the drives, I'm now thinking that I must have done it by leaving the power surge plugged in. Now I think I must have unwittingly left it plugged in for both drive tests, and only realized it on the second test. I was very tired while doing that testing.
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Author Comment

by:gfisch
ID: 8145319
< posersupply = power supply LOL >
We all make mistakes LOL (big grin)
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Author Comment

by:gfisch
ID: 8145321
< posersupply = power supply LOL >
We all make mistakes LOL (big grin)
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Expert Comment

by:anolizor
ID: 8145699
Possible a bad shot in the dark but are the older drives backwards compatible voltage wise? Did too much current fry them?
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LVL 41

Expert Comment

by:stevenlewis
ID: 8146203
>I remember now that at one point I attached the cable to a HDD with the PC and power surge powered off, but the surge protector was plugged into the wall socket. I dismissed that, thinking with the surge protector off, that wouldn't toast the HDD -- but perhaps it did.
If the protector was off, it shouldn't have allowed any power to the box, and shouldn't have been a problem
the promise card shouldn't have toasted the drives, as you can connect the ribbon cable backwards and still no hurt the drive. the molex connector is another story, as the voltage in that can toast a drive
when you put the "toasted" drives in the other machine, run the diagnostics tests on them and make sure they are indeed fried
do they spin up?
I'm assuming the two drives were used? It would be one hell of a coincidence if both drives happen to fail just at this time, but I have seen some weird things, so it's possible too
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Author Comment

by:gfisch
ID: 8146367
<use the correct diagnostics program for the correct drive>

IBM's DFT (Drive Fitness Test) gave both IBM Deskstar drives (I thought were toasted) passed with flying colors. On the Quick Test and the longer Advanced Test no problems were found. Could hear the drives spinning and feel the vibration. So apparently nothing is wrong with the drives themselves.

However, on each drive FDISK immediately displayed "No fixed disks present" and left me with an A:\> prompt.

My old version (2.0) of PQ Magic seems to recognize each drive but no longer recognizes what's on it. It lists Drive 1 under Drives) but shows no info under Partitions or Volume. Options gives these choices: Check, Move, Create, Format. When I chose Create or Format I got an error message (#708 which isn't in the manual). When I chose Check or even Move, it opened a DOS window and quickly crashed (so I couldn't tell what commands/info were in the DOS Window). Try as I might I couldn't get PQ Magic to do anything with the disk I wanted to re-partition and format anyway.

At one point (when I chose Create, I believe) PQ Magic did show me the file type that was on the 15.3 GB drive prior to attaching it to the Promise controller card. It showed file type HPFS and a size: 3584. I'd just bought the drive (used on eBay) and had used PQ Magic to see what was on it - an HPFS volume that occupied the 15.3 GB drive except for another volume of 4 MB of used data.  

Since IBM's Disk Fitness Test found nothing physically wrong with either drive, I'm wondering if a low level format would make these two drives usable again.

Thanks for the helpful comments and suggestions.

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LVL 41

Expert Comment

by:stevenlewis
ID: 8146422
Hmmmm, while a low level fromat should work, usually this is not recommended
the hpfs is interesting, since this really isn't used any more
try delpart
see what it shows, and if it can delete tha partitions
http://www.coxpc.com/download.htm
how to use delpart
http://miataru.computing.net/windowsnt/wwwboard/forum/14153.html
and if you don't want to unzip the first link here it is unzipped
http://hercules.lss.ksu.edu/download/MSSTUFF
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Author Comment

by:gfisch
ID: 8146426
anolizor, thanks for taking time to address this problem.
<Possible a bad shot in the dark but are the older drives backwards compatible voltage wise? Did too much current fry them?>
I'd used the 3.24 GB drive a few years on the system I used to test the Promise card / hard drive hookup. Didn't notice anything unual about its voltage. I've only had the 15.3 GB drive for a week and only tested it by looking into it via Fdisk and PQ Magic. (This was the ATA100 drive I wanted on the Promise Ultra100 TX2 card.)

Here is the info on the cover of the 3.2 GB drive:
IBM
Model: DAQA-33240 E182115 S  LES
Rated: 5v 300mA. 12v 200mA DC
Made for IBM Corp. in Thailand IM  AUG-96
P/N: 46H3432             3.2GB
etc.
I'm not sure of the RPM but think it's 5400 RPM.

Info on the cover of the 3.2 GB drive:
IBM Deskstar
Model: DTLA-307015  ATA/IDE  E182115  PS LES N79
Rated: 5v 300mA. 12v 500mA DC
Made for IBM Corp. in Philippines  PS  MAY-2000
P/N: 07N3927  Capacity: 15.3GB  RPM: 7200RPM
etc.
0
 

Author Comment

by:gfisch
ID: 8146435
anolizor, thanks for taking time to address this problem.
<Possible a bad shot in the dark but are the older drives backwards compatible voltage wise? Did too much current fry them?>
I'd used the 3.24 GB drive a few years on the system I used to test the Promise card / hard drive hookup. Didn't notice anything unual about its voltage. I've only had the 15.3 GB drive for a week and only tested it by looking into it via Fdisk and PQ Magic. (This was the ATA100 drive I wanted on the Promise Ultra100 TX2 card.)

Here is the info on the cover of the 3.2 GB drive:
IBM
Model: DAQA-33240 E182115 S  LES
Rated: 5v 300mA. 12v 200mA DC
Made for IBM Corp. in Thailand IM  AUG-96
P/N: 46H3432             3.2GB
etc.
I'm not sure of the RPM but think it's 5400 RPM.

Info on the cover of the 3.2 GB drive:
IBM Deskstar
Model: DTLA-307015  ATA/IDE  E182115  PS LES N79
Rated: 5v 300mA. 12v 500mA DC
Made for IBM Corp. in Philippines  PS  MAY-2000
P/N: 07N3927  Capacity: 15.3GB  RPM: 7200RPM
etc.
0
 

Author Comment

by:gfisch
ID: 8147178
I downloaded delpart.exe, then attached one of the "toasted "drives to the PC I'm using to see if these drives work or can be recovered.  (an Asus P5A-B).

In the process of hooking up the first drive and making sure I had a good boot disk, I didn't get the "Primary master hard disk fail" message on bootup. I ran Fdisk - it recognized the drive and showed correct info. PQ Magic recognized the drive and displayed appropriate info. I hooked up the other drive and got the same successful results.

Puzzled, I tried to repeat the errors I'd been getting. I thought perhaps the IDE ribbon cable or power connection to the HDD might not be connected tight enough. This is what I got on bootup:

With cable connected but power not conected to HDD:
"Hard disk(s) Diagnosis fail".
With power connected but cable not conected to HDD:
"Hard disk(s) Diagnosis fail".
With power connected but cable not tightly connected:
"Primary master hard disk fail".
This last test recreated the errors I'd been getting: Auto HDD Detect didn't detect the drive, Fdisk said "No fixed disks present", and PQ Magic may have recognized a hard disk was present but showed no partition or volume info.

I replaced the IDE ribbon cable with a new one. (I'd changed IDE cables 2-3 times after I got the first "Primary master hard disk fail" message, but none of the ribbon cables were new.) With the new IDE cable Auto HDD Detect detected the drives accurately, Fdisk recognized the drive and displayed accurate info, and
PQ Magic recognized the drive and displayed correct info.

Since I was going to repartition the 15.3GB HDD anyway, I then ran delpart.exe to see what it would do. It detected one bootable 14,645Mb drive with MBR, File Type: unknown. It deleted the partition easily, and undid the delete when asked to. Then I delted the partition again. Delpart showed it was gone. Ran Fdisk to be sure, and it said no partition present.  

The smaller drive had Windows 95 on it. With the new cable, it boots normally and runs fine.

Thanks for all your help, stevenlewis, sathishkumar_sri and anolizor. I guess the moral of this story is: Be careful working with electronics, and don't give up too easily on a HDD you think is toasted.
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Author Comment

by:gfisch
ID: 8147184
I downloaded delpart.exe, then attached one of the "toasted "drives to the PC I'm using to see if these drives work or can be recovered.  (an Asus P5A-B).

In the process of hooking up the first drive and making sure I had a good boot disk, I didn't get the "Primary master hard disk fail" message on bootup. I ran Fdisk - it recognized the drive and showed correct info. PQ Magic recognized the drive and displayed appropriate info. I hooked up the other drive and got the same successful results.

Puzzled, I tried to repeat the errors I'd been getting. I thought perhaps the IDE ribbon cable or power connection to the HDD might not be connected tight enough. This is what I got on bootup:

With cable connected but power not conected to HDD:
"Hard disk(s) Diagnosis fail".
With power connected but cable not conected to HDD:
"Hard disk(s) Diagnosis fail".
With power connected but cable not tightly connected:
"Primary master hard disk fail".
This last test recreated the errors I'd been getting: Auto HDD Detect didn't detect the drive, Fdisk said "No fixed disks present", and PQ Magic may have recognized a hard disk was present but showed no partition or volume info.

I replaced the IDE ribbon cable with a new one. (I'd changed IDE cables 2-3 times after I got the first "Primary master hard disk fail" message, but none of the ribbon cables were new.) With the new IDE cable Auto HDD Detect detected the drives accurately, Fdisk recognized the drive and displayed accurate info, and
PQ Magic recognized the drive and displayed correct info.

Since I was going to repartition the 15.3GB HDD anyway, I then ran delpart.exe to see what it would do. It detected one bootable 14,645Mb drive with MBR, File Type: unknown. It deleted the partition easily, and undid the delete when asked to. Then I delted the partition again. Delpart showed it was gone. Ran Fdisk to be sure, and it said no partition present.  

The smaller drive had Windows 95 on it. With the new cable, it boots normally and runs fine.

Thanks for all your help, stevenlewis, sathishkumar_sri and anolizor. I guess the moral of this story is: Be careful working with electronics, and don't give up too easily on a HDD you think is toasted.
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LVL 41

Expert Comment

by:stevenlewis
ID: 8147190
Glad it's working!
now we need for you to close this out (if this issue is indeed closed) and accept a comment as an answer
If you feel more than one expert helped
you can request a point split
post a zero point question here
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Community_Support/
asking for help on this. be sure to include a link to this question in the body of that one
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Author Comment

by:gfisch
ID: 8147217
thanks, stevenlewis, for all your comments and suggestions. It was hard to choose one as the answer because all of them helped in recovering both hard drives that seemed "toasted". Because of you I now have both drives working instead of in the scrap heap!
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