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 Post subject: ST3144A, format complete, unable to write BOOT, format termi
PostPosted: March 26th, 2018, 16:20 
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Joined: March 25th, 2018, 22:22
Posts: 28
Location: California
Hi, I must admit I feel a tad dumb in here, but I need help.

I am making a retro computer, 386SX-40 (Cyrix), 2 Mb Ram (motherboard Forcom M396F), multi io, with floppy and hd controller, separate standard VGA card, one 1.44 floppy drive, and one Seagate ST3144A (130 Mb). Tried MS-Dos 5.0 and 6.22, same result.

So, here is what happen: Boot with disk in A:, then Fdisk, then Format C: /s. It startsAt the end of the format it says: Format Complete, Unable to Write BOOT, Format Terminated. And get the A: prompt. At the prompt I type C: and Enter, it goes to C:, and I type dir, and it can not find anything as if the disk was only partitioned but not formatted.

The label on the hdd says: cyl. 1001, heads, 15, sect. 17. So it says in the bios too. Started fdisk again, and chose option 4, to see what it looked like. 116.5 Mb, 94% used.

Then I used Norton Diskedit, and it says in the partition table, 935 cylinders. Then, I go to Physical Sector, and see that it is possible to type in cylinder 0 to 999. So, 1000 cylinders. Where is number 1001 ? :) I go to cylinder 0, head 0, sect. 1 to look at the MBR. It is garbled up. In the end of the MBR it is supposed to be some text telling about Invalid partition and missing operating system. Not readable English there. At the end of the sector is 55 AA as it is supposed to be.

I found a MBR online, for Dos versions from 3.30 I think and up to past 6.22. Some fellow, Starman has written it. Write it in, manually in hex code, writes it to the disk, and Quit Diskedit, then open it again, and the MBR is messed up again. I found "Zerofill" online, and set it to fill the disk, but first I manually wrote 00 hex from cyl. 0, head 0, sect. 1, and until so far that it was past any files that format had put in. Then zerofill put in the rest, up to cylinder 935. Not past it. So, I manually used Norton diskedit til fill in up to cyl. 999, which means 1000 cylinders counting cyl. 0. I suspected something was odd with cylinder 1001, but could not access it. Went back to bios, and typed in 1002 cylinders, and used fdisk again to make the disk accessible to Norton Diskedit, and now it had used 936 cylinders, 1 more than before. I went all the way up to 1105 cylinders in bios, and could then access the missing cylinder 1001, and it was code there. No clue for what, but it was some code in the beginning, and then it continued with 6C 2C 6C 2C until the end. I cleared it, and went back to bios and put in 1001 cylinders. fdisk use 935 cyl. again, but let me access it up to cyl. 999. Back to bios, typed in 1002 cylinders, and now I can access 1001 cylinders, but fdisk will still only use 936 during partitioning. If I type in 1003 cylinders in bios, the computer does not boot but tells me something is wrong with the hdd, and to hit F1, which I does, and then I can fdisk the drive and access it. But have to hit F1 each time. Back to 1002 cylinders, and no error message comes up, even if the drive is supposed to have only 1001 cylinders. FAT is also garbled up, the file names gets ridiculous. If I remove 80 hex from 1BE, things gets a little more stable, but not a whole lot. It means I can move more around in Diskedit without changes taking place, but once I put 80 back, it garbles up the disk after every move in the menus.

I am not able to run Seatools for DOS, too little memory for that so far.

Now I have gotten a new hard drive, more memory, and will soon get "new" sealed MS-Dos 6.22 diskettes, but I am afraid to put it in, afraid I will ruin it, like the two ST3144A drives I have already and acts up the same and does not work. Any advice ?

Bill


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 Post subject: Re: ST3144A, format complete, unable to write BOOT, format t
PostPosted: March 26th, 2018, 18:10 
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Could we see a hex dump of the MBR created by FDISK?

What options do you have in BIOS, eg LBA, CHS, "Large"?

Is it an AMI BIOS or Award or Phoenix (I'm betting it's AMI)?

Can you retrieve the Identify Device data from the drive? You can use Seagate's FIND-ATA utility to do this:

http://www.users.on.net/~fzabkar/IDE-identify/FIND-ATA.EXE
http://www.users.on.net/~fzabkar/IDE-identify/FIND-ATA.DOC

You should get something like this:
http://www.users.on.net/~fzabkar/IDE-identify/DRIVE0.ATA

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 Post subject: Re: ST3144A, format complete, unable to write BOOT, format t
PostPosted: March 26th, 2018, 18:33 
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Joined: October 16th, 2013, 13:21
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Location: Brazil
Also, adding to @fzakbar´s post, have you revised the jumpers in the multi-io controller card ?

Does the bios also have an "Auto" option for the hard disks, or is it one of those where you choose the disk by its size ?


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 Post subject: Re: ST3144A, format complete, unable to write BOOT, format t
PostPosted: March 26th, 2018, 19:25 
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Joined: March 25th, 2018, 22:22
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Location: California
Well, to what I can answer right away is: The bios is an AMI bios, dated 1992. It has 46 pre-defined options for harddisks, where you have have to look at what you have, cylinder, head and sectorwise, and choose from that. Option number 47 is where you can put in your own figures if nothing else match. In the beginning I put in 1001, 15 and 17, but left out landing zone and Write Pre-compensation. So, those fields were left out empty by me. When looking more at the bios I found it has an auto detect function, and I used that, and it filled out WPComp 65535, and landing zone 1001, the same as the number of cylinders. Which I find odd. So, I have since then changed it manually to 1002 cylinders. The auto detect function does not tell what disk it is, just fill in the fields for these things I have already mentioned. Nothing about Seagate, or model ST3144A, and no serial numeber or so.

The I/O card I have is a Goldstar RT-1201, here you can see it. http://catal0g.net/?tab=PC_CTRL, it is a little down the list. Click on the pic and you will be able to see the jumpers. On the picture all except the last one is up, and the last one is down. Mine are all up.
Here you can see why my settings are as they are, http://www.driverforum.com/controller/4615.html I am not using the game port, so it could have been disabled, but this is the only jumpers there is, so I did not bother more with it.

Can I post pics here ? like of the MBR, I mean, I do not really fancy typing it down by hand, but if I have to I have to. :D

The other questions I will come back to shortly hopefully.

Bill


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 Post subject: Re: ST3144A, format complete, unable to write BOOT, format t
PostPosted: March 26th, 2018, 20:22 
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Joined: October 16th, 2013, 13:21
Posts: 717
Location: Brazil
The auto detect is right. At those times, it wouldn´t show brands, models or serial, possibly due to the small size of bioses.

Leave the parameters at the way auto detect puts them. Then work your configuration and tests keeping that part fixed.

Yes, you can post pictures here.


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 Post subject: Re: ST3144A, format complete, unable to write BOOT, format t
PostPosted: March 26th, 2018, 20:28 
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Location: Australia
You can use SNARF to capture a DOS screen.

Snarf - Tool to capture full-screen DOS graphics :
http://www.hddoracle.com/viewtopic.php?f=36&t=2334&p=15796

Alternatively, you should be able to save a sector, or range of sectors, to a BIN file using DiskEdit.

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 Post subject: Re: ST3144A, format complete, unable to write BOOT, format t
PostPosted: March 26th, 2018, 23:58 
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Joined: March 25th, 2018, 22:22
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Location: California
Let me see if I can do this right now. Posting links.

This speaks for itself.
http://fergusonplus.com/Photo/Retrocomp ... nd-ATA.jpg

The next one, beforehand I had written 00 hex on the entire disk, even the MBR. Then I booted with MS-Dos 5.0, and ran Fdisk. Then, when booting again I ran Norton Diskedit, and this is how cyl. 0, head 0, and sect 1 looks like in hex view. Take a closer look at 0BB hex, 0BC and 0BD hex. It says 33, 79, 33. And if you replace in 0BB the most sign. byte 3, with 7, you get an "s", and then in 0BD the same, you have "sys". And it is a lot of this going on in this section of the MBR where you have these errormessages. If you fix the most significant byte, you get the letters back as they are supposed to be. I have even tried some days ago to fix only this part of the MBR so it at least English there, but it changes it back. Then, as you see, from 0DA, and out, where it is only 00 hex, nothing happens there. It stays 00 hex. Until the 80 later at 1BE hex, it does not change things there. Even if the partition is not as accurate as I had anticipated, I mean 935 cylinders when it is supposed to be 1001.
http://fergusonplus.com/Photo/Retrocomp ... SK-MBR.jpg

Here is also in Diskedit, the partition table that starts on 1BF hex. Take a look at the bottom, Diskedit reports 254,999 sectors in total. That is 255 sectors too little, or actually 256 sectors, as 1001x15x17 is supposed to be 255,255 sectors.
http://fergusonplus.com/Photo/Retrocomp ... tition.jpg

BIOS, these 3 pics shows how Bios is.

http://fergusonplus.com/Photo/Retrocomputer/BIOS-1.jpg
http://fergusonplus.com/Photo/Retrocomputer/BIOS-2.jpg
http://fergusonplus.com/Photo/Retrocomputer/BIOS-3.jpg


Bill


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 Post subject: Re: ST3144A, format complete, unable to write BOOT, format t
PostPosted: March 27th, 2018, 2:27 
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Joined: August 26th, 2017, 15:35
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Location: Edinburgh, uk
It's been a long time, but I assume you first used FDISK to also make the C active first?

I used to format without the /s and then once it was done, boot up again from the floppy to the A: prompt and then just do a
sys c:


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 Post subject: Re: ST3144A, format complete, unable to write BOOT, format t
PostPosted: March 27th, 2018, 10:44 
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Joined: March 25th, 2018, 22:22
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Location: California
Well, if the disk is filled with 00 hex, I mean totally empty, and you use Fdisk, and option 1, create a partition, it will create a partition and also make it active in the same operation. But, if you make more than one partition, then you can use option 2, and set a partition active in case you want a different partition to be active than the one that was made first and become active by default.

To add to this, is that I have also used Ontrack Disk Manager from a blank drive, and it makes even more mess.

Then as to format c: /s or using just format c: and then later use sys to do the job, I have tried both options. I have been messing with this for 2 weeks now, so I have more or less tried everything that I can come up with, almost to the point of having the power plant making the generator go backwards (PG&E). :D

The silly thing is that I have no idea where the fault is, is it the disks with MS-Dos, or is it the motherboard, or is it the I/O controller card, or the electronics on the drive, or is it something on the platter that contains serial number and whatever else that makes a mess. I mean, I can not blame this on Fdisk since I have tried Disk Manager too. Unless something else in the operating system is messing up both Fdisk and Disk Manager.


Bill


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 Post subject: Re: ST3144A, format complete, unable to write BOOT, format t
PostPosted: March 27th, 2018, 11:36 
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Joined: March 25th, 2018, 22:22
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Just upgraded from 2 Mb of ram to 16 Mb of ram, still not possible to run Seatools for DOS. And mhdd fails too.

Bill


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 Post subject: Re: ST3144A, format complete, unable to write BOOT, format t
PostPosted: March 27th, 2018, 14:47 
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Joined: October 16th, 2013, 13:21
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If you have other computers with ide interface, try that software of your picture with the hdd in them. Those differnent chars ( smiling face, heard ) doesn´t look correct.

Also, try with other ide cable. Maybe it is damaged somehow, more so if the data expected and the data read differ by just one bit. Also, look at the drive connector. Maybe one of its pins is missing or damaged.

With all said, I would blame the hdd or the controller card. Do you have another disk from the same era to try ?


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 Post subject: Re: ST3144A, format complete, unable to write BOOT, format t
PostPosted: March 27th, 2018, 14:53 
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Have just found Seatools for Dos, version 1.10. It does not need so much memory so I am able to run it, and it says: No Controllers detected. No hard drives found. But almost all other software I have detect and work with the disk. So, go figure.


Bill


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 Post subject: Re: ST3144A, format complete, unable to write BOOT, format t
PostPosted: March 27th, 2018, 15:02 
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The culprit is most likely your IDE cable, as suggested by rogfanther (AIUI, you have already tried another HDD with the same problem).

Bad model number due to stuck bit in IDE interface:
http://www.hddoracle.com/viewtopic.php?f=59&t=147&p=262

It would have been easier to see the problem in an Identify Device hex dump.

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 Post subject: Re: ST3144A, format complete, unable to write BOOT, format t
PostPosted: March 27th, 2018, 15:05 
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No, I do not have another computer to try. There is a local shop here that is into a bit "Retro" computing, but they can not read older than ATA-33, which is far newer than the ST3144. I also have a USB to IDE converter, but that does not work either, it only works with DMA, and not at all with PIO 0. So the drive does not even spin up with that USB IDE adapter.

Tried several new cables and have lost count of how many I have tried. Both with 40 wires and 80 wires.

The drive connector looks very fine, it is missing the one pin all drives is missing. Clean drives, no dust.

I have another disk, a ST3391A, I got on friday. But, I do not have the courage to try it, I am afraid it will be ruined too. Maybe there is a virus in Bios that destroys the disks as soon as I hook them up.

Bill


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 Post subject: Re: ST3144A, format complete, unable to write BOOT, format t
PostPosted: March 27th, 2018, 15:23 
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Joined: March 25th, 2018, 22:22
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I have tried many cables too. But, I will take out the controller card, and heat up my solder iron and melt all the solder on the pins on the IDE connector. In case one of the solderings are cracked and cause this mess.

Bill


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 Post subject: Re: ST3144A, format complete, unable to write BOOT, format t
PostPosted: March 27th, 2018, 19:19 
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@Bill1962, can you retrieve that Identification Device Frank speaks of ? The software is in the second post of this thread.

But do it with the "suspect" cable, and post it here. Most to keep it documented for future generations.. ;)


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 Post subject: Re: ST3144A, format complete, unable to write BOOT, format t
PostPosted: March 27th, 2018, 22:11 
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oh boy, you are asking me to do things I have never done before. And, I have no idea if this works for you, but here it is:
If everything goes as planned you will be asked to open the file or download it.

http://fergusonplus.com/Photo/Retrocomputer/st3144a.ata


Bill


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 Post subject: Re: ST3144A, format complete, unable to write BOOT, format t
PostPosted: March 28th, 2018, 2:05 
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Replaced the hdd cable. No change, soldered up all the pins on the hdd connector on the controller card in case the solder on one pin could be cracked. No change, replaced the controller card with a different type, no change.

Bill


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 Post subject: Re: ST3144A, format complete, unable to write BOOT, format t
PostPosted: March 28th, 2018, 4:37 
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Joined: August 3rd, 2012, 7:47
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try auto detect not user type
set jumpers on HDD http://stason.org/TULARC/pc/hard-drives-hdd/seagate/ST3144A-131MB-3-5-SL-IDE-AT.html

if you have two drive you can set one as master and another as slave and detect both in bios

You can chek alsp this link http://margo.student.utwente.nl/el/pc/bios/ami31.htm


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 Post subject: Re: ST3144A, format complete, unable to write BOOT, format t
PostPosted: March 28th, 2018, 7:21 
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Bill1962 wrote:
If everything goes as planned you will be asked to open the file or download it.

http://fergusonplus.com/Photo/Retrocomputer/st3144a.ata


Quote:
404

Error: You have come to a page at Fergusonplus that is not created yet. Normally error code: 404 - File Not Found

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