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Joined: 04 Aug 2015
Posts: 1
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 12:31 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Ran across this site while searching for answers to my '486 question-of-the-hour. Would greatly appreciate any help from the membership. It looks as though this topic was visited once before...? "Need some help with IDE controller" on VOGONS.

A little background: Back in the '90s I built a machine with a Biostar VLB mobo running a Cyrix DX2 66 proc. That machine was mothballed as newer technology supplanted it, but I saved the board, proc, memory, HD and a few of the cards.

Recently I put the board back into a case and tried to resurrect the system. (The objective was to drive a 5.25 TEAC and read some old floppies before they evaporated). The BIOS would not POST, due to "CMOS backup voltage low". On this board (Rev 7) CMOS backup battery is contained in an ODIN clock chip soldered to the board. I unsoldered the ODIN chip and soldered in a socket, then inserted a replacement (the ODIN is no longer available) but still got the same error. Time for plan B.

From eBay I bought a DeepGreen VLB mobo withproc and RAM. This board would POST, and I inserted a Promise EIDE2300 Plus VLB controller. I do not have and could not find documentation for the Promise card.

The controller would drive the HD and boot DOS 6.11 just like the old days. It also would drive the 3.5 (ASmile and 5.25 (BSmile drives. I could not seem to get the other COM, LPT or JOY ports configured, but at least I was running.

After transferring many 5.25 floppies to HD D: I began to run into problems; "General Fault Readiing Drive B:". I cleaned the heads, I powered down the machine to cool off, I tried reading floppies that I had successfully read previously; nothing worked. Then I tried to read a disk in 3.5" Drive A: and got the same error. I concluded there was a problem with the Promise card. Maybe a bad cap, but most (and there are many) are SMT.

So I bought another controller card, NOS, from Amazon. This card, a Maxtor Adapter Board 110-00417, also has floppy ports, but unfortunately the card can not locate the HD. There are jumpers, but again I have no documentation. I am not sure how to go about attaching pictures of the card for your reference. Hope this works: AND

So here's my question: Does anyone have knowledge or documentation for this card? Or for the Promise card? Or a suggestion for another controller? I'd love to hear from you. Thanks.

Charles Hudson,
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Joined: 02 Oct 2004
Posts: 578
Location: Western NC

PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2015 12:59 am Reply with quoteBack to top

First, if the goal here is to recover data from floppies, it should just be a matter of a few bucks (and less struggle) to find a working old machine (say PII class) which would support a 5.25" FDD. That system could be set up to dual-boot to DOS/Win2K and with a CD-burner attached (either internally or via USB), read the floppies (if they are truly still readable---old floppy disks die quickly) and save them to directories on the HDD in DOS. Reboot to Windows and burn them to optical media (2 or more copies if the data is significant). I have a machine specifically designed for such and I've saved many files that would have been long gone by this time due to deterioration of floppy media. You could also read the disks in Win2K, but I recall some years ago having read something about data being "misinterpreted" that had been written using MS-DOS.
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