NEC CD-ROM & installation trouble

NEC CD-ROM & installation trouble

Post by Rodney D. Van Met » Tue, 08 Aug 1995 04:00:00

I'm trying to get a Dell 450DE running under Linux, and I'm having
trouble -- principally IRQs?

This is trying to install the Mother's Day release of Red Hat
Commercial Linux.

HW configuration is roughly:

50 MHz 486 DX(2?)
1.00 A5 Phoenix BIOS (alpha release???)
ISA bus

GSI enhanced IDE controller model 18 (no floppy controller)
ESDI & floppy controller
3com ethernet (etherlink 2?) card

3.5" floppy (I removed the 5.25")
328 MB Micropolis ESDI drive
815 MB Seagate ST5850A IDE hard drive
NEC (model 260?) IDE double-speed CD-ROM drive

The IDE controller, the Seagate drive and the CD-ROM are all new, but
have been demonstrated to at least basically work under a very
stripped-down installation of DOS.

I received this as a DOS/Windows machine, with the ESDI drive running
as a 170MB drive (see below).

First thing we did was yank out the ESDI drive and install the IDE
drive and controller, and put the most basic DOS installation on it
(planning to keep it only long enough to get Linux up).

The installation of the CD-ROM drive has been very cantankerous.  When
D (friend #1) and I first installed it, the drawer wouldn't even open,
so we decided the hardware was bad, and exchanged it. When the second
had the same problem, we decided it was a configuration problem, and
went through literally the whole space of (master, slave, only device)
X (middle or end of the bus), despaired of it working properly, even
tried the connector backwards wondering if they had screwed up the
marking, didn't work, went back to where we started, and IT WORKED!
(A (Friend #2) and I repeated this process again later, after more
significant amounts of configuration twiddling, got it running.)

We then went to work on creating the Linux floppies, selecting a
kernel with 3com ethernet, no SCSI, and an ATAPI CD-ROM drive.

The first few times D and I tried to boot from the Linux boot
floppy, the kernel crashed as soon as it started (without even
printing out the console configuration information), so we gave up,
with D speculating it was a BIOS problem.

<a week's interlude here that included discovering that I couldn't get
back to the original ESDI DOS configuration (see below)>

A and I went back to trying to get Linux running.

Turns out, after bouts of card swapping and bus configurations, that
the Linux kernel won't boot if the ESDI drive is disconnected! If the
ESDI drive is cabled, it will boot! I had been planning on junking the
ESDI drive, but now it appears I may be stuck with it (given that it's
larger than I had thought, that's not necessarily a bad thing anyway).

Tried hooking up the EIDE controller with just the HDD, and Linux
seems to boot okay, recognizing both hard drives. Of course, without a
CD-ROM drive, not useful, so we next reconfigured the hardware to have
both hard drives and the CD-ROM, which took some real doing just to
make the mechanics work (three bays to fit two hard drives, a floppy
and a CD-ROM is tough! found a place the new 3.5" hard drive would
mount sideways.). Then, A and I repeated the whole damn process of
configuring the HDD with the CD-ROM drive, including reversing the
connector again (failure) and righting it again (after which it

However, this time Linux recognizes both devices, but won't boot! On
the console I get:

hda: <some appropriate msg>
hdc: ST5850A, 815MB w/256KB Cache, LBA, CHS=1656/16/63, MaxMult=32
hdc: IRQ probe failed (0)
hdd: IRQ probe failed (0)

and it hangs, leaving the floppy drive's activity light on! This would
seem to indicate it's a problem (conflict?) with the ESDI controller.

I know that IRQ is Interrupt ReQuest to the CPU, but I don't quite
understand what it means in this context. I would have thought that
these would be board-specific, rather than device-specific; I don't
understand why it's different with both the HDD and the CD-ROM drive,
rather than just the HDD.

The other half of the trouble I'm having is that I seem to have
screwed up the format on the ESDI hard drive. When I first received
the machine, I was told the hard drive was 170 MB. I figured this was
too small to be useful, decided to replace (rather than augment) it,
pulled it out, and set the CMOS setup to be "not installed".  Moron
that I am, I didn't write down which TYPE it was set to before I
deinstalled it. Later, when we decided to use it, I tried to reinstall
it, and couldn't figure out which type it was supposed to be. We went
through literally the whole list, and none of them work properly.
Some, however, seem to behave better than others, for totally
unfathomable reasons -- some seem to chug for several seconds before
failing with a hard disk read error. Even some with six* heads seem
to work better than the ones closer to the presumed size of 170 MB,
more or less.

By calling Micropolis, I found out that the drive actually isn't 170
MB, it's 328, so apparently it was being drastically underutilized in
its previous life as a DOS/Windows machine.

I don't care about the previous contents of the drive, but I'm worried
that I may have sufficiently screwed it up that a low-level format is
in order.

The error I'm getting from the drive right now, when I try to boot
Linux, is:

hda: read_intr: status=0x59 { DriveReady SeekComplete DataRequest
Error }
hda: read_intr: error=0x10 { SectorIdNotFound } CHS=0,0,1, sector=0

then, after a number of retries and a reset (I think), it gets

end_request: I/O error, dev 0300, sector 0
unable to read partition table of device 0300

Important questions:

1) How do I solve the IRQ problem? The IDE controller manual says
nothing about IRQs, though it does talk about BIOS addresses.

2) do I need to low-level reformat the ESDI drive, or will simply
recreating the file systems on it be adequate? What exactly does
SectorIdNotFound mean -- that's a "low-level drive format screwed up"
kind of message, right?

Less important questions:

1) Why the hell so much trouble with the CD-ROM drive? Are they known
to be picky about the bus configuration? Is this beast IDE or EIDE (it
came with no documentation!)?

2) Knowing absolutely nothing about IDE, what's the difference between
master and slave? Is the bus terminated internal to one device or the
other? Does it matter which is on the end and which is in the middle?
How does EIDE differ?

3) How do you get into the CMOS setup utility on a Dell 450 DE? We
seem to be able to get there literally only by forcing the machine to
be unable to boot (e.g. unplugging the disk drives). We tried all the
keyboard incantations we could think of.

4) The GSI Model 18 _is_ EIDE, right? The 21 is, and I think the 18 is
pretty equivalent except with the floppy controller. I'm pretty sure
it is, given that it talks about 8GB disk drives and accelerated
throughput, but I'm puzzled why the exact term EIDE isn't used.

5) How did I*up the ESDI drive format? By trying it with the
wrong configuration? Did the write compensation, perhaps, write
garbage? Did I cause a head crash while moving the disk, or otherwise
physically mess it up?

6) Does it matter to Linux what the CMOS setup says about the hard
disk physical configuration?

7) Why does it seem that the Linux kernel doesn't recognize the DOS FS
on the IDE drive?

Untried possibilities:

1) the GSI card in primary mode.
2) other BIOS addresses for the GSI card.
3) other Linux kernels
4) pull out the ethernet card

Thanks as always for any help,



NEC CD-ROM & installation trouble

Post by David Cos » Thu, 10 Aug 1995 04:00:00

much stuff deleted....

Most likely both your ESDI and your IDE controllers are set to IRQ 14,
which is the standard interrupt for the primary hard disk controller.
IDE is usually fussy about the IRQ setting, allowing only IRQ14 for
the primary, and IRQ15 for the secondary controller.

Look at your documentation for your ESDI controller, you should be
able to change its IRQ.


1. NEC CDR-260 CD-ROM (Gateway IDE CD-ROM)

Has anyone had success with the alpha CDR-260 driver on sunsite?  I
tried patching and compiling on both 1.0.9 and 1.1.18 sources
(slackware) and while both patched and compiled, neither could accesss
the CD.  I tried a cat /dev/idecd (which I created according to the
insructions) and it gave me an I/O error.

If anyone has made this work, please mail me.  (Include kernal
version).  I'll summarize if there is interest.



IBM stands for "Inferior But Marketable"

2. 'uname' is not updated after installing new '2.4.20' kernel??

3. linux, Mitsumi CD-ROM (& SB), & the TA CD-ROM - solved!

4. Samba with PAM

5. HELP!!! NEC CD-ROM troubles

6. How can I find the C-beauty program??

7. NEC-260 CD-ROM troubles -- mounting

8. I need help with stderr

9. RedHat 5.0 Installation Problem NEC CD-ROM?

10. NEC 2X IDE CD-ROM installation problems

11. NEC SCSI adaptor problem to see NEC CD-ROM

12. NCR 53c810 problem with kernel 1.2.0 & NEC CD-ROM

13. RH6.1 Sony CDU-31a CD-ROM Installation trouble