OK. I've tried the FAQs. I've tried dejanews. I've tried teepers,
and snoops and Techniques of Forensic Investigation. I tinkered with
jumpers, with dips, with cables and IRQ settings. I ran (ugh) some DOS
configuration tools. I even tried Raoul Mitgong, but he wasn't much help.
And the long and short of it is, I'm pretty much out of ideas and
feeling pretty low, and could *REALLY* use a little bit o' help.
If somebody could bear with me while I relate*details, I'd
be very much obliged.
Here's the deal. I had a Generic Brand compuer, an "Easy Data
486-GVT-2" motherboard 486 w/256k cache and 16Mb in an early-'94 vintage
mid-tower package, a CL-GD542X VESA video card w/Cyrix chipset, a
no-name IDE/floppy/2-serial/1-parallel controller board with 1 504Mb
Maxtor drive, running a pre-1.0 linux kernel, no problems, very happy.
One day, I decided that I should install a more recent linux (since
none of the WWW browsers will run with this moldy version of X I'm typing at).
The thought of 60 diskettes was intimidating, and no network card, so I
decided to get a CD rom and some spare disk space while I was at it.
A shopping trip later, with WD 2850RTL IDE drive, Reveal CD-100 ATAPI
drive, BOCA IDE 100 generic secondary IDE controller in hand, (I didn't
want to depend on the CD-only controller; I wanted the two disks on
separate controllers) I sat down to what turned out to be the Night of
the Dead Drives. (Unfortunately, the only information I have on the
primary IDE controller is that it was imported from China: no specs).
So. Anyway. After trying MANY things, the symptoms are these:
1) Neither DOS, Windows 3.1, or the idecd linux boot kernel
(slackware 2.3, kernel 1.2) will take any notice of the CD when it
is configured for the secondary IDE card. And yes, I'm *very* VERY
sure I configured it appropriately, with IRQ15, address 170, and the
power management features on the motherboard disabled. I've also
tried configuring it for interupt 12 to avoid the power management
features. No joy.
2) DOS and idecd both seem to work acceptably when the CD is configured
as the slave drive on the primary card. Windows hangs upon any attempt
to access the CD drive when configured this way. With the CD configured
in this way, I could make boot disks, and start an installation, partway
through which the CD ROM started getting "buffer botch" errors, and
eventually degenerated into complete IO-error-itude. Sigh.
3) DOS completely ignores any disk configured on the secondary IDE card,
(and, as per (1 above) *everybody* ignores the CD when so configured.
But I thought I had some hope when the idecd boot kernel recognized
both cards and all three devices when configured as
ide0 maxtor = master
reveal CD = slave
ide1 WD = solitary
Alas, during initialization, the ide1 controller got bizarre intermittant
errors, was reset several times, and was eventually abandoned. And
the WD disk manager program wouldn't even recognize the disk when
configured on that controller.
4) The BOCA secondary controller seems sound: when configured as ide0
at IRQ 14, the system boots just fine. Thus, I thought the system had
problems with ide1 only. But when retrying a linux install from CD rom
configured as slave on the primary (no name) IDE card, the "buffer botch"
errors reappeared, even with no other IDE card in the system. Sigh.
My current expectations are that it's either the no-name IDE card (which
I don't trust), or the semi-no-name motherboard (which I also don't
trust). Perhaps an IRQ or IO map address conflict. But rather than
rush out and swap the (presumably offending) components, or paying a
repair shop lots of money to come to the conclusion that they need to
swap out offending components, I thought I'd beg for help, in case I've
done something incredibly stupid (and hence perhaps easy to fix without
throwing too much more money at it).
Imagine me with large puppy-dog brown eyes, teardrops starting to
collect in the corners, and my chin starting to quiver, and you'll have
some idea of my current burnt-out state.
(Cheap no-name hardware. Mutter, grumble.)