Palmzip.sys vs Guest.exe

Software related questions

Palmzip.sys vs Guest.exe

Postby hyperfrog » Fri Oct 09, 2009 4:07 pm

I got a new toy: a parallel ZIP 100 drive. I tried it with both the Iomega driver and Palmzip.sys. The former works on my PCjr since it has a V20 CPU, which handles '286 instructions. However, I cannot figure out how to have Guest.exe take the letter C: AND have a RAM disk at the same time. The RAM disk is created in Config.sys and Guest.exe is executed later, in Autoexec.bat. Is there a workaround?

Since I'd like to have the ZIP drive use the letter C: before the RAM drive allocates it, I tried the Palmzip.sys demo. It works, but there is one annoying thing that really boggles me: it takes forever to report free space EACH time I type DIR. I get the same behaviour with the Iomega driver, except that it is slow only the first time I type DIR. Afterward, it seems to remember (or keep track of) the amount of free space on the volume.

So before I purchase Palmzip.sys, I'd like to know if you guys experience the same problem with the registered version. For the same amount of money, I could buy another V20 to put in my newly acquired Tandy 1000HX and keep using the Iomega driver.

Thanks,

Christian
hyperfrog
 
Posts: 47
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2009 3:49 pm
Location: Québec City, QC, Canada

Re: Palmzip.sys vs Guest.exe

Postby Brutman » Fri Oct 09, 2009 5:56 pm

What version of DOS are you running?

DOS 3.3 and lower always report free space after a DIR pretty quickly. DOS 5 and higher can be maddeningly slow. The larger the partition, the greater the problem is. It is not slow on every dir, but periodically it just goes out to lunch. The explanation that I found is that it is recomputing free space when it happens, and on big partitions that is a chore for our little machines.

I think you are going to have this problem whether you use guest or PalmZip.

I purchased Palmzip. It does what it is supposed to do, and the memory requirement is really minimal. However, the performance is terrible. I've spoken with the author (Klaus) and he had quite a challenge reverse engineering the protocol to the drive - he's not terribly interested in working on the performance and possibly breaking something. Transfer rates are comparable to a floppy drive, when they should be 3 to 5 times faster. But wow, it does work .. if only the performance was better.
Brutman
Site Admin
 
Posts: 919
Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2008 5:03 pm

Re: Palmzip.sys vs Guest.exe

Postby hyperfrog » Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:47 pm

I use DOS 5 and 6 because I want to be able to access partitions larger than 32MB, whether it be ZIP disks or "Interlinked" disks . I guess I'll have to live with that annoyance.
hyperfrog
 
Posts: 47
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2009 3:49 pm
Location: Québec City, QC, Canada

Re: Palmzip.sys vs Guest.exe

Postby Jim Thomson » Mon Oct 12, 2009 6:44 pm

I also purchased palmzip. It does have that annoying delay, but it sure makes it easy to move stuff around and test different PCjr, that have parallel ports.
If your looking for speed, you can attach a hard drive using a Parallel to SCSI adapter. The transfer rate will be about three times faster than with the parallel Zip drive.
You would need either the Bridge 888 or one of the Shuttle SCSI to parrallel adapters to get the best throughput. A SCSI zip drive is as fast as a hard drive on one of the adapters.
Jim Thomson
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 8:14 pm

Re: Palmzip.sys vs Guest.exe

Postby hyperfrog » Mon Oct 12, 2009 11:11 pm

Mike, Jim, thank you for your input.

Using the Iomega ASPI manager, I found a way to allocate a drive letter while still in CONFIG.SYS. Instead of running GUEST.EXE from the AUTOEXEC.BAT file, I load ASPIDISK.SYS (from Adaptec) in CONFIG.SYS, before the RAM disk device driver.

Code: Select all
DEVICE = ASPIPPM1.SYS FILE=BYTE.ILM SPEED=10
DEVICE = ASPIDISK.SYS /D


I don't know what the /D parameter does.

I think I will stick with those drivers. They're fast enough for me. They use 18KB of conventional memory, but they seem to be more compatible than PALMZIP.SYS. For instance, OpenGEM doesn't load with PALMZIP.SYS, but it does with the Iomega driver.

I put XtreeGold 3.0 on my PCjr ZIP disk. It was my favourite file manager in the early 1990's. It's amazing how one can remember keyboard shortcuts after 15 years!

BTW, I found out how to have Windows XP detect a parallel ZIP drive without rebooting. You open the device manager and click on "Action -> Scan for hardware changes". It will detect the ZIP drive. I believe it is safe to swap the drive from one computer to the other if you first eject the disk.
hyperfrog
 
Posts: 47
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2009 3:49 pm
Location: Québec City, QC, Canada

Re: Palmzip.sys vs Guest.exe

Postby Brutman » Tue Oct 13, 2009 7:25 am

Wait - you have a parallel port model? That's excellent! If never occurred to me to use the Adaptec aspidisk instead of Guest.

(The parallel port Zip looks like a SCSI device after the first device driver - doh!)

I wonder how well it performs. It also might work on straight 8088 systems. (Guest does not work on an 8088, although it does work on a NEC V20).
Brutman
Site Admin
 
Posts: 919
Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2008 5:03 pm

Re: Palmzip.sys vs Guest.exe

Postby hyperfrog » Tue Oct 13, 2009 12:28 pm

Brutman wrote:I wonder how well it performs.

Not bad at all. I still haven't ran any performance test, but I'm happy with the speed. I use the module BYTE.ILM instead of the standard NIBBLE.ILM, so I guess it's using the bidirectional mode, though it just says "Mode 2". If it were not for the annoying delay when DOS recomputes free space, it would be perfect. I would have the same problem with a real hard disk anyway.

It also might work on straight 8088 systems. (Guest does not work on an 8088, although it does work on a NEC V20).


I thought the same thing, but I was too lazy to reopen the PCjr and put the 8088 back in to check this. I might do it when I replace one of the 5.25" floppy drives with a 3.5" one. If it works, I won't even need to buy another V20 for the Tandy 1000HX. 8-) I'll have to craft an adapter, though, as its parallel port uses a 34-pin edge connector.
hyperfrog
 
Posts: 47
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2009 3:49 pm
Location: Québec City, QC, Canada

Re: Palmzip.sys vs Guest.exe

Postby hyperfrog » Sat Oct 17, 2009 12:32 pm

Just wondering... Did I accidentally discover that not only the Iomega's driver could be used on an 8088-based machine (to be confirmed), but ZIP Plus drives, or even ZIP 250 drives would also be usable on the PCjr?
hyperfrog
 
Posts: 47
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2009 3:49 pm
Location: Québec City, QC, Canada

Re: Palmzip.sys vs Guest.exe

Postby Brutman » Wed Oct 21, 2009 4:18 pm

hyperfrog wrote:Just wondering... Did I accidentally discover that not only the Iomega's driver could be used on an 8088-based machine (to be confirmed), but ZIP Plus drives, or even ZIP 250 drives would also be usable on the PCjr?


It took me a while to parse this, but I think I'm reading it correctly now. If the Zip drivers give you an ASPI interface to the drive, then the Adaptec ASPIDISK should give you access to anything behind that interface. The only thing you would be missing is the weirdo read protect capability that the Zip drives have - you have to use their ZipTools to work with that feature. Otherwise, it just looks like a generic SCSI disk behind an ASPI driver.

I wish I had a Zip 250 to test with ...


Mike
Brutman
Site Admin
 
Posts: 919
Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2008 5:03 pm

Re: Palmzip.sys vs Guest.exe

Postby hyperfrog » Thu Oct 22, 2009 12:42 pm

Brutman wrote:It took me a while to parse this, but I think I'm reading it correctly now.


Sorry if it wasn't proper English! I speak French, and I'm certainly not perfectly bilingual.

Well, I just tested the ASPIPPM1.SYS + ASPIDISK.SYS combination on an 8088-propelled PCjr, and it doesn't work. Actually, ASPIPPM1.SYS doesn't load. I fed ASPIPPM1.SYS to a disassembler and found that the instructions introduced with the 8018x (PUSHA, POPA, ENTER, LEAVE, INS, OUTS, etc.) are used extensively. I don't think it would be easily patchable. One would have to disassemble the driver completely, replace the unsupported instructions with equivalent 8086 code, and then reassemble the driver. So unless we find an older version of ASPIPPM1.SYS that was compiled for the 808x, I guess we're out of luck.

Brutman wrote:I wish I had a Zip 250 to test with ...Mike


Yeah. I guess it would work with a V20.
hyperfrog
 
Posts: 47
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2009 3:49 pm
Location: Québec City, QC, Canada

Next

Return to PCjr Software

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest