2nd drive units and the jrIDE

Hardware questions and modifications

2nd drive units and the jrIDE

Postby MikeModified » Sun Feb 12, 2017 5:02 pm

Observations on 2nd drive units, jrIDE, and Combo Card v2

Using my "new" jr with a Quadram second drive unit, previously used to test a Parallel-to-SCSI adapter. I removed the jrCaptain and the serial adapter and plugged in a newly-arrived Alan-supplied jrIDE. Doesn't work!

When I turn on the computer, the only visible reaction is the keyboard lights flash (keyboard POST?). No video, no beeps, nothing else:

w/jrIDE, PC mode, no POST, LEDs: "0 bp 0 bp" (blinking period)
w/jrIDE, jr mode, no POST, LEDs: "0 bp 2 bp"

Strange, but no problem. I know that Quadram unit works from earlier testing, but I also have a Racore unit and a Rapport unit. And this is where I ran into enough problems, using sort of helter-skelter testing, that Alan told me to start a new thread as he thought it would probably be a BIOS problem.

I had been using my "enhanced" base unit: V20, Thinfont, Comswap board, so I drug out an unenhanced base unit and started to mix and match units while writing down results. I was using a WD AC32500H because I had it, it cost nothing, and it works just fine.

And my results were mixed and made me scratch my head.

1. jrIDE reports Drive0:WDC AC3... Drive1:notinstalled
Everything boots properly no problems

2. jrIDE reports Drive0:notinstalled Drive1:WDC AC3...
Boots thru to HD but reports "missing operating system"

3. (less seldom) jrIDE reports Drive0:notinstalled Drive1:notinstalled
Boots to basic

Hmmm! Did I say (did I notice?) that I had a Combo Card V2 plugged in sometimes? Redo the tests.

Without the Combo Card, boot is always perfect, Racore & Rapport, PC & jr modes. With the Combo Card, the results were intermittent.

But, if I did a Ctl-Alt-Del restart from the "missing operating system", it always (I think) boots properly. Only when I turn the unit off and back on do I sometimes get results 2 and 3. Conclusion: the quick start via the Combo Card is sometimes too fast for the HD to spin up and respond to the jrIDE ROM query. (The Combo Card speeds up the jrIDE ROM onscreen also - if it immediately gets HD id, the jrIDE splash is really too fast to read).

So, Alan, what I thought was a problem with the jrIDE wasn't and the world is good.

However, I found that when I "Press [ESC] for boot menu..." then press C for the hard disk, it doesn't go directly to C but to the beginning of the boot sequence starting with drive A, which if closed, becomes the boot drive. It would be nice if it went directly to C. Even nicer if (optionally) the jrIDE ROM would show the "Press [ESC]..." prompt and if NO [ESC], go directly to drive C, eliminating the dual (slow) check of the floppy to see if there's a disk there.

I'm getting older, every second counts. :D I really like the quick boot with the Combo Card. An even quicker boot would be nice. 8-)

Mike
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Re: 2nd drive units and the jrIDE

Postby James » Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:24 am

Interesting, I have had no issues with my PCE Combo Cartridge and the JrIDE v1? I am also running the PCE jrExcellerator which I think would think would make the problem more likely. I have run the Combo Cartridge with both my jrIDEs in both the PCjr with the jrExcellerator and the one without and have had no issues
-PCjr (1989)-DOS 3.3, Racore Drive II, jrIDE-128 MB DOM, jrExcellerator, Tandy Mod, Serial Card, Combo v2, Config Plus, IBM Parallel Port, Megaboard, Xircom PE3-10BT
-PCjr (2001)-DOS 3.3, jrIDE-128 MB DOM, NEC v20, Parallel Port, Comswap, Xircom PE3-10BT
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Re: 2nd drive units and the jrIDE

Postby jmetal88 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:26 pm

MikeModified wrote:However, I found that when I "Press [ESC] for boot menu..." then press C for the hard disk, it doesn't go directly to C but to the beginning of the boot sequence starting with drive A, which if closed, becomes the boot drive. It would be nice if it went directly to C. Even nicer if (optionally) the jrIDE ROM would show the "Press [ESC]..." prompt and if NO [ESC], go directly to drive C, eliminating the dual (slow) check of the floppy to see if there's a disk there.


I believe it's actually JRCONFIG.SYS that causes this behavior. On my machine, I have a 2nd floppy drive installed, but configured in my CONFIG.SYS, just before my JRCONFIG.SYS line. The second floppy does not show up during the initial boot sequence, but does show up when the menu pops up the second time (after the hard drive has been selected as the boot source).

I've found the quickest way through is to press "ESC... C" and then when it starts over, "ESC... C" again, and that stops the floppy drive check altogether.
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Re: 2nd drive units and the jrIDE

Postby MikeModified » Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:35 pm

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Re: 2nd drive units and the jrIDE

Postby MikeModified » Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:37 pm

The problem I'm referring to is after pressing 'C' from the boot menu, it doesn't go directly to 'C', bypassing glacial 'A', but restarts the normal boot sequence. Yes, jrconfig.sys requires it to be done twice.

Mike
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Re: 2nd drive units and the jrIDE

Postby Brutman » Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:50 pm

Hi,

That problem report was a little too complicated for me to follow.

I tested with a Combo Cart 2.0 and as far as I can tell, everything is working as expected:

  • Hard drives can not spin up fast enough on a cold boot. With no memory count that means the machine is polling the hard drive for its identity before the hard drive has a chance to become ready. It will time out and the BIOS will not report the presence of a hard drive. Pressing Ctrl-Alt-Delete after the hard drive has spun up will let the machine boot correctly. If you want to fix this problem you need to move to solid state storage, such as a Disk-On-Module or a CF card with an adapter.
  • The BIOS of the machine always causes the floppy drive to do a seek when the machine is first booting up. This happens before the boot process is transferred to the jrIDE BIOS ROM extension. At that point you can press ESC and tell it to boot from the C drive. It will do so without touching the floppy drive again, unless you are using jrConfig. In that case it will do some work, and then reboot again giving you the BIOS menu one more time. Even then, the floppy drive does not get touched again. When you get the boot menu the second time you have to tell it to boot from a hard drive again. If you told it to boot from C both times then the only time the floppy drive will ever be touched is during that initial seek.
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Re: 2nd drive units and the jrIDE

Postby jmetal88 » Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:06 pm

MikeModified wrote:The problem I'm referring to is after pressing 'C' from the boot menu, it doesn't go directly to 'C', bypassing glacial 'A', but restarts the normal boot sequence. Yes, jrconfig.sys requires it to be done twice.

Mike


I guess I don't understand how what you're saying is different from what I'm saying.

I press "ESC... C" and get the "Press ESC For Menu" prompt again. Is that not what's happening to you?

If I press "ESC... C" a second time when the prompt comes back up, it does bypass the floppy. If I just wait, then it checks A before it boots C.
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Re: 2nd drive units and the jrIDE

Postby Brutman » Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:18 pm

Good ... that's the expected behavior.

  • The first seek on the floppy drive can not be avoided
  • After the first seek, if you use the boot menu to boot from C the floppy drive should never be touched.
  • If you are using jrConfig you will see the boot menu twice. You need to catch it by pressing ESC and tell it to use C both times
  • If you miss the boot menu the default is to try to boot from the floppy drive. Which causes a seek, until it figures out there is no floppy in the drive. Then it proceeds to boot from the next possible device, which is C.

The boot sequence on a stock PC is this:
  • Check the Floppy drive
  • Boot from a hard drive if no floppy is present

The jrIDE is doing the exact same thing, except we have two differences:
  • We have a boot menu.
  • jrConfig does a soft boot after it first loads, so the machine effectively boots twice.
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Re: 2nd drive units and the jrIDE

Postby MikeModified » Wed Feb 15, 2017 2:14 pm

@jmetall88: Apologies. I was in too much of a rush and responded after barely skimming over you msg. I had never used the <boot menu> before and assumed that just one [ESC] + "c" was sufficient.

@Brutman: Mike, are you saying that your Quadram boots with the jrIDE?
CF cards are an absolute non-starter for me. In my first try with jrIDE, I purchased a CF adapter and card. Not recognized by the jrIDE. Bought a second set and they worked, until the CF would not boot, no matter what I did. So now I switched to a "free" HD.

FWIW: with the Combo Card installed, mtcp's prnttest.bas returns:

Port 3 found at port address: C17
Parallel port not detected or broken

It returns a value of 255 BTW.

Results are normal (as expected) without it.

Mike
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