Booter disks no longer loading? Possible jrIDE issue?

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Booter disks no longer loading? Possible jrIDE issue?

Postby drignor » Thu Apr 22, 2021 3:30 pm

Hi folks,
I just recently tried playing a booter game on my jr., and much to my dismay, after the loading of the jrIDE bios and selecting the A: drive as the boot source, it comes back with only one message, "Disk Error". This happens with all of my booter disks, and it never did before. I booted to the CF card that functions as the hard drive through the jrIDE, and then switched to the A: drive to see if it was a problem with the drive, yet any disk I put in there and read comes up just fine and I can access the directory and run programs off of them. I haven't done any changes to the jrIDE bios or anything. Has anybody seen this happen before? I was using the jrIDE along with booters just fine for the past couple years, now all of a sudden booters don't launch?
drignor
 
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Re: Booter disks no longer loading? Possible jrIDE issue?

Postby DoctorOctal » Thu Apr 22, 2021 5:33 pm

I think this is more likely a problem with your diskette drive. I’ve seen drives that seem to read disks properly but prevent booting from disks.

Have you run the diskette diagnostics? Get a known-good diskette (no bad sectors) that you don’t mind erasing, then Ctrl-Alt-Ins into the diagnostics. The diskette drive test is the first one. The password it wants is “MPNP”. If the test passes and shows an asterisk as the result code, your drive is very likely OK.
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Re: Booter disks no longer loading? Possible jrIDE issue?

Postby drignor » Thu Apr 22, 2021 5:51 pm

Uh oh...what does "B" mean?
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Re: Booter disks no longer loading? Possible jrIDE issue?

Postby drignor » Thu Apr 22, 2021 6:56 pm

Just looked up "B" in the Guide to Operations and it gives the very vague "Have your computer serviced" solution. Ugh.
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Re: Booter disks no longer loading? Possible jrIDE issue?

Postby DoctorOctal » Thu Apr 22, 2021 7:01 pm

Unfortunately I don’t know what it means except that you do have a drive problem. Maybe someday I’ll do some in-depth research and make a map of error codes to likely culprits.

If you happen to have a a service plug that comes with the Hardware Maintenance and Service Manual, put it into your joystick ports and try the diagnostic again. If you don’t have a service plug, you can get into service mode with two joysticks: hold (tape?) down both buttons on joystick 1 (the one plugged in closest to the side of the case) and just button 2 (the rear black one) on joystick 2. In service mode you’ll get a more detailed error code:

Code: Select all
                DISKETTE DIAGNOSTIC ERROR MESSAGES

MANUFACT. ID = 3EXYZZ

        THE CODES APPEAR IN THE FORM "3EXYZZ", WHERE:

        X=0, SIDE 0
        X=1, SIDE 1

        Y=OPERATION THAT FAILED
        0=RESET
        2=READ
        3=WRITE
        4=VERIFY
        5=FORMAT

        ZZ=ENDING STATUS
        80=TIMEOUT
        40=SEEK FAILURE
        20=NEC CONTROLLER ERROR
        10=CRC ERROR IN DATA FIELD
        09=DMA ACROSS 64K BOUNDARY (SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN)
        08=DMA OVERRUN (SHOULD NEVER OCCUR)
        04=SECTOR NOT FOUND
        02=MISSING ADDRESS MARK
        01=INVALID COMMAND ISSUED TO NEC CONTROLLER

        98=SPEED ERROR
        97=DISKETTE ATTACHMENT CARD NOT PRESENT
        99=READ BUFFER MISCOMPARE WITH WRITE BUFFER



Obviously these codes just provide a starting point for further troubleshooting.

The Sams Computerfacts for the PCjr has schematics and troubleshooting info for the diskette drive, as does the official Qume documentation.
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Re: Booter disks no longer loading? Possible jrIDE issue?

Postby drignor » Thu Apr 22, 2021 7:13 pm

Awesome. It's a place to start. Thanks for your help!
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Re: Booter disks no longer loading? Possible jrIDE issue?

Postby drignor » Thu Apr 22, 2021 8:14 pm

Also, I just found this older post which kind of describes what I'm seeing:

https://www.brutman.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=160

Hopefully it's just as easy as cleaning the heads. I'll ty that and see what happens.
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Re: Booter disks no longer loading? Possible jrIDE issue?

Postby drignor » Thu Apr 29, 2021 5:18 pm

So, I found a SEALED box of cleaning floppies on eBay and ran one through the jr. Lo and behold, everything is running absolutely fine now. Disks are booting again, and even some disks that had some problems being read were able to be read with no problem at all. Thankfully it was just a dirty drive and easily remedied!
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