XT-IDE on PCjr

Hardware questions and modifications

Re: XT-IDE on PCjr

Postby Lutiana » Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:46 pm

Ok, I tried Hargle's approach, and words cannot describe the failure this produced. Suffice it to say that I cannot plug anything into the female side of the connector. The upshot is that I did not damage anything else. So here's the million dollar question, where do I buy another connector? It does not appear to be on the BOM, so a link to a place I can buy it would be awesome.
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Re: XT-IDE on PCjr

Postby jmetal88 » Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:12 pm

Lutiana wrote:Ok, I tried Hargle's approach, and words cannot describe the failure this produced. Suffice it to say that I cannot plug anything into the female side of the connector. The upshot is that I did not damage anything else. So here's the million dollar question, where do I buy another connector? It does not appear to be on the BOM, so a link to a place I can buy it would be awesome.


You'll probably have to ask Alan for another one. Nobody's found a place to buy them individually, only in quantities of 10 or more, and they tend to be quite expensive at quantities that low.
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Re: XT-IDE on PCjr

Postby jharre » Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:04 pm

I still have a few sidecar connector pairs left from the last purchase that went to Alan.

And, yeah, they aren't cheap. :( Count on $12.85 per connector plus postage - about $16 total to U.S. addresses.

PM me if you need one.

<*> Jim

Edit: Revised total price to reflect reality of PP fee and postage to at least break even
Last edited by jharre on Fri Mar 21, 2014 8:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: XT-IDE on PCjr

Postby Hargle » Thu Mar 20, 2014 6:43 am

Lutiana wrote:Ok, I tried Hargle's approach, and words cannot describe the failure this produced. Suffice it to say that I cannot plug anything into the female side of the connector. The upshot is that I did not damage anything else. So here's the million dollar question, where do I buy another connector? It does not appear to be on the BOM, so a link to a place I can buy it would be awesome.


oh man, I'm sorry I lead you astray here.
are the holes crushed? you can use a nail or other strong pointy device to open them back up again.
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Re: XT-IDE on PCjr

Postby Lutiana » Thu Mar 20, 2014 8:32 pm

Well first off the pins actually starting coming out of the female end of the connector. Then when I tried to plug them into the jr they got completely crushed. I tried using a nail to get them straightened out, and managed to fix all but a few which where a no go.

I tossed it out, and have now bought a new one (thanks Jim). This time around I'll make sure to find a vice for the thing. I'll probably just go and buy one from Harbor Freight this weekend.
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Re: XT-IDE on PCjr

Postby geoffdaddy » Fri Mar 21, 2014 8:00 am

Lutiana wrote:Well first off the pins actually starting coming out of the female end of the connector. Then when I tried to plug them into the jr they got completely crushed. I tried using a nail to get them straightened out, and managed to fix all but a few which where a no go.

I tossed it out, and have now bought a new one (thanks Jim). This time around I'll make sure to find a vice for the thing. I'll probably just go and buy one from Harbor Freight this weekend.


Just a word of caution... when you use the vise, make sure you use something between the jaws and the connector (like a block of wood or something) to keep the plastic from getting munged up by the metal jaws, and also be wary of the pins walking out of the connector housing. They wanted to do this on mine and a few did, but not to the extent that yours apparently did.

I am about 99% positive that AMP probably had some special tool with a die to fit over the female end to keep this from happening when pressing it into place. Just a suggestion but if you saved the old connector, you might want to use the male end housing from the old connector over the female end of the new connector when you press it together and see if that doesn't help.
PCjr: 10MB RACore 01 hard drive expansion, Hotshot 640kB RAM expander, optical mouse, Xircom PE3, speech sidecar.
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Re: XT-IDE on PCjr

Postby jmetal88 » Fri Mar 21, 2014 8:41 am

geoffdaddy wrote:Just a word of caution... when you use the vise, make sure you use something between the jaws and the connector (like a block of wood or something) to keep the plastic from getting munged up by the metal jaws, and also be wary of the pins walking out of the connector housing. They wanted to do this on mine and a few did, but not to the extent that yours apparently did.


I didn't find that necessary with my vise, but the jaws on the one I bought were pretty smooth.
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Re: XT-IDE on PCjr

Postby Lutiana » Sun Mar 23, 2014 1:48 am

The connector arrived today, and I bought myself a carpenter's vise. Very smooth on both sides, and I was able to get the connector on without any issue.

But I am having some weird issues here. Let me try to explain. The BIOS detects the drive just fine (in my case I am trying both a 1Gb CF card in an adapter, and a 6.4Gb IDE drive), then prompts for me to press "esc" for the menu as expected, but here is where it gets odd:

  • If I don't do anything (and no floppy is inserted) it drops me right into BASIC, same thing if I hit esc and select the HDD drive.
  • If there is a bootable floppy in the drive, and I don't hit esc it tries to boot from the floppy, clears the screen and prompts me to hit "esc" again, if I then do nothing it will boot to the floppy.
  • If I hit esc the first time it asks and select the floppy, it still clears the screen and prompts again for the menu.
  • If I press esc on the second prompt, it gives me the expected boot options, plus the option to boot to a second floppy (b:) which I don't have.
  • If I select either floppy from the second prompt, it boots just fine from the one floppy in the machine.
  • If I select the HDD on this second prompt, or if I pull the disk out the moment the second "Press esc to..." appears it will boot the the HDD just fine.

I have the dip settings to use IRQ7, Address C0000 and ROM enabled, there are no other side cars installed and I am using a DOS 5.0 boot disk (that has the Mike-Mod applied to it).

Could this be something wrong caused by my amateurish soldering skills? Or am I missing something else basic? Or is this just the way it functions (I hope not)?

And on an unrelated question, is it possible to set jrconfig.sys to not create a RAM disk?
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Re: XT-IDE on PCjr

Postby Brutman » Sun Mar 23, 2014 9:27 am

I don't know what is on your floppy drives and your hard drive so that makes understanding what is going on more difficult. Here are the generic rules.

  • No bootable floppy disk or bootable hard drive: Go to BASIC
  • Bootable floppy disk: boot from it
  • No bootable floppy disk and bootable hard drive: boot from the hard drive
  • You used the menu to tell it to do something: try to boot from whatever you selected

If you are using jrConfig in a config.sys file then the boot process happens twice. jrConfig sets up the environment that it needs and then does a soft reboot. This can confuse people because you will see the jrIDE menu twice. Are you using jrConfig anywhere? I suspect you are if you are using DOS 5.

I don't know how you are getting a B drive. It should be detecting that from the BIOS so if you have a machine that has a second drive that would be OK. But you say you don't ...
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Re: XT-IDE on PCjr

Postby Lutiana » Sun Mar 23, 2014 10:08 am

On the floppy is DOS 5, with JRConfig loaded in the config.sys, similar thing on the HDD. This seems to explain why I get a second "press esc..." prompt, but it does not explain why the system does not boot directly off the HDD till after the soft boot, since the hdd is definitely bootable.

So what is the ideal setup to get the system to boot DOS 5 on the HDD? Do I even need JRConfig?

Tell me, does your DOS 5 (and 6) patch for the Jr permanently modify the boot files, and would that mod be copied into new media when using either the sys.com command or a format /s command?
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