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Searching for easier way to test older ST506 interface Hard Drives

10 months 3 weeks ago #9 by The Old Hacker
Originally posted Feb 2013

Well I thought it worth asking. Is there any easy way to test older vintage drives with ST506 interfaces? I have a number of drives sitting here to sell on ebay - but its been decades since I went thru the usual process. Best I remember its like this.

Set the drive up physically - any drive select jumpers, etc
Configure setup on system to see drive correctly with Cylinders, Sectors and Heads
Connect hopefully to the right type of interface card with the two ribbon cables
Low Level format - which takes a debug command in DOS to run software in an ROM chip on the controller - typically debug c800:5 or similar (here memory is pretty fuzzy)
Then partition, format and test.

With all the newer hardware - is there not a simpler way to do this - or a program someone came up with in the last decade to do this more easily? I have plugged in 3 ST225 types and set all up with the right cylinders, sectors and heads, but can't see them or what is on them. I don't want to format them till I know what is there - some of them may be from old machines I had and it would be fun to see what is on them if I can before formatting.

Any ideas? Any fun stories about this process?

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