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Maxtor XT-2190 MFM Hard Drive Controller

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  • chetwyndplace
    I am wondering if anyone here might know the best MFM Hard Drive Controller to use with a Maxtor XT-2190 MFM hard drive, in a Compaq Deskpro 386 PC? (this is
    Message 1 of 4 , May 11, 2014
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      I am wondering if anyone here might know the "best" MFM Hard Drive Controller to use with a Maxtor XT-2190 MFM hard drive, in a Compaq Deskpro 386 PC?

       

    • chetwyndplace
      (sorry, everyone, due to the large picture I included, some of the text was truncated, so here is the full message without the pic) I am wondering if anyone
      Message 2 of 4 , May 11, 2014
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        (sorry, everyone, due to the large picture I included, some of the text was truncated, so here is the full message without the pic)

        I am wondering if anyone here might know the "best" MFM Hard Drive Controller to use with a Maxtor XT-2190 MFM hard drive, in a Compaq Deskpro 386 PC?

         

        (that was not my drive pictured, but mine are just like it...and these pics are great!)

         

        The MFM interface is something that was a few years before my time, so my recent discovery of it is a new thing for me.

         

        My ultimate goal is to read some data from one of these that was written in a UNIX branded OS called CTIX...

         

        However, I've set myself up with some technology that I know a little better in order to learn about it.  The 386 PC is something I remember well as a user, but never did much system configuration.  I thought I would approach my project in several stages.

         

        Stage 1)  Configure my Compaq 386 to format and access a spare XT-2190 using DOS.

         

        Stage 2)  Once that works, install and configure SCO Xenix on the same machine, and format another XT-2190, to play with it using that OS.

         

        Stage 3)  Plug in and browse the CTIX/Unix formatted drive with the data, and see what I can find.

         

        I have 4 of these Maxtor XT-2190s to play with, not including the one that has the data.

         

        So far, I've acquired 2 controllers, but not exactly sure where to start...I don't even know if they control the right number of heads & sectors for this size MFM drive, and, for those of you how have browsed my blog or other posts, I continue to have some issues getting an ISA card to work right in my machine...I'm almost afraid to play with these.

         

        1) Data Tech Corp DTC 5280CRA PC/AT HARD DISK & FLOPPY DISK CONTROLLER

        http://ebay.com/itm/111304188857

        bit.ly/1meIS55

         

        2) Xebec 8 Bit MFM Hard Drive Controller Card (104836-01)  

        http://ebay.com/itm/191124319994

        http://museum.ttrk.ee/th99/c/U-Z/21079.htm 

         

        I'm loosely creating a blog for the machine that the drive came out of (in scatterbrain fashion...sorry...).  It's a Convergent Technologies MightyFrame. 

         

        http://MightyFrame.com

         

        I've decided that one way or another, I'm going to figure out these machines, and this seems to be an approach that might at least be a good step-learning process for me.

         

        I welcome anyone's thoughts.  Everyone here is very helpful.

         

        Thanks to everyone for their input!

         

        -AJ

         

         

         

         

         


      • Dave McGuire
        Hey there AJ, it s good to see you here. I have a few things to say about this. First, the XT-2190 is known in DECland as the RD54 . DEC resold unmodified
        Message 3 of 4 , May 11, 2014
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          Hey there AJ, it's good to see you here.

          I have a few things to say about this.

          First, the XT-2190 is known in DECland as the "RD54". DEC resold
          unmodified XT-2190s as RD54s in some later models of PDP-11 and
          middle-aged VAXen. This makes the '2190 worth quite a bit of money.
          Putting one in something that doesn't specifically need that model of
          drive is a bit of a waste for that reason.

          Next, by far the best ISA-bus MFM controller I've ever used is the
          Western Digital WD1006V-MM1/MM2. (MM2 has a floppy controller, MM1 does not

          And last, but most importantly: MFM is an analog interface, with the
          on-disk format being determined by the controller. You must determine
          the make and model of controller that was originally used on the drive
          from which you want to recover data, or it most definitely will not work.

          -Dave

          On 05/11/2014 04:19 PM, chetwyndplace@... [midatlanticretro] wrote:
          > I am wondering if anyone here might know the "best" MFM Hard Drive
          > Controller to use with a Maxtor XT-2190 MFM hard drive
          > <http://www.kuhmann.com/Cromemco/Cromemco%20CS250%20HDD.htm>, in a
          > Compaq Deskpro 386 PC?
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > (this is not my drive pictured, but mine are just like it...and these
          > pics are great!)
          >
          >
          >
          > The MFM interface is something that was a few years before my time, so
          > my recent discovery of it is a new thing for me.
          >
          >
          >
          > My ultimate goal is to read some data from one of these that was written
          > in a UNIX branded OS called CTIX...
          >
          >
          >
          > However, I've set myself up with some technology that I know a little
          > better in order to learn about it. The 386 PC is something I remember
          > well as a user, but never did much system configuration. I thought I
          > would approach my project in several stages.
          >
          >
          >
          > Stage 1) Configure my Compaq 386 to format and access a spare XT-2190
          > using DOS.
          >
          >
          >
          > Stage 2) Once that works, install and configure SCO Xenix on the same
          > machine, and format another XT-2190, to play with it using that OS.
          >
          >
          >
          > Stage 3) Plug in and browse the CTIX/Unix formatted drive with the
          > data, and see what I can find.
          >
          >
          >
          > I have 4 of these Maxtor XT-2190s to play with, not including the one
          > that has the data.
          >
          >
          >
          > So far, I've acquired 2 controllers, but not exactly sure where to
          > start...I don't even know if they control the right number of heads &
          > sectors for this size MFM drive, and, for those of you how have browsed
          > my blog or other posts, I continue to have some issues getting an ISA
          > card to work right in my machine...I'm almost afraid to play with these.
          >
          >
          >
          > 1) Data Tech Corp DTC 5280CRA PC/AT HARD DISK & FLOPPY DISK CONTROLLER
          >
          > <http://ebay.com/itm/111304188857>http://ebay.com/itm/111304188857
          >
          > <http://bit.ly/1meIS55>bit.ly/1meIS55
          >
          >
          >
          > 2) Xebec 8 Bit MFM Hard Drive Controller Card (104836-01)
          >
          > http://ebay.com/itm/191124319994
          >
          > <http://museum.ttrk.ee/th99/c/U-Z/21079.htm>http://museum.ttrk.ee/th99/c/U-Z/21079.htm
          >
          >
          >
          > I'm loosely creating a blog for the machine that the drive came out of
          > (in scatterbrain fashion...sorry...). It's a Convergent Technologies
          > MightyFrame.
          >
          >
          >
          > <http://MightyFrame.com>http://MightyFrame.com
          >
          >
          >
          > I've decided that one way or another, I'm going to figure out these
          > machines, and this seems to be an approach that might at least be a good
          > step-learning process for me.
          >
          >
          >
          > I welcome anyone's thoughts. Everyone here is very helpful.
          >
          >
          >
          > Thanks to everyone for their input!
          >
          >
          >
          > -AJ
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >


          --
          Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
          New Kensington, PA
        • chetwyndplace
          Dave, Thanks for the welcome, and thanks again for your insight! I had read that about the MFM technology. With the Convergent Technologies MightyFrame, the
          Message 4 of 4 , May 11, 2014
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            Dave,

            Thanks for the welcome, and thanks again for your insight! 

            I had read that about the MFM technology.  With the Convergent Technologies MightyFrame, the MFM controller is built into the motherboard...this is why I am so committed to getting these systems running again on their native OS of CTIX. Thankfully, I have access to 2 of these machines, one being the very same hardware that wrote the data in the first place.  (too bad I can't just get the thing to boot...)

            On a future post, maybe I'll include some close-up pictures of one of those controller-integrated MightyFrame motherboards.  Someone on one of these conversations might look at a chip set, and will probably know exactly what that integrated architecture and configuration is.  In the meantime, I'm on a journey to learn...

            As far as the ISA controller, thanks also for the recommendation.  This will, at least, help give me the feel of the way these components and technologies behave, so that when I finally do get the right OS running the right integrated motherboard/controller hardware, I'll know the feel of it better.

            As always, thanks again for your help!
            -AJ
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