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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
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Posted Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:32 pm

Question for the hardware gods.

I don't think the storage medium matters. The size does, of course. (Size matters apparently!)

Let me explain what I'm trying to do to see if anyone has any ideas. I've added a SCSI2SD card to my A2000. I've tried various microSD sizes, but understand that there is the magical 4GB limit which can cause a lot of issues if you go beyond it, and have read a ton around this in particular. I bought a 2GB and 4GB card. Either should be fine since both are massive in Amiga terms but small enough to not have to deal with the > 4GB issue.

I am not using this as a boot drive. If I was, I'd make the partitions 15MB, X & Y, where X and Y are virtually equal parts of the remainder from 2GB. But I'm not doing that. I'd be fine with one single 2GB storage drive, or one drive with two partitions of 1GB each. Either way I don't really care.

My hardware that matters:
A2000
GVP GForce030 Combo (SCSI card)
Quantum 49GB SCSI harddrive (ID 0)
Syquest Drive (SCSI, ID 4)
KS/WB 1.3

Those really are the key ingredients i think.

Originally, I tried to use the GVP FastPrep software to prep and format the microSD. Well, at first it didn't even see it. I had to set the SCSI ID via software between my Mac and the card over USB so there weren't any conflicts. I set it to device ID 5.

After trying again, FastPrep saw the card but the settings it gleaned were all horribly wrong. Attempting to Prep or format would hang the software, do nothing, or cause a Guru Meditation. Good times. After a bit of research, FastPrep apparently is often avoided with this type of procedure as it just wasn't meant for it. I wonder what the GVP limits are... doesn't seem to be documented anywhere.

I decided to download and install HdInstTools for 1.3, which in Amiga terms is insanely modern for 1.3 users as it was written in late 1999! My copy booted into German for some reason, and it took me several tries to change the default language to English. But once I did - wow. Awesome program! Very much like HDToolBox which is the de facto hard drive tool in 3.1-land, and works extremely well.

Here I could set the File System (FFS) as well as Partition the Drives. I could re-assign the drive letters (which I did) to DH3, DH4 and DH5 to guarantee no conflicts with my boot drive partitions, which I'm keeping for now. Also, I un-checked the new partitions from being Bootable but made them mountable, and once again made sure the file systems were FFS.

It's pretty much at this stage where everything has gone awry at some point. If I reboot the machine to make the partitions take hold, I'll get an error saying the Device 5 is not a DOS disk. . . if I pop out the SD card, and reboot, it will ignore the device 5 and boot normally.

If I don't reboot after partitioning, I can actually go into the Format screens. Quick Format, which everyone recommends for 3.1 users, fails every time literally as soon as I click the button. "Format" (not low-level, but full) will actually do it's job! I'll get a disk icon on the Workbench desktop and even see my custom label.

It looks like it's working!!! Then, on reboot, all of my new drives disappear. :roll:

If I go back into HDInstTools, my card is found and the partitions are all there, staring back at me. But the formatted drives don't seem to exist.

I feel like I've probably been on the precipice of solving this multiple times, but keep falling off the same damned cliff. Groundhog day, big time.

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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:10 am

Inching closer to glory...

I've been able to get the new drive to keep its partitions and drives. But on reboot, because of yet another issue which I'll explain in a moment, the new drive is trying to boot instead of my small 49MB Quantum drive. Even though the new card is the last SCSI ID in the chain, and is properly terminated, the Amiga is trying to hit if first. Bottom line: even if one partition is labelled as Bootable, the order of the drive names (dh0, dh1) etc overrides this. And even though my newly formatted drives are not bootable, they still are seeked first which dumps you into a fairly useless blue shell window.

It's a little complicated and weird, but my GVP/Quantum drive was partitioned and labelled (30 years ago) as QDH0: and QDH1, not DH0 and DH1 like most other Amigas. Presumably it was done this way at the factory.

So, my original Drive List looked like this:

DF0:
DF1:
QDH0: (system/workbench)
QDH1: (everything else)

And, interestingly (and now I understand why) the SCSI based Syquest drive is set to DH0:

That only ever loads in such a way after Workbench loads up, and a disk is inserted. So it comes into the queue after the fact and never confuses the mount list.

Therefore, if everything is running correctly simultaneously, my drives looked like this:
DF0:
DF1:
DH0:
QDH0: (system/workbench)
QDH1: (everything else)

But since DH0 is never "seen" during boot-up, it wasn't conflicting with anything at all. QDH0: was still always hit first after the floppies. In order to use the SqQuest, you have to boot your machine then activate it with a special SCSI program made just for it.

Well, when I created these 2 new "Drives" with the SD card, I gave them the designations of DH3 and DH4.

Guess what? Those are being hit first in the seek/mount list because, alphabetically, D comes before Q!

Now, I've read you can edit your devs/mountlist to get this sorted. But holy smoke good luck not F'ing that up, because it requires manually entering a bunch of stats about each of the drives. Not awesome.

But I have a plan.

Interesting side note: If I boot Workbench off the floppy, all my drives appear happy as can be on the desktop (see below). And I need to double-check, but it seems like my clock's date is working, but that could be a complete coincidence and not true. I can't see why that would be. . .

In any case, my hack-y plan is this:

To re-assign the drive letters for my 2 new partitions as QDH2 and QD3. This will force them to be at the bottom of the HD list purely due to the order of the naming convention. That should work as far as I can tell. Then I'll have the small boot partition on the Quantum still (9MB) for fast WB loading, and massive storage for future games, music files, etc. on the microSD, which I can easily copy to additional SDs in the future.

Fingers crossed, that's my plan.
Attachments
IMG_7119.JPG
Inserting a SyQuest disk informed me that it was DH0: (not being mounted) and to avoid that ID with the new drives, as well as the order in which the Amiga sees the drives. The new drives are ahead of the bootable one! Annoying.

IMG_7118.JPG
Launching WB using the WB 1.3 floppy shows all of my drives. The current order in which the drives mount is not allowing WB to launch via HDD.


User avatar
intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:09 pm

Two interesting things going on here.

Number One:
By using the WB Floppy on boot up, I have confirmed that my clock is indeed working!. Why it didn't work when I launched from hard disk, I really have no idea. I will inspect the workbench disk later to see what is in the start-up sequence that is giving me the proper time. Maybe that can help me better understand why it doesn't load off the hard disk.

Number Two:
After re-assigning drive letters like I mentioned above (putting a 'Q' at the beginning) I've successfully put the drives in their proper alphabetical order. When I go into SysInfo, everything is laid out perfectly.

But for some reason the Amiga still isn't booting off the first SCSI drive in the chain. It will launch some generic AmigaDOS screen and simply sit there. If I pop out the SD card, it loads up just fine.

I'm either going to have to bite the bullet and modify the Devs/Mountlist, or see if there is any other way to go about this... Not sure.

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Shot97
Detroit, MI, USA
Website

Posted Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:26 pm

You still got your backups handy? I'm wondering if it's possible to be rid of those QDH0; etc drive names and start fresh. Perhaps repartitioning all of them at the same time and starting from scratch will help. Of course that's not a real answer to the problem, that's just me wondering how much those weird drive letters are involved in the problem.

User avatar
intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:55 pm

I do have copies of everything, but...

SUCCESS!!

I had to go in and manually update the Boot Priorities for each drive. That was a bit of a brain teaser!

As you probably know, Shot, the boot priorities take the Higher numbers first, and the lower numbers last. And it uses this scale of (I think):

-127 through +127

My Quantum drive (bootable) was set to -5, and the games partition it had was set to -10. Presumably (I haven't checked), the floppies are probably set to 10 (df0) and 5 (df1) for some easy to memorize symmetry.

In any case, I set my 2 new partitions using HDInstTools to -20 and -30. Removed WB disk. Rebooted. Boom! All my drives are there, and everything is fine.

I'm planning on doing a writeup for this - heck, for my own benefit in the future - in case it ever needs to be fiddled with again. It took a few days of off-work time to get this sorted. Yikes! But it's all good!

And the mega-bonus? I found out that my clock does indeed work! Why it works off the WB Floppy and not the WB HDD install, I don't know. But I hope to find out. :)

Good times!

P.S.
I think by adding this card, which is actually 2 partitions of 2GB each (4GB total) it may have slowed my boot-up time by about 5 seconds or so. It's not much, but I guess it needs to go figure out what's out there before hitting the startup-sequence file. Not a biggie, just something I briefly noticed this last time.

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Shot97
Detroit, MI, USA
Website

Posted Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:05 pm

Indeed, my bigger hard drives have slowed bootup as well. They've made everything else faster, but bootup on my end is almost 30 seconds. I think that's a combination of the bigger drive as well as using the newer SCSI drives. Noticeable most certainly, but not regrettable. As for everyone saying there's some magical 4GB limit, they're full of shit. I've tried two SCSI drives, one was 4.2 GB and the other 4.3; the 4.3 GB drive took manual configuration to work, but it's all there, the 4.2 GB drive automatically took it all. Now I'm super curious to go WAY bigger just to find out how much crap people are spewing online.

Great job piecing it all together! It was a nice journey to go along with you on.

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Shot97
Detroit, MI, USA
Website

Posted Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:09 pm

How much do all of those drives hanging around on top of Workbench take away from your memory by the way?

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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:26 pm

I think the size limit is beyond 4.3 when it occurs. I've read a ton of this stuff over the past 4 days, and there is a place where it will start to "wrap around" if that makes sense. I think if you installed a drive that was something like 16GB it might become more apparent. I do think this issue was dealt with in 3.5+ but I don't really care about those OSes, personally. I'm just not into it. There's an amazing post about it all here which is very detailed and thoughtful.

As for memory - I'm not sure? I still see over 8MB up at the top of my Workbench screen. Is there a way for me to find out the usage? Maybe SysInfo? I just picked up another 8MB card which I'm going to install soon. I'm hoping it doesn't conflict with my GeForce30 and it lets me use it all. I don't really know. Either way, I'm doing OK in the RAM department even if I just sit where I am.

Whatever it the usage, I don't think it's much of anything. For that matter, since I'm running at 40mhz my formatting didn't take that long to do. The 2GB partitions took somewhere around an hour each. When I was experimenting with a different SD card (I have a 2GB I'm thinking of setting up for a backup with WB installed, games, etc.) I created a small boot partition. I think it was 15MB. Since I had to use the slider I couldn't really type in what I wanted and it was a little sloppy, but it was fine - the format only took a couple of minutes. It was no worse than formatting a floppy! Haha.

I'm digging it. I don't really want to remove my 2nd floppy drive but I need to figure out a place to mount this little card. Right now it's just kind of hanging there... A lot of people seem to remove the 2nd floppy and there is a 3D printed bracket you can use there instead. I just hate the way 3D printed stuff looks out of the box.

Maybe if I get desperate or bored. Right now, I just want to tidy it away and close it up.

OK UBER NERD MOMENT: I really can't wait to figure out the battery thing next so I can install WordPerfect Library!! :P I could start creating my weekly calendars and todos! bwahahaha! So cool and goofy.

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Shot97
Detroit, MI, USA
Website

Posted Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:44 pm

Sysinfo should have that information. I find DIsk Master has a handy real time memory counter on it. It's not so much the fast memory that matters; it's the chip, and just the added icons will take away from the chip memory. By the way I put Directory Opus on my machine finally! It has its uses! I still think I far prefer Disk Master simply due to the vast amount of screen space it devotes to seeing the files you're working with, where as Directory Opus devotes half the screen to the various button commands; most of which are contained in one small column on Disk Master. Still, I've been finding uses for it. Directory Opus will rename both the directory and the directory icon should you rename a directory. Directory Opus of course has that very nice create icon feature. Disk Master has an option to create an icon but I've never gotten it to work right. When I'm dealing with a whole load of files at once, say I'm transferring files from PC; I'll open up the RAM and temp folder area with disk master to mess around with things while I open up the temp file area in Directory Opus and place them in their final resting place if I end up wanting to keep said program. This way I don't have to keep changing directories.

With your clock problem... You could always make a backup of your startup sequence and throw in that of the floppies. For me; that's how it all started anyway. You're actually supposed to not fuck with the default startup sequence too much if you have a hard drive. There's a special HD Startup sequence you're supposed to use... I keep meaning to transfer most of the stuff from my startup sequence to that but I've yet to get around to it.

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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:48 pm

A special HD sequence. Oh lordy - that figures. If you ever find that, post it and I'll take a peek. I wonder what it does? FWIW the startup sequence doesn't appear to load until after all devices have been found, but maybe it deals with memory management...?

UPDATE:
I think it added more like 15 seconds to my boot time. There are approximately 15 seconds where I'm staring at a solid gray screen before it flips over to the blue startup sequence. Before, I think it was more like 1 or 2 seconds max. After that I'm in WB almost instantly. Not the end of the world by any stretch of the imagination. I guess if it every bothers me I can get a smaller SD micro - like the 2GB one - and do what I'm doing now. Theoretically that should knock the time down in half. But when I add more RAM, that might also quicken things a little, too.





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