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What scsi drives suitable for Atari ST/Mega use?

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I have found someone who can supply me with ancient scsi drives that are less than 1 gig. Hes asking what type of "connector" I require? Can you guys tell me what to ask for? Thanks everyone.

 

JW

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standard 50 pin SCSI-1 was all you could get for the original SCSI drives especially up to 1GB so not sure what he means.

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standard 50 pin SCSI-1 was all you could get for the original SCSI drives especially up to 1GB so not sure what he means.

 

Ok. Whats the cheapest way to get such drives to work on my Mega 2? :-)

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Ok. Whats the cheapest way to get such drives to work on my Mega 2? :-)

 

Unless you already have one, you first need to get yourself a host adapter. The Mega can't access directly any hard disks except those specifically designed for the ST.

 

Then after you get your host adapter, see which hard disk is more suitable. Some hosts adapter needs the hard disk to be able to work without parity. Some host adapters can't use more than 1Gb.

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Ok. Whats the cheapest way to get such drives to work on my Mega 2? :-)

 

Unless you already have one, you first need to get yourself a host adapter. The Mega can't access directly any hard disks except those specifically designed for the ST.

 

Then after you get your host adapter, see which hard disk is more suitable. Some hosts adapter needs the hard disk to be able to work without parity. Some host adapters can't use more than 1Gb.

 

I dont have a lot of money. Where can I get a Host adapter so I can get some scsi's together and attempt to use them?

 

JW

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Ok. Whats the cheapest way to get such drives to work on my Mega 2? :-)

 

Unless you already have one, you first need to get yourself a host adapter. The Mega can't access directly any hard disks except those specifically designed for the ST.

 

Then after you get your host adapter, see which hard disk is more suitable. Some hosts adapter needs the hard disk to be able to work without parity. Some host adapters can't use more than 1Gb.

 

I dont have a lot of money. Where can I get a Host adapter so I can get some scsi's together and attempt to use them?

 

JW

 

Haunt eBay for an ICD Link or Link2 ?

 

Or post in the "Marketplace-Wanted " forum ?

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All I can tell you about it is from my own experience. I have a SupraDrive Atari hard disk, originally 30MB, the host adapter is built into this shoe-box drive. I recently pulled an old 170MB SCSI HD out of an old PC, and plugged it into the SupraDrive case and it worked straight away, I didn't even have to reformat the drive as it was FAT formatted just like the 30MB drive that was in the Supra case. I just wiped the 10 16MB partitions and assigned GEM desktop icons. Now, I have it set up as the second DMA device on the chain, the first being my Mega STE's HD. But I can use it on my 1040ST too, but I have to use my Supra bootdisk with it that way. Anyway, the drive that was in the Supra was a 30MB Seagate 3.5" SCSI; the 170MB ex-PC drive I replace the Seagate with is a Quatum Prodrive LPS slimline HD. My point is that as long as you have an Atari compatible host adapter, any SCSI drive will work, as long as they aren't over 1gig and generally 50-pin, but there are also adapters for pin connections. I think really the only way you are going to find the needed host adapter is to buy a hard drive for the ST with one, whether ICD, Supra, Atari or other compatible, Don't worry about the drive capacity (a 10MB Supra is enough) or if the drive even works, and just use the host adapter and case to house a larger SCSI drive like just about any old SCSI for sale on E-bay.

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50 Pin SCSI (1) is the right interface, and you do need a SCSI host adaptor.

 

Unless you go with one of the drives designed especially for the ST... and those come in two varieties...

 

There is an Atari proprietary style that plugs right in

 

Or there are boxes that also have the host adaptor built right into them along with the drive.

 

Not sure what your cheapest route is going to be, but my guess is that it'll ALL seem (relatively) expensive compared to what you would pay for a modern SATA 350GB drive for a PC or Mac, when you're probably going to be between 20-500mb on an old SCSI drive.

 

It is worth noting that almost any old classic MAC with a hard drive is going to have a SCSI-1 50 pin drive in them... often in a fairly decent size. I think I've got a 500mb SCSI-1 sitting in the garage inside an old Mac Quadra.

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All I can tell you about it is from my own experience. I have a SupraDrive Atari hard disk, originally 30MB, the host adapter is built into this shoe-box drive. I recently pulled an old 170MB SCSI HD out of an old PC, and plugged it into the SupraDrive case and it worked straight away, I didn't even have to reformat the drive as it was FAT formatted just like the 30MB drive that was in the Supra case. I just wiped the 10 16MB partitions and assigned GEM desktop icons. Now, I have it set up as the second DMA device on the chain, the first being my Mega STE's HD. But I can use it on my 1040ST too, but I have to use my Supra bootdisk with it that way. Anyway, the drive that was in the Supra was a 30MB Seagate 3.5" SCSI; the 170MB ex-PC drive I replace the Seagate with is a Quatum Prodrive LPS slimline HD. My point is that as long as you have an Atari compatible host adapter, any SCSI drive will work, as long as they aren't over 1gig and generally 50-pin, but there are also adapters for pin connections. I think really the only way you are going to find the needed host adapter is to buy a hard drive for the ST with one, whether ICD, Supra, Atari or other compatible, Don't worry about the drive capacity (a 10MB Supra is enough) or if the drive even works, and just use the host adapter and case to house a larger SCSI drive like just about any old SCSI for sale on E-bay.

 

Ok. Well I DO have Atari Megafile 30. But I do NOT want to butcher it. No desoldering or cutting of my precious. :-) Is it possible to simply open the megafile and pull internal plugs out to swap to a bigger drive? Please tell me what to do.

 

JW

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Theoretically it is possible, but it is very hard to impossible to still find those RLL drives.

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Theoretically it is possible, but it is very hard to impossible to still find those RLL drives.

 

RLL? whats that? You mean I cant put an old scsi in the megafile? I dont understand.

 

 

JW

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RLL is MFM format that has a higher capacity.

 

It is *old* school. :) I've got a few MFM/RLL drives out in the garage. Basically, a RLL controller card compressed/wrote data more efficiently than MFM. You could actually take many MFM drives, swap out just the controller, and nearly double the capacity (from say, 5mb to a huge 10mb! Or more commonly, from 20mb to 40mb). The manufacturers would sell the exact same drives, and add an "R" to the model number (ST2040R) and double the price.

 

I think the Megafile was an MFM/RLL drive, and yeah, they have a different interface than SCSI. The two formats were kind of competing for marketshare at the time. MFM/RLL is kind of the precursor of IDE. It was less expensive, and the drive was "dumb", all the logic was on the interface. SCSI was a "smart" drive, there were logic chips on the drive. Theoretically, you would expect that an MFM drive would be cheaper than a SCSI (which it was), but that the controller for MFM would be more expensive than SCSI (which it wasn't). What you ended up with was that SCSI was expensive and difficult to set up, but fast and highly flexible (you could run other devices, like Laser printers and scanners, mostly)... and MFM/RLL was slow, but easy to set up, but not very flexible (drives only).

 

If you're playing with old SCSI, be careful about termination. I blew up a 20mb Miniscribe drive once (used, $200) by having my termination set up wrong. That kind of thing is a lot harder to do with modern SCSI.

Edited by Paranoid

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All I can tell you about it is from my own experience. I have a SupraDrive Atari hard disk, originally 30MB, the host adapter is built into this shoe-box drive. I recently pulled an old 170MB SCSI HD out of an old PC, and plugged it into the SupraDrive case and it worked straight away, I didn't even have to reformat the drive as it was FAT formatted just like the 30MB drive that was in the Supra case. I just wiped the 10 16MB partitions and assigned GEM desktop icons. Now, I have it set up as the second DMA device on the chain, the first being my Mega STE's HD. But I can use it on my 1040ST too, but I have to use my Supra bootdisk with it that way. Anyway, the drive that was in the Supra was a 30MB Seagate 3.5" SCSI; the 170MB ex-PC drive I replace the Seagate with is a Quatum Prodrive LPS slimline HD. My point is that as long as you have an Atari compatible host adapter, any SCSI drive will work, as long as they aren't over 1gig and generally 50-pin, but there are also adapters for pin connections. I think really the only way you are going to find the needed host adapter is to buy a hard drive for the ST with one, whether ICD, Supra, Atari or other compatible, Don't worry about the drive capacity (a 10MB Supra is enough) or if the drive even works, and just use the host adapter and case to house a larger SCSI drive like just about any old SCSI for sale on E-bay.

 

Ok. Well I DO have Atari Megafile 30. But I do NOT want to butcher it. No desoldering or cutting of my precious. :-) Is it possible to simply open the megafile and pull internal plugs out to swap to a bigger drive? Please tell me what to do.

 

JW

If you find the right type of drive for the Megafile, as was stated, an RLL/MFM type, it is only a matter of swapping out the drive, which consists of the power plug and the 50-pin cable, as well as the screws holding the drive in place. But MFM drives aren't as hard to find as stated, I see them all the time on e-bay. Not as often as other drives for sure, but there always seem to be a few to choose from, and generally sell for little becuase they simply aren't in demand. I used to have a Berkley Microsystems BMS-100 host adapter which required MFM type drives and I had no trouble finding one to go with it at first, and then there were several up for sale when I went to look for a replacement, but I ended up spending a bit more and buying my SupraDrive HD with the host adapter built-in and a case instead(the BMS-100 had no case or power supply, I had to supply my own). Then I sold the BMS-100 adapter.

Edited by Gunstar

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One thing to be aware of... MFM and RLL drives existed in the time when FULL HEIGHT drives (that is the height of *2* 5.25" drive bays) still existed. Generally speaking the *big* drives were often full height. You'll probably be able to find RLL drives in half-height up to about 80mb. I think anything above that, and you were getting into full height (and EISD) drives. Then IDE came out and everything dropped down to the 3.5" quarter heigh drives.

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You will be hard pressed to find a SCSI Host adaptor for cheap for the Atari ST. The Links usually sell for $70+ USD. You are better of searching for a Supra HD or custom HD box with a ICD controller inside. I think I paid $80 for a Supra HD recently and it has a 40MB HD in it. Have not tried to upgrade it as I also have a Link II that I use with a 2GB drive.

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You will be hard pressed to find a SCSI Host adaptor for cheap for the Atari ST. The Links usually sell for $70+ USD. You are better of searching for a Supra HD or custom HD box with a ICD controller inside. I think I paid $80 for a Supra HD recently and it has a 40MB HD in it. Have not tried to upgrade it as I also have a Link II that I use with a 2GB drive.

 

Its sounds too hard and headache inducing. :-) Ill leave it and use my megafile until it dies. Thanks for your advice.

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You will be hard pressed to find a SCSI Host adaptor for cheap for the Atari ST. The Links usually sell for $70+ USD. You are better of searching for a Supra HD or custom HD box with a ICD controller inside. I think I paid $80 for a Supra HD recently and it has a 40MB HD in it. Have not tried to upgrade it as I also have a Link II that I use with a 2GB drive.

 

Its sounds too hard and headache inducing. :-) Ill leave it and use my megafile until it dies. Thanks for your advice.

 

I have a lot of MFM and RLL drives,but it is a long way from Maryland to New Zealand. :sad:

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You will be hard pressed to find a SCSI Host adaptor for cheap for the Atari ST. The Links usually sell for $70+ USD. You are better of searching for a Supra HD or custom HD box with a ICD controller inside. I think I paid $80 for a Supra HD recently and it has a 40MB HD in it. Have not tried to upgrade it as I also have a Link II that I use with a 2GB drive.

 

Its sounds too hard and headache inducing. :-) Ill leave it and use my megafile until it dies. Thanks for your advice.

 

I have a lot of MFM and RLL drives,but it is a long way from Maryland to New Zealand. :sad:

 

Do you have one that would plug into my megafile? I take it that Maryland is in the US?

 

JW

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RLL is MFM format that has a higher capacity.

...

Basically, a RLL controller card compressed/wrote data more efficiently than MFM. You could actually take many MFM drives, swap out just the controller, and nearly double the capacity (from say, 5mb to a huge 10mb!

...

I think the Megafile was an MFM/RLL drive, and yeah, they have a different interface than SCSI. The two formats were kind of competing for marketshare at the time. MFM/RLL is kind of the precursor of IDE.

 

A few corrections, just for the record and those technically interested.

 

MFM/RLL is not opposed to SCSI (or to IDE). You can have a SCSI and RLL (or MFM) drive. As a matter of fact all SCSI drives at that time were RLL or MFM, most of them RLL. MFM and RLL are two different encodings, SCSI is an interface.

 

What we all use to call MFM/RLL drives are actually ST506 ones. ST506 is the name of the interface (between drive and controller).

 

In this sense, IDE is closer to SCSI. Or more precisely, closer to embedded SCSI. Because both have an embedded controller, as opposed to a separate controller as in ST506.

 

Lastly, the RLL encoding using at that time was almost always RLL 2/7. RLL 2/7 achieves 50% more than MFM.

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An "embedded controller" is logic on the drive, not logic on the interface card... in plain english. :)

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RLL is MFM format that has a higher capacity.

...

Basically, a RLL controller card compressed/wrote data more efficiently than MFM. You could actually take many MFM drives, swap out just the controller, and nearly double the capacity (from say, 5mb to a huge 10mb!

...

I think the Megafile was an MFM/RLL drive, and yeah, they have a different interface than SCSI. The two formats were kind of competing for marketshare at the time. MFM/RLL is kind of the precursor of IDE.

 

A few corrections, just for the record and those technically interested.

 

MFM/RLL is not opposed to SCSI (or to IDE). You can have a SCSI and RLL (or MFM) drive. As a matter of fact all SCSI drives at that time were RLL or MFM, most of them RLL. MFM and RLL are two different encodings, SCSI is an interface.

 

What we all use to call MFM/RLL drives are actually ST506 ones. ST506 is the name of the interface (between drive and controller).

 

In this sense, IDE is closer to SCSI. Or more precisely, closer to embedded SCSI. Because both have an embedded controller, as opposed to a separate controller as in ST506.

 

Lastly, the RLL encoding using at that time was almost always RLL 2/7. RLL 2/7 achieves 50% more than MFM.

 

That is quite right.

 

SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) is a type of interface.

i.e. ...SCSI,IDE,SA512,ESDI

 

MFM (Modified Frequency Modulation)and RLL (Run Length Limited) are encoding schemes.

 

On the old Seagate drives (and others),MFM produced 17 sectors per track and RLL

produced 26 sectors per track.

 

If your MegaFile model number is divisible by 15,it is RLL (MegaFile 30 or 60)

If not,it is MFM (MegaFile 20 or 40)

 

However,the MegaFile HDs used a SCSI interface with either an MFM or RLL bridge controller to the hard drive.

 

I sold my MegaFile 30 before I could try to modify it,but I did take an Atari SH204,

removed the bridge controller (Adaptec 4000) and hooked an 80Meg SCSI to the

Atari interface. Perhaps this is possible for the MegaFiles.

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Yeah, probably a better way to put it.

 

And btw, somebody might wonder why IDE could be cheaper than ST506. After all, an ST506 drive doesn't have a controller as the IDE one. The reason is that putting the controller in the drive allows quite some many things that are impossible (or very difficult) when they are in separate units.

 

Specifically, an embedded controller allowed using Zones with different bit-rates per track. This optimizes the capacity by using the highest possible density on each track (well, actually on each Zone). So you could get the same total drive capacity at a much lower price, or a higher capacity at the same price.

 

For completeness, there is such a thing as non-embedded SCSI. For example, some Atari ST drives were, if you want, both SCSI and ST506. They had a controller card with a SCSI interface on one side and an ST506 in the other.

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I sold my MegaFile 30 before I could try to modify it,but I did take an Atari SH204,

removed the bridge controller (Adaptec 4000) and hooked an 80Meg SCSI to the

Atari interface. Perhaps this is possible for the MegaFiles.

From the SH205 on the controllers are made one unit. So the 204 is the only one you can easily upgrade with a SCSI drive.

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