MEGAFILE what hard drives can be used in it?

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MEGAFILE what hard drives can be used in it?

Postby Chandler » Thu Apr 03, 2008 8:18 pm

well it's a common occurance i think

but i have a megafile 30 where the hard drive has died which is (i think) a Seagate 278R RLL 5 1/4 hard drive

anyway they are near impossible to find now (apart from some silly prices i've seen on the net)

what i want to know is are there any other types of drive that can be used in it's place? :?: :)

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Re: MEGAFILE what hard drives can be used in it?

Postby jd » Fri Apr 04, 2008 11:25 am

If you are patient they do come up on ebay for next to nothing.

There was one a few weeks ago it went for 7 quid!!

The ones on there at them mo from ebayshops in the states are silly prices.

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Re: MEGAFILE what hard drives can be used in it?

Postby Chandler » Sat Apr 26, 2008 1:59 pm

can anyone tell me

i have found a Seagate ST225 which is only 20mb compared to the megafile's massive 30mb :P

can i use the ST225 in it's place of the original dead Seagate ST 278R?

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Re: MEGAFILE what hard drives can be used in it?

Postby Chandler » Sat Apr 26, 2008 3:17 pm

just found out from doing a bit of searching on this site

the original megafile 30 hard drive was a Seagate 277R, so can a ST225 be used in it's place even though it's a tad smaller? if not... why!

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Re: MEGAFILE what hard drives can be used in it?

Postby PaulB » Sat Apr 26, 2008 5:36 pm

Yes that drive will definitely work. Pretty much any 5 and a 1/4 inch mfm/rll drive will work as long as it's scsi 1 and has the two connectors on the drives circuit board.

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Re: MEGAFILE what hard drives can be used in it?

Postby Chandler » Mon Apr 28, 2008 7:48 pm

ok

well i have a very nicely working Seagate ST 225 20MB 5 1/4 hard disk working in my.......Vortex hard drive! but if i put this in the Megafile it will not work

can't format..... nothing, all it does it groan!

so again my question is the megafile interface fussy about what Seagate drives it has? the original was a ST 277R 30 MB

god i hate these hard drives, they are poo!

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Re: MEGAFILE what hard drives can be used in it?

Postby Chandler » Tue Apr 29, 2008 9:14 pm

so after lot's of messing about it would seem that the Seagate ST 225 does NOT work in a Megafile

possibly because the Megafile interface is RLL and the Seagate ST 225 is MFM

unless anyone can tell me diffent this is my conclusion

bugger :x

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Re: MEGAFILE what hard drives can be used in it?

Postby Greenious » Wed Apr 30, 2008 8:33 am

I'm not going to recap the history of MFM/RLL, I think wikipedia or similar places got good coverage though.

But take my word for it: MFM/RLL harddrives use the same interface. So they can indeed be used with the same equipment.

MFM/RLL is referring to the encoding standard used by the drive on the magnetic discs.

And here is the secret, that was wellknown back in the days...

If you buy a MFM drive, put it in the megafile, and low level format the drive... you will get ~50% more space than specified on the disc!

Why? Because MFM/RLL drives are stupid ones, all the logic to handle the drive is located on the computer's controller board.

Megafile uses a RLL controller.

And RLL encoding of magnetic data was quite a revolution when it was invented, making MFM encoding obsolete overnight.
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Re: MEGAFILE what hard drives can be used in it?

Postby Chandler » Wed Apr 30, 2008 10:11 am

the problem is how do you do a low level format on the megafile?

i have HD Driver version 6,7 and 8

atari HD utilities 6

none of those can do it

i do have a Vortex drive and that can so that's what i did and the MFM drive works perfect in it

but on the megafile it can't see it

well it can kind of, i mean the orange light flashes when trying to install drive but it just makes 3 or 4 groans! and then stops, can't find drive is the message or not compatible

tell me how i do it and i will.......

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Re: MEGAFILE what hard drives can be used in it?

Postby Greenious » Wed Apr 30, 2008 10:41 am

Now, I haven't had a megafile for many years, so I don't quite remember what I used when I fitted a MFM drive. :(

Maybe Allison can help?

She created this very informative thread, a while back...
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Re: MEGAFILE what hard drives can be used in it?

Postby Chandler » Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:39 pm

holly schmolly i've sorted it!

Greenious you are a star :)

it was the Techie Alison thread that gave me the help i needed :D

i think she deserves a kiss for that :wink:

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Re: MEGAFILE what hard drives can be used in it?

Postby techie_alison » Wed Apr 30, 2008 3:19 pm

Kisses. Oh GOD!!!!!!!!!! :)

Right. Megafile. The AHDI utilities allow you to specify controllers, drives, and custom setups. MFM drives always would work with RLL controllers, except that they weren't reliable.

I had an ST225 which was quieter, so put it in the Megafile 30. I could get it to format and work, until I switched it all off. Then it'd lose the partition data. So I put the ST257R back in.

It's useful to have a handful of the old utilities at hand; ICD, Supra, AHDI. As with all of this stuff, it was always trial and error and experimentation. Which is what we all take on by stepping back 20-years.

You can also low level format the drives (which is unheard of these days) on an old IBM XT / PC. The routines are contained in the disk controller. This Google search is appropriate; http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=DEBUG.exe+MFM+low+level+format&meta= . Low level formatting was always a last resort, and it lays down the tracks in their most fundamental form.

Today's IDE drives can't actually be low level formatted as the controllers block it. And if you could do it, then you'd be deleting the firmware off of the drives too. Seagate did used to ship utilities for doing it all years ago, but today the low level format is unheard of. It's the next stage below formatting.

File layout/type > File contents/bytes > Format of drive > Phsyical layout of the tracks.

Low level formatting was always used to try and recover bad sectors. A regular format won't show them up. The bad sector lists on the tops of drives are derived from a low level format.

The Atari I do not believe is capable of performing a low level format. It's a function of the controllers themselves.

An MFM was first bought (some better some worse), and then a hard disk was bought (some better some worse).

Today, a hard disk is actually the equivalent of the controller and hard disk, hence IDE; intergrated drive electronics. It's hooks up directly to the AT data bus. These drives are in fact RLL drives, except that it's never mentioned now. All people are concerned with really the size of them, followed by the buffer size. I have a 320MB SATA Samsung Spinright HDD with a 16MB buffer in my IBM. The cream of the crop as far as hard disks go are the Western Digital 10,000rpm drives, and with a price to match. In my laptop I use a 2GB CF card instead of a 2.5" HDD, Sandisk Ultra II, and it's ridiculously fast. The access and track to track speeds are something like 0.1ms.

Back to the megafile; of course you can use an MFM drive, just that it's not designed for it so that it does weird things. I think it's an Adaptec 4080 controller? Which is an RLL controller. You can indeed format to 28 sectors per track, instead of RLL's 35 sectors per track (I think they're the numbers anyway). Whether it takes any notice is anyone's guess. I found that the ST225 was unreliable.
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Re: MEGAFILE what hard drives can be used in it?

Postby Chandler » Wed Apr 30, 2008 6:46 pm

yep kisses and i didn't say where! :lol:

well the old megafile is working now

ST 225 in it - 31.5mb divided into 4 partitions

used supra then AHDI then HD Driver version 8.18 (as i found AHDI "hung" when booting but it did boot....eventually) loads up first time everytime now fast, can read,write and delete data and it's all still there when i turn it back on after a few hours :D

will continue to test it though........

an educational day today me thinks :)

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Re: MEGAFILE what hard drives can be used in it?

Postby techie_alison » Wed Apr 30, 2008 8:21 pm

Chandler wrote:yep kisses and i didn't say where! :lol:


Wooooaa. Easy tiger. :-)

well the old megafile is working now

ST 225 in it - 31.5mb divided into 4 partitions

used supra then AHDI then HD Driver version 8.18 (as i found AHDI "hung" when booting but it did boot....eventually) loads up first time everytime now fast, can read,write and delete data and it's all still there when i turn it back on after a few hours :D

will continue to test it though........

an educational day today me thinks :)


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Re: MEGAFILE what hard drives can be used in it?

Postby Lando_C » Wed May 14, 2008 2:09 pm

I have a megafile 20 - and that is a MFM controller in there as opposed to the rll in the megafile 30.

ICD pro can low-level format most drives. I have soldered in the second control cable and a double-connector data cable from an old XT, so now I run one st-225 (the original megafile 20 disk) and a fullheight monster of a drive called seagate st-4096 at the same time from one megafile 20 controller board. only icdpro of all drivers i have tested will look for second LUN's on all acsi unit numbers, so only icd's drivers will allow this. ofcourse i have to run the megafile without case.. and I use and old AT powersupply, becuse the big iron chunk of 85 meg disk power-to-noise converter fried the original supply in the megafile.. it takes 4 amperes (FOUR AMPS) of 12volt and 1,5 A of 5v to spin up (holy macaroni thats a lot of juice).
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Re: MEGAFILE what hard drives can be used in it?

Postby 19rsn007 » Mon Jun 27, 2016 1:01 pm

Where can I find the supra utilities? (Prefer in .ST image format)

I have a megafile 30 with no drive and was given an ST-225 drive which I really want to get working

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Re: MEGAFILE what hard drives can be used in it?

Postby Kubik » Tue Jun 28, 2016 11:11 am

19rsn007 wrote:Where can I find the supra utilities? (Prefer in .ST image format)
I have a megafile 30 with no drive and was given an ST-225 drive which I really want to get working

You can also try ICDPro, I managed to get like three different drives working in SH-20x and Megafile, using that SW.
BTW: I believe you can format ST-225 as RLL for bigger capacity.

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Re: MEGAFILE what hard drives can be used in it?

Postby frank.lukas » Tue Jun 28, 2016 12:17 pm

Use Atari AHDI for it and customize/adapt the WINCAP File ...

Code: Select all

# Hard disk format and partition configuration file.
# version 1.1: 29-May-1986 lmd
# version 1.2: 23-Jun-1987 lmd      SH205 menu entry

#
# Global parameters:
#   ms#count   Maximum partition size in sectors (***DON'T CHANGE***)
#
:@@=Parameters:ms#32767:

#
# Format parameters:
# 'mn' entries (default values in [brackets]):
#   mn=name      appears in menu, name of format parms
#   hd#count   number of heads [4]
#   cy#count   number of cylinders [612]
#   lz#n      landing zone [4]
#   rt#n      seek rate code [2]
#   in#n      interleave factor [1]
#   rw#cylno   reduced-write current cylinder [cy + 1]
#   wp#cylno   write precomp cylinder [cy + 1]
#   pt=name      name of default partition to use [4-6-10]
#   sp#count   number of sectors/track [17]
#
20 Mb Mitsubuishi   :mn=SH204:
10 Mb Mitsubuishi   :mn=SH104:hd#2:pt=10:
SH204 in plastic case   :mn=SH205:

#
# Partition selections
# 'pr' entries ('N' is '0', '1', '2', or '3'):
#   pr=name      name of partition
#   pN#size      size of partition N in bytes [0]
#   fN#number   flag byte for partition N [0 if no pN, 1 otherwise]
#   iN=ccc      id bytes for partition N [GEM]
#
# Numbers are in bytes; may be followed by 'k' (x1024) or 'm' (megabytes).
#
:pr=4-6-10:p0#4424k:p1#6m:p2#10m:
:pr=10-10:p0#10404k:p1#10404k:
:pr=16-4:p0#16383k:p1#4425k:
:pr=4-16:p1#16383k:p0#4425k:
:pr=5-5-10:p2#10568k:p0#5m:p1#5m:
:pr=5-10-5:p0#5m:p1#10568k:p2#5m:
:pr=10-5-5:p0#10568k:p1#5m:p2#5m:
:pr=5-5-5-5:p0#5448k:p1#5m:p2#5m:p3#5m:
:pr=10:p0#10m:
:pr=5-5:p0#5m:p1#5m:

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Re: MEGAFILE what hard drives can be used in it?

Postby czietz » Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:36 pm

Kubik wrote:BTW: I believe you can format ST-225 as RLL for bigger capacity.


It's not his choice, anyway. The controller in the Megafile 30 will format the harddisk with RLL encoding. Previous posters have already pointed out that a harddisk made for MFM encoding may work unreliably when formatted with RLL encoding.

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Re: MEGAFILE what hard drives can be used in it?

Postby 19rsn007 » Wed Jun 29, 2016 5:40 am

I really am a nooby.
Where can I find that WINCAP file ?
Doesn anyone have an altered file for me (if so please attach)

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Re: MEGAFILE what hard drives can be used in it?

Postby Kubik » Wed Jun 29, 2016 12:49 pm

czietz wrote:
Kubik wrote:BTW: I believe you can format ST-225 as RLL for bigger capacity.


It's not his choice, anyway. The controller in the Megafile 30 will format the harddisk with RLL encoding. Previous posters have already pointed out that a harddisk made for MFM encoding may work unreliably when formatted with RLL encoding.


Could be. I remember I got a question during ICDPro Install procedure about the type of the HDD controller - MFM or RLL.

In general you're right about the reliability, however rumours say that ST-225 is the same drive as ST-237R (RLL), just more reliable :) After all, no one will really use any of those drives for any real work, as they are too slow, too noisy, and too temperature dependant. Getting ASCI-SCSI adapter and using modern SCSI drive is better way, if someone still wants to feel 'retro'. Of course, solid state devices are even better, but there's something about those real drives... :)

Anyway, I personally liked ICDPro, it's pretty intuitive and worked for me so I never had any reason trying out anything else.

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Re: MEGAFILE what hard drives can be used in it?

Postby czietz » Wed Jun 29, 2016 4:04 pm

The format of the WINCAP file is fortunately documented and not that complicated. Get the last version of AHDI, get the datasheet of your HD. Open WINCAP in an editor, start with the line for the MEGAFILE 30 and modify the parameters to match the datasheet values of your ST-225. With one exception: the number of sectors per track in the ST-225 datasheet will be for MFM encoding. With RLL encoding, as used by the MEGAFILE 30's controller, you'll be able to fit 50% more sectors in a track.


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