Megafile 60 problems

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markus44uk
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Re: Megafile 60 problems

Post by markus44uk »

I found a 30meg HD and it boots fine with my 1040ST so the hardware in the Megafile 30 is definitely working OK. I swapped my 60meg HD into the Megafile 30 case and the same problem...no boot, etc. I sent the Megafile to a data recovery company who swore they could read the disk, but no joy as they didn't have the right hardware.

So I am at my wits end on this. Does ANYONE know of a UK-based company or person who can create a disk image and recover my data?

Thanks in advance
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Re: Megafile 60 problems

Post by tzok »

Have you tried to load an ICD Pro driver from a floppy disk? Have you tried Putnik's HDD driver? Maybe only autoboot area was damaged. Atari needs a HDD driver to recognize an ACSI hard drive.

You can find ICD Pro disk image here: http://joo.kie.sk/?page_id=306
...or here: https://sites.google.com/site/stessenti ... dp655a.zip
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Re: Megafile 60 problems

Post by ijor »

I agree with tzok. Boot from a floppy with an HD driver and try to access your disk somehow. Try some sector editor and see if you can read any sector. See if the drive is detected at all.

Also, just in case, verify that the Megafile 30 has a compatible controller. Which drive is in the working Megafile 30?

Otherwise, chances that the disk itself is damaged. If so, then there is no much that a recovery company can do.
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Re: Megafile 60 problems

Post by markus44uk »

Found a way to get a disk image from the Megafile. If I go the UltraSatan route, will the 1040ST be able to boot from a disk image?
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Re: Megafile 60 problems

Post by ijor »

markus44uk wrote:Found a way to get a disk image from the Megafile. If I go the UltraSatan route, will the 1040ST be able to boot from a disk image?

You have to write the image to the SD card, not just copy the file. And it might not boot because the boot code might be specific to the Megafile.

But these are very minor problems and (relatively) easy to solve. Can you read the Megafile and have the content on a disk image?
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Re: Megafile 60 problems

Post by mrbombermillzy »

Now Im intrigued... How did you get a disk image from the Megafile?!
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Re: Megafile 60 problems

Post by markus44uk »

I haven't gotten the image yet. I found a company that claims to be able to copy the entire disk image....sending the megafile to them today and should know in a day or so if it is recoverable. If not then I am going to sell it all.
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Re: Megafile 60 problems

Post by markus44uk »

Thanks for the replies but am still a bit lost. My Megafile 60 has about 10-20 megs of midi and sysex data and a handful of programs from when I used it exclusively for music composition using two programs by Hybrid Arts - SMPTE Track which is a sequencing software application and Genedit which is an editor/librarian for MIDI instrument patches and sysex data. I would really like to be able to recover this data and have shipped the Megafile to a number of HD recovery companies. Most returned it saying they didn't have the software or controllers to access the data. Only one company managed to diagnose the problem. Their diagnosis was:

As you may recall we discussed the options for recovery which were at that time largely unknown, being dependent on the condition of the hard drive and whether or not we have an ISA RLL disk controller chipset that supports the format on the drive. Having now examined the drive, we have found that there is a mechanical alignment issue, which prevents the drive from seeking to the desired track reliably and we have also been able to confirm that the RLL encoding, defined by the SSI 32D5321 ENDEC and 8085 firmware, is not one for which we have support in an off-the-shelf controller. These problems are not insurmountable and I am as confident as I can be at this time that it will be possible to recover data from this drive. The question is how best to proceed and I suggest that reading the drive over the ASCI interface whilst overriding the drive’s servo control during imaging is probably the quickest and most cost-effective option. It is necessary for us to spend some effort looking at the practical options for imaging the drive over the ASCI interface. The electrical specification of the ASCI interface is well documented and certainly it seems feasible to interface this to a microcontroller. It is then a case of writing the necessary code to image the drive, but this option needs to be researched in detail to be sure that it is possible.
When a MFM or RLL drive with a stepper motor head actuator (positioner) is low-level formatted, the data tracks are written so that one step of the stepper motor mechanically moves the heads exactly one recorded track across the disk surface. The problem with your failed drive is that the mechanical alignment between the stepper motor, which moves the heads across the disk surfaces and the recorded tracks, has drifted over time. Now when the disk controller requests that the drive move to a specific track, the stepper motor moves the correct number of required positions, but the heads end up mechanically not lined up quite on the track, so data cannot be read. The heads in your failed drive appear to be good and it is just the alignment that needs correcting. One other approach to recovering data from your failed drive, assuming you have a fully functional Atari ST computer, would be to write an imaging program for the Atari ST. This is nothing more than a program which asks the drive to step from the very first track to the last and reads all available sectors on each track, writing the data to a file or another drive. The controller takes care of decoding the data format and checking the CRC (checksum) for the data on each sector. Theoretically, provided that you can help the drive to see track 0, which it needs to do at least once after power on, an imaging program with sufficient read-retries will allow you time to manually tweak the head position for each track as it runs and so read all the data on each and every track.


They wanted over £750 to recover the data and would still charge me at least £275 even if they were unsuccessful in recovering any data. That's way out of my budget. I was hoping to find someone in Atari land who might have the expertise/willingness to help me out with this.The Megafile 60 is the faulty disk. I also have a Megafile 30 that is working fine. Ideally, if someone were to be able to provide a utility that could read the Megafile 60 and copy over the files onto the Megafile 30, I would be able to recover what I wanted. The problem is that I don't have any program or utility that can read the Megafile 60. I am hesitant to try and find/buy a working Megafile 60 to write a disk image to, but they are few and far between and quite expensive only to find that the fix doesn't work. Then I am stuck with more gear.

Alternatively, I'd be happy to send the Megafile to someone who has the hardware/software to create a disk image or copy all the programs and data files onto a PC and save to an SD card. Assuming the programs and data are recovered, then all I need is an UltraSatan which I can then use as my main hard drive.

Sorry to go on for so long but I figured presenting as much background as possible would give me the greatest chance of finding someone who can help. By the way, I am in London not the USA.
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Re: Megafile 60 problems

Post by ijor »

So if I understand what they are saying, they say that they are confident the only problem is that the stepper motor is misaligned but that otherwise the disk is ok. They also say they can't read anything because they don't have a compatible controller.

Honestly, I don't understand how they can be so sure the disk is ok, except the stepper, if they can't read anything at all ??? But let's assume they are right. I would do the following, just to confirm the diagnostic is precise:

First try to read the sectors in track 0. This shouldn't be a big problem because seeking to track 0 should work anyway. You don't need a special program to read some individual sectors. There are tools that you can use. Get the Supra Hard disk utilities that have a nice sector editor. And get the full ICD Pro software. They are both easy to find.

Turn off the hard disk. Boot ICD Pro from floppy. After booting from floppy is complete, turn on the hard disk. Insert disk 2 and run the "SCSI" program. You can read any sector you want. You can even specify the number of retries.

This will confirm, or not, that they are correct or not. IMHO there is no point in wasting money or lot of time without confirming this.
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Re: Megafile 60 problems

Post by markus44uk »

Thanks for this. Problem I have is getting those utilities on a floppy disk that the Atari can read. I have no atari modem and I can’t find a floppy drive for my Windows PC that is compatible with the Atari. Is it possible to buy these utilities on an atari compatible floppy disk. Can you provide a link or two to where I can find these utilities please? I am having trouble finding ICD Pro. Hopefully these sources can provide the software on a floppy and post it to me. Happy to pay for it.
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Re: Megafile 60 problems

Post by tzok »

Any internal FDD for the PC should be compatible with ST, and for USB drives Sony drives are, for sure MPF82E is. For USB drives only standard MS-DOS format is supported (but DS-DD 720 kB is supported). For the Atari it is required to have TOS 1.04 or newer to support MS-DOS formatted disks... but I'd really recommend you getting a GOTEK FDD emulator.
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Re: Megafile 60 problems

Post by ijor »

markus44uk wrote:Thanks for this. Problem I have is getting those utilities on a floppy disk that the Atari can read. I have no atari modem and I can’t find a floppy drive for my Windows PC that is compatible with the Atari. Is it possible to buy these utilities on an atari compatible floppy disk. Can you provide a link or two to where I can find these utilities please? I am having trouble finding ICD Pro. Hopefully these sources can provide the software on a floppy and post it to me. Happy to pay for it.
I don't think they are available for selling. Possibly somebody might be willing to ship you the floppies. Or as Tzok recommended, get a Gotek or an HxC floppy emulator.

I was going to say earlier that you probably should better try the SCSI utility under emulation to make sure you are familiar with it before attempting to use it on the real hard disk. You have to use an "ACSI" virtual hard disk. Both Steem and Hatari support ACSI hard disks.
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Re: Megafile 60 problems

Post by markus44uk »

Hi tzok. Thanks for the reply. I purchased an external floppy on Amazon which connected to my Windows 10 PC with no issue. However it was unable to read ANY of my over 100 floppy disks that I use in the Atari even though years ago, my old PC floppy drive was able to read them. As these floppies are literally the only remaining source of my old data (spotty at best but better than nothing), I want to ensure they are preserved and had hoped to copy them all onto my PC HD but I ended-up returning the external floppy to Amazon.
tzok wrote:Any internal FDD for the PC should be compatible with ST, and for USB drives Sony drives are, for sure MPF82E is. For USB drives only standard MS-DOS format is supported (but DS-DD 720 kB is supported). For the Atari it is required to have TOS 1.04 or newer to support MS-DOS formatted disks... but I'd really recommend you getting a GOTEK FDD emulator.
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Re: Megafile 60 problems

Post by markus44uk »

While I appreciate all the help in your email, I am afraid I am just not knowledgeable enough about Atari, TOS, ACSI, SCSI to feel that comfortable messing around with the Megafile, setting up HD emulators and the like. I just want to get my 1040ST up and running and get all my old programs and data off of my Megafile.

Is there anyone out here in Atari-land that might be able to assist? I am happy to compensate for this service (although I can't afford the hundreds of pounds that pro recovery companies are charging). I am unable to find anyone with enough experience in TOS and the Atari ST and Megafile and am hopeful someone here who is UK-based could help me out.

Cheers

Markus

ijor wrote:
markus44uk wrote:Thanks for this. Problem I have is getting those utilities on a floppy disk that the Atari can read. I have no atari modem and I can’t find a floppy drive for my Windows PC that is compatible with the Atari. Is it possible to buy these utilities on an atari compatible floppy disk. Can you provide a link or two to where I can find these utilities please? I am having trouble finding ICD Pro. Hopefully these sources can provide the software on a floppy and post it to me. Happy to pay for it.
I don't think they are available for selling. Possibly somebody might be willing to ship you the floppies. Or as Tzok recommended, get a Gotek or an HxC floppy emulator.

I was going to say earlier that you probably should better try the SCSI utility under emulation to make sure you are familiar with it before attempting to use it on the real hard disk. You have to use an "ACSI" virtual hard disk. Both Steem and Hatari support ACSI hard disks.
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Re: Megafile 60 problems

Post by ijor »

markus44uk wrote:While I appreciate all the help in your email, I am afraid I am just not knowledgeable enough about Atari, TOS, ACSI, SCSI to feel that comfortable messing around with the Megafile, setting up HD emulators and the like. I just want to get my 1040ST up and running and get all my old programs and data off of my Megafile.
I perfectly understand, of course. I'm afraid I'm not in the Uk to be able to help directly. Hopefully somebody will.
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Re: Megafile 60 problems

Post by markus44uk »

ijor wrote:
markus44uk wrote:While I appreciate all the help in your email, I am afraid I am just not knowledgeable enough about Atari, TOS, ACSI, SCSI to feel that comfortable messing around with the Megafile, setting up HD emulators and the like. I just want to get my 1040ST up and running and get all my old programs and data off of my Megafile.
I perfectly understand, of course. I'm afraid I'm not in the Uk to be able to help directly. Hopefully somebody will.
Are you in Europe or in the USA? I would be ok with shipping it to Continental Europe, just not the USA.
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Re: Megafile 60 problems

Post by tzok »

I always used their services: http://mydata.pl/ but they don't have site in English. You may also try to contact this lab: https://sgdata.eu/ (also in Poland).

Both I know, and trust them... and not all recovery labs you can trust. I know cases where recovery lab irreversibly damaged the media after client resigned from their services, just to ensure any other lab won't recover anything from that drive.
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Re: Megafile 60 problems

Post by markus44uk »

tzok wrote:I always used their services: http://mydata.pl/ but they don't have site in English. You may also try to contact this lab: https://sgdata.eu/ (also in Poland).

Both I know, and trust them... and not all recovery labs you can trust. I know cases where recovery lab irreversibly damaged the media after client resigned from their services, just to ensure any other lab won't recover anything from that drive.
Thanks...I have emailed both of them (in English) and will see what kind of response I get.
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Re: Megafile 60 problems

Post by ijor »

markus44uk wrote:Are you in Europe or in the USA? I would be ok with shipping it to Continental Europe, just not the USA.
Sorry, I'm not in Europe.

Btw, what happens with the floppies? I understand you can't read them on the PC. But they do read fine on the ST? Don't you have your files on floppies, or all the valuable stuff is only on the hard disk?
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Re: Megafile 60 problems

Post by markus44uk »

Most floppies read on the atari but sometimes I get an unable to read disk it may be corrupted message but that might be when I switch floppies before closing the window

I don’t have a lot of data backed up to floppies. Back in 1991 we just didn’t worry about HD failure.
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Re: Megafile 60 problems

Post by jd »

Before I got my ethernet sorted on my Atari's I used the last PC I had that still had a floppy drive attached but it was all very finicky, the most reliable route was to format the disk (make sure it a double density DD not High density disk HD) in windows with default options, copy whatever data/programs I needed from the internet onto this disk via the PC, the ST then read the disk fine.

If formatted on the ST (with DOS compatibility) my PC could never read them.

So try the above with the ICD Pro Utils attached here, you only really need disk 1.

Once you get them onto a floppy that your Atari can read try the following :

1. Boot up megafile
2. Insert ICD disk utils into Atari
3. Switch on Atari so it auto boots from floppy.

On boot screen does it detect a drive and even better recognise any partitions?

If not try the following :

1. Boot up megafile
2. Leave the megafile running for half hour to warm up
3. Insert ICD disk utils into Atari
4. Switch on Atari so it auto boots from floppy

the temperature is definitely an issue for the old drives :

http://www.atari-forum.com/viewtopic.ph ... at#p118876
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Re: Megafile 60 problems

Post by markus44uk »

Thanks....which ICD utilities should I be trying in order to get the Megafile to be recognized by the Atari? I don't want to lose the data on the HD.
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Re: Megafile 60 problems

Post by jd »

ICDP655A.ZIP extract onto floppy as described above.

Make sure the the extracted AUTO folder is on the root of the floppy disk i.e. not within a directory.

The disk will auto boot with the ICD Utils, follow procedure I posted above.

This will not damage any data, you want to see if the Atari can see it and then see if it can see any partitions on it.

Take a note of the boot messages when the ICD drivers load.
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Re: Megafile 60 problems

Post by markus44uk »

Hi. Have done as you suggested. Atari is not seeing the megafile. I ran ICD SCSI ID Check program and the only DMA bus devices are Adaptec 4000/4070 on ACSI ID 0: All the rest are blank after scanning.
I ran StartHD program and only ID 0 runs. All other IDs do nothing. Atari is not seeing the HD.
When I run ICD Desktop program while it scans for available partitions, the megafile orange light illuminates so there is some connection between the atari and the megafile...but alas no available partitions or logical drives appear in the scan. Write cache is on and write verify is on amd I retried with them off with no change.
Any other ideas as to how I can get the Megafile recognized?
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Re: Megafile 60 problems

Post by jd »

So your Atari can see the host board fine just problem with actual spinner.

Try the following :

1. After booting with floppy and ICD drivers loaded on boot find and run ICDFMT.PRG (you won't be formatting it just seeing if it gives any errors)
2. Select the Adaptec controller then continue
3.Then providing no errors select partition
4. Does it display a message saying partitions read from disk? does it display any parition info, is any of them ticked in the 'On' column?

then quit.

Failing all that open the case of the megafile and power it up, can you hear the disk actually spinning up? 'Put your ear to it when you boot it up what do you hear? (careful of the PSU of course!)
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