Promise EIDE Pro ISA Controller Hangs on 286 Computer

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Promise EIDE Pro ISA Controller Hangs on 286 Computer

Postby tegrady » 2017-11-25 @ 00:05

Hi, I am working on getting an old 286 10mhz computer up and running.

I got it running, but the bios does not allow the user to configure the hard drive. You have to choose from 43 different types of hard drives.

I was able to get it to format up to 63 mb of the hard driving using type 4. It seems to work well like this, but obviously that's not a lot of hard drive space.

Therefore, I bought a Promise EIDE Pro 16-bit ISA controller with an onboard bios. It is supposed to work with hard drives up to 8gb.

I disabled the hard drives in the motherboard's bios and then restarted the computer.

The computer started up with no errors and the Promise controller was detected. The controller model and bios version appeared on the screen. Then it said "checking IRQ for Secondary IDE...", then it said "setting up HDD on 1st IDE port..." At this point the computer just hangs. It does nothing and I have to restart. It always hangs at the same point.

The only other cards in the system are the sound card and the video card. I removed the sound card in case that was causing a conflict, but I got the same error. I also tried disabling the secondary IDE controller on the card just in case there was some conflict, but nothing changed.

I was reading the manual for the Promise controller and it seemed to both say to disable the onboard hard drive and floppy controllers, and also set the hard drives to "type 1" in the bios. I tried it with the hard drive set to "Type 1" and to "none", but it still gets stuck at the same point.

I have also tried using a real hard drive and a compact flash card adapter, but no change.

My only guess is that there must be a conflict between an IRQ setting on the motherboard and the IRQ of the Promise controller. However, I believe I have disabled all the onboard controllers.

I'm new to working on old computers like this (I'm much better with Windows 95/98 era computers) and I can't think what else might be wrong, other than the Promise controller is simply not compatible with the motherboard.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I have attached a pic of the screen where the computer hangs. Thanks in advance.

UPDATE: I removed the hard drive entirely and tried booting. Now I get past the "setting up HDD on 1st IDE Port". It now adds "..... not found!" after it, and tells me that the Promise EIDE Pro BIOS not installed. I then tried another hard drive that was completely unformatted and it also got this screen. See the updated photos. What does it mean "EIDE Pro BIOS not installed"? Any ideas? Thanks.
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Last edited by tegrady on 2017-11-25 @ 01:29, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Promise EIDE Pro ISA Controller Hangs on 286 Computer

Postby mrau » 2017-11-25 @ 00:39

is this controller even meant to work with a 286?
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Re: Promise EIDE Pro ISA Controller Hangs on 286 Computer

Postby tegrady » 2017-11-25 @ 01:03

The documentation does not mention 286, 386, 486, Pentium, etc. It just says that it is compatible with DOS 3.x plus, which I believe is from the 286 era.

Also, I have updated my original post with some new developments and photos.

Thanks!
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Re: Promise EIDE Pro ISA Controller Hangs on 286 Computer

Postby mrau » 2017-11-25 @ 01:37

i see someone on this forum used the same device, but on a 486;
is there any way to disable LBA? can You test on any other pc? the devices are configured properly for master/slave operation?
edit: not installed means the handling routine of the firmware is not hooked up i guess; that should be normal when there are no disks - there is nothing to handle; also this makes me think that this controller will work on a 286 - something else is amiss;
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Re: Promise EIDE Pro ISA Controller Hangs on 286 Computer

Postby tegrady » 2017-11-25 @ 01:53

The bios on the motherboard is very basic. There is no option to disable LBA. I can only change Disk 1 and Disk 2 to either none, or type 1 to type 43. I re-read the Promise manual and it does say to set the C: Drive and D: Drive to "Type 1". I did this and I'm just getting to the screen that says that the BIOS is not installed.

The hard drive is set to master and there is only one hard drive attached on the primary ide channel.

I have a Pentium 3 with an ISA slot that I could try it on, but I don't want to mess around with the computer if I don't need to...

Thanks.
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Re: Promise EIDE Pro ISA Controller Hangs on 286 Computer

Postby hyoenmadan » 2017-11-25 @ 02:45

In addition to Promise instructions, if your board has built-in IDE ports, you also need to disable them in order to free the IRQs required by your card ports.
Also, i'm seeing this board has jumpers. Maybe them are misconfigured. You need search for the documentation how to set up. Generally the only values need setup if you have a additional picky SoundCard or a SCSI controller are the Onboard Option ROM address and the IRQ.
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Re: Promise EIDE Pro ISA Controller Hangs on 286 Computer

Postby TheMobRules » 2017-11-25 @ 05:42

Based on your post, I assume that your motherboard has integrated Floppy & IDE controllers.

If your Promise EIDE card is like mine, it probably has jumpers for setting the address of its own BIOS. If so, try setting it to an address range other than C8000h-CBFFFh which corresponds to the IDE BIOS of the motherboard as both BIOSes may be conflicting due to clashing addresses. The "EIDE Pro BIOS not installed" message may be due to this kind of conflict.

After you've done that, disable the Floppy & IDE controllers to avoid interrupt conflicts, plug your hard drive to the Primary IDE controller in your card and see if it works properly. I think it should work by leaving all drive types as "NONE" in the motherboard BIOS, but you can try setting the first drive as type 1 in the BIOS as instructed, although I think that was a trick used by the Promise cards to add large disk support to the existing IDE controller in your board.
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Re: Promise EIDE Pro ISA Controller Hangs on 286 Computer

Postby brostenen » 2017-11-25 @ 11:08

Enable or disable shadow in BIOS?? Perhaps see, if the Controller can take over all operations, independently from the main BIOS, by removing any HDD entry in the main BIOS?!
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Re: Promise EIDE Pro ISA Controller Hangs on 286 Computer

Postby Predator99 » 2017-11-25 @ 11:31

Yes, a good question is if you mainbaord has onboard IDE? If yes, it needs to be disabled.

IDE cable connected the right direction? ;-)

Yes, the controller is cabable of running in a 286, otherwise the controller-BIOS would not initialize.


Can you send photos of mainboard + controller?
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Re: Promise EIDE Pro ISA Controller Hangs on 286 Computer

Postby Predator99 » 2017-11-25 @ 11:33

Then take a look in the manual...is there a way to enter the controller-BIOS to change the parameters? I assume there is some kind of hotkey?
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Re: Promise EIDE Pro ISA Controller Hangs on 286 Computer

Postby tegrady » 2017-11-25 @ 15:32

The motherboard has no onboard IDE controller. It only has an onboard floppy disk controller, which I have disabled.

I have disabled the onboard serial ports and parallel port as well.

I also tried changing the Promise controllers external bios setting from C8000H to D8000H, but there was no change.

Here are photos of the motherboard bios screen and the manual for the Promise controller. For the bios screenshot, I have tried hard disk types "none", "Type 1" and "Type 47", none worked.

I also cannot find any way to enter the Promise controller's bios setup screen during bootup. There does not seem to be any hotkey to enter it during bootup.

Thanks.
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Re: Promise EIDE Pro ISA Controller Hangs on 286 Computer

Postby Predator99 » 2017-11-25 @ 15:49

Then I would like to come back to your cable. Did you try the reverse direction? Or the other connector?

Did you connect the LED on the controller? What does it do? Off, blinking or on the whole time?

On the whole time means the cable needs to be reversed... ;-) I would propose you try this, did this many times by mistake and never damaged anything...
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Re: Promise EIDE Pro ISA Controller Hangs on 286 Computer

Postby tegrady » 2017-11-25 @ 16:06

Yes, I connected the LED. It blinks while it is trying to boot. When I get the final error message that the BIOS is not installed, the light stays on.

I have the red line on the ide cable facing pin 1 on the controller. I tried plugging the cable in upside down and the system would not even attempt to boot.

Thanks.
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Re: Promise EIDE Pro ISA Controller Hangs on 286 Computer

Postby akula65 » 2017-11-25 @ 16:30

I own one of these controllers and have attached the files that I obtained from Promise years ago. You might want to look in the EPRd100.zip archive at the eidepro.txt file for some troubleshooting tips.

Others who are offering suggestions may find the manual PDFs useful.

Good luck!
Attachments
EPRd351.zip
Promise EIDE WinNT Driver
(27.63 KiB) Downloaded 9 times
EPRd100.zip
Promise EIDE Pro Win3.1 Driver
(200.5 KiB) Downloaded 10 times
EidePro.zip
Promise EIDE Pro Manual
(1.45 MiB) Downloaded 14 times
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Re: Promise EIDE Pro ISA Controller Hangs on 286 Computer

Postby tegrady » 2017-11-25 @ 17:06

Thanks, but I actually have the original manual. I have tried all the troubleshooting steps, as far as I know....
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Re: Promise EIDE Pro ISA Controller Hangs on 286 Computer

Postby Predator99 » 2017-11-25 @ 19:10

Remove/Disable the Controller Bios, boot from floppy and look with any IDE Diagnostics utility if the drive is there...
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Re: Promise EIDE Pro ISA Controller Hangs on 286 Computer

Postby dieymir » 2017-11-26 @ 19:43

Type 47 allows you to define custom HDD geometries so you actually don't need the controller BIOS (at least not for HDDs <= 504MB). You can try the following:

1) Ensure that the HDD is clean (no partitions on it). Maybe you partitioned the HDD using a geometry different that the one the controller thinks is the correct one.
2) If the above does not work. Disable controller BIOS and configure the HDD geometry using the BIOS setup utility. Select Type 47 and put the cyls, head and sectors of our HDD or 1024/16/63 if it's >=504MB Write Precompensation is not used on IDE drives (put 65535 here).

Hope this helps.
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Re: Promise EIDE Pro ISA Controller Hangs on 286 Computer

Postby tegrady » 2017-11-26 @ 23:40

OK, I disabled the Promise onboard bios. It still does not detect the hard drive. I tried both the compact flash drive and the real hard drive.

I have another IDE controller that does not have an onboard bios, and it does detect the hard drive. It just won't let me select more than 117mb. It also does not seem to like the compact flash drive either. It will detect it, but I cannot successfully install DOS 5.0. It locks up on just before the install is complete.

Also, while my motherboard bios does list type 47, it does not let me enter my own CHS settings...

I'm beginning to think that this controller just does not like my motherboard.

Thanks.
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Re: Promise EIDE Pro ISA Controller Hangs on 286 Computer

Postby Jo22 » 2017-11-27 @ 04:12

tegrady wrote:I'm beginning to think that this controller just does not like my motherboard.

Hello, perhaps the BIOS just too old, as well. Some 286 systems are older than IDE or AT-Bus drives even.
That BIOS could have been made when WD1003 controllers and MFM/RLL drives were still in wide use.
I'd recommend to give XT-IDE Universal-BIOS a try. It works very well for anything DOS-based. :)
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Re: Promise EIDE Pro ISA Controller Hangs on 286 Computer

Postby tegrady » 2017-11-27 @ 07:12

Hi, you might be right. The computer came with an MFM hard drive installed and an MFM controller card, which I have removed. I have seen XT-IDE Universal-BIOS, but I have no way to write to an eprom. I think I saw some guy on youtube that bought the XT-IDE Universal Bios already installed onto an ISA card. Do you know where I can buy one of these, or where I can buy the two new BIOS chips with XT-IDE Universal BIOS already written to them? Thanks.
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