386/ix hangs when 2nd ESDI drive attached

Larry Campbell campbell at redsox.bsw.com
Sun Oct 22 14:36:43 AEST 1989

I'm stumped and am looking for hints.

I'm trying to add a 2nd ESDI drive to my Dell 310 running 386/ix (2.0.2).
The first drive is a vanilla CDC drive (150MB, don't know the exact model
number) which has been running fine for a year.

The second drive is an Imprimis 173MB drive.  It's a 3 1/2" drive (cute
little thing!) with 1072 cylinders, 9 surfaces, and 36 sectors per track.

My controller (unfortunately, it seems) is a WD1007A.  I don't have the
OEM manuals for any of this stuff (next time I buy a system I'm *demanding*
they be included!) but I'm told the WD1007A can only handle 34 sectors/track.
There's a jumper on the Imprimis drive that Imprimis claims makes it look
like it has 34 sectors/track.

I formatted the drive using the controller's BIOS.  It gave me three choices
for drive geometry, none of which exactly matched the actual geometry, so I
picked the one with the least wasted space (325 cylinders, 16 surfaces, 63
sectors/track).  I suppose this is the standard sort of stupidity IBM
foisted on the world with their AT "architecture".

Anyway, I ran through "sysadm addharddisk" and everything seemed to go OK.
Surface analysis finds a believable number of bad sectors and remaps them,
fdisk works, mkpart and mkfs work, and without any intimidating error
messages, I get all the way through.  I can even fsck the new file systems.
So far, so good.

Now I mount the file systems I created.  They work OK for a while, but sooner
or later (very soon if I do lots of I/O to the second drive) the system
hangs, apparently in the disk driver.  Characters still echo but no
processes run.  The second drive select light is on solid.  There are no
error messages on the console.  I have to hit the Big Red Switch.

Has anyone else ever run into this problem?  Do I need a new disk controller?
A new UNIX vendor?  Better magic words?  Pixie dust?  Help!!
Larry Campbell                          The Boston Software Works, Inc.
campbell at bsw.com                        120 Fulton Street
wjh12!redsox!campbell                   Boston, MA 02146

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