ALR 386/2 and FT Archive 150mb tape, complaint/? for replacement

Mark J. DeFilippis mark at promark.UUCP
Sat Apr 14 13:27:23 AEST 1990

I just got finished installing an Archive Fasttrack 150mb drive in a
Hauppauge 386, and it runs great.  I just installed another Archive
drive that tested OK on a Hauppauge 386 board into an ALR 386/2
16 mhz motherboard with a set of ram expansion cards populated to 4 meg.

It does not run properly at all.  It writes junk, and sometimes locks
up in the middle of the write.  It has been determined that the problem
is with the ALR motherboard and memory cards.  When I called ALR tech support
they asked me if my board was "Xenix certified".  I stated being a long time
loyal customer that helped ALR to grow to its present size I bought the board
before you had a policy of charging $150 to certify a board runs Xenix.
I also noted that when they ran their ads back then they stated that
their boards ran Xenix, and SCO listed them as a certified OEM. Aaahhhh
but our policy has changed. (Did this sound familiar, the old growth syndrom
or lets spit on the people that made us!)

What I was told was that they have so many versions of the board that
some certify under Xenix, some don't.  (I think this means that they
were first to market with the 386 product and that the original design
had many flaws, so they fixed them as they went along depending on the
clients application.  I was told they will certify my box for $150.
Then to fix the problem with the Archive drive they will bill me at
an hourly rate of $65. (Yes, this is a blank check).  BTW, this drive
runs fine on a Compuadd-386, Hauppauge-386, and even a 386SX.
The problem with the ALR is with DMA access to the two proprietary
set of memory cards which cost me $1100 (without memory).  (Yes, I know
everyone else charges less then $100 for a 32 bit ram card, but these are an
ALR ram card set!  My dealer told me at the time that I was the only person
who ever purchased these cards from them in year they were marketing them.)

I can't contact my dealer CompuByte as they don't sell ALR machines
anymore as they got "fed up with ALR" as quoted from the owner himself.
I guess this is what you get when you go with the manufacturer who is to
market first with the i386 chip on a board.  (BTW, they are also the
first to market the i486, with the exception of the IBM 486 enhancement...
Any takers?

So as not to waste this new $900 tape unit, I will replace the 386
motherboard which these days is cheaper then the ALR memory cards
alone. (My motherboard is pretty hacked with wire fixes anyhow).
I now know what it feels like to have purchased a TI/PC in the
age of IBM msdos compatibles.

1. Is there anyone else out there who had this problem and was able to
resolve it?  (I can't afford the blank check for ALR tech support)

2. For the ALR replacement I am considering a 20 or 25mhz 386 board from
JDR MicroDevices (if I can get through the constant busy signal).  Anyone
using this board under SCO Xenix?  How about SCO UNIX? or some other manuf.

Mark J. DeFilippis
SA @ Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Adelphi University, Garden City, NY 11530                   (516) 663-1170
UUCP:	 uunet!adelphi!markd

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