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Old 01-19-2004, 06:17 AM   #1
brandonweinberg
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need ribbon cable help returning to linux


This is a hardware problem which I chose not to post in Hardware since it is dedicated to Linux hardware compatiblity/problems. I messed up my ribbon cables and cannot use the only computer with a Linux-compatible modem. I do not want MS on my little network, yet must, until I get a little guru guidance under the hood...Then I will share my modem and be MS free again. So sorry if this post is in the wrong section, post me to the right section if it really should be elsewhere. That said, if you can help, that would be great.

Two problems:

1) I have an AT form factor, unplugged all power connectors and ribbon cables, now I cannot restore the correct configuration as the BIOS states the hard drive controller cannot be found. There are three ports on the motherboard labeled 'IDE1,' 'IDE2' and 'DISKETTE.' There are five connectors from the battery, each with four pins, that plug in the back of each drive. Some are labeled (such as P3 and P5) and others are unlabeled. And there are three strips of ribbon cable. The IDE1 and IDE2 ribbon cable connectors are black while the DISKETTE ribbon cable connectors are gray. I suppose the four pin connectors from the battery supply power to each drive and data travels through the ribbon cables. I'm guessing each drive is powered (I hear them and see display lights) and since my ribbon cables are misconfigured, the BIOS cannot pass information to the MBR of my hard drive where LILO resides. Actually that may be wrong, in the BIOS the hard drive is listed as HARD DRIVE PACKET INTERFACE when it should have the cylinder measurements and all that. Anyway, there are only so many configurations for the IDE1 and IDE2 black ribbon cable connectors and I have tried many. One strip is labeled A B C. The other strip is not labeled. Both have three black connectors, two closer than the third. And I can't get them to work!!! Any help is appreciated.

2) I had opened the case a week prior during which I had also unplugged all power connectors and ribbon cables. That time, when I restored the correct configuration, the drives worked fine except one thing, which I will desperately need to solve. The BIOS, which boots only to floppy or HD, stopped booting to floppy. The culprit, I believe, is a "mysterious" wire that I think I never plugged back in. I have no idea what it is but hope this resolves the problem. It is a cable with identical four-pin female connectors on each end. They are very small, with black coating, slightly smaller than the four-pin female connector that powers the back of the floppy drive. One end fits in a CD-IN port on the motherboard. That is all I know. I hope somebody can help. I tried good boot floppies but they will not work. The power display shows on the floppy drive at boot. But the computer never boots from floppy and goes directly to the HD. Anyway, I could work on this problem later, the first problem is more necessary.
 
Old 01-19-2004, 07:14 AM   #2
lugoteehalt
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Quote:
It is a cable with identical four-pin female connectors on each end. They are very small, with black coating, slightly smaller than the four-pin female connector that powers the back of the floppy drive. One end fits in a CD-IN port on the motherboard.
This has got to be the CD-ROM to sound card wire hasn't it?? It enables the playing of music CDs. Perhaps the soundcard is built into the motherboard. Plug it into the CD-ROM drive, perhaps.
 
Old 01-19-2004, 07:27 AM   #3
brandonweinberg
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Thanks. That "mysterious" wire has mysteriously little to do with my bios floppy problem. I still cannot generate this ribbon cable configuration and hope somebody can help with that.
 
Old 01-19-2004, 07:28 AM   #4
MartinN
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Hi Brandon

I was just about to say that the mysterious wire was the CD sound wire, but now I see that lugoteehalt, beat me at it. I agree. That cable is not vital for your system to boot, you could plug it in or let it wait...

You confuse me a little when you mention cables from the battery. I assume that you mean Power Supply Unit (PSU).

Anyway, each drive CD, HDD and floppy need power cables connected. It doesn't matter which you connect where. The power cable for the floppy is probably a little different from the ones for CD and HDD.

For the ribbon cables. In some machines it's possible to install them "upside down". If that's the case in your machine, then check that they are installed correctly. There should be a red end on the ribbon cable. That end is the first cable (number 1). Check on your HDD and CD for a small label that tells which end of the connector that's number 1.

If you only have one HDD and one CD, then put the jumpers so that both are in "Master" mode (should also be described on a label). Then set the HDD on IDE1 (using any of the connectors on that cable) and the CD on IDE2.

I don't know if I have missed something. Try this and come back if it doens't work.

Good luck!
Martin
 
Old 01-19-2004, 07:32 AM   #5
brandonweinberg
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Thanks Martin, I'm off to it
 
Old 01-19-2004, 08:00 AM   #6
brandonweinberg
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On second thought, I'd like to go over the ribbon cable configuration just before I do this.
On the motherboard are three ports, IDE1, IDE2 and DISKETTE, to which three strips of ribbon cable plug into. Two strips have black connectors and one strip has gray connectors. One of the two strips with black connectors does not have any labels on it. The other strip with black connectors has labels A B C corresponding to each connector. The strip with gray connectors has labels DRA DRB TAPE and CNTL.
Here is what I think I should do with each.
DISKETTE: I think the strip with gray connectors is for the DISKETTE port. I think I should put the CNTL connector in the DISKETTE port and put the DRA connector in the back of the floppy drive.
IDE1: I think the strip with the labeled black connectors is for the IDE1 port. I think I should put the B connector in IDE1 port and put the A connector in the back of the HD, then put the C connector in the back of the CDROM.
IDE2: I think the strip with the unlabeled black connectors is for the IDE2 port. I think I would use this if I had a second HD, which I do not, so I do not think plugging ribbon cable here is necessary and the IDE2 port can be left empty.

Of course, paying attention to the red end of the ribbon. I hope this is not too dense and is readable. Should I go ahead?
 
Old 01-19-2004, 08:10 AM   #7
MartinN
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Hi again!

You could plug both the CD and the HDD in to IDE1, but then you need to set the HDD as "Master" and the CD as "Slave". Otherwise, connect HDD to IDE1 and CD to IDE2 and set both as "Master". I think that it could add some performance to plug the devices in to different IDE channels. Not sure about that, though.

I don't know about that A, B and C on the cable. Isn't one of the connectors alone at one end of the cable and the other two pretty close to each other? If so, the lone connector should be plugged in to the motherboard. Make sure to get the red end right there, too. The motherboard should have some printing about that.

I think you are right about the floppy cable.

Oh, one more thing and I probably don't need to say this , but I do it anyway. Always unplug from mains when you poke around inside the computer! You can turn on the computer without the cover to test it a little, but always remove the cord before putting your hands in there.

Good luck!
Martin
 
Old 01-19-2004, 08:13 AM   #8
brandonweinberg
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Thanks Martin, you're the man!

I'm off to it.

More confident than ever
 
Old 01-19-2004, 08:49 AM   #9
brandonweinberg
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Thanks for the education.

The computer now boots to the HD. Now I've got to figure out how to get the BIOS to boot the floppy (tried bios boot sequence floppy-> HD, tried several good floppy disks, light powers on boot) but you know what? This is a whole lot better than a couple hours ago, when the computer was in my spare junk computer parts box, I almost gave up on it. I can be such a pussy sometimes

Thanks again!
 
Old 01-19-2004, 09:02 AM   #10
MartinN
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Good to hear that things are getting better.

Is there any OS on the HDD (an old copy of Windows 9x or something)? When you boot into that OS, can you access the floppy from it? If not, try tinkering with the floppy cables.

I think that your BIOS settings are correct, but there is the possibility that you have to swap floppy drives in BIOS. On my very old test machine (P166) with an Award Pn'P BIOS, the settings for swapping floppy drives is right below "Boot Sequence" in the "Bios Feature Setup" menu.

When you got the floppy drive working, the only thing left is to find a good Linux distribution for you.

Regards
Martin
 
Old 01-19-2004, 09:47 AM   #11
brandonweinberg
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It's true Slackware is not for pussies! But I'm actually not that bad and I'm working hard. I'll get this floppy working soon and will try swapping drives and some cable fiddling soon enough. One more question for you. This computer used to be part of a company whose sysadmin took away bios access. F2 access the setup but it has been turned off. Only way I can access it is when I remove a drive. Can I reset this so I can access the BIOS at every startup, like it was?
 
Old 01-19-2004, 10:18 AM   #12
MartinN
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Sorry, it's kind of hard answering questions here, since you never know how much newbie a "newbie" is.

There is usually a jumper somewhere on the motherboard to remove the BIOS password. If you can't find it, try searching for the motherboard on the net. There is usually some printing on the motherboard that tells what model it is.

Regards
Martin
 
Old 01-19-2004, 10:27 AM   #13
brandonweinberg
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Thanks Martin for taking the time to help me with these questions. BTW, I still consider myself a newbie, no matter HOW good mom says I am
 
Old 01-19-2004, 02:45 PM   #14
lugoteehalt
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Bit irresponsible in that havn't really taken in above but you can return the bios to its defaults by simply cutting off the battery to it for a few hours, preferably 24.

Put a piece of paper under the arm that holds it down.

Always recall static electricity buggers everything. Even if it works when put back together its probable lifetime may have been reduced.

 
Old 01-20-2004, 02:15 AM   #15
sutton401079
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Hi Brandon,

Rules to follow when attaching cables to Hard Drives/CDROMS

IDE interface Jumpers Power
____________________________
|::::::::::::::::::::| |:::::| |0000| <= Back Of HD/CDROM
|_______________1_______RBBY|


The power connector should only go in one way with
the following wire order RED BLACK BLACK YELLOW

The jumper settings should be described on the drive in some
manner usually on the top of the drive this will vary by drive

The IDE interface will usually have a small 1 printed somewhere
either right by the interface or on the bottom of the drive printed
on the circut board there. the red strip on the ribbon cable should
be lined up with this 1, In my experience this will be the end
nearest the power connector

Rules for Floppies

Power Floppy interface
______________________
|0000| |:::::::::::::::::| | <= Back Of Floppy
|YBBR_1_______________|

The power connector can be inserted backwards so place it so the
wires are in the following order YELLOW BLACK BLACK RED

The Floppy interface might have a small 1 somewhere I don't remember
but the red stripe indicating pin 1 should be placed so that it is nearest
to the power connector.

Good luck getting your problems sorted out, hope this helped.

Chris

Last edited by sutton401079; 01-20-2004 at 02:28 AM.
 
  


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