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Old 01-13-2009, 01:18 PM   #1
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Unable to boot from cdrom when solid-state drive is attached

This is driving me nuts. I've got:

* WinSystems PPM-TX 266 Mhz Pentium PC104-plus single board computer
* 8GB Super Talent IDE Solid State Drive (SSD)

Previously development for this was on QNX, but future development is moving towards linux. It *should* be easy to get linux installed on PC104, right?

Setup is with a single ribbon cable, connected to both the cdrom drive and the SSD. I've tried all configurations of master/slave on the cdrom and SSD, and the system simply will not boot from a CD if the SSD is connected. (slackware, puppy, damn-small linux, WinXP, QNX -- tried them all) Yes, the BIOS is configured to boot from the CD first, hard drive second.

If I disconnect the SSD entirely, the system boots from the CD no problem. (of course, it's hard to proceed with the installation without a hard drive.....)

I began to suspect that I got a bum SSD. To test, I setup the system with an IDE harddrive (QNX) and the SSD -- no cdrom attached. Under QNX I managed to format the SSD, and wrote a couple small files to make sure that the SSD functions.

1) QNX master, SSD slave -- boots and recognizes SSD
2) QNX master, cdrom slave -- boots from cdrom
3) QNX slave, cdrom master -- boots from cdrom
4) SSD master, cdrom slave -- will not boot
5) SSD slave, cdrom master -- will not boot

My goal is to install linux on this system - i don't really care how. There is no floppy, there is no USB. There is ethernet (i'm contemplating a network install - but CD would be much simpler).

Has anyone experienced something similar? Any suggestions on how to proceed?

*edit* I even made my own install CDs with -boot-load-size 4 since apparently some cdroms have trouble with that. (See this thread) It didn't change anything.

Last edited by asynchronous13; 01-13-2009 at 01:24 PM.
Old 01-13-2009, 04:14 PM   #2
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I finally swapped out the CD drive with one from an old Dell. The dell cd drive did have the problem from the thread I linked to, but with a -boot-load-size 4 disc it appears to be working.

Slackware 12.2 caused a kernel panic, but 12.1 is currently installing. yay.


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