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Old 28 September 2015, 02:09   #1
tygre
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Slave CF card setup disappears after reboot with dual CF card adapter

Dear all!

I bought recently a dual CF card adapter from Amedia Computer, naïvely thinking that I could have my main CF card as "master" and then setup and use other CF cards as "slaves". Of course, this does not work When I put two of my cards in the adapter, only the "master" shows up.

I can run HDToolBox or HDInstTools and setup the "slave" CF card, even format its partitions when using HDInstTools. These partitions will show up in the Workbench Buuuut, as soon as I reboot my Amiga, pfff, all the setup disappears: the partitions are not available anymore from the Workbench and HDToolBox or HDInstTools show the "slave" CF card as being "modified" and unset: all the information is lost (file systems, partitions...)

Funily enough, if I setup, partition, and format one of the card and then use it as "master", the Amiga can see its partitions as expected!

So... what am I doing wrong? What am I missing so that, after setting up a "slave" CF card, I can use it along with the "master" one after rebooting?

I am using an Amiga 1200 and I tried the 3 possible combinations of my three cards:
  • Kingston 4GB 9904524-001.A01LF 6226975-0721403 X001 ASSY IN TAIWAN
  • SanDisk Ultar II CF 15MB/s 4GB BH090512757B MADE IN CHINA
  • pq1 Hi-Speed 120 4GB AC80-4030R8N091 MADE IN CHINA

Thanks in advance!
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Old 28 September 2015, 10:18   #2
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First of all, do not mix HDInstTools with any other program. HDInstTools has the most evil bug ever. If you used HDInstTools once, you have to stick with it forever. All other partitioning tools can be interchanged, but not HDInstTools.

Regarding your problem, once you connect a slave, the master should become "changed" in HDToolbox and you have to save the changes in order to make the slave visible.
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Old 28 September 2015, 15:09   #3
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Morning Thomas!

Thank you for the advice: I had no idea that HDInstTools was that bad... But, now, I am stuck with it?

Regarding my problem, you are right: when I plug one of these cards in my other Amiga that has a real hard-disk as master, HDToolBox (I never used HDInstTools on that one) shows the "master" as changed... but, in the case of my Amiga 1200, the "master" is never shown as "changed".

What could be the reason? Can I somehow "reset" or "force" the status of the "master"?

Thanks!
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Old 28 September 2015, 17:47   #4
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Does HDToolbox see the slave? The only thing which changes on the master is the "LAST" flag. If HDToolbox sees that a drive is not the last one in the list, it wants to clear the flag. At boot time RDB scanning stops at the drive with the LAST flag set. Therefore the partitions on your slave are not shown in Workbench while the master has the flag set. But HDToolbox should always see both drives and all partitions.

If the partitions on the slave drive vanish from HDToolbox after a reboot, then there is something wrong with the card or the adapter. Something more serious than a flag on the master's RDB.
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Old 28 September 2015, 18:43   #5
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Thanks a lot Thomas, I will try tonight with HDToolBox because yesterday I did my last tests with HDInstTools, will keep you posted!

Update: Ah, no matter the card or the changes that I make to the "slave", the "master" does not show as "modified"... I am using the same "master": could it be damaged? Could it be the adapter? Or is there something that I can do to force the "master" to record the change to the chain?

Cheers!

Last edited by tygre; 29 September 2015 at 00:01.
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Old 29 September 2015, 17:10   #6
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You could try this program: http://thomas-rapp.homepage.t-online...gerdbflags.lha

Run it like so:

changerdbflags scsi.device 0

then it will print the current settings. Then run it like this:

changerdbflags scsi.device 0 nolast nolasttid

to turn off the LAST and the LASTTID flags if they are set. Note: if the drive now appears as "changed" in HDToobox, do *not* save the changes because this would set the flags again.

BTW, if HDToolbox thinks that there is something wrong with the flags it should come up with this screen upon start:



Did you ever see this message?
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Old 30 September 2015, 21:01   #7
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Hi Thomas!

Thank you very much: I will try your program tonight (can't wait to have this thing working!)...

Yes, I see this message when I plug one of the CF card into my other Amiga with a hard-disk drive as master: the hard-disk drive is marked as changed and HDToolBox shows this message but not when I am using two CF cards in my Amiga 1200 with the dual adapter... Weird, eh?

Talk to you soon!
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Old 01 October 2015, 04:09   #8
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Hi Thomas!

So, I followed your advice and used your program but without solving my problem

When using ChangeRDBFlags as you suggested, for example when I use my "master" CF card alone (after saving any change with HDToolBox), I get:

Code:
1.> ChangeRDBFlags scsi.device 0
LAST = on
LASTLUN = on
LASTTID = on
RSELECT = on
SYNCH = off
When adding another CF card and using

Code:
1.> ChangeRDBFlags scsi.device 0 NOLAST NOLASTTID
HDToolBox shows the expected screen that you mentioned ealier... but, still, whenever I exist HDToolBox, the second, "slave" CF card always shows as "Unknown" and not configured at all, even though it is! I can take it out from the adapter and plug it in my other Amiga and it works fine

Again, I tried with different combinations of card playing the roles of "master" and "slave" with exactly the same behaviour... So, I would think that the adapter is causing the problem, what do you think? Would that be possible that some hardware defect on the adapter causes the problem?

Thanks!
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Old 01 October 2015, 10:34   #9
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Well, you weren't exactly clear about this before: now you say that the partitions on the slave not only aren't shown on Workbench but they also disappear from HDToolbox after a reboot.

Do they only disappear after a reboot or are they also gone if you leave HDToolbox without a reboot and run it again immediately?

You also say that the initialized card works normally in the other Amiga. Does it show the new partitions created in the adapter or does it show some old config created on the other Amiga? (use unique partition names so you can distinct old config from new one)

What happens if you remove the master and keep only the slave? Does it see the slave alone? Does it behave the same or do the partitions stay?

The question is what the adapter does to the card. If it only blocks read access to the first block, we could move the RDB to a later block.

So once there are partitions even after leaving HDToolbox, you can use this program: http://thomas-rapp.homepage.t-online...ads/rdbman.lha

Run it like this:

rdbman scsi.device 0 file=ram:tempfile backup restore start=8 erase

It will read the RDB from HDD and save it to the file, then it will read it back from the file and save it to HDD on the new position. It will also erase the blocks before the new position so that the old RDB can no longer be found.

If you want to keep the backup you should use a file on floppy disk or HDD rather than ram:tempfile.

P.S.: do you have a manual for the adapter? Does it say anything about parallel operation of master/slave? Does it perhaps have a switch or jumper to enable/disable the slave?

I still wonder why HDToolbox wants to set the LAST flag on the master although it sees the slave on the same bus.

How are the cards listed in HDToolbox? Are they shown as SCSI Address 0 / LUN 0 and Address 1 / LUN 0 or do they have different numbers?

Last edited by thomas; 01 October 2015 at 10:40.
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Old 01 October 2015, 12:43   #10
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I had similar issues when I tried using two CF cards in my 1200. They would both show up in HDToolBox and I could partition them, but after a reboot they did not show up in WB. I don't remember more details about what exactly happened.

I gave up making it work back then, but perhaps I should try it again with the new information in this thread.
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Old 01 October 2015, 12:54   #11
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I had the adapter with the 3 leds (black one), never worked for me with 2 cards.
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Old 01 October 2015, 12:57   #12
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This looks like the one I have:
http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/MTEwMFgxMT...VxWws/$_57.JPG

Edit: I realize that not all CF cards will work in a master/slave setting since some of them can only work as single devices.
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Old 01 October 2015, 18:00   #13
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Hi Thomas and all!

Thanks for your answers... I'll answer your questions and try your suggestion this evening, in the meantime, I just want to confirm that I have exactly the same adapter as @demolition: there is no manual and no config except for one jumper to select which on the two reader is the master and the other is slave...

Talk to you soon!
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Old 02 October 2015, 04:11   #14
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Hi there!

Quote:
Originally Posted by thomas View Post
Well, you weren't exactly clear about this before: now you say that the partitions on the slave not only aren't shown on Workbench but they also disappear from HDToolbox after a reboot.

Do they only disappear after a reboot or are they also gone if you leave HDToolbox without a reboot and run it again immediately?
Sorry about not being so clear: you are spot on! The partitions on the "slave" CF card indeed disappear if I run HDToolBox, save the changes to the "master" CF card, quit, and rerun HDToolBox

Quote:
Originally Posted by thomas View Post
You also say that the initialized card works normally in the other Amiga. Does it show the new partitions created in the adapter or does it show some old config created on the other Amiga? (use unique partition names so you can distinct old config from new one)
The Amiga really shows the new partitions!

Quote:
Originally Posted by thomas View Post
What happens if you remove the master and keep only the slave? Does it see the slave alone? Does it behave the same or do the partitions stay?
If I just leave the salve card, without moving it into the "master" adapter, then nothing happens, the Amiga does not see the slave at all. Now, if I move the "slave" card into the "master" position, then the Amiga sees it with whatever partitions I configured using HDToolBox until they disappear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thomas View Post
The question is what the adapter does to the card. If it only blocks read access to the first block, we could move the RDB to a later block.

So once there are partitions even after leaving HDToolbox, you can use this program: http://thomas-rapp.homepage.t-online...ads/rdbman.lha

Run it like this:

rdbman scsi.device 0 file=ram:tempfile backup restore start=8 erase

It will read the RDB from HDD and save it to the file, then it will read it back from the file and save it to HDD on the new position. It will also erase the blocks before the new position so that the old RDB can no longer be found.

If you want to keep the backup you should use a file on floppy disk or HDD rather than ram:tempfile.
I haven't tried yet, I wanted to share with you some screenshots before attempting anything (please see my next post in this thread).

Quote:
Originally Posted by thomas View Post
P.S.: do you have a manual for the adapter? Does it say anything about parallel operation of master/slave? Does it perhaps have a switch or jumper to enable/disable the slave?
Unfortunately, the adapter is so simple (too simple?) that there is no user manual: only one jumper to choose which of the two CF card reader plays the role of "master" (and the other plays the role of "slave").

Quote:
Originally Posted by thomas View Post
I still wonder why HDToolbox wants to set the LAST flag on the master although it sees the slave on the same bus.

How are the cards listed in HDToolbox? Are they shown as SCSI Address 0 / LUN 0 and Address 1 / LUN 0 or do they have different numbers?
Yes, when starting HDToolBox with two CF cards plugged in the adapter, HDToolBox scans two scsi.device as expected

Talk to you soon!

Last edited by tygre; 02 October 2015 at 04:27.
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Old 02 October 2015, 04:24   #15
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Here are some screenshots of HDToolBox to show what is happening to the CF cards...

With only one "master" CF card:


After plugging a second, "slave" CF card, showing the partitions on the "slave" and saving the changes to the "master":





After quitting and running again HDToolBox (no reboot):


The information about the "slave" CF card completely disappeared! Now, if I switch off the Amiga, remove the "slave", and restart the Amiga, HDToolBox rightly reports that:


And, I can save the changes to the "master":


And, I can go back to the beginning of this post: add the second, "slave" card, see its partitions, etc. Ad vitam æternam...
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Old 02 October 2015, 11:31   #16
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Ok, so now we know at least that there is nothing wrong with HDToolbox's thinking of who is last. When the master is alone it wants to set the LAST flag and if the slave is present it wants to clear it. That's how it should be.

But we also see that writing to the master somehow destroys the slave. I think this is most likely a hardware problem. Either the adapter does not seperate master and slave properly or the CF cards do not properly act as master and slave.

However, there is still something to try out which might work around the problem. What you should do is to avoid writing to the master when the slave has data on it.

Therefore you should avoid seeing this:


Instead, when you insert a brand new (not partitioned) slave, you should see this:


Now save changes to the master in order to see this:


Only then create partitions on the slave and do no longer touch the master in HDToolbox:


If you remove the slave you will see this:


But leave it like this, do not save changes.
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Old 02 October 2015, 12:08   #17
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Yep, I was going to suggest as well that one or both of the CF cards don't support master/slave operation and so you either get contention errors or commands duplicated on both drives. I've seen it happen before where one CF card wouldn't work with a CD drive but another would, and it used to happen in the early days of 2.5" hard drives too...
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Old 02 October 2015, 19:00   #18
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Hi Thomas et al.!

Thanks Thomas for the advice! I will try tonight but I wonder if I could use your ChangeRDBFlags instead of HDToolBox? Using ChangeRDBFlags, I think, would require less shuffling with CF cards and switching on/off my Amiga

Update: I followed Thomas' steps but the problem still remains: after partitioning the second, "slave" CF card, when I quit HDToolBox, the partitions appear on the Workbench but at the next reboot (or at the next run of HDToolBox even without reboot), these partitions disappear again and the "slave" appears as "Unknown"

Could it either be my CF cards (three different brands!) or the adapter that is messing something?

Any advice or other steps to try?

Thanks!

Last edited by tygre; 03 October 2015 at 16:00.
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Old 06 October 2015, 04:51   #19
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PS. Would it be possible that the second, "slave" CF card requires a mount-list because I am using the Kickstart and Workbench 3.1 (as opposed to Workbench 3.9)?
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Old 06 October 2015, 12:57   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tygre View Post
Any advice or other steps to try?
I'd like to discover what happens to the slave CF card in the adapter. Apparently it indicates success when writing something to the first blocks but the data is no longer there when it is read again.

Please use your other Amiga to prepare a slave and use rdbman as described above to move the RDB to block 8.

Then put the card into the adapter and check if partitions are seen.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tygre View Post
PS. Would it be possible that the second, "slave" CF card requires a mount-list because I am using the Kickstart and Workbench 3.1 (as opposed to Workbench 3.9)?
Mount lists for harddrives were only needed in Kick 1.2 and below. Since Kick 1.3 partitions are automatically mounted by the driver.

All CF cards you listed above are smaller than 4 GB. OS 3.9 would only help for disks larger than that.
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