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Vintage Computers Any vintage computer systems, calculators, video games etc., but with an emphasis on 1980s and earlier equipment.

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Old 13th Aug 2019, 1:34 pm   #1
brenellic2000
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Default Zip100 scsi 486PC 'run time error' problem

For my sins I still use a 486PC DOS 6.22/W.3.1 for my serious CAD/DTP/spreadsheet work using Zip 100 discs for file storage, usually with a ZipPlus drive. No problems over 20 odd years!

Recently my ZipPlus drive has not been booting up: 'can't find drive letter' for it; 'run time error R6001 null point assignment'. The green power light comes on... as does the orange data light even though no data is being transferred ... and it thus won't eject a disc.

If I use a spare drive it works fine for a day or two before failing. I daren't risk 'destroying' my last spare drive!

What's going on?

- is it destroying the increasingly irreplaceable Zip drives?
- Is the SCSI card dying? - what new card do I need? ASPI for Dos/w.3.1
- is there a tweak in the setup/autoexec? I've forgotten most of my setting up skills learnt in the 1980s so be gentle with me!
- I'm tempted to use a parallel drive in a spare (huh!) port but have run out of parallel ports! Can I use a 2-way data switch?
- 3-1/2" floppies (1.44mb) are too small ... is there an alternative storage for a Dos/w.3.1 PC??

.. but above all l need to sort this run time error as l my CAD is finger printed to this PC - I long ago lost the 'key'!

Anyone?
Barry
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Old 13th Aug 2019, 5:54 pm   #2
JohnBHanson
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Default Re: Zip100 scsi 486PC 'run time error' problem

I would check that the 12 and 5 volt power supply rails are correct and clean as my first port of call.
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Old 13th Aug 2019, 9:18 pm   #3
cmjones01
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Default Re: Zip100 scsi 486PC 'run time error' problem

If you're determined to keep this setup working, and it uses a SCSI card, you might find that replacing the Zip drive with something like a SCSI2SD would allow you to use more modern storage media.

That's what people running old Macs, Amigas, Acorn Archimedes and various Unix workstations do.

Chris
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 8:40 am   #4
brenellic2000
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Default Re: Zip100 scsi 486PC 'run time error' problem

Thanks John and Chris,

Am I not correct in the thinking the SCSI2 is hard drive with SD card? - The whole point about using Zip 100 discs is fully accessible data over several standard PCs/Laptops as required.

What causes this run time error? Hardware fault, software 'glitch'?
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 10:06 am   #5
dave cox
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Default Re: Zip100 scsi 486PC 'run time error' problem

I have a couple of zip 100 SCSI drives going spare, these are the bare 3.5 drives to be mounted in a 'floppy disk' sized orifice using the smaller molex power (like a floppy disk) and 50w ribbon. They were both working when last used ...

PM me if interested, dc
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 10:47 am   #6
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Default Re: Zip100 scsi 486PC 'run time error' problem

The suggestion of checking PSU supplies is very worthwhile.

I don’t think the error message is much help, were they ever, from what I can find it means that a program wanted to run an instruction at mem add 0 (null) or 0 in a protected area.

Why it tries to do that is another matter.

Is it destroying the drives, I.e, when you get this error the drive doesn’t work again?

If the drives are not being destroyed then it could be the program/driver is being corrupted when loaded, or a hardware fault within the computer, memory dropping bits etc, the program/driver is probably loaded into the same memory locations. The computer should be able to run memtest86, worth trying it.

If the drives are being destroyed then it’s more likely PSU or a faulty SCSI card/cable/terminator..
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 12:39 pm   #7
brenellic2000
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Default Re: Zip100 scsi 486PC 'run time error' problem

Thanks Frank,

Just thought I'd try a parallel drive ZIP in LPT1 - same thing happens!... Power supply seems OK... and then I notice my LPT2 laser printer has gone down. ie: both parallel ports seem to have been knocked out. WincheckIT diagnostics (of course) reports all OK! I'll check MSN diagnostics and memtest later.

Serial ports/hardware seem OK as does the SCSI scanner. 'Tis a mystery

Is this a motherboard fault developing a death knell? I've been using this faithful Compaq Deskpro 25 years!

Reloading ZIP 'Guest' software from a floppy won't work until the PC recognises the drive! If l had hair I'd be pulling it out....

Barry
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 1:01 pm   #8
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Default Re: Zip100 scsi 486PC 'run time error' problem

Check the continuity of the earth connection between any devices that are connected to the computer. It is possible if you are pluging two devices together and one of them is not earthed that it will sit at half mains voltage and this can damage the electronics in either of them when the data lines are connected together.
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 2:28 pm   #9
brenellic2000
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Default Re: Zip100 scsi 486PC 'run time error' problem

Did a defrag for good measure and tried MSD - did a 'test printer' and lo!, LPT2 is back in operation and my printer works. However as soon as I plug a known working parallel Zip drive into LPT1 (motherboard), LPT2 (extra card) stops working! (I don't have Memtest - it'll need to be on 3-1/2" floppy).

This is driving me potty! I hope I don't have to rely on unreliable 3-1/2" floppies....

I seem to recall there used to be plug-in port testers/diagnostic testers?
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 9:46 pm   #10
arjoll
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Default Re: Zip100 scsi 486PC 'run time error' problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by brenellic2000 View Post
- 3-1/2" floppies (1.44mb) are too small ... is there an alternative storage for a Dos/w.3.1 PC??
You can use an IDE-CF or IDE-SD adapter instead. In old DOS-based systems these don't work as removable storage the way a ZIP drive will, you'll need to shut down the system when inserting/removing the card, but let you use more modern storage media.
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Old 15th Aug 2019, 2:36 pm   #11
brenellic2000
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Default Re: Zip100 scsi 486PC 'run time error' problem

Thanks Arjoll,

If l have a spare slot, the card will only, surely, be accessible from the back of the PC - not at all practicable given the frequency I swap zip discs!
- is there an 'extension cable' for these cars to bring it round to the front?
- does it require a driver/software? I'm Dos6.22/W3.1?

The good news is I swapped data and power cables as advise, all to no avail. I tentatively started afresh with my last spare parallel port drive/data cable/psu... and it now all works perfectly!... but, for how long before dying?

I'm totally mystified.
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Old 16th Aug 2019, 1:50 am   #12
arjoll
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Default Re: Zip100 scsi 486PC 'run time error' problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by brenellic2000 View Post
If l have a spare slot, the card will only, surely, be accessible from the back of the PC - not at all practicable given the frequency I swap zip discs!
- is there an 'extension cable' for these cars to bring it round to the front?
- does it require a driver/software? I'm Dos6.22/W3.1?
They're not a card - the last one I did slotted into a 3.5" external bay, and just plug in to an IDE interface. No drivers, they just appear as an ATAPI device.

I haven't used one pre-Pentium, but the example I'm thinking of was for a client who was still hanging on to an MSDOS based system on a P133 that required a Novell Netware 4 server, and backing up onto about 15 floppies.

Having a quick browse, the supplier I used to get these from in NZ no longer stocks them (not surprising) but there's the likes of this on eBay which would be suitable, or if you don't mind a little DIY (surely you don't ) the bare CF-IDE adapters are a lot cheaper, considering that the CompactFlash interface is basically IDE.
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Old 16th Aug 2019, 10:13 am   #13
dave cox
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Default Re: Zip100 scsi 486PC 'run time error' problem

Another option is networked storage.
This will be a PITA in 6.22 but is possible ...

I think needing to power cycle when changing media and the durabillity of the CF physical connector will be a problem (SD might be better in this respect).

dc
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Old 16th Aug 2019, 2:12 pm   #14
brenellic2000
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Default Re: Zip100 scsi 486PC 'run time error' problem

Thanks, I've ordered up an 3-1/2" adaptor and will give it a try as a last resort as I do have concerns over the durability of the gold contacts in reqular insertion.

Networking is not really an option as I use a Dos/W3.1 as the main PC, W.98 portable/printer/scanner station; XP colour file conversion and a W.7 internet... in two different buildings! (The XP and W.7 can't run my DOS DTP/CAD programmes... and I'm too old to relearn!). Zip 100 drives are perfectissimo!

That leaves the run-time error issue still unresolved... touch wood, she's behaving herself...
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