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My cdrom drive has suddenly started playing up. It's on a different controller from the hard drive and I would be interested to know if it is the actual drive ...
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  1. #1
    Linux Engineer hazel's Avatar
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    Is it the drive or the IDE controller that is failing?


    My cdrom drive has suddenly started playing up. It's on a different controller from the hard drive and I would be interested to know if it is the actual drive or the controller that is failing. The drive can be replaced but if the motherboard is shot, I am in trouble. Is it possible for a knowledgeable hacker to tell what is going wrong from the kernel error messages? I attach a typical specimen.
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  2. #2
    Linux Newbie rudie_rage's Avatar
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    hmm, cant say I'm good with kernel error outputs, but its reasons like this I keep a bunch of spare computer parts around, no matter how old and junky. I'd just swap the cdrom and see if i could get another to work. Any chance you know of anyone with another cdrom they could donate for an hour to test it?


    edit: oh, and theres also the possibility of it being your ide ribbon between board and cdrom that died.... In my experience they are the first thing to break in a computer.
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  3. #3
    Just Joined! nachos's Avatar
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    The first thing I would check was to make sure that your HardDrive is set to the first IDE cable channel, and your CD-ROM is set to the second channel (get inside the case and look at the cables on the motherboard). next is to be sure the drives are both set to "cable select". otherwise you get trouble. Also, you computer is trying to recognize your CD-ROM as a Harddrive.
    Fear not, your motherboard is fine, and so is your CD-Drive. Chances are all it takes is some rewiring or a system update and some patience.

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  5. #4
    Linux Engineer hazel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nachos View Post
    The first thing I would check was to make sure that your HardDrive is set to the first IDE cable channel, and your CD-ROM is set to the second channel (get inside the case and look at the cables on the motherboard).
    Yes, that is so. I can't actually see the connection to the motherboard (see below) but it definitely isn't a slave to the hard drive. In any case, it would have to be the second controller because the kernel recognises it as hdc, not hdb.
    next is to be sure the drives are both set to "cable select". otherwise you get trouble.
    I'm surprised. I'm sure I read somewhere that Linux requires drives to be jumpered explicitly as master or slave. I have downloaded a Samsung manual so that I can check the jumpering but I doubt if this is the problem because the drive was working well when I got the computer. It went wrong quite suddenly.
    Also, your computer is trying to recognize your CD-ROM as a Harddrive.
    Shouldn't it? I thought that was the whole point of ATAPI - that it allows optical disks to emulate ATA hard drives.

    I have sneaked a look inside but it's a nightmare in there. This is a "mini-tower" so everything is shoehorned into a very small space. The power unit is right in the middle, covering up most of the motherboard, and the drive cables disappear beneath it. To check their mobo connections, you'd have to unscrew the power unit first and I'm not doing that without help. I'm phobic about hardware!
    "I'm just a little old lady; don't try to dazzle me with jargon!"
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  6. #5
    Linux Engineer rcgreen's Avatar
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    My guess is that it is the drive. It seems logical to me
    that peripheral components wear out sooner than
    motherboards. It's just a hunch. One way to find out
    would be to connect it to the same channel as the hard
    drive. If it still misbehaves, it is bad. If you have reasonably modern
    hardware, cable select is fine, Linux doesn't care one way or
    the other. You must use the newer type cables with 80
    conductors (they seem a lot smoother than 40 conductor types).

    If you are more lazy and extravagant, buy a new one and try it.
    If you have a bad IDE channel (which I doubt), just get a new computer.

  7. #6
    Linux Engineer hazel's Avatar
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    Thanks. That led to a solution (I hope!)

    I looked inside again to see if I could switch the drive to a slave on ide0. That turned out to be physically impossible because the ide0 cable is very short and its slave connector won't go anywhere near the exchangeable disc bays - unless I swapped the floppy drive and the cdrom drive. But to find this out, I had to trace the length of all three cables by hand and I suddenly realised that I could feel what had to be the ide1 motherboard connector. Well, I thought it wouldn't do any harm to give it a firm inward push. Actually I didn't expect it to do much good either, but when I booted, there were no more kernel errors and the drive seems to be functioning normally now. I hope it stays that way.

    I do hate hardware problems. They make me feel clumsy and incompetent.
    "I'm just a little old lady; don't try to dazzle me with jargon!"
    www.hrussman.entadsl.com

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