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ZuluSCSI on a Geneve


dhe
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Last year I added a scsi2sd 5.5 to my Geneve.

  https://www.scsi2sd.com/index.php?title=SCSI2SD

That worked pretty ok, I had a couple of issues.

  1) I couldn't get it to consistently boot.

  2) also it was somewhat slower than I expected, showing up in power as a slow device.

 scsi2sd's are configured via a program that sits on a PC and you select various configuration options.

 

chips shortages, blah blah

 

The designers started over and made zuluscsi.

  https://zuluscsi.com/

 

Here is where things get interesting. The configuration via a program is gone. You know configure everything in the file system of the SD card you are using.

Also, no longer is the data on the SD card a blob, it's a fat32 file system with drive images, that means you can easily pull your SD card and copy the files to your PC as a backup - very much like you can with a GoTek.

 

What was even more amazing to me, I sent my micro SD from my scsi2sd 5.5 to Sampler Zone/Chicken Systems, and for free they ported my drives to a new SD card and they booted right up! Amazing to me.  https://samplerzone.com/collections/scsi2sd

 

What's more, in addition to the above:

  ZuluSCSI

    - Consistently boots.

    - Is listed as a fast device and boots fastly.

    - Uses full size SD cards - so it's easy to get in an out and you get that crisp click going in or out.

    - The back has a female connector, on the SCSI2SD 5.5, I had to use a db-25 Female/Female adapter, it worked, but was just another point of failure with no value add.

 

I'm very happy with ZuluSCSI.

 

 

image.thumb.png.d83ee425b6e4db7c8a7c63a6bcdddc41.png

 

ZuluSCSI

image.png.e56a6ee2c450bc2beef271bfa5764020.png

 

SCSI2SD

image.png.2128ffb2f29f17e8eb070153bacbe6c7.png

 

 

 

 

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Nice find, Dan!  The image concept is very appealing to me. It seems that the ZuluSCSI would eliminate most of the hassle associated with transferring data to/from the SCS2SD device, which for me includes keeping an Adaptec card in an old PC so that I can manipulate the images.  Can you manipulate the image files via the USB connector or do you need to remove the SD and insert into a reader/PC?

 

For some speed tests, my EZ135 drives were faster than the SCS2SD Rev 5.  I haven't done an actual timed read/write in a long time. Is the performance noticeably better to go along with the FAST label?

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5 hours ago, 9640News said:

@dhe

 

Can you post the POWER program?  I don't have that utility to see how my SCSI2SD V6 behaves.


Thanks

My SCSI2SD behaved as FAST.

 

I did have a spare SCSI2SD that had a blown voltage regulator for the normal power connector but did power from the front USB connector.  So, I am doing the exchange and will add/replace my existing SCSI2SD in my @Shift838 PEBox setup with this one.

 

Beery

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On 10/22/2022 at 9:15 AM, OLD CS1 said:

I have been having problems with my SCSI2SD v5 on a WHT SCSI controller.  I assumed it was the SD card or something else system-wise, but I cannot ignore the opportunity to trade-up with the outfit in Tennessee.

you can only trade up if you have higher than version 5.5 or higher.  i checked both of mine and I have a 5.0 and a 5.1.  So no dice.

 

I went ahead and ordered a ZuluSCSI tonight from https://www.samplerzone.com

 

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3 hours ago, Shift838 said:

you can only trade up if you have higher than version 5.5 or higher.  i checked both of mine and I have a 5.0 and a 5.1.  So no dice.

I bought a handful of 5s directly from Alex Perez at a VCF several years ago, as well as a 6.  Alex (and the Amiga crew) are a bunch of fun guys to hang out with.  I re-rigged my A1200 to test out one of his 6s to see how the Blizzard 1260 with the 1230 SCSI board handled it.  Anyway, I was certain I had 5.5s but they are all 5.0b.

 

Rabbit Hole does not have any ZuluSCSI in stock on their site, but the eBay store has "over 10" available" in a kit (have to attach power and 50-pin connector.)

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2 hours ago, InsaneMultitasker said:

I like the idea of copying the image file versus sector copies via Winhex.

Seems like the image files will make manipulation off-system even easier.  TIImageTool should make short work of it for us.  Me likey.

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Here is a 250'ish MB SCSI Image for the ZuluSCSI recognized by TIDIR that has been zipped up.  It is formatted with no files.

 

The filename is HD20_512.hd.  Replace the first "2" with the SCSx drive # (1 to 7) you want it to be or make up to 7 copies of the file for use on the TI-99/4A.  The Geneve supports up to 6 drives.

 

Beery

HD20_512.zip

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I received my Zulu today.  I hope to get some time to install it this week and look forward to testing the device with a few of my images and the one @9640News attached above.   I guess after 25+ years of positive experiences with the EZ135 drives, I'm a little hesitant to move everything to flash but I think the convenience will quickly win me over. 

 

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Hmm. My mileage seems to vary ... I'm still very happy with my SCSI2SD.

 

It has never failed to boot (I'm using my own bootloader though on a 0.98 EPROM), and file exchange is simple: I just pull out the SD card, put it in a card reader on the PC, copy the sector contents to the PC, and work on it with TIImageTool. By that, I get a backup of the contents for free, and after changing them, I just write them back to the card, put it back into the SCSI2SD.

 

And it is very fast, much faster than the previously used mechanical SCSI drive. More like a RAM disk.

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23 minutes ago, mizapf said:

I just pull out the SD card, put it in a card reader on the PC, copy the sector contents to the PC, and work on it with TIImageTool.

Is there any way that TIImageTool could work with raw devices to read e.g. SD cards directly?  I realize that would add a level of abstraction to your Java code, and I suspect that would have to vary by platform, but is working with block devices in Java similar to working with sector-image files?

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19 minutes ago, OLD CS1 said:

Is there any way that TIImageTool could work with raw devices to read e.g. SD cards directly?  I realize that would add a level of abstraction to your Java code, and I suspect that would have to vary by platform, but is working with block devices in Java similar to working with sector-image files?

I tried this in several ways, in particular for the CF7 support, but in the end I gave up. Accessing raw devices in Java is no fun, in particular when you want to do it in Linux, Windows, and macOS. In the end, it was a problem with Ubuntu where the devs kicked out the gksu command which I needed for getting root access (with those comments like "you should never need to use that"). The alternative would have been to recommend users to add themselves to the "disk" group, but this would have granted direct access to any mass storage - one of the worse in the history of bad ideas (even worse than telling people to run TIMT as root).

 

In fact, CF7 support never got that much attention, maybe also with the new hardware that appeared in the last years.

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15 hours ago, mizapf said:

and file exchange is simple: I just pull out the SD card, put it in a card reader on the PC, copy the sector contents to the PC, and work on it with TIImageTool.

I had trouble directly reading/writing the cards though in hind sight, it was almost certainly user error. That, and I didn't want to inadvertently use a PC-based utility to accidentally overwrite my primary hard drive.  To clarify:  I successfully use the SCSI2SD 5.0 and 6.0 devices with my systems and have recommended them to others.  I just haven't committed to them fully, since I've had to connect the SCSI2SD device to my Adaptec PC-based controller to back up or restore my library of images. (I am slowly reducing the number of platters and images to manageable levels as I move to the SCSI2SD / Zulu devices). 

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This may also be a difference between Linux and Windows usage; for accessing the raw drive you need something like dd, which is part of most Linux distributions, and so you naturally use that like any other tool, whereas you have to get dd.exe for Windows from somewhere, install it, remember it, and run it in the command prompt.

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4 hours ago, mizapf said:

dd.exe for Windows from somewhere

I use this.  Works perfectly.  I just used it to image three of four working SCSI RAID-5 drives, one with corruption which prevented it from being recognized by the controller, and used those images to perform a recovery.

 

https://uranus.chrysocome.net/linux/rawwrite/index.htm

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Alex Perez noted in his presentation at AmiWest 2022 that the ZuluSCSI is essentially the same as the SCSI2SD v6 but without the FPGA, so all of the work is done in software.  It is not as fast as the v6, but it gives it a "run for its money," especially at a lower price-point.  Plus, being available and offering some new configuration features.

 

https://youtu.be/RzNcVdXMDVw

 

(Credit to @RobertB for posting the video.)

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4 hours ago, OLD CS1 said:

Alex Perez noted in his presentation at AmiWest 2022 that the ZuluSCSI is essentially the same as the SCSI2SD v6 but without the FPGA, so all of the work is done in software.  It is not as fast as the v6, but it gives it a "run for its money," especially at a lower price-point.  Plus, being available and offering some new configuration features.

 

https://youtu.be/RzNcVdXMDVw

 

(Credit to @RobertB for posting the video.)

I liked the video!   For the TI, we aren't transferring that much data to really worry about MB/second speeds -- it's all fast to us.  :)   I got my Zulu the other day but haven't had a chance to compare it against the v6 or v5.  I didn't notice any appreciable speed difference between the 5.0 and 6.0 models, so I don't expect to see any with the Zulu.

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  • 2 months later...

More than two months have passed since I bought my ZuluSCSI.  Last night I created raw images of my SCSI2SD's (v6.0a) logical drives, copied them to the ZuluSCSI SD card, and renamed the image files per the documentation.  The image files mounted as SCSI IDs 1,2,3,4,5,6 and I was able to access the TI/Geneve files from all of the "devices".   The speed seems comparable to the EZ135 and SCSI2SD devices.

 

A feature I intend to inquire about is a SCSI command (or extension) that would allow the host machine (e.g., the TI) to tell the ZuluSCSI SCSI2SD to mount an image file to an ID[lun] via software.  The current process requires you to remove the SD card from the ZuluSCSI, rename the files via a PC, and re-insert the SD card.

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