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Author Topic: "Not ready error reading drive A" on Megatouch XL (upgraded to Gold). Pics!  (Read 650 times)

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DaddyLongLegs

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Hello! I had a Megatouch XL that was converted to Gold sitting in a garage for quite a while. It was there since we moved to the new house. It worked fine in my old house, so maybe something got knocked loose by the movers, I am not sure. Anyway last week I tried to turn it on and received the following error:



Now I do admit that I replaced the CMOS battery because I was worried the old one would leak. I am not sure if it contributed to this error message. I have tried everything. Plugging the CD-ROM into both IDE ports on the motherboard. I tested the CD-ROM drive in an old desktop and it read the disc fine so it's not that. I tried a different IDE cable. I pulled out the boot PROM and cleaned the contacts on the pins and in the socket itself, no difference. I also cleaned the sockets and board of the riser board that "lifts" the 2nd board. I messed with all the settings I could think of in the BIOS, especially the one that said "swap A: with C:" but that did nothing. Sadly, the Merit PDF only gives BIOS settings for the DeAmertek version of the motherboard. I have the Telco version of the motherboard, and the manual says "*The CMOS setup only applies to games using the DeAmertek motherboard. Games using Telco motherboards will not need to have the CMOS set manually." And then they give you none of the Telco CMOS settings.  :-\

I have a feeling this might be  a simple BIOS setting causing this but I reset everything to default and that didn't work. And I looked for anything that said "boot order" or whatever and I see no way to tell it to not look for the A:. Why is this thing looking for an A: anyway?

Anyway here is a picture of my motherboard if it helps. Thank you to anyone who can help me get this magnificent machine working again.

« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 10:26:16 am by DaddyLongLegs »

yotsuya

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Try going into the bios and disabling the floppy drive.
***Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.***

DaddyLongLegs

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Try going into the bios and disabling the floppy drive.

There isn't really an option for it, believe it or not. It's a really old looking BIOS where there aren't many obvious options. In fact there is a Youtube video I just watched of a guy with a working Megatocuh XL and he has the floppy drive enabled and his works fine:



His boots right after that just fine.  ???

yotsuya

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Can you change your boot order to do the floppy last? I have a Megatouch and don't have that issue.
***Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.***

DaddyLongLegs

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Can you change your boot order to do the floppy last? I have a Megatouch and don't have that issue.

Nope. Here's all the options in the BIOS:










Unless I am missing something obvious. Not to mention all the photos above are of the default BIOS setting when reset.

DaddyLongLegs

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Maybe someone with the same machine can take pics of their BIOS screens? If someone could do that I would really appreciate it.

orizzle

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This happened to mine also.  I think the rom that the machine boots off of has gone bad.  Best bet is to install a hard drive - see your other thread

yotsuya

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This happened to mine also.  I think the rom that the machine boots off of has gone bad.  Best bet is to install a hard drive - see your other thread
Mine does have an unlocked hard drive in it,  so that might be a big difference.
***Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.***

DaddyLongLegs

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This happened to mine also.  I think the rom that the machine boots off of has gone bad.  Best bet is to install a hard drive - see your other thread
Mine does have an unlocked hard drive in it,  so that might be a big difference.

What does "unlocked" mean?

obcd

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Harddisks have a protection method into which you can lock the disk with a password. You can only access the harddisk contents after you unlock it with the correct password. After a power failure, it's locked again unless you disable the security after the unlock. Some arcades using harddisks utilise this technique to protect the harddisk contents. In case of the megatouch xl, it's irrelevant. It also could mean that the program can run without the security dongle in place. So basically, the software has been patched/cracked to run without security dongle.
In your case, the idea is to replace the romdisk / cdrom with a harddisk. First, you will need to find a harddisk from which the (old) mobo is capable of booting. If you remove the JP1 "eprom enable" jumper, you disable the romdisk. If you have a problem with the io card, the solution won't work as the sound chip and security dongle are also on that io card and might be inaccessible as well. So you could end up without sound or an exotic error message.
You can clean the contacts of the io board with a pencil eraser. The riser card contacts might benefit from such a cleaning as well, as they could also be oxidated. If this doesn't work, you will need to find another boot device for your mobo. A small harddisk < 10GB might work. A compact flash card and a "compact flash 2 ide" converter are the better solution as a 10Gig harddisk will likely be very old. The CF has no moving parts. You should be able to locate cheap CF cards of 1Gig - 4Gig on Ebay. The convertors 2 ide can be found there as well. There are not much electronics on such a convertor so it's safe to even buy some chinese ones.   

yotsuya

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I have a hard drive that bypasses the security check.
***Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.***

DaddyLongLegs

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Harddisks have a protection method into which you can lock the disk with a password. You can only access the harddisk contents after you unlock it with the correct password. After a power failure, it's locked again unless you disable the security after the unlock. Some arcades using harddisks utilise this technique to protect the harddisk contents. In case of the megatouch xl, it's irrelevant. It also could mean that the program can run without the security dongle in place. So basically, the software has been patched/cracked to run without security dongle.
In your case, the idea is to replace the romdisk / cdrom with a harddisk. First, you will need to find a harddisk from which the (old) mobo is capable of booting. If you remove the JP1 "eprom enable" jumper, you disable the romdisk. If you have a problem with the io card, the solution won't work as the sound chip and security dongle are also on that io card and might be inaccessible as well. So you could end up without sound or an exotic error message.
You can clean the contacts of the io board with a pencil eraser. The riser card contacts might benefit from such a cleaning as well, as they could also be oxidated. If this doesn't work, you will need to find another boot device for your mobo. A small harddisk < 10GB might work. A compact flash card and a "compact flash 2 ide" converter are the better solution as a 10Gig harddisk will likely be very old. The CF has no moving parts. You should be able to locate cheap CF cards of 1Gig - 4Gig on Ebay. The convertors 2 ide can be found there as well. There are not much electronics on such a convertor so it's safe to even buy some chinese ones.

OK thank you. I purchased a 2GB CompactFlash card and a CF to 3.5" IDE converter.

Now do I need to worry about unlocking the drive for it to be compatible with the Megatouch or something? I wouldn't mind not needing the security chip because I am worried it will die some day. I would love to get rid of the security chip if possible! It will ensure this game lasts a long, long time.

obcd

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Let's try to fix things one step at a time. Once you have the system running from a Compact Flash card, it's easier to figure out the security as you can run other dos programs on it.
The pc showing it's pci list and nothing more is basically what you would expect if it can't find a bootable drive. I notice on one of your screenshots that the drive is seen as primary slave? I assume it needs to be a primary master to be bootable.
Maybe the CF in it's adapter will behave differently. It might be worth waiting for that to arrive.
The strange sounds you hear with a harddisk connected aren't normal either. They could indicate that the power supply it's 12V line is becoming unstable. The 12V is used to power the audio amplifier chips on the io board. It's probably also used to spin the harddisk motor. A CF card might fix those issues as it doesn't need the 12V
The one thing you could do (if not done already) is copiing the files / folders on your game cd to a folder of your pc. I read that you got a link for a bootable image. Once you have the CF card, you could try to get that image on the cf card.
The first step is to get the pc to boot from that cf card. (Or from your capacity reduced harddisk.)
 

DaddyLongLegs

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Let's try to fix things one step at a time. Once you have the system running from a Compact Flash card, it's easier to figure out the security as you can run other dos programs on it.
The pc showing it's pci list and nothing more is basically what you would expect if it can't find a bootable drive. I notice on one of your screenshots that the drive is seen as primary slave? I assume it needs to be a primary master to be bootable.
Maybe the CF in it's adapter will behave differently. It might be worth waiting for that to arrive.
The strange sounds you hear with a harddisk connected aren't normal either. They could indicate that the power supply it's 12V line is becoming unstable. The 12V is used to power the audio amplifier chips on the io board. It's probably also used to spin the harddisk motor. A CF card might fix those issues as it doesn't need the 12V
The one thing you could do (if not done already) is copiing the files / folders on your game cd to a folder of your pc. I read that you got a link for a bootable image. Once you have the CF card, you could try to get that image on the cf card.
The first step is to get the pc to boot from that cf card. (Or from your capacity reduced harddisk.)

Thanks for the reply!

Yeah I figured it could be a power problem. However, I have an external IDE hard drive enclosure that I used to power the hard drive, while still having the ribbon cable hooked up to the Megatouch. It didn't help at all but the sound crackling went away. I have spare power supplies but none seem to have the connectors for the Megatouch motherboard itself. I am assuming it's a proprietary PSU?

Anyway I had the hard drive on secondary because the Megatouch CD-ROM has to be set as "slave" so I kept it like that for the hard drive. However, I also set the hard drive to "master" and it doesn't change anything either.

Hopefully I will get the CF adapter soon, but it's coming from China so it will probably take a long time.

obcd

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Yes, delivery from China can take up to 4 weeks.
The supply isn't that special, but it's an AT supply Those were used on 386, 486 and the very first Pentium 1 pc's.
Afterwards, they started to use ATX supplies. Those have a dual row motherboard connector, have a 3V3 output and also have a standby power output. They can be switched on by the motherboard. The AT power supplies simply had a power switch interrupting the 240V (or 110V). On the Megatouch supply, this switch is bypassed and the wires are simply soldered together if I remember well. The older motherboards used 2 single row connectors with the GND (black) wires in the middle.
I can't remember if the dvd drive had to be set to slave. I do know that dos sees it as the f drive and that the game expects it's game files on that f: The d drive was a small ramdisk. Dos has the subst command that can be used to have a drive letter point to a folder on another drive. Obviously, you can also create 4 partitions on the compact flash card so that they become C D E and F
I'll check this evening if I can locate the original cdrom drive to see if it was set to master or slave. (That's within an hour)
 

klumsey

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Have you tried disabling the fdc controller (screenshot 4) and removing the a: drive from the boot sequence (screenshot 3).  May not completely fix your issue but may get you up and running !

DaddyLongLegs

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Have you tried disabling the fdc controller (screenshot 4) and removing the a: drive from the boot sequence (screenshot 3).  May not completely fix your issue but may get you up and running !

Thanks but disabling the floppy controller did not help :(

  
 

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