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WorkPad z50 and CF cards

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Rich Hawley Page Icon Posted 2019-12-19 1:43 PM
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Possibly could be that the microdrive is beginning to fail. Could be it's overheating or could be the power source that drives it. So many variables that you have to rule…but I wouldn't really ever use a microdrive with an hpc as they eat too much battery power constantly spinning…
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ict Page Icon Posted 2019-12-20 8:11 PM
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The reliability of those early Microdrives can definitely be questionable, but it has difficulty reading known good flash memory as well. I have it running perfectly again after another hard reset, I guess at this point I will just have to forego installing anything requiring a reset and keep regular PIM backups, if I can clear off one of my spare 2GB CF cards I might give that a try as well and see how it runs.
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ict Page Icon Posted 2021-02-09 9:34 PM
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Apologies for the year-spanning double post, but I figured I would revisit this thread as yesterday I picked up a new pair of z50s to work on after giving up on the original.

Both are pretty immaculate and functioning well enough, so I got to work loading my usual 2.11 stack on them this time using an 8 GB SiliconDrive that has served dutifully in my MobilePro 790 and Jornada 720 over the past year, and interestingly, both are showing the same symptoms. After a reset, the CF card will malfunction and either open up to an empty directory or CE will demand it be formatted. Suspend-cycling the device will bring it back to life but usually only for a little while, any kind of sustained transfers will cause things to malfunction again.

All three are running ROM S3A61 with serial numbers BA-7349, 8591 and 10927. Anyone with a functioning WorkPad with notable differences here? I'm going to try one of them with an old 64 MB PNY card and see if it really is just a size factor, it seems very odd considering IBM marketed these as compatible with microdrives.
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C:Amie Page Icon Posted 2021-02-10 8:22 AM
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I never recall having problems back when i had one. It still feels like a power consistency problem to me though.

Let us know how you get on with the 64mb.
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munchausen Page Icon Posted 2021-02-10 9:29 AM
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My first thought reading this was capacitors as well, anything where it works for a while then breaks points to it. It's also consistent with all three devices showing the same symptoms. Might want to check the supply lines, especially if there are electrolytics.

Edited by munchausen 2021-02-10 9:58 AM
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ict Page Icon Posted 2021-02-18 5:21 PM
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I was able to test one of the new ones out with the 64MB card and received the same results immediately after resetting. I switched back to the 8 GB card and have since been using it for the last three days (without any resets) with no issue saving and reading data from it with multiple suspends in between. With how I've experienced this exact behavior with three separate machines from nearly opposite ends of the country acquired a year apart with a variety of power sources, I'm thinking at this point that it has to be software-related somehow, whether it's some kind of firmware or driver bug. Perhaps IBM simply didn't expect people to rely on the CF card so heavily and so didn't test this case, I'm not sure.

Does anyone have a spare z50 they're not currently using that they'd be willing to hard reset and try replicating this with? I'd really appreciate it, maybe I really just am that unlucky. I'm also wondering if CE has any concept whatsoever of a "graceful" shutdown/restart I might be able to try and see if I can rule out some kind of memory corruption.
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munchausen Page Icon Posted 2021-02-18 11:15 PM
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Didn't realise it was working with some cards and not others. I would try netbsd - if it works then it is a driver problem, if not then hardware. I've always been interested in a z50, but they seem to fetch silly prices on ebay (and rarely appear) so not been able to afford one.
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ict Page Icon Posted 2021-02-21 9:26 PM
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It's a weird one for sure, and not only some cards, but any I've tried. A Microdrive, a couple 96MB Sandisks, a couple 2GB and 8GB SiliconDrives, and whatever else I've got laying around. I think I'll definitely give NetBSD a try and see how it runs, I imagine it should work okay.
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C:Amie Page Icon Posted 2021-02-22 9:56 AM
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Could be worth sticking some probes on the voltage pins in the CF slot and watching them as you work the CPU. If the voltage is dropping due to CPU activity, then some less power efficient cards could be stalling-out, while some other more power optimised ones are hanging in.
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