October 5, 2014

WDXT-GEN2 PLUS Winchester Disk Controller Board


I am attempting to install this MFM controller card on an 
ASUS P5A ACPI BIOS Revision 1006 
which first announces as 
Voodoo3 2000 BIOS - Version 1.00.01-SD
(hardware vintage 1999-2000).  
This is successfully booting to an early version of Ubuntu from a Quantum Bigfoot ISA 12Gb Hard Drive.  I want the MFM Drives on the WDXT-GEN2 PLUS to be secondary drives.  This WDXT-GEN2 PLUS controller board is apparently factory defaulted to be the primary drive for any machine in which it is installed.  That appears to be the case here as well, because the machine will not boot with the controller card inserted, but will boot fine witout the card inserted.

However, I seem to have some difficulty being able to understand the factory instructions which tell me how to fix this.

Guide Page 1-5/PDF Page 13 says:

Do I Need To Change Any Jumpers?

No. Do NOT change any jumpers on the WDXT-GEN2 PLUS board, unless
you have one of the following conditions:
• The WDXT-GEN2 PLUS board is your second hard disk controller
in the system.

This is the case for me.  

It goes on to say on the following page

Change Jumpers

When you have one of the special conditions listed above, you need to add a
jumper. In all other cases, do NOT add a jumper.
• If the WDXT-GEN2 PLUS board is the second controller, change
the controller address at W21 & W22. Check the first controller
manufacturer's manual for the addresses and also see Appendix B.

Then Appendix B-2 on PDF Page 76 has a table 

Select Controller and BIOS Ranges

This is confusing to me, because of the "Select Controller" part and the Controller column.  What do these numbers mean?

Furthermore, I'm not even certain on which screen in my BIOS I should be choosing or entering the numbers under the BIOS column.

Below are screen shots of the board, and every relevant screen in my BIOS that I can think of.

Can anyone point me in the right direction?


BIOS Menu Screens

Main Menu






Booting without card installed

Pressing "ESC' to enter the menu

Then boots fine to Ubuntu on the Quantum Bigfoot IDE Drive

Now, booting with card installed

And it just sits on this screen forever, apparently waiting to boot from whatever MFM hard drive is connected to the WDXT-GEN2 PLUS, which at this time is nothing.


I just had a wonderful chat with Malcolm Macleod, who has done a great deal of research with 5.25" floppy disk reading emulation, and subsequently MFM Hard Drive communications and emulation.  

He suggests that this BIOS may not be old enough to support MFM, which may be a problem even after I solve this one.

He suggests I use SpinRite.

I am researching and pondering this now...

But if the controller board is recognized as an ISA board, why does the BIOS need to support MFM?  The controller card does that work, right?  So, all the BIOS needs to do is support the ISA slot that the controller card plugs into?

This is another layer of confusion for me.  Can anyone point me to resources that explain more how this works?