SUMMARY: 3/50 won't boot from Sun 669 Mb drive

From: Andrew Watson (
Date: Fri Apr 30 1993 - 07:35:18 CDT

Fellow Managers,

Thanks for your responses to my posting (attached below). The bottom line is
that Sun do not support recent SCSI drives with embedded controllers with the
3/50 (and probably not with any Sun 3). However, I can confirm from personal
experience that a 3/50 running 4.1.1 is quite happy to mount filesystems on a
Sun 669, embedded controller and all - what it will *not* do is boot from it.

There are two possible suspects: the 3/50's boot ROM and the drive. I had hoped
that there might be a later boot ROM revision than mine (2.6) that would do the
trick, and Stefan Mochnaki told me he had got a new boot ROM from Sun to fix a
similar problem. However, Sun didn't seem able to do the same for me, so in the
end I'm just using an old 327 Mb shoebox instead. I got the impression from
talking to Sun that all the old Sun external shoeboxes with EDSI disks and
separate SCSI controllers would be supported, but I can't be 100% certain about

Joakim Rastberg suggested that the controller on the Sun 669 might be at fault;
he says:

> It's the 669's SCSI interface that is buggy, can't make my Soulbourne5/600 boot
> either (if booting fron any other disk I have it works fine)
> Anyway, the 669 if *very* slow (for a scsi-disk), you don't want to use it as
> root/swap, they qualify to storing news or backups only. And they are heat
> sensitive (with no thermal shutoffswitch), when it gets to warm all data on
> the disk will be thrashed :-( (Much to 20 users dismay, they /home went up in
> smoke)
> Use the disk for target practising, shark bait or anvil.

A cheery note on which to end a summary!

Many thanks to:

bagate!blazer!tkw (Terry White Bell Atlantic) (Lew Doll)
Stefan Mochnacki <> (Louis M. Brune) (Joakim Rastberg)

--original posting--original posting--original posting--original posting--

Good Afternoon,

In brief:

I'm trying to attach a Sun 669 Mb SCSI drive to a Sun 3/50 (really!) so that I
can build SunOS 4.1.1 on it. When booting from the 4.1.1 installation tape I
can format, test and partition the drive without problems, but the 3/50 won't
boot from the miniroot that the installer puts in the b partition. If I boot
SunOS from another attached disk I can newfs the 669, mount it and use the
mounted filesystem, again without problems. What can I do to get the 3/50 to
boot from this drive?

The details:

The 3/50 announces itself as ROM rev 2.6, serial 38060.

The disk is 2nd hand, and I don't know its provenance. It's in a 386i-style
enclosure, and format identifies it as <SUN0669 cyl 1614 alt 2 hd 15 sec 54>.
Format finds a defect list containing 28 sectors. I haven't reformatted the
disk, but all of format's read/write/verify tests seem happy with the
formatting of at least the first couple of hundred cylinders - after that I got

I've daisychained the 669 together with a disk/tape shoebox from another old
Sun 3. Format reckons this one is <Toshiba MK156F cyl 1815 alt 2 hd 10 sec 34>.
The root partition contains 4.1.1 built for a 3/110, but the 3/50 will boot it
without demur.

I initially set the SCSI selector on the 669 to 2. Installation from the tape
proceeds as per usual, and I select format's default partition for the 669; 40
cylinders in a, 80 in b, all the rest (1494) in g. Reading the miniroot off
tape into the b partition seems to work OK, then the machine tries to boot from

    Boot: sd(0,10,1) -sw
    sd: error 70 0 6 0 0 0 0 1 30 0 0
    sd: disk busysd: disk busysd: disk busysd: disk busysd: disk busysd: disk

(... etc until I hit L1-A).

If I now disconnect the shoebox, change the SCSI select code on the 669 to 0
and try and boot the miniroot from that, it fails with a different (more
informative?) error message:

> b sd(,,1)
    Boot: sd(0,0,1)
    getbyte error, target never set REQ
    getbyte error, target never set REQ
    invalid status msg = FFFFFFFF

    Device not found

The final twist: if I boot from the shoebox with the 669 back on SCSI 2, I can
newfs partitions on the 669, mount these file systems (sd4a, sd4g etc), create
files in them, no trouble.

It seems to me that the SCSI driver in the boot ROM can't talk to the new disk,
while the SunOS drivers (using the same hardware!) can. Is this plausible? If
so, can I get a later ROM revision for the 3/50 to fix this? From which disk
types will the 3/50 boot (so I that I can tell if any other disks I have lying
around will work)?

All advice gratefully received. I will summarise.

       . Regards,
      / \^
     / / \ \ Andrew
    / / \ \
   '=========` Andrew Watson Tel: +44 223 323010
  /| |\ | < |\ APM Ltd, Poseidon House, Fax: +44 223 359779
 / | | \| _> | \ Castle Park, Internet:
 --------------- Cambridge CB3 0RD, UK

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