ATA host to SATA disk adapter nightmares

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I am trying to start using SATA drives in a system with a SOC
chip which only has parallel ATA.

Got some adaptors (3 of them) from dealextreme and thought
I'd just connect things to work initially. All based on the
JM20330 part, found its datasheet, thought I'd route a board
revision with this chip instead of with the ATA buffers eventually,
lets first see how things work.

Or do not work.
First the adaptor was with the *wrong* connector - female
insetad of male (and the chip was configured as an ATA host SATA
device). OK, I made a gender changer.

After a few hours of trying this and that, cutting 2 "jumper"
traces and soldering them the other way I got some response.
Another two days later it nearly works... but it does cable CRC
errors in UDMA 2 mode (33 MB/S). It does not do these in the
next lower mode - but none of the other devices does any cable
CRC errors at all.

Then of the three units I bought one was with a different chip
revision. Tried it hoping I had two bad ones.
Only to discover it was even worse, did not get to cable CRC-ing
as it was rejecting the SET FEATURES command setting the UDMA
mode. In fact it rejected setting any mode. Did not try all
of the "set features" to check if the command worked at all,
probably not.

Anyone with experience? Has anyone been lucky enough to have
an ATA -> SATA (SATA being the disk) convertor at reasonable
ATA speeds (33MB/S would be fine for me)?
I think there is at least one more convertor chip on the
market, Marvell (good luck getting a datasheet of *that*...),
anything?
I am losing hope I can make this chip work. A while ago I
shortened the cable (80 conductor ATA cable, cable CRC errors
occur during read, i.e. the jm20330 output drivers are
no good - and I did try various series terminations etc.),
no luck.


Thanks,

Dimiter

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Dimiter Popoff, TGI             http://www.tgi-sci.com
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Re: ATA host to SATA disk adapter nightmares
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What SoC?  Intel-based, or something else?

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I did a lot of staring at datasheets when fitting an SSD into an old Pentium
M/Centrino laptop.  Generally the opinion was that JM20330 was a bit
variable, there's a Marvell part that had better feedback (I think one of
the Startech adaptors use it), and there are some others with better
reputations (can't remember the brand, sorry).  It appears ACARD has one,
and I think the others were obscure Taiwanese vendors.

There's an IBM Thinkpad wiki somewhere with lots of info as many of them are
still in use, with PATA to SATA converters.

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That could be a problem: some of these adaptors are PATA disc to SATA host
and some SATA disc to PATA host.  Avoid the ones that are double-ended,
they're less likely to work (from what I read).

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Yes.  The first adaptor I bought aiming to get a Marvell, turned out to have
a JM20330, didn't fit in the target laptop (would have needed to cut a hole
in the motherboard).  I got a bit fed up at this point, and thought I'd risk
a JM20330 board that was the right shape.  That one worked fine with the SSD
(Kingston 30GB), Linux boots great.  I think it went up to 33MB/s but no
more (laptop southbridge didn't like DMA for some reason).

It was from an ebay seller who doesn't seem to list it any more, but it
looked a lot like this:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/390779889863
I had to dismantle the SSD to get it to fit.

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You sure it isn't just expecting you to behave like the BIOS does, and any
they never tested anything else?

Theo


Re: ATA host to SATA disk adapter nightmares
On 21.6.2014 ?. 04:36, Theo Markettos wrote:
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Freescale, an MPC5200B.


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The chip is meant to do both ways but it is wired as
host ATA -> device SATA. That with a female connector.... and no
series termination at least on the control signals, IORDY at
the very least. Not that it was much help when I put them though,
but it was noticeable, the problem was halved (if not better),
still no good though.


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That is fairly astonishing. The JM20330 boards I got are unusable.
Here are photos of them after my 2 if not 3 days efforts:

http://tgi-sci.com/misc/DSCF0598.JPG ,
http://tgi-sci.com/misc/DSCF0599.JPG .

1 was the best, nearly worked (did cable CRC errors in a perhaps
retry-able amount but still too many - as opposed to 0 by the other
devices on that cable - and got stuck eventually). Unusable, though
I managed to copy a not so large directory tree once.

2 was the worst, it did not accept the ATA "set features" command
which sets the UDMA mode (rejected setting any mode actually, issuing
the correct status about that...). Unusable.

3 behaved similarly to 1 but almost never managed no cable CRC error,
completely unusable.

The text on the chip in 1 and 3 is the same (probably meaning
same revision), however one is printed and the other is engraved.
I think 1 was the painted one.

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Well I can't possibly know what it expects, what I do know is that
by following the ATA standard I have made 3 HDD models and perhaps
3 (if not 4 or 5) CD/DVD burners work seamlessly.
Then I spent today in further investigation, looked at the bus signals
etc., everything looks good. I played with the programmable timings
(which I had played with 5-6 years ago when I did the ATA interface
for the 5200B), there was just nothing to be had. Except if I slowed
the speed down, but slowing down from 33 MB/S is not acceptable
nowadays, I have a 500G 7200RPM drive which is probably faster
than the 33 anyway (the 5200 won't do more).

Thanks for your reply, I have abandoned the JMicron chip efforts
for now, will look for some Marvell based convertor to test - in a
while, now I have other things to do, that JM sh.t ate the time
I could afford to no sensible result.

Dimiter

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Dimiter Popoff, TGI             http://www.tgi-sci.com
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Re: ATA host to SATA disk adapter nightmares
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Did they work in a PC?  That's the first test for any kind of 'consumer'
kit.  If not, they're junk.  If so, you're doing something wrong (or their
idea of 'working' is narrower than yours).

Did you try multiple drives, from different manufacturers?  Again,
implementation may vary.  I remember an issue with WDC drives in the early
1990s - they wouldn't respond unless you called the SET CAPACITY command
with the size reported by the IDENTIFY information.  I have no idea why they
were that dumb, but maybe all BIOSes at the time just did that.
(This might have been the 'implement just enough firmware until Windows
boots, then ship' school of firmware development).

The other thing is you have three converters of identical design.  While the
firmware might be different, you aren't testing independent examples.  If
one of them has a stupid design fault, they all do.

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It sounds like getting the soldering iron out is probably not a good first
step.  Check them in the environment they're intended for first (booting
Windows) and build up from there.

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If you're putting the chip on the board then the Marvell chip probably makes
more sense: I'd trust Marvell more with security of supply than outfits who
will probably shift production to (say) USB3 to SATA converters once the
PATA market declines.

Theo

Re: ATA host to SATA disk adapter nightmares
On 22.6.2014 ?. 23:12, Theo Markettos wrote:
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Never tried, the only PC I have here is a laptop dedicated to browsing,
reading datasheets etc. I have a USB to ATA box, but it has a 2mm pitch  
connector, that would mean more pain and at the end of the day what I am  
after is a part working within my devices, not on a PC.
I expect to have it work just like I have had many other devices work,  
ATA, SCSI, without ever using a wintel PC.

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No, just one SATA drive. But all 3 worked fine over the SATA link,
they have a LED saying "SATA link OK" and it is stable on. Then the
issue I have is an ATA issue, cable CRC error (UDMA transfers do CRC
over the cable), and it goes away if I lower the speed to 25 MB/S
on one of the 3 "identical" units I have.


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Oh earlier ATA drives may well have been that bad, I switched to ATA
around 2000 - when the 2.5" SCSI drives disappeared (they stopped at
810 megabytes).

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Well I want them to work in my environment, I don't really care if
they work elsewhere. Given that everything else I have tried (several
brands) there is no need really to test it again - and I am quite
sure they will fail miserably doing anything other than slow PIO in
any environment, I know that much about them already.

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Yes, from your feedback - and from what stories I have read on the
net written by consumer people who have less understanding of what
is going on than we here do -  it seems the Marvell chip is the way to  
go. I should be able to route it on my board the way it is routed
on an adaptor (I know they'll never let a datasheet out, beats me why  
but this is how the PC industry works).

Dimiter

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Dimiter Popoff, TGI             http://www.tgi-sci.com
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Re: ATA host to SATA disk adapter nightmares
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I've gained long and bitter experience with such 'consumer products'.  I
might write more on the subject at some point, but suffice it to say you
can't treat them the same as a $500 purchase from a big-name store.  They
were $5 including shipping from China, sometimes they just don't work.

You have to treat such purchases probabilistically, which is a different way
to approach them.  A pile of research will improve the odds, but at the end
of the day you have to take the risk.  Generally I'm winning in my
'gambling', but that's what it is.  It is not the kind of thing you buy if
you want a steady, reliable supply chain.  But you can win the game if
you're prepared to play.

Theo

Re: ATA host to SATA disk adapter nightmares
On 28.6.2014 ?. 01:24, Theo Markettos wrote:
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Got back to that ATA <-> SATA thing.
Bought this one:

(Amazon.com product link shortened)

It has a Marvell chip inside, 88SA8052, i.e. the latest they have.

Works much better than the jmicron part; however, it still has
issues driving an ATA cable which "normal" ATA devices on that
cable do not have. Cable CRC errors occur at a manageable rate,
a few times per megabyte. At a 4M buffer, which is retried from
the beginning if an error occurs, there is no hope at all - it
never makes it without an error. Whereas normal ATA devices on
that same cable never had a cable CRC error for years...
I would have thought this is because the buffers driving the
cable are 3.3V powered (vs. supposedly 5V on normal ATA drives,
not that I have measured how these are powered on any of the drives
I have had).
But this is still a "no", my board has a 3.3V coolrunner CPLD as
a buffer and there are no write errors (when my 3.3V cpld drives
the cable), only read ones.

Anyway, this is at least usable. Retrying only the failed udma bursts
should take care of it, I'll do it and perhaps will have more
to report on the ATA <-> SATA chip.
The funny part is, in the product I intend to put such an
ATA <-> SATA chip instead of four 16 bit buffers there is no cable at
all (drive is mounted on the board).... :-) .

Dimiter

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Dimiter Popoff, TGI             http://www.tgi-sci.com
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https://www.flickr.com/photos/didi_tgi/







Re: ATA host to SATA disk adapter nightmares
wrote:

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I have this one from ...
<http://www.microsatacables.com/ide-to-sata-adapter-with-2-point-5-inch-aluminum-housing/

On an old Gateway with 100mb/s IDE interface, I do get 80mb/s thruput.
As for the Chip used I'd have to look, but I belive it is the JMxxxx
chip.

Cheers

Re: ATA host to SATA disk adapter nightmares
On 22.6.2014 ?. 01:26, Martin Riddle wrote:
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Thanks, if it is JM this would mean they have working revisions after
all.
Or that the chips in the adaptors I have are fake, could well be really
(given the wildly different behaviour observed). I got mine cheap, from
dealextreme - have paid $13.60 for 3, they still have them:

http://www.dx.com/p/sata-to-ide-converter-host-728#.U6YSW0BafYo

May be too cheap to be genuine (who would expect a chip like that
to get faked.... go figure).

I'll get back to this in a few weeks time, I'll make ot work one
way or the other - should be no rocket science to get a working
part, they seem to sell in huge quantities, _some_ of them must
be working. But the ones I got wasted me 3 days....

Dimiter

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Dimiter Popoff, TGI             http://www.tgi-sci.com
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/didi_tgi/sets/72157600228621276/




Re: ATA host to SATA disk adapter nightmares
On 21/06/14 02:53, Dimiter_Popoff wrote:
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I may be asking the obvious, but is it not possible just to continue  
using PATA drives?  They are seldom as big as SATA drives, and cost a  
little more, but it's not long since I last bought some (as reserve  
drives for old PC's).



Re: ATA host to SATA disk adapter nightmares
On 22.6.2014 ?. 11:56, David Brown wrote:
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Hi David,

it is still (just) possible, but the possibility is quickly going
away.
At the moment I am waiting for an ebay drive - which is unlikely
to ever come, the seller first wanted a delay then marked it as
shipped and probably sent nothing (that is a Samsung 160G drive,
there are some alternatives I can also explore but they all are
end of life).
So I must do SATA; and once I get a working chip - they all seem
to be qfp64-ish - it will take less space than the 4 xxxx245 buffers
(3.3 <-> 5V etc.) I now have on the board. But I have yet to
succeed in getting a working part.

Dimiter

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Dimiter Popoff, TGI             http://www.tgi-sci.com
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/didi_tgi/sets/72157600228621276/


Re: ATA host to SATA disk adapter nightmares
On 22/06/14 11:45, Dimiter_Popoff wrote:
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I can still find a few available in webshops here in Norway - but it  
certainly seems to be difficult.  I didn't think it was /that/ long  
since I last bought them, but perhaps it was.  Certainly if you want to  
make lots of these systems then you are going to have a challenge.


The obvious other solution is to move up from the rather old MPC5200B -  
there are other MPC chips like the MPC5121e in the same family, but with  
SATA (and PATA).  It's no small change, of course, but it will be a lot  
more future-proof than relying on PATA to SATA converters.

David


Re: ATA host to SATA disk adapter nightmares
On 22.6.2014 ?. 15:34, David Brown wrote:
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The 5121 is not much younger (if at all) than the 5200B. I looked into
it a few years ago - it is a still born part. Look at the errata, there
is one saying "SATA does not work as expected. Workaraound: do not use
SATA..." (sort of, my wording but the message is this).
Then they have tried to put in the same core as on the 5200B and got it
nearly right - but it has a bug in the MMU, one can fix it in software
but one does not have to do this on the 5200B. Both cores run at
400 MHz; but the 5121 internal buses go up to 66 (or was it 100) and
the 5200B goes up to 133. And the 5200 has the smart DMA which the 5121
does not have.
The 5200B is the best part one could use to make a HPGe spectrometer
on the market and will likely remain thhat for many years to come;
on the netmca-3 it manages all the filtering etc (using lots of FPU  
FMADD and many other things), run the complete OS, disk I/O and such,  
maintain its "screen" over tcp (often over more than one connection,  
this is how I do live customer support). No comparable product on the  
market and I do not see how I could improve a lot on it, there just is  
not much more one could possibly ask for.
Obviously I will move forward using some of the QorIQ parts, I am
eyeing some, but not in that application, the 5200B beats any chip
for that hands down.
It just needs a decent ATA host -> SATA drive chip which works,
from what I hear people do use some and they do work so it is only
a matter of locating the correct one.

Dimiter

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Dimiter Popoff, TGI             http://www.tgi-sci.com
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/didi_tgi/sets/72157600228621276/




Re: ATA host to SATA disk adapter nightmares
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I'd go a different way. Why not a Disk-on-module with a PATA interface?

http://www.integralmemory.com/product/integral-pata-dom-pata-flash-module

is one example. I'm sure you'd find others, such as  
(Amazon.com product link shortened)

and having a 2.5" to 3.5" adapter is a passive pinout changer, not electronics.

Granted, it probably is a higher cost than a spinny disk, but if we
are talking one-offs, your time alone put into this is probably long
past the point of return, if you can get 128GB for $126.  



--  
Doug McIntyre
snipped-for-privacy@themcintyres.us

Re: ATA host to SATA disk adapter nightmares
On 23.6.2014 ?. 00:33, Doug McIntyre wrote:
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Oh sure I could use any ATA part available, but the future 5-10 years
it will be SATA with ATA declining and probably disappearing altogether,  
so have to switchh to SATA.
This is not a one-off by any means, we have sold netmca units in
5 different countries so far and we expect to grow.

Dimiter

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Dimiter Popoff, TGI             http://www.tgi-sci.com
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/didi_tgi/sets/72157600228621276/



Re: ATA host to SATA disk adapter nightmares
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Out of curiosity: why not use PCI or USB? Would that require a big  
software effort?


--  
(Remove the obvious prefix to reply privately.)
Gemaakt met Opera's e-mailprogramma: http://www.opera.com/mail/

Re: ATA host to SATA disk adapter nightmares
On 23/06/14 14:30, Boudewijn Dijkstra wrote:
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The processor he has only supports USB 1.1, which would be very slow
here.  I don't know off-hand if it supports PCI, but no disks support
PCI (though a PCI SATA controller might be a possibility).  Some SSD's
have PCIe interfaces, which is a different thing.



Re: ATA host to SATA disk adapter nightmares
On 23.6.2014 ?. 15:30, Boudewijn Dijkstra wrote:
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As David said, USB would be too slow. PCI is an option but would mean
routing another 20+ signals to where now the ATA buffers are on the
board; replacing the four 24 pin, 0.5mm pitch lvxwhatever245-s with
a tqfp64 would be quite easy to do.
Then a PCI <-> ATA adapter chip would likely be harder to get,
these ATA <-> SATa convertors are commodity stuff and some of
them must work; replacing 4 MSOP (not sure what they are called) 24
buffers with a single tqfp64 is a design improvement in my book.
As long as the tqfp64 works, that is :D .

Dimiter

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Dimiter Popoff, TGI             http://www.tgi-sci.com
------------------------------------------------------
http://www.flickr.com/photos/didi_tgi/sets/72157600228621276/


Re: ATA host to SATA disk adapter nightmares

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Why not using a CF Card? They are IDE compatible and you need only a
connector adapter (no active component involved):

<http://www.dx.com/p/compact-flash-cf-flash-memory-card-to-2-5-ide-pata-hard-drive-adapter-card-19494#.U6gy8xbbzJg

Bye Jack
--  
Yoda of Borg am I! Assimilated shall you be! Futile resistance is, hmm?

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