Internal SCSI hard disk of RIP Star 400

anfrmite

Member
Hello to everybody,

I am wondering to perform a backup of the internal SCSI hard disk of my RIP Star 400. Just in case, that at some point in the future, the SCSI hard disk may suffer from bad sectors, not booting, etc.

I have plenty of experience of the internals of PCs (aka, IDE hard drives), but I do not know too much about SCSI hard disks.

More important, ¿what type is the internal motherboard of the RIP Star 400? It just seems like an IBM-PC compatible of that time, but could be also a Mac-type kind of motherboard?

For instance, if the internal disk of RIP Star 400 were a common IDE hard disk, I could only place it like a slave in an older PC, clone-it, or make an image of it.

However, since it is a SCSI hard disk, what should be the procedure to connect it to a desktop computer to clone-it or make an image of it?

Of course, I need a SCSI adapter (I can get an ISA card for this purpose) and an old computer.

But, which computer to install it? IBM-PC or Mac? Which is the operating system running inside of RIP Star 400? An old DOS, or a Mac-type system?

Which archive system, FAT16 maybe? Or may have an Aga propietary file system?

Please do not point me to buy an Harlequin, a newer RIP, or another newer machine. I already know the age of the machine and its associated problems.

Thank you very much for your help.

Regards.
 
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mattbeals

Well-known member
Do it on Windows, do NOT do it on a Mac. Better yet, get a hardware drive cloner. Or, use Linux/Windows and Clonezilla
 

pdan

Well-known member
Having (two) an Accuset 1000 in use for years I asked this question and was told the drive cannot be cloned. I did not understand why; perhaps it involves "may have an Aga propietary file system".
In these forums Vlad_Canada may have the answer, but I would suggest calling the fellow here -
http://www.imagesetters.net/index.html
 

mattbeals

Well-known member
If you use a hardware cloning device you should be able to make an exact duplicate that to the RIP is the indistinguishable from the original. The only trick is finding a drive of the same sizel.
 

anfrmite

Member
Thank you to mattbeals and pdan for your valuable replies,

A hardware cloning device should be ideal, buy I was wondering if a simple "attach and make a copy" procedure was possible using an old PC computer with an internal SCSI card. That is my most viable option.

Regarding the information provided by pdan, I always have been very doubtfully about the advices from the imagesetter servicing-industry (please, I do not try to polemicize or make flame wars here). It is just that (in good honor), the imagesetter servicing-industry still work in a "do not touch, do not open, or you will broke it" policy. I plenty understand that this is to ensure the correct operation of costly equipment, and that all users are protected by this means using their equipment for profit without problems.

However, in some cases, rules are to be broken (particularly in an old device, out-of-warranty decades ago, like the RIP Star 400).

As an example, I remember that a friend of mine, maybe eight or more years ago, had problems with their very old imagesetter (I can't remember the model). Tired of service calls without success and without replacement parts to buy, he opted to open the machine and tried to examine if some chip or PCB trace was broken (a very empiric procedure). Fortunately he had the maintenance manual, so he dissasembled almost all the unit (except mechanical or optical modules). The service men told him that he was crazy! That maybe he was not be able to assembly the machine again!

My friend noted and showed me a medium size PCB with a chip very hot when operating. Obviously (and in hope of that) maybe that was the faulty component. Also, he did not had nothing to loose either (all of his living room was occupied by PCB cards, screws, spacers, harness cables, etc. of their dissasembled machine!). The chip in question was an ancient PAL, so after tracing the full PCB card, we noted that the whole function of the card was a simple intermediate buffer for data ("spooler" as said in the maintenance manual). The PAL simply was the glue-logic to manage a group of 74LS245 and 74LS244 drivers to accomplish a vey basic -indeed elegant- double-port memory comprised by two 6116 static-ram memories. I had to design another PCB card with the 6116s and substitute the PAL with the necessary logic (in discrete form now) to re-create the functionality of the board. Fortunately there was plenty of space to accomodate the newer card into the machine. And of course, it worked. But take in consideration that there were the times when electronic products was populated with TTLs, CMOS, discrete logic, and so on. In today world of FPGAs, it would be impossible to make such tricks, so we need the service personnel.

So anyone had cloned, copied, (or made a backup) of their SCSI RIP drive? Any issues, success, or fault?

Regards.
 

VladCanada

Well-known member
There is no chance to restore any content of RIP HD without special commands, sent over AGFASet program.
It does not matter what type of SW is inside HD - anyway that was neither PC nor MAC base, AGFA RIP Sta 400-600 internal SW was based on the Assembler language for very specific Controller compatibility with PostScript language
 

anfrmite

Member
Thank you so much for your reply VladCanada,

That was the kind of answer that I was expecting to dissipate my doubts.

As you said, hard disks in Star RIPs 200, 400, and 600 are special in several ways. Just an example, some of the structure of the hard disk is used as a FIFO memory for faster processing of jobs (it is not a simple temporary storage or buffer). By formatting an SCSI drive in the normal way, this FIFO structure is lost.

I have AGFASet program but I need to fully review it again to find the necessary commands. To be honest, I do not remember any command to perform disk operations (maybe because I did not had any need of them until now).

All that I remember is that to perform a formatting, the RIP must be rebooted and then the Sys/Start files can be downloaded. A new reboot and then Postscript interpreter can now be downloaded. Just after that, all the neccesary tools can be downloaded.

Also, the RIP's hard drive has two formatting options: initialize and true formatting. Formatting should only be used if initializing fails for some reason. I am not sure, but these modes could be similar to "partition disk" (FDISK) and "formatting only" (FORMAT) in the world of DOS commands in PCs.

To initializize or format a Star RIP, a particular ASCII file must be created and downloaed as any other tool.

What I do not know if it is possible to run the RIP with only the System Start Up files, (after formatting it properly), and then download the screen filter files, ethernet files, printer fonts data, adobe interpreter, etc.

Thank you again.

Regards.
 

aelorenzo

Member
Hi, sorry for replying to an old post but I am quite interested in a method to backup my accuset Hdd.

Did you have any kind of success cloning your drive? Are you interested in trying this option? We could share our achievements..
 
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anfrmite

Member
Hi, sorry for replying to an old post but I am quite interested in a method to backup my accuset Hdd.

I was researching time ago and I found a pcb device able to emulate old SCSI Hdd using a simple SD card. It has been used with old industrial equipment, and it works OK.

Did you have any kind of success cloning your drive? Are you interested in trying this option? We could share our achievements..
Hi,
Yes, I am still interested in maintaining my old imagesetter for many years if possible.

Still, I did not tried to clone the drive, mainly for the assumption (I am not very sure, but it is possible) that the SCSI low-level formatting used by Agfa may contain a file-propietary scheme.

So, the procedure that I am planning is as following:
1) Get an identical (as possible) SCSI hard drive (same size and physical parameters are a must).
2) Get a good-working SCSI interface card (for a PC compatible motherboard). It may need an old motherboard with an ISA slot.
3) Install properly drivers and operating system on the PC. A must will be to avoid "newer" systems like Windows 10 or 8. For cloning, the best option will be professional low-level cloning software, not user-friendly (aka. RecoverIt, Norton Ghost, or similar programs), where you only press "next, next, next..." and the software does automatically the job. For this purpose, you need advanced software (like DMDE) that can clone sector-by-sector bytes, even in reverse or backward, that is, beginning with the ending of the disk and then procceed to the beginning, in case, some sector could not be readed and the system does not stuck at it.
4) The next steps should be dictated accordingly if the disks are recognized with the cloning software, etc. It is valuable at this stage to know and learn about the software settings to perform all the operations without disturbing (aka rewriting) a single-byte in the source disk, only read-only operations. Professional cloning software have these options.

If the cloning sector-by-sector is sucessful and if your destination hard drive has the same physical parameters as the original drive, then the RIP should be started without problems. 99.9% possibility exists that the hardware serial number of the disk is readed by the RIP, so it may refuse to start with the cloned disk. Still, there are some low-level utilities to perform such tasks.

Which model of Accuset do you have? Has an internal or external RIP?

Regards.
 

aelorenzo

Member
Hi,
Yes, I am still interested in maintaining my old imagesetter for many years if possible.

Still, I did not tried to clone the drive, mainly for the assumption (I am not very sure, but it is possible) that the SCSI low-level formatting used by Agfa may contain a file-propietary scheme.

So, the procedure that I am planning is as following:
1) Get an identical (as possible) SCSI hard drive (same size and physical parameters are a must).
2) Get a good-working SCSI interface card (for a PC compatible motherboard). It may need an old motherboard with an ISA slot.
3) Install properly drivers and operating system on the PC. A must will be to avoid "newer" systems like Windows 10 or 8. For cloning, the best option will be professional low-level cloning software, not user-friendly (aka. RecoverIt, Norton Ghost, or similar programs), where you only press "next, next, next..." and the software does automatically the job. For this purpose, you need advanced software (like DMDE) that can clone sector-by-sector bytes, even in reverse or backward, that is, beginning with the ending of the disk and then procceed to the beginning, in case, some sector could not be readed and the system does not stuck at it.
4) The next steps should be dictated accordingly if the disks are recognized with the cloning software, etc. It is valuable at this stage to know and learn about the software settings to perform all the operations without disturbing (aka rewriting) a single-byte in the source disk, only read-only operations. Professional cloning software have these options.

If the cloning sector-by-sector is sucessful and if your destination hard drive has the same physical parameters as the original drive, then the RIP should be started without problems. 99.9% possibility exists that the hardware serial number of the disk is readed by the RIP, so it may refuse to start with the cloned disk. Still, there are some low-level utilities to perform such tasks.

Which model of Accuset do you have? Has an internal or external RIP?

Regards.
Hi,

I have cloned my drive without problem and my accuset is running with it.

So, it is quite easy and it can be done with free software.

You only need an old pc and scsi card, that's all.
 
Last edited:

anfrmite

Member
Hi,

I have cloned my drive without problem and my accuset is running with it.

So, it is quite easy and it can be done with free software.

You only need an old pc and scsi card, that's all.
Thank you so, so much for your reply. That was the last piece of information I needed to solve my puzzle. Now I can clone it with confidence. I am sending a PM also. Please review it when possible.
 

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