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Panasonic CF-51, USB Devices in Real-Mode (Announce)

posted by Brian_extended(R), 17.09.2016, 22:40

I have two Panasonic CF-52's, "repurposed" for whatever I want to do with them. These use SATA drives, I wanted to use one as a DOS computer bootable with the hard-drive. This took a lot of trial and error, turns out using Partitions on the SATA drive "screwed up something". The machine just would not boot from the hard drive, but booting off USB stick would work- partitions all worked.

I was able to make a bootable SATA drive by using the entire drive as the primary DOS partition, set active, formatted FAT-32.

FreeDOS 1.1 ISO bootable CD worked;
FDISK with FreeDOS worked- made a Single Active partition using 100% of the drive;
FORMAT with FreeDOS "did not quite work", had write errors in doing copies to the drive.

SO: Made a Bootable USB Stick with HP's USB utility with WIN98se booted into Realmode with BootGui=0;
Used FORMAT.COM with FORMAT C:/s to install DOS.

This worked. Using FDISK with either FreeDOS or Win98 to make multiple partitions somehow prevented the disk from being bootable.
Used the oakcdrom.sys mscdex.exe that came on the FreeDOS distro with the "DOS 7.1" config.sys and autoexec.bat. Needed to load HIMEM.SYS for the system to see memory above 64MBytes on the CF-52, now at 512MBytes and can go higher. I have a CF-50 running DOS with 1.5GBytes. I use DOS Extenders for embedded systems; the tools and software can all be written, compiled, and tested on these computers that ran under $100 each.

The Panasonic CF-51 and CF-52 have native support for USB built into the BIOS, so USB storage devices and USB floppy are all mapped as DOS disks. The build quality spoils you.

 

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