Arco 1070 MCA IDE Adapter CD-ROM Experiences

The Arco 1070 Page!

Louis Ohland has sent me the contents of an Arco driver diskette for the CD-ROM support I would guess. I'm lazy and the adapter is in a functioning Model 50 right now so I have not played with any CD-ROM drives or drivers. Ever since the great basement flood of 2004 happened, I still have the adapter and Model 50, but I haven't taken the time to work with either at this point.

Summary (for those who don't want the protracted version of this): The controller (with BIOS ROM 3.05) appears to have the support internally. The CD-ROM device cannot be the master device, the system will hang at POST time if it is. Finally, since the Arco adapter uses such strange IO addresses, every CD-ROM driver I tried either locked the system or didn't find any of the CD-ROM drives I used to test this adapter.
Now, for the long and boring stuff:

This is what I sent to Louis:

I decided to try my ATAPI CD-ROMs with the Arco 1070 controller. According to the startup screen, the controller has ROM Version 3.05. I was doing this in a Model 50Z PS/2. I also tried all of this in a 9577 Bermuda, an 8557slc, and a Model 8570-E61.

The first thing I learned from trying this is that there must be a hard disk attached to the adapter as well. I couldn't seem to get it to find any of my CD-ROM drives without a hard disk attached. The ADF and Set Configuration screens kind of hint at are allowed to pick a type of IDE device for the slave device only. There is no similar option for the master device.

Next thing I learned is that you have to use an external power supply for any CD-ROM drive above 6X with your Model 50. (The 70 PSU seemed to handle things OK.) The 50Z PSU simply couldn't stand the 8X and higher drives, even with no other adapters in the machine. I sort of expected this, seeing as it is a small supply.

The Arco adapter also seems to be picky about what kind of CD-ROM drives it will accept. I had no problems with all of my 4X or 6X drives (all NEC units, and one Torisan), and of the one 24X drive (Toshiba) I tried, it was found by the adapter as well. I did not have the same luck with any of my 8X Hitachi drives. Those drives (8X Hitachi) resulted in system lockups and hard disk (10xxx) errors during POST.

Anyway, once I had a CD-ROM drive installed and recognized by the adapter, I tried loading DOS device drivers for the CD-ROM drive. The first driver I tried (a seemingly universal one) just locked the machine whenever it loaded. No text, no errors, nothing at all. Just a lockup. I tried other drives with that, and when I was finally satisfied that it was not the drives, I tried another universal IDE CD-ROM device driver. It loaded, but found no drives, no matter what.

It seems that the unusual I/O addresses of the Arco adapter throw the CD-ROM device drivers that I tried for a loop.

Summary: In theory, it seems that BIOS revision 3.05 of the Arco card will support certain CD-ROM drives, but that the device drivers I tried to use to make these CD-ROM drives work either locked the computer or could find no CD-ROM drives.

It looks as though if someone wanted to use this adapter for a CD-ROM drive, they would have to write their own device drivers for's a shame that I don't know how to do that...I would if I could...

I've done more with this since then...more as in trying it in a Model 80. No difference there.
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