Summary: formatting Wren 7 disk

From: Doug Neuhauser (
Date: Thu Apr 12 1990 - 15:09:20 CDT

A few weeks ago I posted a request for information on formatting a Wren 7
1.2 GB disk drive on either a 4/280 or SS1. The vendor that was supplying my
drives finally admitted that they couldn't format it on either machine due
to a "timeout". I was looking for:

        1. A good description of the problem.
        2. A cure for this problem.
        3. Other vendors that could format the drives for Sun 4s.


1. Hal Stern of Sun Consulting volunteered to look at the problem "in his
spare time". We determined that the problem was being caused by a timeout
in the sd driver itself. It apparently would allow the format to go on for
only a certain amount of time before it would abort the format (if it hadn't
finished already). After some discussion with him, he "fixed" the problem
for me by providing me with a new driver for the 4/280. The problem was in
the driver itself.

... sure enough - under 4.0.3, the timeout value for SCSI disk formatting
is 30 minutes. in sunos 4.1, this value was increased to 75 minutes.
for a 1G disk, it probably formats for close to an hour, so the default
value is a little short.

The real cure for the Wren 7 timeout will be to use 4.1 (when it actually
arrives), since the timeout has been increased to 75 minutes. Hal has
allowed me to make this 4.0.3 4/280 "sd.o" that he provided to me to others

If you NEED this driver, drop me a line.

Various other responses were:

1. ... the older Wren IV drives being to slow to use under
4.0.3. It turned out that Sun decreased the timeout value for SCSI
devices from 30 msec to 10 msec (I believe the numbers are correct).
The 'patch' that was sent out was basically an adb sequence that increased
the timeout variable back to 30.

[ Different problem - not applicatble to these drives.]

2. Suggestions that I talk to Software Associated, a large vendor of Wrens.

[Unfortunately, they were the vendors that I was dealing with.]

3. Check with your vendor and see if he was using the latest SCSI drivers
from the sun-consulting tape... They are the same drivers that
will be in the 4.1 distribution...

[ I checked with Sun, and the 800# was very unhelpful. "Sorry, not a
supported device. Haven't heard of that problem. Bye..." ]

4. Sun has a patch to the SCSI driver for this.

[If so, noone I could find at Sun knew this!]

5. Various vendors that could supply pre-formatted drives:
        1. Apunix 619-484-0074
        2. Andataco 800-334-9191
        3. BoxHill 800-727-3863, 212-399-4770
        4. Micronet 714-837-6033

A plug here for Apunix: Peter Berens (of Apunix) offered to provide me with
a "patch" to increase this timeout if the disks were actually delivered to
me and I couldn't format them. He didn't want another vendor's lack of
technical expertise to stand in the way of a user's needs. I have purchased
items from Apunix, and their service and technical expertise is good!

Thanks to:
        Tom Leach <> (Ray Allis)
        markm@bit.UUCP (Mark Morrissey) (Steve Cary) (Alan Sarbin)
        dmorse@sun-valley.Stanford.EDU (Dennis Morse) (Tim Tessin)
        "arossite.US2" <elroy!>
        apunix! (Greg B. Lowe)
        halstern@Sun.COM (Hal Stern - Consultant)
Doug Neuhauser Div. of Geological and Planetary Sciences California Institute of Technology
818-356-3993 MS 252-21, Pasadena, CA 91125

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