News Archive for: Tuesday Nov. 20, 2007
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Problems with 5.3.1 SeriTek card updates
(Updated with a couple replies/more info)
Early this morning I posted a reader mail w/info and links on new Firmtek updates (v5.3.1) for their SeriTek 1V4, 1VE4, 1V2E2, 1SE2 cards (they later added 1SE2, 1S2, 1SM2 5.3.1 updates also) - this reader sent a "warning" about problems he's seen with the 5.3.1 update:

"HUGE WARNING
Seritek updates are VERY bad. it does not fix sleep issues, it makes them like 10 times worse. Ever since updating to 5.3.1. The computer fails to wake from sleep 100% of the time. But now there is a new symptom. It goes to sleep at random for NO REASON. The boot volume is actually going to sleep DURING boot. Why is a disk going to sleep during activity who knows but it's making the card completely useless.
I'm going to have to revert to my ATA card until I can order a replacement SATA card.
(he later wrote)
I need to do more testing with it. I was almost able to stabilize it earlier. Just dont know if it'll last. Areas I saw most problem with is disk utility repairs or fsck. Drive actually going to sleep instead of remounting, confusing the heck out of os x. I also noticed an error with instructions. It says to run the ppc installer first which loads the kext drivers. But i rechecked and it turned out the drivers are not loaded if the firmware update isnt detected first. You actually are supposed to apply firmware update, then run the ppc kext installer on any boot volumes to load the kexts. I will need more testing to see if loaded kext resolves problems.
(I asked him again (3rd time) for card model, OS version, Mac, etc.)
Power mac g4 digital audio, Seritek 1S2 card, OS X 10.5.1
-Adam W. "

There's always the chance of problems with a firmware update (and if interrupted in the process the card can be rendered useless) but I don't know if the above is common or just a random case. I also suggested he write Firmtek support as they may be able to send a previous version for reflashing back.
If you've updated your SeriTek 1V4, 1VE4, 1V2E2, 1SE2 to 5.3.1, let me know if you've seen any problems or fixes. (Please include your card model, OS version used, Mac it's installed in, etc.)
Here's a couple replies:

"I've updated my SeriTek 1S2 to 5.3.1 firmware, on 10.5.1 in my powermac G5 Dual 2GHz, I have 1 disk (WD 160GB) for backup with time machine on this card.

When this disk spins down, my machine freezes the current application on exit, Finder not responding, restart by menu is impossible, etc...

Firmware 5.1.3 worked well before...
I disabled energy saver drive sleep for a fix.
-'mister spoke'

BTW - I had another reader (DA Tower) mention kernel panics on wake from sleep with his updated 1V2+2 (1V2E2?) card. The following mail includes info that I assume is in the Firmtek download readme (I don't use any of these cards personally) and includes some contact email addresses for those wanting to request a previous firmware version to backflash:

" Mike, All the person with the problem has to do is to email Firmtek and they'll send him the 5.3.0 firmware/driver, one step down from the 5.3.1 firmware/driver. There's a HUGE disclaimer that goes along with the updates, by the way, and it says:
    "When to Upgrade Firmware
    The following firmware updates are mainly for Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard" users. However, this firmware is also compatible with Mac OS X 10.4. If your existing FirmTek driver is working well with your current version of Mac OS we highly recommend not upgrading..." This falls under the heading, "If it's not broken don't fix it". While FirmTek tries to make every new driver release better than the last, there is always a chance that a new firmware upgrade may actually cause an issue with some configurations. The new 5.3.1 firmware version posted below corrects a Leopard wake on sleep issue."

As you may remember, I'm running the SeriTek 2SE2-E bus masters (2) in my Dual Core 2.3GHz G5 PowerMac, to support a SeriTek 2eEN4 external eSATA enclosure that I've done a write-up for you about, and I've just updated to the v5.3.0 firmware/drivers which are still working perfectly fine for me. I did NOT update to 5.3.1, and everything's fine and dandy with my system, which I run my workstation off of (fully bootable, it runs my G5 with its 2TB RAID system). I took the warning above literally and saw no reason to update, and it may be a good thing for others to do the same if their systems are running fine with the older drivers/firmware.
Here is one FirmTek email address to get immediate help for these problems: cks@firmtek.com. That gets you through to Chi Kim Stanford's desk, and begets an immediate email response in my experience. (another is info@firmtek.com)
Kindest regards,
David C/MakeUsImages, Inc. "

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More OS X Leopard installs on PCI controller card Drives
Replies to yesterday's request (also see earlier post on firmware update fix for Acard 6280M card). I'm sure there's been others included in previous mails but I asked again so that email subject lines had PCI card noted (to not get lost in all the 10.5 only subject line mails)

"Card brand/model: FirmTek SeriTek/1S2
Apple System profiler info on the card: 5.1.2.1S2
Mac Model card is installed in: PowerMac3,1 Sawtooth 400MHz upgraded to 1.4MHz PowerLogix 7455. Basic info on drives connected to the card: Maxtor 6L200S0 200GB SATA HD

Don't know if I'm running the latest firmware, but had no trouble doing a Leopard archive & install over an up-to-date Tiger installation (on the SATA-attached Maxtor, primary boot drive) the day 10.5 came out.

Other notes:
Upgraded my Sawtooth almost 2 years ago with the PowerLogix 7455, FirmTek card + Maxtor HD and a Pioneer DVR-110D. The PowerLogix upgrade was really easy, no hassles, no problems, 10 out of 10...

I had no trouble getting the SeriTek/1S2 and Maxtor HD combo working, but there are two anomalies:
- Forget FireWire Target Disk mode, you only see the PATA drives.
- The SATA HD doesn't show up anywhere in ASP, not under ATA or Serial-ATA. The SeriTek does show up under PCI Cards. To find the model number for the HD, I had to use Disk Utility.
-Bob."

Still hoping that ASP reporting issue is going to be fixed one day...

"Card: Seri-Tek 1S2, ROM Revision: 5.0.3.L335
Mac: MDD Dual G4 1.25GHz (not FW800)
Drive: Seagate 750GB 'cuda
OS: 10.5.0
No issues seeing the drive from the Leopard installer, installing and booting from. Didn't try sleep at all.
Rick"

"Mike, I just installed Leopard on an old Quicksilver with a PCI card startup disk. All seemed to go well. Details are:

Sonnet Tempo 133 ATA card
Shows on System Profiler under PCI Cards as Ultra-Tek 133P+
(Some of their other IDE cards like the RAID models are Acard based IIRC)
Firmware 4.5.0

The QS is the original 733MHz but the processor has been replaced with a 933MHz. 768MB of ram, ATI Radeon 7500 card. Belkin wireless card
Drive connected to the card is a WD2000 (does not show anywhere on System Profiler)
Hope this is some use
-Tim"

I've added all the above as drive upgrade/compat. db reports also as a FYI (filed under OS X 10.5 and PCI IDE card or PCI SerialATA card categories). I've also been catching up with drive reports from the last few weeks (19 total added today, covering HDs and DVD burners - most from 10.5 users.)

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Firmtek updates for SeriTek 1V4, 1VE4, 1V2E2, 1SE2, 1S2, 1SM2 cards
From a reader mail last night - more updates at Firmtek's download page for their SATA controller cards. (Nov. 9th news had notes on updates to 2SM2, 2SE2, and 2SE4 cards.)

(Note - list updated wmore models)" More updates from http://www.firmtek.com/download/
  • FirmTek SeriTek/1S2 5.3.1 Firmware and Driver
  • FirmTek SeriTek/1SM2 5.3.1 Firmware and Driver
  • FirmTek SeriTek/1V4 5.3.1 Firmware and Driver
  • FirmTek SeriTek/1VE4 5.3.1 Firmware and Driver
  • FirmTek SeriTek/1V2E2 5.3.1 Firmware and Driver
  • FirmTek SeriTek/1SE2 5.3.1 Firmware and Driver

    I'm using a 1VE4 on dual 2Ghz G5
    -Jason R."

  • The new 5.3.1 updates were hoped to fix a sleep issue Firmtek mentioned in the Nov 12th news page (Firmtek notes on sleep issues with SeriTek 1SE2 and 1V4 cards in Leopard) - BUT see the later reports above for problems some have seen with this update. (And warnings on the golden rule - "if it ain't broke, don't fix it..." - If you're not having problems with your card leave well enough alone.)
    However if you've applied this update let me know what you've seen (including card model, OS version used, etc.) Thanks.

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    Follow-up on Acard 6280M IDE Card (updated firmware solved Leopard problems)
    After a mail yesterday from a G4 tower owner using an Acard 6280M IDE PCI card that Leopard wouldn't install on the connected drives I asked what firmware version was in the card and if Acard's website had any updates/later versions. He later wrote an update there solved the problem:

    " Hi Mike...On my Quicksilver with the Leopard startup problems, ASP reported the following: (card reported as SCSI which is typical)
    ACARD,6280M:
    Name: ACARD,6280M
    Type: scsi
    Bus: PCI
    Slot: SLOT-4
    Vendor ID: 0x1191
    Device ID: 0x0009
    Subsystem Vendor ID: 0x1191
    Subsystem ID: 0x0009
    Revision ID: 0x0003

    At your suggestion, I looked on the ACARD website and they listed 2007/07/04 driver and firmware updates for Tiger (OSX 10.4) to my 6280M card. After applying both updates, ASP reported (redundant info not repeated)

    ACARD,6280M:
    Name: ACARD,6280M
    ....
    ROM Revision: 1.0.5

    The first attempt at the firmware update did not "take." I did it a second time -- resulting with success in updating the ROM to version 1.0.5. Leopard (10.5.1) now appears to load normally. I've made several attempts and each loads quickly. What a difference.

    Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. I hope my experience and your website helps others with Leopard installation problems. Although Apple likes to say "it just works," sometimes it takes a little effort to get it to work.
    Regards, Bud "

    I've gotten several mails on other card owners running leopard with other brands/models of IDE or SATA cards (some mentioned in a later post above) but many are embedded in previous emails on leopard in general with only OS X 10.5 subject lines. (I'm way behind on those as it's impossible to keep up since I'm working alone.)

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    Mac Drive Upgrades/Compatibility Database Updated
    The Drive Compatibility Database had 19 more reports added today. Current total - 16,298. (Searching by drive type/brand, mac model etc. will show full reports, most recent first) iApps burn support is typically mentioned in optical drive/burner reports.

    (Normally I list a summary here of additions but not today due to the number and time constraints - most were OS X 10.5 related, except for a few from 10.4.x or 10.3.x users)

    You can find full owner reports (latest shown first) by searching the database by drive/brand/interface/mac models (the latest reports are shown first in searches). The database includes reports on DVD +/-R, CDRWs, Combo DVD-CDRW, DVD-ROM, Hard Drives and Removables (tape drive, ORB, ZIP, MO drives, NAS, CF/Smartmedia readers, etc.) in all interface types (IDE, IDE RAID cards, SATA, Firewire, SCSI, USB, adapters).
    If you've added a IDE, SATA, Firewire, USB, or SCSI, hard drive, Optical drive/burner, NAS (including Airport Extreme base connected USB drive), tape drive, etc., send me the details (drive info/mac model/OS used, etc. - *Please take a minute to test for booting from CD with Optical drives*. Thanks.)

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    Other News/Misc. software updates

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