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Converting a PC Adaptec SCSI Card to a Mac Version
By Jeff Walther
(Note: As mentioned in the Jan 3rd, 1998 news page and several times later (such as the Feb. 13th, 1998 and March 29th, 1998 news pages and in the Nov. 23rd, 1998 news page that first linked to this reader article, many of the early 2940 PC SCSI cards had too small a bios chip to hold the mac rom (and some OEM models didn't even have a flash rom). A reader in March 1998 (in the then avsim hosted forums) posted info on a trimmed mac rom (removing the 'padding' basically in the file) that flashed in the smaller rom PC versions, but for legal issues it was never mirrored here.
However later models of the card may have a larger flash rom chip (to be honest I haven't checked the PC version of these cards for many years now - although I did post a note/flash a OEM PC 39160 card a few years ago with the mac bios fine) so see the email below from a reader in Nov. 2004 on using the standard adaptec flasher (v4.1, released after this article was originally posted) to flash a PC 2940 to a Mac version.-Mike)
(later update to original article from 1998)
"As a long time reader of your page, I know that I, and countless others, rely on you for fantastic information. Because of this, I'd like to pass on a quick note that the article on converting the Adaptec AHA-2940UW card from the PCBios to the Mac bios is much more challenging than it needs to be. (He had not seen the past news posts from 1998 where many 2940 cards had too small a rom chip (or were models w/o a flash rom)-Mike)
I couldn't find mention of this software conversion in your forums (the forums from 1998 had posts on this as well as a post on the trimmed mac bios back then, but that was when they were hosted by avsim, and those forums were moved/removed many years ago (back in 1999 or so)-Mike), and even the dozen or so others I scoured the net for were incredibly vague (though the pictoral demonstration on the hardware modification on your site was very thorough). Though most of them said outright "You can flash the Mac bios onto the card only using software", none of them described how.
When it comes down to it, the processes is ridiculously simple. So I write this to you in the hopes you'll put it up for people to read, so someone else in my situation won't need to retrace my steps..
I had an Adaptec AHA-2940UW card pulled from a Dell server some time ago, and never had much of a use for it (though I held on to it knowing it would come in very handy one day). I recently acquired a G4 Gigabit Ethernet Ed. for my sound studio, and then a couple of Seagate ST150176LW drives, but no Mac interface.
I pulled the 4.1 Flash Utility (for Mac OS 9) off the Adaptec website. I booted it into OS9, with the 2940 and its PC Bios still in the system, and ran the flash utility. It detected the card, and said plainly 'You can update this bios to 4.1.'. I ran the update, shut down and connected the drives, booted into OSX, and voila. 100 gigs of SCSI lovin' on (now) a 'PowerDomain' 2940. (No soldering required!)
Do beware, Adaptec lists the card as being officially unsupported and discontinued on OSX (http://www.adaptec.com/worldwide/product/markeditorial.html?prodkey=mac_osx _info), but OSX has native support for it (maybe this is typical? I'm a recent OSX convert, so forgive me. Only thing I'm used to seeing load up without 3rd party drivers is Microsoft hardware on a Microsoft OS.. go figure.) (there's also been some past reports from dantz/retrospect notes on problems with adaptec's scsi drivers in some versions of os x, although I don't use a 2940 card in OS X.-Mike)
So, for the precious few out there with a PC-ready 2940, and a Mac you want to use it in, hope this is useful. (assuming the card has a flash bios and that the chip is large enough to hold the std mac rom. perhaps later production models (post-1998) have a larger chip than when this article was first posted. I know I flashed a PC OEM 39160 card (dual channel/64bit PCI/Ultra160 card) with the Mac several years ago w/o any mods required.-Mike)
Love the site. Keep up the great work.
Rgds, -John-Luke "
(The original article on the chip swap from 1998 follows)
The Adaptec 2940UW and 3940U SCSI adapters for Intel machines (PC's) can be modified to work as PowerDomain SCSI adapters for the Macintosh. The modification requires removing the EEPROM from the PC version of the card and replacing it with an EEPROM with a larger capacity. One then updates the card's Firmware by installing it in a PCI equipped MacOS machine and using the PowerDomain Control Panel to install the appropriate Firmware Update. [Note - there was a software hack floating around last year, involving a PC flasher and a hacked Mac Bios that had been trimmed (using Resedit) to remove the zero padding that was said to be in the Mac Bios file to allow it to fit in the PC flash size. Most people never saw this hack and it's probably illegal anyway (please don't ask for it)-Mike]
All three of the 2940UW's that I modified had an EEPROM at position U6 (Figure 1) on the board. Position U6 holds a surface mount 'J' lead PLCC integrated circuit (Figure 2). Removing it from the board without damaging the board is not easy. I'll discuss some options later.
Figure 1 - 2940UW SCSI Card
Figure 2 - PLCC Chip
It is possible that other 2940UW's have their EEPROM at position U5 (Figure 1). Position U5 is for a DIP (dual in-line pin) package (figure 3). If your EEPROM is a DIP at position U5, it is most likely in a socket instead of being soldered down. This is good because it will be trivial to remove. This is bad because I have not worked on a version of the 2940UW with a DIP EEPROM, and while this modification should still work, it has not been tested under those circumstances.
If your card has an EEPROM at position U6 then position U5 will be blank and vice versa.
The four times I have performed this modification (three 2940UW's, one 3940U) I installed the replacement EEPROM at U6 (U12 for the 3940U). That means that I soldered a surface mount PLCC package into place. The exact same EEPROM is available in a DIP package. If one installs a socket at U5 and then simply plugs in the DIP version of the EEPROM, this modification should still work. However, I have not tested this option.
Removing the PLCC package EEPROM requires fairly advanced soldering skills. Likewise, installing the replacement PLCC package is challenging. I do not recommend that you attempt this modification unless you are very handy with a soldering pencil and related tools. You will need to be familiar with the use of solder flux and desoldering implements.
The tools to perform this modification can easily cost $100 or more if you do not already have them. The only source I have found for the replacement EEPROM has a minimum order of $25 and shipping charges of about $7.50. So parts will run about $35. All this adds up to a couple of conclusions:
1) Do not go out and buy a PC version of the Adaptec card intending to save a few bucks by converting it to a PowerDomain. It will cost you more in the long run than simply buying the PowerDomain up front and you won't have a valid warranty. [And note that www.macsales.com may still have OEM Mac PCI Jackhammer UW SCSI Cards for $139-Mike]
2) Do not attempt this modification if you aren't pretty good at soldering. I will provide detailed instructions here, but even though I knew what I wanted to do in theory, it took a fair bit of practice before I could get this right on the first try for a given card.
So why perform this modification at all? There are three circumstances in which it makes sense: if you are a pack rat; if you are a PC user with a 2940UW moving over to the Macintosh world; or if you somehow got stuck with a PC version of the 2940UW. I fall into the first category. I had accumulated three 2940UW's and a 3940U in my parts bin, by buying lots with other parts at auctions. I didn't have a PC and until recently, I didn't have a PCI Mac. Once I bought a Umax S900 I started looking for ways to use those surplus SCSI adapters in my PCI Mac.
This procedure will probably work on the 3940UW as well as the 3940U but I haven't tried it. Note that Adaptec doesn't make a PowerDomain version of the 3940U, only the 3940UW, so to convert the PC 3940U one must use the PowerDomain 3940UW Firmware update. [The 3940UW is wide scsi version - it was used in my 4-Drive Raid inside a 8600 Tutorial to allow dual channel Raid with one PCI Card-Mike]
1) Performing this modification, or any part of this modification will void your Adaptec warranty. Adaptec has told several people that the PC version of their SCSI cards cannot be converted for use as PowerDomains. One must assume that Adaptec would not approve of this modification.
2) You may ruin your card so that it will no longer work. Continue at your own risk. I am providing this information as an educational service. Neither I, nor Mike Breeden, accepts any liability for the results of anyone else's attempt to implement these instructions. However, I will answer e-mail questions about the modification.
3) This modification worked on three Adaptec 2940UW's and an Adaptec 3940U. These are all the cards on which I have performed the modification. However, Adaptec has made several variations of these cards. It may not be possible to modify some of the variations using these instructions.
4) This modification requires delicate soldering. It should only be attempted by persons skilled at soldering, unless they are willing to destroy their PC Adaptec card in the learning process.
1) Remove the existing EEPROM from the PC Adaptec 2940UW or 3940U.
2) Install an SST29EE010-120-4C-NH (or PH) or an Atmel AT29C010A-12JC (or 12PC) EEPROM on the SCSI adapter
3) Use the PowerDomain Control Panel to update the SCSI adapter with the appropriate PowerDomain Firmware.
People say that there is more than one way to skin a cat and that is true of most electronics work too. First I will describe some methods for removing the EEPROM. Then I will describe some alternatives for installing the replacement EEPROM. I will clearly note which particular procedure I used. The other procedures should work, but I have not tested them.
Identifying the Type of 2940UW That You Have
There are two (perhaps three but one is irrelevant) positions on the 2940UW card where an EEPROM may be installed. The positions are labeled U5, and U6. Only one of the positions will be occupied. Figure 1 (above) shows an image of the 2940UW with U5 and U6 labeled. If your card has an EEPROM at position U6 it (the EEPROM) will look like the chip in figure 2 (above). If your card has an EEPROM at U5 it will look like the chip in figure 3. figure 2 shows an EEPROM in a PLCC package. figure 3 shows an EEPROM (though, not one from a 2940UW) in a DIP package.
The 3940 does not have a position for a DIP packaged EEPROM. It's EEPROM should be in a PLCC package at position U12. See figure 4.
The Procedure: Removing the Existing EEPROM For the 2940UW with a PLCC EEPROM and the 3940U:
This is challenging because the EEPROM has 32 pins and you need for them all to come loose at once. Usually one would clip the pins loose from the EEPROM, remove the body of the EEPROM and then work on the pins one at a time. That would be difficult in this case because the EEPROM has 'J' leads. These run down the side right next to the body of the chip until they curl underneath. It may be possible to clip them loose, but I haven't tried. I suspect you would end up torquing the pin and possibly lifting the underlying pad to which the pin is soldered.
I know of three ways to do this and there may be others. If you know a better way, by all means use it (and e-mail me).
To do this the way I did you will need the following items:
- Non-corrosive liquid solder-flux (~$5)
- Modeling Clay ($5 at a hobby or crafts store)
- PRB (manufacturer) Chip Quick (brand name) SMD Bench Rework System (part # CQ1000) (~$50)
- PRB Chip Quick low temperature desolder/alloy (part # CQ180 or CQ146)
- One soldering pencil (I used a grounded pencil from Radio Shack ($9)
- A pointy heat tolerant implement (the SMD Bench Rework System includes dental picks)
- Heat gun with adjustable temperature (~$40)
The Chip Quick desolder/alloy (henceforth called "alloy") comes in rods and is a solder-like substance. You melt it into existing solder using a soldering pencil. After it mixes with the existing solder it forms a new alloy that has a much lower melting point than the unadulterated solder. I love this stuff. Instead of needing to get all the leads of the EEPROM up to about 400 degrees at the same time, heating them to about 200 degrees will loosen the solder. If you are really good with this stuff you can dispense with the heat gun and the modeling clay.
Step 1: Coat the pins and pads of the EEPROM with liquid solder flux. This helps the alloy to mix with the existing solder. (The 3940U has a couple of yellow resistor packs next to the EEPROM. You will need to bend them over, away from the EEPROM in order to have room to work.)
Step 2: Apply your hot soldering pencil at the point where an EEPROM pin meets the underlying pad, so that they both get hot (this should only take a second or two). Apply the alloy to the hot pin and pad as if you were soldering the joint. The alloy has such a low melting point, that you may apply excess alloy despite your best efforts. If this happens, gently use your soldering pencil like a paint brush to spread the excess alloy across the pins on that side of the EEPROM. Then apply your hot soldering pencil to each pin/pad in turn so that the alloy has a chance to mix with the solder at each joint.
Step 3: If you did a really good job of mixing the alloy with the solder, you may be able to remove the EEPROM without the heat gun. Go around the EEPROM one more time applying your soldering pencil to the points where each pin meets its pad. At the end of the circle, the EEPROM may pop loose. This happened for me on the fourth SCSI card that I modified. The trick is twofold. First, the alloy must be well mixed with the solder at every joint. Second, you must get all the joints hot before the first one has cooled too much. Do not apply much force trying to pop the EEPROM loose. You could lift the pads with the EEPROM and then you would not have anything to which to solder the replacement EEPROM.
Step 4: If you don't get lucky and pop the EEPROM loose with just the alloy you will need to heat the EEPROM with a heat gun. A heat gun is like a very hot hair dryer. I bought my Milwaukee Model 2000-D at Home Depot for about $40. The thing about heat guns is that they are not very specific about what they heat. You could loosen components that you never meant to. That's where the modeling clay comes in useful. I built a little dam to cover the nearby components (such as R22-R25 and R7-R13, the red LED and U9) out of modeling clay. You will also want to cover C16, but be careful not to cover the EEPROM leads. C16 is right next to the EEPROM.
Step 5: Set the heat gun to about 600 degrees. The 2000-D has a dial on the back that is calibrated in hundreds of degrees fahrenheit. I find a setting between 4 and 6 works pretty well. You may have to experiment with your heat gun to find what works best. Turn on the heat gun and heat the EEPROM's leads. I use a circular motion, orbiting around above the EEPROM aiming at the leads on each side successively.
Step 6: After about 60 seconds of heating the EEPROM use a long pointy implement (a dental pick works great) to see if the EEPROM is loose. Gently lift the EEPROM at the corner (where you can get the point between the leads). If you start to lift the whole card, back off and continue heating the EEPROM until it comes loose. If you use too low a heat setting on the heat gun it may never come loose. So if several minutes go by and it still isn't coming loose raise the setting on the heat gun.
Step 7: That's it.
This is a variation on Method A. Use the same procedure but skip to Step 4 and don't use the desolder alloy. Set your heat gun to 800-1000 degrees fahrenheit. I've used this method on other types of circuit board successfully, but I am not as comfortable with it. You must get the component much hotter before it comes loose.
Method C: I outlined this at the beginning of this section.
Step 1: Using a very sharp snips, cut each of the 32 pins on the existing EEPROM.
Step 2: After all the pins are cut remove the body of the EEPROM.
Step 3: Heat the solder joining a pin to a pad. Remove the pin (probably with a tweezers, but it may stick to the tip of the soldering pencil).
Step 4: Repeat Step 3 for all 32 pins and be patient and gentle. It is easy to get hurried and lift the pad along with the pin.
For the 2940UW with the DIP EEPROM
If your EEPROM is in a DIP package in position U5 on the card, it is most likely in a socket. Use a small screw driver to pry each end of the EEPROM up from the socket. Alternate between the ends until you lift the EEPROM out of the socket. There, wasn't that easy? If you do have one of these, please e-mail me and let me know. I've seen 2940U's with DIP EEPROM's and the older 2940 and 2940W (non-ultra) but I don't have a confirmed sighting of a 2940UW with a DIP EEPROM.
The Procedure: Cleaning Up the Card
If you have a 2940UW that had a DIP EEPROM you can skip this section. You didn't make a mess.
If you just desoldered a PLCC EEPROM from U6 you need to clean up the card a bit before proceeding.
Step 1: If you used either of the heat gun methods, remove the modeling clay. It may be a little crunchy, but it should lift off easily.
Step 2: Paint a little solder flux over the pads at U6. This is particularly important if you used the alloy. It's much easier to clean up the used solder with some flux on it.
Step 3: Using Desolder braid (looks like copper braid, available at Radio Shack for about $2) and your soldering pencil, clean the solder off of each pad. Apply the braid to the pad, and gently press the soldering pencil tip to the braid over the pad. The solder should melt and wick into the braid. Clean all 32 pads.
Step 4: Clean the excess flux off of the card. You can buy products sold for this purpose or get some spray TV tuner cleaner such as Dry Kleen. Try not to spray the surrounding components, especially the electrolytic capacitors. You may want to use a bit of modeling clay again. It's okay to spray the components like C16 and R7 through R13.
The Procedure: Installing the New EEPROM
To install a PLCC EEPROM
Step 1: Get the EEPROM. You will need a Silicone Storage Technology, Inc. SST29EE010-120-4C-NH (or 3C-NH) or an Atmel AT29C010A-12JC. I haven't found a supplier that handles the SST part in small quantities. You can phone order the Atmel chip from Arrow Electronics. They have several locations across the country. The Texas location's phone number is 800-331-9104. You can get other locations' numbers from toll-free directory assistance at 800-555-1212. If you are outside of North America you will have to find a supplier for these chips. See the section labeled "Some Notes" for more information on obtaining the chips.
Arrow Electronics wants $7 plus change for the Atmel part and has a minimum order of $25 per line item. They charge about $7.50 for ground shipping so the total cost comes to about $37. Of course you end up with four EEPROM's.
Step 2: Prepare the board by tinning the pads. This means put solder on the pads. I apply a line of solder paste (from the PRB Chip Quick kit) to each row of pads and then melt it with a soldering pencil. The paste has solder flux mixed in so the solder gathers on the pads. You could also apply a little flux to the pads and then tin them using a fine guage rosin core solder.
Step 3: Clean off the excess flux. See Step 4 in "Cleaning Up the Card".
Step 4: Orient the EEPROM. There will be a little dimple in the plastic of the EEPROM in the middle of one edge. On the Atmel part that is the edge above the writing on the chip. Position the EEPROM with the dimple facing C16. The side of the EEPROM with the dimple should be closest to the back plane (where the external SCSI connector is) of the card.
Step 5: Position the EEPROM. Fiddle with the position of the EEPROM until you get all of the pins lined up properly on the pads. This part is a pain. If you start feeling like it's good enough, but you can see that it isn't, take a break. Once you get the EEPROM positioned, tack down a couple of pins with your soldering pencil. One of the things that makes this difficult is the solder on the pads. The pins want to slide off of the little mounds of solder. The flux is tacky though and helps stop the pins from sliding.
Step 6: Go around applying the soldering pencil to the points where the pins meet the pads like you did when you were applying the alloy (only don't apply any alloy!). Use your other thumb to apply some gentle downward force to the chip while you are soldering the pins. This has the added advantage of letting you know when the chip is getting hot. If the chip is too hot for your thumb, stop soldering for a few moments and let it cool.
Step 7: Check continuity. Apply one lead of a continuity checker to the pin (not the pad) just to the right (with the writing right side up) of the dimple on the EEPROM. Apply the other lead to the top right solder point of U5 (between R16 and C15). There should be continuity. (Yes, your EEPROM is soldered to U6, but every pad of U6 is connected to a pad on U5.) Work your way clockwise around the EEPROM and U5. There are solder points right next to the EEPROM on the long sides that you can use for the same purpose. The third pin (upper right on EEPROM) you try won't connect because that pin is not used. The pin directly under the dimple is not used either. Keep in mind that excess flux may act as an insulator and prevent your continuity tester probes from making a good connection with the pins.
Step 8: Use your soldering pencil and some fine rosin core solder to make a good connection between pin and pad anywhere you found an open circuit. Make sure you heat both the pin and the pad before applying the solder, to get a good joint. You may need to apply a little more flux first. Test continuity again.
Step 9: Check for shorts. Apply the leads of your continuity tester to adjacent solder points on U5. If you have continuity between any of them, then you have two shorted pins on the EEPROM. You may need to clean up excess solder with some desolder braid.
To install a DIP EEPROM
Step 1: Get the EEPROM. You will need a Silicone Storage Technology, Inc. SST29EE010-120-4C-PH (or 3C-PH) or an Atmel AT29C010A-12PC. See Step 1 under "To install a PLCC EEPROM" for a supplier. Notice that the only difference in part number between the DIP and the PLCC is the letter P. These are exactly the same chip in different packages. I have never ordered the DIP version so I don't know what they charge for it or even if Arrow Electronics carries it.
If your 2940UW (the 3940U does not have a DIP position) came with a DIP EEPROM, then this should be trivial. Simply plug the EEPROM into the socket with the notch facing the back plane. You're done.
If your 2940UW came with a PLCC EEPROM and you have decided to experiment by replacing it with a DIP EEPROM, read on.
Step 2: Obtain a 32 pin DIP socket. These come in different sizes so pay some attention to dimensions. You can probably get one at Radio Shack. Digi-Key (www.digikey.com) also carries them but they have a $25 minimum order. [Note: another source of EEPROMs was: www.jdr.com - JDR Microdevices.]
Step 3: Clean the solder out of the holes. Use some desolder braid and a soldering pencil. Place the braid over a hole. Gently apply the pencil to the top of the braid. The solder should melt and wick into the braid. You may have to do this from both sides of the card.
Step 4: Insert the pins of the DIP socket through the holes at U5. Orient the notch on the socket with the white outline on U5.
Step 5: Solder the pins of U5 to the pads surrounding the holes.
Step 6: You may want to check continuity for the socket by reversing the process described in Step 7 of "To Install a PLCC EEPROM".
Step 7: Plug the EEPROM into the socket.
The Procedure: Loading the Firmware
Step 1: Download the appropriate Firmware update from Adaptec's web site. For the 2940UW you will want the PowerDomain 2940UW control panel and firmware. For the 3940U you will want the Power Domain 3940UW control panel and firmware.
Step 2: Install your modified SCSI adapter in a PCI slot in a MacOS compatible machine. Observe all the usual anti-static procedures and make sure the power is off.
Step 3: Boot your Mac.
Step 4: Launch the Power Domain Control Panel. It does not need to be in the Control Panel folder. Note that at this point your card will not appear in the "Select a SCSI bus"window.
Step 5: Choose the "Board" menu and select the "Update Flash ROM" item.
Step 6: Navigate to the appropriate Firmware Update on your hard drive, select it, and click the "Open" button.
Step 7: Select a board to update. Unless you are doing two at once, or already have a PowerDomain, there should be only one choice here. The second line in its description should say "No Firmware Installed" or something close to that. Select your board and click "Okay". The only time I had a board fail to appear in this window was when I had a short between two of the address pins of the EEPROM. After I fixed the short the board showed up.
Step 8: A progress bar should appear. It will fill fairly quickly and at the end you should receive a message that your board's firmware was successfully updated. If you try this with an unmodified PC 2940UW, the progress bar will fill normally, but you will receive a message that the update failed because an error occurred. One board I modified had an open circuit between one of the pins and pads of the EEPROM, and the bar filled immediately and then I received an error message. After fixing the open it updated properly.
Step 9: If the card does not update properly or does not appear at all go back and check your solder joints for opens or shorts. If it updated successfully quit the control panel and restart your computer. After restarting open the control panel again, and now the PowerDomain should appear in the "Select a SCSI bus" window.
Step 10: Enjoy your new PowerDomain!
1) The data sheets for the SST and Atmel EEPROM's are available at their web sites. The web sites are www.ssti.com and www.atmel.com, respectively. I have not shopped around for these chips very much. I stopped when I discovered that Arrow Electronics sells the Atmel parts. If you download the Adobe Acrobat version of the SST EEPROM data sheet you will find that the last page contains supplier information for a good part of the world. I don't know if these suppliers sell in small quantities but it is worth checking. SST has a cross-match table on their web site which is very useful for finding compatible EEPROM's from different manufacturers.
2) At first I tried this with an AMD EEPROM. It didn't work. There are different address modes used by different EEPROM's. AMD's flash EEPROM's use the wrong ones. Atmel's and SST's use the same addressing mode. Adaptec uses SST Flash EEPROM's on it's cards.
3) If you have a DIP EEPROM on your SCSI card, its part number (under the paper label) may start with a 27 instead of a 29. The 27 series requires a seperate programming device. In other words to program a 27 EEPROM one would remove the EEPROM stick it in a special programming machine and program it. When you replace it, replace it with the 29 part that I listed. The 29 series is programmable in place, so your 2940UW or 3940U should program the 29 series just fine--unless your card is so different from what I have worked with that the programming circuitry is disabled.
4) I don't know if you can load the PC BIOS after you have converted your SCSI card to a PowerDomain. Being a Mac person, I would never want to, but someone asked me about this. I don't know. If you try it, let me know. As long as the PC Flash Utility holds the upper address bit low while it is programming the EEPROM, this should work. However, there is a possibility that you would not be able to convert the PC SCSI card back into a PowerDomain, even though you have the larger EEPROM installed. In brief, these EEPROM's offer an optional data protection mode. If the PC Flash utility enables the data protection mode, and the PowerDomain control panel does not, then you would not be able to write to a given EEPROM with the PowerDomain CP, after the PC Flash Utility has been used on it. New EEPROM's ship with data protection mode disabled as the default, so a newly installed EEPROM does not have this problem. The data protection mode is real, but my thoughts on how Adaptec may or may not use it is pure speculation. It would be pretty easy to design some tests to determine for sure.
5) The PC Flash Utility used to update the PC card's BIOS is more versatile than the PowerDomain CP. Specifically, the Flash Utility will let you read the contents of the EEPROM and write them out to disk. I have found that the Flash Utility does not work properly on many PC's though. It particularly seems to dislike Pentium Pros and the UMC chip set on mother boards, but my testing is very limited. The BIOS for the PC 2940UW is not available, you must download an update for the PC 2940U2W to get the PC Flash Utility. If you want to try converting your PC 2940UW back to a PC card after converting it to a PowerDomain, then you need to plan ahead. Use the Flash Utility to write the BIOS (EEPROM contents) out to disk before you perform any modifications.
6) I had a 3940U for the PC in my parts bin and one EEPROM left over when I ran out of 2940UW's. Adaptec does not make a PowerDomain version of the 3940U (they make a 3940UW). I replaced the EEPROM in the PC 3940U and used the PowerDomain 3940UW Firmware update. The 3940U seems to work fine as a PowerDomain. The PowerDomain Control Panel does offer me the option to enable Wide negotiation, however. Since the 3940U has only narrow connectors, I disabled Wide Negotiation for all SCSI addresses. From this, I infer that the PC 3940UW can probably be modified in the same way, but I have not tried it.
7) The EEPROM on the PC versions of the cards hold 64 Kbytes. The chips have the number 512 on them because 64 K is 512 kilobits. Likewise the replacement chips have '010' on them for 1 megabit. One megabit is 128 Kbytes. So this modification involves replacing a 64 K EEPROM with a 128K EEPROM. The chip manufacturers consistently discuss the EEPROM capacities in Kilobits and Megabits.
8) Once I got the Atmel EEPROM's (instead of AMD) I converted two 2940UW's at the same time. The first one I tried to update in my S900 didn't appear in the Control Panel at all. The second one did and updated fine. I went back, removed the new EEPROM from the non-working 2940UW, and installed another one. I also replaced the EEPROM on my third 2940UW. Neither of these worked. The first again failed to appear in the Control Panel. The second got the too fast progress bar followed by an error message. I began to suspect the working one was a fluke. After a nice person named Daniel Burrows gave me some soldering advice (re: cleaning off excess flux) I revisited both cards. I found a short on the non-appearing one and an open on the other. A few minutes work to fix those two soldering flaws, and both cards updated to PowerDomains perfectly.
9) The EEPROM's seem to be pretty rugged. The EEPROM that I soldered in place and then removed as described in Note 8 is the one I installed in the 3940U. I used a heat gun to remove it from the 2940UW after my first attempt to update that 2940UW failed. After I got all three 2940UW's working, I started wondering about the PC 3940U and whether the EEPROM had survived the soldering/desoldering process. I cleaned the chip off and installed it in the 3940U and the 3940U updated to a PowerDomain on the first try.
10) As you can surmise from notes 8 and 9, this modification takes some practice. I'm pretty experienced at soldering but I only got one out of three cards working on the first try. After the fourth one, I'm pretty confident I can succeed on the first try most of the time now.
Other Site SCSI and Storage Info:
See the Storage Features page for a listing of other articles on PCI SCSI card tests, Raid software comparisons and tutorials on installing drives and cards. (There are also pages on IDE and Firewire drives and controllers.)
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