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ICL DRS300 dos system problem

3274 Views 35 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  JohnWill
Hi Guys, I am a bit if a beginner here and have a problem with my old DRS300 ICL dos based system. I am in the middle of replacing this with a pc system but unfortunately in the midst of changing the DRS300 has packed up.

When I say packed up I mean one of the drives.

I have already sent the hard drive (a miniscribe 8425 mfm) for data recovery but to no avail. They have said that it was corrupted and had bad media. This drive held the boot up and operating system. The other drive which hold the data in the DRS300 is ok but i cannot access the info to do anything with it. I can access the files using a floppy disc that has a type command in it but can only view the info.

Is there any way of interfacing a pc with this type of miniscribe drive to access the files and tranfer the data to a word or excel so I can at least print the data and have hard copies. All the files held on the drive are text files.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Hello John,

Thanks for your prompt reply. Not being technical I am not sure whether I can do what your saying.

The only access I have to the files is by typing A:type (file name).bom. This will then display the files contents on screen.

However I must have a particular floppy in the drive to be able to type the TYPE command. The problem I have is that I do not know how to copy any of the floppy contents onto my good f: so I can then use a different floppy to copy onto.

The floppy consists of 1 file named DRIUTILS.BLD. It is made up of several .CMD lines ie...STOP, TYPE, CHKDSK, PRINTMGR and various others.

Am I correct in saying that if I could copy the contents of this file onto my good F: I could then copy my data onto new floppys ?

Sorry for sounding a bit stupid but I am a bit over my head here at the moment.
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Thanks John I will give it a go. We have quite a lot (approx 1300 files) but I will jeust get someone to sit a punch the info in. I will see how it goes.
Well I think I may have got somewhere !! at last. :)

Have found a command PIP that will effectively copy the file to a dot matrix printer and print the file.

Have trie the same command PIP to send it to a PC using the Hyperlink facility and it works but unfortunately is printing incorrect text format. Not sure if this is something to do with baud rates etc.

Have also managed to copy our BOM files to floppys so hopefully I can now open these on a standard pc.

The main stock file however is 17 meg and I obviosuly cannot transfer via floppys. Someone has mentioned that you can use a command BACKUP which will stitch the files together onto however many floppyes are required. The you use RESTOE to stitch them back together on a PC. Am going to look into this one now.
p.s. For information have been told that the system is not MS-DOS but CPM C-DOS. Does not mean to much to me....
Thanks John, will have a look.

Yes it is old and it is a flaming nuisance................:mad:

Hoping I will be able get some luck with the transfer tomorrow. Have somebody coming round tomorrow to give me some guidance.... and god do I need it...:D
Don't seem to have made any breakthrough. I have been able to send the data to a dot matrix using a PIP PRN:=(File name). This works fine.

Have used both the hyper terminal and kermit and then sent the data using the same command but unfortunately it seems to communicate but prints on screen complete nonsense. I am guessing the file transfer set up has to be a particular type and I have no idea what it should be set as.

Starting to struggle now....:(
Have just managed to get a files data across. The data rates had to be set to 75...

Now that i have the text captured I need to find a program to be able to open it and use. Have tried notepad but to no avail. At least i seem to be getting somewhere ...very slowly.....
Unfortunately it appears that I can not send a file to my laptop. All I can do is either copy or print the contents of the file.

This although not 100% would help. Only problem now is that it saves the file on the pc as a log file but I cann ot open it with any program.
Have cracked it......:D Well almost. Have output the data and got them into notebook.

Have now just got to get my main stock file over. Have amaged that also but seems to be nowehere near as much info as there should be. Apparently there may be pointers attached within the file.

Lokks like not much hope with this one but will see.
Well.... Thought I would give you an update as to where i have got to...

Have got all my bill of materials onto my pc using the kermit program.

Can now access all the text files and cut and paste as desired.....:D

Still have a problem with my main stock file though. Can copy data across as I did with the BOM's but unfortunately displays the file in some weird format.

There is no file structure. This would be ok as I know somebody that can write a small program to re-assemble the list into something more readable.

Problem is that the whole file does not display. I have been told that there is a possibility that because the file is larger than the rest that there may be some sort of pointers within the file. When displayed it does have some weird characters that appear between records and at the start. Not sure if this means I will not be able to do anything with it. When I say the file is large it is still only 4 or Mb. The file is basically a text file.

Might try and see if some data recovery expert will be able to take the complete file off and put onto a cd. My worry is that I will still get the same display when I open it.

I cannot seem to have any commands that can transfer the file as a file rather than transferring the contents.
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Thanks for the advice John.

Basically I have used the following command on my old system COPY (file name) lst:

This copies the contents of my file onto the pc using the kermit program on the pc. I have captured the text on the pc and then saved the contents into notepad.

I can do the same for the main stock file and post it on here to see if you have any ideas. I was assuming if I was able to get the file as a file name ie RMC.DT1 I could then open this file using an appropriate program on the pc which would decipher all the info correctly.

At present when I send the file using the copy command to the pc I am getting approx 50 records in total within the file. I know that there is approx 4000 records on file held in the file name.

I will try and attach the file so you can see what I mean (I HOPE !!!)
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Hi John,

I have attached the txt file RMCDT1 that I got when I transferred to dt1 file. Really weird though. On the ICL DRS system it shows in the directory as approx 17 mb in sizes. When copied over using the kermit it reduces to about 8kb.

Although the text is scrambled in the file that can be fixed by making a small program to re-allocate the text.

Basically part of the record consists of the following (this is the 1st record in the txt file)

ASSACCAC/C = Our stock code)
AC/C = Supplier stock code
ALARM CONTROLLER GONG & PIPS = Stock part description
A = Type of part (in this case assembly)
RMC0340 = File number holding the bill of materials
41.93886 = Actual price
45.3736 = Standard price
EA = Each
CSL = Supplier
This is followed by other numerical figures which are for stock quantities and levels etc.

The characters at the start of the file mean nothing to me along with the funny Y's. There are other characters within the record which I assume (or am hoping) because of the file size they condense the actual file on screen. It may be that I need my actual stock program to be able to even open this file in the correct format. I have been assured that all the files are just text files and all data should be there though. Not sure quite what to do at the moment.:(


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I am probably sounding a bit stupid now but do you set the pc kermit part as binary somehow ? The only command I can use to send the file from my icl drs300 is the copy command or pip command.
Will have a look and see what I can find...... thanks for your help once again Jonh.
Thanks John, I will give it a go..:up:
Hmmm. Have tried the above but seems to make no difference. Have looked into the file transfer settings etc and they were already set to binary. Have tried changing it and various other combinations ie SET PARITY NONE (a kermit solution) but they seem to make no difference. Whichever combination I use I get the same file transfer information.

Could be the terminal I am trying to send it from I guess....not sure though. As I have said earlier I have only one command from my old ICL DRS300 which is the copy command. I don't know if I should be trying to send it someway different for KERMIT to recognize it differently. Am hoping to try and get hold of a guy that worked on our system a long time ago and see if I can jog his memory.

Am feeling I may not have much joy though.
My laptop which I am using to trasnfer the info from has the kermit program running.

The old DRS300 mainframe ICL CPM-86 CDOS system is basically in-operative. The main drive has got corrupted which had the bespoke programs and operating system on. The mainfarme also had another hard dive which was used to store the data. This is still ok.

My only way of operating the system is by using a floppy drive that loads the config program onto the system. I am assuming this holds the config in its RAM. I can then use various other floppy discs that I have to access my other drive and view the files. These floppys would usually be used when building the system from scratch (they are standard ICL load discs (About 7 of them).

Therefore once I am into the system after loading the config file, I can type F:user 1 which will change the command prompt to 1F:. I can then type COPY or PIP or LOOK followed by the file name to access the data files. However the system operates all the commands from the A: floppy to be able to run.

I am hoping that makes some sense........

Shall try and expaling how I am running kermit.

PC has kermit running (Baud rate set at 75) capture text enabled. Connect pc to DRS300 monitor using a 25 way to 9 way lead. Type the COPY (file name) lst:

This then send the data to pc in a list format and into a notebook.

Then save the notebook to pc.
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I am probably sounding quite stupid now but do you know what version of kermit I would have to download. Once downloaded I will have to find a 5 1/4 floppy drive to copy it onto..That should be an experience in itself.
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