STB Suite

December 2002

The History of SCSI Toolbox
Back in 1990, Mike Jones invented the first SCSItoolbox, a hardware-based tester to help his employees at a systems integration company test SCSI peripherals. Two years later he co-founded Peripheral Test Instruments, and started selling the software SCSItoolbox. Over the years the company’s interest and support of the SCSItoolbox waned, and so in the summer of 2002 Mike spun off the new company, SCSI Toolbox LLC, to get back to his original goal of providing the most comprehensive SCSI tester possible. Three upgrades have been released since July 2002, and the SCSItoolbox is better than ever. And results of our user November survey are currently being incorporated for the next release! For the best SCSI tool for testing ALL SCSI/FC/iSCSI/ATAPI peripherals, from a proactive company that listens and responds to its customers – all you need to remember is SCSI Toolbox!

For more information about the SCSI Toolbox, LLC please read our about page here: About Us


Survey Winner

First of all SCSI Toolbox thanks all of you who participated in the November Survey. We would like to congradulate Mark Gradisar of Quantum Corporation in Colorado Springs, CO. He is the winner of the Creative Labs MuVo 128MB USB MP3 Player and storage device!

We would also like to thank everyone for their valuable input and feedback. There was an overwhelming response to include better graphing for testing results in the SCSItoolbox (68% of who submitted the survey wanted better graphing). So to show our manuverablity to the market place, the NEXT release of the SCSItoolbox will incorporate extending graphing capabilities!

Click here to see a sample picture of what’s to come in the next release!

Keep an eye out for your next chance to win in the January newsletter!


End of Year Mail in Rebate Offer*

MIR - Cash in your hand!Every SCSItoolbox purchased between now and December 31, 2002 qualifies for a$300 mail in rebate. Each SCSItoolbox will ship with a rebate card, with the serial number of the SCSItoolbox filled in. You fill in the name and address section on the form, mail it in by January 15th, and within a few short weeks you will receive your very own $300 check from SCSI Toolbox LLC. The money is YOURS, and this isOUR way of saying thank you for a very good year of business, come back again and see us soon! For more information please email or call Jeremy Wolfe at 720.249.2641.

But please – act soon – this offer ends on News Years Eve, 2002.


Did you know?

Disk defect data is automatically shown on a per-head basis at the end of the display defect data command. This can be helpful in determining certain drive problems. For instance, if there are many grown defects on a single head, that head or its associated electronics channels may be bad.

Always be sure that you scroll the defect data display to the end to see the defects sorted on a per-head basis.


Ask Dr. SCSI

The real Dr. SCSIQ. “Dr. SCSI, how can I be sure that the drive that I am buying for $12 on eBay is robust enough to trust my energy company customers accounting data with?”
signed A. Anderson

A. The popularity of online auction sites like eBay has given birth to a whole new channel for buying and selling SCSI peripherals. You can easily be an informed buyer by using the SCSItoolbox to test how hard your device is has to try in order to get your data written or read. You do this by testing the drive, then examining the LOG PAGES.

The Sequential Write/Read Test of the entire drive is a good place to start. Once the test is complete, go to the Disk->Commands->Mode/Log Page Functions->View Log Pages menu choice. Click on the Browse button, and select an appropriate .def file for your device. If all else fails, choose the file default.def.

Double-click on the Write Error Page and the Read Error Page. Look at the parameters for each of these, and note if the drive shows that it has been doing error corrections. If it has had to correct as it reads or writes there may be a problem.

If the drive has a temperature page, you can double-click on that to see what temperature the drive is running at. Modern high-rpm drives need lots of airflow to keep happy! Always have some extra fans blowing across your drives while you are testing. Trust the Doctor on this – no matter how tasty “baked Barracuda” or “fried Cheetah” may sound, you don’t want it! Keep all your critters cool on your workbench while you are testing them.

Your drive may also tell you how many hours it has been powered up. Seagate drives report this in the Factory Log page. Parameter 0 shows the number of hours the drive has been powered up. You may have a fairly “new” drive with lots of power up hours, or you may have an “older” drive with fewer hours. Just remember what Indy said – “It’s not the years, it’s the mileage”

Last but not least, when buying drives of unknown pedigree, always check out the number of Grown Defects. A good rule of thumb is – if a drive has any Grown Defects, don’t use it! If your drive has some, try reformatting it, then retest it. If it still shows any, don’t use it for important data. Unless the data is for an energy or telcom company, and you’re hoping that the data just goes away soon… well, you get the picture.

Tech Tip – Read Link Status

Seagate Fibre Channel drives store all link error status values as they run. These values are stored in parameters 8100h – 8119h in the Temperature LOG PAGE (Log Page code 0Dh).

Here are the Parameter Code definitions:

Code Description
8100h Link Failure Count, Port A (8110h Port B)
8101h Loss of Synchronization Count, Port A (8111h Port B)
8104h Invalid Transmission Word Count, Port A (8114h Port B)
8105h Invalid CRC Count, Port A (8115h Port B)
8106h LIP F7 Initiated Count, Port A (8116h Port B)
8107h LIP F7 Received Count, Port A (8117h Port B)
8108h LIP F8 Initiated Count, Port A (8118h Port B)
8109h LIP F8 Received Count, Port A (8119h Port B)

With SCSItoolbox, select the drive, then use Disk Commands->Mode/Log Page Functions->View Log Pages to view Log Page 0Dh.

Read the link error status for each drive on the loop before running a test, then again after the test finishes. If error values for one drive are significantly higher that those same values for the neighboring drives you may have a link problem with that drive or the drive on the loop before it. Check the drives, any interconnect cables, and the port bypass circuitry.