LIF disks: volume label changing and related stuff


Hi HPIL users;

after building one thread with considerable "golden" information, I took both programs (HP41 and HP71) and tried them out so I could add/change "volume name" using them.

To those who did not understand the reason for such "maneuver", that's because I use LIFUTIL running under DOS environment so I can write to and read from LIF disks. The problem is that LIFUTIL somehow uses "volume label" field to identify and handle disk data, and seems to be able to only handle disks with "volume label" field filled with "valid data".

If the disks are initialized by LIFUTIL, "volume label" is requested and there is a suggested default name. I never tried to initialize a disk with LIFUTIL without specifying a name, so I do not know what happens.

There is a program listed in the HP9114B Owner's Manual for the HP71 that allows it to easily initialize disks in the HP9114B. This program asks for a volume label and its input is optional.

The HP41 system offers NEWM, a standard HPIL function that initializes any medium available in its controlled loop. I also found that the HP41 standard HPIL functions using the HP9114B would allow initializing and writing into disks with up to 130KBytes. But the same HP9114B User's Manual had a program listed for the HP41 that would allow it to go further: 630KBytes. This "high-capacity" formatting program uses functions available in the Extended I/O ROM (HP82183A).

The fact is that neither the above mentioned program nor NEWM ask for "volume label" as an input data, so any disks initialized with the HP41 in this case will have other data than an identifier in "volume label" field. When I first got an HP9114B, I initialized three disks with the HP41 and filled them with some programs, mostly ones I typed in the calculator for this particular purpose: storing in disks. Later I installed LIFUTIL in my computer and have other disks initialized with it, because the HP41 "high-capacity" formatter is too long and occupies a lot of memory. The original version uses so much memory that it needs more than the 124 registers available in the standard X-Functions module (or the HP41CX), and I mentioned this fact in another post.

Well, what to do? To "rename" them. After asking for help I tried both programs and I found some interesting facts related to the HP41 program.

First one: the HP71 program allows disks to be fast and safely renamed; thanks, Rodger.

Second one: the HP41 rename program actually changes "volume label" contents for sure, because I used the HP71 "renaming" program and it shows the new name given through the HP41; thanks, Dan McDonald. But if I initialize a disk with the HP41, 130K or 630K, renaming it with the HP41 will not allow LIFUTIL to read/write on it. If I format the disk with LIFUTIL and rename it with the HP41, all's fine. If I format the disk with the HP41 and rename with the HP71, it's either fine! The combination "initialize with the HP41" (NEWM or the "high-capacity program) and "rename with the HP41" will not allow LIFUTIL to read the disk. The HP41 AND the HP71 will, in any case, read disks contents because both can read LIF disks without a specified "volume label".

I'm not sure about what's going on. Renaming programs ("volume label") are fine because both change the disk name or add it, as confirmed by the HP71.

This is a report only. I'm just posting this information so others can avoid these problems or simply be aware of them. Also, maybe I'm doing something wrong and someone will point this out.

In any case, thank you all who followed and contributed to the original thread about LIF disks. I hope we have that sort of "brainstorm" more frequently here at the MoHPC.

Best regards.

Luiz (Brazil)

Edited: 13 July 2003, 12:18 a.m.

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