(written by Jon De Schrijder)

What is the use of an IDE interface?

An IDE interface makes it possible to connect IDE devices to your MSX. Most common harddisks and CDROM drives found today are IDE compatible ones. This makes them cheap compared to SCSI devices. The Sunrise IDE interface also contains DOS2.20. So even without a device, the interface can be useful.

Where can I find such IDE interface?

Only Sunrise has developed such interfaces on a large scale. But also some MSX-users have developed their own interface. Check out following URLs:

Japanese people might want to read the MSX-ATAIDE Private HomePage[Japanese]. The page is a bit outdated, but contains general information, a FAQ and manuals in Japanese. This page is specific for the Sunrise IDE interface.

Following part of the IDE FAQ is related to the IDE interface from Sunrise!

My IDE interface has never worked properly. What can I do?

Make sure you use the latest biosversion. This bios can be found at the Sunrise homepage (see above) Note also the fact that the original interfaces have a bad-designed databus driver and some of them also a bad GAL-chip. You can repair them yourselves. For more info read the IDEFIX.TXT file. The latest version of this file can be found at:

Where can I find technical data concerning the IDE I/O system?

It is in the IDE software download package on the Sunrise homepage, see the "Software for Hardware" category.

Where can I find IDE software?

All IDE software can be found on the Sunrise homepage, see the "Software for Hardware" category.

What kind of devices can I connect to the interface?

All IDE compatible devices can be connected to it (harddisks, CDROM, 100MB and 250MB ZIP, LS120 Superdisk, ...) Currently (28/6/2000) DVD and CDRW drives can be used as normal CDROM drives. It is not impossible that in future software for writing CDs on MSX will become available.

I installed a new bios version and my computer doesn't boot anymore. What now?

If you used a very old bios before (older than September 1998) then you should reformat your partitions with the IDEFDISK.COM program. So you will lose all your data. If you want to keep your data, reinstall the old bios and copy all files to another medium first.

If you used a recent bios, but older than version 1.7, then your problem is a result of the fact that biosses since version 1.7 use another way to assign driveletters to a partition. So you will have to copy MSXDOS2.SYS and COMMAND2.COM to your new drive A:

How many devices can I connect to this interface?

You can connect two IDE devices to the interface. But it is also possible to plug in more than one IDE interface into your MSX without any problems. So you can connect more devices to your MSX system.

How should I configure the jumpers on my IDE devices?

When using only one device on the IDE cable, the device's jumper should be in 'MASTER' position. When using two devices: one device should be configured as 'MASTER' and the other one as 'SLAVE'. If you use a harddisk and a CDROM the hardddisk should be 'MASTER' and the CDROM should be 'SLAVE'.

I can't figure out what jumperposition is 'MASTER' or 'SLAVE'. Help?

If it isn't explicitly mentioned on a label the following can help:
MP=Master Position, put the jumper here for 'MASTER'
SP=Slave Position, put the jumper here for 'SLAVE'
CS=Cable Select, don't put any jumper here!

In some cases 'MASTER' setting is set by removing all jumpers.

My IDE Iomega ZIP drive has a lot of jumpersettings. Which should I use?

Use 'SCSI address setting 1' for master and use 'SCSI address setting 2' for slave.

How can I format my harddisk?

There are two types of formatting, physical and logical. All harddisks are already physically formatted (=divided into tracks, sectors, etc.) when they leave the factory. The logical formatting (=creation of partition table, directory, filesystem, ...) should be done with the IDEFDISK.COM program.

Can I connect my MSX formatted harddisk to a PC?

Yes. But be aware of the fact that you shouldn't write anything to your harddisk. Be also aware of the fact that some OS like Windows95 make changes to your MSX partitiontable. After using the harddisk on a PC, just generate a new partitiontable and write it to your harddisk (with the IDEFDISK.COM program). This will not cause any loss of data.

What other things should I be aware of?

Back to the FAQ's index!