Iomega Bernoulli Box 20+20 (A220H)

Michael B. Brutman mbbrutman-cctalk at
Tue Aug 10 00:27:28 CDT 2010

I'm really starting to regret even thinking about tinkering with these 
things - they are maddening.

A220H (8" 20MB drive) with 10MB cartridges:

- If it is SCSI then a lot was not implemented.  (No ID string or 
version numbers for example)
- 256 byte sectors - yuk.
- Don't even bother with the Linux 2.6 kernel.
- Can be read with an older Linux 2.2 kernel, but not written.  The OS 
tries to query the drive to see if it is write protected and gets an 
invalid response back, so it assumes read only.
- On a genuine XT with the original Iomega PC2B-50 controller card and 
original Iomega software the drive can be seen.  But the drive doesn't 
seem to like the cartridges - they spin up when first inserted, and then 
spin down to an inactive state quickly after.  Trying to access or 
format the drives gives me errors.  The docs are not clear, but they 
hint that 10MB cartridges are read only in a 20MB drive.

Bernoulli Box 2 (5.25", 20MB drive):

- Definitely SCSI - the ID string shows up nicely.
- 256 byte sectors - still yuk.
- The Linux 2.2 machine can do raw reads and writes using dd!  Ok, so at 
least I can prove that the thing works.  With some cajoling I can 
partition the disk, but I can't write a filesystem for some bizarre 
reason.  So I'm stuck with sector reads and writes.
- On a genuine XT with the PC2B-50 controller card and software the 
device driver doesn't see the drive at all.  (I accidently got the 
machine/card to try to boot from the drive, and it read at least a 
sector.  So it's not hopeless.)
- Under DOS on a 386 with an ASPI manager I can see the drive but can't 
partition the media.  Everything I've tried things the capacity is 0.

So, if anybody out there had an early Bernoulli Box setup, please 
contact me off list - I have a lot of questions.  I'd just like to get 
to some known good working configuration and branch out from there.

Things I'm interested in particular:

- What SCSI adapter were you using?  What device drivers and OS?
- On the older 8" drives - are 10" carts read only, or should they be 
writable too?
- Does anybody know of a source for 20MB cartridges for the older 8" 
drive?  Having used 10MB cartridges that I'm not sure I can write too is 
kind of useless.

I'm going to need therapy after this.  I have thought about throwing the 
damned things out the window.


More information about the cctalk mailing list