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The Origins of PC-3000: From a Dream to Reality
Posted by Administrator ACE on 04 September 2019 12:39 PM

As you already know, this year 2019 marks 25 years since the PC-3000 Technology has been developed. Previously, we have published the PC-3000 history through the ages, the story of how the PC-3000 Technology has changed the world of data recovery industry. But what about the idea of the PC-3000 creation and how it came to the bright minds of the PC-3000 inventors?

To get answers to these questions let’s look back at the memories of Vadim Morozov, ACE Lab CTO & Founder:

«By the summer of 1993, the production and sales of the PC-2000 testers for repairing MFM / RLL drives with ST506 / 412 interface were in full swing! But, at the same time, our potential customers received a smaller and smaller quantity of such drives. They were replaced by new 3.5" HDD with an IDE (ATA) interface and a capacity of 40 MB: ST157A (Seagate), WD93044A (Western Digital), etc.

 

PC-2000 Tester with the connected IDE extension cassette

We understood that hard disk drives were changing, so we started researching these new IDE (ATA) HDDs. And the first solution was the IDE extension cassette for the PC-2000 Tester. It was designed to connect, test, verify and format IDE drives, displaying the numbers of the cylinder and head on the seven-segmented indicator of the PC-2000 tester. And that’s it! The functionality of the IDE extension cassette ended there. At that time, we didn’t even imagine about the existence of the Technological Mode and the Service Area of the drives. So we tried to find analog service information on the negative IDE HDD cylinders in the same way as with ST506 / 412 drives.

In April 1994, the situation radically changed!

Andrey Tarakhtelyuk and I planned our traditional visit to the service centers of the computer assembly companies for demos and possible sales. But our solution for IDE drives did not make any impression because it was not able to at least somehow return the broken IDE drives to life. To deal with them, it was necessary to show a large amount of information such as ID, tables of found defects, list of given commands, status and error registers of the drive, etc. Of course, the seven-segmented indicator didn’t allow to display all these things.

During our journey, we also attended the Comtech-94 Expo on April 25-29, 1994. It was our first time participating in such an event and we were just amazed! Modern computers from around the world, the legendary NEXT computer by Steve Jobs, a lot of software, various graphical interfaces, storage media devices, laser readers, etc. We were impressed by what we saw and our heads were spinning from the information we received!

After the event, we have come to a conclusion — the PC-2000 time was over.

But what a new tester for IDE drives should look like? Should it be independent with its own display and keyboard or should we make it on the basis of a PC? The next question was how to display information about the HDD on a computer screen if we choose the second option? I was so excited from all the events of that day that I could not fall asleep for a long time, I was thinking about different ways of working with HDD, the circuitry of a new tester, the possible arrangement of information on the computer screen…

I do not know what it was, but that night the user interface of a new tester came to me in a dream. Yes, that's exactly how it was!

When I woke up in the morning, I delightedly told Andrey about it and drew what the new PC-3000 tester should look like. The device should have its own display, keyboard and LED indicators of HDD status and errors. To control the keyboard there should be an additional digital field of the common PC keyboard, duplicating, in fact, its graphic image on the screen! The only one question remained — who could create us such an interface?

I came up with an idea to involve our close friend Vital Pryadkin who was developing graphical interfaces for medical devices. After returning from the trip, I phoned Vital and we agreed to meet on the weekend of May 2, 1994. It was a sunny day, apricots were blooming everywhere, we were sitting on the bench and discussing the project that in the coming decades would become the ultimate standard of tools for HDD repair and data recovery!”

 

PC-3000AT Interface (1994)                                           PC-3000AT Interface (1994)

 

                                                       
Vadim Morozov, Vital Pryadkin and Andrey Tarakhtelyuk on May 2, 1994 Vital Pryadkin, Vital Data Recovery, 25 years later in Montreal, Canada Part of the ACE Lab Development Team, 25 years later

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