Rich, David, and others who are having problems with, or talking about, the IDE/CF card --
It's a miracle!!
I made the hardware changes you suggested, Rich (except I was too lazy -- more like disbelieving! -- to pull the display stuff on my card). So, I just swapped the two '03s for 74LS00s and tied pins 2 & 5 of U18 to Vcc. Oh, and yes ... pulled the SIP.
Then I made the software changes (separated "ready" and "not-busy" code). At first I was *very* disappointed when I tried it out. Everything seemed to work OK (no crashes or error messages), but any attempt to write a sector to the CF seemed to go OK, but had absolutely no effect on the content of the sector in question. Reads seemed to work well, and my "ID" code coughed up the proper ID info. The display stuff on the card indicated everything correctly, but the sector contents were unaffected by any "write". I had two CF's plugged into the card at the time, an off-brand 2 GB one (I think the name on it is "Apacer" -- I think I got it as an el-cheapo (technical term) from B.G. Micro) in the "A" position, and the, now infamous, 4GB Kingston (yes, the one with the flower) in the "B" position. I pulled the "Apacer" and put the Kingston in its place. Everything started to work! Difficult to understand because I have used the "Apacer" in my Z80 SBCs and it works perfectly there! I think it is a fairly new CF, so the generalization about older, smaller CFs might not always pertain? Clearly, the brand of CF is a very important factor.
Now I have to figure out if having two CFs in the card at once was the problem, OR if the brand of CF is the problem. I suspect that having two (of the right kind) in the card is probably OK.
Also hope my "eureka" isn't premature. More testing underway. Oh, and I'm using a *real* Intel P8255A-5.
Maybe write a CBIOS now with the CF and block/deblock included?