Shoot, I've been having the exact same problem. I was just about to post to this board seeking help.
I've tried several types of IDE card from cheap old isa cards to a friend's Promise untra ATA PCI card that /is/ bootable and had no booting success. But that card boots on his desktop system.
I have tried many models of drive, with active / partitions set to boot (using the dos app Ranish Partition Manager), from 60mb drives to 20gb drives. None booting.
I have made sure that the internal IDE controller is disabled, no luck. I have even removed the DOC, no luck.
The drives all auto-detect in the bios just fine. But upon booting, they sit there and hang, and evenually time out with a Non-system disk error.
It'll boot off of the DoC just fine and asks for me to sign up to their isp service. No way am I gonna do that, I want linux on a NoCharge.com account! =D
Most frustrating. I can only surmise that I have a bios that is like the i-opener, it won't boot from a partition type that it isn't supposed to.
Has anyone else had this problem and had any luck resolving it? All I want is an mp3 player for the trunk of my car.
Many thanks in advance.