LC III with unresponsive HD

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I pulled an old LC III from 10+ years of storage with the idea of getting rid of it. I have little experience with Macs, but it booted just fine and I could see it was System 7.1, and had a bunch of installed SW on the HD including MS Word, Norton Utils, etc. A week later it would not boot, and just gave the flashing "?" after trying to spin up the HD twice. I read about dead battery problems and yes it was dead so I replaced it. I also did the option-alt-P-R reset thingie to clear the old settings. I assume I did this correctly since it causes a complete reboot cycle.

The system still wouldn't boot the OS, so I created a boot floppy on my PC using softMac and the 7.5 NAD image. That does boot up, so I guess the RAM is OK, but the HD is still not recognized. I see no menu options to tweak settings related to bios/HD. This machine has no Ethernet or other network access. I have disconnected and reconnected the cables, and reseated the two MB PROMs near the HD connector.

If this were a PC, I'd go into the Bios, check the drive settings and try a few repair utilities before I wrote off this disk as a lost cause. Do dead batteries cause you to lose disk contents? Is there a better boot disk image with some actual drive tools? Are there any voltages I can check? What to do next?

thanks

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Joined: Nov 16 2008
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OK, I have all the original i

OK, I have all the original install disks so I tried the tools disk which has two repair type utils. These utils do not recognize the HD. In the PC world that would usu mean either the HD is dead or the HD controller is dead.

I have no other apple systems available to me. Could I plug this HD in as a secondary HD on a PC and be able to tell anything?

Hawaii Cruiser's picture
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Nope, it won't be recognized

Nope, it won't be recognized by a PC. You're talking about a 10yr old SCSI HD right? I'd say your only option before chucking the drive is sticking it in another Mac as a second drive. I've used ATTO's Express Pro-Tools utility running from another drive to rescue a couple drives like that, but in that condition it's a rare occurrence. DiskWarrior, on occasion, can recognized a drive that's not mounting too. I don't think I've ever been able to fix an unmounting drive with Disk First Aid, although sometimes it will see the drive.

Another thing you might simply try is letting it sit turned off for a week and then see if the hard drive comes alive again. That happens. If it does, boot to the Disk Tools floppy right away and go for a fix. Time is of the essence usually in that situation.

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I have several different vint

I have several different vintage PCs, but I see now that 50pin SCSI just isnt a PC standard. What other Mac models would be compatible enough with this drive so I could check it out? Would I just plug this drive in using the external SCSI port and some special cable, or could I plug it in as the main drive on say a II, IIe or whatever and expect it to boot?

Is there any equivalent to booting into the bios on this machine? In other words, I assume there is a bios on those PROMs, so is there a way to check those out independent of booting an OS?

eeun's picture
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Re: I have several different vint

tns1 wrote:

What other Mac models would be compatible enough with this drive so I could check it out? Would I just plug this drive in using the external SCSI port and some special cable, or could I plug it in as the main drive on say a II, IIe or whatever and expect it to boot?

The Apple II and IIe are not considered part of the same family of computers. Any beige computer with a Macintosh badge, with only a couple exceptions, will use scsi. If you track down a particular model, you can check the Mac Profiles on www.lowendmac.com to see its specs and whether it has scsi.

Quote:

Is there any equivalent to booting into the bios on this machine?

Nope. The few changes that can be made to an older Mac's non-volatile memory can only be made through the operating system.

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Start up disc

Hi,

I have found that the flashing ? mark is usually because the machine cannot find the start up drive. Using a boot disc makes sense that it would find it. There may be a way to go into preferences to find the "Start up disk" choice. If not, I have been starting up my macs with the option key down and that puts it into a blue screen mode with whatever drives are visible to choose from. When you select the drive you want, select the arrow that restartes the computer. It should start correctly after that.

If this did not work, try swapping the drive with another opne that works and see if that fixes the problem. That would show you have a bad drive or a bad ribbon. Also check the power supply to the drive and see if it is firmly connected. Might as well check the ribbon connections too on both ends.

Peter

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Re: Start up disc

Quote:

I have been starting up my macs with the option key down and that puts it into a blue screen mode with whatever drives are visible to choose from.

This option wasn't introduced until around the PowerMac G4 era. You can't do that on an LC III.

The Macintosh OS will look for any available boot devices. Since your drive booted the previous week, we know it has a valid system installed. You could boot from floppy, so we know the rest of the system is okay. Those Macs had very limited power supplies, so if there were a power issue, it would likely show up in the rest of the system, not just the hard drive.

I'd suspect the hard drive was sticking, since it had been in storage for a long time, booted up, then refused to start again. But you say you're hearing spin-up attempts, so it's not that either. My best guess, without being able to see the drive in person, is that you've got a dead drive.

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And so the next step seems to

And so the next step seems to be to try a known good drive in my machine to prove the drive interface is OK, and/or try the suspect drive in another machine. The drive is a Quantum ProDrive ELS.

BTW, the system was purchased new, used for a year or two and then stored in the garage along with original docs and discs, and both keyboards.

It does not appear to have been exposed to moisture (no corrosion). Other than having a dead battery (replaced), yellowed plastic, and maybe dried out grease this thing has to be in as good a condition as is possible without storing it in an air-tight bag.

As far as 'sticking' goes, I did see some other post that mentioned lubricating a drive to fix a sticking issue, something I have never heard of doing (unless there is some kind of externally accessed oil port on these old units).

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Try sticking it in the freeze

Try sticking it in the freezer for a while, then bring it out, let it warm up, and once warmed up try to boot it again.

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Re: Try sticking it in the freeze

themike wrote:

Try sticking it in the freezer for a while, then bring it out, let it warm up, and once warmed up try to boot it again.

Where does that come from? AFAIK, the whole point of the freezing technique is to power up the drive while it's still cold, in the hope that the contraction of the metal components will temporarily fix whatever ails the drive.

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I've always assumed the same,

I've always assumed the same, except that the contraction and expansion will accomplish the same... its voodoo I dunno, try both?

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Well, I've given up on this d

Well, I've given up on this drive. So what is the cheapest new drive replacement? I don't want to mess with used stuff, but I'd like something that would snap into the same mounts.
The old drive was 1.6GB, but I had read that any size was OK as long as you partitioned it so no more than 4GB was available.

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Used stuff is unfortunately a

Used stuff is unfortunately all you're going to have available.
There are no new 50-pin scsi drives being made, and I doubt you'd find one in retail channels for a decent price.

There are some cheap 68-pin and 80-pin drives available on ebay for cheap, and 50-pin adapters are dirt cheap, but I'm not sure if the 80-pin adapter will sit low enough to not hit the LCIII lid. the 68-pin drives you may be able to track down a cable that will have both connectors if the adapters won't fit.

Where are you located? I'm sure there are some AF members, including myself, that have a few 50-pin scsi drives kicking around.

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I didn't know 68pin was even

I didn't know 68pin was even an option so that opens up some possibilities.

San Diego Ca, North County

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If I could find a working use

If I could find a working used drive of the same type, I might be able to swap out the electronics board with my existing one since the platters still spin up.

If I replace it with a new 68pin version, what type of SCSI is going to be compatible SCSI (i,ii,iii,u160,u320) ?

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Re: If I could find a working use

tns1 wrote:

If I could find a working used drive of the same type, I might be able to swap out the electronics board with my existing one since the platters still spin up.

Afraid that won't work. Think of it like trying to fit tires from an F150 on your Focus. Both Ford, both take four wheels, but it's not going to happen.
You could get something like this drive:
Link
and this adapter that'll fit your existing internal scsi cable:
Link

...a 68-pin scsi drive and a 68-pin to 50-pin adapter.

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One thing...

Considering this thread started with:

Quote:

I pulled an old LC III from 10+ years of storage with the idea of getting rid of it.

Is it really worth finding a new drive for it before getting rid of it? An LC III (from a monetary standpoint) is essentially worthless. Unless it's in beautiful shape (preferably with the original box, disks, and accessories) we're talking "you might find some sucker that'll pay you $20 for it" territory, and it's probably the same $20 whether it has a working drive in it or not. (Anyone who would pay you money for it knowing what it is and what its limitations are is probably a "Mac Guy" and has a box of working 50 pin SCSI drives in his closet anyway.)

--Peace

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And, oh, yeah....

eeun wrote:

You could get something like this drive:
Link
and this adapter that'll fit your existing internal scsi cable:
Link

...a 68-pin scsi drive and a 68-pin to 50-pin adapter.

Actually, that drive auction is for an SCA drive (80 pin backplane connector), not 68 pin. So you'd need as different adapter. And as an additional note of caution, SCA adapters tend to be large and clumsy, particularly ones that as have the capability of going straight to 50 pin. (Every one I've seen like that has *both* 68 and 50 pin ports on it.) I've fit one into a Quadra 650 before, but an LC will be *cramped*.

SCSI's a bummer. If you're serious about resurrecting the thing, just buy a 50 pin drive. IBM and Quantum made them up to at least 9.1GB sizes and it's a lot less hassle. A quick look at eBay shows some auctions for them out there for about the same starting prices as 68s/SCAs.

(Among other things, it's *really* annoying to get termination right when you're going from wide to narrow. Some adapters don't terminate the extra 8 data lines on the drive end, and while some drives are fine with that others will cause trouble.)

--Peace

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Re: And, oh, yeah....

Eudimorphodon wrote:

Actually, that drive auction is for an SCA drive (80 pin backplane connector), not 68 pin.

Oops...my bad...looked at a couple auctions for drives, then grabbed the wrong one.

Sorry, tns1. I'm supposed to be making this less confusing. Wink

I've one of the adapters before that'll go either 68 or 80 into 50 without problem, but in agreement with eudi, scsi is voodoo, and i wouldn't want to rely on one of those adapters for anything in a production environment.

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eeun, I meant same model, &

eeun,
I meant same model, & type 'quantum prodrive els 160'. The only thing I'm not sure of is if there is anything that would tie the drive board to a particular drive such as an eeprom table of bad sectors or a particular firmware setting for the drive size. If so, I would just use the working drive as is.

eudi,
I admit this is more like 'can I make it work again on the cheap', without any goal beyond having fixed something formerly broken, and that one last walk down memory lane.

The drive adaptors I saw monoprice and elsewhere look darn small. Some plug directly into the drive or directly into the board.

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Getting around to it...

So if I attach a new/used scsi drive using the cheap 50/68 or 50/80 pin adaptor, what about the low level formatting?

I'd expect any drive I find would have some other partition scheme and would need a partition (to make the 1st partition small enough < 4GB), plus low level format. Do the original apple install disks handle all this, or do I need to find fdisk for mac somewhere?