NuDesign FireWire 800 Half Terabyte drive

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Joined: Aug 23 2004
Posts: 16

As a fan and collector of old 68K macs, I have made i know throughout my rural area to all that I will take donations of old computers, or macs of just about any type. And every now and then, I find something that just sparks my interest for a hack... In this case, the subject was a NuDesign 540MB SCSI external hard drive, that I received along with an Apple 12" monitor, and LC with fried video, and an Imagewriter II. The case for the drive was metal, which I've rarely seen. Most of the external SCSI cases I come across are nasty plastic, and usually hard to disassemble. This NuDesgn drive, however, was incredibly east to disassemble --- four screws to remove off the bottom, and the whole top cover slid off. Like most SCSI drives of the day, the power supply was built in, so you only need a standard computer power cable, not some proprietary power brick. I fell in love with the case, and decided that I'd convert it to firewire. Although there was a 3.5" drive installed, it was fairly obvious the case was designed to be able to accommodate a 5.25" drive as well... or, for someone crazy like me, two 3.5" drives. New mounting holes would have to be drilled, but my high school has an ok shop, so I made a jig, and used the 540MB drive that originally was installed in the case and the OEM 6GB drive (fried) from my Yosemite G3 to test fit the configuration. Everything fit, and it was time to buy some modern internals for the drive... For the bridgeboard, I ended up settling for a FWBU2-IDE11 from www.fwdepot.com, it's bridgeboard based on the Oxford 912 chipset that includes FireWire 800 and USB 2.0. I mainly got it because of the shape of the board, it mounts in vertically instead of horizontally. Because of the arrangement of the drives, I wasn't sure if a horizontally mounted board would fit... One of the old Centronics 50 pin SCSI connectors was used to plug the hole the bridgeboard didn't (of course, it isn't functional... it's just to keep dust out out, and to look cool). As for the drives, I purchased two Maxtor 6B250R0 drives, 250GB ATA133 drives with 16MB cache. They're fast little buggers, and I'm very happy with them. There are a lot of vents on the underside of the case for cooling, and the drives are spaced off from the bottom of the case with brass standoffs Finally, I replaced the original exhaust fan with a 60mm Vantec Thermoflow. Unfortunately, I neglected to take "before" pictures, but here are some pictures from after the conversion!


This is the front of the drive, it looks exactly the same aver the conversion as before. As you can see, it's very much a beige box.


And this is the rear of the drive, and the only external sign (aside from the new mounting holes on the bottom) that the drive has been modified. The auxiliary power outlets are nice, they are also switched on and off by the main power switch.


Closeup of the rear panel. Gotta love the ancient and modern side-by-side...


Here's an internal shot of the bridgeboard installed in the case, it's a bit of a tight fit but it works... The 4-pic connector on the left is power, the 2-pic on the left is for the drive activity light.


And the pic you've been waiting for, a full shot of everything installed in the case. As you can see, it's a tight fit, and the cabling is tough.

Problems and known issues:

It gets a little warm during operation, I'm looking for a CD faceplate for it, and install two or three 40mm fans where the CD would normally go to aid in cooling.

Hard power. I have to turn it manually on and off with the switch at the back, no automatically turning on and off with the computer it's hooked up to like newer drives (otherwise known as soft power)

Final summary of major parts used:

2x http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=22-140-153&depa=1
1x http://fwdepot.com/thestore/product_info.php/products_id/691
1x http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=11-999-615&depa=0

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Offline
Joined: Feb 6 2005
Posts: 2
fw

holymac, can i get an external harddrive with firewire to download dv onto my imac with no firewire?

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doh!

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Joined: Dec 19 2003
Posts: 566
Re: fw

jimith wrote:

holymac, can i get an external harddrive with firewire to download dv onto my imac with no firewire?

No.

Nice hack anyway Laughing out loud How do you have it setup? Two 250GB drives or in a RAID as a single drive (does that controller do RAID?).

TOM

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Joined: Jan 28 2005
Posts: 170
beautiful... is the scsi

beautiful...

is the scsi still funtional ;D

Joined: Aug 23 2004
Posts: 16
in the pic of the bridgeboard

in the pic of the bridgeboard, see the pin pair labeled "JP2" and "striping", i'm pretty sure that putting a jumper accross that would create a RAID disk, failing that, I could also do it in OSX's disk utility... but for now, they're separate and labled "front disk" and "rear disk" on my desktop.

nope, SCSI isn't funtional... just for show, and to cover the hole. I'd rather not have bare bridgeboard exposed.

DrBunsen's picture
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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 946
Huge Images

Take pity on those of us with dialup connections, and trim and/or compress your images. You can make them link to full-size images if you like. They're still loading...

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DrBunsen's picture
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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 946
Huge Images

[edit]... which causes us to load spurious extra posting, because we couldn't tell if the first one worked.

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Jon
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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 2804
And it also makes it very har

And it also makes it very hard to read the thread when you have to scroll sideways just about a 1/2 a screen to read each line. Running 1024x768 is usually fine, until I hit a post like this... Wink

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davintosh's picture
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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 554
Very nice!

I had thought to do this -- I have a need for some additional firewire drives and have some old SCSI cases sitting around doing nothing -- but found the bridge boards to be too expensive. I bought external firewire cases that'll support large drives for half what you paid for the bridge board.

http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProductDesc.asp?description=17-146-010&depa=0

The new case works great, but has no cooling fan. I may tear it apart & put the guts into one of the old SCSI cases if only to get a cooling fan in it. Those big drives run hot!

Someone already asked, but I'm also wondering if the SCSI port was left in place just for posterity or is it functional?

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