Welcome to the CD in SE/30 page


Welcome to

theCD in SE/30 page

Presented by Stuart Bell (macaddict at tesco dot net)


As I note elsewhere, it has been done before. But sometimes the final result hasn't been as aesthetically pleasing as the purists might hope!

One approach uses a full-height CD drive where the floppy normally is, with a half-height floppy installed above.

>Another approach would be to use a slot-load CD drive carefully aligned so that CDs can be inserted in one of the 'grille' slots of the standard SE/30 front panel, This would be very subtle!

However, all the slot-load SCSI CD drives I've seen have been full height (which causes problems packing 3 drives in the SE/30 chassis), and in any case I didn't have a spare to hand.

What I did have was a half-height SCSI tray-load drive from Toshiba.

Why bother?


Text and photographs (c) Stuart A Bell 2001.

All information is believed correct, but no responsibility whatsoever can be accepted for any consequences arising from your reading of this site. All work is done at owner's risk. Particularly in the region of the CRT and analogue circuitry, potentially lethal voltages may be present, even when the SE/30 is disconnected from the mains supply.

A good question! SE/30s predate the widespread use of CDs in computers. But they make excellent servers, and I use mine as the bridge between my Ethernet network of newer Macs (6500/G3, PowerCC, PB5300 and CC/575) and my LocalTalk network of older compacts from a 512ke to a Classic II. The SE/30 holds an archive of Systems 3 to 7, and most new installations on the compacts are from the shared HD of the SE/30. So, it makes sense to be able to expand that archive and make sure that it can't get corrupted by burning it on to a CD, and having 600MB+ of archive capacity always on-line and less vulnerable to accidental data loss.

We start by dismantling an SE/30, to leave us with just the basic chassis with the floppy drive still installed, and the front panel. Slide the CD drive over the floppy drive from the back, mark where it meets the front panel, and from the front, cut out a suitable aperture. The speaker will have to be moved. The chassis itself needs no cutting; indeed, it almost looks as if the chassis was designed to leave open the possibility of 5.25" devices being installed!

From the side, you can see the CD drive sitting above the floppy. With may particular drive, optimum location relative to the characteristic slots on the front panel (see pictures below) was obtained by inserting a spacer of about 2mm between CD and floppy drivers before the 'sandwich' of drives and spacer were glued together. Front-back location is critical at this time, and you must allow for the replaced 'grille' of the SE/30 which will be stuck to the CD tray front.

The CD drive in place, the front of the SE/30 having been cut away. The horizontal cuts are critically at the top and bottom of the 'grille'' the right-hand vertical cut is at the right hand end of the 'grille', but the left hand end is non-critical.

The CD drive in situ, with the tray 'out'.

The 'grille' of the SE/30 replaced (having been trimmed a little) and being taped in place while the glue fixing it to the tray front sets.

One 'bar' of the 'grille' is shortened to leave access to the eject button.

This position may be different with other drives.

Strictly speaking, since CDs can be ejected from the MacOS desktop, you could get away without this detail.

Having installed the CD drive in an SE/30 chassis, I tested it as an external SCSI device connected to a different complete SE/30 machine.

Don't forget SCSI termination and ID issues! ;-)

There is almost enough clearance for an Asante Ethernet card in the PDS slot (although getting the card in there is non-trivial!)

However, the ribbon header was found to lift the CD drive just enough to flex it on its glued mount, and cause the custom front panel on the drive to foul the front casing. I was also unhappy about twisting effects on the CD drive. An external SCSI-Ethernet adaptor will solve the problem.

The main video and power cable from the analogue/PSU board to the main logic board has sufficient slack to pass behind the CD drive.

Electrically, all the 'CD in SE/30' needs is first a new SCSI cable with three connectors (one for the logic board, one for the CD and one for the HD) plus a 'Y' splitter to give power to both drives. Sourcing both cables should be easy from any electronics store. My SE/30's PSU seems to cope fine with the extra loading of the CD drive, perhaps helped by the lower demands of the newer HD fitted.

Looking at the clearance between the CD drive and PSU, it's hard not to conclude that at some time in the development of the SE chassis, a 5.25" device came into consideration. It all fits just so neatly!

After installing the CD drive, I found that the original very bulky 80Mb HD would fit OK on top of the CD, but caused a distortion of the screen image dependent upon disc access, presumably due to electro-magnetic interference. Replacement with a slimmer and later 160Mb drive solved that problem and speeded up the system. I later secured the HD to the CD with a large plastic cable tie wrapped securely round both!

The completed CD in SE/30.




Software note: the SE/30 is running System 7.5.3. The Toshiba CD drive (not Apple ROM-ed) works very happily with version 5.3.1 of the Apple CD ROM extension. This version is well known as the only which works OK with non-Apple CD drives.

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