View Full Version : Mac-specific ZIP drive?

September 18th, 2010, 02:05 PM
Before I moved I had setup two zip disks. One was bootable to 7.5.5 and contained disk utilities, the installer for system 7.5.3, and the updater to 7.5.5. The other disk was the same but for 7.6 and 7.6.1. They were created in such a way you fed it into a mac equipped with a zip drive and it would boot right off the zip disk and do everything from there.
Now I have moved and I'm trying to setup a quadra 950 but the zip drive I brought (I have several SCSI zip drives) is refusing to boot my disks, nor is it even letting the MacOS mount them. I'm unsure if this is an issue with the mac itself (some systems not smart enough to boot form zip disks?) or with the drive (hardware malfunction? SCSI drive not mac-specific somehow?).
Does anyone have a bit more experience with zip drives and macs that shine a light on this before I look into driving to my parents and dragging down the box of other zip drives?

September 19th, 2010, 11:49 AM
Yes, I believe that the MAC version of the ZIP drive was different. One blue the other red.

You would think that the software would be the only difference, but maybe they have different ROMS? I never tried an IBM-format ZIP (blue) on a MAC.


September 19th, 2010, 04:28 PM
I don't think there's a difference. I've got several ZIP drives that work with various vintage Macs, and none of them are Mac-specific. Some older SCSI devices, like Magneto-Optical drives, have a "MAC" mode, but as far as I can tell none of my ZIP drives do.

It could be an issue of SCSI bus termination and/or device ID. You do need drivers within Mac OS to load a SCSI ZIP drive. Additionally, you need the right version of the "hardware driver" to make the disks bootable -- this depends on the system(s) you're trying to boot them on. Best plan is to grab a copy of the ZIP utilities for the version of Mac OS you're working with and (re)install them. Then do a full format of a ZIP disk you don't care about, and make sure to install the drivers to the disk (this is what allows older, non-ZIP-aware Macs to boot them).

September 19th, 2010, 11:15 PM
In my DUOs and Quadra 700, I didn't need any drivers to boot from a zip disk that had a system folder. I did some further testing of my drive and found out that the ID switch on the back is stuck on ID 6. Seeing how it's doing that with an OK switch (I opened it and checked it out) and I'm having torubles, I'm going to assume this particular drive has failed (that makes two drives dead in the ten year history of me owning zip drives).
I got a stash of zip drives at my parents so I'll try and see if I can get one to work out of that pile. I know for sure the ZipPlus I got works on macs.

Also, are you sure you are not thinking about the Ditto drive? I know that the Zip drive was normally blue, Jaz was green and the Ditto had a red theme going for it. I used to use one until I got a tape drive that had decent speeds other than 1hr/gb (and that was with the DittoDash card).

September 21st, 2010, 05:32 PM
They're all dark purple, the Mac versions are the SCSI versions, the PC versions are Parallel. The SCSI versions can work on a PC, dunno if the Parallel ones can work on a Mac. I'd sell some SCSI ones if anybody wants.

I don't know about innate software support for these on a Mac, but there IS Mac software for them, so perhaps you can try that.

September 21st, 2010, 09:08 PM
I wonder how much Apple SCSI changed between the Quadra and the G3, but my G3 doesn't have any problems with a conventional SCSI Zip drive.

September 23rd, 2010, 06:38 AM
I've used the same blue scsi zip drive on both a quadra and a G3 iMac with no problems. Can't remember trying to boot off of a zip with either one though. Don't see why it wouldn't. Maybe the SCSI ID needs to be a certain ID #?

September 23rd, 2010, 12:43 PM
I've got 3 blue zip drives, and used them on a Color Classic without any problems, there was a special driver for 68000 proc's and i believe a few other drivers for 68k.

September 23rd, 2010, 01:22 PM
Did you manage to boot right off the disks?
I picked up two more SCSI zip drives today and tried them on an SE/30 and both still did the same thing:
Both were locked on ID 6, and both could be seen but not booted from or even mounted.
I'll drag them home and see if the quadras complain about it.

September 23rd, 2010, 01:29 PM
Thats a good question.... I dont remember, I want to say yes, because the person i got them from had 3 discs setup with installers for 607 to 761. I cant test it again till i sell the condo, i've got a 5x8' storage unit full of stuff right now until i can get a house and have room to play again :)

Anonymous Freak
September 23rd, 2010, 04:54 PM
One trick is to boot with a disk already in the drive. Often times, that will make the ZIP appear to the system as a fixed disk, rather than a removable disk, which will work with no drivers. (I used to use a internal SCSI ZIP as an internal "hard drive" for my IIfx that way.)

I have plenty of ZIP drives, and for the early generation, there were three types of external: SCSI, Parallel, and "Plus", which could be used as either SCSI or parallel, changeable with the flip of a switch. (Plus the internal SCSI, internal ATAPI, and external USB, of course.) I have multiple SCSI models, and have never had a problem on any SCSI-equipped Mac, going back to a Mac Plus, and forward to a PowerBook G3. (The first and last Macs to come with integrated SCSI.)

September 23rd, 2010, 06:08 PM
Nope. Nothing.
I could swear that I originally booted setup my Quadra 700 using a zip disk. :/
I'll have to dig out the rest of my drives after all and see if any of them are notably special. This will take about a month or so.

October 1st, 2010, 01:53 PM
In general, SCSI Zip drives work fine with Macs. Be sure to use the 4.2 driver though, as later drivers cause issues. This driver is available from Mac Driver Museum, at
http://www.macdrivermuseum.net/disk.html .

October 25th, 2010, 11:15 AM
As a wrap-up of the thread, I was probably on acid as I have not managed to replicate what I originally did.
In the end I just booted off another disk that had the ZIP driver, mounted, prepared my drive and installed from there.