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Thread: Mac Plus: Looking for some Guidance

  1. #1

    Default Mac Plus: Looking for some Guidance

    Hello! I was steered over to here by some nice folks on Reddit, and I'm hoping there are some people in the know who might be able to steer me in the right direction from here on a project I'm working on.

    I recently purchased a "good" condition Macintosh Plus (Model M0001A). The unit fires up, has picture, and by all accounts is working. I have some boot disks for OS 6.2, but I've encountered a problem- when I insert the disk into the floppy drive, the drive buzzes and then spits the disk back out without doing anything with it. Time in the drive is a matter of seconds before it just spits it right back out- it's pretty clear the drive has developed at least one pretty serious fault.

    While I know I'm facing an uphill battle fixing the floppy drive, it's been brought to my attention in just the last few days that quite a few people out there have cooked up solid state memory alternatives for the Mac Plus and other old Macs like it. My question then boils down to this:

    Is it more worth my time to try and fix the floppy drive and any of the other problems to try and continue operating this computer off of disks, or would it be more sensible to look into the aftermarket to try and get something there? I'll be honest, I've worked on a lot of systems and have soldered plenty, but the very idea of hooking up new equipment to these old machines is still very alien to me- I'm not even sure where I'd begin with that, if it's worth it to even look into it.

    I appreciate any and all feedback and insight on this project, thank you all in advance!

  2. #2
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    There never was a system 6.2. Perhaps you meant system 6.0.2?

    A mac will immediately spit out a bootable floppy if it does not detect a valid filesystem, it does not detect valid system software or the "universal" system software was not loaded on the floppy to save a little bit of space. The Plus will also only accept 800K floppies. If the disk is a 1.44mb High Density disk you can't use it.
    The two big things about the mac plus is that the floppy drives need to be serviced and the yoke connector should be inspected. Replace all grease in the ingest/eject mechanism and while you are in there you should clean the heads and lubricate the rails with a light oil. The yoke coil connects to the analog board with a four wire cable. The connector should be cleaned and packed with a dielectric grease as they can oxidize and burn up, causing screen wobble or the picture to collapse.

    There are solid-state disk solutions for macs of this era, but I've never used them. The floppy disk was the number way to move data between macs until Appletalk became more mature and you will always run into situations where a floppy disk is the only way to do something. It's the #1 problem first time Classic Mac users run into.
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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by NeXT View Post
    There never was a system 6.2. Perhaps you meant system 6.0.2?

    A mac will immediately spit out a bootable floppy if it does not detect a valid filesystem, it does not detect valid system software or the "universal" system software was not loaded on the floppy to save a little bit of space. The Plus will also only accept 800K floppies. If the disk is a 1.44mb High Density disk you can't use it.
    The two big things about the mac plus is that the floppy drives need to be serviced and the yoke connector should be inspected. Replace all grease in the ingest/eject mechanism and while you are in there you should clean the heads and lubricate the rails with a light oil. The yoke coil connects to the analog board with a four wire cable. The connector should be cleaned and packed with a dielectric grease as they can oxidize and burn up, causing screen wobble or the picture to collapse.

    There are solid-state disk solutions for macs of this era, but I've never used them. The floppy disk was the number way to move data between macs until Appletalk became more mature and you will always run into situations where a floppy disk is the only way to do something. It's the #1 problem first time Classic Mac users run into.
    6.0.2, you're right. Sticky fingers on my part.

    The diskettes are the 800K "Dual Density" disks that were sold with the machine. I've got System 7 (though I'm not sure the variant offhand), so I might try that instead.

    Many thanks for the guidance on that- I'll be pulling the whole thing apart this evening, and I'll rehab the floppy drive going forward. When i have some results, I'll post back.

    Again, many thanks for the assistance!

  4. #4
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    There's a few how-to's out there regarding how to clean the drive and no, you don't need to completely remove the carriage to clean it. I would suggest reading them as there are delicate points within that can be easily bent out of alignment and ruined.

    As for writing floppies, this gets fun. the 1.44mb disks can be written by any number of computers these days but last I checked the older 800k double sided floppies really require another mac.
    = Excellent space heater

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Performa View Post
    I have some boot disks for OS 6.2, but I've encountered a problem- when I insert the disk into the floppy drive, the drive buzzes and then spits the disk back out without doing anything with it. Time in the drive is a matter of seconds before it just spits it right back out- it's pretty clear the drive has developed at least one pretty serious fault.
    How do you know it's the drive at fault and not your disks? Do you know that the boot disks are OK?

    Is it more worth my time to try and fix the floppy drive and any of the other problems to try and continue operating this computer off of disks
    Yes.

  6. #6
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    Mac plus requires a special floppy ribbon cable. IT has a yellow wires on one of the pins. Someone may have switched it with one with a red wire which will always make the disk eject. If thats not the case the drive needs to be taken apart, lubricated and cleaned.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by VERAULT View Post
    Mac plus requires a special floppy ribbon cable. IT has a yellow wires on one of the pins. Someone may have switched it with one with a red wire which will always make the disk eject. If thats not the case the drive needs to be taken apart, lubricated and cleaned.
    I've cleaned up the drive but it was still kicking out disks. Looking at the ribbon cable hooked up to it, there isn't any yellow on it, nor any other ribbon cables I can see in the machine, so that very well may be the problem. If that is the case, that's good as it's nothing too serious requiring major soldering (knock on wood), but it looks like I'll need to track down one of these ribbon cables. You wouldn't by chance know the part number, or what it's called so I can start looking for one?

    Granted I win this eBay auction, I'll have a Mac Plus compatible external disk drive as well by the weekend, so we'll see what happens there.

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