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Power Macintosh Graphite G4 – PCI Cards

This thing has a lot of room for expandability, so I went rummaging through my spares box for PCI cards that might fit. Actually, I managed to find a FireWire card on the same day I bought the ATI 9250 AGP Graphics Card, so I had that to test also. This Apple failed to come with an AirPort PCMCIA card, so I also wanted to get wireless working without paying for premium Apple devices.


I had a TP-Link something-something box in my stash and googled to see if there were any drivers. Nothing good came up and I thought I was out of luck. I had actually bought this from the markets years ago and never used it... in fact, I never even opened the box. You can imagine my surprise when I found this inside instead!


Haha... winner... this sure isn't a TP-Link!

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The best point is this... the bloody thing just worked! At first, I hardly got any signal... but then I realised I didn't have the antenna screwed on :)


Done... does wonders for my limited supply of Ethernet ports.

No-Name FireWire Card KWE582

And again, from the category of 'just works'... this FireWire card happily let my iSight Camera function as expected.


Totally no-name... can't even find a brand.

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I actually don't even need the ports... but hey, there are spare PCI slots to fill! The last shot above shows my iSight looking towards the machine working perfectly in iChat. Will need to find if Photo Booth is available for 10.4.6?

Adaptec AIC-7880P

This SCSI card will let me use more internal and external drives, but I really don't need them. Despite this, I think it'll still be fun to test. I've a hunch that it's actually a fake card as the only identifier is the chipset number. Adaptec doesn't name their cards after their chipsets... their cards all have individual codes!


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Everything, again, just worked perfectly! My external SyQuest removable HDD worked perfectly showing my FAT32 drive in all its glory.

Unknown VIA Chipset 'USB 1394'

This dual USB/Firewire card looked promising... but prevented the entire machine from even booting. It seems to also need an auxiliary power connector in the form of a floppy drive power cable. I wasn't overly fussed to hack up a power cable to test this out, so I wrote the whole card off... don't bother with them! (Or.. tell me if your version actually works?)

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Swann 3-port Firewire (Lucent FW232)

This card worked perfectly. The iSight had no issues with it and OSX just used it as expected. I really didn't need 3 more firewire ports, but what the heck?

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I'll add more as I find more cards to test...


Quadra 950: SCSI Storage, Partitioning and Boot Disks

The Quadra 950 has two SCSI buses. I therefore originally thought that this meant 12 devices (the logic board takes ID 7 on each bus.) Turns out I was wrong... the OS only supports a maximum of 7 devices in total! This is achieved by a software bridge that logically joins both buses. Therefore, you cannot have devices with the same SCSI ID on both the internal and external buses! How frustrating.

Low End Mac explains it, relating to System 7:

Although there are two separate SCSI buses, System 7.0-7.1 "folds" them together so the operating system sees a single virtual SCSI bus. Thus, under System 7.0-7.1 (and only under those systems) you must make sure that all devices on both chains have unique IDs.

So, what's the plan? Fill the bus! 7 slots. That's 2 CD drives, 4 hard disks and a ... maybe I'll try and find a zip drive... with the case full it will have to be external.

Setting SCSI IDs

This seems to get a few people confused. Each SCSI bus (of this vintage) has a maximum of 8 devices. These come with the IDs of 0 through to 7. To represent this, a value comprising of 3 bits is used. If you know your binary math, then this is obvious, if not, then please look at the table below. The bits relate the the jumpers seen on all SCSI devices of this vintage.

Listed below is the Jumper and it's corresponding decimal value in parenthesis. Summing the values associated with the bridged jumpers gives you the SCSI ID.

Jumper Values
SCSI ID J0 1 J1 2 J2 4

So, from above, the jumpers indicate the values 1,2 and 4. i.e. a jumper bridging 'Jumper 0' will give a value of one. When you bridge multiple jumpers then you sum the values.
(i.e. J1 + J2 = 2 + 4 = 6 or J0 + J2 = 1 + 4 = 5 and so on.)

With this knowledge, you can now configure all of your old SCSI devices to play happily on your bus(es). On the Quadra I had all of the HDDs and the internal CD drive on one bus. I used 0 for the boot HDD, 1 for the CDROM and then 2,3,4 for the other disks.

Externally I had the Apple PowerCD plugged in and configured to SCSI ID 5. Just to re-iterate, the external devices, although on a separate physical bus, join the internal single bus and therefore must be using unique IDs. They cannot re-use the IDs of internal devices!

Make sure that your external SCSI devices have unique IDs. They cannot use the same IDs as internal devices!

Terminating SCSI Buses

The SCSI bus is a long chain of devices. Communication along the chain is terminated by a set of resistors and/or current. Some SCSI devices provide internal termination facilities. If you enable termination on a device, then you should not put any other SCSI devices further along the chain. In the end, the chain should look like a row of christmas lights. One end is the motherboard, and this is terminated internally. The other end is a terminator on the cable, or a device with internal termination. ALL devices in the middle must then be non-terminated!

Macintosh SCSI Hardware Issues indicates that no drives in the Quadra 900/950 need be terminated. Instead the cable should have termination at the very end. An active terminator is recommended over a passive one. This identifies with the SCSI bus requirements above. All devices between the terminators (logic board and final terminator) must be non-terminated. The only exception to this is when the final device has internal termination.

SCSI Converters

The Quadra 950 only has 50-pin internal sockets for SCSI cables. It runs an NCR 53C96 SCSI Controller with a theoretical speed limit of 6 MB/s. Finding 50-pin SCSI devices nowadays is a real pain and most now have the vintage "price tag" on them. Fortunately, there's no need to worry. The SCSI interface happens to be backwards compatible and, although there are several different types of connectors, most can be converted (or downgraded!) to the lowest standard.

In our case we need all our devices on the flat 50-pin IDC internal ribbon cable standard. Scouring the net (and then eBay), resulted in some easy finds. A Hong Kong seller (zero results from Australia, as per usual) had the converters for AUD$9.50 a pop. These convert 50/68-pin to SCA 80-pin drives. And I had to buy these after-the-fact as I'd already purchased ~100gb SCSI drives with these plugs. I'd bought the drives because they said 'vintage'... just not 'vintage' enough for the Macintosh.

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The SCA interface includes automatic ID selection and optional termination. This gets converted in the adapter. There are jumpers there for the ID (as per the table able) and then a TE jumper with enables internal termination. This means that I can have any of these devices on the end of my chain when the TE jumper is bridged.

Installing 80-pin SCA drives into the Quadra 950

The size of the case would make one think that you'd be able to store around 8-10 drives comfortably. You would be able to... if the designers had provided the slots. Instead, there are only two fixed locations to install drives. One of these gets stolen by the internal CD-ROM if you choose to mount it. I was hoping that, as that the bays are removable, someone had come up with a readily-available solution for more drive mounting. This forum post was all I could find; the user has managed to get 8 drives in the Quadra. Unfortunately all the images are gone...

I used my second (new) SCSI cable and plugged it into the socket under the power supply. This is the second SCSI bus; it's the internal side of the external bus. I even managed to sneak the cable up behind the power supply. Let's hope it doesn't get too hot!

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First things first... DO NOT sit drives on top of each other freely and turn the power on. Anything could be shorting between them and cause issues. I powered the drives via the piggyback to my new fan and it cooked the lead!

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First attempts to get the devices to show failed miserably. The cooking of the lead may have cooked the converters, but there's no 'smarts' to them, so I don't see how that could have happened. I put the two new HDDs as IDs 3 and 4 on one bus, also testing on the other, but never once did a drive show up in any scanning application. One drive showed a little flickery HDD activity once, but most of the time they both just lay there, like stunned mullets.

Reading SCSI Notes for 68k Macs, the quote that got me was:

80-pin drives aren't required to be 68-pin SCSI, IIRC, so a rare SCA drive that doesn't support Wide might exist. All the same cautions apply to attaching an SCA drive to a 50-pin bus as attaching a 68-pin drive, except that it's even more common for cheap adaptors to cause heartache to those trying to save money.

Go ahead and put those SCA drives into your 68k, but make sure you've got a fair bit of time laid out for getting them up and running. Hopefully it'll just work out fine, but you might have to debug something, possibly including replacing some of your adaptors if they're not working well.

Nothing is working well... the adapters are crap... the drives are crap? I don't know... but I'm writing all components off at this point. Might try again tomorrow. day...
Holy shit. I just booted today after all the unsuccessful attempts last night. The power splitter cable melted when I turned the power on! DO NOT ... EVER ... use SCA drives in your Quadra 950.

...I'll be back once I purchase expensive 50/68-pin HDDs... I AM NOT touching these SCAs anymore.
(Tell me if anyone has ever successfully used an SCA drive in their Quadra 950... kthx.)

Installing 68-pin drives into the Quadra 950

These have both arrived (9g and 36g) and they both just work! ID set, converter in place and presto, the drives appear and are completely functional. Onto the partitioning!

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There are at least two sorts of adapters... the above shows the 'inline' version, a single moulded unit. There's also the version with a PCB in-between. Both adapters worked perfectly for me.

Partitioning Disks

I expected there to be partition size limits, but that doesn't seem to be the case with MacOS 8.1 and higher. There's a multitude of tools available, so I've chosen to try and few of them out below. If you need to download any then check out Gamba's page.

Apple HD SC Setup (Patched)

When Apple HD SC Setup opens, you'll be presented with an ugly little dialog. I suppose it's the visual representation of that similarly ugly little tool called fdisk. Keep mashing the Drive button until the text above it matches the drive you want to work with. In this case mine was SCSI ID 4.

There's notes here on how to set up partitions via Apple HD SC Setup. Note that you have to 'Initialize' a disk before you can manage partitions! If initialisation is formatting, then wouldn't you have thought that it would want to set up partitions first? It seems that this isn't the case. Initialisation also takes a REALLY long time; it'll create and format an initial 4.1gb partition for you.

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Once you have the option to press the Partition button, do so. You will be presented with a window that'll let you format your current partition. We don't want to do this, so hit Custom. You'll now see the initially created partition and, presumably, a large grey area underneath. Click this grey area to work with it.

Select Additional Mac Volume and type in a new size. The app puts a maximum size in there for you, but I found this to be different every time I opened it? Your Apple will crash if you do. Actually... it crashes and crashes and crashes... I can't successfully create a new secondary partition with Apple HD SC Setup. Onto the next tool...

Apple Drive Setup (Patched)

Apple Drive Setup was the defacto disk configuration utility with MacOS 8.1* and above. It also only supports Apple Firmware disks and so it turns out that it needs patching too!. Download Drive Setup 1.5 + patch or Drive Setup 1.7.3 and patch.

Download the version you want and the patch. Drive Setup will mount a disk on the desktop; copy the Drive Setup application from it to a folder somewhere. Then extract the patch into this folder also. Double-click the patch... not much happens. Opening Drive Setup will allow you to update your Hard Disk drivers... do this. You'll then need to reboot.

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Turns out that when partitioning with Drive Setup, you cannot just add partitions. You need to select the 'layout' and then resize each individual new partition accordingly. You'll also need to realise that changing the 'layout' will wipe your current disk... entirely!

Drive Setup 1.5 also wont let you create a partition bigger than 4gb. I actually managed to create a 9gb Partition via Apple HD SC Setup and this just kept crashing MacOS 8.1 when trying to get to the desktop. Using Drive Setup to create 4 4gb partitions worked a lot better!

FWB Hard Disk Toolkit

You could also possibly use 2.5.3 is also available or . I couldn't get 4.5.2 to load on MacOS 8.1. Note that 2.5.3 is a full CDR image and takes forever to extract on the Quadra via StuffIt Expander.

Making a Macintosh Boot Disk (1.44mb)

Instructions are from here, here and here. Disk images: System 6.0.8 Boot Disk or System 7.0.1 Boot Disk. Note that if you want to install A/UX, you'll need a boot disk. It's included in the download and all is explained here.

I went to local PC store and bought an internal floppy drive and blank disks. I got home that afternoon and tore my windows desktop case open. Lots of mess only to find that there was no floppy plug on the motherboard. Hah. Fortunately I had a spare pc in the cupboard, so I yanked that open and, luckily, managed to install the floppy drive.

Keeping this machine off the internet, as it was archaic and bound to cause issues against my main workstation, I built the disks. The first goal was to write the A/UX boot disk that comes with the download. I opened the image in WinImage and ... it showed the main window with zero contents. There was no "Mac" footer in the status bar and I was concerned. Either way, I hit CTRL-W and wrote the floppy that was in the drive. It warned me that the disk wasn't empty... it was a blank disk anyway? I quickly checked in explorer for any files, but there was nothing.

Either way, I continued the write and it chugged along to 100% and told me it was finished. I trusted it.

Slapping the disk in the Macintosh, it booted. No magical short-cuts of any kind... it just trusted that the disk inserted was the one it was to take priority on. It loaded to a monochrome desktop and a dialog came up stating that we were installing A/UX! Winner... then it asked me where the CD was. Apparently it couldn't find it.... more on that here...

From this... I assume that the standard System 7 and 8 images will 'just work'(tm) Godspeed!


Quadra 950: Optical Drives

This ended up being a tour-de-force. CD-ROM after CD-ROM failed me and I nearly gave up a few times. Turns out that not all CD-ROM drives will work peacefull.... who am I kidding? Apple has always stuck with proprietary hardware.

There's some great things to learn here when trying to use a non-Apple SCSI CD drive. I think the most important is that you cannot expect 100% functionality. That and you may well need to hack your drive to stop the tray locking; or hack the code to correctly support your drive's locking mechanism.

HP C4343A SureStore 6020i

DSC06102So, I bought a CD drive off eBay. Listed as an old HP SureStore Writer, 50-pin SCSI. PC/Mac Compatible. The Quadra 950 had been off (and unplugged) for days and, instead of turning the machine on and ensuring I had a known-state to base my upgrade from, I dug straight into the upgrade. I opened it up and installed the drive. I put it on the SCSI cable right next to one of the 2 hard drives already installed.

Once back together, I applied power and ... crap ... the flashing-question-mark-on-disk of death icon. OK, it cannot find the boot volume? Maybe my SCSI IDs are conflicting or some-such. So, I take the CD drive back out and .. nope .. still the flashing-question-mark icon on boot.
flashing disk of death

It chimes, the hard drives spin up and think a little, then nothing, just the flashing icon. I remove the PRAM battery, zap the PRAM (although only one chime-reboot), take out the PPC card, the real RAM and then disconnect the power supply from the motherboard. I try the second SCSI bus (there's another 50-pin socket under the power supply) to no avail. Whilst doing all of this I notice that I already have the VRAM upgrade! No need to buy more.

But.. nothing... have I trashed the logic board? The SCSI cable? Has the addition of a faulty CD drive killed the other two SCSI drives? I'm at a loss. It's 2am and I choose to sleep on it.

The next day, after a stressful day of reading up on other people's posts with similar symptoms, I return home to test it all out again. I reset the PRAM with 4-chimes (it seems that one chime restart isn't enough for some cases) and try a new PRAM battery. Most articles point that without a proper voltage from the battery, the motherboard will get very confused and behave erratically. I find that replacing this and fully resetting the PRAM does not work.

DSC06106During the day, I purchased a floppy drive, floppy disks and another SCSI cable from a PC shop in the city. The cable only had a total of three plugs on it, so I plugged one end into the motherboard, the middle into one of the two disks and the existing terminator on the end. Presto... the bloody disk booted. It seems that, in my efforts to install the CD drive, I've fractured/damaged/destroyed the original SCSI cable. This cable had bends, folds and twists in it already, so I can only imagine that I've fractured the wires inside those folds when I was manipulating the CD drive into position.

Do you get the flashing question mark or just a grey screen?
The root cause here ended up being a fractured, old and tired SCSI cable.
Replacing it got my Quadra booting again.

Either way, it was a relief to find the machine booting again. I threw the CD drive in the bin as it wouldn't even power up anymore and found another on eBay. Do be careful when buying crappy old HP hardware to stick in rare, somewhat fragile, vintage Macintosh machines!

Update: It turns out that non-Apple SCSI CD-ROM Drives get their trays locked. As found out from trying the second drive below, Apple only wants you to use the eject button or drag-to-trash on the desktop. They try their hardest to prevent you from ejecting the disk manually to prevent data issues.

IO-Data RX4420

My second drive arrived... it's an IO-Data RX4420 from Japan. An Australian seller had it and it's a relic from the same era as my Quadra. It's in an external case that runs on the 110v Japanese standard. I didn't feel like voltage converters and the like, so I ripped it out of it's case (put that aside for safe-keeping) and attempted another internal install.

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I set the SCSI ID to '1', knowing that one HDD was '0' and the other was '2'. All installed and ready to go, I booted the machine. For the first 10 seconds I could happily press the eject button and the tray would pop out. Once on the Macintosh desktop, the drive stopped ejecting! Pressing the eject button would cause the drive to attempt an eject, I could hear the motor humming, but the tray would not move. The tray had been locked!

Ok, Mac OS has locked the drive? Is this punishment for a third-party unit? After a little googling I came to the conclusion that you must have third-party drivers for third-party CD-ROM drives. Needing another driver also means that if I ever want to boot from this drive then I'll need a floppy boot disk with the drivers copied on. As that my drive was Japanese and made in 1999, I assumed that I was nearly out of luck to find a relevant Macintosh driver... googling was resulting with nothing.

I then stumbled across Third-party Optical Drive Support. It explains how to edit your Apple CD-ROM Extension to support any CD Drive. I downloaded ResEdit and gave it a go.

cdrom-ext-1 cdrom-ext-3 cdrom-ext-2

As per the instructions I dragged the extension to the desktop and duplicated it (command-D) as a backup. (Note that shift-command-3 takes screenshots on the System 7 and MacOS 8.) From here you need to open the extension in ResEdit, navigate to "DRVR" and then the first driver in the list marked "42". Select it and then choose Resource -> Open in Hex Viewer. Edit the offsets as mentioned in the link above. When editing, make note of the next data block (7e09 in this case.) Highlight the data block you're trying to replace and start typing. Everything will shift around... but once you've typed in 4 characters it should be back and you should have your new value in the correct spot. Always compare the next line again to audit your own changes. If required, you can go to Resource -> Revert this resource to undo all changes, or command-Z to undo the most recent edit.

I saved the extension and dropped it back into the System Folder. Unfortunately, upon restart the boot process froze whilst trying to load extensions. Was the base MacOS 8.1 "Apple CD-ROM" Extension ever going to work with my drive? I attempted to upgrade to "Apple CD/DVD 1.2.2" as it was mentioned to work with "older Macintoshes." Note that you can get all the drivers here. After throwing the extension in, I rebooted without the mod. No go... Apple CD still indicated that the drive was not responding. So I modded it and rebooted... same result, freeze during extensions load. I held down shift on the next try and booted without extensions. After verifying the resource hacks on the driver, I decided that 1.2.2 was a no-go. 1.3.1 failed as well.

Hindsight: At this point I was using AppleCD to test if the drive was working. As that the tray was locked, I had not put a CD in. I'm wondering if it was working (as it was showing in SCSI Probe) and I just needed to jimmy the thing open.

I gave up... seems I need a real Apple CD Drive to get MacOS 8.1 going... Using Yahoo Japan (and my limited Japanese), I searched once more for the model number of the CD Drive and found out that the company didn't support it under MacOS at all. There's also product information from IO-Data here that never mentions MacOS (thank you again Web Archive!). Apple clearly states that you'll need a third-party driver. There's discussion here on 2-chan where it seems that a user has asked about compatibility, tried it and never responded... can't be good news.

Or is this really the end? I then found a link here with third-party one-size-fits-all cd-rom drivers. The indicate that CD Sunrise works with 99% of CD drives. To get it to work, one must download the archive from that link, extract it somewhere and drop the extension on your system folder. Didn't work...

And now the rabbit-hole continues. Here's a link with a crap-load of drivers to try... I installed Apple CD 5.3.2 and then followed the hack described here. Low and behold it was the same hack as I'd done on 5.4.2. ... No good....

cdrom-ext-applecd cdrom-ext-fwb cdrom-ext-fwb-2

Trying the FWB CD-ROM Toolkit 2.3.1 gave me a little bit of hope. It could see the drive but it told me that I needed a driver to do anything with it. I didn't really have any ideas on what to do next.

Since I had the network going, I started copying games over to the Quadra. One was a CD image and needed to be mounted by the Toast 4.1.3 application. It turns out that Toast comes with its own CD driver extensions? Prior to testing these, I opened Toast and it instantly saw the drive and happily gave me device information. Clicking the eject button had the same effect as the physical button on the device; it tried to work but was locked. At this point I started to wonder if it was really locked... So I stuck a screw-driver in the pin-hole to eject the tray. It jumped out. I then closed it and tried to eject from Toast. It worked. What's going on here?...

Based on this good news I dropped the Toast CD Reader extension into the extensions folder and rebooted. The CD Drive was locked, so I forced it open and slapped a CD in. It mounted the disc onto the desktop. It seems that the tray-locking mechanism just hates Apple. I attempted to eject the CD from the desktop and the drive was locked! I had to physically force-eject it again. For good measure I tried the CD Sunrise driver again. It also worked!

Urgh... I now had a good-enough working CD Drive. I now wonder if the previous HP drive actually worked. It may have just been suffering the same tray-locking symptoms. The Apple drivers (un-modified) may have also worked, if only I'd bothered to try and force a CD in the drive. I'll go back and test this when I rebuild the machine on fresh HDDs.

Either way, the locking meant that the drive was still highly unusable. There's gotta be a way to disable the tray-lock mechanism. Should I break the drive open and remove its ability to lock itself? It should be as simple as disconnecting a plastic pin somewhere in the mechanism... or is there a driver that does the proper 'unlock' prior to eject?


Although I had success with the second CD Drive, I had already accidentally won an 'official' Apple SCSI drive for AUD$10. It's an NEC, so it's not as 'official' as I had expected (no Apple logo on it.) The model number is NEC CDR-1410A. I checked the SCSI ID configuration and saw that it was set to ID '3' (J0+J1). I pulled the second jumper to set the ID to '1'. Prior to shutting down the Quadra, I disabled CD-Sunrise and enabled the original Apple CD-ROM extension... should work right? It's an Apple CD-ROM drive!

Plugging the cable in, I booted the system and the SCSI device did not show in Apple System Profiler under Devices. It was half-way along the SCSI chain, and the hard disks still worked fine. Shutting the machine down, I inspected the cable and jumpers. The internal termination was on! So.. it seems that if you have a device mid-way with TE enabled, it'll only knock out that device? I thought it'd then block the rest of the chain too!

I grabbed a pair of tweezers and removed the TE jumper. Booting back up, the device now showed in Apple System Profiler. I could even eject the tray. I grabbed a MacOS 8.5 CD I had laying around and inserted it. Nothing. Not even the standard CD action of "is there a disk inside me?". On a hunch, I re-enabled CD Sunrise and disabled the Apple CD-ROM Extension. I manually (although not forcefully) ejected the CD for good measure and rebooted.

Once back at the desktop, inserting the CD saw MacOS 8.5 appear as an icon. I then tried the eject button on the drive to no avail; it was locked. Fortunately, this time that was expected. You should not be ejecting mounted disks. For fun, I dragged the mounted CD icon to the Trash and watched the bloody CD eject the tray, offering me a warm CD. How wonderfully frivolous when shit just works.

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All for fun, I then disabled CD Sunrise... This meant that all CD Drivers in the Extensions list were disabled. The drive still worked. At this point I decided that black-magic was at play and I had no chance.

Just for good measure, I returned to the Mac Driver Museum : Disks and noticed that there was an NEC Speedycd v5.31a driver. Note that these are also actually downloadable from the official NEC site also!

Upon installing the driver it turns out that my model isn't supported. I installed the driver anyway and restarted the Mac. The SpeedyCD utility seems to cache random "often used" files to your harddisk to 'speed up' CD access. Interesting theory... Otherwise the software added no extra functionality.

Since it is now working, this is the drive that will carry my Macintosh into the multimedia age! (although in the dark ages, it seems, I need better lighting for my photos!) I'll try booting off it tonight. I want a fresh install of MacOS 8.5 on my new HDDs, which all appear in another post shortly.

Booting from a non-Apple SCSI CD-ROM

Some CDs aren't bootable and your Macintosh will never boot from them. You'll therefore need a floppy bootdisk relevant to that CD. Find an image and then learn how to make a boot disk on a windows machine here. You may also need to copy drivers over for non-standard CD drives. CD-Sunrise is usually a pretty good bet.

I had originally expected the NEC drive not to boot, but the MacOS 8.5 disk I put in there tried to boot on a restart. It didn't get far as the is for genuine PPCs only, not upgraded 68ks.

It turns out you can install 8.5 on the machine... but I'll create a new article on that. If you want to do it now then see the instructions here.

Apple PowerCD

I couldn't resist this item when I saw it on eBay. It's nearly a discman, but you actually need the base to make the whole thing function. It turns out that half of the required 'brains' to even spin the CD are in the base! There's a forum post here that details this more.

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This thing is pretty! It's smaller than I expected. It's not too heavy either. It played a burnt audio CD flawlessly through both the 3.5mm audio jack and the A/V output cable. This cable has Stereo RCA Audio leads and composite video, the video being for PhotoCDs.

It also came with software: Kodak PhotoCD (CD), Apple PowerCD software (CD) and a driver floppy. I'd purchased the Apple Design speakers, which sound great for their age with this unit! My test audio CD was non other than the soundtrack to The 7th Guest and The 11th Hour: Fat Man And Team Fat, The ‎– 7/11.

There was no SCSI cable, so I had to find one online... eBay was only offering results from the USA. The cable required is a DB-25 SCSI to Centronics 50-pin. These are chunky and heavy and old. Be careful not to buy a parallel printer cable... they look very similar but only have a 36-pin Centronics plug on the other end!

The cable arrived and was a nice length to allow the PowerCD to be placed under the monitor. Everything fitted together well and I suppose I'd really fluked buying the correct cable. Note that this (like eSata) needs to be configured, plugged in and set up prior to booting your Macintosh. SCSI is not plug-and-play!

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The display on the unit changes to 'data' once the Macintosh initialises it. First boot saw a disk mount to the desktop, but AudioCDs would do nothing... zero recognition. I then remembered that the drive came with software and installed the AppleCD CD Player. On reboot, inserting an Audio CD made finder crash in MacOS 8.1! What the hell... I haven't since gotten an Audio CD to work. Since the install, unformatted floppies also now make Finder crash. Yey!

I used the PowerCD to install MacOS 8.5 (of which I actually have a legit copy of!) The internal drive kept throwing data errors (blaming on drive speed vs. error correction capabilities vs. scratches) and so, although it took over 50minutes, I switched to the PowerCD for that authentic experience!

I had no further luck with MacOS 8.5. I had to install the Apple CD Player to get the application to work with the drive and it would see data CDs fine... Audio CDs would cause the system to lock up though. It actually turns out that MacRumors has a little hint that 'getting it to work with Macintoshes of the day was tricky'. I wonder what I have to do to make it function...

It turns out that the Apple CD Player is not the way to go... the PowerCD Installer installed PowerCD Audio (under the Apple menu) and this is to be used. I gleaned this information from the PowerCD User Manual. With this open, inserting an Audio CD and hitting play also causes Finder to lock up! I wonder if there's software updates somewhere? Here they are, and also over here. Thank you Macintosh Garden!

The drivers did no good... they're the same as the version on the floppy that came with the PowerCD! The installer locked up trying to install the PowerCD Extension, I assume it was still in use? A reboot made it obvious that the drivers had uninstalled. So I reinstalled from the download once more, rebooted, inserted an AudioCD and everything locked up again.

Final test... remove the internal CD drive... maybe the PowerCD only ever expects one CD drive on the machine. After the huuuuge wait from a cold boot (too much RAM! 256mb makes the machine take minutes to switch on), the same scenario occurred. Who cares... no more Audio CDs. For fun, I connected the internal drive again and threw the Audio CD in there... no lockups, but no response at all... didn't mount, could easily eject.

todo: test CDROM Toolkit.

Further References:

Pioneer DVD-303S-A

As you can glean from the model number, this is a DVD drive. It was reported to work with A/UX installs and so I purchased one from an Australian seller on eBay. It's a slot-loader and makes some pretty cool noises.

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MacOS 8.6 hated this drive. I still need to test CD Sunrise and Toast Extensions, but it wanted nothing to do with it on the base drivers. Meanwhile, A/UX found it and installed perfectly!

Quadra 950 CD-ROM Case Bezel

The case doesn't allow the easy insertion of a CD-ROM Drive. You'd have to destroy the face-plate to mount the drive directly. Due to this, I whipped open Tinkercad and designed up a new bezel.

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Find more information on this here.


Quadra 950: Case Issues and Modifications

The Quadra 950 case is huge. The size seems to be due to the requires of its variant, the Apple Workgroup Server required a tower capable of expansion cards and disks. Internally, unfortunately, it's more about Nubus cards then about extra disks.

The infamous Quadra 950 case 'latches'

Known not to survive the test of time, owners of Quadra 950s will probably all have broken latches on their cases, resulting in the side cover hanging half off. My case cover only had one, of two, latches left... and sourcing one was impossible. This is what the latches look like; I needed another one.

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Fortunately for us nowadays, we can model small objects up in free software and send them off to print houses. I've therefore duplicated the case latch in Tinkercad and have sent it off to Shapeways.

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Shown below is the latch in place, the latch removed and then the other location where the second latch should be. The second latch was missing on my case and you can see why. There is meant to be a second vertical plastic bar that prevents the latch from sliding too far forward. The latch has therefore slid out of the casing and disappeared. I'll need to do something about this once the new latches arrive... Sure I have bought a few, so I'll have a stash to rely on; but I want to fix it once-and-for-all, so I'll need to araldyte a vertical bar fashioned out of plastic to replace the missing piece.

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The result

It printed.. it worked 'ok'... but you need to make sure you choose a STRONG plastic! The 'Strong & Flexible Plastic' from Shapeways wasn't strong enough... i.e. the base flexed. So either grab the design here (STL) and make it chunkier along the base, or use the 'Acrylic Plastic (Detail Plastic)', as this might be tougher. Good luck!

CD Bezel: Attempt 1

I've also chosen to design a CDROM Bezel for the front case... the Quadra requires a custom Drive and/or bezel that I've been unable to acquire; but I also want to use my own drives. Hence the following design. I've included a picture of the original drive-bay cover. It actually has metal shielding behind it. In fact, the entire Quadra 950 case has shielding inside it. This adds to the weight but, most importantly, limits the electronic interference the machine can produce and also consume. It really does add to the vintage charm; not many products nowadays care about shielding themselves or others from their beastly interference.

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So... hehehehe... it arrived. I think anyone could tell from the images above that using a tape measure or wooden ruler would be a bad idea. Overall, the outer dimensions are fine. It seems that I was a few millimetres off on the internal drive slot though. I measured the distances for the tabs that lock into the case from the actual outside of the plate. It turns out that I, by a millimetre or two, made the drive slot too narrow; although the height is spot on. Unfortunately, the tabs are butted right up against the inside edges of the drive slot, so I can't do any filing work to make everything fit.

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Balls... Back to the designer to widen that slot. Meanwhile, the vertical dimensions are perfect! The warping is due to the 2mm error. I hadn't noticed and tried to fit it into the case... the pressure easily warped the material. Note that the left side (when looking at the front of the case) is shallower than the right side. The 5th image above explains this. I must've had one-too-many beers when designing to not even realise this!

CD Bezel: Attempt 2

I've re-jigged and re-ordered (Here's the design)... embarrassing... but it's on it's way. A note here with Tinkercad and Shapeways, don't just hit Design->Upload for Printing each time. After your first upload to Shapeways, if you make changes in Tinkercad, download it as an STL and then upload it over your existing Shapeways design. It'll just keep everything neat and tidy for all of your accounts!