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SCSI2SD on a Macintosh Portable, but keeping the essence!


Well-known member
So I got an original M5120 Macintosh Portable a few months ago. It was listed as non working, but after a recap it would turn on again fine. The real issue was the hard drive. It was impossible to make it work. It would keep the Macintosh on a permanent rebooting loop. After doing a couple tests (that actually made it worse) I finally gave up and went for a SCSI2SD with an adapter.

As a keep-it-original hooligan, the main drawback here was not only that the lack of noise from the hard drive felt strange, unexpectedly quiet, but that it made you feel other noises that normally would be masked by the hard drive spin. For example the speaker had a constant hissing.

I'd like to present the solution I came to, in case someone find it interesting:

-Removed the original drive controller board

-Installed the SCSI2SD board in its place. I had to relocate two capacitors on the other side of the board due to lack of room

-Installed an adjustable brushless motor driver to make the hard drive spin. This controller is mounted on a 3D printed bracket that is screwed to the hard drive.

Basically when the Mac gives power to the SCSI2SD it will also power the driver, which will make the HDD spin. It won't rattle of course, because it's only the hard drive motor that is powered, but it certainly does the trick. It will also stop after a few minutes to save battery life, according to the settings in control panels, and will also sleep and wake up together with the Macintosh. It's curious how the Mac starts booting before the hard drive finishes accelerating to it's normal RPM's.

Cosmetically I think it's pretty neat, only if you are familiar with the Portable you will notice any change at first sight.

Now I just need to fix the floppy drive to make it perfect. It spins and the head moves correcty the asks to initialize. Initializing will fail. I've tried rotating the head worm motor, but no luck, any ideas?




Well-known member
This is fantastic!  I've got SCSI2SD in most of my Macs, but man do my machines feel sterile without hard drive sounds.  I know there was talk on this forum of creating an "HDD sound" generator a year or two ago, but I don't think the project went anywhere.  I'd love for my SCSI2SD macs to whir, click, and grind again though!  I'm impressed that you went this far to keep that sound!



Well-known member
I always try to keep as close to original as possible, I has a hard battle againt some MiniScribe drives trying to get my Mac Plus back to its origins. But SCSI drives will always eventually fail, so I think it's a good option after all. I was thinking it may be possible to use the activity LED signal on the SCSI2SD to move the HDD head, hence having a rattle. But I see it far more complicated.



Well-known member
This is neat!

I have many dead hard drives I could try this on.  Not sure to what end, but I guess it'd be a good learning experience!