Jump to content
MacFox

Firewire 400 CD Burner for iBook G3 on OS 9?

Recommended Posts

Hello,

 

So I would like to be able to burn CDs from my iBook G3 dual USB with Firewire 400 port running OS 9.2.2.  Will any Firewire 400 drive work or will only specific ones work?

 

Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd stick with external drives from manufacturers that catered to Mac, which would mean Sony, any drive sold by LaCie, a QPS Que!, or an Iomega.  While a generic drive "should" work I've had issues with them in Toast on 9.2.2.  If you're game enough to want to take apart your iceBook to upgrade the internal drive, more power to you.  To call it a tedious process would be putting it lightly, but at least the combo drives are still available quite inexpensively on eBay.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll keep what you guys said in mind.  I looked up the instructions to upgrade the internal drive and I don't think I'll be going that route.  I actually tried using a USB 2.0 external dvd/cd burner on the iBook, but it didn't work.  I'm guessing the drive either isn't backwards compatible with USB 1.1, doesn't work on Mac, or the USB ports didn't provide enough power.  That's why I'm looking at Firewire instead of USB.  With that said, I did actually see a Memorex USB CD/DVD drive at my local drug store that said it was Mac compatible (didn't specify an OS version) and "backwards compatible with USB 1.0". I would've bought it if the box wasn't damaged.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, the USB ports aren't going to provide enough bus power to run an external drive.  Found that out when I was trying to do a data migration using one of those handy USB to IDE cables and the drive wouldn't spin up until it was plugged in to a powered USB hub.

 

The FW drive I use is a Sony DRX-720UL and works great under OS 9.  There are a bunch on eBay at present so you don't have to spend as much as the one I've linked below (that's just to show the box).

https://www.ebay.com/itm/112174717909

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, EvilCapitalist said:

Yep, the USB ports aren't going to provide enough bus power to run an external drive.  Found that out when I was trying to do a data migration using one of those handy USB to IDE cables and the drive wouldn't spin up until it was plugged in to a powered USB hub.

 

The FW drive I use is a Sony DRX-720UL and works great under OS 9.  There are a bunch on eBay at present so you don't have to spend as much as the one I've linked below (that's just to show the box).

https://www.ebay.com/itm/112174717909

Thanks for the tip.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since my last post in this thread, I actually tried out both an external FireWire option and an internal option.  I tried the FireWire option first by buying a LaCie CD-RW drive off of eBay.  It reads CDs great, but it didn't want to burn to the CD-R discs I had.  Very recently, I opened up the iBook and upgraded the internal drive to an Apple branded Sony DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive.  So far it works.  I can read and write CDs and I can watch DVDs on my iBook now.  I never want to take apart another iBook again, that was a pain.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

External drives should generally match the vintage of the software you're using. While there are standards in place regarding protocols and whatnot that the software and drive use to communicate, sometimes it changes enough to where there will be problems. Disc standards can change too. A big concern with some drives are with CD-RWs and high-speed discs: older drives, such as the USB Sony CRX-10U that I used to use with my blueberry iBook in the early '00s (great drive at the time, btw: compact 4x4x6x drive, usable as standalone MP3 CD player, powered via either AC adapter or LiIon battery pack), will not touch CD-RWs that are rated higher than 4x. Really frustrating especially when low-speed discs quit being readily available. But yeah if you're using Toast 6, for example, you're going to want a drive that was built around 2000-2003ish; anything newer may not work correctly or with the newest media.

 

The only bad thing about using the internal drive in the dual-USB iBook G3 is that its hard drive and CD drive share the same ATA bus, which can result in BURN errors if you try to burn too quickly. The later iBook G4s had independent buses so this wasn't as much of a problem on them. But with the G3 models, if I want to burn quickly, I usually use an external FW drive instead.

 

The dual-USB iBook was built around 2002, so mostly Sony, Pioneer, Matsushita/Panasonic, and Toshiba were OEMs for Apple at the time. TEAC, LG, HItachi, maybe Lite-On and some others also supplied drives off and on over the years. Matsushita/Panasonic has been supplying optical drives to Apple continuously since the first tray-loading drives in about 1993 so they're usually a safe bet for compatibility with Apple's own programs such as iTunes or Disc Burner. It can be hard to tell what's in an external enclosure, but my primary recommendation for drive mechanisms is Pioneer; kinda hard to go wrong with them. LG hasn't been bad either, in my experience. Matsushita/Panasonic drives are better if you want caddy-style DVDRAM support and they're usually pretty reliable though most need their load belts replaced by now. Avoid Toshiba Samsung/TSST and newer Sony/NEC/Optiarc drives though because they're crap.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That Sony CRX-10U is adorable and there's a couple inexpensively available here in the US. (A NIB one for $90 and a couple of complete-ish looking ones for like $45.) I'm tempted to get one for myself.

 

There's a couple LaCie Firewire CD/DVD burners on eBay too. One thing that's kind of got me interested is the long-term ability of a lot of different Macs with slot-load CD mechanisms to successfully inject and eject optical media. My 2005 iBook and 2006 Mac minis do it fine right now, but my iMac G3s do not, (and, I have at least one inoperable iMac G3 I know has a CD stuck in it, and I scratched my only copy of another CD all the way up, as an example.)

 

The comment about the Sony device not working well with high-speed discs is super interesting, I didn't realize that discs would eventually stop being certified for lower speed drives (or at least denoting as such) or that the drives would stop accepting them. I pretty much exclusively have cheap Memorex CD-Rs that all say 52x burning on them, but I regularly burn them at 4x (the minimum most burning apps on my PCs suggest) and it works fine, suggesting that there's some strict compliance to a standard that wasn't common, or discs don't strictly comply any more. I might have to poke around at that, myself.

 

One other general thought is that in my experience, modern disc drives of basically any type I've tried are way better at error correcting for older and generally scratched up CDs, and I have a couple CDs I've been able to image and rewrite and use that were otherwise unusable on the Macs they were originally for. (my iMac/233 8.1 install and 1400c/166 7.6.1 install were like this, readable except for a couple spots which caused installs to fail).

 

On the OS X side of things, my experience has largely been that any USB optical drive works fine, at least with 10.6+. I'll have to poke at some stuff on my iBook and minis, since I have a 10.4/ppc, 10.5/intel and 10.6/intel set going at the moment, and I've got an LC BD-RE mechanism (though it's a thin/laptop style one that might benefit from being put on a powered USB hub as far back as PPC) and a bigger desktop powered USB DVD burner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, I noticed after posting you mentioned the error was with CD-RW discs. Have you noticed that plain CD-Rs do the same thing, or have you had an occasion to try? I have a healthy collection of older CD-RW discs on hand, but because I do more with networking I don't have a huge need for CD-RW functionality on my own vintage Macs, admittedly, the main reason I ever put a CD in any of them is if they're unnetworked or only very inconveniently networked or if I need to reinstall an OS. (I need to poke at the 7.5.3 network access diskette, too, because booting that and accessing the old vtools might be a more convenient way to install things anyway, depending on what I can get to work.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem with the older drives is with the -RWs, not the -Rs. I don't know what changed but basically, if the drive's logo only says "Compact Disc Recordable Rewritable" and not "Compact Disc Recordable Rewritable Hi-Speed" it won't work with -RW discs rated for Hi-Speed operation, even to record a 10x disc at 4x. The -Rs should be pretty much universal: burn a 52x at 4x with no problems (assuming you've got quality media).

 

I know it's kind of hard to see on a Mac since their drives generally don't have the logo printed on them so you'd have to look up the model number to see what they support. Basically if the drive's -RW section is 4x or less, it's not Hi-Speed and won't burn the Hi-Speed-rated -RW discs at any speed. Should still read them though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gotcha, so, I imagine it would be annoying if you were using this thing with -RWs to make rolling backups or whatever, but for day-to-day burns, probably not that big of a deal.

 

"Good enough" CD-Rs are extraordinarily cheap in the US at least. (I've got that 100-stack of Memorex discs, which I bought pretty much because I forgot I still had the remains of the other 50-ish stacks, and that was probably $20 or so when I got it -- and it seems like they're a bit closer to $15 now.) so most of the economic reason to use -RWs is gone, though operationally I know they're more convenient. (see also: coryw fighting with blu-ray media.)

 

*EDIT: So it depends on what your workflow is, basically.

 

I don't have any other early CD-RW drives. Have you seen this behavior in others? Like if someone looked for a Que! burner or something in SCSI is this something they'd experience, or a pecularity of this specific Sony device?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No it's a universal limitation: a non-High Speed -RW drive won't burn a High Speed-rated -RW disc. The same is true regarding Ultra Speed discs and earlier drives, as well: can read but won't write at all. I don't know for sure what's different technically but quick reading suggests it's a difference in laser write output and/or chemicals used in the disc dye across the various generations.

 

I don't use -RWs a ton but I have a small stockpile of older discs should I need them. It's not easy to find the early -RW discs anymore without mail-ordering some NOS discs or buying from special vendors. Sometimes you'll get lucky at a thrift store.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×