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Troubleshooting Spare Hard Drives for LC III

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I acquired an LC III without a hard drive a couple of months ago and have gone through the laborious process of finding a working compatible hard disk drive. I started with an 80 MB Quantum ProDrive ELS 50-pin SCSI drive which worked the first day, but then failed on all subsequent boot attempts. I then ordered a 1GB drive but was accidentally shipped a 68-pin SCSI drive from HP instead. Even after trying a 50 to 68 pin adapter and a patched version of Apple HD SC Setup 7.3.2 (from the System 7.5 Disk Tools floppy), the machine never did recognize the drive as being attached to the SCSI port.


Today I got back from a computer recycling place and tried out three 50-pin SCSI drives that I was able to get there on the cheap. The first was a 160 MB Apple brand drive, which seemed to be recognized fine but reported "Unable to write to the disk" when trying to initialize/test the drive. The second was an 80 MB IBM drive, which I've heard have a reputation for reliability, but that was not recognized at all by the disk setup program despite the patching or the fact that the drive is Apple-approved to begin with. Finally I was able to get a 40 MB Conner drive initialized and have put a provisional System folder on it (pretty much just what was on the Disk Tools floppy) so that I can verify it still boots over the coming days and doesn't seize up like the Quantum ProDrive did.


My question is, is there anything I can do to troubleshoot the remaining drives to see if they can be salvaged for use by the LC III? All of these drives are for internal use only, and so I have no way of leveraging the working drive to get, e.g., different drive formatting programs onto the machine to test them (unless there's a cable/adapter that would allow this via the serial port or something). Could there be an issue with the machine itself in failing to recognize the IBM or HP drives?


Otherwise, if all else fails and I just settle for the working 40 MB drive, are there recommendations for what version of classic Mac OS to install given the disk space constraint? My original idea was to put System 7.5.3 on there, but that would take up all of the drive space even with a minimal install.

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7.1. I wouldn't run 7.5.x (7.5.4 is really cool, since it was released for a day/week) (Ask raoulduke) since it's so slow.

I ended up putting System 7.1 and Update 3.0 on the machine which takes up only a few MB of space. Thanks for the recommendation!


Consider to upgrade to a flash memory card to SCSI adapter. Some options are ready available of you are willing to spend around USD 100. Such solution will provide a noiseless drive which might even give maximum possible speed. Please also have a look at this project.

Although this is probably the best option, I'm intending to stick with a traditional hard drive for authenticity/sentimental reasons. I might look into getting a more modern SCSI server drive or something like that, but for the purposes of this thread I wanted to know if there is some way I can rehab any of the failed drives with the resources I have on hand (i.e., an LC III with a working 40 MB HDD).

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  • 4 weeks later...

Sorry for the double post. The 40MB Conner drive is working great, but I happened to come across a 1000MB Quantum drive recently which I tried checking out on my LC III. Although the drive appears to spin up correctly and the computer appears to behave more slowly with it attached (even considering the fact that I was booting off of a floppy), which seemed to indicate it was fine, Apple HD SC Setup couldn't find any SCSI device attached. Does anyone know how I might be able to determine if the drive is still viable? I am using version 7.3.2 of the program with the patch so I don't think there is a problem there.

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