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what kind of connector on PB100 ext floppy drive?

908 Views 9 Replies Latest reply: Jan 9, 2013 2:01 PM by MlchaelLAX RSS
Gail Zlatnik Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Jan 7, 2013 10:55 AM

I have a dead PB100, for which I've ordered new backup batteries and hope to be able to turn on when they're installed. I know the main battery has croaked, and am quite sure they're no longer available.


But I'd like to get access to some of the old floppy disks that I used with the external floppy drive for the PB. Their documents are in Word, I believe. Some of the disks are single-sided.


I had assumed that the disk drive had a scuzzy connector--but it doesn't, and I don't know what its connector is called (its symbol is a little round dot on a stick, kind of a lollipop). How can I either connect the disk drive to USB and my iMac or connect the PB, if it revives, to my iMac?


Any thoughts?


Many thanks!



  • JustSomeGuy Calculating status...

    The connector is an HDI-20, a construct that Apple alone used for floppies - and only on some early portables:


    The disks that are high-density (not double-density, not single-sided) will work in a modern USB-attached floppy disk drive.  The others will require vintage hardware to read.


    Advice for getting your old files off of disks (and translated into a form that modern Word can read) is similar to the question asked here just the other day.  Find a local friend with old Mac hardware, get commercial help, or check out a local Mac users group.

  • JustSomeGuy Level 2 Level 2 (480 points)

    Gail Zlatnik wrote:


    All of the disks I want to get to are SS or DD, and I assume my floppy drive can still read them.


    Yes, once it's hooked to the working laptop, it'll be able to read them.


    But: with no backup batteries installed, I can plug in the adaptor and boot the computer, getting the question mark. I've also tried starting with the Disk Tools disk and I get the smiley computer. But Disk First Aid refuses to check anything but the floppy disk itself (ie, not the hard drive), and if I eject the DT disk and put it any of the disks I want to read, I get into that "insert the disk DT," then "insert the disk xx," ad infinitum. And I can't remember how to avoid that particular issue. Also, the only way I can turn off the computer then is by unplugging it.


    So one problem I have is memory, mine--can't remember when if ever to use the 2 buttons on the side of the computer, and can't remember how to get around the insert-insert-insert disk roundabout issue.


    Will inserting the new backup batteries help with any of this?


    Maybe; I'm not familiar with how the PB100 behaved when the batteries were dead.  Others will have to comment on that.  The one-floppy solution is a tough one - as you note, MacOS needs the system floppy accessible to do much of anything.  Ejecting that to put in another one puts it in quite a bind for resources.


    The fact that it can't find your hard drive is troubling.  Again, it may be because of the battery.  Or the hard drive itself may have failed.  No amount of new batteries would help that.

  • Appaloosa mac man Level 5 Level 5 (4,300 points)

    What you need most is a user group.  Our group in Spokane, WA, USA has multiple adapters for the PB series, including the PB100.  We even have a working PB 100.  But, we are missing the point.  The objective is to get information off of some floppy disks.  If the software that created the document is only on the PowerBook, then reviving the PB is essential. 


    Otherwise, a platinum G-3 desktop will read those disks.  So, the software and hardware are needed for a successful retrieval of information.


    Post back with a location - city and country - so we can steer you towards a user group.


    If you can find the appropriate adapter, a SCSI zip drive will plug in and even allow you to boot the PB100.  Then that same disk can be inserted into a USB zip drive and be read by a USB PowerPC Mac.  From a PPC, you can go anywhere with the data.  I fear that you are missing too many pieces of the puzzle to be successful.


    Find a group like ours that has preserved hundreds of elements of Apple history and they can connect the dots for you.

  • Appaloosa mac man Level 5 Level 5 (4,300 points)



    You are in great shape.  Word files are easy to interpret.  We have Word 1, Word 3 , Word 4, Word 5.1a (the 'a' behind the five is very important), and several versions since.  Needless to say, we can find you back issues of Word.


    The G3 is a good machine to have.  If you can find one for $15, especially if it has a zip drive built in, you will have your own recovery tools.  Trying to revive the PB100 was a normal starting point because that is what you have.  Changing to a G3 desktop will be cheaper than buying the adapters for the PB.



  • MlchaelLAX Level 4 Level 4 (1,550 points)

    I do the same thing with my PB1400c and the zip drive module (also floppy drive module and CD module) with its ethernet port.


    However, being in Los Angeles, I am more than one hours drive away!


    I doubt that the disks are truly single sided as the MFS system of single sided floppy storage for the Mac was abandoned as the default with the release of the Mac 512e and the Mac Plus (although later Macs and OS' could still read them up to about OS 8).


    Can you scan one of each of the disks and post them, so we can see where there are "notches" etc.?


    Assuming that they are all double sided, you are in a much better position.

  • MlchaelLAX Level 4 Level 4 (1,550 points)

    Have him treat those floppy with kid gloves and BE SURE he knows what he is doing BEFORE he starts to mess with them.  If he is a Mac guy - GOOD, but he should be aware of legacy Mac floppy disc formats before he attempts to read them!


    I recently converted a stack of 5-1/2" and 3.5" Apple II floppies to Mac file image formats (using my Apple //c with a serial cable to my Mac Mini and appropriate software) so that I could access them with the Virtual ][ program (Apple II emulation) for the Mac.  I needed to access my accounting files from Home Accountant in the mid-80s for a "basis" calculation.  In the process, I converted ALL of my floppies that I might need in the future.


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