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getting files off a Mac IIsi

1359 Views 15 Replies Latest reply: Mar 9, 2013 6:46 PM by Jan Hedlund RSS
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jjkraw Calculating status...
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Feb 22, 2013 7:45 AM

I have a Mac IIsi that has been taking up closet space for many years. It has both the internal and an external SCSI drive. It boots. The internal drive is flaky - sometimes it will come up, sometimes not, but the OS is on the external drive so that allows it to boot.

 

There are a few files I'd like to extract from this antique. I'm looking for opinions on how to do that.

 

The diskette drive is one option. I believe it supports both 800K and 1.4M disks, formatted Mac style. What might I do with those? I do have a machine running Windows XP that has a diskette drive, but I'd need to check if these disks are compatible. I realize I'd need some piece of software to read/convert the Mac file format. All my other machines are newer Apple (iMac, MacBooks) which obviously do not have diskette drives, but if there were a USB drive that would get the job done (cheap), I could look into that.

 

Other things I've thought about:

 

- Modem port.  But it requires an external modem and then I'm not sure what I would do since the IIsi doesn't speak IP.

 

- Printer port. I have my old laser printer, but it is a doorstop at this point.  I can't even get it to power up. And printing would be a last resort.

 

- SCSI.  Is it possible to get something to attach to the SCSI chain (cheap) that would do the job?

 

Any and all ideas welcome!  Thank you very much in advance!

  • Jan Hedlund Calculating status...
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    Feb 22, 2013 8:38 AM (in response to jjkraw)

    >What might I do with those? I do have a machine running Windows XP that has a diskette drive

     

    It depends a bit upon the operating system installed on the Macintosh IIsi. With a relatively new system (like the downloadable 7.5.3) PC Exchange may be in the Control Panels folder, allowing transfers to take place on PC-formatted floppies. With System (7.0.1 or) 7.1, the supplied (on the Tidbits system disk) Apple File Exchange application can be used in order to achieve a similar result. Otherwise, one can install a utility such as TransMac (which handles Mac-formatted 1.44 MB floppies) on a Windows PC.

     

    >Modem port.  But it requires an external modem and then I'm not sure what I would do since the IIsi doesn't speak IP.

     

    IP is not necessary. You could set up a direct null-modem link between the Modem Port of the IIsi and the serial port of a PC. The cable can be a combination of a Macintosh modem cable (MiniDIN-8M to DB-25M) and a standard PC-style null-modem cable (DB-25F to DB-9F). Communications software would be needed on both computers (for example, the communications part of ClarisWorks on the Mac and HyperTerminal on the PC).

     

    >SCSI.  Is it possible to get something to attach to the SCSI chain (cheap) that would do the job?

     

    Handling SCSI devices directly would require that the PC can be made SCSI-capable (not always easy). An indirect solution, involving a SCSI Zip drive at the Mac and a corresponding USB Zip drive at the PC, would per se be possible, but not exactly cheap. SCSI-to-Ethernet converters/adapters exist, but can be difficult to find (and you may still face problems with networking protocols).

     

    Jan

  • Jan Hedlund Level 6 Level 6 (8,880 points)
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    Feb 22, 2013 10:42 AM (in response to jjkraw)

    Hi,

     

    Not even the startup sound? This is a bit confusing. It may be worth checking in which condition the logic board 3.6 V battery is (should read at least something like 3.2 to 3.3 V). A bad battery can sometimes cause strange problems.

     

    Jan

  • JustSomeGuy Calculating status...
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    Feb 22, 2013 12:17 PM (in response to jjkraw)

    You might try reseating the ROM and RAM modules - they are socketed with little tangs on either end, and connections can become be flaky over the years.  A little mechanical back-and-forth sometimes helps.  Unless you want to take up a new hobby, I'd go with Jan's suggestion of getting a PC-compatible floppy going.  How to interpret your files once they're off of the Mac will be the next trick.

  • Jan Hedlund Level 6 Level 6 (8,880 points)
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    Feb 23, 2013 2:30 AM (in response to jjkraw)

    Also, it may not be a bad idea to look for leaking electrolytic capacitors on the logic board.

     

    Jan

  • Jan Hedlund Level 6 Level 6 (8,880 points)
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    Feb 24, 2013 4:28 AM (in response to jjkraw)

    If the external SCSI hard drive is OK (and with an appropriate cable/adapter and terminator), it looks like this converter could be useful. However, since SCSI is not always easy to work with, it may be wise to look upon this as an experiment. Do not risk anything if your files are important. If you wish to retrieve files on the internal hard drive, it may be possible to move this drive to the external enclosure. One of your Mac OS X computers should be able to at least read the file system.

     

    It would probably be better and safer if the Macintosh IIsi, somehow, can be made to work. This is especially true if it will become necessary to convert file formats (using Save As) in the original programs before exporting/transferring files to a modern computer.

     

    Jan

  • kaz-k Calculating status...
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    Feb 26, 2013 5:08 AM (in response to jjkraw)

    What about transfer data via LAN, if your IIsi has LAN card, though.

     

    -- kaz-k

  • mtgmackid Calculating status...
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    Mar 1, 2013 9:19 PM (in response to jjkraw)

    I wouldn't totally disqualify the capacitors, even if there doesn't *seem* to be any leakage on the motherboard. When the caps leak, it should look like a thin film of spilled Coke on the board.

     

    You should also try booting the IIsi with the hard drive disconnected and any installed RAM SIMMs removed from the board. It's not common, but faulty RAM can result in no chime/grey screen (I've had this happen on my IIci before). Hopefully, the IIsi will bring up a flashing question mark and from there you can isolate the problem to either of the two.

  • Appaloosa mac man Calculating status...
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    Mar 8, 2013 11:36 PM (in response to jjkraw)

    The first question to ask is if you can hear the hard drives spin up to speed and if you can hear any chatter as the drive heads move back and forth to access data.  If not, your drives have decided to freeze up.  It seems unlikely that both drives would do this at the same time.  If you were booting from the external drive, maybe the internal drive was not working at all and the external simply took over the startup process.  Until you hear the drive spin up, you have no data to recover.

     

    The second question to ask is a software question.  If the data you want to preserve is something like a Quicken file, you will not be able to access it from newer software.  It is best to use the original software to save the data as text or ASCII or SYLK.  Then newer software will recognize the information.

     

    The real solution is to find a user group that has resources to help you out.  Please name the largest city near you to help us zero in on a solution.

     

    Ji~m

  • Jan Hedlund Level 6 Level 6 (8,880 points)
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    Mar 9, 2013 11:11 AM (in response to jjkraw)

    Hello again,

     

    >Once it "warms up", it never even gets to accessing the disks.

     

    I suggest that you take another close look at the logic board. Use a magnifying glass. Are there any bad solder joints? Discoloured or cracked electronic components? Check whether capacitors are bulging or leaking.

     

    Jan

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