Mac Plus to MacBook Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by hamgeek103, Dec 11, 2011.

  1. hamgeek103 macrumors newbie

    Dec 7, 2011
    I just bought a Macintosh Plus and it's working great! The only problem is I want to get a few apps/games on it. I downloaded a game off of Macintosh Garden, and unzipped it. I plugged in a USB floppy drive and initialized it to my MacBook Pro (running lion). When I put the same floppy in my Mac Plus, it asked me to re-initialize, hence, wiping out the floppy. Is there a way to format floppies on my MacBook Pro to be readable on my Mac Plus? Another idea that I had was to use the 25-pin SCSI on the back. I have a iMac G3 running Mac OS 10.4, a Mac Book Pro running Mac OS 10.7, and I am willing to put some money into it. If anybody has any ideas on how to to transfer files via SCSI, floppies, or anything else, it would be great if you let me know.

  2. chown33, Dec 11, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2011

    chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    First, you should probably spend some time on As a resource for paleoMacs, it can be useful. For example, it can tell you whether the Mac Plus can read 1.4MB floppies, or only 800KB floppies.

    Second, please identify which OS version is on the Mac Plus.

    Third, try formatting a floppy on the Plus, put a file on it, and insert the disk into the USB floppy drive. If it's unreadable, it could be:
    1. The Plus's floppy drive is out of alignment.
    2. 10.7 Lion doesn't read old HFS floppies.

    #1 is best corrected by replacing the drive with one that's known good. Aligning floppy drives is not for the faint-hearted, and requires at least an oscilloscope and a specially recorded alignment floppy.

    For #2, try moving the USB floppy to each of your Mac OS X machines. If the diskette formatted on the Plus doesn't work on any of them, then alignment is the likely problem. Stick it back in the Plus and see if it still works.

    The SCSI port and an external SCSI CD drive is one possible pathway to the Plus. If you can find an external SCSI CD-ROM drive. It doesn't have to support burning discs, just plain old CD-ROM reading.

    Then the pathway is to burn a CD-R (the once-only kind, not CD-RW) with the files you want moved from Mac OS X, using HFS format (not HFS+) or ISO 9660, and then move the CD across to the Plus.

    I doubt you'll find an affordable SCSI adapter that can plug into any of your other Macs. You'd need a firewire-to-scsi adapter, or USB-to-scsi, and neither of those are cheap, AFAIK.

    If you find an old SCSI-to-IDE adapter, that could work. You'd plug an ATA/IDE drive into a firewire-to-IDE adapter, format it as HFS (not HFS+) on your oldest Mac OS X machine. Copy files to it. Then unplug from Mac OS X, plug into SCSI-to-IDE adapter connected to Plus, and voila.

    If this all seems like a remarkable amount of time and expense, then maybe that's why the previous owner of the Mac Plus unloaded the computer.
  3. Bonch macrumors 6502


    May 28, 2005
    Yes indeed. I wanted to do something like this but decided it was best to just let old computers exist in their own little ecosystem, with all original parts. It's just too hard to make them play with newer stuff. They are mostly for nostalgia anyway so why bother.
  4. hamgeek103 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 7, 2011
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

    Thanks, I Never even thought of the Floppy drive being out of alignment. Though, I have original Apple disks including MacPaint, system tools, utilities, and Mac plus guided tour. It's my belief, that if they work and they are original disks then my drive should not be out of alignment.

    Tell me what you think,
  5. Fishrrman, Dec 12, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2011

    Fishrrman macrumors G4


    Feb 20, 2009
    "When I put the same floppy in my Mac Plus, it asked me to re-initialize, hence, wiping out the floppy. Is there a way to format floppies on my MacBook Pro to be readable on my Mac Plus?"

    You're going to have a problem here.

    The Mac Plus used 800k and 400k floppies, and the drive itself used a different kind of disc encoding than is used on "modern" floppy drives.

    "Modern" floppy drives (the kind that can still be used in PC's today, along with external USB-connectible floppy drives) use an entirely different scheme of disk formatting/encoding. That's why they come in (I believe) 720k and 1.4k sizes.

    The Plus can't read or understand the 720k and 1440k disk format. There really isn't any solution that can _make_ it read them, either.

    Later on, Macs like the SE.30 had something called a "Superdrive" floppy which could read/write/format all types of floppies.

    The Plus has SCSI, but try and find something _modern_ that can connect to it!

    Of course, there is absolutely NO way to get USB or firewire working on the Plus. That solution is out.

    I'm not sure if there's any way to get the Plus connected to a network via Ethernet. If I recall, it does have Appletalk-compatible serial ports, but how would you "bridge" between Appletalk and Ethernet?

    There may indeed be pathways for moving data from contemporary Macs to an old platform like the Plus, but just getting the data transferred is going to become an adventure in itself.

    If you had bought an SE.30 with a SuperDrive, things would be easier!

    It _may_ be possible to get Ethernet connected to the Plus using an SCSI-to-Ethernet adapter.

    I doubt any of these are still made, might not be possible to find them new, but may be possible to find one used. The cost may not be worth it to you.

    See this page for more info:
  6. chown33, Dec 12, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2011

    chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    I would say that's a working hypothesis. I would not go so far as to say it's a justifiable belief. It needs testing.

    In any case, if you format a disk in the Plus, and can't read it anywhere else, alignment could still be part of the problem.

    Another larger problem, however, is if the Plus still has only 400K drives. I've completely forgotten what it originally shippped with. Because I think no modern Mac is even able to read the MFS format on those floppies. I think it stopped being writable in Mac OS X 10.4 or 10.5. I think it stopped being readable in 10.6.

    If you want to discover whether any Mac OS X system can read MFS single-sided floppies, flip the write-protect tab on one of your original System or MacPaint disks and insert it in the USB drive. If it can't read it, then it can't read it. That would have been the second test I tried, after seeing if the Mac Plus itself can read the floppy.

    Wikipedia says the Plus came with 800K double-sided floppy drives.

    Still, my recommendation is to try reading the System or MacPaint disks in the USB floppy drive.
  7. Fishrrman macrumors G4


    Feb 20, 2009
    "In any case, if you format a disk in the Plus, and can't read it anywhere else, alignment could still be part of the problem."

    Alignment has nothing to do with it.

    The old 400k/800k drives used a different disk format than the 700k/1400k drives that PC's used.

    The two formats are NOT compatible.

    Later on, Apple introduced the floppy "SuperDrive" which could read/write all the formats.

    But the Plus didn't have it, can't be made to support that, and has no way to read/write to 700k/1440k format floppies.

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