making a boot floppy for a mac plus???

Stefanlod001

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 20, 2005
7
0
Melbourne, Australia
Ok, i'm a sucker for the really old macs and i've always had an urge to use any classic mac whenever i see one. Then one day, my prayers were answered - a macintosh plus appeared in a junkheap in the corner of the lane behind my house. There was even a keyboard, mouse, and a hard drive (obviously the person who bought this computer must have been wealthy at the time), but no cord for the hard drive. i'm convinced that a system folder is on that hard drive, but i'm on a quest to try and make a boot floppy. for starters, none of my computers have a floppy drive except for my toshiba satellite 1410 that i use occasionally for using some windows only programs that i like to use. and even then, i'm not sure whether this computer can read/write 800k floppies. i have basilisk II on this computer with mac os 7.5.5 on it (got the ROM image from a quadra that my dad owns). so is there a way i can even format a 1.4mb floppy to 800k or find out that the floppy drive can read/write 800k floppies? so in the meantime, i can then find a cord off ebay and buy it, but i want to get it to work earlier (the disk with a question mark is so depressing). so any ideas??? much appreciated.
 

Nermal

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 7, 2002
18,752
1,218
New Zealand
Sorry, a standard PC disk controller physically cannot handle 800k floppies. Apple used a trick where they slowed down the disk drive as the heads approached the outer edge of the disk, to squeeze a bit more on there. You'll need to find another classic Mac with a SuperDrive (which wasn't a DVD writer back then!) and use that to make the boot disk.
 

Stefanlod001

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 20, 2005
7
0
Melbourne, Australia
so is there another way to do this? is it possible to get an external floppy drive that will read higher capacity disks (that can also be used in third party drives) and boot off them?
 

Nermal

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 7, 2002
18,752
1,218
New Zealand
The problem's not with the drive, but the drive controller. The controller in the Mac reduces the power supplied to the drive, causing it to spin slower. There's a card called a Catweasel that can replicate this in a PC, but I have no idea whether they even make them anymore, and it's probably not worth it anyway. :(
 

MisterMe

macrumors G4
Jul 17, 2002
10,650
29
USA
Nermal said:
Sorry, a standard PC disk controller physically cannot handle 800k floppies. Apple used a trick where they slowed down the disk drive as the heads approached the outer edge of the disk, to squeeze a bit more on there. You'll need to find another classic Mac with a SuperDrive (which wasn't a DVD writer back then!) and use that to make the boot disk.
The Superdrive was designed to read 1.44 MB floppies, although it handled 800 k drives just fine. The Mac Plus never used the Superdrive, but Mac SE received an update that included them. With a 1.44 MB disk in the Superdrive, it behaved just like a 1.44 MB disk in a PC-compatible. With a lower capacity disk, the drive acted like an older Mac 800 k drive. Steve Wozniak developed the IWM (Integrated Woz Machine) that increased the capacity of a standard 360 k drive to 400 k and a standard 720 k drive to 800 k. This was not "a problem," it was brilliant engineering.
 

mduser63

macrumors 68040
Nov 9, 2004
3,038
30
Salt Lake City, UT
Nermal said:
The problem's not with the drive, but the drive controller. The controller in the Mac reduces the power supplied to the drive, causing it to spin slower. There's a card called a Catweasel that can replicate this in a PC, but I have no idea whether they even make them anymore, and it's probably not worth it anyway. :(
The Catweasel is still available, and it's about $100. The newest version is called the Catweasel MKIV. I've been wanting to pick one up so I can read and write floppies for my Mac II. More info here.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.