PowerBook Duo 270c Hard Drive Fail

Discussion in 'Apple Collectors' started by josehoward, May 5, 2017.

  1. josehoward macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2017
    Mexico City
    I recently got a beautiful PowerBook Duo 270c for about $25 and everything seems to be ok with the laptop.
    I got System 7.5.3 original floppy disks on eBay to format the drive and do a fresh OS install to this machine. I initialized the hard drive with the HD SC Setup 7.3.5 that comes in the Disk Tools Floppy. It took some time after I got this message that the disk did not complete the initialization process and now the disk won't mount on the desktop. Though the HD SC Setup app doesn't see the drive it points that there is a drive "untitled" that is uninitialized or that the partition map is no longer valid. The Hard drive seems to be running fine. and I have tried many times to repeat the process but still the drive doesn't show up.
    I tried a fix that many people claim to be the best... the "patched version" of the HD SC Setup 7.3.5
    I tried two sources and still nothing.
    Disk frist aid doesn't see the hard drive either, so there is nothing to repair.
    I manage to make my floppies with my vintage Powerbook 3400 so it's rather easy for me to make floppies.
    I was thinking that probably I could use some other Hard Drive utilities like Like Lido 7.56 but the file is too large to fit on a 1.44 floppy with the System folder.
    I've been thinking of maybe booting the computer from a system 7.5 Network access disk and try to connect it to my powerbook 3400 via ADB to be able to use Lido 7.56. Does anyone know if this is possible? Do I have any other options to make this thing work?
    By the way, I'm not sure if the hard drive is the original Apple Hard Drive that came with this computer because the capacity that was shown was 80MB and according to other sources these models either came with a 160MB or 240MB Hard Drive.
    Please help!!
  2. MacTech68, May 6, 2017
    Last edited: May 6, 2017

    MacTech68 macrumors 68020


    Mar 16, 2008
    Australia, Perth
    There is an option here to place the Duo into SCSI Disk Mode (which essentially turns the Duo into an external SCSI drive) and then hook it up as an external drive to the PB3400, and use a more powerful utility like FWB's Hard Disk Toolkit to test the drive, and even purge it's "Grown List" of defects to see if it can be revived. It can be a long and frustrating process.

    However, to do that on a PowerBook Duo, you're going to need the correct "PowerBook SCSI Disk Mode Cable" (or one that has a switch) for the Duo and a standard PowerBook SCSI Cable, AND the "PowerBook Duo Mini-Dock Adapter. The large "Duo Dock" does not support SCSI Disk Mode. Did you get any extra cables and adapters with the Duo ?

    See physical page 43 of the user guide here "Using your PowerBook as a SCSI disk":


    Note that you may go through all that setup and testing only to find the drive is un-recoverable. Replacements are rare and a little pricey and other options like Compact Flash to SCSI adapters in 2.5" form factor aren't cheap either.
  3. josehoward thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2017
    Mexico City
    Thank you so much for your reply!
    I found a solution to fix my hard drive. It took me hours to figure out how and in the end it worked beautifully.
    I started up the PowerBook Duo with a Network access disk (floppy) and connected it via AppleTalk with a serial cable. I installed a copy of FWB DiskTools 2 and to my surprise the software ran on the other computer and got to initialize my the hard drive.
    Btw. The 7.5.3 floppies that I got from eBay were incomplete!!! Once installing the OS the system asked for a number 14, 15 and 16 floppy and I only have 1 to 13 . Looked up on the macintosh garden and voila!!! Found the 7.5.3 CD!!! I shared the cd via AppleTalk and got to install the OS!!! The computer is now running the system without issues.
    (Well, the only thing that bothers me is that the disktools software left me with a different icon for the hard drive instead of the original little box with the dot that originally appears on each Mac) any ideas how to fix this?
    Once again thank you so much for your reply!!!
  4. MacTech68 macrumors 68020


    Mar 16, 2008
    Australia, Perth
    Wow - that's great news.

    As for the icon on the Hard Drive, reformatting it with Apple's HD SC Setup is one way to get it back.

    The only other way would be to copy and paste the icon from another drive.

    To do that, from the "File" menu, select, "Get Info". In the window that opens, click ONCE on the Hard disk icon and then from the "Edit" menu, select "Copy".

    Then, do the same on the hard drive that you wish to replace the icon, but THIS time the last thing will be to select "Paste" (instead of "Copy") from the edit menu.

    If you can't do it directly, copy the icon to a folder using the same method, and then copy the folder's icon and paste it to the hard drive.

    I hope you can follow that.

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3 May 5, 2017