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Hi everyone,

I'm going through the difficult task of pruning my hoard collection and I'm wondering if it's possible to use a Powerbook G3 (PDQ) as a bridge computer. I'm considering this because it would take much less space than my current beige machine, I think it's a Performa 5400. Anyway before I purchase a floppy module for the Powerbook does anyone know if that drive can read/write 800k and 400k floppy disks?

Thanks in advance for your help!

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You should be okay, yes. :-)  AFAIK only the modern high-density USB-attached floppy drives are unable to read low-density 800k/400k Mac disks. (Does anyone know why? Wimpy controllers that don't grok GCR?)

Yep, the PB G3 will go all the way back. @Derek, the problem for the USB disks is they can't compensate for the rotational speed differences in the different track zones.  With a suitable controller, any hardware could be made to read the fluxes at the same RPM and compensate.  But it gets harder when the drive is hiding behind a USB cable.  Devices like Kryoflux, FC5025, and Catweasel depend on having direct access to the drive signals.

Suggestion, even not directly answer to your problem with floppies. How about using ZIP100 -disks. Those are writeable on up to OSX 10.5 (you can use USB ZIP100 or 250 -drive) and can be read on any machine with SCSI connector and SCSI-ZIP drive. I do this as i have an 512ke wich have an SCSI connector and later model all have that as well.

writing 400k MFS , the ideal

For System 6, you should use Disk Copy 4.2 to work with 400K/800K disks and images. This is ideal, since System 6 can read/write 400K disks, which normally use the Macintosh File System (MFS) format. 800K disks use a different format: the Hierarchical File System (HFS). System 6 is fluent in both formats. [It is possible to format 400K disks using HFS, but they can't be used as startup disks. See here.]

System 7 is not ideal, since it does not handle the MFS format properly. This is discussed in Apple Knowledge Base article 9502, System 7.x: Limitations on Use of 400k Disks. Nevertheless, you can use Disk Copy 4.2 to work with 400K/800K disks and images with no problems. Disk Copy 6.3.3 works perfectly with 800K disks and images. It allows you to make compressed images and mount images on the Desktop.




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