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Author Topic: What the heck is this hard drive???  (Read 7828 times)

AlexTheCat123

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What the heck is this hard drive???
« on: April 05, 2023, 07:53:33 pm »

I've been corresponding with someone who just got four Lisas and is trying to get them working again. I asked him some questions about the Lisas and he sent me a bunch of pictures of them, one of which was this right here.

What is this thing? It looks like what would be best described as an internal ProFile. It seems to use a ProFile-style controller (only one board as opposed to multiple like the Widget) as well as an ST-506 (or maybe ST-412) HDA, but it's mounted internally and uses the Widget-style power and data connectors. The strangeness of the thing, the fact that I've never seen one before, and the handwritten label on the Z8 ROM make me think that it's some sort of prototype, but I'm not really sure what exactly it is. Does anybody have any information on this thing? I'm really curious about it!
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stepleton

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Re: What the heck is this hard drive???
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2023, 08:02:50 pm »

It rings a bell --- internal ProFile is what my dim recollection suggests it to be. I thought I'd seen pictures of that PCB somewhere before; I'll keep looking.

In the meantime, refer to LISA_OS/OS/SOURCE-PROFILEASM.TEXT.unix.txt in your Lisa source code and search for "seagate" --- you'll find mention of the "10mb seagate" there. I suppose that could be the ProFile 10 as well, but I note the word "Seagate" on the Z8 ROM in the photo...
« Last Edit: April 05, 2023, 08:07:19 pm by stepleton »
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stepleton

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Re: What the heck is this hard drive???
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2023, 08:10:39 pm »

Hiding behind the Z8 piggyback ROM, some text:

..PSI
.. CONTROLLER

Going to guess that ..PSI is PEPSI of course.
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fri0701

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Re: What the heck is this hard drive???
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2023, 08:50:24 pm »

If you get any more pictures, I'd say anything mentioning "Pepsi" would indicate a prototype. That, or a board number starting with "SK".

Either way, very cool! Make sure to get (and post) some more pictures, and dump the ROM if at all possible!
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blusnowkitty

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Re: What the heck is this hard drive???
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2023, 09:05:12 pm »

I think it's pretty obvious it's an internal ProFile drive. My ProFiles are fortunately still disassembled - I'm either waiting for an updated BLU that doesn't terminate on a bad sector during LLF, or hoping to get lucky and not spend a fortune on an Apple III and ProFile card - there's two missing chips on this proto vs. a production external ProFile; what they are I can't tell. Looks like the two MMI chips are present here, and the obvious SRAM and Z8 are present as well.

I scavenged a 2K Z8 from a dead Widget and paired it with a 2716 to make my 5MB LLF ROM. This one is a 4K Z8 with a 2732; didn't the 10MB ProFile need the double-sized Z8 and ROM? I can't find a picture of a disassembled 10MB ProFile, but the 5MB ones we know were based on the ST-506 mechanism. Seagate's 10MB mechanism, the ST-412, has an identical chassis to the 506.
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fri0701

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Re: What the heck is this hard drive???
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2023, 11:02:38 pm »

didn't the 10MB ProFile need the double-sized Z8 and ROM? I can't find a picture of a disassembled 10MB ProFile, but the 5MB ones we know were based on the ST-506 mechanism. Seagate's 10MB mechanism, the ST-412, has an identical chassis to the 506.

This is the ROM in my prototype 10MB ProFile. The drive is an ST-412.
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AlexTheCat123

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Re: What the heck is this hard drive???
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2023, 11:35:59 pm »

Quote
If you get any more pictures, I'd say anything mentioning "Pepsi" would indicate a prototype. That, or a board number starting with "SK".

Either way, very cool! Make sure to get (and post) some more pictures, and dump the ROM if at all possible!

Well that's really cool! I just emailed him back and asked for some more pictures, so hopefully we can get a view of this thing from some other angles and get a better idea of what it is exactly. And I'll definitely ask him about dumping the ROM too; I just don't want to overwhelm him with too much stuff at once since I already said so much in the email that I just sent him. Hopefully I can help him get it running at some point and archive the contents just in case there's anything interesting on there, given that it's probably a prototype and all. I'll keep everyone posted on the progress and upload the pictures as soon as I've got them!
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ried

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Re: What the heck is this hard drive???
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2023, 12:41:43 am »

I love that something like this is just now being discovered.
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compu_85

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Re: What the heck is this hard drive???
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2023, 10:22:50 pm »

Wow he has an internal ProFile - neat! I don't think many of those were created.
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ried

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Re: What the heck is this hard drive???
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2023, 11:20:14 pm »

I alerted John Woodall to this thread and he was kind enough to share these additional photos from his collection. Posted with permission:











He wrote: "I found two Lisa Pepsi internal drives in a computer shop in Santa Cruz. One was in a Lisa and the other was in the bottom half of a Profile case. They were made in Ireland. Or at least some of the boards were."
« Last Edit: April 06, 2023, 11:22:35 pm by ried »
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blusnowkitty

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Re: What the heck is this hard drive???
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2023, 01:49:57 pm »

So I have to wonder what possessed Apple to create the Widget when the Profile already got condensed down to internal size...
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compu_85

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Re: What the heck is this hard drive???
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2023, 03:07:40 pm »

Not Invented Here syndrome. Same reason they made the Twiggy. The Widget was also expanded to the 20mb Nisha, which was going to be in the Macintosh HD20...
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stepleton

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Re: What the heck is this hard drive???
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2023, 05:49:43 pm »

It's a very likely explanation! I wonder if there could be more reasons, too:

1. Maybe Apple didn't like doing business with HD manufacturers of the time or with Seagate in particular. Being able to say "well, we can make our own hard drives" could have been a convenient hedge against those companies: either it strengthened Apple's bargaining position or (if no deal were possible) assured that the hard drives would come from somewhere. It sounds like an elaborate move, but this video alleges that EDS did the same kind of thing when making deals with IBM for PCs.

2. Very similar to NIH syndrome but not quite the same: businesses often ship their org chart in various ways. If Apple had a disk division, perhaps it just assumed by inertia+default that it would put them to work --- after al, you shouldn't just have them sitting around doing nothing! Sometimes you can come up with justifications for this that get pretty complicated: "sure, Widgets are pricey, but we're investing in learning how to make disks, so it's worth the cost." Just a theory: someone who was at Apple at the time could say whether it holds water.
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AlexTheCat123

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Re: What the heck is this hard drive???
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2023, 08:51:52 pm »

After talking to him some more, he agreed to send me the drive in exchange for some other Lisa-related stuff! So I'll take a bunch of pictures of it and archive the ROM and drive contents (if the thing works) whenever I get my hands on it. I'm not sure when exactly I'll get it (it's probably going to be at least a month), but I'll keep you guys posted!
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Al Kossow

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Re: What the heck is this hard drive???
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2023, 06:57:58 pm »

So I have to wonder what possessed Apple to create the Widget when the Profile already got condensed down to internal size...

Higher performance. Widget and Nisha were both voice coil embedded servo drives.
Nisha was half-height, the mechanisms are similar to what Quantum shipped as the Q540.

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