New Life for old Alpha Micros
Info on how to replace your ancient Alpha Micro's very old, loud, and soon-to-fail SCSI hard drive with an IDE drive
My reason for continuing to run my AM-1600 is for laziness (it runs some programs I do not want to re-write), and for nostalgia. In these days of techno-uberkill everywhere, it's cool to see how much could be done with a silly old 68020 running 25 Mhz and 4 megabytes of RAM. I know, I was there.
I bought my last Alpha Microsystems computer in 1991, an AM-1600. Like most Alpha Micros of this vintage, the AM-1600 had a simple 50 pin SCSI nee SASI interface for hard drives and tape. Typically, modern SCSI-2 style disk drives just don't work in these old computers, and if you want to keep using one of these old beasts, you need to find an old SCSI-1 disk drive for it.
The problem is that hard drives wear out, and the mass market doesn't make compatible disk drives anymore.
Some AM users are lucky enough to have systems that accept SCSI-2 disk drives. If you are so lucky, then you don't need to do this.
The solution is a SCSI-to-IDE converter. A bit of googling showed that these worked for people in the same boat with old Macs and SGI systems with SCSI drives. I can report that it can work on old AM systems, too. The adapter card I used was an ACARD AEC-7720U adapter, which I found on Ebay for less than $50. ACARD says it's for CDROMS, but it works just fine for my Alpha Micro's hard drive.
This scheme counts on the existing SCSI drive having been originally formatted with the Alpha Micro FMTSCZ program. If your old drive was so formatted, after the copy process detailed below, the new drive will appear to be exactly the same size as the old disk drive. Yes, you might be wasting 39 out of 40 gigabytes, but what was the Alpha MICRO going to do with 40 gigabytes anyhow?
Here are the steps I used to switch my AM-1600 to using a new IDE drive:
WARNING: DO NOT OPEN UP ELECTRONIC CABINETS WITHOUT USING CAUTION, AS INJURY OR DEATH COULD RESULT.
WARNING: IF YOU DO THIS DISK COPY IN THE WRONG DIRECTION, YOU WILL ERASE ALL OF YOUR DATA. TAKE A BACKUP FIRST!
Last updated: October 12th, 2008, by