ZIP-drive mini-HOWTO: The ZIP drive

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There are three versions of the Iomega ZIP 100 drive. They all accept special cartridges resembling a 3.5″ floppy disk that hold 100 megabytes of data. The disks actually hold 96 cylinders of 2048 sectors each holding 512 bytes. This would normally be called 96 Megabytes.

One version is a half-height 5.25″ internal drive, with a SCSI interface, the other two are external drives in a small blue lightweight plastic enclosure, powered by an external wall brick. The external drives come in a SCSI version and a parallel port version.

All the drives have a large pushbutton on the front of the drive. This is used to eject the disk. Linux locks the door while using the drive, but if the button is pressed while the door is locked, the ZIP drive will remember and eject the disk as soon as the software unlocks it.

2.1 SCSI version

The external SCSI version of the ZIP drive has two DB25F connectors, and two configuration switches. One switch selects the drive’s target address: the choice is limited to target 5 or 6. The other enables an internal terminator, in case the drive is the last one on a chain. The 25 pin SCSI connectors use the familiar Macintosh style wiring.

The drive is shipped with a Macintosh type cable, but standard cables and converters are easily obtained if you are using a host adapter with a Centronics or high-density connector.

I have not seen an internal SCSI drive, but I would expect it to have a standard 50 pin DIP header SCSI connector and the same two switches.

Make sure that the target address you choose does not conflict with any other SCSI devices you may have on the same bus. Also be sure that the physically last drive in a chain has termination enabled, or an external terminator installed.

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If you have an internal SCSI disk or CD-rom, and you connect your ZIP drive to the existing adapter, you should check to see if there are any terminators on the card that must be removed. Only the two extreme ends of the SCSI bus should be terminated. If your bus is partly internal and partly external, there should be one terminator on the last external device and one on the last internal device, but no terminators on the adapter card itself.

Be sure that all cables are firmly attached.

2.2 The ZIP Zoom host adapter

Iomega markets a SCSI host adapter under the name ZIP Zoom. This is actually based on the design of the Adaptec AHA1520 family of adapters. It has an external Macintosh type DB25F connector, compatible with the cable that comes with the ZIP drive.

Linux supports this adapter with the aha152x driver.

2.3 Parallel port version

The parallel port ZIP drive also has two DB25 connectors, the male (DB25M) should be connected with the supplied parallel cable to your computer’s parallel port. The other (female, DB25F) is intended to support a chained printer. Linux does not currently support simultaneous use of both a ZIP drive and a chained printer. A work-around is possible using loadable modules. There are no configuration switches.

The parallel port ZIP drive is compatible with several types of parallel ports, but currently the Linux driver supports only the Standard and bi-directional ports. If your parallel port has configuration switches (in hardware or on a CMOS setup screen) be sure to set the port into one of those two modes.

Be sure that all cables are firmly attached.

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