Adding a SCSI Zip Drive to the Rear Admiral HyperDrive

Special thanks to Larry Hedman of the CIB BBS for the help with the Zip Drive!

As a kid running a BBS I wanted a hard drive so bad. I dreamed of 20 megabytes. Heck, I dreamed of 5 MB. Now we walk around with terabytes of storage on our phone and don’t think twice about it.

Since I was going to get the BBS up and running I thought about using the 1764 RAM Expansion Unit I had lying around. The problem with any of the REUs is that it takes a lifetime for the initial load so development would have been painful. So I found that CommanderKang sold “new” Lt. Kernal hard drives on eBay as Rear Admiral HyperDrives. Bought one. And it’s amazing. I absolutely love it.

Lt. Kernal and Children. And yes, the uIEC/SD is crooked. It doesn’t fit in the slot because the Lt. Kernal’s host adapter loves the sweets and never goes to the gym. I call him Corporal Cupcake.

Getting it set up is completely different from setting up a 15×1 which is plug, insert disk, lO”$”,x and list.

Oh no. You need to configure it and activate it and there are a lot of scary warnings about how you can quickly hose the entire device if you do it wrong. That is for another blog post. This one is about backing that sucker up.

Here is the great thing about these Rear Admiral Hyperdrives: you don’t need a second one to do backups; it supports adding a SCSI Zip drive! But the documentation isn’t the greatest for newbs so here is how I did it:

  1. Get a SCSI Zip Drive. You will likely have to check eBay and fork over about $50 for it. I found one that came with 12 disks so score there.
  2. You need a DB-25 (male) to Centronics-50 (male) – you can get them for about $12 on Amazon

That’s it! With everything powered off plug the Centronics 50 connector into the back of the HyperDrive and secure it and then the 25-pin connector into the back of the Zip Drive on the right (under the SCSI symbol, not the ZipDrive side (left).

Be sure to switch the back switches to “up” and “down” (Termination: OFF, SCSI ID #5).

Turn everything on. You should get the familiar Lt. Kernal DOS screen. If not, do a reset with the HyperDrive connector a few times.

Insert a ZIP disk and type “config” to enter the Lt. Kernal configuration.

Press F1 and when it asks for the SCSI ID enter 5, drive number is 0 (zero).

When you get the page listing LUs none will be filled in. Press “a” to add an LU and enter 6. Starting cylinder 0, size 159.

Add the others:

7: starting cylinder: 159, size 203 (never go above 203!)
8: starting cylinder: 362, size 203
9: starting cylinder: 362, size 203

In the end it should look like this:

So, press any key to continue.

We’re not done yet.

Before you can use your new logical units you need to activate them, just like a Lt. Kernal drive. And you need to do this to every disk you use.

When you first issue activate and enter the LU number the program may sit there doing nothing. This is not normal. Hit run/stop and restore and get to a Commodore prompt and enter activate again.

Go through the normal steps and be sure to install the Rear Admiral DOS image.

Once you are finished with LUs 6-9 you can fire up the LtK autocopy program and copy everything to them.

Enjoy your new Zip drive!


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