MPC Storage Options
Note: These options do not necessarily apply to the non-XL MPC, particularly internal storage options as the former model has NO internal ports.
There are several options available besides the factory installed floppy. I will try to go over each one hear and consolidate the scattered info from several of my pages.
First I will point out the List of Approved SCSI devices which is published by Akai and can be found here. Some notes about this. Some of the devices on the list can be hard to find, so I would not work too hard to find one that is explicitly on the list. If it is not on the list, then it is a matter of trial and error to see if it will work. I am not going to try make a detailed list of what works, but will give you some ideas to start with.
All of the itmes can be found at your local or on-line computer shop.
As a general rule, stay away from old NEC SCSI CD-Readers. There's something about the the actual hardware that Akai's do not like. Other than that you can use most any SCSI CD-reader or even a SCSI CD-writer (note that you can NOT write to CD-Writers form the MPC). I usually check used computer stores for items like this since buying a new SCSI reader can be rather expensive.
Zip drives are going to be just about your cheapest option, but one the same note, cheap is not always good. If you do use Zip, I suggest getting at least two (just in case), You may very well get two anyway, since it would be a good idea to get one for your computer and one for your MPC. The XL model can use an internal IDE Zip. I have some notes on installing it here. I've bought refurbished IDE Zip100's for under $60 at major Computer Stores and have seen these online too. Zip250's work also.
Backing up MPC formatted Zips. You really do not want to put MPC formatted Zips into your computer since you risk damaging the partition information, so you need to use a utility that can read the disks below operating system level. There are several options for this: Iomega has a utility called Copy Disk that can make a sector-by-sector copy of disk. This is for a making duplicate disk only and is not possible to a file based copy of the Zip. Just make sure you check the setting for sector copying. You can use Winhex (www.winhex.com). This application has a backup and restore utility that you can use to create an image file of a drive and restore at a later date. disk2file is another utility that operates in a similar manner (www.zicweb.com). Just be sure to read the help files with each of the applications for backing up and restoring image files.
Cabling note: Since the XL uses a HD50 SCSI connector and the external SCSI Zips use a 25-pin connector, you will need to buy a new cable or an adapter that allow you connect the two. These are easily found anywhere online or in most computer shops. Be sure to get a good SCSI cable since, cheap ones can cause problems.
Akai has stated that Orb drives will not work in the MPC. I have not been able to try this myself. I have heard mixed reports of it working. I'm just mentioning here to let you know. I really do not know if IDE or SCSI were tried in these cases.
There is info on Akai's list of Approved SCSI devices for hard drives However, SCSI is a rather tolerant protocol and I've found that most SCSI devices work, especially hard drives. This is another item I check used shops for. Buying and external SCSI drive is rather expensive. One way around this is to find an old external SCSI CD reader, remove the reader and place a SCSI HD inside the case. Most external CD readers are actually internal readers inside of a case. You just have to make sure that the internal connector is compatible with the the drive you install. I gutted an old SCSI CD reader and mounted it on a rack shelf which can be seen here.
Sizes: The XL model can officially use SCSI drives up to 4.5 Gig, according to the manual. I have used 6 and 9 Gig drives with the MPC2000XL.
The really only limitation that I can think of is to make sure that the hard drive connector is of the 50-pin style (SCSI-2). I've tried an ultra-wide 80-pin drive with an adapter but it needed to be set to NARROW (8-bit) and Supply Term Power by using the drive jumpers. All the usual rules of termination and SCSI ID's apply for hard drives as with any other SCSI devices.
Installation: If you are using an external drive then you should have no problem using it with the MPC since you just make the external connection. It is possible to install an internal hard drive in the MPC. I have done this myself and can he seen here: Installation of internal hard drive
SCSI PC Card drive:
This was done by me recently. Works great. I removed my internal IDE Zip100 drive and replaced with the Card Reader (Intermart Systems PCD-15B) that I won at a popular auction site for $65. The PCD-15B is an internal SCSI PC Card reader. This is the true SCSI type that has a standard 50-pin interface to connect to most any SCSI-2 interface (not the style that require their own ISA interface, since these would not work with the MPC). It has slots for 2 cards so it occupies 2 SCSI ID's which are selectable 1-2, 2-3 or 4-5 and can hold 2 cards simultaneously. If you do buy a used one, make sure it includes the terminators. Older SCSI devices such as this used little devices that you plug into it for termination as opposed to simple switches found on newer SCSI devices. The one I got did not have its terminators, but I did not need them as I also have a hard drive installed on the internal SCSI chain which was the terminated device.
A couple of advantages of this over Zip drives:
1. No moving parts to wear out or fail.
2. Very quiet. Actually no noise at all.
3. Faster transfer of data, depending on the speed of the card.
4. This modal can hold 2 cards at once (like having 2 drives in one).
What do I interface it to to get files onto the Cards? My laptop, of course! Most every laptop has a PC Card interface built into them. I just slide the card into the laptop, transfer files, remove, insert into MPC and load files. Away I go! I really think of it as a transfer medium, not as long term storage medium due to the cost of the Cards.
Here's a pic of the drive in the MPC. The MPC is compatible with the PCD-15, 17, 19, 25 and 47. It does not appear to be compatible with the PCD-50, which used a LUN based SCSI ID method. The PCD's are made by SCM, Intermart and Microtech and are the only models that I have found to be compatible. Avoid the 'secure card' models such as Argus. I have found that these do not work.
According to the notes in OS1.10, you can use MO drives and SCSI DVD players. I have tested the MPC2000XL with a DVD reader and it does work.
IDE/ATAPI Compactflash readers. I have not found one that works yet. Newer models have been released that may work.