zip drives and the click of death


SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Jul 11, 2001
Wautoma, WI USA
I'm not sure which thread this was discussed on, but my old, external Zip100 recently started "clicking". Figuring it was toast and wanting a Zip250 anyway so we could share bigger files with our other 3 computers that have them, we bought a new one. The problem is, I don't know were to connect it to the computer. It says it uses a scsi drive and I think I might have one (the computer has info on scsi's) but I can't figure out which port it would be. The only one that looks like the scsi is the printer port, but that isn't right. The manual warns against connecting to the printer port. My husband tried chaining the printer through the zip like the old one was, but neither the printer nor the zip worked.

I have several empty connectors on the back. This computer is a few years old, is it possible that one of them is a different type of scsi? How do I know? It looks like you can get adaptors for different ones.

By the way, I already have a cd burner so don't suggest getting one instead. I like the reusablity of the zips for files that change (like financial data) and for things we only need to store for a short time. Cds and Dvds are for long term storage.
If you have an external ZIP, chances are you have a 25 pin SCSII connector. Just locate the receptical with the same number of sockets on the back of your computer and plug it in. If you have more than one socket, it shouldn't matter which one you use (at least on a Mac).

But don't forget you'll have to install an update version of the driver, too, in order for it to work.
That's the problem. None of the ports (except the printer port) match up. The new zip has a 50 pin, the old one plugged into the printer port. How do you tell a scsi port from, say, a printer or some other port? :confused: This isn't a name brand computer. I had it special built but the guys that built it are no longer around. Good computer, but no tech manual. :eek:
Hi Anne,

SCSI cards are not something that normally come with a new computer. They're usually in high performance (server) type systems. If you want to use that unit you'll need to spend about $50-$75 to get a SCSI card.

If it were me, I would exchange the Zip250 for one that has a "USB" interface. This should be the most popular flavor of the Zip250 drives. Your computer probably has 2-6 USB ports and will easily connect to the new drive. If you have XP, it should auto detect the drive as soon as you plug it in. Another advantage to USB is that it's easy to move it from PC to PC. (no SCSI card to remove and reinstall)

Repeat after me:

Zip. Baaaaad.

CD Burner. Goooood.

Zip drives are directly linked to global deforestation, deplete the ozone layer, cause gloucoma in mice, and are the official backup devices of Satan. In other words, they're pure evil. Avoid like the plague.

Seriously, every person I know who has a computer has a CD drive. Hardly anyone I know has a Zip (and if they do it's ancient). CDs are cheap and ubiquitous. You can also store almost 3 times as much data, AND make music CDs to boot.
And Windows XP comes with built in support for burners, no additional software required (but most drives come with software anyways).

Did I mention I hate Zip drives?
I have an extra SCSI PCI board for sale cheap that I was planning to list on ebay. If you are interested, contact me off-line.

[ 10-16-2003, 07:17 AM: Message edited by: North Framer ]
Anne, don't let Steve intimidate you.

I have CD burners and I wouldn't give them up. My next PC will have a DVD burner.

But I also have Zip drives on all my computers. I use them to shuffle files back-and-forth from home to office. It's a painless, nearly automatic process. I tried CD-RWs, but they were a pain for daily backups.

Now Steve will tell you I should have those computers networked to share files, but have you priced out a 2-mile Ethernet cable lately? ;)
Gee Steve

I get the impression you don't like Zip Drives!

I hear ya. You can buy about 200 cdr's for the price of one zip diskette, and they've pretty much become disposable. CDRs are about 5 cents each, are faster, and hold a lot more. CDRW (re-writeables) cost more.

CDRs are becoming obsolete now because DVDR drives are $99, and dvdr media is as low as 69 cents each.

In any case, it makes sense to return what she has and either get a dvdrw or a USB model. Buying and installing a SCSI card will work too, but you'll be limited to just computers that have those cards.

Anne, if you have any questions dont hesitate to call.
Anne--I've been a big scsi user for years. I've got three Macs and 4 PCs, all with SCSI. I you can, take your zip back and get a USB version or convert to a writable CD or DVD. Sometimes installing SCSI is a nice, smooth process. However, if you do this make sure the card you buy is compatible with your devices (the zip), your computer and other devices you have on your system. Be prepared to deal with conflicts.
Originally posted by AnneL:

By the way, I already have a cd burner so don't suggest getting one instead. I like the reusablity of the zips for files that change (like financial data) and for things we only need to store for a short time. Cds and Dvds are for long term storage.
Obviously Steve, you didn't read my whole post. :rolleyes:

And when you average the life a zip disk that is being used and reused out, it more than pays for itself. It is probably even cheaper than a cd since we only use the good cds with the silver coating for long term storage. I use my zips the same way Ron does and for the same reasons. But in my case, it would be a 7 mile long cable! :eek:

Mike, thanks for the help. As usual, you have the answer. Back it goes and we'll see about getting a usb one.
Oh, and like Ron, we have zips on almost all our computers for the same reason. We have actually had more problems with the cd burners we have than with any of our zip drives. This is the first on to give us a problem and it is getting ancient in computer terms. We bought it when all you could get was zip100's. We have one cd burner that is less than a year old and has had such hard use it is starting to give out and another that never has worked properly and that randomly clicks on and off by itself. We are, however, getting a dvd writer soon. We can go through 7-10 cds to store one wedding. It's time.

By the way Mike, know where to get any good bargains on them? and are great sources. You'll find at least one deal weekly on there for about $99.

Theres another Dell PC deal on there today:
Dimension 4600 desktop Intel Pentium 4 @ 2.4Ghz, 256MB Dual Channel DDR333/40GB HD, Free 48x CDRW, 6 months ISP, XP Home $499 shipped free, no rebates.
Anne, if I remember, a Zip100 disc burned on the Zip250 drive cannot be read on a Zip100 drive.

If you're counting on exchanging files with the Zip100-equipped computer(s), better check on compatibility issues.

Nothing is ever simple, is it?
Obviously Steve, you didn't read my whole post
You're right, I didn't.. :D I started reading and then saw the words "zip" and "drive" used together and then THWAAACK!! My vision became cloudy and I don't remember much after that.

I guess I just posted that rant as a warning to future travelers. I don't want other Grumblers reading this thread to think, "Well Ron and AnneL have a zip drive, I better get one too!" :eek:

Anne, don't let Steve intimidate you.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Now Steve will tell you I should have those computers networked to share files, but have you priced out a 2-mile Ethernet cable lately?
Now you're talking!!! Actually, its not that expensive, it's called DSL.. :cool:
I shouldn't have to worry about compatibility, all the other zips we own are 250s. This is just an up grade to bring this one in line with the others as long as we have to replace it anyway.

Anne, Don't let Steve intimidate you.
Ron, do I strike you as someone who is easily intimidated? Probably the other way around.

Be afraid. Be very afraid
Yeah, right! :rolleyes:
It's called DSL!
Now that's funny! :D There is no such thing out here in rural Wisconsin. We have it in town, but it is expensive. We don't even have cable tv out were we live.

[ 10-16-2003, 03:03 PM: Message edited by: AnneL ]