A Solid-State HDD for Symbolics "MacIvory" Lisp Machines.

This post concerns the "MacIvory" Model 3 Lisp Machine. It is of interest strictly to bolixologists.

This is a recipe for a working replacement of an ancient SCSI HDD, such as found in the MacIvory, with an inexpensive solid-state disk.

You will need:

1. Download the softs, and verify the signature and hashes in MANIFEST.TXT.

2. Decompress the disk image, and copy it to a 16GB or larger SD card, via unix dd command, e.g.:

dd if=MacIvory_Virginal_9GB.img of=/dev/sdb

3. Insert the SD card into the SCSI2SD device, connect the latter to a PC via the USB jack, and run the configurator. Feed it the supplied config, and trigger the upload to the device.

Edit: if your MacIvory's SCSI cable does not have an end terminator installed, you will need to re-enable the built-in termination in the SCSI2SD config.

4. Remove the original HDD assembly from the MacIvory:

bolix open small

bolix orig HDD

5. Remove the HDD from the plate.

6. Affix the SCSI2SD device to the new adapter, and then to the original steel plate, using the standoffs and nuts:

bolix ssd parts

bolix ssd bottom

bolix ssd top

Do not over-tension the nuts. (Use a tension wrench, if you have one, otherwise simply "know measure".)

7. Affix the plate, now containing SCSI2SD device, into the original nest, and connect the cabling, via the 50-to-68-pin adapter (for SCSI) and the Molex-to-floppy (for +5v):

bolix ssd fin

8. Boot!

You can now back up and otherwise manipulate the contents of the MacIvory HDD by connecting the SCSI2SD device's USB jack to a Linux PC, or by simply removing the SD card.


This entry was written by Stanislav , posted on Sunday January 06 2019 , filed under Computation, Hardware, Lisp, LispMachine, MacIvory, Photo, ShouldersGiants, SoftwareArchaeology, Symbolics . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

6 Responses to “A Solid-State HDD for Symbolics "MacIvory" Lisp Machines.”

  • Win Heagy says:

    This is timely. I have a post on the VCFed forum asking just this question. I searched days ago but did find anything but stumbled on this today from a reddit thread. Thanks!

  • Win Heagy says:


    Any chance you have an image for a MacIvory 2? I have a Mac IIfx with an Ivory 2 board set and it looks like your image is for a Quadra maybe? At any rate, everything worked up to the boot and then my IIfx complained about the wrong Mac startup disk.



  • Win Heagy says:


    Thanks. I do have a dd of my drive, which I am writing to an SD card now. I was interested in trying your installation, hoping maybe there was additional demo software in your Genera install. Mine was lacking many good 'Activities' demos.

    Anyway, hopefully my .img work and I at least have a good copy of my original installation.

    Thanks very much for your time and help with this.


    • Stanislav says:

      Dear Win Heagy,

      ...maybe there was additional demo software...

      To be clear, my disk image was of a brand-new, entirely virginal install, as it came out of the crate. It is probably quite similar to yours.


Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> <pre lang="" line="" escaped="" highlight="">

MANDATORY: Please prove that you are human:

44 xor 59 = ?

What is the serial baud rate of the FG device ?

Answer the riddle correctly before clicking "Submit", or comment will NOT appear! Not in moderation queue, NOWHERE!