How to connect an old external HD drive?
May 22, 2008 6:00 PM   Subscribe

I lost the data cable for an old IOMEGA HDD 120 USB drive. IOMEGA no longer carries the cables. How can I get the data off it?

I own an old IOMEGA HDD 120 USB drive. It works fine, but the data cable got mangled and destroyed (and I threw it out). I called IOMEGA for a replacement, but they no longer carry the connector for it.

The connection on the HD looks like what's called a "Mini Centronics 36" or "IEEE-1284 Type C" connection, with 18 pins on the top and bottom. IOMEGA just says the cable is a "USB data cable with proprietary adapter". It looks like I could just buy a Mini Centronics to DB25 converter, then a DB25 to USB printer cable, but I was worried that wouldn't work.

What's the cheapest and best way of getting my data off this drive? Will the above converters work? Is there someplace I could find the original cable? Could I just crack open the case and connect the HD inside directly?
posted by catsclaw to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
You absolutely can just crack open the case, extract the drive, and hook it up. (I'm assuming, based on some google-work, that it's a 3.5" drive inside.) Regardless of the external interfaces, all external HDs are just a controller connected to a standard IDE or SATA hard drive on the inside.
posted by Tomorrowful at 6:07 PM on May 22, 2008

As Tomorrowful said, pop open the case and hook it up.
posted by jjb at 6:25 PM on May 22, 2008

Your thought about getting the adapters is a good one, and in a way it's the most elegant solution, but there's really no guarantee that it will work. You have no idea that the pins Iomega decided to use in the Centronics-36 connector correspond to the pins that will end up being connected to the USB lines through all those adapters. Really, you would need to do some serious research and find a pinout, or dissect an actual Iomega adapter, and build your own.

Not worth it, considering that you can pry the drive out (destroying the case if need be) and put it into a new USB or FireWire enclosure for a few dollars. I've seen them selling for under $10 on occasion. (Those el cheapo ones aren't great shakes -- they tend to overheat easily so I wouldn't use them for anything more than data retrieval or offline backups -- but they would work for this purpose.)

Just be careful disassembling the Iomega drive so you don't damage the connectors on the commodity hard disk concealed within.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:02 PM on May 22, 2008

Parallel (DB25) is hoooorribly slow. I highly doubt they are using a parallel data interface to the drive over usb. It is likely just some jerk implementation of a USB connector.

I doubt your stringed cables would work. Crack it open like everyone else suggests.
posted by SirStan at 5:51 PM on May 23, 2008

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