Using InterChangeX with a
RATOC FR1SX FireWire-SCSI Converter
seems to work well
with Synclavier®
SCSI disk drives
RATOC Systems, Inc. makes a FireWire-SCSI Converter that allows InterChangeX and AbleDiskTool to read and write Synclavier® SCSI hard drives using Mac OS X 10.4.11 ("Tiger") or later. During testing, RATOC's FR1SX FireWire-SCSI Converter worked quite well with a SEAGATE SX19171W 9 GB SCSI hard drive and a Syquest 135MB removable cartridge SCSI drive. Several minor issues were noted that are explained below.

Their CB31 Cardbus-SCSI Adapter was also tested but was more difficult to use due to underlying UNIX permissions issues. Basically, with the FireWire-SCSI converter, the SCSI hard drive was treated as an external disk drive and was made completely available to user applications such as InterChangeX. The Cardbus-SCSI adapter presented the SCSI disk drive as in internal disk drive, which required root-user authentication upon each restart. Not very convenient, but a viable option for the advanced user who is comfortable with the Terminal application and UNIX shell commands.

So - stick with the FR1SX instead of the CB31 unless you are anxious to practice your Unix chops at every restart!
Cardbus-SCSI Adapter
works, but is NOT
Read on.

The RATOC FireWire-Ultra SCSI Converter FR1SX from RATOC Systems offers a mechanism for importing legacy Synclavier® SCSI hard drive content into a modern Synclavier® Disk Image File. The FR1SX connects to your computer via FireWire, and plugs into your SCSI disk drive using the appropriate adapter.
When you see this warning - don't click the Initialize button! This warning lets you know that your computer is able to "see" your Synclavier® hard drive connected through the RATOC FR1SX converter. But the Macintosh Finder of course is not able to read the directory structure, hence the warning. Choose the Ignore option; this tells the Macintosh Finder to ignore the directory structure on the volume and make its contents available to InterChangeX.
Several minor issues were noted during testing. Firstly, the SCSI ID of the disk drive was not properly reported to InterChangeX. The pull-down menu reported a SCSI ID of 6 in all cases, whereas the actual SCSI id tested was either 4 or 5.

Secondly, It is possible that the reported SCSI ID would change as the FireWire topology is reconstructed between system restarts. When using a single FR1SX with a single SCSI disk drive, this limitation should present few real consequences to the user. However, for the fearless SCSI warrior trying to use two FR1SX units and two SCSI disk drives to achieve both a W0: and a W1: SCSI drive, the possibility exists that W0: and W1: would be swapped upon a system restart.

Thirdly, hot plug-and-play behavior is not supported with InterChangeX. During testing with complicated FireWire bus topologies, the system would occasionally pause for as long as a minute during a restart. In one case, the FR1SX continuously reset the SCSI drive and a second restart was required. This behavior might have been triggered by the slow spin-up time of the SEAGATE drive I was testing with. It would appear that the most reliable method of attaching the SCSI drive was to make all the connections with your computer shut down, then turn on the SCSI disk drive, then power up the FR1SX and then turn on your computer. In the test setup used the SCSI disk drive did not provide termination power, so the power adapter for the FR1SX was required.

Lastly, due to the non-availability of a suitable SCSI drive, testing was not conducted on a Tahiti Magneto-Optical drive nor on the original CDC 12" WORM optical drive that shipped with many early Synclavier® systems. It is unclear at this time whether magneto-optical or WORM technology is compatible with the Mac OS X SCSI implementation or the RATOC hardware. Additionally, it is quite likely that the 12" WORM optical drives and Tahiti Magneto-Optical drives will not work correctly with InterChangeX on an Intel-based Macintosh.

UNIX Permissions Issues - Mac OS X is built upon a UNIX operating system variant known as BSD. During testing of the FR1SX FireWire-SCSI converter, the attached SCSI disk drive showed up as being "owned" by the currently logged in user and was therefore available to all user applications (Of course, this behavior could change with later releases of Mac OS X).

This behavior made the FR1SX FireWire-SCSI converter particularly easy to use with InterChangeX.

When tested with the CB31 Cardbus-SCSI adapter, the attached SCSI disk drive was treated as an internal disk drive and thus "owned" by the root user (a.k.a. "superuser"). In order for InterChangeX to access the SCSI drive via the CardBus adapter, the user permissions had to be modified from the Terminal application. This modification was required upon each system restart. The Terminal command for modifying the user permissions is described below.

Screen Shots - Choosing A SCSI Disk Drive in InterChangeX
If you are not able to access your SCSI disk drive with InterChangeX - Open the Device Information dialog (from the "Settings For..." pop-up menu) and see if the reported device status is "Could not communicate with this device". Note the BSD path to the device ("dev/rdisk1" in this example) shown on the third line of the second text box.

You can use the Terminal utility (/Applications/Utilities/Terminal) to see what permissions are available to that device. The shell command to use to find out the permissions is:

   ls -l -A /dev/rdisk1

(substitute the BSD path reported for you disk drive for "/dev/rdisk1"). If the permissions are:

   crw-rw---- 1 root operator 14, 6 Apr 17 10:00 /dev/rdisk1

then you will need to add read and write permissions to the device before it will be available to InterChangeX. The shell command to accomplish that is:

   sudo chmod go+rw /dev/rdisk1

after which the permissions should show as:

crw-rw-rw- 1 root operator 14, 6 Apr 17 10:00 /dev/rdisk1

Updates - InterChangeX 2.5.7
The InterChangeX 2.5.7 Release fixed an issue where creating large image files could hang your computer for several minutes. Release 2.5.6 included testing the RATOC FR1SX FireWire-SCSI Converter with an Intel-based Macintosh Computer and no problems were noted (see the precautions regarding the 12" WORM drives and magneto-optical drives mentioned above). Additionally, in version 2.5.2 some minor enhancements were made in InterChangeX's ability to handle removable-media storage devices connected via the RATOC FR1SX.
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