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Iomega External Parallel Zip Drive
By Scott Wolf
In 1995, Iomega’s little blue zip drive made PC World’s The 50 Greatest Gadgets of the Past 50 Years. These popular drives gave many users their first taste of easy to use backup and storage media. We thought it would be fun to crack one open and see how it was put together.
Mug shot. Hold still please.
Most of us will remember these zip drives. Iomega started shipping these little wonders in 1995, when a 1 gigabyte hard drive was $625.00.
Now turn to your side.
About the size of a paperback book, with little rubber feet to allow for horizontal or vertical placement.
And you do the hokey pokey...
The underside of the case, nothing too fancy.
Closeup of label.
Clever little diagram, in case you somehow can’t figure out how to attach a parallel printer cable (there’s only one way to attach it though).
No screws... clicks together via these slots.
I removed the rubber feet (where you typically find screws these days) but there were none. From this picture you can see that the case has tabs that hold it together.
And so it begins...
This crack open required some very technical tool. I started with a 25-cent steak knife from Big Lots. Lightly pressing down on the slots while pulling apart made for easy access.
One side open, one to go.
Don't try this at home, I almost cut a finger off.
More tabs to press on.
The last tab to get loose…
Let's take a look under the hood.
Upper case easily removed to reveal the innards.
Arm that tells drive there is a disc in.
Here you can clearly see the arm that tells the drive a disc has been inserted. Unfortunately this model was not operational so I could not get a shot of it in action.
Drive motor mechanism unleashed
The only thing holding the drive motor mechanism secure were two rails, one along each side. You can see those rails in the image, they appear as black rails on each side of the drive.
Once you got the mechansim off those rails, it pivots easily, still held by two springs in the front, and two cables attached the mainboard. One was a white cable seen in the top left hand corner, the other a tiny ribbon cable seen in the bottom left corner.
Springs about to be removed. Use eye protection.
Drive motor mechanism removed
After the springs were removed and the two cables unplugged, the motor mechanism easily lifted out.
Front bezel removed
The front bezel was held on by two pieces of plastic that had holes in them. The pegs for these holes were attached to the bottom case.
Drive motor mechanism side rail guides
The side rail guides for the drive motor mechanism were held in place by two pegs each, that sat in two holes on each side of the bottom case. They easily lifted out.
Bottom case, heat shield, rear bezel.
With no cables attached, the mainboard was literally just laying loosely on the bottom case. I lifted the mainboard out to reveal a heat shield on the bottom of the case.
This lifted out easily which caused the rear bezel to lift out as well. Resulting in the picture shown above.
Top of the mainboard shown here. As you can see, the rear parallel ports provide for a parallel port passthrough, to enable having a printer AND this device hooked up at the same time.
Underside of the mainboard.
Closeup of mainboard top label
Here I took a picture of the top label on the mainboard, for anyone interested.
Closeup of mainboard cpu
Markings on the chip indicate this is a
Internet results didn’t turn up much about this.
Closeup of mainboard underside label
Again, took a picture of the underside label, in case you care.
Drive arm motor
The only thing left to take apart at this point was this clear protective housing attached to the drive motor assembly.
This took the smallest allen head I have ever seen, a .5. The bigger question is, why did I have this tool in my house, I don’t know.
Top removed from drive arm enclosure
With the clear protective housing removed, you can clearly see the drive arm that is used to read the sectors on the disc. See next image for a closeup.
Closeup of head reader
Here is a closeup of the drive arm. Unfortunately, due to the non-working state of this drive, I wasn’t able to get any action shots of this arm in motion.
Drive motor mechanism torn apart.
Here’s a look at the drive motor completely torn apart.