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Andy’s PowerBook Problem

CC_333

Well-known member
My 540c has far more plastic woes than just the display, so I‘m probably going to wait for a parts machine to do any work on it.
I have numerous 5x0 parts machines (I keep discovering ones I forgot I had – it's like they're multiplying like fleas!!!), so if you or anyone else in this thread would like one, let me know!

c
 

AndyO

Well-known member
I forgot this one, because it was never a good purchase even back in 2002, and I didn't like it at all. It was my first foray into OS X, which probably says it all. It also doesn't work any longer, because when I try and boot it, the only thing that happens in the Caps Lock light comes on.

Can't recall which model it is, but it has a DVI port.

IMG_2677.jpg

I did use it once to make a series of promo videos for my PBS station. Apparently, that did it in. It is not actually in bad physical condition, and it did used to boot up, but now seems rather disinterested in trying.
 

3lectr1cPPC

Well-known member
Looks like an 876/1.0GHz model since the PowerBook text isn’t in Garamond. Try unplugging the PRAM battery, that may get it to fire up.
 

AndyO

Well-known member
Ah! It booted, though not before roasting my knees. First time in maybe 2 years.

It is, apparently, a 800MHz model with 512Mb RAM. And now the fans have stopped running, it looks quite happy and contented.

IMG_2678.jpg

Oh well.
 

AndyO

Well-known member
And, well, I need help. I saw a 520c on eBay with a $23 bid even though it was booted up and running, with power supply, which if you wanted one, would cost more than that. So I thought... who would let a 520c sell for that and dropped a $50 bid on it.

Damn. Got it for $47. A working 520c, for $47? What is wrong with everyone!
 

AndyO

Well-known member
Didn’t even take a day! Enjoy it! What got the Ti running?
I know. In my defense, I don't want it and don't need it, but I also didn't want it to sell for the $23 max bid it had up until the last minute. The PSU is worth more than that!

No idea what got the Ti running. It hasn't booted in 2 years. Plugged it in, got the caps lock light as usual, and just left it. 30 minutes later, I hit the power button and got the chime. That's usually how it gets you because nothing happens after that, but this time it booted.
 

Hopfenholz

Well-known member
I think the reason you had a crap experience with the TiBook is not the PowerBook itself but the OS. OS X was a very immature product at the time. All Ti PowerBooks support MacOS 9 so if you reinstall 9.2.2 on it you'll find yourself with a fantastic experience.

My current favourite PowerBook is my 867MHz 12" G4. After a lot of messing around in OpenFirmware, and using the edited install ISO from MacOS9Lives.com I managed to get it booting into MacOS 9. Classic MacOS on that lovely little 12" screen, with all that power, is a delight. The only problem is that sleep doesn't work.

IMG_0232 2.jpg
 

hauke

Member
I think the reason you had a crap experience with the TiBook is not the PowerBook itself but the OS. OS X was a very immature product at the time. All Ti PowerBooks support MacOS 9 so if you reinstall 9.2.2 on it you'll find yourself with a fantastic experience.
I had a TiBook (GbE, 550 MHz, the second series) in the early 2000s.

While on my Pismo, the only time the fans ever came on was when it hung in MacsBug and I put it into the neoprene sleeve, during summers the TiBook would roast my finger tips. Putting it on my thighs was unthinkable. Bases with fans were on offer everywhere. The titanium case corroded so badly that Apple eventually replaced the lid for free. In the end, the ATI video died, as in so many later models.

No, the TiBook hardware wasn't much fun. After a short time with a ThinkPad T23, I got an AlBook, which I still use every now and then - the msata2ide adapter really gave it a second life.
 

AndyO

Well-known member
I think the reason you had a crap experience with the TiBook is not the PowerBook itself but the OS. OS X was a very immature product at the time. All Ti PowerBooks support MacOS 9 so if you reinstall 9.2.2 on it you'll find yourself with a fantastic experience.

My current favourite PowerBook is my 867MHz 12" G4. After a lot of messing around in OpenFirmware, and using the edited install ISO from MacOS9Lives.com I managed to get it booting into MacOS 9. Classic MacOS on that lovely little 12" screen, with all that power, is a delight. The only problem is that sleep doesn't work.

View attachment 45184

If I recall, I bought the TiBook because I thought having a practical laptop for work would be a good thing, even though I'd never liked laptops all that much, and rarely used them. All things considered, that now seems quite ironic!

But aside from the performance, which was pretty good, and the appearance, which was striking, it didn't really prove useful in enough ways to carry it around with me. In the end, it just sat at home for a few routine tasks each week, until eventually I put it away and basically forgot about it. When I dragged it back out a couple of years or so back, it seemed lackluster, but at least it booted when I wanted it to. Then it began to not boot for a few minutes, then not at all.

I jumped at OS X when it came out because it seemed the right way to go, but it was an immature product, where Mac OS 9 was very stable. I would probably have appreciated it more then if I'd known how versions would bloat into pure silliness later on!

I too like the 12-inch G4 PowerBook. Mine is running 10.4.11 rather than Mac OS 9, but it is good to use, and is probably the best keyboard of that laptop era (for me, that is). Yours looks really good - though it appears to have the same dent as mine does on the front, just the opposite corner to mine!
 

AndyO

Well-known member
No, the TiBook hardware wasn't much fun. After a short time with a ThinkPad T23, I got an AlBook, which I still use every now and then - the msata2ide adapter really gave it a second life.
I don't regret putting my TiBook away and then forgetting about it - it just wasn't inspiring, but it was very fussy and tended to roast itself a bit for no apparent reason. I gave up doing video work on it because it would run the fan so loudly.
 

AndyO

Well-known member
Nearly at the end of the PowerBook photos, but here is my 180, which was sold as being 'parts only' because it wouldn't boot, and occasionally produced the chimes of death instead, but usually did nothing, and my original 520c, which works rather nicely, even though this is not amongst my top ten PowerBook designs or models.

IMG_2679.jpg

The issue with the 180 was that its memory expansion card had gone faulty. Removing it got it booting reliably every time. It does suffer tunnel vision problems, but it takes about 2 hours to begin to creep in, and even then, just the corners. It can be avoided entirely over a working day by letting it sleep in periods of inactivity. I sourced a replacement RAM card so it has a whopping 12Mb. I also switched the keyboard because the original had randomly stiff keys. This one is great. The 180 is the best of my 100-series models, but I use the 145B more often.

The 520c came from a regular eBay seller, and aside from a broken tab on the plastic below the screen (hence the tape to hold it on), is in actually rather excellent condition. It too has 12Mb RAM.
 

3lectr1cPPC

Well-known member
That’s a real nice 180. With my use I’d never notice tunnel vision if I had one that took that long, who knows, maybe my 170 would start tunneling after 3 hours. I’ve never had it on that long so I wouldn’t know.
 

AndyO

Well-known member
That’s a real nice 180. With my use I’d never notice tunnel vision if I had one that took that long, who knows, maybe my 170 would start tunneling after 3 hours. I’ve never had it on that long so I wouldn’t know.
It was originally from a school district, and had been really well cared for. Sadly they don't age particularly well when stored in a closet for years, but I was lucky it was just the RAM card, and without it, it booted up perfectly. Disappointing that it has the tunnel vision problem, but on the other hand, it could be much, much worse!
 

3lectr1cPPC

Well-known member
Well you can’t really be too surprised on that front. I’d guess that over 90% of these have the problem at this point, it seems extremely rare to find one free of it. I could be wrong though as that’s just based off of what I’ve seen.

Also, if you do use your 145B a lot, the only way I can even see the display caps not being completely fried is that yours must be a late production 1994 unit. 1994 seems to be around the time those trash cans became less prone to failure, less so than earlier ones from 1993 and earlier. That being said, they do still fail and leak, so don’t leave it as is for long.
 

AndyO

Well-known member
The 145B does certainly need to be recapped. When it's powered up, the display takes a couple of minutes to go from faded to correct brightness/contrast. Once it has settled down, it remains rock solid for as long as it is connected to power, even over several days and boot-ups. I've seen worse, but it does need doing. I've tried some practice soldering work on a defunct Toshiba, and on the basis of several attempts I wouldn't even try a recap of something like this myself. My 165 also needs recapping, and that's much worse, so I don't put it to use at all. I even bought a 165 parts machine to practice on - except the darn thing worked when I got it - but oh my, looking at that, no, that's not my skillset at all really!

I knew the 180 was likely to have the tunnel vision problem, just on the basis of how common it seems to be amongst the active matrix monochrome/greyscale screens, so I was actually quite pleased when it took that long to appear. I rather innocently thought I'd just get a 180c off eBay instead... of course that's not a likely proposition at all!
 

Trash80toHP_Mini

NIGHT STALKER
This is quite possibly the coolest PowerBook thread I’ve seen.
Concur, given the title, I was trying to ignore it but got sucked in, the last thing I need is encouragement for this addiction.

I don't have a 100, but the Duo 230 is similar, and I would absolutely love it if the keyboard weren't totally awful.
Bought my beloved PowerBook 100 when Apple surplussed them out. Promptly maxed it out with goodies from APS, putting its stock 20MB drive in their external case, their faster Modem, 8MB upgrade card and 270MB HDD in BabyPB. Used the heck out of it for years until I needed the used Duo 230/Docks collection a friend needed to sell in order to run code that had rendered its 68000 useless.

After the Passive display and small KBD of the 100, the 230 MushBoard and screen never bothered me much. But I may be the only one here that can say that? Using things IRL in the day gives a very different frame of reference. Then again I'm probably one of the few who took the NoteBook path?

I appreciate what you said about passive screens, they didn't matter all that much in use back then, but collectors now say they could never work on one. Can't understand that attitude, you used what was available and affordable back in the day and were very happy to have had the luxury of having a 'Book at all.

What I don't understand is your dislike of the 1400, its KBD is reputedly the best, better than 190/5300/3400/Kanga? Haven't used my PDQ enough to make a judgement. Do you think it's better than the 1400 KBD?

There’s no such thing as too many laptops… right?
Dunno, I think it might be enough when you've bottom fished the 'Bay for a two foot stack of 1400s in order to assemble a few good ones? Then again, if you wind up with a couple of spare G3 cards in the process . . .

ATM I'm running AI8 on a Lombard I wound up with in an eBay mishap. Never wanted one, but it sure is handy right now with the QS on the fritz. KBD's not as good as the 1400's though. Of the three PowerBooks G3, which KBD is your fave?
 

3lectr1cPPC

Well-known member
That‘s a tough one… The 1400 KB is more satisfying and clicky, but the PDQ may just be more comfortable (Plus it has inverted-t arrows) They’re both great for different reasons. The 5xx/190/5300/3400/Kanga keyboards aren’t that bad, but are very prone to becoming stiff over years of use and wear. My 540c’s keyboard is a pain, my 5300’s keyboard is darn awful, and my 3400’s is pretty good. I don’t have a Lombard or Pismo but the Clamshell and TiBook keyboards are pretty similar and very nice to use. They however do not even begin to compare to the 1400 or PDQ’s. Those 2 are just too good.
 

AndyO

Well-known member
Concur, given the title, I was trying to ignore it but got sucked in, the last thing I need is encouragement for this addiction.


Bought my beloved PowerBook 100 when Apple surplussed them out. Promptly maxed it out with goodies from APS, putting its stock 20MB drive in their external case, their faster Modem, 8MB upgrade card and 270MB HDD in BabyPB. Used the heck out of it for years until I needed the used Duo 230/Docks collection a friend needed to sell in order to run code that had rendered its 68000 useless.

After the Passive display and small KBD of the 100, the 230 MushBoard and screen never bothered me much. But I may be the only one here that can say that? Using things IRL in the day gives a very different frame of reference. Then again I'm probably one of the few who took the NoteBook path?

I appreciate what you said about passive screens, they didn't matter all that much in use back then, but collectors now say they could never work on one. Can't understand that attitude, you used what was available and affordable back in the day and were very happy to have had the luxury of having a 'Book at all.

What I don't understand is your dislike of the 1400, its KBD is reputedly the best, better than 190/5300/3400/Kanga? Haven't used my PDQ enough to make a judgement. Do you think it's better than the 1400 KBD?


Dunno, I think it might be enough when you've bottom fished the 'Bay for a two foot stack of 1400s in order to assemble a few good ones? Then again, if you wind up with a couple of spare G3 cards in the process . . .

ATM I'm running AI8 on a Lombard I wound up with in an eBay mishap. Never wanted one, but it sure is handy right now with the QS on the fritz. KBD's not as good as the 1400's though. Of the three PowerBooks G3, which KBD is your fave?

I have no real idea why I have never liked the 1400, but right from the start I was not really happy with it. I wasn't a laptop person, and still not right up until I bought the 145B that I began this thread with.

The first thing that soured me on the 1400 though was the trackpad. I'd liked and much preferred the trackball on the 100-series - and still do. It's actually much easier to use and more precise (for me, that is). In terms of keyboards, the 1400 is actually pretty good. It's the rest of the system I'm not all that pleased with!

Over time from about the 1400 onwards, key caps became flatter and squarer, and key travel less and less. Obviously this was inevitable since laptop designs were getting thinner. But in the process, keyboards also became less and less usable for me for the same reasons. A notable change in this was between the PDQ and Lombard.

Some of my preferences in systems also comes down to form factor, and the 100-series suits me pretty well, which also means the 190/5300 too once I had ventured off and got those. The Wallsteet/PDQs are large and heavy by comparison, though otherwise I really like these, while the Lombard is certainly lighter, but the keyboard is not anything like as good as the PDQ's.

Funnily enough, one of the best PowerBooks I used was my Duo after I'd treated the key stems to a small amount of vaseline once. I had a fairly tight deadline on a training outline, and after that I was able to use it at full speed, clattering through several pages of ideas really quickly. Put a 1400 keyboard in it, and I'd be very pleased!

I wouldn't be so troubled by some of the more modern systems (the G4 PowerBooks for example) if the keyboards were more consistent, otherwise I think one of my favorites would be the 12-inch G4. That's mighty cute, small and light. Maybe a 1400 keyboard in that!
 

AndyO

Well-known member
Also not a PowerBook, but since it spawned the Clamshell design, gets an honorable mention at least.... my eMate 300, which admittedly I have not had much use for, but has been fun to play with.

IMG_2681.jpg

I can't even remember how I got it connected to my iMac, it's been so long since I moved data on or off it, but I did actually draft some technical pieces on it which are now in our library, so I obviously did!

Not a great keyboard (too stiff) but it does still hold a charge!
 
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