• Updated 2023-07-12: Hello, Guest! Welcome back, and be sure to check out this follow-up post about our outage a week or so ago.

For my 512k, Fat Mac -- Seeking Suggestions Regarding Repair and Selling Please

Star Lake

I am the original owner of a Fat Mac, which has resided in my closet for decades and was in great condition and working fine when I gave it a quick check about a year ago. However, when I took it out of the closet again more recently, something had changed. I got nothing on the screen and only heard a faint sound from inside the Mac. It may have been something like a clicking sound -- but that is more of a guess than a clear memory. The external battery in the back is clearly no longer working, so I took it out to prevent any damage.

I will probably be selling it, but I would prefer not to have to sell it as non-working, if there might be a potential easy fix to restore it to the condition it was in when previously taken out of the closet. So I am wondering if anyone here can provide some advice on any simple things I can try -- since it seems minimal harm should have come to it while simply residing in a closet, unused, for a year.

I am not educated or trained in computer hardware repair and am not a computer scientist or engineer of any kind. I have only done very basic upgrades like installing memory, video and audio cards, fans and drives, etc., on desktop PCs, but never done anything inside a Mac. But after reading a post somewhere saying that simply tapping on the side of an old Mac can fix a "cold solder" (whatever that is) and get a Mac running again - I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask for suggestions. In case it matters, I am located in the southern suburbs of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area in Minnesota, USA.

The Fat Mac and external floppy drive have long resided inside the original Macintosh carrying case which is also in very good condition. I also have a lot of Fat Mac software, manuals, printers, etc. Plus I have a Mac Classic in excellent condition, with a lot of software, etc., that worked great last time I checked on it.

Any thoughts or suggestions regarding 1) a potential repair strategy for a novice or 2) how and where to best sell the Macs would be very much appreciated. :)


Well-known member
If there is a faint ticking sound, it's probably the power supply that is knackered. The PSU on those analogue boards is known to overheat and cook itself, because æsthetics were put above proper cooling (a grand tradition that Apple still maintain from the old days, you will note).

Note that if it is the PSU, fixing it can be dangerous. Don't touch it unless you're comfortable working around mains voltages, and make sure you have someone else in the house with you. There are, for example, heatsinks on those analogue boards that are at mains voltage, and you can get a nasty shock just off what appears to be a passive lump of metal. Caveat haxor.

If it is ticking, that usually means that the PSU is trying to start up, can't achieve what it thinks is a stable output, and shuts down again, then repeats it. I am told that sometimes the optocoupler goes; none of mine have had that go, so I can't talk about that from personal experience. You might also have luck consulting The Dead Mac Scrolls which has lots of problems that these machines historically faced, organised by useful things like "what noise it makes". Though you need to take that book with a certain scepticism: the problems machines faced at the time are often somewhat different from the problems they face now. But it will likely give you a starting point at least.

But if you are not comfortable working with mains voltages, don't poke it: pass it on as non-working to someone else.


Well-known member
Most often the capacitors on the analog board have leaked. The board should be cleaned and recapped. You need solder equipment to do this, but there are tutorials where you can learn how it is done. But as cheesestraws said: there can be dangerous voltages, when you work with analog boards!

Star Lake

Thank you very much for your replies ClassicGuyPhilly, cheesestraws, and dochilli. I appreciate your comments.

To clarify, regarding the classic, my other Mac (in addition to this Fat Mac) is actually a Classic II.

To clarify, regarding the sound the Fat Mac makes: When turning it on, the sound I hear is a low volume, continuous medium frequency/pitch sound. The sound is broken up into relatively rapidly repeated individual pulses of sound – but it doesn’t sound like clicking or a flup flup flup noise to me. If I had to describe it as a type of clicking, I'd say it is a very rapid clicking noise.

I appreciate your comments related to repairs, safety, etc. After reading them, it is more clear now that there probably isn't going to be an obvious, easy quick fix, especially one that I could perform. It’s just that, having seen the Fat Mac working just fine so recently, (might have even been less than a year), it seemed like a shame to have to sell it as a non-working Mac. I suppose it was just wishful thinking that a computer that degraded while just resting in a closet a short time – might have a very easy fix.

I will apologize in advance now for all my excuses and "bellyaching" given below. But I am hoping that, by further explaining my situation, I might get some more good advice from you.

Unfortunately, I have no training or experience troubleshooting or fixing vintage Macintoshes. I have next to nothing of the vocabulary, knowledge, experience, skill, tools, etc., that I assume would be required to safely make a successful diagnosis and repair. I'm just a retired hydrogeologist (environmental scientist) that bought a Fat Mac a very long time ago.

In addition, priority wise, I just don’t have time now or in the near future – to learn how to do troubleshooting, "replace caps", safe repairs, etc. (although I really appreciate your suggestions). Because, in addition to preparing to sell a house, searching for a new home in a far away state and everything else it takes to move, I have maybe a hundred different types of “projects” like this where I am attempting to prepare, list and sell things before I move. Here is an example of one that might be of interest to any retro gamers.

I want to sell the Fat Mac, all the related software, floppies, manuals, printers, etc., to help with moving expenses. In considering realistic options, that make sense financially, I suppose I either need to get lucky and somehow find someone local to me, with the required skills to fix the Fat Mac, who would check it out for a very reasonable price -- or just sell it locally as not working. -- if I can somehow connect with someone local who wants to purchase it.

I say this because
1) I have heard that shipping a vintage Mac often results in it getting damaged/killed and
2) I am assuming that even just paying to safely ship and insure it somewhere round trip, for troubleshooting and repair may cost more than I could sell it for.
3) I am assuming that, even if I was willing to risk shipping it, and deal with exchanging $ with a faraway stranger, the buyer would be hesitant to pay an attractive price without first inspecting it in person.

I am located in the southern suburbs of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area in Minnesota, USA and have no contacts or familiarity with anyone with computer hardware skills, no less vintage Mac skills.

At the moment, it feels like I'll have to post it for sale somewhere like eBay, Craigslist and/or here for local pickup (only) and local payment. But it might be difficult to find someone local that wants to buy a Fat Mac at an attractive price -- in contrast to a locality like Silicon Valley, LA, NYC, etc. And it is difficult to know what price to sell it for -- given the screen is not displaying now.

Thank you very much for reading this far and listening to all of the "issues" I seem to be viewing as hurdles to a quick, easy, profitable sale. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Thank you!

For reference, I've included some photos related to the Fat Mac.


  • 1 Fat Mac.jpg
    1 Fat Mac.jpg
    981.6 KB · Views: 10
  • Case.jpg
    2.7 MB · Views: 11
  • PXL_20230214_233733166.rotated.jpg
    1.6 MB · Views: 10
  • PXL_20230626_052456160.jpg
    1.8 MB · Views: 9
  • PXL_20230626_052528226.jpg
    2.5 MB · Views: 9
  • PXL_20230626_054816468.jpg
    2.6 MB · Views: 10
  • PXL_20230626_054948338.jpg
    1.6 MB · Views: 8
  • PXL_20230626_055418489.jpg
    2.4 MB · Views: 8


Well-known member
It looks like everything was well kept by visual appearance, so that's to your advantage. The bag by itself sells for $75 to $100 on eBay, I've been hunting them. I'd be happy to buy off you for that but IMO you're better off not breaking up the collection. I was at a recent vintage computer swap meet in New Jersey and non-functioning Mac Plus computer-only were going for around $100, I think I also saw a non-functioning 512k for around the same. The keyboard and mouse have value due to their rarity, but I can't help you with market on them. The external drive is really cool too and I bet that is rare as well. Unfortunately you can't honestly state any of it works now, best you can share is "worked a year ago" but that's not nearly the same as "tested and functioning"

I'm buying a compact from @macinbot which will be shipped across the country. I saw in the Trade Feedback forum a prior purchaser remarked how well macinbot packaged their purchase. The shipping is not cheap, but I'd rather spend a few bucks extra to have piece of mind system will arrive safely. Perhaps macinbot might share some packaging tips so you're not limited to only a local pickup.

As long as you're honest about state of the system and sell as "non functioning, for parts or repair only, no returns" or similar language, people know what they are buying and can decide for themselves if they wish to purchase. Of course you'll never get close to the same selling price as a functioning system. You might be able to provide some more buyer assurance buy opening the case and sharing pictures of the logic board (motherboard) and other components. I've never opened a 512k so not going to assume it's the same as an SE or Classic and give you instructions. However I will say this...you have a very nice case now which is a selling point, be careful and do not harm it by forcing open the case.

Hope some of this is helpful, good luck!


Well-known member
1) I have heard that shipping a vintage Mac often results in it getting damaged/killed and
This is true, but to less extent with a Mac like yours. They are pretty strong but you still have to pack them properly. Since you have the carrying bag, I would ship it inside that, with additional bubblewrap/padding around the Mac itself inside its bag, and then put that bag into a thick cardboard box, with foam/polystyrene/padding all around the carry bag inside the box. The key here is to stop any movement possible within the box as the courier will surely throw it around a lot during transit.

You will get more money by selling things separately if your goal is to optimise the amount of money you wish to make.

If you do it as local/collection only you won't get anywhere near as much for it, so bear that in mind as well.


Well-known member
I'm buying a compact from @macinbot which will be shipped across the country. I saw in the Trade Feedback forum a prior purchaser remarked how well macinbot packaged their purchase. The shipping is not cheap, but I'd rather spend a few bucks extra to have piece of mind system will arrive safely. Perhaps macinbot might share some packaging tips so you're not limited to only a local pickup.
For these older Macs I have the staff at my local FedEx Office Ship center pack everything using their system. I have put the Mac in a clear poly bag, and I ALWAYS clarify that I want them to use expanding foam packets (known by Instapak and other brand names). We will then choose the appropriate size double-walled box for the computer in question (or I will bring one of UHAUL double-walled electronic boxes for larger machines). Choose one that gives AT LEAST 2” (preferably more) space on all sides of the computer to insure there is a healthy buffer of expanded foam between the computer and the outside of the box.

The expanding foam they use sits somewhere between the flexibility and give of styrofoam and the rigidity of spray foam. Absorbs impact well and provides a solid structure to reinforce the box.

I worked at FedEx for a spell many years back. Also have had friends/relatives with USPS and UPS. Packages are a volume game with these operations and yours is most likely NOT going to be treated kindly. Between the potential of falling from multistory automated machinery, the literal throwing of your package onto the delivery truck, and the potential for a disgruntled worker to use your package to release frustration, you can never really overpack these things.

I have tried all sorts of methods for packaging, and the above is the best and easiest solution (FedEx workers do all the packing) for it.

Yes, there is a service fee for them doing it, but it ends up being more cost and time effective than getting the supplies and doing it yourself.
Last edited:


Well-known member
It looks likes a very nice clean pristine example, there is no quick fix once you repair one part you'll likely go down a rabbit hole discovering you need to recondition everything else. I'd sell for parts, not working, without any expectation you're in for a windfall < $200. Well packed these Macs post well unlike later desktop models.