• 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.

My 3lectr1cal Conquests!


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I saw that @joshc combined all his conquest threads (now lost in the "The Great 68krash of 2021") into one new thread for anyone who may have missed them due to the crash. Since I had a couple, I might as well combine them here, along with a new one that doesn't deserve its own thread due to being intel-related (off-topic: does anyone else think we should make new categories for early intel macs now that Apple is transitioning to the M1?)

To start, in late march I purchased an untested PowerBook 5300ce ($6,800 in '95!) for ~$80 on OfferUp. The guy selling said it worked, but he couldn't find the charger. (AKA, untested, as is). Luckily, it arrived and actually worked! The hard drive however, was very sad. I replaced it with an old drive out of an iBook and one day of frustrating install problems later, I got Mac OS 7.6 to install off of around 16 floppies that I kept rewriting. Overall, it's in very nice condition and works perfectly from what I've been able to test. Oh, and it also turned out to have maximum RAM!
powered on.JPGsyspro.JPGslightly broken port door.JPGtop.JPG

Next, I found a $9 iMac G3 Graphite on OfferUp locally. As I was on the way to pick it up, I was already thinking about what a good conquest thread it would make, but when I got there, I left with far more than just the iMac. (Which turned out to be a 400MHZ G3 DV SE) Here's a list:
- The iMac
- An apple studio display flat panel with the stand broken off and missing. It works but has some screen blotches due to liquid damage. Oh, it's also extremely, disgustingly filthy. I took the back cover off to clean (most of the gunk was BEHIND the cover), but it's just been sitting partially cleaned like this for a month now as I've been busy with other projects.
- 3 desktops. 2 are Pentium 4 boxes, and the other is a celeron powered vista machine. None of them work, but all of them have given at least one useful part.
- A disgusting apple pro keyboard (the white version, although now it's more of the increasingly common aftermarket yellow version). It works fine, and I'm planning on completely restoring it. It's missing the escape key, but oh well.
- Various cables, parts and accessories, the best of which is a super cool USB trackball that I've been using with the iMacs (I have another G3, a blueberry!). It works great.
This is a bit of a simplification, as the old thread on this was much longer. Here are some images:

Finally, a much more recent conquest: 2 Free early Intel MacBooks!
Both are special for one reason or another. The first is an Early 2006 MacBook Pro! This was the first one, and was absolutely LOADED in the BTO (Build to order) stage back in the day. Here are its specs (never upgraded until I got to it)
2.16GHz Intel Core Duo
100GB 7200 Hard Drive
ATI Radeon X1600 Graphics
I've since added a 120GB SSD and a new battery from iFixit that it shares with my early 2008 MBP. While I was in there installing the SSD I also redid the thermal paste. That combined with Macs Fan Control keeps this guy nice and cool. I've chosen to install Mac OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard, which is sadly the newest OS this MacBook can run. Also, the keyboard backlight randomly died on me one day for no reason. Who knows why, it's pretty old at this point...

The second MacBook is an Early 2008 MacBook. It's got a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo, 4GB of DDR2 SDRAM, and a 250GB HDD. It was running Leopard when I first got it, but I've since clean-installed a copy of OS X 10.7 Lion, the newest this MB can run. It's really a shame how heavily Apple screwed everyone who bought one of these, discontinuing support just 4 years after it came out, with OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion in 2012. I know MacPostFactor exists, but I've never been able to get it to work. (XPostFacto gets the win here for best unsupported mac tool with that style of name for sure). It's also in great condition, with no cracking palmrest plastic. This one is special because it was the last MacBook to come in black! And yes, this is the black one. It's just a real shame it can't run a newer OS than my Late 2006 black MacBook that I already had.

I'll edit this post with photos of the new macs tomorrow.

That's all I've got for now. Unless I get something BIG, from now on new conquests will be added in a reply to this thread instead of a new one.


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Yesterday I got a new laptop to add to my fleet: A PowerBook G4 Titanium! This is very exciting for me as I've actively had this one at the top of my list for a year now. I stumbled across it on OfferUp being listed for only $50! What's even better, it appeared to be in nearly mint condition...

It seemed to be listed as untested. The description read something like this:
"Apple PowerBook G4 laptop. Good for parts or a project. No charger."
After messaging the seller I found this was quite wrong, and in fact it did work. The seller said it was a retired college laptop, and that it had been wiped, and he reiterated that it did not come with a charger. No problem though, as I have a compatible one. I bought it for only $45 and with shipping and tax it ended up being around $57. I asked for the model number, and I identified it as the 2nd revision Gigabit ethernet model.

When it arrived, I tested it out and it booted to the flashing question mark. I popped a Tiger DVD and no hard drive was recognized. I opened it up to install a spare, but found that not only was there no hard drive, but whatever person removed the hard drive also took the caddy AND CABLE out with it. Well, I'm going to have to order one of those now...

In the meantime, I've got it running off of FireWire with the assistance of my iBook G4 running in Target Disk Mode. It runs great, although it does get very hot and it clearly needs to have its thermal paste replaced. All the usual trouble spots are worry free. The hinge is very strong, and the speakers work perfectly. The keyboard has absolutely no wear as well! Besides a couple scratches and tiny chips in the paint, it's pretty much perfect.

The battery also works, and only has 30 charge cycles! Clearly this TiBook was barely used. Still, as expected, the working battery only lasts around 30 minutes on a charge and Coconutbattery currently shows 57% health.

So far I've tested:
Both USB ports
The PC Card slot
the headphone jack
and all work! I couldn't be happier. I'll attach images in a little while, I'm currently typing this ON the PowerBook so it would be a little tricky to attach images on such an old computer.

It also has the 667MHz G4, and 512MB of RAM!


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Looks great - one that has good hinges and no flaking paint is a keeper - must have had an easy life.


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Yeah, it's in pretty good shape! The hinge feels strong, maybe too strong. It has some minor paint wear but it's overall pretty nice. I'm still waiting on a HDD cable that's shipping from the UK.

The main topic of this post is a new computer - an iMac G5! Best part, it was FREE!
It's the 20 inch light sensor model (PowerMac 8,2) and it works great! I got it with the original box, keyboard, and mouse and it was running Tiger. I reinstalled a clean install of Tiger anyway. I'm going to wait on Leopard for now until i upgrade the RAM. It's only got the stock 512MB. It's a very good performer on Tiger though, and the speaker quality is amazing. Even better than my eMac! Even the clock battery still works!

The display quality is also very nice, and it runs pretty quiet too for a G5. I took the cover off, and all the caps look good too. I know that these can have some issues due to the great 2000s capacitor plague. I've got probably 5 Pentium 4 desktops that all appear to be dead due to leaking caps, and another is on its way out.

This is my first flat panel iMac, and I can see the appeal of them now. They're pretty cool machines!

Here are some images:


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I just got a huge haul a few days ago...
Not a lot of it is Apple stuff, but I thought I'd share it anyway.
This is what happens when your community has a garage sale...

  1. Dell Inspiron N4110 Laptop (Free) - Dead hard drive, otherwise working fine. It has a 1st party extended battery which is at around 60000/80000 capacity.
  2. IBM PS/Note 425 laptop (Free) - It's dead, but hopefully it will be a fun repair project once I figure out what's wrong with it. Most of these have dead screens due to caps, but mine doesn't POST at all.
  3. IBM ThinkPad 385XD (Free) - Works fine. It has one of those Energy+ batteries and it holds 2.5 hours of charge!!!
  4. IBM ThinkPad R51e (Free) - Battery was keeping it from starting up. Works fine.
  5. HP Pavilion Desktop (Free) - Don't have the model on hand right now. Athlon II X4, 4GB RAM, Windows 7.
  6. Dell Inspiron Desktop (Free) - Don't have the model right now, it's from around 2016 though. 6th gen i5, 8GB RAM, missing hard drive.
  7. 4TB External HDD ($10) - Brand new, works fine!
  8. 1st gen Apple TV (Free) - Works, I need a remote though
  9. Apple iSight camera (Free) - haven't tested yet, but it seems to be fine. I got it with a 3rd party ring light and stand.
  10. Various FireWire cables (Free) - A couple 1st party FW400 cables, a couple 3rd party FW800 cables and an 800-400 adapter.
So yeah, I think this beats out the $19 haul from a few months ago. I'm not even sure I'll ever top it!
I'll attach images later.


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Lots of fun in that lot - you've covered 25+ years of x86 computing for $19 well spent :)

I recently built up a Core2Duo 9600GT GPU PCIe based system as a Windows XP beast for a friend. Works great and I'm almost sad to hand it over.


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Yeah, I've been having a lot of fun with that late 90s ThinkPad. It's not my first Windows 98 laptop but it sure is my coolest one. :)
Update on the PS/Note: I managed to get it turned on. Once. It POSTed, showed the normal Error 161 and 163 (Yes, even the screen worked!) but then I moved it slightly and it shut off. I was thinking loose connection, so I tore it down and reseated everything, but no dice. However, after I ran it for a bit in its non-POSTing state, I noticed a fishy smell coming out the back...
Sure enough, bad SMD capacitor on the motherboard. I used the twist method to get it off, and while there was no cap juice around it, there sure was a lot under it. I'm hoping replacing that cap will fix my troubles and get that awesome old laptop running again. I saw another SMD cap in the display, but I gave it a good sniff and smelled no fishy smell, for now at least. I'm hoping it stays good for at least a little bit because it's really small, and I don't want to deal with replacing it. This will be my first surface mount repair (and soldering repair in general, I tried to recap a pentium 4 mobo but all the bad caps were on a huge ground plane and it just wasn't happening), but I have watched a lot of YouTube on how to do it, so I'm confident I know the right steps. Wish me luck!

Also, nice Core 2 Duo system :) May your friend enjoy it for many years to come!


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Update: Just ordered the capacitor from Mouser. I'll let everyone know how it goes when they (i actually ordered 3) actually get here.


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Might as well give a quick update on the PS/Note. I managed to hack the capacitor into place (although it did lead to some power issues), but it does start up and boot Windows For Workgroups 3.11!

Anyways, the main point of this post (and merry Christmas by the way!) is that I ordered a PowerBook 145 off of eBay! As I did when I got the 170, here's what I know about it right now from the listing:

- It does turn on, and has a working floppy drive.
- It is missing a hard drive, but the interface itself does work.
- It includes a disk tools floppy that will boot the system
- The display has the common "max contrast" problem caused by failed display capacitors.
- The rear port cover is missing
- The battery has been removed

I managed to snag it for around $70, which I would say is a decent price. I'm excited to take on the challenge of getting this guy up and running again, so here's everything I'm going to do when it arrives:

1 - Swap the floppy drive with the one inside my PB 170. The 170 has a dead drive, and the 145 is probably going to sit for a little while until I can get it running again. Until then, I want my 170 to have a functioning drive so that I can transfer files to it.
2 - Recap the display and get it working again
3 - Install some solid state hard drive replacement. I'll probably go with a BlueSCSI since it's cheaper than other options.
4 - Hopefully get my dead floppy drive fixed (hopefully the heads are just stuck) and then I'll have 2 good drives.

Anything after that is maintenance I still have to do on my 170. (Doing the hinge fix, battery rebuild, etc).

I'm super excited to get this thing running again, wish me luck!


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Quick (very late) update on the PB145. I recapped the display, so that’s working now, but the hinges are absolutely mangled on this thing. I haven’t gotten around to doing much else on it yet, but I’ve booted it from my external RaSCSI and it does work. The keyboard was dead though, and I have replaced that.

This post is to document a poor financial deci- er, I mean, 2 new arrivals to the collection, being 2 iBooks!

I've been looking on and off for a 900MHz iBook G3 for a while now, because I love iBooks, and this was the fastest G3 Apple ever put into a computer, although I believe 1GHz G3 cards for the Pismo may exist - I might be wrong though.

The problem with these 900MHz iBooks is that they suffer from rampant GPU failure, and they never seem to show up working, and even rarely show up dead, although so many iBooks used the A1007 model number that it can be hard to tell. Despite this, I still wanted one.

And despite the odds, I managed to find one on eBay last week! It was in a lot of 2, a 12" and a 14", both listed for parts. The seller said the 12" chimed but didn't show anything on the display, and the 14" was said to boot, but "no further testing has been done." This was backed up by photos showing the 14" booted with the about this mac screen open, and low an behold, it's a 900MHz model. Yes, it isn't likely to last very long before it succumbs to GPU death, but I bought it anyway. It wasn't that expensive, around $70 after shipping, and I can always recoup some of the costs by parting out the dead 12", so not that bad really.


Turns out (not at all to my surprise - these iceBooks are absolute tanks besides the graphics issues) it works perfectly, and it isn't too badly worn all things considered. The palmrests have some discoloration, but it isn't nearly as bad in person as it is in the photo. The only real issue is that the keyboard is yellowed, but that can always be swapped out very easily.

One thing that really took me by surprise was what happened when I booted from its OS 9 system folder. It launched into the first time setup! No, not the setup assistant, the original personalized first-time setup that only plays on first boot, and only first boot. Not even doing a clean install from the original install media will bring it back. This means it wasn't started up even once from OS 9 until I just did it!

Here's one thing that really made me laugh - the battery. I launched up coconutbattery, as it seemed to be charging, and I was met with perhaps the saddest health results I've ever seen. 117/4000 mAh remaining. Only 2% of the original capacity. Within 3 or so minutes it had charged nearly to half and OS X estimated 4 minutes until full...
I pulled the plug and it ran for about 5 seconds before it died. No surprises there, as it read 498 cycles. This battery's life is up!

While it may die in a month, or a week, I do really love this thing, and I'm glad to finally add it to my collection. How long do you give it before the GPU gives up the ghost?
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I left my working 12 inch trying to charge the “dead” 12 inch battery overnight, and it actually started working! Yesterday it was reading garbled health readings (basically a load of unknowns and zeros), but it‘s holding charge! My working 12 inch was missing its battery so I’m really happy! Now it’s showing only 130 cycles, and it’s claiming 5,661 mAh of capacity…with the design capacity being 4,200. That seems wrong, but as long as it charges I can’t really complain.

I’ve had some old lithium batteries do this same thing before, where they take a while of being left on charge to start working again, and I had hope for this one based on the intermittent signs of life I was getting from it yesterday. I guess that payed off!


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It died about 10 minutes ago, thinking it had nearly 70% left. I booted it back up and it hasn't calibrated, it still thinks it has above max capacity. Oh well, nearly 2 hours isn't bad at all!

Also, does anyone know if the 14" and 12" keyboards are interchangeable? The part numbers are different, but they look the same. I'd love to swap the non-yellowed keyboard from the dead 12 inch with the yellowed one from the 14 inch.


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I can't say for certain that the keyboards compatible as I've only ever been exposed to the 12" iBooks, but I'd be surprised if they weren't.

You're absolutely right that these machines can take a surprising amount of abuse and still hold up reasonably well, all things considered. That being said, I remember the 700-900MHz G3s as being so unreliable that it was almost an inevitability that even once they had been fixed they were likely to die again. Probably why there are, comparatively speaking, so few 700-900MHz G3s as compared to the 500-600MHz G3s or any of the G4s.


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I’ll give it a go and see if it works. One day down and it’s been reliable, hopefully that lasts. I’ve torn town the dead 12” and it gave me a working hard drive, a RAM upgrade for the 900MHz, and a spare AirPort card. I’m super pleased with the 12” battery! That combined with my iBook G4’s working battery means I can get all the iceBooks portable.

Edit: It doesn't work. The connectors are the same but the 14" cable is longer so it won't fit.
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Good to know. I should have expected that the 14" iceBook keyboard is just different enough from the 12" that it's not a straight swap.

I have noticed that some batteries I thought were dead "suddenly" came back to life when I used a 65W charger as opposed to the standard/easier to find 45W version.


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Strange. I’m not sure what version my charger is, but it’s a later brick, like the later macbook chargers, not a yo-yo.