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New to me iBook G4 12", musings and questions

kkritsilas

Well-known member
I just received my iBook G4 (the 1.33GHz 12" version) in the mail from an eBay seller. Machine appears to work fine, and boots up into 10.5.8 (which is in and of itself a bit of an issue). System seems to be charging OK, the About This Mac > System Report > Power says the battery has 233 cycles on it, has a current capacity of 3378 mAH, and the Condition says Good. I can read and write CDs with the built in drive, and it has a 40GB hard drive.

Plans are to max out the RAM by adding a 1GB module, and to see what can be done about increasing the hard drive capacity by swapping the rotating hard drive over to some type of SSD, or even just a bigger rotating hard drive. I don't know how easy it is to find a PATA hard drive or SSD these days, but I'm going to start a search. If anybody has any suggestions or experience, I would really like to know about it.

Since its been a long while having not seen 10.5.8, one of the reasons to get this was to try to get Classic Mode going, and for that I need 10.4.X. What is the easiest way to get that onto this system? Then to get to Classic Mode, does it come with the 10.4.X install, or do I need to get a separate CD with OS 9, 8, or 7? I have already had to hack the system a little bit to regain control of the administrator's account, because the system was delivered without the administrator's password being given to me. It booted without requiring a password directly into a privledged account, and while the system ran fine, it also was impossible to manage and set some stuff in the system. I have that squared away now.
 

Hopfenholz

Well-known member
You can probably get it to boot Mac OS 9 natively, although certain stuff like sleep won’t work. Check out macos9lives.com for more details. I got my PowerBook G4 867 working, although it took hours of fiddling with open firmware and if you put a gun to my head now I don’t think I could tell you how I did it! Lockdown…
 

adam25255

Active member
You can probably get it to boot Mac OS 9 natively, although certain stuff like sleep won’t work. Check out macos9lives.com for more details. I got my PowerBook G4 867 working, although it took hours of fiddling with open firmware and if you put a gun to my head now I don’t think I could tell you how I did it! Lockdown…
Not a good idea. 2005 model has unsupported Radeon 9550 on top of it.(no acceleration) http://macos9lives.com/smforum/index.php?topic=4021.0
 

3lectr1cPPC

Well-known member
Re: SSD
Get a cheap $11 mSata to IDE adapter off Amazon or eBay, along with an mSata SSD of whatever capacity you want and it will work. I have one installed in my 14” iBook G4 and it works great.

Re: Tiger
Easiest way is just to burn a DVD. You may be able to get the thing to boot from a USB drive, but no past attempt by me to get any PPC Mac booted from USB has gone well. It’s supposed to be possible, and there are plenty of tutorials out there, but I’ve never been able to get it to work, although I’ve never tried it on my G4 iBook.

Re: Classic
Easiest way would just be to copy an OS 9.2.2 system folder over USB once Tiger is installed. Just select it afterwards in the Classic environment system prefs and it will boot.
 

kkritsilas

Well-known member
Thanks for all of the feedback. I will be getting back onto Mac Repository and downloading the OSX 10.4.2 CDROM set. The iBook only has a Combo drive, so burning DVDs is not an option. I already have Toast 7 Titanium on the iBook, so tje actual burning will be done with it.

I don't have any physical equipment with any pre-OSX systems on them, part of the reason for getting the iBook G4. I do have non-working systems; one Centris 650 and one 7300/200, but they are not functional at this time. The iBook G4 will be used to help get them functional after I address their hardware issues.
 

Lucretius

New member
My apologies for not having any images, but I reckon you'll recognize what I'm talking about when you see it: as you're taking the iBook apart to replace the HDD with an SSD ( mSATA 64GB / IDE enclosure worked just fine for me ), you'll get to where there's an aluminum cover that's secured by several screws that's covering the HDD. On one video that I watched, there are two, small white, plastic connectors that were pulled off the motherboard to allow the cover to be removed. The commentator was careful to note that pulling these connectors is a bit dangerous: it's possible to break the base that's soldered to the board, which is a Bad Thing.

So: if you look at how the cover is made, you will see that it's a very easy job to simply make a short cut (s) [ I forget if it's one or two ] in the cover so that it can be removed without trying to pull the plastic connectors off. The shield is removed, and there's no chance of ruining the motherboard.

Once your snazzy, new SSD is installed, the cover slips basck in place / the cut area is covered with a bit of tape ( optional ! ), and you're looking pretty good.

I've done this on my 12" and 14" iBook G4's, and it's gone very easy and was actually Fun!
 

kkritsilas

Well-known member
Lucretius:

Thanks for the tip, I will keep it mind when I get to the point where I am putting in the new SSD.

Not that there is a need to post this, but a small warning to other 2005 iBook G4 owners. The Mac Repository 10.4 CD ROM images are invalid/corrupted, and will not burn properly, so the resulting CD ROM set won't boot. They have a .toast extension. Roxio Toast 7 Titanium doesn't see them as image files. There is a 10.4 CD ROM set on Mac Garden which is seen as a a proper ISO image (the download has a .zip extension) after unzipping with Stuffit Deluxe. The resulting file IS seen by Toast 7 Titanium as a valid ISO image, and burns fine, and boots. What it doesn't do is work properly. I think this is the 10.4.0 version, and my suspicion is that it lacks the proper drivers for the graphics chip, Airport card, and the trackpad of the iBook G4. After installing (and it did install, but with some small issues), it doesn't seem to know how to use the onboard trackpad, will not allow an internet connection through Wifi, and the display goes a very pixelated (to the extent that the system is unusable) greyscale. Because of this, the machine is currently unusable. I have arranged to get a copy of the original iBook G4 DVD sent to me (from an eBay seller) to hopefully get the system up and running again. After that, I am looking at getting a 1GB SODIMM to max out the RAM, and then the SSD. If all that goes well, I want to get a MacOS 9.2.2 DVD/CD to be able to get classic mode up and running.

As for the SSD, I am currently looking at a Kingspec PATA SSD. It is a true SSD (no SD card, CF, or other Intermediate storage technologies), but a mSATA to PATA interface in a plastic enclosure (I am looking at the 64GB model, and will probably get two (I will probably end up using one in an OmniBook 800CT project)).
 

Lucretius

New member
Although I'm a ( VERY ) long ways from being really up on things when it comes to programming and circuit board repair, etc., I am pretty good around things Mechanical. My hobby is working on watches, most of which were made before, say, 1960. I'm especially comfortable around American pocket watches that were made between between 1860-1960.

All this History factors into why I'm rather at Home around something like the iBook G4: it's almost as much a Machine as a Computer. All the screws and plates and shields and brackets remind me of devices I've worked on, and I can relate to how Apple designed this laptop, and how I should try to keep it happy.

I have both the "Mac OS X Tiger / Includes Xcode 2 / Install DVD", and "Mac OS X Leopard / CPU Drop-in DVD". I've used them both and have had 100% Good Luck. Tiger goes in initially, then Leopard. Leopard will look for Tiger, and needs to see it to install.

I bought my mSATA 64GB cards and enclosures on Ebay, and everything went together very smoothly.

I'm embarassed to admit, however, that I cannot recall if I formatted the cards prior to installing them. Either the Install DVD will recognize a bare SSD and go ahead, or it will not ( ! ), so you'll need to find out before buttoning the G4 up. It seems that I conected the card to another G4, and got it ready before use...check on this, and see if it's the way to go.

The actual installation process is really neat to watch, and I connected the G4 to the Internet using my trusty Ethernet cable. I recall that the 12" had a little trouble finding the connection, but that I hunted around on the 'connection screen', and figured it out. My 14" is the last version, and it seemed to find things and get up and running very easily. In either case, once the G4 is on-line with Apple, New Updates are available, and it's pretty wild to watch the G4 find & install them.

Once again: I am a Long Ways from a computer person...I just like these old Apples, and enjoy being around them!

Michael.
 

kkritsilas

Well-known member
I love mechanical watches, but the ones I like the most are the Seikos prior to and during the early part of the quartz revolution (or devolution, or crisis, depending on your feeling about that era). I do have one Waltham pocket watch in an octagon case, and think its one of the neatest things that I own. I own some Swiss watches with ETA movements (1 2789, 1 2789, and 1 2824). The pride of my wrist watch collection is a Citizen 8110A Spyder, an analog chronograph with a column wheel and vertical clutch. It works and keeps good time, but really should go in for a CLA, and the crystal should be replaced.

The software issue I am having is strictly software related. The iBook was running just fine on OSX 10.5.8 for weeks. I wanted to get Classic mode going though, and the latest version of OSX that will allow that is 10.4.11. I couldn't find a boot DVD/CD and knew that the iBook came with 10.4.2. I knew that 10.4.0 may not have been compatible with the 2005 iBook G4, but if so, the OS installer should have blocked my attempt to install. It didn't, and not having the drivers for the ATI Radeon 9200 GPU, I am where I am. I'm sure that the installation disk, when it gets here will resolve all of that. I know that ll of the hardware was working just fine prior to my attempt to install 10.4 onto it, and in fact, when I hit the ALT/OPTION key on start up, I get a high resolution colour screen, so the video hardware is fine. I just have to get the 10.4.0 installtion out of there. Afther that is done, and I have everything running well, I will be using a USB "cable set" (a set of cables/adapters and a power supply) to clone the working regular hard drive to the SSD, verify the system will boot from the SSD (again, using the cable set), and then do the swap over.

My USB cable set allows a bare hard drive (in my case, a SATA(Desktop or laptop), IDE (40 Pin Desktop), or laptop IDE (44 pin) drive) to be connected to a USB port, and the external power supply supplies power to the drive. I have used it on Macs and Windows machines in the past.
 

Corgi

Well-known member
The Tiger install DVD has Disk Utility in the Utilities menu (at the top while Installer is running), so if you need to reinitialise the SSD, it should let you do that. I put a blank unformatted SSD in my G5 tower and did exactly that process, and it is happily running Tiger now.
 

kkritsilas

Well-known member
That is one way to go, but I will be installing onto the rotating hard drive first, and after I have that all working, I will then clone the installation to the SSD that is connected via the USB cable set. Then, I will attempt to boot from the SSD through the USB port. Only if that is successful will I replace the rotating hard drive with the SSD. I want to make absolutely sure that the SSD is 100% working before I go through the process of taking the iBook G4 apart and replacing the rotating hard drive with the SSD. I don't have any experience with Kingspec drives, or IDE to mSATA adapters for that matter, and I just want to take it slow in case something unusual goes wrong. I guess I am a bit of a belt and suspenders type of guy, but I don't want to have to take the iBook G4 apart more than once (non-trivial to take apart, and there will probably be some brittle plastics in the case, so only doing this once is the best way to go in my mind).
 

Lucretius

New member
Just keep away from those little, white connectors on the motherboard when you get to the aluminum shield. I've taken three iBook G4's apart, and never had a problem or broke a part. I use the black spongers--the fiber-reinforced ones--and they hold up very well. I recall mine came from Ebay, and that the price was less than $10. for all three. I tried the blue ones, and they lasted about 30 seconds. Ouch. Find the fiber-reinforced.

I think Corgi has it right, and that the Install Disk Utility will see to it that the bare SSD / mSATA card is prepared. As I recall how I installed my mSATA card, I just put in an enclosure ( same as an actual 2.5" case ) / hooked it VIA cable to another iBOOK / formatted it, and assumed that it was good to go.

Having an actual, real, Install DVD makes all the difference here. Apple *must* have known that some folks would simply remove a bad / out-dated HDD, and drop in something new. The Install DVD knows this, and makes it all possible...I think!
 

3lectr1cPPC

Well-known member
10.4.0 may not have been compatible with the 2005 iBook G4, but if so, the OS installer should have blocked my attempt to install.
I also used a 10.4.0 DVD on my 14" 2005 iBook G4 and had largely the same issues that you've described. I don't recall graphics issues, but my trackpad didn't work, and the system wouldn't go into sleep mode when the lid was closed. I don't think I tested the WiFi. Running the 10.4.11 combo update fixed everything up.
Having an actual, real, Install DVD makes all the difference here. Apple *must* have known that some folks would simply remove a bad / out-dated HDD, and drop in something new. The Install DVD knows this, and makes it all possible...I think!
To the system, the mSata drive is just another hard drive, and of course there's nothing to block you from changing it, Apple didn't pair parts back then like they do now. I upgraded my iBook G4 14" with an mSata drive and it was recognized just the same as any hard drive would have been. Disk Utility, Initialize, install OS X. Dead reliable since I installed it around a year ago.
 

Lucretius

New member
I'm assuming that everyone's ahead of me here, but: I've installed InterWebPPC on my G4's, and it works like an absolute Charm! I'm able to access my Gmail, and send & receive messages easily, and I'm even able to go to YouTube and *almost* watch music videos...the music comes through 100%, although the video is usually almost frame-by-frame, although there are times when several seconds seem to play normally.

I'm not able at this minute to recount exactly how I installed InterWebPPC ( there are several options ), but I'm sure it will be very easy for folks on THIS site to search and download it.
 

kkritsilas

Well-known member
I'm assuming that everyone's ahead of me here, but: I've installed InterWebPPC on my G4's, and it works like an absolute Charm! I'm able to access my Gmail, and send & receive messages easily, and I'm even able to go to YouTube and *almost* watch music videos...the music comes through 100%, although the video is usually almost frame-by-frame, although there are times when several seconds seem to play normally.

I'm not able at this minute to recount exactly how I installed InterWebPPC ( there are several options ), but I'm sure it will be very easy for folks on THIS site to search and download it.

On my iBook G4 I also used InterwebPPC when it was running 10.5.8. Same experience as you had. It seems to be a replacement version of TenFour that was previously touted as a modern PPC web browser. The video problems with Youtube are probably all related to either the WiFi speed, the CPU itself, or the GPU. Other than that, it seems to run on all websites that don't try to stream video really well, being able to handle HTTPS certificates and I think TLS protocols just fine. Its a Firefox derived browser, to I am hoping the creators take the time to keep it up to date.
 
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