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Mighty Jabba

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Everything posted by Mighty Jabba

  1. Great, I'm glad to hear from someone who has one. Can you explain what exactly I need to do to take advantage of the speed increase? Where would I put the Gemstart 2.1 control panel and does it matter what OS version I use? Is it possible to do add it to a boot floppy?
  2. Quick update: I did manage to get the floppy mechanism back into position so that it would accept a disk, and it does function, but (of course) the eject mechanism appears to be shot. The weird thing is that when I tried to boot it with both the internal floppy drive cable and an external floppy connected, it made the boot chime and then just never stopped. Is that a known issue of some kind?
  3. Mighty Jabba

    My Pismo lives again!

    As projects go this one wasn't very hard at all -- I finished everything in a couple of hours. But I've had this Pismo PowerBook since it was new, and I used it a lot even after I had moved on to a 12" PowerBook G4 as my main machine, so it was very good to see it come back to life. I think this was originally a 400Mhz G3, but I later upgraded it to a 500Mhz G4. It has 512MB of RAM. As you can see, I did some modifications back in 2001, painting it, changing the color of the Apple logo, and adding a blank blue keyboard. The first thing I had to do was order a new power adapter, since I couldn't find mine. Most of the ones on eBay seem to be for the later PowerBook G4/iBook generation and won't work with these, so this was a bit trickier than I thought. Once I had power, I found that the spinning hard disk had died and was making some very ominous clicks. So I replaced it with an SD card in an adapter (these would have been great to have back in the day, at least if we could have also had cheap large-capacity SD cards). I partitioned it and installed OS 9 and OS X Tiger (using XpostFacto). I still need to figure out a good solution for Wi-Fi, since none of my older machines seem to be able to connect to my Wi-Fi router due to them not supporting newer types of encryption. What do people typically do about this?
  4. Mighty Jabba

    Macintosh SE screen flickering/changing shape

    I'm still new to working on the innards of compact macs, but I could handle reflowing some solder joints if you think that might help.
  5. Mighty Jabba

    My Pismo lives again!

    Realistically, I'm probably not going to be using this computer very heavily, so I'm hoping the SD solution might be enough. I will also be using Mac OS 9 most of the time with virtual memory turned off, so it will probably not be writing to the card as much. I did look into using an SSD but it's considerably more expensive, since in this case I just had to buy the adapter for $15 and use an SD card I already had.
  6. Mighty Jabba

    My Pismo lives again!

    I was living in Japan at the time, and back then at least they had a pretty vibrant "kaizo" ("modification") community. A lot of it was centered on things like the 2400c, but a number of people did modify their then-modern PowerBooks as well. I don't really recall people being particularly surprised by how mine looked, but then again the typical person probably doesn't even know that it's an unusual look for a PowerBook like this. I actually did a project on Mac modification for the school I was attending, so I met and interviewed a number of Japanese people who were modding their Macs, including one guy who had his Wallstreet painted to look like marble, one guy who made a black iMac G4, and another who would add improved digital signal processors to the iPod, which had just come out around then. The keys were from a company called DigitalHipps. No idea what that name was supposed to mean, but they came out with a line of replacement keyboard keys for PowerBooks called KeyBORG. I know they made at least red and blue ones, but most of them used a horrible "techno" font that kind of ruined it in my opinion. So I asked them if they could sell blanks and they did. I also met and interviewed the guy who started the company for my project, since he was in the same area where I was going to school. Unfortunately they didn't last very long so I'm sure these are almost impossible to find, although they did sell them to the US as well as Japan.
  7. Mighty Jabba

    My Pismo lives again!

    That sounds like an interesting idea. For the moment I think I'm going to just have a Mac stationed next to the cable modem sharing its Ethernet connection via Wifi, but it's probably not a great long-term solution.
  8. Mighty Jabba

    My Pismo lives again!

    Is that in OS X or OS 9 or both? How long term are you talking about?
  9. Mighty Jabba

    MessagePad 120 Conquest

    Good eye! That is one weird collection of stuff to sell as a lot
  10. Mighty Jabba

    Macintosh SE screen flickering/changing shape

    Well darn. I'm just using the forum's built-in uploader and it still displays for me for some reason. Here, I've put it on imgur: https://imgur.com/a/FUEH0gk It gets worse at the end of the clip.
  11. Mighty Jabba

    I resurrected a Mac SE hard drive!

    I should probably preface this by saying that I am very much a beginner when it comes to compact Macs. I had basically never even used one before a couple of weeks ago (having started as a Mac user with a PowerMac 9600 tower), and I certainly had never disassembled or serviced one. But I've recently bought a Macintosh SE (non-superdrive version) and a Mac Plus (apparently one of the "factory upgraded" versions that still uses the case from the original Mac). The SE I managed to snag on eBay for $37.99 plus about $20 shipping. The seller said it turned on and showed the floppy disc icon, so I figured the hard disk was dead, but maybe the floppy drive would be okay. Turns out the floppy was just fine, but as I suspected the hard disk seemed dead. The indicator light did sometimes flash, but there was no sound at all from the drive and it didn't show up in any of the utilities I tried. I did also try reseating the SCSI cable, but it didn't do anything. Since I figured it was a lost cause anyway, I decided to try opening the actual drive up and spin the heads manually, which is a trick I've seen work on some YouTube videos. (See the photo below.) I probably should have prepared my work area better for this kind of thing, but I really didn't expect it to work. But much to my surprise, it booted up immediately after I put it back in! The most recent "modified" date on the hard disk seems to be from 1993. I don't know if they stopped using it because the hard disk stopped working or if it just got put it storage and got locked up from sitting for decades. But either way, it appears to be working absolutely fine now, and isn't even noisy. Anyway, I was excited. While I had the case open I removed the internal battery, adjusted the screen height, and upgraded the ram from 2MB to 2.5MB with some spare memory I had left after upgrading the Plus to 4MB. Should I worry about replacing the battery? It was one of the soldered-in ones, so it would be a little bit of work to replace, but I can certainly do it if necessary. I'm not sure how much I will actually be using this particular machine.
  12. Mighty Jabba

    Macintosh SE screen flickering/changing shape

    No ideas on this one? I noticed that it had the old squirrel cage style fan (which is really is quite loud). Somewhere I heard that these fans could potentially cause screen interference, but I don't know if it's related. I'm kind of stumped about where to start diagnosing this since I don't know a lot about CRTs.
  13. (I posted this to the Vintage Mac subreddit, but I think it's appropriate here. And I can post more photos.) I got this PowerMac G5 locally for $50. It didn’t have a hard disk, but the guy seemed to think that it was otherwise okay. After getting it home, the musty smell inside made it pretty obvious that it had been sitting in a basement for a long time. And while the circuit boards looked very clean, there was some weird corrosion on the steel parts of the inner frame. When I tried to plug it in with no hard disk, the fans spun up but there was no chime or video. That didn’t seem great. But I knew that a bad PRAM battery could often cause strange issues, so I ordered one of those. While I was waiting for that to come, I decided to clean up the case and some of the interior corrosion as well as I could. It had some smudges and smear marks on the sides that didn’t want to come off with just water, but I used isopropyl alcohol and a magic eraser (separately) to get it looking very good. There were also some stickers that required some Goo-Gone and a lot of patience — some of the adhesive had gotten into holes on the front, so I had to go in with toothpicks to get it out! I’ll spare you the details of all of my troubleshooting (various combinations of PRAM resets and pushing the reset button on the motherboard, as well as removing the RAM sticks, etc.). But I did eventually get it to display the “no disk” icon on the screen, and got it to boot from a Mac OS X Tiger DVD (but I still had no hard disk to install to, so I had to wait). Then I replaced the PRAM battery and finally got a startup chime, but I lost video again! I was starting to worry that there were fundamental issues with this machine. It wasn’t until after I had already ordered a replacement video card (which turned out to be for the wrong model of G5 anyway) that I thought to clean the contacts of the video card with alcohol. They looked quite clean, but given the state of the other parts of the machine, this would have been a good thing to try earlier. And wouldn’t you know it, the video came right back! This is a 2Ghz dual G5 machine with a 500GB hard disk that I added and 4GB of RAM. For some reason only 3GB are recognized by the machine, and cleaning the contacts did not help in this case. I think some of it is just bad. Still 3GB is probably plenty for what I will use it for. I installed Tiger because I want to be able to use Classic on this machine, and it’s actually very snappy just moving around the OS, unless you’re surfing the web or something. I also picked up a used 23” Cinema Display on eBay for less than $30 since it didn’t have the power supply, but as luck would have it, I already had one from my old (now nearly dead) Cinema Display. I’ll have to say, this is still a very beautiful machine. Makes me wish Apple was making a replacement that didn’t start at $6k…
  14. Mighty Jabba

    Power Mac G5 OS Compatability

    I'm not sure it makes a huge difference, but I would avoid the liquid cooled ones since they seem to have issues.
  15. Mighty Jabba

    My Pismo lives again!

    What was the problem with the SD cards?
  16. Mighty Jabba

    I resurrected a Mac SE hard drive!

    I guess we'll see. I did preemptively copy anything from the drive that looked remotely interesting. But I do hope that it keeps working, because it is much quieter than the hard disk in the other SE I just got!
  17. For some reason I got the vintage computer collecting bug recently and have bought a few different systems in the last several weeks. This is probably the one that I was most excited about, though. I have always loved the design of the early PowerBooks, but didn't actually buy a Mac until 1997 (and didn't buy a PowerBook until 1999 -- a Lombard PowerBook G3). So I'm excited to be able to finally get one. I picked the 180 because I liked the idea of an active matrix B&W screen, but I hadn't heard about the issues (e.g. tunnel vision) that this model can have later in its life, but more on that in a second. The one I got has 12MB of RAM and a 120MB hard disk, and appears to be working perfectly. The battery is a replacement one that only holds a few seconds' worth of power, but that's not a big deal. Cosmetically it's also very good, with the only real issue being the missing port door in the back. The floppy drive works fine (which is good since it'll probably be my main way of getting data on and off the computer) and the hard disk is surprisingly quiet. I'm also happy to say that my system doesn't seem to suffer from tunnel vision. I left it running with the screen on for a good 3 hours and it still looked fine. There might have been a very slight darkening of the upper right corner, but I definitely wouldn't have noticed if I wasn't specifically looking for it. I did notice that there were two "warranty if removed" stickers that I took off when cleaning the system -- one on the screen under the PowerBook 180 logo and one on the bottom. So I'm wondering if this might not have had some parts replaced by a third party some time after it was made, which could explain why they haven't deteriorated as badly as some. The screen does have about 5 stuck white pixels, though. I decided to take a few "glamor shots" of the computer, along with a couple of my actual laptop from around that time period, which was a PC that I chose specifically because it had a design similar to the PowerBook (keeping in mind that most PC laptops of the time didn't use the "keyboard up near the screen with palm rests and a pointing device in the middle" design that the PowerBook popularized. Anyway, I'm happy to be here!
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