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Hello! At some point around high school (somewhere around '99 or '00), my parents got my nephew and I "new" Powerbook 540c's which at the time gave us intermittent problems, but which I got some use out of nevertheless. After years of neglect, I turned mine on briefly back in 2011 to see what was on it and to retrieve a few things, but otherwise it has basically been sitting around unused for quite awhile. I decided recently to try pulling it out once again but was disappointed to find that, other than a meek squeal, followed by the boot chime, it wasn't loading the system, not even a blinking question mark. Thinking the hard drive was dead, I tried booting from a CD using an external CD Rom Drive (the AppleCD 600e!) and an OS 8.1 install disk. While this caused the blinking question mark to appear, it did not get me any farther. However, I noticed that the squealing had subsided, so I disconnected everything and, voila! It booted to the Finder. (It has squealed off and on since then, but it still boots right up.) I've since installed OS 8.1 and have had no issues whatsoever. It seems my problems back in the day were likely caused by trying to run OS 8.5, which is too new for the machine. My mission was then to get the thing onto the internet. While I could burn CDs on a newer machine and load them with the AppleCD Drive, this was not very efficient, so I tracked down what I needed for ethernet, and ordered the adapter cable. On arrival I tried it out and like magic, I was able to connect! Though browsing was not really in the cards (though I certainly tried), I managed to load Fetch 3 onto the system, making it much easier to transfer files to (and from!) the machine. The next step was trying get it working with an external VGA monitor. I ordered the external monitor cable for the Powerbook 500 (my machine, being secondhand, never had one that I'm aware of). However, to my dismay I realized that it outputs to the old Macintosh Monitor cable, which is no use to me. But after some research I was able to track down a Mac to VGA adapter on Amazon that works perfectly! (And no dipswitches!) I just ordered an iFixit Torx 8 screwdriver to open it up, as well as a new Clock PRAM battery from AppleMacParts. However, in the meantime I can sync the clock as needed while connected to the internet using Vremya and the time.apple.com server. After that, the next project is to order and install the 2.5" SCSI2SD Powerbook module and replace the hard drive. While it continues to work so far, at around 20 years old (if not older), it's really only a matter of time before it bids this world a fond farewell.. Attached are some photos of my progress so far.
Hopefully, this would come in handy for anyone curious about the PCMCIA module made for the PowerBook 500 series. I've posted as many pictures from various angles of the board assembly and parts (in case anyone has interest in planning modifications and how much space is inside the module) as I don't intend to open this up very often. If at all. There are three hex screws, one plastic tab, and a sticker holding my Rev C module together. I didn't have a hex bit of the correct size, but a Torx T6 proved a snug fit that allowed me to remove the screws. When I depressed the plastic tab back a small distance, I was able to carefully lift and separate the pieces only slightly, hinging at the sticker in the back. Some patient "working" back and forth allowed me to carefully separate the sticker from one of the pieces, and the unit was opened. I worked the board assembly from the back to the front to lift it from the bottom molding. The module ejection mechanism is separate from the board, and is a fixture on the bottom molding - it may be difficult to replace if it becomes damaged. Here is the bottom side of the board assembly. All pieces, angled, minus screws. Left side top (from front of module). Right side top (from front of module). Left side bottom (from front of module). Right side bottom (from front of module). Overview of bottom of board. All pieces of the module. Front hinging doors of the module. There is one stretched "rubber band" that acts to spring the doors back to resting position. If this part breaks someday, you could probably just install a rubber band to replace it...I'm actually surprised this one hasn't dry-rotted, yet. Or hack another spring assembly to your fancy. Okay. Just let me know when you make USB and cardbus possible for the 500 series.
Sorry if this is in the wrong section but I recently pulled out my PB 540 and decided to try fixing some problems. These are the problems its having: -Screen is cut off on lower part unless putting pressure on it. -LCD Cable has been cut a little -Audio doesn't work -Not sure if this is an issue but the screen begins to fade from all edges to black after a while. I uploaded a picture of the LCD needing pressure to actually work, and the hinge cable being cut. I figured since this is the only cable going to the LCD that maybe the connections to the audio had been cut on the ribbon cable? (There is fewer wire lines on the cut area, forgive me if I'm way off). Would the pressure problem be an LCD issue if anyone knows? Also I read about capacitors often going bad, should I check around for leaking capacitors? Thanks