Jump to content
Mighty Jabba

My Pismo lives again!

Recommended Posts

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?

P1100800.jpg

P1100804.jpg

P1100801.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice!!!

 

I recommend evicting all the dust bunnies around the fan. A fan for mine had all but siezed up and managed to get it working with some 3-in-1 electric motor lubricant. (not a 100% perm fix, but, it work when I need it)

 

I managed to hunt down an all metal heat synk to replace the composite one that was attached to my heat pipe. The 500MHz G4 does run a little warmer.  I tried 550MHz on my G4 pismo and I found that the fan was working more often than I liked... so back to 500MHz it went.

 

I've not had the best of luck with SD cards or CF cards with G3 systems.

 

mSATA to IDE with either newer adapters or hunting down older Toshiba units (23/64/128GB) works for me. But, If there is room, I'll use an IDE-SATA adapter as it is less problematic. (even if oversized)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Someone some where had posted a link to a setup where they had a flush mounted PMCIA card (USB) and managed to hack it to place an 802.11n fob just BARELY inside the metal case.

Total hack job, but, it looks like it worked... but this was on a PC. The AmbiCom WL54-CF into a PCMCIA adapter gains you nothing... it doesn't support WPA2.

(so,  you are back to using TLS or WEP same as on your existing airport card, anyhow)

 

Another option would be to get the PCMCIA card lines run to sit at the bottom of the case under the battery along with a USB fob.

 

The only other thing I have seen is to grind down a USB fob to where it will still sit behind the back cover on the pismo.

 

There were never any PC-CARD USB adapters that I know of. Just didn't exist, so, a true "internal" 802.11n solution is all but impossible unless you want to start to really hack things up.

Edited by FacnyFreddy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They boot fine but running any apps long term burns them out.

 

I has 2 SanDisk and a Sumsung card due an early death.

 

CF tend to last longer and are faster, but, the lack of any form of cache limits their potential.

 

I've just had much better success with mSATA for faster notebooks. My 5300's work fine with CF cards, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, FacnyFreddy said:

They boot fine but running any apps long term burns them out.

 

I has 2 SanDisk and a Sumsung card due an early death.

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For Wi-Fi I would recommend an Ethernet to wireless bridge.  I use one and it works on everything from my Centris 650 to my modern machines.  The one I use is made by IoGear.  I got it from Amazon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, MacFox said:

For Wi-Fi I would recommend an Ethernet to wireless bridge.  I use one and it works on everything from my Centris 650 to my modern machines.  The one I use is made by IoGear.  I got it from Amazon.

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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. 

Edited by Mighty Jabba

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/28/2019 at 10:24 AM, Mighty Jabba said:

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

I haven't done this myself, but I'm guessing that this is  under OS X, and/or in low memory situations using virtual memory extensively.

 

Using a higher end SD card might help, but ultimately SD cards aren't really designed with desktop computing workflows in mind, so using an IDE to M.2 adapter or if you can find one, an OWC (or similar) IDE SSD, should produce a longer-lasting result in that scenario.

 

It used to be that CF was considered to be little better at this than CF, just by nature of being slightly higher end memory to begin with, but SD cards have climbed up in quality since then and CF is a few generations old in its particular market, although IME it's still easy to find CF, just because it's used on a lot of cameras and other devices that are, apparently, still considered good/current enough to sell media for. (I should probably buy a few cards before they do become difficult to find, the last new CF card I bought was a 32-gig SanDisk Ultra of some variety, which I use in a IIgs.)

(Part of that is probably that CF is basically just an implementation of ATA, so ATA-CF adapters are often just pin/shape adapters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fair enough. It should be fine in that scenario. The main thing I'd do is keep your OS/app restore/reinstall media handy and then make backup copies of any unique/special data you make on the machine, or only save things on file servers.

 

OS 9 virtual memory won't matter an awful lot. In reality, if you have any more than 128 megs of RAM, OS 9 won't need to hit VM very often at all unless you're doing some EXTREMELY heavy lifting. (The kind of stuff OS X would be better at for stability and/or multi-processing and/or altivec reasons, typically.)

 

Classic Mac OS doesn't typically hit VM until either that point with heavy lifting or until the machine has been running long enough that RAM is fragmented enough that things are a little unstable anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×