Jump to content
Mighty Jabba

Mighty Jabba's Conquests

Recommended Posts

I've been going a little crazy buying old computers lately, so I thought I would write about a few of them here. I've already talked about my Macintosh Plus with an accelerator board installed that I got for about $80 + shipping, and that one has worked out pretty well now that I've figured out how to enable to accelerator. It's very fast! And I started a thread about my experience refurbishing 3 Titanium PowerBooks as well.

 

But today I wanted to talk about this PowerBook G3 Pismo that I got for $30 + shipping (on the left). It was listed as powering on with no hard disk and no other details, but it works perfectly and is in noticeably better shape than my own (blue) Pismo that I've had since 2000. The battery even seems to be taking a charge, which seems amazing.

 

IMG_3601.thumb.jpg.454fcffc0a89103dc3c11dc8a021d601.jpg

The only thing is that it was advertised as a 400mHz model, but System Profiler shows it as a 500 Mhz G3. Could that be accurate? Is there some other way I can check the speed easily?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Small update: The battery on the new Pismo lasted almost exactly 4 hours of light use with the screen on constantly. I did use an SD adapter instead of a hard disk, so that probably helped, but it's still very impressive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Mighty Jabba said:

I've been going a little crazy buying old computers lately, so I thought I would write about a few of them here. I've already talked about my Macintosh Plus with an accelerator board installed that I got for about $80 + shipping, and that one has worked out pretty well now that I've figured out how to enable to accelerator. It's very fast! And I started a thread about my experience refurbishing 3 Titanium PowerBooks as well.

 

But today I wanted to talk about this PowerBook G3 Pismo that I got for $30 + shipping (on the left). It was listed as powering on with no hard disk and no other details, but it works perfectly and is in noticeably better shape than my own (blue) Pismo that I've had since 2000. The battery even seems to be taking a charge, which seems amazing.

 

IMG_3601.thumb.jpg.454fcffc0a89103dc3c11dc8a021d601.jpg

The only thing is that it was advertised as a 400mHz model, but System Profiler shows it as a 500 Mhz G3. Could that be accurate? Is there some other way I can check the speed easily?

It has had a 500mhz CPU swapped in -- trivially easy to do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure where to start adding to this, since I've bought so much in the last month. But I did get another "non-working" Titanium PowerBook for $12.99 that turned out to not only be nearly mint, but also only need to have its PRAM battery unplugged for it to start right up. I don't really need another one of these, but it looked so much nicer than my others that I couldn't resist at that price. It's also one of the earlier models (400MHz), which I didn't have.

 

I got a PowerBook 1400c for $30 after getting a partial refund due to one of the RAM expansion boards being bad. I really like this machine, even if it is super heavy.

 

I got several iBook clamshells relatively cheaply (the cheapest was $40 shipped), and have now gotten fairly adept at taking them apart. I've replaced three noisy/failing original hard disks with SSDs or modern disks, and resoldered one power connector that had to be held at a certain angle to work. I also took two Tangerine iBooks with various faults (including a smashed screen on one) and combined them into one nice version with the best parts from both. I also finally found someone selling modern iBook clamshell batteries that wasn't charging a fortune for them (the only seller on eBay who carries them wants around $200 apiece!) The one I ordered hasn't arrived yet, though, so we'll see how it is.

 

I got a G4 iMac in very nice shape for less than $50 shipped. I've never owned one of these, but love the design. I like it a lot better than the white iMacs that followed it (which I did own).
 

I also got a "for parts" Wallstreet PowerBook G3 for $20. It wouldn't turn on, but I was able to resolder the power connector and get it working. Unfortunately, it had been dropped and the screen was damaged. Strangely, aside from some lines of dead pixels on the far right side, the screen looked pretty good, but the colors were inverted. I was able to download CloseView for MacOS 9 and use the "white on black" option to sort of fix it, but the screen is still not great. A little too bad, since it was the 14" active matrix version.

 

I've also had some misadventures trying to repair 17" PowerBook G4s. The first one I bought just needed a new hard disk, but I stupidly managed to break the ribbon connector on the logic board where the top case connects (and I mean I broke it right off the board, which is way beyond my soldering skills to fix). Then I bought another one that wouldn't display anything on the screen, thinking that I could swap out the logic board. That appeared to work for about a day and then I started getting strange graphics glitches and freezes, before it finally stopped working altogether (I'm guessing the logic board was the problem to begin with, and not the screen itself as they had implied). Then due to some bad timing on some eBay "best offers" I ended up getting two more faulty 17 inchers. With one, the seller had tried to upgrade the hard disk but broke the same ribbon connector I had. Luckily, he had only broken the lock on the connector and not the connector itself, so I was able to fix that one. And the fourth one had a very weird screen defect where there were blotches all over the screen, some of which were much brighter than the rest of the screen. Luckily, I had two screens from my first two failed repairs, so I was able to fix that. For those of you counting, that means I now have two working 17" PowerBooks. I guess two out of four isn't too bad, right...? 

Edited by Mighty Jabba

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got a couple of “for parts” Lombard PowerBook G3s for around $20 apiece. I’m sort of trying to get one example of all of the major revisions of Apple’s portables, and the Lombard was my first PowerBook, so I wanted one even though I have a couple of Pismos already. 

 

The first one had a terrible screen that the seller didn’t really mention — I think it had the dreaded “vinegar syndrome.” It was still sort of usable, but everything but the edges looked like someone had roughed it up with sandpaper. When I tried wiping off the case plastics with some alcohol, they also started to break down in a weird way, so even though the machine basically worked, I decided to just take out the usable parts and scrap the rest. I’m particularly concerned about the idea of the LCD problem possibly being “contagious” as some have suggested. 

 

The second one was much better cosmetically, but didn’t turn on. The only sign of life was the green power LED. I tried swapping out the processor card from the first machine and it booted right up. After some experimentation with the memory, it seems like the second machine won’t boot if anything is in the bottom memory slot. So anyway I do have one complete working Lombard now (although it is the low-end 333MHz model). 

Edited by Mighty Jabba

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Got a 733MHz Quicksilver PowerMac G4 for $20 (although shipping was kind of expensive as you might guess). The main reason I chose this particular one was that it appeared to be in amazing condition. The plastic was still on the optical drive covers, and there doesn't appear to be any damage of any kind. It really is a beautiful machine, and the most attractive of the PowerMacs in my opinion. Also has a SCSI card, which might come in handy. The only issue is that the optical drive is only a CD writer.

 

I also got a PowerBook Duo 270c for $35 with the power adapter and an Xbox 360 video cable that the seller apparently thought was one of the Duo's accessories (and to be fair, it does look pretty similar, except for the big MICROSOFT label). It works fine although the hard disk is getting loud. Also the keyboards on both of my Duos seem really stiff for some reason. Is this just how they were?

 

Also, while these aren't strictly vintage, I got a 2010 MacBook Pro for $50 (oddly I was the only bidder). The seller basically said that it worked fine, except that it would sometimes slow down and lose the Wifi connection when it was moved. This sounded odd. When I got it and powered it on, the fans were running full blast and the cursor wouldn't move smoothly. It was also so slow as to be unusable. At first I thought maybe it was a RAM issue, but I discovered from a comment on YouTube that these machines have sensors in the trackpad cable that can cause the machine to do exactly these things if they are damaged or if you try to run them without a trackpad connected. I noticed that the trackpad also had trouble registering clicks unless you pushed harder than usual. So I swapped it out with a trackpad from my otherwise identical 2009 MacBook Pro and the problem went away. I've ordered a new trackpad and hopefully that will put both machines right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, olePigeon said:

@Mighty Jabba  I think someone on here has DP 1GHz CPU module for sale.  Could do a CPU swap and upgrade that $20 find to the 2nd fasted G4 PowerMac.

Yes I actually saw that and am considering it. I just have to decide how much money I want to put into this machine

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Got a B&W G3 tower for $25 on eBay. The seller said that it didn't have a hard drive, but it turned out to have two! It has one SCSI and one ATA disk, and they both appear to be fine. The only issue is that one of the handles got smashed in shipping, although I was able to glue it back together well enough that it's not obvious, and it was the one in the upper rear anyway.

 

I also got a Key Lime iBook for $120 shipped, which is way more than I really wanted to spend, but it seems like this was actually a pretty good price for it. The only flaw was that it was missing the Apple logo from the top, but I have been working on a way to replace these missing logos using polyester resin. It's nice to finally have an iBook with a firewire port and a DVD drive, since all of my others have been standard edition ones. I replaced the hard disk with an SSD and put in a new battery, so it's working better than it ever did.

Edited by Mighty Jabba

Share this post


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

 The only issue is that one of the handles got smashed in shipping, although I was able to glue it back together well enough that it's not obvious, and it was the one in the upper rear anyway.

I may be able to source a handle for you.  Give me a couple days.

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

×