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Powerbook 180


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Went to the local recycle center today and sitting right on the computer table was a Powerbook 180. I snatched it up in a hurry and set about looking for a power adapter. I didn't find one, but luckily I have a PB1xx adapter already that I use with my Mac Portable. I did find the external monitor cable, though.

 

I get the machine home and try to power it on. Nothing happens. I wait a few minutes and try again. Same. I remove the battery and it springs to life! That 4-bit greyscale active matrix display really sparkles!

 

Is this common behavior with Powerbook and old, dead batteries?

 

It only has 4 MB of RAM, so I'm thinking about downgrading to System 7.1. The previous owner had 7.5 installed.

 

Also, I couldn't get my external monitor to show up. I've got my VGA LCD display plugged in through one of those adpaters with the DIP switches.

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Did you notice that the battery had heated up during its time on the adapter? If it was internally dead-shorted through battery deterioration it may not have permitted enough voltage to reach the PB's works. Otherwise, in my experience of PB 100 series (except the PB 100 itself), PB 500 and PB 1400 series, a bad battery simply acts as a capacitor-like buffer for the adapter, even if it nevertheless holds little charge. The backup battery, which is also a secondary battery (rechargeable), by contrast is extremely long-lived, but may take a long time to come good again if you do not have a serviceable main (or 'system') battery that reaches 7.5V under charge.

 

If it hasn't already appeared, you are fortunate that the TFT display does not have the common (and terminal) tunnel-vision effect that afflicts many PB 180s. (Trawl these forums for a mention of 'tunnel-vision'.) Have you turned on video mirroring from the PB's control panel? In System 7.5 and up it's called PowerBook Display, or something similar.

 

System 7.1 is a good one, and can be improved by retrofitting the software mentioned here. Just note that Finder 7.1.3 is not where the page says, but in Drag & Drop 1.1.1. There are also freeware add-ons that you can download. More memory is certainly a Good Thing. If it interests you, for the price of a PM, and postage to the US, you could have a free 4MB expansion RAM card for the 160/180.

 

de

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They can still be had. I got a clutch of six NiCd batteries for PB 1xx, NOS, complete with their plastic cases, only last year. Of course they don't hold 7.5V for long, but they are learning from their battery charger boxes. It's functional AC adapters that are entering the henstooth class.

 

de

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They can still be had. I got a clutch of six NiCd batteries for PB 1xx, NOS, complete with their plastic cases, only last year. Of course they don't hold 7.5V for long, but they are learning from their battery charger boxes. It's functional AC adapters that are entering the henstooth class.

 

de

 

You can substitute NiMH cells for NiCd's and get a lot longer life per charge.

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