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Unhappy PowerBook 100


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I picked up a PowerBook 100 on eBay the other day that was sold as "working fine months ago, but charger broke and hasn't been used since". Well I got it home, plugged in a 100 series charger, (one of the earlier low current ones), and tried powering it on. It does do something, but not what I expected.

 

Instead of lighting up and giving the startup chime, the screen lights up with reddish horizontal lines across it and continually makes a chiming noise, like the startup chime but "minor", more sad. It's not the Chimes of Death because I know what those sound like - instead my PowerBook is playing a C Minor chord repeatedly, about once every second. This is all I can get it to do, I have tried resetting the PMU but it doesn't seem to make much difference.

 

There is a battery in the machine but it is pretty dead. I tried charging it overnight but it just got very hot and retained about 2.5 Volts. The backup lithium cells are also there but they too are dead. The seller also conviniently neglected to mention that there was no hard drive. >:(

 

Any ideas about this problem?

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With this little to go on, it's hard to say. But it sounds power-related. A reddish hue is consistent with undervoltage on the backlight (it can also be a worn bulb, of course), and the other symptoms are, also. And cease trying to charge that battery. It is dead, and irretrievably so. Keeping it in can only load down the supply and possibly kill it.

 

What happens if you run it off of the brick alone?

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...And cease trying to charge that battery. It is dead, and irretrievably so. Keeping it in can only load down the supply and possibly kill it.

 

I initially tried charging the battery because it is in fact a third party battery (made by "Absolute") that looks more modern than the PowerBook itself. However, it is definitely dead.

 

What happens if you run it off of the brick alone?

 

Exactly the same thing happens. I also tried holding down the programmer's and reset buttons with the power connected to see if anything else would happen (this can sometimes revive Macintosh Portables). This action makes the screen backlight come on only, nothing else.

 

The adaptor I am using is a 15W 100 series one (7.5V, 2.0A). This adaptor is known to work perfectly with my 145B and 165c. I remember reading that using anything over 19W can kill a PB 100 entirely so I haven't tried my other adaptor, which is a 24W model.

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Instead of lighting up and giving the startup chime, the screen lights up with reddish horizontal lines across it and continually makes a chiming noise, like the startup chime but "minor", more sad.

 

Mine routinely falls into this pattern. I have discovered that there is a problem with the wiring harness and/or capacitors related to the video display. Your best bet is to take it apart, which quickly fixed mine. It's fairly easy to do with big connectors everywhere. If there is no internal hard drive, that means someone took it apart and which means a cable could have been loosened or making contact with something it shouldn't. I presume you have the external HDI-20 floppy drive?

 

Also, there was a recall involving a fuse on the motherboard. If yours is blown, I'm not sure what symptoms it exhibits, if any, besides not working.

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... There is a battery in the machine but it is pretty dead. I tried charging it overnight but it just got very hot and retained about 2.5 Volts. The backup lithium cells are also there but they too are dead.

There is a strong possibility that one or more cells in an overheating battery contains a dead short. Charging such a battery carries the risk of inducing fire or explosion, in the low-power (as you are already aware) adapter, if not in the battery. Don't charge the system battery again before you either replace or rebuild it. But tomlee59 has already advised against its use in its present state.

 

The Industry-standard CR-2430 backup primary batteries are non-rechargeable, in distinction from the rechargeable backups in other PB 1nn Macs. These and other design deficiencies impel the thought that the dominant principle in the PB 100's release was getting it to market rather than getting it to work as reliably as might have been.

 

Screen suddenly goes blank: Condition is normal; computer has gone into sleep to conserve battery power.

Display shows rainbow colors when viewed from extreme side angles: Condition is normal for PowerBook 100 screen.

Image on display is not uniform: Condition is normal for PowerBook 100 screen.

Slight white line is always in middle of screen: Condition is normal for PowerBook 100 screen ...

and much, much more, as the hucksters have it.

 

de

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  • 4 weeks later...
I picked up a PowerBook 100 on eBay the other day that was sold as "working fine months ago, but charger broke and hasn't been used since". Well I got it home, plugged in a 100 series charger, (one of the earlier low current ones), and tried powering it on. It does do something, but not what I expected.

 

Instead of lighting up and giving the startup chime, the screen lights up with reddish horizontal lines across it and continually makes a chiming noise, like the startup chime but "minor", more sad. It's not the Chimes of Death because I know what those sound like - instead my PowerBook is playing a C Minor chord repeatedly, about once every second. This is all I can get it to do, I have tried resetting the PMU but it doesn't seem to make much difference.

 

There is a battery in the machine but it is pretty dead. I tried charging it overnight but it just got very hot and retained about 2.5 Volts. The backup lithium cells are also there but they too are dead. The seller also conviniently neglected to mention that there was no hard drive. >:(

 

Any ideas about this problem?

 

I would suggest getting a new battery, and maybe replacing the LCD. But then again, the reddish hue may be just under-powering, as the other person (can't remember the user-name) said. For the sound, you could always just plug a cord into the headset or speaker jack, and it will stop making noise...

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Instead of lighting up and giving the startup chime, the screen lights up with reddish horizontal lines across it and continually makes a chiming noise, like the startup chime but "minor", more sad.

 

Mine routinely falls into this pattern.

 

Mine as well, sadly. I'll soon try with another AC adapter and see what happens. The original AC adapter used to warm up a little when the PowerBook 100 was fine, but since the PowerBook started manifesting this issue, the adapter concurrently has become stone cold. Or vice-versa. xx(

 

Cheers,

Rick

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I remember reading that using anything over 19W can kill a PB 100 entirely so I haven't tried my other adaptor, which is a 24W model.

 

You might be thinking of 19 volts.

 

Watts (power) is a function of voltage (fixed by the adapter) and current - of which any attached device will draw only the amount it needs. The wattage rating of an adapter is the maximum it's rated for without overheating or failing, not any kind of amount that it's 'forcing' into the device. You could attach a million watt adapter, if the PowerBook only needs 15W, then that's all it will draw. You'd just have a lot of spare capacity for powering add-ons!

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... You might be thinking of 19 volts.

 

Watts (power) is a function of voltage (fixed by the adapter) and current - of which any attached device will draw only the amount it needs. The wattage rating of an adapter is the maximum it's rated for without overheating or failing ...

Well I wot that you wot well what watts are, but the restriction (by Apple) stems, I suspect, from different causes. If one or more cells in the PB's battery short, the current drawn by the battery through the PB's board will rise as far as the adapter will permit, even unto blowing the adapter's fuse. (Yes. They have one, and their construction does not readily permit its replacement.) The MLB's traces may be the weak link in this case by being incapable of such currents without damage. Rest assured that PB1nn models have quite specific requirements for (max.) wattage from the associated adapters. I suspect therefore that tomlee59's unspecific 'it' in his last sentence referred more to the PB100's MLB than to the adapter.

 

Whether this caveat for PB100/150 Macs was a result of (Sony's) poor design or cost-cutting, or of Apple's haste-to-market, who knows?

 

de

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I just pulled apart my unhappy Powerbook 100. Apparently it had been opened many times before as there was a loose 120mb IBM SCSI HD in there. Both the trackpad and the HD were not secure at all. Odd I thought. It still will not boot unfortunately even with new Lithium batteries. I am not sure what else can be done.

 

All it does is chime, screen lights up, but does nothing else. It sometimes powered up the HD but not always. Could this be the fuse?

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All it does is chime, screen lights up, but does nothing else. It sometimes powered up the HD but not always. Could this be the fuse?

That's half the battle. So you get a flashing question mark? Do you have an external floppy disk drive, or an external SCSI drive to try?

 

It sounds to me like the internal drive is the issue here. It could definitely be a fuse, which was known faulty. You have to completely disassemble the 100 to get down to the bare logicboard in order to see the fuse, or it could be the drive cable, or internal power supply. The batteries have absolutely nothing to do with the PowerBook. Neither are necessary to successfully boot and run it. Just remove them and don't worry about them again until you get the Book working.

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Disconnect the hard drive and RAM altogether. After some delay, the 'book should display a blinking question mark. If it gets that far, then the logic board is likely fine. Add back the RAM, and see if all remains well, etc. If the 'book never gets to a blinking question mark, then you have more serious troubleshooting to do.

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It never makes it to the question mark. Well if it does I never see it. I am thinking of trying the fuse to see if that is what the problem is.

Also inspect the solder joint where the power adapter connects to the logic board. It could be cracked and without the battery providing intermittent power. This may be of some help: http://www.open.ou.nl//psl/pb100/ And this: http://www.kevinomura.com/powerbooks/powerbook100/index.html

After inspecting everything and following all the advice given here, you might try to wash the logicboard to get any capacitor goo off of it, which may need to further be replaced.

 

I'm still not clear on what your screen looks like ... does it come up with the basic gray screen and then sit there? Or is it still washed out with a pink hue and lines? In which case, I would suspect a bad cable to the display. On mine, if the cable is pinched, my 100 will continually reset. I was able to check the functionality of the system by attaching it in SCSI disk mode. Is this option available to you?

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Just to re-iterate here about my 100: the screen on mine lights up when power is applied and displays irregular horizontal lines with a reddish/pinkish hue (although sometimes they are white). The screen picture disappears when I hold the reset and interrupt buttons simultaneously, though the screen's backlight still stays on. I haven't tried the machine with a disk yet so I might do that to see if it is simply a video signal issue, but I reckon the strange chiming noise suggests there is another problem somewhere.

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The screen lights up showing that there is power however there is no actual image, grey or otherwise, coming up on the screen. It is just lit up from the backlight.

Yours is either a display cable is not connected to the logicboard or pinched off in the display, or the logicboard is not supplying a video signal. Obviously power is making it to the screen so it is unlikely the fuse or power connector. Hopefully it is the cable. Take it completely apart, screen as well and disconnect and reconnect the cable on both ends. Doing this cured my blank screen.

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Just to re-iterate here about my 100: the screen on mine lights up when power is applied and displays irregular horizontal lines with a reddish/pinkish hue (although sometimes they are white). The screen picture disappears when I hold the reset and interrupt buttons simultaneously, though the screen's backlight still stays on. I haven't tried the machine with a disk yet so I might do that to see if it is simply a video signal issue, but I reckon the strange chiming noise suggests there is another problem somewhere.

Mine did this too. Except for the chimes of death. Those chimes mainly indicate a RAM problem or a hard drive incompatibility. However, the screen suggests you have a short somewhere in the video cabling. When I press the reset and programmer buttons simultaneously I get the same thing. Pressing the programmers button gets the chimes of death. My screen occasionally on reset turns pink with lines and I have to disconnect the power completely. Sometimes, it will just go black and no amount of resetting will change it. I have to take apart the display and reconnect the cable. As these symptoms are similar to yours, I suggest taking your 100 completely apart and disconnect and reconnect the cables one by one as a trouble-shooting effort.

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