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help me to stop being a typical mac user.


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I like computers. They can be great tools and there are no computers i like more then compact macs. (i could try and tell you why but there are so many things i like about them that it would simply take to long) I have a few of them but most are broken in some way.

My problem is that i'm a mac user. That means i like to use a computer, i don't like fixing them and trying to figure out what goes where. I tried fixing my macs with mixing result but. I just don't really know what i'm doing when i open a computer case so things go wrong a lot.

 

Does anyone know about good and easy ways to learn the skills i need to return broken macs back into service?

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Well, you appear to have learned one lesson: make sure that you have one fully functional modern computer available for use, just in case you break another.

 

Other rules:

 

1. Don't go beyond your skill set. Watching another person perform an exercise is one thing but it is more challenging to attempt it on your own. Don't attempt anything unless there is a high probability of success (or you don't care).

 

2. Don't be afraid about asking sensible questions. But please do a little bit of research in advance.

 

3. Go to the stationers and buy a notebook. Write your contact details at the front of the book, because you will mislay it. Record your experiments in it. Teach yourself to draw.

 

Edit: contact details in notebook.

Edited by Charlieman
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Does anyone know about good and easy ways to learn the skills i need to return broken macs back into service?

 

Lets find out what you do know..

 

(a) do you know about analogue electronics, digital electronics, power circuitry and video circuitry?

 

(B) have you ever used an oscilloscope or multimeter?

 

© do you have a toolkit that includes torx screwdrivers and a soldering iron?

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i have the screwdrivers and an obsession with compact macs, all the others are a no.

 

i've never really learned anything about electronics, and now that i want to learn i don't know where to start. being able to exchange a hard drive without messing something up would even be an improvement for me. i've looked for books on the subject but they are all about ATA, SATA, USB, IDE thingies that i can't use for my SE/30.

 

i even tried bringing my SE/30 to a store for repairs but they said no and told me to upgrade to an abacus. >:(

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In the end it comes down to time and money.

 

Not all Macs can be fixed, even with the appropriate knowledge and test tools.

 

If you are not prepared to wave a soldering iron then there are very few real fixes you can do on compact macs other than unplugging and replugging components.

 

There is plenty of information on this website, including references to a very good pdf that describes fixing classics, but not for the feint of heart.

 

http://68kmla.org/files/classicmac2.pdf

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My advice: get into it gently.

 

Most problems can be solved by simply knowing what the various modules do, and replacing them when necessary. The next level is to understand the basics of electronics, so that you can identify problems visually or using a multimeter. That will help you target most problems. After that, the more you know the more you can do. But you are also in the realm of diminishing returns (i.e. you need to know a lot more to do a little bit more).

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Well, what is wrong with your SE/30? They are not the easiest machines to work on, especially because of how cramped in all the various components are. Got to watch out for that CRT too! Have you opened your SE/30 yet? What do you need to know about? We are here to help...

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A good way to get started is to get a copy of the Apple Service manuals for all the older Macintosh computers. You can often find them sold as PDF files on CD or DVD, generally on eBay for very cheap, which in my opinion is the best way to have them. They are also available in certain places online that host these manuals but this is generally not as consistant as a disk version. These manuals are written for practically each and every model, though there are some that apply to a line of similar machines. They describe the computers in great detail and always have a "take apart" section as well as a section devoted to instructions for repairs. Work through the one for your model step by step when fixing a problem and you will be amazed at what you can learn. If you can, find a broken machine and use it as your "practice Mac" for taking apart and practicing repairs - then it won't matter if you make a mistake. Start small - get used to the basics such as removing case plastics, internal plug connections, hard drives, RAM etc first before moving onto other things such as tinkering with video circuitry. Spend some time over it and be patient - practice makes perfect.

 

This is how I learned about taking apart and repairing old Macs and although many tasks have become second nature, I often still find myself referring to the manuals when carrying out an unfamiliar task.

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To amplify II2II's comments a little: Start at the beginning.

 

The most humble compact Mac is an incredibly complex device in comparison with the Z80 or 6502 based machines on which many of the *ld f*rts here crafted their skills. Most of us learn to diagnose Mac hardware faults by swapping major assemblies, such as RAM SIMMs, graphics cards, analogue boards etc. And most of us mark the component as "bad" and leave it in the cupboard for eight years, enough time for us to forget the original symptoms. There is nothing wrong about swapping out major assemblies, but it becomes painful when replacements become rare. At that point in time, you do need a few electronics skills.

 

Check the multitude of past threads here about leaky capacitors or dodgy compact Mac analogue boards. Typically the repair is a simple component swap, but it is where we all start.

 

Unacknowledged previously in this thread is that most "broken vintage Macs" have a software problem or a trivial hardware problem (dead hard disk).

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thanks for the advice. i will see if i can track down the service manuals.

 

many of the compacts are broken in some way.

i got the se/30 with a broken hard drive. i replaced it with one known to be good but i can't get it to recognise the hard drive.

after the replacement the floppy drive started to give me trouble as well. it auto-ejects and injects continuesly and seems to think there is an unformatted write protected floppy in there. i can get it running fine with an external zip drive. but the hard drive and floppy drive don't work.

 

i also have a SE FDHD that works fine

a regular se gutted for parts

an ED with the floppy drive from my se (floppy still doesn't work after the replacement) that had screen problems that i did manage to fix.

and also i'm bidding on a plus that should work but comes without a cable for the keyboard.

and i have a pb100 with a broken hard drive, dead battery and what i think is a dodgy connection for the plug for mains power.

all in all plenty of work.

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