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PowerBook 2400c project questions


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Hello everyone,

I'm a new member, though I've been a vintage Mac collector for many years. Most of my collection has come and gone and currently due to space limitations I'm focused on some specific portable models I like.

I recently got a lovely PowerBook 2400c/180 on eBay that is in good shape but needs some love. I have a few questions I thought people might be able to help with...

 

1. OS Choice - It currently boots from a CF Card/PCMCIA adapter running 9.1. I've a soft spot for 7.6.1 but I understand that the 9.2.x update, using OS9 Helper, has some great improvements in Finder and Open Transport. Thoughts?

 

2. Hard drive/media - I've ordered a PATA SSD which I've used successfully before in some PowerBook and Thinkpad projects. I'm going to partition it into multiple smaller volumes. Anyone had any experience or difficulties?

 

3. Networking - I have an Orinoco Silver card currently, but does anyone know of a card that supports WPA authentication or is that a software limitation in the OS?

 

4. Rear port door - Should I just keep scouring eBay or is there an alternate source for parts like this?

 

5. RAM - What exactly is the type of RAM that's installable? From research it *appears* to be a fairly standard 144-pin SO-DIMM 60ns module. I gather there's a hard limit of 112Mb addressable including 16Mb on the board so I can add up to 96Mb. I've found some 64Mb modules online but no 96Mb ones. Would a 128Mb module that's otherwise compatible work and just address the supported memory space?

 

6. CPU - Looking in vain so far for a G3 upgrade card, if anyone here is selling one let me know :)

 

Great forum otherwise, can't believe I didn't find it before. Look forward to hearing from people. 

 

IMG_2329.jpg

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Welcome cocoadelica!

 

The 2400c is a fine machine, well designed, performs well and deserves more love.

 

1. I'd stick with OS 8.6 if you have < 32MB RAM and OS 9.1 for < 64MB, simply for slightly more modern features.  You'd only need OS 9.2 if you wanted to run OS X alongside, which isn't the best idea on a lowly 603e CPU, and OS 9.2 does slow down mid range systems..  You can also run OS 7.6 on a separate partition that's not formatted as HFS+, and switch using System Picker.

 

2. The PATA SSD should run well and have minimal compatibility issues.  I had problems running later model mSATA SSDs - resulting in startup crashes usually.  Format as < 2GB for OS 7.6 and the best for HFS+

 

3. No such wifi card exists for Mac OS supporting WPA2.  You'll also need to check if the 2400c is CardBus enabled to detect cards cards such as wifi, USB, FW etc.  An option to get WPA2 would be to use an ethernet to wifi bridge such as a Vonets adapter.

 

4. Port door is flimsy, they're almost all off - I wouldn't worry too much

 

5. RAM is tricky - I've tried some pin compatible 32, 64MB EDO modules from old laptops and they don't get detected.  You'll probably need to find the right stuff for the 2400c.  The 112MB RAM mod was essentially a hack job from Japanese 2400c fans - not readily available these days.

 

6. Best best to find a G3 card would be to buy a junker 2400c from Japan ... and cross your fingers :)

 

JB

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey,

Got a follow up status report, and need some advice.

 

I upgraded the memory chip, from what I believed was 32Mb to 64Mb. Turns out it was already a 64Mb that showed up as 32. Hmmm so I changed it anyway. When I test booted out still shows as 32Mb.

I also fitted the SSD, turns out there’s an IBM/Hitachi 10Gb travelstar in there already. I took it out and tested it and it works fine in a USB caddy on a TiBook. :( It wasn’t held in by anything other than the IDE connector, screws missing it seemed, so I replaced those. 

I put the SSD in there just to see what I got, and what I got was nothing :(

So it looks like I have a problematic logic board. Only reads half the RAM module and doesn’t see anything on the PATA bus.

 

So I wanted to know:

- Might it be a component level failure that’s fixable? or

- Does anyone have a Logic Board or a breaker machine with a known good board for sale? Happy with a 180.

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It sounds like someone has been there before you - the hard disk should be bolted down with two screws.  Check for any corrosion around the PRAM battery and the battery connector on the motherboard itself - it can go green.

 

I recently restored 3 x 2400c (two dead, one good) - which I recall one also had the problem of only half detecting RAM.  I cleaned the contacts of the RAM card and connector itself and it did decide to work.

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On 2/9/2020 at 10:24 PM, Byrd said:

It sounds like someone has been there before you - the hard disk should be bolted down with two screws.  Check for any corrosion around the PRAM battery and the battery connector on the motherboard itself - it can go green.

 

I recently restored 3 x 2400c (two dead, one good) - which I recall one also had the problem of only half detecting RAM.  I cleaned the contacts of the RAM card and connector itself and it did decide to work.

Thanks, that's good info and encouraging.

Just to confirm do you think that a faulty PRAM battery/connection might aka the IDE bus? 

I'll do some dismantling and cleaning tonight and see what happens. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, cocoadelica said:

@james_w Get it out and test it! :) I'm going to try to make mine a daily driver

ha oh nice!

 

Once I move house I'm hoping to have all the computers out and regularly in use :) If not I should consider which stay and which go...

 

Let us know how daily use goes for you :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

OK, some good news :)

 

I got a new MLB/Port door/Keyboard/PRAM battery from a very kind person on here.

I put the logic board in tonight and my SSD started showing up. The RAM still just reads 32Mb of the 64Mb on it so I'm going to put that down to a faulty module maybe.

In terms of the PRAM battery I found that the original machine had NO PRAM battery fitted at all!

So now I have one I will add it.

 

Which leads me to a question... The PRAM cable has 2 soldered ends, any idea where I should solder them?

 

 

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Great news!  I blasted my RAM module, and RAM connector with electronic cleaning solvent recently to get a 32MB module detected as 64MB in a 2400c.

 

Re: PRAM battery, was the battery chopped off on the end?  I'm not sure what you mean.  The PRAM battery is fairly unique and I couldn't find an exact replacement for it, so I snipped mine off for good, fitting someone in that bottom right corner of the chassis will be tricky.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just picked up a 2400c for myself. Currently booting off an external SCSI2SD and have an SD to IDE adaptor in the post. 

 

My RAM module was showing errors so I took it out and have another one being shipped now. I should try and clean the contacts of this one first.

 

I also had some corrosion at the PRAM connector but none on the board itself!

 

I do need to replace some screws. Does anyone know the correct screw width? I'm thinking M2.5 or M3, but I have no idea.

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