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PowerBook 1400c CL Find


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I was pretty stoked to find this on CL today for $100 since nothing comes up locally anymore.  It works, case is in decent shape, i'm the third owner apparently.  A few things:

 

-CD-Rom insert is missing (floppy works)

 

-Base RAM (only 16mb) Had to disable a bunch of system extensions to install After Dark from floppy so clearly it's hurting for memory (max 64MB) 

 

-PRAM is dead as a doornail and it's a pain to replace (basically have to take the laptop to pieces to get to it.  Was only able to restart initially by holding down the PMU for 20 seconds. 

 

-Small crack lines above the hinges on the outside of the case, but otherwise in very nice cosmetic condition

 

-Missing back left rubber footpad, but sits firmly without it, no rocking. 

 

Other than that very little wear and tear. 

 

So yeah i'm going to start looking for RAM and the CD Rom insert.  Anybody know a way i could get USB onto this machine?  Would be so much easier than burning files to CD (not that i can do that yet either, lol), but whatever works.   Has OS 8.0 and runs nicely!  Also loaded up with Microsoft Office 98 for mac which is always nice (though i'll probably load up Claris Works/Apple works soon also. 

 

Came randomly with an extra battery and power adaptor for a DUO (previous owner previous computer i'm guessing?)  Luckily has the correct power adaptor also and some sore of Modem adaptor dongle (but no longer has the PCI card it plugs into) 

 

Any tips for what i should be doing to recondition this gem or where i can find any of the above parts or upgrades? :) 

 

Cheers and stoked overall with this find! 

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1) fabulous find at a great price :approve:

2) many consider the 1400 KBD the very best or one of the best, certainly of its era.

3) it's the 133MHz model. Unlike the 117MHz version, it has Cache on the processor Card*****

4) 16MB of stock RAM is good if it's all on the Factory Module, that lets you get to the full 64MB, a 12MB factory module would leave you at 60MB

5) forget USB, there's no support for it on NuBus Architecture/PBX bridged 030 I/O bus PPC 'Books.

6) don't need USB anyway. The 1400 has PCMCIA so you can put together an inexpensive setup that's just as good for all practical purposes

_____ Compact Flash module

_____ CF to PCMCIA adapter

_____ USB memory card reader with CF slot

 

***** 133MHZ version can be upgraded to 166MHz version, all versions can be equipped with a G3 accelerator.

Edited by Trash80toHP_Mini
apparently I can no longer type or spell.
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Great feedback; thank you! As per usual it's just FINDING the upgrades that's the big challenge these days, RAM but especially processor upgrades are few and far between.  Will start keeping and eye out. 

 

Would a straight PCMCIA to SD card reader work, like this one: 

 

https://www.amazon.com/Digigear-PCMCIA-Adapter-Supports-Memory/dp/B00MFVG9XO/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?dchild=1&keywords=sd+card+to+pcmcia&qid=1611588265&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&smid=ANPO9IFXDOQAM&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEzUTdGMVRNQjkxVlFBJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMTQyMjIwM09EUFUzTzdCRFhBQSZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwNDEzNjY1TUxQMUJONktMRDdaJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

 

Or do i need to stick with CF?  Was going to use these three; let me know if you see any red flags of things that might not work:

 

 

Screen Shot 2021-01-25 at 10.29.05 AM.png

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Removing the PRAM battery is easier than replacing it, and of course you should certainly do that.  That said, although the disassembly instructions in the service manual sound awful, it's not actually that bad IME; certainly not as bad as other laptops I have worked on by a big margin.

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5 hours ago, cheesestraws said:

Removing the PRAM battery is easier than replacing it, and of course you should certainly do that.  That said, although the disassembly instructions in the service manual sound awful, it's not actually that bad IME; certainly not as bad as other laptops I have worked on by a big margin.

 

For sure...hoping that is the case.  If i'm going to the trouble of tearing it down; you can be sure i'll rebuild the battery cell.  You can tell this model was never intended to have the PRAM replaced...lol

 

4 hours ago, joshc said:

Great find, I sort of want one of these actually, if for no other reason that I've never owned one.

Good luck with it :)

 

Thank you; having fun with it as we speak.  Solid little machine!! 

 

@Trash80toHP_Mini do my above selections look okay for CF to PCMCIA?  Any thoughts on SD to PCMCIA or would that not be supported? 

Edited by travistouchdown
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Nice find!

 

The CF stuff you linked should work fine, basically any PCMCIA (no gold contact across the top, that's cardbus) CF reader should work in this system, for data storage or transfer. I don't remember if you can boot from CF in this system.

 

What OS are you planning on running? If you're going to use 7, you'll need to format your CF card as FAT or plain HFS and you won't be able to write to it from newer versions of Mac OS under plain HFS, so running system 8.1 may be the best bet to get compatibility there, to get HFS+ and still not use very many resources.

 

I need to look again at what CF speeds on mine are ilke. Mine was upgraded with a 30-gig hard disk by the previous owner (I bought it from someone on here) and the hard disk is almost certainly faster than the CF card.

 

I can't speak to that SD Card adapter, except that I'm interested because the supply on CF is slowly drying up. It's not out of stores yet, but it's nowhere near as common and SD cards are also now available in larger sizes than CF ever was.

 

That said, if you have, say, an OS9 Mac that does have USB, then it would be a great large sneakernet option. I have a 4-gig card I can move between my 1400 and a TiBook.

 

As mentioned, USB will not work on this machine because there aren't any plain-PCMCIA USB cards that have Mac drivers. You'd need a 3400 or CardBus enabled 2400 for that.

 

To be honest here, if you have any other beige Macs at all, just use LocalTalk to move files between them. LocalTalk is slow, but you can start a transfer of several gigs of stuff and just let it happen. (This is what I do on mine, because I'm too lazy to just get an ethernet card, I believe there's a modem slot ethernet card and pcmcia ethernet.)

 

In terms of upgrades:

 

The 133 is probably Good Enough, and the RAM upgrade is what I'd consider the more important upgrade, especially if you want to run system 8 or any "newer" software on it than pretty basic 7.6.1-era stuff. Part of why I say /133 is Good Enough is that even the /166 is outperformed by something like a 7600/120, and, the G3 upgrade makes most sense if you want to run software new enough that it would realistically benefit you to have a newer machine that supports more than just 64 megs of RAM. With that in mind, it's nicer to have gotten the bigger starter memory allocation, but only being able to get to 56 or 60 megs of RAM isn't that big of a deal on this machine.

 

W/re the hinges: Mine's doing that too, it's also otherwise in great shape. I need to look because my theory is that the hinges or the clutch plastic is about to go. I'd be curious on what maintenance that's probably going to need.

 

W/re Office 98, I did my nanowrimo novel on some older Macs last year and went through a couple different versions of appleworks/clarisworks until finally just landing on my good ol' copy of office 98 which runs "fine" on basically every extant PPC Mac (even cacheless 6100 and the 6200) and which has way more of the modern conveniences that, at least I wanted. ClarisWorks/AppleWorks is fun and very aesthetic but it's almost completely incapable of sane cross-version compatibility and the only way to use data across multiple systems to just, straight-up, install the same version of the program on every system where you might want to use a particular file. That's a huge bummer because while files move forward fine, they don't move backward at all and as far as I can tell, the functionality from ClarisWorks 4 to AppleWorks 6.2.x is litearlly identical and it would be a great benefit to be able to match AppleWorks versions to the system they're on, i.e. 4 for 68000 Macs, 5 for anything faster, 6 for OS X up to 10.6 (even on Intel, it runs well on Rosetta IME.)

 

Apple in particular is fabulously bad with that entire concept. iWork is not exactly as bad on this front, but if you opened a Word 98 file on a brand new Mac with Office 365 it would offer, but the default behavior would be to save without too much bother in the plain doc file that Word 98 would be able to open again.

 

But, that'll depend a lot on context and what you want out of it, right? If this is pure DFWM and it doesn't matter at all what happens to the text and you can make one of CW4/CW5/AW5/AW6 be the single version you put on every single vintage Mac where you might want file cross-compatibility, then things'll be fine, if mildly annoying.

 

 

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Bob's advice from over at Headgap:

 

"You won't find much for a 23 year old PowerBook. The plastics are brittle making them tough to work on.

 
There are youtube videos on how to make a PRAM battery.  They haven't made replacement main batteries for many years now.
 
If memory serves that was a special RAM chip and they haven't been available forever.
 
You best bet is to look for salvage machine and just by them up until you get what you need.
 
Sorry I couldn't be more help."
 
How would i ever get anywher in retro-computing with that defeatist attitude? :D 
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10 hours ago, Cory5412 said:

...the supply on CF is slowly drying up. It's not out of stores yet, but it's nowhere near as common and SD cards are also now available in larger sizes than CF ever was.

I'm guessing that this is probably because CF cards are still a relatively popular niche in the field of digital photography.  Not because there's new demand per se, but because I suspect there's still a fair amount of older cameras still in service (either as backups, or as a first or second camera for beginners, such as myself) that use CF as their primary format.
 

That being said, I totally agree, and for anything beyond that niche, one would probably be much better served by SD, if only because of the fact that they're much more common and available in larger sizes.

 

An interesting compromise, however, could be to get one of those CF-to-SD adapters.  Then you can have the relatively better compatibility of CF (provided the CF-to-SD adapter is designed to properly interface with older CF readers and PCMCIA slots) combined with the better availability of modern SD cards.

 

c

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19 hours ago, Cory5412 said:

What OS are you planning on running?

 

It's running 8.0 currently and i'll probably plan to leave it somewhere in the 8 OS range, maybe 9.1 at the most if I could get it to 64MB ram and use RAM doubler and virtual memory successfully.  But likely 8 something in the future. 

 

Yeah the G3 upgrade seems excessive, it would just be bottlenecked by RAM pretty quickly; i could swap in a 160 someday, or if i really need more HP just get a PISMO again (shouldn't have sold mine!) haha.

 

I'm going to get the PCMCIA to SD just for fun to see if it works; if not i'll go the CF route. 

Screen Shot 2021-01-26 at 9.09.52 AM.png

Edited by travistouchdown
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I'll be waiting to hear how that works out for you. Hoping for the best. I thought I'd replied, but appears I'd not. I was going to say you could spend quite a bit less. I've never used more than 32GB on any of my Macs, but spotted and ordered a cute little 4GB CF Card that might be interesting? Thinking about using it in a second cheap adapter like a gimongous Zip Disk for transferring files to my main CF card boot/utilities/troubleshooting disk so as not to screw that one up on the PC side of things. 4GB is twice the size of the top shelf 1400 OEM drive, BTW. [;)]

 

On 1/25/2021 at 2:50 PM, travistouchdown said:

How would i ever get anywhere in retro-computing with that defeatist attitude? :D 

 

You listen, get to it and get to where you're looking at a two foot stack of 1400 PowerBooks, all kinds of goodies and enough parts to trick out a few through cannibalization  .  .  .  or you could take a more reasonable approach?

 

Be that as it may, just maxing the RAM won't get you comfortably into 9.1 on even a 1400c/166 I think. Until you score a fairly zippy G3 upgrade, 9.1 is just not gonna fly. It may skip its feet across the water's surface like a pelican with far too much fish on board, but you'll probably be much happier at lower numbers.

 

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On 1/26/2021 at 9:51 AM, travistouchdown said:

 

It's running 8.0 currently and i'll probably plan to leave it somewhere in the 8 OS range, maybe 9.1 at the most if I could get it to 64MB ram and use RAM doubler and virtual memory successfully.  But likely 8 something in the future.


Mac OS 8.5 was the release where things were sped up a bit and most of the 68k code was replaced with native code for the PowerPC, so you may want to try 8.6. However my experience using OS 8 is limited, so it will be interesting to see what others think is the ideal OS for a 1400.

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As soon as i get a little more RAM and can get data to this machine i'm going to be looking on Mac Garden for a 8.5 or 8.6 OS update file; so thanks for the suggestion. 

 

I do plan on going small with the SD card for sure for this very reason, like 1-2GB or maybe even 512MB.  I don't expect it would recognize something as big as 16 or 32GB. 

Edited by travistouchdown
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Don't recall the max size offhand, but it'll recognize a number of partitions up to some silly number. Set up your OS choices for testing in different partitions and you can designate startup drive in that control panel. ISTR mentions of System Switcher or some such as well, but I've stuck with partitioning and standard methodology.

 

Keep your eye out for a compatible WiFi card.

 

TLDR: 1400 story. I called my first and favorite maxed out 1400c/166 "Beater" as it was my first Wardriver before free WiFi began hitting every coffee shop near you. I upgraded Beater with a CrescendoPB 466/1MB when I moved to what was the nicest small town in NC. It was the first municipality in the country to provide free WiFi in its tiny block long downtown in 2004 or so. People would occasionally drive by and yell at me for what they thought was stealing WiFi access.

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7 hours ago, LaPorta said:

Did the "Select" button on the Imagewriter get un-selected, by chance?

 

It actually prompted me onscreen to hit the select button (which was green) which i did (went to unlit) but it didn't work either way around.  Tried restarting; all the usual stuff.  The extension is turned on; it's chosen, paper spooled up; not sure what the deal is. 

 

Have it set to hand feed and when i hit print on the document it skips quickly past the first page and tries to print the second; asking me to feed another sheet of paper like the first one isn't there.  Then says error trying to print. Odd.  Will have to fiddle around further but if this rings a bell for anyone let me know. 

Edited by travistouchdown
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On 1/26/2021 at 2:51 AM, travistouchdown said:

I'm going to get the PCMCIA to SD just for fun to see if it works; if not i'll go the CF route.

Please report back on this, because this has a lot of potential use cases for me, because I've got macs and PCs with pcmcia slots that supported storage. SD cards are cheap enough that even on older DOS machines, it's not that big of a waste of money to use, say, an 8GB SD card on a machine that only supports 2GB volumes, especially since in a non-booting context, you don't have to go and buy higher end cards.

 

On 1/27/2021 at 1:26 AM, joshc said:

Mac OS 8.5 was the release where things were sped up a bit and most of the 68k code was replaced with native code for the PowerPC, so you may want to try 8.6. However my experience using OS 8 is limited, so it will be interesting to see what others think is the ideal OS for a 1400.

 

I need to try 8.5/8.6 myself.

 

To be honest, my instinct is largely that 8.6 isn't realistically that much slimmer than 9.1, which itself will run (even if poorly) on 32 megs of RAM.

 

Between 8.1 and 8.5 it's basically going to be whether the slight improvement in native code is worth the trade-off in everything else in the OS being bigger/heavier and using more RAM.

 

On 1/26/2021 at 9:59 PM, Trash80toHP_Mini said:

Be that as it may, just maxing the RAM won't get you comfortably into 9.1 on even a 1400c/166 I think.

 

It won't fly but it does run, it's a bit slower than 7.6.1, but all Macs that can run both are, so it kind of depends on your goals, right? If you want to run 9.1 and 9.1-era software (2000-2003 stuff) then you can basically forget it. Even with a G3 upgrade, at only 64 megs of RAM this machine just isn't going to run that software well.

 

But, if you wanted 9.1 for, IDK, some feature it had and you were going to run older software on it? It might be fine.

 

I would say the overall theme is to try and see what you can tolerate and whether the mix of capabilities on a given machine suit your needs.

 

Today, I don't know what 1400c G3 upgrades cost, but to be honest if you wanted a 9 laptop with a G3 in it, buying a Pismo or an iBook seems like it might make more sense. Even an iBook G3/500 is gonna be smaller, more durable, you can add airport, more likely to have a working battery, USB ports, firewire, onboard ethernet, so-on and so-forth, it's a huge quality of life boost. (Pismo and TiBook of course also have all those things, and even a Walstreet is just gonna be a faster 9 performer and have ethernet and cardbus for usb/wifi.)

 

Not that having a G3 in a 1400 wouldn't be fun, just that I do think it would be overkill and you'd end up with a poorly balanced system.

 

On 1/26/2021 at 9:59 PM, Trash80toHP_Mini said:

Thinking about using it in a second cheap adapter like a gimongous Zip Disk for transferring files to my main CF card boot/utilities/troubleshooting disk

 

Can a 1400 boot from its PCMCIA slot? I don't remember if I've done that on mine. I believe the 2400/3400 can, but, different architecture.

 

If so, then the sky is the limit. 7.6.1 on any PPC mac can address partitions up to 2TB, although you might want to switch to HFS+ above a certain size for file size reasons, but, TBH, I have a 30GB IDE disk in my own 1400, split roughly 3 ways and all three of the partitions are plain HFS and it's perfectly fine.

 

(*I can try this, I do have a 1400, I just haven't had a chance to of late.)

 

 

On 1/27/2021 at 10:37 AM, travistouchdown said:

I do have an ImageWriterII and in chooser it's an ImageWriter that's selected; but i think they use the same driver right? 

 

The 1 and 2 are physically different printers from different manufacturers and so you may need to use the specific driver.

 

Switch to the ImageWriter II option and see if that gets it running.

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On 1/27/2021 at 12:37 PM, travistouchdown said:

I do have an ImageWriterII and in chooser it's an ImageWriter that's selected; but i think they use the same driver right? 

 

They do use the same driver. Any flavor of "ImageWriter" extension that comes with System 7.x will run either printer.

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