• apple,  g3,  powerbook,  restoration,  vintage

    PowerBook G3 Wallstreet Technical Resources

    Apple Service Source PowerBook G3 Guide, pg 11

    The other day I mentioned that I was getting started one last time to try to get my 1998 PowerBook G3 up and running again. This is the third time it has failed after having replaced the Sound/AC In board (820-0986-B) and having to replace the 4GB ATA IDE OEM hard disk (and the keyboard, because I’m a klutz).

    The PowerBook G3-Series

    It is important when planning your repair of a PowerBook G3 that there are multiple version of this laptop. It says so right on the bottom of the laptop – “Macintosh PowerBook G3 Series“.

    Identifying the specific version of PowerBook G3 can be a bit tricky.

    My particular PowerBook G3 is identified as being the September 1998 edition, using the code names PDQ (Pretty Damn Quick), or the one I knew it by, “Wallstreet”. According to EveryMac.com, PDQ was a refinement to the Wallstreet model to address inventory problems that Apple was grappling with at the time. Looking at the Wikipedia page for the PowerBook G3 Series, you quickly realize that there are three generations of PowerBook G3: The original Kanga version (1997) based on the earlier PowerBook 3400c, the Wallstreet models (May 1998 and September 1998), Lombard (1999) and the final revision known as Pismo (2000). Technical distinctions aside, I still plan on regerring to my particular unit as ‘Wallstreet’, since it is the style the PDQ is a descendant of.

    When verifying which vintage Mac I am working with, I like to use the excellent MacTracker application for macOS, iOS/iPadOS and the EveryMac.com website.

    Technical Resources

    Now that we can identify the particular model of Macintosh, we will need to refer to technical documentation to get a specs readout and learn how to disassemble the computer for repair.

    I like to start with the above mentioned app and website, but I do also like to look up the technical specifications of the PowerBook G3 in the Apple KB support archive.

    Another resource that I like to look up is the Apple Service Source documentation. AppleRepairManauls.com has a wide selection of technical information about Apple hardware, including the PowerBook G3 M4753 Service Source manual.

    If you are more of the get straight to what I need to know tear down kind of person, PowerbookMedic.com and iFixIt.com have Wallstreet disassembly directions. To help diagnose the problem with your Wallstreet G3, iFixIt.com has put together a troubleshooting checklist.

    Both vendors offer spare parts sales. PowerBookMedic.com also offers send in repair services, however, when dealing with computers that are over 20 years old, finding a good source of reliable replacement parts is becoming difficult to source.

    Mac OS 8 Software Disc

    Once the hardware is repaired, you may need to reinstall Mac OS. This is something that I like to do with all of my restored systems. At the time of this post, I was able to track down a restore CD on MacintoshGarden.org for the entire PowerBook G3 Series of laptops. You will need to burn the disk image .dmg file on to a physical CD before using it.

  • apple,  g3,  powerbook,  restoration,  vintage

    PowerBook G3 Rebuild

    Some time ago, I purchased a used PowerBook G3 Wallstreet laptop. I had used one at work in the early 2000s and wanted to add one to my vintage collection.

    Being over 16 years old when I purchased it, needing some work to getting it running properly again was to be expected. Shortly after purchasing it, the Sound/AC board had gone bad. I was able to source a working part and a repair guide from PowerBookMedic.com.

    G3 motherboard in chassis with sound/AC in board (top) and charger board (bottom).

    More time passed and the stock 4GB ATA IDE hard disk failed. I sourced another OEM part and installed it. While reassembling the G3, I accidentally broke one of the clips for the spacebar takes to a stupid mistake. Another OEM part later, the PowerBook G3 was put back together. Except, after replacing the disk drive and the keyboard, the laptop refused to power on again. And, so, the 1998 PowerBook G3 sat. And sat. And sat. Until today.

    Today, I decided to stip the unit down and look for the reason why my troublesome PowerBook refused to boot. Using the repair guide, I disassembled the 22-year old computer once again. As I removed components from the chassis there were no obvious defects. The main Lithium Ion battery pack was not swollen and did not show signs of leakage. Likewise, the motherboard, the sound/AC In board, and the charger board did not appear to have an erupted, bulging, or leaking electronic capacitors. Aside from a few soldering jobs on my eMate and Original Newton MessagePad, my knowledge of electronics is fairly limited. Still, nothing appears to be out of order.

    System components: modem (top), processor card with PowerPC CPU and RAM (center left), Apple 4GB ATA disk (center right), charger board (bottom left) and the sound/AC in board (bottom right)

    Having torn down the PowerBook and not finding any obvious defects, I am going to attempt one more round of repairs on my G3 laptop. My plan this time is to source another sound/AC In board, since it was the cause of the first failure. After having had to replace the power supply during my Power Macintosh G4 Quicksilver rebuild, I also plan on sourcing a replacement charger board.

    Since this will likely be the last time I will attempt to service my old guy, I am also thinking about options for replacing the battery pack. It will eventually leak, and I don’t want to have to deal with electrolyte damage. The G3-series PowerBooks were designed to accept two battery packs – one in each of the two module bays. I would ideally like to keep the 20x CD-ROM module in the right bay and loading in an Apple floppy disk drive or a third-party Iomega Zip Drive in the in the left module bay. As a last resort, I will look for a period accurate spacer that might be available.

    I also plan on looking into replacing the OEM 4GB ATA IDE hard disk with a 2.5″ SSD solution. I used a similar 3.5″ SATA SSD to IDE conversion kit in the aforementioned G4 Quicksilver rebuild project. It really speed up machine performance and I am hoping to do the same with the G3 Wallstreet if I can find a bridge accessory that can fit into the 2.5″ drive tray.

    It would be nice to rebuild and upgrade my G3 Wallstreet laptop. However, given it’s age and previous failures, for me, this rebuild attempt will be more about the journey than the end result. That said, if I have learned anything from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, launched in April 1990 and still making scientific observations today, it’s that you shouldn’t count out old hardware as long as someone is still willing to service it.

  • apple,  macbook pro,  powerbook,  rumors

    Are the 2021 MacBook Pro Models About to Go Back to the Future?

    Source: Pintrest.com

    New porting by Juli Clover for MacRumors.com suggests that the 2021 MacBook Pro models might be picking up design language used by iPhone 12.

    “The new MacBook Pro machines will feature a flat-edged design, which Kuo describes as “similar to the iPhone 12″ with no curves like current models.”

    Clover is reporting on a new investor note written by Ming-Chi Kuo, who has is finger on the pulse of the Apple hardware supply chain.

    I enjoy using my iPhone 12 Pro Max and I love the way the flat sides feel in the hand. I am reminded daily of the classic look and feel of the iPhone 5-series. When I think of a MacBook Pro with flat sides around body and display, I don’t think of iPhone 12, iPhone 5, or even iPhone 4. No, as a long time Mac nerd, I harken back to the Mac that could have possibly inspired the flat side design of the iPhone 4, namely, the 2001 Titanium PowerBook G4.

    Source: John Tso, YouTube.com

    Compared with the black plastic PowerBook G3 released in 2000, the “TiBook” as fans call it, traded in the curves for clean straight lines and a much thinner design. In the Apple press release, Steve Jobs remarked:

    “The all new Titanium PowerBook G4 is the most revolutionary portable computer ever created. Its a ‘supercomputer to go’ in terms of performance, yet it’s thinner and sexier than the best subnotebooks.”

    Writing for MacWorld back in 2015, Christopher Phin, has a delightful retro comparison of the then current MacBook Air with a PowerBook G4. It’s worth taking a look at the photos in his article. They show off what a flat edge MacBook Pro in 2021 might look relative to recent Apple Silicon and Intel-powered MacBook Pro designs.

    Packed into TiBook’s 1-inch thick body was all the connectivity that a Mac power user would ever want, including Ethernet, USB, FireWire, VGA, and S-Video – all without the need for adapters. Imagine being a MacBook user in 2021 without having to make an expensive trip to Dongle Town.

    Could Apple be looking to the 2001 PowerBook G4 as inspiration for a new professional Apple Silicon M1 powered 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro? I hope so.

  • apple //e,  apple //gs,  apple tv,  apple watch,  imac,  iphone,  ipod,  ipod touch,  mac,  mac pro,  power mac,  powerbook

    Happy 40th Birthday, Apple! Stay Foolish!

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtY0K2fiFOA]
    Apple – 40 Years in 40 Seconds video originally show during Apple’s Spring 2016 event

    In honor of Apple’s 40th birthday today, I decided to help celebrate by listing out all of the Apple gear that I have either owned (my own personal hardware) or I have used at work (which was a big Mac shop until the mid-2000’s).

    Items that I owned have a picture and the approximate year in which I started using it. All of the hardware listed below has been listed in chronological order by the year Apple released it.

    Apple //e, Apple

    ImageWriter II (1986)

    Apple IIgs (1988)

    Macintosh SE/30 (1995)

    Macintosh Classic (1990)
    Macintosh IIci (1996)

    Macintosh LC (1992)

    Macintosh IIsi (1995)

    Macintosh PowerBook 100 (1992)

    Macintosh PowerBook Duo 230 and DuoDock (1993)
    Apple QuickTake 100 camera (1995)

    Power Macintosh 7100/66av (1995)

    Macintosh PowerBook Duo 2300c/100 and DuoDock (1996)
    Macintosh PowerBook 5300ce (1996)
    Apple StyleWriter 1200 (1996)

    Apple Newton MessagePad 2000 (1998)
    Power Macintosh 7600 (1997)

    Macintosh PowerBook G3 “Wall Street” (1998)
    Power Macintosh G3 Blue and White (1999)
    Power Mac G4 Cube with Apple 17-inch Cinema Display and Apple Pro Speakers (2001)

    iMac 17-inch Flat Panel (2002)
    PowerBook G4 DVI (2002)
    Power Mac G4 Mirrored Drive Doors (2002)
    Power Mac G4 QuickSilver with Apple 20-inch Cinema Display (2003)
    Apple iPod with Dock Connector (2003)
    Power Mac G5 (2004)

    PowerBook G4 (2004)

    Xserve and Xserve RAID (2004)
    Apple iPod 5th Generation (2005)
    MacBook 13-inch (2006)
    Mac Pro with 23-inch Cinema Display (2006)

    iPhone 2G (2010)

    iPod Touch (2008)
    Apple TV 1st Generation (2009)
    MacBook Pro 17-inch (2010)
    iPad with Wi-Fi (2010)

    iPhone 4s Sprint (2011)
    iPad 3rd Generation with Wi-Fi (2012)
    iPad mini 1st Generation with Wi-Fi (2013)
    Apple TV 3rd Generation (2013)
    iPad Air (2013)
    iPhone 5s Sprint (2013)
    iPhone 6 Sprint (2014)

    Apple Watch Sport (2015)

    iPhone 6s Plus Sprint (2015)
    iPad Pro 12.9-inch with Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard (2015)

    iMac Retina 5k, 27-inch (2016)