• apple,  power mac,  repair,  retro computing,  vintage

    How-To: Open a Sony MPF52A Floppy Drive

    I have been working on restoring an Apple Power Macintosh 7100/80, first released in 1994. While tearing it down to remove the original PRAM battery from 1994, I decided to also pull out the 3.5-inch floppy drive to service it before attempting to power on the Mac.

    What I discovered was that I couldn’t find any documentation (service manual, blog post, YouTube video) about how to open the drive without breaking the plastic faceplate. So, I made a video of me fumbling around trying to open the drive so you don’t have to wonder how to open it or break any plastic clips.

  • apple,  iphone 7,  repair

    Welcoming Home a Rescued (PRODUCT)Red iPhone 7

    (PRODUCT)Red iPhone 7…wow, that’s red!

    I have been looking for a reasonably priced used (PRODUCT)Red iPhone for a while now. First introduced as part of 2016 iPhone product line, the (PRODUCT)Red iPhones, in my opinion, have a strikingly bold color that makes them standout against the other colors in the line up.

    Being a nerd who has to have all of the latest iPhone features, I gravitate toward the Pro model iPhones. Apparently, Pro iPhones are not allowed to have cool color choices, so I had never purchased a (PRODUCT)Red iPhone as my daily device.

    About three weeks ago, I purchased a batch of broken iPhones from seller from eBay. All the iPhones were listed “as-is” and not tested. This is eBay code for broken and/or iCloud Locked. One device, for example, a GSM iPhone 6, was in great condition, but was iCloud Locked.

    One device in the listing caught my eye: a (PRODUCT)Red iPhone. No mention was made of which model it was. All I could tell from the photos was that it had a shattered display.

    Broken iPhone 7 screen with packing tape

    Once the shipment arrived, I zeroed in on the (PRODUCT)Red iPhone. It had a 4-digit PIN code. I tried entering my picks from a list of commonly used PIN codes. Eventually, I reached the limit for failed PIN code attempts, and the iPhone disabled itself.

    An Apple Store won’t service an iCloud Locked iPhone, so I put the iPhone into DFU (Device Firmware Update) mode, erased the device, loaded a fresh copy of iOS 15.7.1, and rebooted the iPhone.

    To my surprise, the previous owner had not enabled the Find My iPhone feature. Without the Find My iPhone security feature enabled, the DFU mode iOS 15 install had the effect of erasing the previous owner’s data and reset the iPhone so I could make it my own. To test this out, I logged into iCloud with a test Apple ID and sure enough, I was able to login and assert ownership of the iPhone.

    The final step, now that I was certain that the iPhone 7 wasn’t iCloud locked, was to setup a Genius Bar appointment at my local Apple Store and have the screen repaired. Thankfully, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models still have a “Supported” status, meaning that Apple will still service them.

    I explained to the Genius who was helping me that I was the second-hand owner of the iPhone and wanted to have the screen repaired. I mentioned that I hadn’t opened the iPhone but couldn’t definitively state that someone else may have gone inside. The Genius ran the iPhone through a suite of diagnostic tests to confirm that there was nothing else wrong with the iPhone.

    iPhone 7 with a new screen

    After confirming that no other defects were present, I handed the iPhone over to be serviced. It would be ready later that day. A few hours later, I picked up the repaired (PRODUCT)Red iPhone and brought it home.

    Thankfully, even when you consider the repair cost of the new screen, I was able to find a relatively inexpensive (PRODUCT)Red iPhone 7. This was not the way I was expecting this story to turn out. I was expecting the iPhone to be iCloud locked, indicating that the iPhone was possibly stolen. If you plan on buying a used iPhone from eBay, be sure that the seller shows pictures of the unlocked home screen and the Settings app showing that the iCloud account is logged out. Logging out of iCloud on an iPhone will disable the Find My iPhone security feature.

    In this particular case, this repair story has a positive ending, allowing me to welcome home a (PRODUCT)Red iPhone 7!