the pickle's Low-End Mac FAQ

standalone HTML version

Last Modified on 31 July 2003.
Written and maintained by the pickle.
Hosted by Binhost Technologies.

Section 1 - Software

Section 2 - Hardware

Section 3 - Document History

  1. Why this FAQ?
  2. Who helped out?
  3. Revision History

System Software and Mac OS

1.1.1 - What version(s) of the Mac OS will run on my Mac?

Apple TIL Archive article 18406 describes System Software compatibility for System Software prior to 7.1. The Apple Museum at Bott has a page of version history on the very early Mac OS versions.

Apple TIL article 8970 describes System Software compatibility for System Software from 7.1 to Mac OS 7.6.

Thanks to Gamba's "Run OS 8.1 On Your SE/30" project, you can now run 8.1 on any 030-based Mac if you really want to.

It's possible to run up to at least Mac OS 8.6 on a PPC-upgraded IIci (and probably on other PPC-upgraded 030-based Macs), but it requires a ResEdit hack (warning - this page contains the only images in the entire FAQ, about 15KB total) and some technical knowledge. No one, as of this writing, had managed to get Mac OS 9.x running on a PPC-upgraded Mac, but that doesn't mean it can't be done.

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1.1.2 - What versions of the Mac OS are available online?

Various versions of the Mac OS from System 6 to Mac OS 7.5.5 are available for free online. All versions linked here are North American English versions unless otherwise indicated. If you need a non-English version, try searching Apple's Software Updates (but don't hope for much before System 7.5). French- and German-localised versions of system software prior to System 7 is available here. They also have English versions of most revisions of the OS before System 7. KanjiTalk, the Japanese version of the Mac OS, is available in pre-System 7 form here. Most System versions prior to 6.0 WERE available here, which still has many links to System software downloads but no longer hosts any of them. Early in 2001, Apple changed their licencing structure to cause the removal of all System Software prior to 6 from legal distribution. For more information, see Stuart Bell's Low End Mac article.
System 6.0.3 is available direct from Apple.
System 6.0.5 is available direct from Apple.
System 6.0.8 is available direct from Apple.
System 6.0.8L is available here or here. Note: It only works on the PB100, LC II, and Classic II (and all Macs that suppport other System 6 versions). It does NOT work on the Colour Classic.

System versions 6.0.1, 6.0.2, 6.0.4, and 6.0.7 are no longer available from Apple, but it's not a big deal - System 6.0.8 will work just fine for most System 6.x installations. If you really need an earlier version of 6.x (possibly due to size constraints), well, they're there for you to get. System 7.0 is available direct from Apple.
System 7.0.1 is available direct from Apple.
System 7 Tune-up (HIGHLY recommended with the above two System versions) is available direct from Apple.

System 7.1 is not officially available for free. It can be ordered from the Apple Order Center. Their phone number is 1-800-293-6617, a free call from within the US. Thanks to GY for the phone number. Go to the Mac 512 User Group's System Software download page for some links to 7.1 downloads. System 7.1 Update 3 (HIGHLY recommended for all System 7.1 users) is available direct from Apple.

System 7.5.3 is available direct from Apple as a 19-part download (NOT disk images) requiring approximately 40MB of disk space. The Network Access Disk, a commonly requested item, can be found here.
System 7.5.5 Update (highly recommended for the above) is available direct from Apple.

Versions of the Mac OS after 7.5.5 are not yet available for free. eBay is probably the best source for Mac OS 7.6 and up, where most non-current Mac OS versions can be found for $30 or less. Apple still wants $99 for the CD version of the full Mac OS 7.6 and up, which can be ordered from the Apple Order Center at 1-800-293-6617.

Mac OS 7.6.1 Update (requires Mac OS 7.6, recommended for all 7.6 users) is available direct from Apple.

Mac OS 8.1 Update (requires Mac OS 8, recommended for all 8.0 users) is available direct from Apple.

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1.1.3 - Which version of the Mac OS is best for my Mac? 1.1.3 - Which version of the Mac OS is best for my Mac?

I'll try to give a very generally applicable recommendation here, but specific questions are beyond the scope of this FAQ. In general, if a Mac can run up to 7.6.1, 7.1 is the ideal version for it. If it can run up to 7.6.1 and you need the features in 7.5.x and up, use 7.6.1. Most stock Macintoshes, in my experience are at their fastest with the version of the OS one generation previous to the maximum supported on that machine. (I'm not counting 7.5.x and 7.6.x as different generations, since 7.6.x was essentially a bug-fix and PPC code update to 7.5.x.) Note that these recommendations DO NOT apply to Macs upgraded with a faster/newer processor.

If you have a 128K, 512K, or 512Ke, check out the link to System Software prior to System 6 and pick one of the Systems listed as being for the 128K-Plus (NOT the Guided Tour disks). Which one you use really depends on what features you need.

If you have a Plus, SE (any model), or Classic, use System 6.0.8 unless you absolutely need the features of System 7. Why? System 6 Heaven has a good explanation.

If you have any 020- or 030-based Mac, 7.1 is generally the best for it but 7.5.x/7.6.x will run acceptably well; major exceptions are the IIfx, which runs well all the way to 8.1, and the LCs (including the Classic II and Colour Classic) prior to the LC III, which should NOT use anything past 7.1 if you want to keep your sanity.

Quadras are fastest with Mac OS 7.1 plus the extras mentioned below, but if you need HFS Plus support or have a PPC card, use Mac OS 8.1.

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1.1.4 - What the heck is all this System Enabler stuff?

System Enablers are pieces of software that add support for certain machines to the Mac OS. For example, the IIvx came out after System 7.1 was finalised, and thus support for the IIvx is not built into System 7.1. The Enabler 001 file adds this necessary support, and a Mac IIvx will not boot under System 7.1 without it. If your Mac shipped with an enabler (check out AppleSpec to see if it did), make sure you don't remove that file from the System Folder. If you have extraneous Enablers, however, you can safely remove them. Check out Apple TIL Archive articles 11491 and 21176, which describe the current version of every System Enabler needed (as well as revision history) for nearly all Macs, before removing any Enablers from your System Folder. Note: the LC III+ is not on the list but should be the same as the Performa 460.

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1.1.5 - What am I supposed to do with these disk image things?

Those "disk image things" require you to use Disk Copy 4.2 or Disk Copy 6.3.3 (both available from Apple) to mount them. If you want to make floppies from them, use the "Make Floppy" command in Disk Copy after mounting an image from within Disk Copy. And please, read the Disk Copy README file. It's really not that hard to do.

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1.1.6 - How can I get an OS on a Mac using only my PC? 1.1.6 - How can I get an OS on a Mac using only my PC?

It's reasonably common that someone gets an old used Mac and it has no operating system on it. Often, these people don't have anything other than a PC to access the Internet. As long as your Mac is an SE FDHD or Mac IIx or higher, you can use these directions compiled by Alex Harrington (aka "fastkeys") to get that Mac up and running. Due to irreconcilable physical differences in the floppy drives of PCs and Macs, a Mac 128, 512, Plus, original SE, or un-upgraded II cannot use this procedure. If you have one of these, you'll need to get a Mac that can read PC floppies or find someone willing to make floppies for you.

You'll need your PC (running Win 9x or NT), some error-free 1.4MB floppies, and a good deal of patience. Download the following:

Once you have everything, install Stuffit Expander, unstuff the disk image to a new folder on your hard disk, and name the folder something short, like "Mac." Copy the RAWRITE program into this same folder. Rename the image file to image.img. Start your MS-DOS Prompt and type the following:

RaWrite 1.3 - Write disk file to raw floppy diskette

Enter source file name:

Landon Fuller notes the following:

On *nix systems, you can [you need to, in most cases] remove the header from uncompressed disk images by skipping the first 84 bytes of the image when writing it to disk.

On Linux:
dd if=imagefile.image of=/dev/fd0 bs=84 skip=1
In order to get the image file, use Aladdin Stuffit Expander for Linux (runs on most x86 unices with Linux binary emulation). Operate on the data fork, not the resource fork.

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1.1.7 - Is there a list of startup key combinations and what they do somewhere?

Startup key combinations - like holding down the shift key to disable extensions in System 7 and higher - are pretty well documented on the 'Net. Since Charles Poynton's site has disappeared completely, I've written a derivative work myself, based on his page but focused more on 68K Macs.

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1.1.8 - What are those "extras" I should add to System 7.1 to make it more like 7.5?

First, install System 7.1 Update 3. Once you've done that, you want to get the CFM-68K Runtime Enabler 4.0, ObjectSupportLib 1.2 (included with CFM-68K download), Drag Manager 1.1, and Thread Manager. Make sure you install Finder 7.1.3 as well; it's in the Thread Manager package, inside the Finder 7.1.3 folder.

When you get those installed, restart and then install Open Transport 1.1 and 1.1.2.

If you want the Mac OS 8 look, you can install the Appearance Manager, and for a heirarchical Apple menu, just copy over the Apple Menu Options control panel from a 7.5.x/7.6.x installation. WindowShade can be installed in a similar fashion.

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Internet Software

1.2.1 - How can I get my old Mac online?

Funny you should ask. JAG has a tutorial which tells exactly how to do it.

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1.2.2 - How do I get an old Mac set up for e-mail?

It's not too difficult but it does require some knowledge. The following procedure was written assuming that 1) you already have another Macintosh that has access to the WWW and 2) you have at least a Mac Plus.

In order to get any Mac online for at least e-mail access, you'll need at least System 6.0.5, 2MB of RAM, two 800K floppy drives or a hard disk and an 800K floppy drive, and some sort of modem, preferably 14.4 or faster.

You'll also have to obtain some information from your ISP:

  1. Your username and password, case-sensitive.
  2. The local dial-up number.
  3. Your ISP domain name (aka PPP Server Name).
  4. Name server addresses - usually at least two, often three.

Your username and password are probably familiar to you already, as is the local dial-up phone number. The ISP domain name is most likely just the domain name of your ISP, like or The name server addresses will be standard IP addresses; for example: or

Using a Macintosh (you can use a PC for this if you have a Mac that will read 1.4MB floppies), download the following software and install it where appropriate on the boot floppy (or hard disk) of the Mac you want to get on-line:

  1. Aladdin Systems' Stuffit Expander 4.0.1 (only necessary to decode other files here)
  2. MacTCP and MacPPP
  3. Install and configure MacTCP first, following these directions or these directions.
  4. Restart the Mac.
  5. Install and configure MacPPP, following these directions or these directions.
  6. If you don't know the Modem Init String, just leave it blank and it will probably work.
  7. Shut Down and connect your modem to the Modem port on the back.
  8. Start up the Mac, open the Config PPP Control Panel, and click "Open" to open your Internet connection.

Now that you have the necessary connection software installed, you need an e-mail client. Eudora 1.3.1 is probably the best e-mail client for System 6 Macs. Directions for configuring Eudora are available at SIU. If you're running System 7 or higher, you can use Eudora 1.5.5.

Marshall Lewis also pointed out that by getting the Felix's Emailer disk image, you can get a Mac with a HD floppy drive on-line as long as it has at least 2MB RAM.

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1.2.3 - How do I get an old Mac set up for WWW access?

You can pretty much follow the directions above for getting a Mac set up for e-mail; however, I highly recommend that any Mac to be used for browsing be running at least System 7 and have 8MB or more of RAM. While somewhat more difficult, you can certainly browse the Web with a browser like MacWeb 1.00A3.2 on a 68000-based Mac such as a Plus, SE, or Classic. Don't expect to be able to do much; MacWeb likes to freeze early and often.

iCab is far and away the best browsing option for most people on 68K Macs now, except for the 68000-based Macs, which can't use it. Any other 68K Mac running at least System 7 can and should use iCab, which is light on RAM usage, very fast, and supremely configurable. Two tips: load up on RAM to the extent possible and put the browser's cache on a RAM disk for best speed, and turn off multiple connections in the Preferences for maximum stability.

Netscape 2.0.2 is probably the next-best choice for most browsing needs on a 68030 or lower. You'll also probably want the Netscape Defrost extension, which helps Netscape freeze less often, as well as the Netscape 2.02 Update. There's lots more good information on Gamba's Taming Netscape Navigator page.

A lot of older browsers, including Netscape 2.x and 3.x, have a problem with expired security certificates; you won't be able to use them to connect to secure sites any more.

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1.2.4 - How can I set up an old Mac as a WWW server?

I'm going to assume you've already taken the necessary steps to get your Mac online or you wouldn't be asking this question. In order to set up your Mac as a Web server, you need some sort of Web server software. For most early 68K applications, MacHTTP is probably your best bet. It can be obtained from If you have a later 68K Mac, like a Quadra, you can run Social Engineering's Quid Pro Quo, which is somewhat more capable than MacHTTP, though it hasn't been updated in quite some time.

Schoolvision got a Mac Plus running a Web server with System 7 and MacHTTP; it has since been retired. Marshall Lewis has set up a Mac-Server mailing list at MacLaunch; you might want to join it if you have more questions.

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1.2.5 - What browsers can I use on my Mac, and what are their features?

There's a 68K browser profile page with specs on most 68K-compatible browsers, including information on support for plug-ins, JavaScript, Java, secure browsing, minimum Mac OS requirements, RAM and HD requirements, and CPU requirements. It also has download links for the browsers profiled.

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Networking and File Transfer Software

1.3.1 - How can I get files from my PC to my Mac?

Most Macs that can run System 7.1 or higher will also work with PC Exchange, which will allow PC-formatted disks to be read in both the floppy and external drives such as Zip drives. If you need a copy of PC Exchange and don't want to download all 40MB or so of the System 7.5.3 Unified Release, you can get a copy of PC Exchange 1.0.4 via FTP. (Use a real FTP client if your web browser doesn't work.) However, if you don't have this option, there are a few ways you can get your PC to write Mac-format disks. Probably the best site on this topic is located here. It lists different programs for reading and writing HFS (the native Macintosh format) disks on a PC. Of those, TransMac ($64 shareware) is probably the best. The PC program can be found here and will enable your PC to write HD Mac floppies. Note that PC floppy drives cannot write Mac-format 800K floppies due to physical differences in the read/write mechanisms, but with TransMac or a similar program, PCs can write 1.4MB Mac floppies.

When you download files that you'll want to transfer to your Mac, try, if possible, to download BinHex files. They're plain text and are less likely to get munged somehow during the transfer.

If you don't have any way of using floppies to transfer from one computer to another (i.e., you have only an 800K drive on the Mac), check out the excellent StarGate program for null modem transfers. It will take a tad bit more effort than floppies but it's a very nice program and works pretty well for transferring small amounts of data. (Large amounts of data don't send so fast over a 56Kbps link as you modem users may know.)

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1.3.2 - How can I run a file server under System 6?

Steve Strahm managed to track down an old Chooser extension called "JC Remote" that gives file sharing capabilities to System 6 Macs. As you know, Apple did not include support for File Sharing until System 7, and the most common option for System 6, Public Folder, isn't really adequate. You can get JC Remote from the UMich archive.

The other option would be to track down AppleShare Server v2 or earlier, which will also run just fine on System 6 and runs much faster than System 7's built-in File Sharing.

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1.3.3 - How can I connect a Mac running OS X to one running System 6?

Marten van de Kraats has posted the latest information from several sources on his System 6 Heaven.

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1.3.4 - How can I share printers on my network?

Phil Beesley has written up a nice tutorial on how to use an OS X machine to share a printer on a network for the use of virtually any Mac. If you don't have an OS X box, one of your options is similar: you can use the instructions Phil outlines on almost any *nix distribution running on virtually any hardware. If you don't have an OS X or *nix box, you need a printer that can be shared by Mac OS-based means, which generally means any printer capable of using the LaserWriter 8 driver (basically all PostScript-capable laser printers) or an Apple StyleWriter of some sort, which can be shared using the Printer Sharing capabilities built into the OS. ImageWriters with a LocalTalk card can be shared; you'll need AppleShare Server or AppleShare Print Server to share an ImageWriter without a LocalTalk card. It isn't clear if non-Apple printers can be shared via these means or not using the Mac OS, though most will work with gimp-print on *nix systems as outlined in Phil's instructions.

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1.3.5 - Can I net-boot my 68K Mac?

Yes, but only if you have an Ethernet card with one of two very rare third-party ROM upgrades. Both Sonic's The Diskless Mac and Mauswerks's BootToob used a ROM chip to replace the factory ROM chip in an installed Ethernet card. This new ROM would connect to the network at startup, load a boot image into RAM on the client Mac, disconnect from the network, and continue booting.

The original cost was $139-149 per client and required an AppleShare Server running MacTCP (or a UNIX server in the case of Sonic's tdM) on the network. When more ROM part number/ID information is available, it will be posted here; if you have any, e-mail me.

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Productivity Software

1.4.1 - Where can I get a word processor for my Mac?

WordPerfect 3.5e, which runs on nearly every Macintosh ever made (with the exception of the 68000-based Macs), is available for free. Some tidbits for it are available here as well.

Microsoft Word 6 is a terrible word processor; if you must use Word, try and get 5.1a. It's not free, but you can sometimes find a copy on eBay or by asking around. Word 4 is also a pretty good program.

The various Works programs are pretty good, particularly later versions of Claris (now Apple) Works. They will also run on almost any Macintosh and have a reasonably complete feature set. Again, eBay is probably your best source since these aren't free either.

Some people swear by Mariner Write or WriteNow (which is no longer available for purchase). I've never used them but they're supposed to be pretty good.

Of course, any mention of Mac word processors would be incomplete without mentioning the excellent and free Nisus Writer 4.1.6, which is still available for download.

If you're running System 6, a lot of the above programs won't work. To find one that will, check out Marten van de Kraats's System 6 Heaven.

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1.4.2 - Where can I get other productivity software for my Mac?

If you're running System 6, Marten van de Kraats has an extremely useful site called System 6 Heaven. Bill Jagitsch runs a similarly useful site called JAG's House that is mostly dedicated to System 6 software. Some very old software (mostly System 6-compatible stuff) can be found at the Vieuxmac site.

If you're running System 7 or up, your best bet is to check out the software on the two sites mentioned above and see if what you want will run on System 7. Where to get it? eBay is probably your best bet for obtaining a legal copy, but most software from before 1996 is getting extremely difficult to track down. Begging and groveling are useful as well ;)

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Miscellaneous Software

1.5.1 - Where can I get 68K software?

David Wood's Resources for the Older Macintosh is also a good site. The VieuxMac site is one of the best for very old software, and Marten van de Kraats's System 6 Heaven and Bill Jagitsch's JAG's House sites are also very useful for System 6-era software and information.

The usual archive sites still apply, of course - Info-Mac and UMich are still great places to get old software, and they're well-organised and on fast connections.

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1.5.2 - Can I run UNIX/Linux on my Mac?

Heh heh heh...I get to pass the buck again, sort of. JAG has also covered this on his site. I'm not going to totally pass the buck, though. NetBSD will run on most Macs from the Mac II on up. JAG has a tutorial on running Debian Linux on an SE/30 (which should be somewhat applicable to other Vintage Macs). Warning: unless you're a real geek and have a desire to play around a LOT with stuff that doesn't always make sense, don't bother with trying to run Linux or UNIX on your Mac.

Lots more information is available at Pure-Mac, including information on A/UX, Apple's UNIX variant from the early 1990s.

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1.5.3 - How do I make my Mac talk or speak text files?

Thanks to the MacArchaeologist b.b., we have the answer right here. If you have System 6, you need the MacinTalk extension from Apple's web site. Drop it into your System Folder and restart. Once MacinTalk is installed, you can take advantage of programs such as the MacTalker desk accessory or the VoiceBox control panel. Thanks to its author, James Joaquin, MacTalker is available once again for public distribution. b.b. has it on his web site; the pickle will be adding it to his archive when he gets around to it. MacTalker can be used to read any text file by using Command-R or by choosing a file from the menu bar.

Now that you have MacTalker, get LipService and VoiceBox. LipService is another startup greeting which you can customize via the Control Panel. VoiceBox is a control panel that gives your System 6 Mac the Talking Alerts features available to System 7 users.

The Talking Moose and Welcome 2 are a couple more neat talking Mac applications, both available from JAG's House.

System 7 users need to get PlainTalk 1.5 from Apple. The English Text-to-Speech 1.5 software package, which is part of PlainTalk 1.5, is the part you really need, since Speech Recognition requires an 040-based AV Mac or Power Mac and really needs a Power Mac to be effective. Once you have that installed, check out the UMich Archive's Speech section. You can still use such System 6 goodies as MacTalker and Welcome 2 with System 7, just make sure that you place an extra copy of the MacinTalk extension loose in the System Folder, in addition to the one INSIDE the Extensions folder.

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1.5.4 - Can I play MP3 files on my 68K Mac?

Well, sort of. Two recent developments have enabled the playing of MP3s downsampled to mono and 22.4KHz on a 68040-based Mac. (No, an FPU isn't required, although it certainly doesn't hurt.) Neither supports anything remotely similar to the feature set of, say, iTunes, but both will work as a "proof of concept" or technology demonstration. What are these two wonders, you ask? They are mpg-123, version 1.1 (a 207K download) and MpegDec 2.5.3 (an 866 KB download that claims to work as far back as a 68020).

While I don't use either one, the consensus seems to be that MpegDec is greatly superior to mpg-123 as far as features go, although both are supposedly equally adept at playing MP3s.

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1.5.5 - What's that rectangular screen that comes up sometimes that makes me have to restart?

That's the screen of the built-in debugger. It can be accessed by pressing the programmer's - or interrupt - switch (command-power on later Macs or the switch with the solid round icon on Macs with the switch). The switch generates a non-maskable interrupt that immediately forces the computer into either the built-in debugger or Macsbug (if you have it installed). To get out of this box without restarting (assuming you accidentally dropped into the debugger, as opposed to crashing into it), type G and press return. If you got to the debugger by crashing, try typing G and return anyway, but it probably won't work. There are a few neat easter eggs on certain Macs that can be accessed by giving an address in memory after the G, but that's another topic.

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Graphics Hardware

2.1.1 - What video cards work with what monitors?

There aren't many resources that explicitly state video card and monitor compatibility, but Gamba's video card-monitor matrix (mostly Apple-branded information) is a good place to start. Griffin Technology has a large database of monitors and video cards as well, and MonitorWorld has one too. The Apple KArchive has lots of Apple-specific information; see Gamba's page or question 2.1.11 for more information.

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2.1.2 - Where can I get drivers for my video card?

The Mac Driver Museum has drivers for a lot of Mac video cards and other hardware. Gamba has some links to Radius, SuperMac, and E-Machines drivers at his site too.

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2.1.3 - Can the Apple 8*24GC acceleration be enabled under Mac OS 7.6 and later?

Surprisingly enough, yes. Though Apple doesn't support it, Leon Sargent discovered that the ATI Graphics Accelerator extension will allow the 8*24GC to work fully under Mac OS 7.6 and later if the Mac has been upgraded with a PowerPC accelerator. The ATI extension is written in PPC-native code and does nothing on pure 68K Macs.

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2.1.4 - How can I fix my Compact Mac's video problem?

There are several known problems with the video in the 128/512/Plus and in the SE or SE/30. If you get a checkerboard pattern or a thin vertical or horizontal line but everything else seems OK, try removing the ROM and RAM chips, cleaning the contacts on them with a vinegar and salt solution (or a lemon juice and salt solution), and reseating the chips. Make sure you also check to see if the ROMs are inserted the correct way. (Backwards ROMs can cause this too.) If that doesn't work, try re-soldering the analog board connections at C1, J1, and L2. For a good soldering iron to use, see Question 2.8.8 in the Miscellaneous section. While it doesn't have full instructions for all repairs, S. Hamada's site for repairing the SE/30 has useful information for the SE and SE/30 analogue board repairs.

Hardy Menagh has compiled an up-to-date list of replacement analogue board parts for the Plus and earlier, based on Larry Pina's parts list in Mac Repair and Upgrade Secrets, and I have transcribed it into HTML format for easy consumption. If you have a Plus or earlier with analogue board problems, and you know what needs to be replaced, check the parts list for a source.

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2.1.5 - What is the proper CRT discharge procedure for Compact Macs?

First, MAKE ABSOLUTELY SURE YOU ARE NOT GROUNDED. Neither Binhost Technologies, the pickle, Low End Mac, nor any other entity or individual other than the individual working on the CRT takes responsibility for any harm you may cause yourself by working with a potentially dangerous cathode ray tube.

To discharge the CRT, use either Apple's CRT discharge tool or make your own. To make your own, take an alligator clip with a 12" (30cm) lead and firmly attach it with some sort of conductive material to the shaft of an insulated screwdriver. Clip the alligator clip to the Mac's chassis, making sure the Mac is plugged in. Slowly slide the tip of the screwdriver underneath the red suction cup on the CRT until you hear a "pop," which indicates that the CRT is discharged.

Again, you, the individual, take full responsibility for any damage done to yourself or your possessions, but just as a small side note, I have worked on many compacts and have never discharged a CRT and have suffered no ill effects. Avoid the red suction cup and you'll probably be just fine.

The later-revision SE and all later Macs have self-discharging flyback transformers, so in most cases, discharging the flyback manually will accomplish nothing. The particularly anal-retentive individuals among the readers should still do it, though.

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2.1.6 - What monitors will work with my IIci/IIsi?

The IIsi and IIci, which have the same video subsystem, cannot drive a standard VGA monitor. However, any monitor supporting a 67Hz refresh rate, sync-on-green, and the proper horizontal and vertical refresh rates will work. This includes many Sony monitors and the Apple Portrait Display. Apple's multisync monitors such as the Multiple Scan 15 do NOT support sync-on-green, and will not work properly with the built-in video. The Apple Two-Page Display is also incompatible with built-in video on these two Macs.

Some Mac-to-VGA monitor adapters can properly separate the sync signals of monitors that do not sync on green, thus enabling otherwise incompatible monitors to be used with the IIci or IIsi (at a price, usually around US$50). The Apple Developer Hardware Tech Note #8 has pinout information for the IIci and IIsi DB-15 video ports if you want to make your own adapter.

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2.1.7 - Where can I get information about my video card's compatibility with the Mac OS?

The NuBus Mafia needs your help. Profiles are all archived and awaiting publication, but some things need to be put in place before this can happen. Contact me for details.

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2.1.8 - I have a dead CRT in my Mac. What other Macs can I steal a CRT from to fix it?

The 128, 512, Plus, SE and SE/30 share a common CRT.

The Classic and Classic II (and their Performa variants) share a common CRT. The CRT itself is the same as that used in the Plus, but the yoke assembly is different, so swapping a CRT from a Classic to a Plus/SE/etc. or vice versa is much more difficult and complex than swapping from a Classic to a Classic II. Also, swapping yokes will usually necessitate adjustment of the analogue board to get the image properly centered and sized.

The Color Classic, Color Classic II, and their Performa variants share a common CRT.

The LC/Performa 520, 550, and 57x models all share a common CRT.

The LC/Performa 58x models share a common CRT.

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2.1.9 - Where can I get monitor port pinout information?

Hardware Tech Note #8 has pinouts for the early Apple video cards, the Macintosh LC, and the IIsi/IIci. The pinout for the standard Mac DB-15 video port is available in TIL Article 9089. (It says Quadra and Centris, but it applies to the LC series as well.)

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2.1.10 - Why is there a big black border around my monitor's image?

That's there for a reason. Earlier (read: before the mid-1990s) CRTs had problems with maintaining a sharp focus all the way to the edge of the monitor and distortion due to the curve of the CRT face. Leaving a black border around the image helps reduce these problems by eliminating the area of the CRT where they occur. However, a lot of people don't like that border (or the slight problems don't bother them). The surest way to remove it is to get inside the monitor and adjust the image height and width pots, but this is 1) dangerous for the inexperienced, 2) often difficult, and 3) may result in damage to your computer or monitor over time. (The black-and-white Compact Macs are particularly susceptible to damage if improperly adjusted.) With that in mind, there are a couple of software utilities that may, in some cases, help you out. MonitorExpander 1.01 and MaxAppleZoom 1.44 work with certain Apple-branded NuBus video cards to trick the cards into displaying a higher resolution than "normal" and/or by allowing a scrolling virtual portrait mode. They do NOT support any Macintosh's built-in video.

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2.1.11 - Where can I get information about the monitors my Mac can drive?

The TIL has a monitor and video card database for all Apple-made monitors and video cards as well as all Mac onboard video systems. If the answer isn't in there, check the other questions in this section.

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2.1.12 - Where can I get CRT/video adjustment tools?

Radio Shack part numbers 64-2220 and 64-2223 should be enough to adjust nearly any CRT ever made, but unfortunately, both have been discontinued. Check your local Ratty Shark for stock; the catalog doesn't list these any more but individual stores often have one or two sets.

An alternative to the Ratty Shark set is this set, which costs US$13.97 and, according to Dan, is "pretty well made." A bit pricier, but probably worth it if you can't find tools elsewhere.

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2.1.13 - What monitors will my Mac physically support?

The ever-lovely Dana provided me with a link to KArchive article number 8300, which lists the maximum weight ratings of various desktop Mac cases.

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Hard Disks

2.2.1 - What types of hard drives will work in my Mac?

Any half-height (or smaller), 50-pin SCSI hard disk will work in any 68K desktop Mac except for the 128 through Plus, which don't support internal HDs. The Plus can be hacked to support an internal hard disk, but I recommend against it because of heat and power supply issues.

The Mac II, IIx, and IIfx will support a full-height internal hard disk with a special bracket. Most Macs which support one internal HD will support two with the proper ribbon cable and power cable, but installing the second one can get really tricky, especially in the compacts. I don't recommend installing more than one HD internally in any compact because of power supply and heat issues.

Here's a brief table outlining the internal HD options for desktop Macs:

Model Maximum Size Notes
128K/512K/512Ke n/a no SCSI support
Plus n/a internal HD unsupported; can be hacked to support up to a 3.5" half-height drive
other Compacts 3.5" half-height rare brackets for SE and SE/30 allow for second 3.5" HH or smaller
II/IIx/IIfx 5.25" full-height or
up to 3 3.5" third-height
requires special bracket(s) and new SCSI/power cable (for multiple drives)
IIcx/IIci/Q700 3.5" half-height  
IIsi 3.5" half-height  
IIvx form factor 5.25" half-height in CD-ROM bay; requires special bracket.
LC series 3.5" third-height  
5xx series 3.5" half-height 58x Macs take IDE hard disks.
610/660 one 3.5" half-height and one 5.25" half-height in CD bay HD in CD bay requires special bracket and possibly new SCSI/power cables.
8xx up to three 3.5" half-height With CD-ROM drive, maximum number of HDs is two.
9x0 up to five 5.25" full-height Full-height drives may require special bracket.

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2.2.2 - How can I format a SCSI HD without an Apple ROM for a Mac?

There are a number of commercial utilities that will format most any HD for a Mac. FWB Hard Disk Toolkit, the most popular, is a $50 piece of software. There is a page that has benchmark data for many of the formatters if you care to check it out. Essentially it says that HD SC Setup is the best option unless money means nothing to you. Apple HD SC Setup, a free utility, will only format HDs supported by Apple and has fewer features than commercial formatters. Apple HD SC Setup can be edited with a resource editor to format most unsupported HDs as well. Edited versions of Apple HD SC are not supported. Each version of Apple HD SC Setup requires a different edit. Directions for performing the edit using ResEdit upon Apple HD SC Setup 7.3.5, the last version, follow.

  1. Open a copy of Apple HD SC Setup 7.3.5 with ResEdit.
  2. Open the 'wfwr' resource.
  3. Open ID 67.
  4. Change ASCII line 00000 from 00 to FF.
  5. Save changes to Apple HD SC Setup 7.3.5 and close it.
  6. Rename the modified application so that it can be recognized from the unedited version.

Unsupported patches to Apple HD SC Setup are also available. They perform the edit automatically without the use of a resource editor. A copy of a patch for Apple HD SC Setup 7.3.5 is available. ONLY use this patch on version 7.3.5.

Occasionally, you may run across a disk that was previously formatted that HD SC Setup can't quite tackle. If this is the case, try the following procedure outlined by Steve Strahm:

  1. Boot from an external hard drive.
  2. Run the Format (but NOT the Partition command) in Alliance Power Tools 2.7.3.
  3. Reboot. (VERY important!)
  4. Format with Apple HD SC Setup 7.3.5, patched as above.

If none of the above tricks works, try Lido7, available here or the Micronet Utility, available from Gamba's Hard Drive page. If v7 doesn't work for you, v4 is available by FTP here.

Joerg Erdei's guide to using Apple's Drive Setup, available here, explains the ins and outs of using Drive Setup on a 68K Mac as well as what version you should use for a particular Mac model. Be comfortable with ResEdit before you attempt the modifications detailed in the guide.

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2.2.3 - Why won't my Mac Plus see the external HD I use with my other Macs?

The buffer on many older HDs is rather small, and the SCSI on the Mac Plus is quite slow. When these two factors are combined, it causes the HD to effectively be "too fast" for the Plus. To get around this, HDs for use with the Mac Plus were often formatted with a 3:1 interleave, which slowed down the data flying at the Plus enough so the Plus could handle it. If your external HD is an older unit and has only been used with Macs newer than the Plus, it probably has a 2:1 or 1:1 interleave and is too fast for the Plus. To remedy this, back up the HD and reformat it on the Plus (or on another Mac, as long as you can specify the interleave ratio). This will make the drive slow enough for the Plus (and probably won't impact its performance on other Macs too negatively). Most newer hard disks have enough cache so as to make interleave ratios irrelevant.

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2.2.4 - How do I change the SCSI ID on my internal HD?

While the position of the jumpers varies from drive to drive, there is a basic pattern to the way jumpers are configured. (To find the specific location of the SCSI ID jumpers on your HD, check the manufacturer's web site.) The table below is the typical way hard disk manufacturers set the SCSI ID. Three jumpers, called J0, J1, and J2 here (though they likely aren't labeled on the HD) are used to set the SCSI ID. J0 represents a binary "ones" digit, or 2^0, which equals 1. J1 represents a binary "tens" digit, or 2^1, which is 2. J2 represents a binary "hundreds" digit, or 2^2, which is 4. The sum of the three jumpers is the resultant SCSI ID.

 J0    J1    J2   SCSI ID
 0 *                  
 1 *            
 2 *     *            
 3 *      
 4 *           *      
 5 *     *      
 6 *     *     *      
 7 (reserved for motherboard) 

Some (though not many) manufacturers used a decimal jumper system, with the jumpers representing 1, 2, and 3 (instead of 1, 2, and 4). The jumpers sum to the SCSI ID just as they do above. The only advantage of this system is it makes it impossible to select SCSI ID 7, which is reserved for the Mac motherboard. However, the binary system makes more sense in the context of computers and is by far the dominant method of setting SCSI IDs.

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2.2.5 - I've tried everything I know to get this HD to work but it just won't show up consistently. What's going on?

Your drive probably isn't terminated properly. If you've enabled the termination jumper but it still isn't working, you probably are one of the unlucky few that has a drive with no termination resistors. The only thing you can do if you can't track down the resistors (which is, unfortunately, likely, though you can try here and hope they're the right ones for your drive) is to put an inline pass-through terminator on the drive. Unfortunately, I don't have a good source for these, so you'll have to ask the list.

It might also be worth having a look at KBase Article 9387, which is all about connecting SCSI devices to your Mac. It contains lots of helpful, basic information and some good troubleshooting advice.

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2.2.6 - What Macs can I use my serial-based Apple Hard Disk 20 with?

The Hard Disk 20, a hard disk that plugs into the floppy port on early Macintosh models, has built-in ROM support on the 512Ke, Plus, SE, Classic, IIci, and Portable. Other early Macs, such as the 512K, can use it if the HD20 INIT is installed on the boot disk. The Mac512 User Group has a page about the HD20, and Apple's TIL Archive article #4423 has a compatibility listing as well. Read Apple's TIL Archive article #6182 as well for important information about compatibility with later Macs.

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2.2.7 - What the heck are termination resistors, anyway?

Termination resistors are little yellow or black (usually) things about 5mm tall, 25-30mm wide, and about 2mm thick with eight or ten pins sticking out the bottom. They're used on SCSI hard disks to terminate the bus if the termination on the HD is enabled (usually with a jumper labelled 'TE'). They can usually be found in groups of two or three near the SCSI connector, on the controller board of the drive. If they're missing (you'll probably see a row of empty pin holes), you might have the problem described in 2.2.5 above.

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2.2.8 - Is there a limit to the size of the hard disk I can put in my Mac?

Yes, but it's probably not as low as you may have been told in most cases. This Mac Daniel article (awaiting other hosting) explains the situation.

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Removable Media

2.3.1 - Can I use a Zip drive with System 6 and/or as a boot disk?

The short answer is "Yes." The longer, more in-depth, useful answer is "Yes, provided that you get the right driver and don't use the disk with later versions of the driver on different Macs." JAG says:

As far as booting off a Zip, you need driver 4.2. Be sure and use a Zip disk that has NOT been used under a newer Iomega Zip driver or it won't boot the [computer] but it will work as a hard drive. You'll have to reformat it under Zip Tools 4.2 or earlier if you want it to be your boot Zip disk.

The Zip on a Plus page (dead as of May '02) is also an excellent resource for getting a Plus to work with Zip drives.

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2.3.2 - Where can I get 400K or 800K floppy disks?

There are several good sources of 800K floppies in the U.S. OfficeMax and Office Depot both stock them in their catalog though finding them in a store is difficult. has several brands in their online catalog at reasonable prices. Disks Direct is another possible source. CP Jacobs also recommends the following:

Dartek - 1-800-832-7835
Global Computer - 1-800-845-6225
Media Source - 1-800-241-8857

If you need 400K disks, just get 800K disks and format them as 400K. 400K disk drives have only one read/write head and thus only write on one side of the disk, but are otherwise the same as 800K disk drives. This allows you to use 800K disks in 400K drives. Many 400K drives run the risk of damaging the non-recorded side of the media, however, so if you do reformat 800K disks as 400K, don't try to use them as 800K disks any more.

Formatting 400K disks as 800K should NOT be done, since 400K disks are only certified for read/write use on one side of the media. The other side isn't certified and very likely may not be stable enough to preserve data.

UK-based Mac users can mail-order 800K floppy disks from Action.

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2.3.3 - Can I use HD floppies in an 800K drive?

While it's physically possible to do it, those of us with a great deal of experience with Macs almost universally recommend against it. If you absolutely need an 800K disk and only have 1.4MB floppies available, you can force a 1.4MB disk to be an 800K disk by taping over both sides of the hole opposite the write-protect tab. THIS IS ONLY A TEMPORARY SOLUTION. THE DATA ON DISKS FORMATTED LIKE THIS WILL NOT USUALLY SURVIVE FOR LONG. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU USE FLOPPIES FORMATTED LIKE THIS FOR STORING DATA LONGER THAN A FEW WEEKS. Don't say I didn't warn you...

Tom Lee of Stanford has graciously provided the following explanation:

To clear up the persistent confusion and superstition about 800K vs. 1.44MB media, here's the correct story: There is about a ten percent difference in the magnetization thresholds (called "coercivity") for the two media, with the 800K stuff having the lower value. If you want to get technical, 800K media have a nominal coercivity of 650 oersteds, versus 720 - 730 oersteds for 1.4MB media. So, 800K drives may find it difficult to write on 1.44MB media. However, ten percent is not a large difference, and in fact, is about the same as normal variations within a batch from a given manufacturing run. Plus, coercivity varies with temperature, too. So, the two media are not as wholly incompatible as lore has it.

However, if a 1.4MB disk has ever been written on by a 1.4MB drive (and this includes formatting), an 800K drive's weaker write fields may not be strong enough to reliably over-write the existing data, and you'll have flaky behavior (particularly if you're unlucky enough to have a drive with write currents at the low end of the spec, trying to write on a floppy with coercivity at the high end of spec). But if the floppy is virgin, you'll rarely see any problems at all. You can "re-virginize" floppies if you have a good demagnetizer handy.

Now, if you go the other way, by melting or punching (don't drill!) an extra hole to trick drives into thinking an 800K floppy is really 1.4MB, there's no problem with the drive's ability to flip magnetizations properly. However, the higher density is achieved by packing adjacent bits more tightly together on a given track (but the number of tracks per side is the same -- 80 -- for 400K/720K/800K/1.4MB media), and the lower density media may not have fine enough particles to do the job well (and the lower magnetic field strength of those particles further degrades margin). That's why many advise against doing this operation.

Since both media types are readily available (the 800K stuff is the same as 720K media from the PC world, but you'll have to reformat as Mac if they come preformatted, as they usually do nowadays), there's no real reason to do any of these things. But, every once in a while, you'll find these hacks useful in an emergency.

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2.3.4 - Can I use HD floppies on my Mac II, SE, Plus, or earlier machine?

Some SEs support HD floppies out of the box, as indicated by "Superdrive" or "FDHD" (which stands for Floppy Drive, High Density) on the front of the case. (Note, however, that a very few SEs with the Superdrive or FDHD faceplate may have a motherboard inside them which does NOT support HD floppies because someone swapped out the original motherboard. I have seen one such SE and it was because I pulled the motherboard for use elsewhere.) The Mac II requires a ROM upgrade to support HD floppies. This ROM upgrade essentially makes it a IIx. The SE without HD floppy support can be upgraded with new ROMs and a new SWIM chip to support HD floppies.

The Plus can use (though not boot from) HD floppies via the Applied Engineering AE HD+ external floppy drive and the proper drivers, or with an Iomega "Floptical" SCSI drive. The Iomega drive cannot read or write 800K Mac-formatted disks, though it can read and write 720K DOS-formatted disks and 1.4MB floppies of either Mac or PC format, in addition to Iomega's special 21MB "Very High Density" diskettes. The Iomega drive is bootable if you use the 21MB floptical disks, but cannot boot from standard floppies. I know of no way to enable HD floppy support on a 128K, while the 512K and Ke may be able to use the AE HD+ drive as well.

Please note: simply plugging an external HD floppy drive into the floppy port on these Macs will NOT give you HD floppy support. The support depends on the ROMs and SWIM chip (and, obviously, the presence of a HD floppy drive). ROM/SWIM upgrades for an SE or Mac II can occasionally be found on eBay, but your best bet is to get an SE Superdrive/FDHD motherboard or a IIx motherboard and simply replace the old motherboard. (The SE can also be upgraded to an SE/30 motherboard, which will not only get you HD floppy support but also a 16MHz 68030 processor, FPU, and support for up to 128 MB RAM.)

If you need the ROM part numbers to check whether your SE has been upgraded or not, please visit the Mac SE Support Pages, where the full part numbers for both 800K and FDHD ROMs are listed.

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2.3.5 - Can I use a non-Apple CD-ROM drive with my Mac?

Sure can. However, if you have a Mac (or System version) that won't work with the Apple 5.3.1 drivers, you'll probably have to use a third-party driver (such as Intech's SpeedTools or FWB CD-ROM Toolkit) with it. There's a page on MacMad (dead as of May '02) that has lots of helpful CD-ROM information that you might want to check out too. If you're using System 7.5 or higher, you can use the 5.3.1 driver, available from the JMUG Driver Museum, or you can use the ResExcellence hack on v5.4.2 of the driver (extractable from the Mac OS 8.1 Update). (The ResExcellence hack also works on higher versions.)

Most non-Apple CD-ROM drives are bootable, despite what Apple may claim. As long as they're SCSI drives, simply hold cmd-opt-shift-delete immediately after startup and as long as there's a bootable CD in the drive and there isn't another bootable drive on the SCSI bus (other than your normal boot drive), it will boot from the CD-ROM. The Apple-ROMed drives (generally Matsushita/Panasonic or Sony mechanisms) simply allow you to boot using the "C" key on startup. The C key trick does not, as is commonly thought, require a Mac that originally shipped with a CD-ROM drive; the Color Classic at least is known to work using the C key to boot from CDs with an Apple-branded drive.

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2.3.6 - How do I figure the speed of an Apple CD-ROM from its model number?

The table below provides information most Apple SCSI CD-ROMs.

Model Speed Int/Ext Caddy/Tray
CD SC 1x external caddy
CD 150 1x external caddy
300 2x external caddy
300i 2x internal caddy
300e 2x external tray
300i Plus 2x internal tray
600i 4x internal tray
600e 4x external tray
1200i 8x internal tray

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2.3.7 - How can I tell if a floppy drive is 800k or 1.44MB?

There are two ways. The first, and easiest, is to look at the bottom of the drive. It will say 2MB on the bottom of the drive if it's a HD floppy drive. The second, which is easier if you can't open the computer up, is to look for the three microswitches in the front of the drive. There are two on the right and one on the left in a HD drive and there is one on each side in an 800K drive.

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2.3.8 - My 400K floppy just keeps clicking. What's up?

A. Daniel King has put up a set of instructions for fixing the "click of death" in the 400K floppy drives used in the 128, 512, and external 400K drive.

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2.3.9 - My floppy drive keeps giving me errors or is really dirty. How do I clean it?

If you get a lot of initialisation errors, errors reading disks, or other errors and you can see dust inside your drive it needs a cleaning. Low End Mac's Chris Lawson has a Mac Daniel article (awaiting other hosting) about this exact topic, so head over there and clean that drive out.

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2.3.10 - Will this external floppy work on my Mac?

If it's Apple-branded, KArchive article 5911 will probably tell you. If it's not Apple-branded, and doesn't have a DB-19 connector, it probably won't work (with the notable exception being the SCSI-based floppy that Dayna made).

If it's a 5.25" drive, DO NOT PLUG IT INTO YOUR Mac. You'll fry the Mac's floppy controller and probably the drive as well.

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2.4.1 - How much, and what kind of, RAM can my Mac take?

There are several excellent resources for this. I recommend consulting at least the first two.

The first resource you should consult is Apple's very own Memory Guide, one of the few Service Source documents available to the general public. It has RAM and VRAM upgrade information for every Apple product ever produced that can be upgraded. One caveat: Apple's Memory Guide only lists supported RAM configurations. Many Macintosh models can take more than what Apple claims they can.

The second resource to check out is the excellent Guide to RAM Upgrades, or GURU, from NewerRAM (216 K download). GURU is pretty good about listing what will actually work, instead of only what Apple was able to test by the time they released the machine.

The third resource I recommend is Thomas Cook's Memory Guide, which is a nice online resource. The nice thing about Cook's guide is that you don't have to download anything.

The fourth resource is JAG's excellent RAM Guide, which also doesn't require downloading anything. It's based on the information from the first two sources here, so if you have those, you probably don't need to check this out, and vice versa.

The final resource I recommend is Apple's Hardware Tech Note #25, which deals with many early Macs.

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2.4.2 - Can I use PC RAM in my Mac?

As long as it's fast enough, you can use parity or non-parity RAM in any 68K Mac. Macs generally don't care if you put parity RAM in them; most will ignore the parity chip. There are a few special cases, however. The 128 through 512Ke are not upgradeable with standard SIMMs. The SE (all models) cannot use two-chip or three-chip SIMMs in some cases (though I have put three-chip SIMMs in SEs with no problem). Some very rare versions of the IIci, generally used only by the United States Department of Defense, required parity RAM, and no, no one has given a satisfactory answer as to why they used it.

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2.4.3 - How do I identify RAM chip sizes and parity/non-parity RAM?

Parity SIMMs have an odd number of chips on the SIMM. Non-parity SIMMs have an even number. The following is a rough and very general guide to identifying chip sizes. There are some numbers on the chips (the individual black chips, not the whole SIMM). There are usually some letters, some numbers, some letters, and then a couple more numbers. (The following is most accurate for 30-pin SIMMs.) For example:


comes from a (disregard the KM4 part) 256 kilobyte, (disregard the AP) 120 (add a zero to the numbers after the dash) nanosecond SIMM.

If they're parity chips, read the one farthest to the right with the pins down.

4256 or variants thereof: 256KB (these make great keychains but are virtually worthless in a Mac)
1100 or 1000: 1MB
2048, 2000, etc: 2MB
4400, 4000, etc.: 4MB
8096, 8000, etc.: 8MB

and so on. If this doesn't answer your question well enough, maybe the Chipmunk RAM Guide will.

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2.4.4 - Can I use EDO SIMMs?

While the jury is still out on this one, general consensus on the lists is that using EDO RAM in your Mac will probably not damage it (since several list members are running various Mac systems with EDO SIMMs in them). To be absolutely sure, though, make sure you get Fast Page Mode (FPM) SIMMs and forget about EDO.

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2.4.5 - I know my Mac has more than 8MB of RAM but the System says it's using almost all of it. What gives?

Your system isn't in 32-bit addressing mode. Without using 32-bit addressing, the Mac can only "see" 8MB of RAM for applications and the rest gets reserved by the System. If you have any Mac besides the SE/30, Mac II, Mac IIx, or Mac IIcx, you can simply go to the Memory Control Panel and turn 32-bit addressing on. If you have an SE/30, Mac II, Mac IIx, or Mac IIcx, you need to get Mode32, which will give your Mac the ability to turn on 32-bit addressing. Note that Mode32 is incompatible with System 6.

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2.4.6 - Can I use 64 MB (or larger) SIMMs in my Mac?

Low End Mac's Chris Lawson has done extensive research into using 64 MB, 72-pin SIMMs in various 68K Macs. The same advice should apply to 128 MB SIMMs. With his permission, I have reproduced the information here:

There has been much debate and hair-pulling lately over the use of 64 MB SIMMs in various 68K Macs. Most of the RAM vendors claim it won't work. Apple doesn't officially support it but other than that, doesn't say one way or another if it works or not. To top it all off, I received anecdotal reports from a few people that their various 68K Macs are working just fine with 64 MB RAM chips.

Several 68K Macs from my collection were tested on 13 Aug 2001 with the following 64 MB, 72-pin SIMMs:

EDO-A, as I'll call it, is a 4k refresh, single-banked, double-sided, 8-chip EDO module. EDO-B is a 4k refresh, single-banked, single-sided, 8-chip module that's slightly taller than EDO-A.

FPM-A is a 4k refresh, single-banked, double-sided, 8-chip FPM module. FPM-B is a 4k refresh, single-banked, double-sided, 12-chip FPM module. FPM-C2 is is a 4k refresh, double-banked, single-sided, 8-chip module that looks identical to EDO-B except for its ID sticker.

I have been told by the experts at Velocity Upgrades that a 2k refresh, 64 MB module would be impossible to build using today's available DRAM chips, so 4k refresh is as good as it gets.

Here are the test results:

The 030-based Macs

The LC III does NOT work with 64 MB RAM chips of any description. It gave the chimes of death on occasion but not every time, and the times it didn't give the CoD it refused to boot (chimed and then no video).

Because of the above, I suspect the LC 520 and 550 will not work with 64 MB modules either. I also suspect the Performa variants of the LC III and 520/550 will similarly not work, and that the Colo(u)r Classic II will probably also fail to boot with SIMMs greater than 32 MB installed.

My general conclusion: the RAM controller on the 030-based Macs with 72-pin SIMM slots appears to be insufficient to recognise a 64 MB SIMM. If anyone can prove this wrong, I'd love to know, but I suspect it won't happen.

Interestingly enough, MicroMac claims their BigSIMMs (64 MB and 128 MB) will work in *any* Mac with a 72-pin slot. That is, any Mac that will *fit* those things. From what I've heard, they're huge (about double the height of a normal SIMM). If anyone has a BigSIMM, get a hold of me. I have some questions for you :)

The 040-based Macs

The Q605 does NOT work with double-banked modules. It works fine with all single-banked modules. Single-sided modules fit easily into the slot; the double-sided modules have a slightly thicker PCB and don't fit as easily. You have to manually push the clips over onto the module in order to secure it in the slot. The bottom-side chips are not running into the motherboard; I'm not entirely sure what's causing the difficulty. At any rate, they work fine with a little effort.

The LC575 works with all the single-banked modules as well. If you're using a 575 board in a Colo(u)r Classic, note that EDO-B and FPM-C2 are ever so slightly too tall to fit under the screw housing on the left of the CC chassis. Since the others are an appropriate size, simply avoid the use of these two modules.

The C610 (the Quadra should be the same) will not recognise any 64 MB SIMMs as 64 MB. All modules are read as 32 MB, no matter what. As such, I suspect the 610's RAM controller simply can't deal with anything more than 32 MB on a chip or requires 2K refresh, which, as I noted above, seems to be an impossibility.

The 660AV reads the single-banked modules (all of them) as 16MB each. The double-banked module is read as 32 MB, indicating that the refresh rate isn't a problem. The 660AV's RAM controller only recognises 16MB per bank, based on what I've found here, and as such, I don't think there is any way at all to use more than 68MB in a 660AV, since there are two slots and 4MB on-board. RAM modules are not available with more than two banks.

My guess is that the 660AV may lack an address line on its RAM controller that would allow it to read 32 MB per bank, and this address line may be added if you have a lot of knowledge of the 660AV architecture and soldering skills. See (Japanese) for information about the 575 in this respect; I think the information (though maybe not specific details) is applicable to the 660AV as well.

The LC630 I have here will read all but the FPM-C2 normally. The FPM-C2 is read as 32 MB, as I expected. The 63x/640/58x series should all be the same, although I haven't tried RAM in the 58x's second RAM slot, so I can't speak to that.

The C650 won't read any of them as 64 MB, similar to the C610. I suspect this is a RAM controller issue as well. I don't have a Quadra variant of either one, so I can't say if this problem carries over to the Quadras or not. I'm going to get in touch with Dan about this and see if I can check them out in his Q650. As in the case of the C610, the RAM controller may requires 2K refresh, which, as I noted above, seems to be an impossibility. The Q800 should be the same as its motherboard is identical to that in the Q650.

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2.4.7 - Why won't the Memory control panel allow me to create a RAM disk?

You may have a Mac that doesn't support a RAM disk via Apple's built-in RAM disk software. All 68040-based Macs support RAM disks via the Memory control panel, while no 68000- or 68020-based desktops allow them.

The 68030-based Macs known to support a RAM disk include the LC III/III+, Performa 45x/46x machines, and the 520 and 550/560-series.

All portable Macs should support the use of a RAM disk via the Memory control panel.

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Other Logic Board

2.5.1 - How do I overclock my Mac?

Not all Macs can be overclocked, but most Macs after the IIx can be. Marc Schrier's web site is the definitive Mac clock-chipping resource on the WWW.

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2.5.2 - My Mac says the date is 1904 (or 1956) and keeps resetting itself to that date when I turn it off. I keep losing other settings, too, such as AppleTalk network settings. What's wrong?

You have a dead PRAM battery. See next question (below) for instructions on how to replace it.

There were three different types of PRAM batteries used in Macs. The Plus (and earlier Compacts) used a 4.5V alkaline battery that is very similar in appearance to a AA battery. The Eveready part number for this battery is 523. Equivalents are ANSI 1306AP, IEC 3LR50, NEDA 1306AP, Panasonic PX21, and Varta V21PX. (Thanks, Sp00ky.)

In the UK, you can get these at for 6 UKP. Radio Shack has them in the US for $8 plus shipping (or a special order at a store). If anyone has a better US source for these, I'd love to know. Note that this battery is now discontinued and is becoming increasingly difficult to find. Marten van de Kraats has reported success with a Varta 4102 4.5V battery about the size of a cigarette pack, which obviously requires slight modification to work but should last nearly indefinitely. Two other possible sources (for the Eveready 523), which should be available worldwide, are Dial-A-Battery (US$5.14 for the battery, excluding shipping) and Exell Battery.

The 57x, 58x, 63x, and later Macs based on their motherboards used a 4.5V square battery, Rayovac part number 840 or 841. Other World Computing stocks these for US$9 each. Pidrus has them for $10.99, and Mac-Battery has them for $9.44. In Canada, CanadaRAM stocks them for C$20. You can also remove the connector from your old battery and solder it to a 3-AA battery holder so you have a homemade 4.5V battery that costs about US$1.50 to replace.

Most other Macs used a 3.6V, 1/2AA lithium battery, which is readily available at many vendors. You can get these batteries at Radio Shack (in the US) for about $10. Mac Batteries has them on-line for about $6.50 each (quantity pricing applies). MCM Electronics have the elusive solder-type Mac II and early SE batteries for just $6.25 each. If you need several, get them online - it'll be significantly cheaper. (If the links at MCM are broken, go to MCM's web site and enter "3.6V" in the Search field.) All Electronics has the batteries with a 1995 date code for $1.50 each or $1 each in quantity. They have a 10-year shelf life, so this shouldn't be a problem in most cases.

If you buy your battery somewhere other than the above vendors, the 3.6V 1/2AA specification should be sufficient to get the proper part. Note that if you're buying Maxell batteries, part number ER3S is what you want, NOT the ER3, which is about five millimetres too long. (Thanks for the correction, John V.)

Some people have had marginal success with using 3V CR2 lithium batteries designed for cameras, but Apple doesn't recommend this for one simple reason: they tried it and it wasn't sufficient. The early SEs and Mac IIs had 3V batteries in them and Apple received many complaints that the PRAM was resetting itself spontaneously after a year or two of use. They traced the problem to the 3V batteries and from that point on, used 3.6V batteries instead. If you want to use a 3V battery, go for it, but don't say I didn't warn you.

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2.5.3 - How do I replace the PRAM battery in my Mac?

The Mac Battery Web Page has all the information you'll ever need on replacing PRAM batteries. A quick tip from Martin: apply a thin layer of Vaseline or similar petroleum jelly to the contacts when you replace the battery. It'll help prevent corrosion and marginally improves conductivity by lowering the resistance.

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2.5.4 - What other logic boards will fit my Mac as an upgrade?

Mac logic boards come in a number of basic designs, or form factors. Form factors are named after the first computer that comes in that form factor. Logic boards of the same form factor will physically fit in each other's cases. An * indicates minor modifications may be needed to fit this board into a prior case or vice versa.

Logic board form factor "128" is common to the 128K, 512K, 512Ke, and Plus*.

Logic board form factor "SE" is common to the SE, SE FDHD, and SE/30.

Logic board form factor "II" is common to the II, IIx, and IIfx.

Logic board form factor "IIcx" is common to the IIcx, IIci*, Quadra 700*, IIvx*/P600*, IIvi*, Centris/Quadra 650*, and Power Macintosh 71xx*.

Logic board form factor "Classic" is common to the Classic and Classic II*/Performa 200*.

Logic board form factor "LC" is common to the LC, LCII/P40x/410/430, LCIII/P450, LCIII+/P46x, and Q 605/LC475/P47x. Note: if moving an LC II or higher motherboard into an LC, the LC's fan and speaker will have to be replaced with those from the motherboard donor machine. The LC uses a unique fan and speaker housing that is physically incompatible with the later motherboards.

Logic board form factor "IIsi" is unique to the IIsi.

Logic board form factor "Q900" is common to the Quadra 9xx series and Apple Workgroup Server 9150.

Logic board form factor "Color Classic" is common to the Color Classic/P250, LC5xx/P5xx (with exception noted below for 58x machines), Macintosh TV, and Color Classic II/P275.

Logic board form factor "C610" is common to the Centris 610 and 660AV, Quadra 610 and 660AV, and Power Macintosh 61xx*.

Logic board form factor "Q800" is common to the Quadra 8xx* and Power Macintosh 8xxx prior to the 8600. Worth noting: the Q800 motherboard is nearly identical to the Q650 motherboard with the only difference being a couple of resistors on the board.

Logic board form factor "Q630" is common to any Macintosh 63x or 640 machine, LC 58x/P58x, Power Macintosh 5xxx/P5xxx, and all Power Mac/Performa 6xxx-series (with exception noted above for 61xx machines).

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2.5.5 - Can I use another Mac's power supply to replace/upgrade the one in mine?

The power supplies for Macs generally follow the logic board form factors given above; i.e., computers which share a logic board design generally share a power supply as well. There are a few exceptions, most notably in the 8xx(x) series machines.

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2.5.6 - Why doesn't my Mac have any video output when I hook up a monitor?

The Quadra 605 and its LC and Performa variants (LC/Performa 47x) will fail to output a video signal when the PRAM battery dies (or if no PRAM battery is present, or if it's inserted the wrong way). A workaround is to turn it on with the power switch in the back, quickly turn it off, and turn it back on. While it isn't known for sure why this works, speculation is that a capacitor on the video circuitry is charged by the PRAM battery and flipping the switch allows the capacitor to charge without discharging as it normally would on startup. See above for where to get a new battery.

The Centris 610 and its later variants (C/Q 660AV, Q610, Power Mac/Performa 61xx) will also fail to output a video signal when the PRAM battery dies (or if no PRAM battery is present, or if it's inserted the wrong way). There is no known workaround for this problem; you'll have to replace the battery. See above for where to get a new one.

Any other Mac that fails to output video likely has some sort of hardware problem. Try a known-good monitor or video card and if that doesn't solve it, bring the problem to the lists.

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2.5.7 - What the heck is that single slot that looks like a SIMM slot on my Mac's logic board?

The ROM SIMM slot is found on many early Macs. It was used for a ROM update that superceded the ROMs on the logic board. If your Mac works fine without it, leave the slot alone unless you want a dead Mac. If your Mac won't boot with the slot empty, you probably need a ROM SIMM (see note below). They are specific for each model of Mac and can occasionally be found on eBay. (These also make neat keychains if you have a spare one.)

Below is a table of ROM SIMM information for all Macs known to have a ROM SIMM slot:

ModelROM SIMM slot?Notes
IINohas solder pads for one
IIxYesrequired; no onboard ROM
IIcx/ciYessome later IIcx have only solder pads
IIsiYesvery rare
IIfxYesrequired; no onboard ROM
IIvx/vi/P600Nohas solder pads for one
SE/30Yesrequired; no onboard ROM
LC47x/Q605Yesnone known to exist
Q/C660AVYessome have only solder pads
Q700Yesnone known to exist
Q9x0Yesnone known to exist
Q800Yesnone known to exist
Power Macintosh x100Yes--

It has been speculated that the early-production IIcx and IIsi models may have had an error in their onboard ROMs and the ROM SIMM is required to correct this error. On later models, it was removed because the error was fixed, and this is the reason for the rarity of the ROM SIMMs on these two models.

For Mac II-series machines with ROM SIMM slots, check to make sure the W1 jumper is removed (if a ROM SIMM is installed) or installed (if the ROM SIMM slot is empty). If the jumper is incorrectly configured, the Mac will look for a ROM where there may not be one and will not boot. If the ROM SIMM slot is empty and the W1 jumper installed and the Mac still won't boot, make sure the onboard ROM chips are where they should be. If they are, try re-seating them.

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2.5.8 - What does that strange error code under the Sad Mac mean?

There are several combinations of letters and numbers - way too many to list here. However, Larry Pina's Dead Mac Scrolls deals with some of them (mostly SE and earlier) and Apple has a reference, in MS Word format, that deals with many of them as well.

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2.5.9 - Is there a good reference for my other 680x0 processor questions?

There is a Motorola 68K FAQ available from UAlberta. The two most common questions seen on the list are answered in the next question below.

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2.5.10 - What sort of processor upgrades can I do to my Mac without an upgrade card?

You can get a 68010 for your 68000-based Mac; the '010 is pin-compatible with the 68000 and should drop right in. You CANNOT put a 68060 into a 68040-based Macintosh; the '060 is not entirely compatible with the Mac ROMs or the '040 instruction set and would require a major rewrite of a good deal of software in order to work properly. The '020 and '030 are NOT pin-compatible.

The 68882 FPU is pin-compatible with the 68881 and should be used instead where possible. Socketed 68882s are most often found on dead SE/30 and IIfx motherboards and on Daystar Digital PowerCache cards. The 68LC040, which shipped in most Performa and LC Macs with an '040 CPU, can be replaced with a full '040 without the LC designation, thus adding an FPU to the previously FPU-less Mac. A good source of these is a dead Quadra or Centris motherboard.

For more information about 68K pinouts, see the pinouts page of this FAQ (requires Internet connection; contains images).

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2.5.11 - Where can I find pinouts for the various ports on my Mac?

Apple has a Service Source PDF called "Ports and Pinouts" but most of us don't have access to Service Manuals. So check out this Hardware Tech Note, number 19. It has pinout information for most Mac ports. If that doesn't answer your question, maybe this German site will.

For more information about 68K pinouts, see the pinouts page of this FAQ (requires Internet connection; contains images).

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2.5.12 - Why does my Mac keep restarting when I shut down?

The Mac IIcx/ci, IIvx/vi, Performa 600, Quadra 700, Centris/Quadra 650, and Power Mac 7100 had a rather nice feature designed for ease of use as servers: the power button can be locked in the in position so that when the power is interrupted, the Mac will restart automatically. To disable this feature (rather annoying if you don't want the computer running 24/7), simply take a flathead screwdriver and turn the power button in the back about a quarter-turn in either direction. The button will pop out and the Mac will no longer restart whenever it's shut down.

If you don't have one of the Macs with this power supply, then you likely have some sort of power supply problem and probably should replace your power supply. If that doesn't fix it, a logic board problem is likely.

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2.5.13 - What's that J18 jumper on my LC475/Q605 motherboard?

With the jumper in place, your Mac will register a gestalt ID corresponding with the Q605. Without the jumper, it will register one corresponding with the LC475.

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2.5.14 - What's that little red button on my Mac's motherboard?

That's the CUDA reset switch, which resets the PRAM if pressed. Don't press it unless you're prepared to deal with the consequences of an ordinary PRAM zap.

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Expansion/Upgrade Cards

2.6.1 - What is the difference between LC and LC III PDS slots?

The LC PDS slot is shorter than the LC III PDS slot. The LC III PDS has a few extra pins in it which make the LC III PDS slot a 32-bit slot (whereas the LC PDS is a 16-bit slot). Most LC PDS cards will work just fine in an LC III PDS, but the few cards which do take advantage of the extra bus width of the LC III PDS slot will NOT work in an LC or LC II. Similarly, a very few cards developed for the LC PDS will not work in the LC III PDS slot.

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2.6.2 - What kind of expansion or upgrade slots does my Mac have?

The Mac 128, 512K and Ke, and Plus have no expansion capabilities. Dove Enhancements, which is now defunct, made upgrades for the original Macintosh and the 512K and Ke which added various features such as RAM Disks, SCSI, and more RAM for the system. Dove upgrades are highly valued as collector's items now, along with the original Macintosh.

The SE has an SE PDS slot which is unique to the SE. SE Ethernet cards, probably the most common use for this slot, will NOT work in any other Mac, and no other Mac's Ethernet card will work in the SE. The same goes for any other SE expansion card - if the card came from anything besides an SE it won't work in an SE.

The Classic has an expansion slot which was used only for Apple's RAM Expansion Board to give the Classic more than 1MB RAM. No other cards were ever made for this slot.

The SE/30 and IIsi share a PDS slot known as the 030 PDS. Ethernet cards and monitor cards for either machine are interchangeable, but keep in mind that the SE/30 has an FPU on-board, which necessitated the removal of the Motorola 68882 FPU (if present) on the expansion card. IIsi Ethernet cards were probably the most common cards to have the FPU on them, so if you get an Ethernet card for an SE/30 that was in a IIsi, check it for an FPU first and remove it if present. The IIsi also had an option from Apple called the IIsi FPU/Nubus Adapter, which gave the IIsi a single Nubus slot and an FPU. With this adapter installed, any Nubus card can be used in the IIsi, though with a half-height hard drive, full-length Nubus cards will often not fit well. Accelerators generally require an adapter (usually included with the accelerator when bought new) to be used in the IIsi or SE/30.

The Classic II has a ROM/FPU Expansion Slot for which a few FPU cards were made, utilising 16MHz Motorola 68882 FPUs. The slot cannot be used for anything but an FPU card and is physically (but not electrically) similar to the Classic's RAM Expansion Board slot. The FPU boards can occasionally be found on eBay but are generally pretty rare.

The II series machines with the exception of the IIsi have 3 or 6 Nubus expansion slots which take any sort of Nubus card. The IIci has a PDS slot which supports a IIci PDS card. Many accelerators, most notably the Daystar PowerCache, Turbo040, and Turbo 601 cards, were designed for this PDS slot and require an adapter to be used in any other Macintosh. The IIci PDS slot was also used for the Apple 32K cache card that shipped in many later IIcis and was an option on the earlier models. The II and IIx have no PDS slot and are limited to the expansion capabilities of the six Nubus slots or a Daystar accelerator with the appropriate adapter. The IIfx has a PDS slot, but its PDS is unable to communicate directly with any Nubus slots, precluding the use of the PDS in the IIfx for accelerators. The IIcx has no PDS but can use a Daystar accelerator in much the same way as the II and IIx with the appropriate adapter. The IIvi and IIvx have three Nubus slots and a PDS slot which does NOT require an adapter to work with IIci-type accelerators.

Any 68K Mac with "LC" in the model name has either an LC (original LC and LC II) or LC III (LC III and later) PDS slot. See above for the differences.

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2.6.3 - I want USB on my Nubus Mac!

Tough cookies. And no, no one is currently developing a card. If you want to use USB with a 68K Mac (or even an early Power Mac), you're SOL. The only way to use USB devices with a 68K Mac is to network it to a PCI-based Power Mac, put a USB card in the Power Mac, and use something like USB Printer Share to make a USB printer available on the network. This still won't help with keyboards, mice, joysticks, or the like, and I haven't heard of any way to do it with scanners either.

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2.6.4 - Where can I get drivers for my expansion/upgrade card?

The Mac Driver Museum has drivers for nearly every expansion and upgrade card made for 68K Macs. Glenn Anderson, a New Zealand-based developer, has written several of his own drivers for not-so-common Ethernet cards where drivers were previously unavailable or unreliable.

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2.6.5 - What sort of Daystar upgrades are available for my Mac?

The PowerCache was an '030-based upgrade containing 32K onboard L2 cache and with an optional (usually included) FPU at the same speed as the CPU, with speeds ranging from 25 to 50MHz. They were designed for the cache slot in the IIci and work in the IIci, IIvx, IIvi, and Performa 600 without an adaptor. Mac II, IIx, IIcx, IIsi, SE/30, and LC machines require adaptors to use the PowerCache line. Generally seen as a IIci, IIvx, SE/30, or IIsi upgrade though the occasional Mac II or LC-series machine has been upgraded too.

The Turbo 040 was an '040-based upgrade with speeds ranging from 25 to 40MHz. They can be used in the same models of Macintosh as the PowerCache line, with the adaptor requirements being the same as well. Most had an FPU but some LC040 (FPU-less) models were made.

The Value 040i was a 40 MHz '040-based upgrade for the 16-bit LC PDS Macs, which include the LC, LC II, Performa 400-430, and Color Classic. The Daystar brochure mentions nothing about compatibility with other Macs, but testing is pending.

The highly desirable Turbo 601 was a PowerPC 601-based upgrade for most of the same models as the PowerCache and Turbo 040, but the LC series, and Macintosh II and IIx can almost certainly not use the Turbo 601. I've seen one vague report of the Turbo 601 working in an SE/30, but third-party testing has been unable to replicate this success. Both 66 and 100MHz versions were made, all with 128K of L2 cache onboard. Most commonly seen as a IIci or IIvx/Performa 600 upgrade.

The PowerCard was a PowerPC 601-based upgrade for certain 68040 Macs that plugged directly into CPU socket. The original CPU then plugged into a socket on the PowerCard. PowerCards run at twice the original 040 speed.

The PowerPro was a PowerPC 601-based upgrade for 68040 Macs with a PDS connector. Adaptors are required for LC series (except the LC-style 040-based Macs, which can't accommodate a PowerPro) and "pizza box" Macs like the C/Q 610 and 660AV. Came in 66, 80, and 100MHz versions and most commonly seen in Q9x0 and "Wombat"-based machines (Q800, C/Q 650). The 66 and 80MHz versions generally have RAM expansion onboard and because of this, will not fit in the C/Q 610 or 660AV.

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2.6.6 - Where can I get information about DOS/PC compatibility cards for my Mac?

The PC Compatibility Card FAQ should answer most of the questions.

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2.7.1 - How can I network my Macs?

Funny you should ask. Low End Mac had a Mac Daniel column (awaiting other hosting) about this exact topic back in February of 2000. After you read that column, check out Three Macs and a Printer and The Mac 512 site's AppleTalk-ing page.

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2.7.2 - What are the various types of Ethernet?

If I had a dollar for every time this came up in some form or another on the Vintage or Compact Macs lists, I wouldn't be sitting here writing this FAQ :) I'd be in Hawaii vacationing or something. Here's an overview.

There are four main types of Ethernet common in the Mac world. BaseT is based on a telephone-jack-like connector called an RJ-45 connector. The cabling is either Category 3 or Category 5. There are three subtypes of BaseT - 10BaseT, which operates at 10Mbps and can use either Cat 3 or Cat 5 (and is by far the most common type in the vintage Mac world); 100BaseTX, also known as Fast Ethernet, which operates at 100Mbps and requires Cat 5; and 1000BaseTZ, which is also known as Gigabit Ethernet and is unavailable in Nubus form (and thus isn't really applicable here). All forms of BaseT Ethernet networks require hubs of some sort. Hub-based networks such as these are known as star networks. For what it's worth, Farallon made a few 10/100BaseT Nubus cards but they're prohibitively expensive and can't fully utilise the bandwidth of 100BaseT Ethernet due to the slow bus speeds and OS limitations of older Macs.

Base2 is a coaxial cable-based network. The cables look like really thin cable TV cables, which give rise to the common name "Thinnet." Base2 Ethernet operates only at 10Mbps and does not require hubs. Macs with 10Base2 Ethernet cards can be daisy-chained together with T-connectors and terminators on each end of the network. 10Base2 networks are limited to 30 devices and 189 metres of cable, whereas BaseT can be used with any number of devices and, with repeaters, can be used with virtually no limits on cable length.

AUI is an acronym for Attachment Unit Interface and is commonly confused with a monitor port, as the ports are both DB-15 female ports. If you see a DB-15F port next to a coaxial or RJ-45 plug, however, DO NOT plug a monitor into it. If you plug a monitor into the port, you will probably fry the Ethernet card to the point of actually burning the connectors! Native AUI cabling is very rare (read: nonexistent). It is most commonly used with a transceiver of some sort, usually either to 10Base2 or 10BaseT. AUI operates only at 10Mbps.

AAUI is the fourth and final common type of Ethernet found on Macs. It stands for Apple AUI, a proprietary version of AUI that Apple developed to be somewhat smaller and more compact than AUI. The connector is only found on the motherboard of some later Centris and Quadra machines and early Power Macs and on a few Apple Ethernet cards and has a 14-pin connector a little less than an inch wide. It requires a transceiver to either 10BaseT or 10Base2 and operates only at 10Mbps.

There is one other type of Ethernet which was never used directly on an Ethernet card. 10Base5 is like a very thick version of 10Base2 (thus the nickname "Thicknet"). It requires an AUI transceiver, uses a large, thick coaxial cable and enormous connectors and operates only at 10Mbps.

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2.7.3 - Is there any way I can use an HP LaserJet II or similar printer with my Mac?

Yes. You need Chuck's Printer Driver and an ImageWriter I cable (or similar cable, but NOT a Mac modem cable, which will not work). Make sure the baud rate, stop bits, parity, and such are set in both Chuck's Printer Driver and on the printer itself. This setup should work with virtually any Macintosh with a standard serial port. It will also likely work with some other similar printers, provided that both the printer and driver are set up properly.

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2.7.4 - How can I find the MAC address of my Ethernet card?

If you have a computer that supports Apple System Profiler, that can tell you. If not, download the Apple LAN Utility from Apple's FTP site and use that. It will get your MAC address whether or not you are on a network and whether or not a transceiver (if necessary) is connected to your card or Mac.

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2.7.5 - Is there a limit to LocalTalk network length?

Yes. LocalTalk networks constructed with Apple-proprietary cables can only be up to 1000 feet (about 305 metres) in length. With repeaters, this can be extended to the length allowed by the repeater (which varies). If you use PhoneNet in a trunk configuration with 22 AWG wire, you can make a LocalTalk network up to 4000 feet (1220 metres), and with standard modular phone cord, you can make one up to 2000 feet (610 metres). Again, this can be extended if necessary with repeater devices.

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2.7.6 - Can I use LocalTalk Bridge to get my LocalTalk Macs on the Internet?

Yes and no. First of all, LocalTalk Bridge will not route TCP/IP in any way, shape, or form. You need to get a product like IPNetRouter or Vicomsoft Internet Gateway to do that, or a hardware MacIP router like a Cayman GatorBox or Farallon StarRouter. However, if you have several Macs that aren't Ethernet-capable (or don't have an Ethernet card) and you want to put them on the Internet (and you don't have a hardware MacIP router), you will need LocalTalk Bridge. Set up your Ethernet network first, get your router or router software up and running, and then hook your LocalTalk devices up - through LocalTalk Bridge, running on an Ethernet-capable Mac - to the router.

Now for a very brief explanation of this. LocalTalk Bridge will only route AppleTalk packets, not TCP/IP or anything else. Your router software (and some hardware routers) encapsulates the TCP/IP packets inside AppleTalk packets, which allows LocalTalk Bridge to properly pass the TCP/IP traffic to and from the Internet. The LocalTalked Macs take these AppleTalk packets (using MacIP as their connection method) and "unwrap" the data.

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2.7.7 - What printers would be good for my 68K Mac?

I firmly recommend any of the Apple-branded LaserWriters for any purpose but colour printing. Even printers as old as the LaserWriter and LaserWriter Plus are still quite viable printers, if a tad slow these days. If you absolutely need colour printing, you might want to check out an older HP DeskJet or a used Colour StyleWriter. For further information, Low End Mac's Chris Lawson also has a Mac Daniel article (awaiting other hosting) on choosing a good printer.

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2.8.1 - Do those signatures in my Mac make it valuable?

The short answer? Nope. Sorry. If you see one of those SEs on eBay that occasionally pops up where the seller claims it to be worth $40,000.00 because it has signatures (yes, it HAS happened), point the seller to this page. They're not worth a premium, but there is a rather interesting story behind some of them. The Plus and earlier all had the signatures of the original Macintosh development team molded into the back of the case. Many of the SEs had the same signatures, and some of the SE/30s had them. The Classic and Classic II did not have any signatures. The IIci has signatures of its development team on the casing underneath the motherboard. The IIfx doesn't have signatures, but the names of the developers are printed on some of the motherboards near the back of the power supply.

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2.8.2 - Where can I get parts to repair my Mac?

The best source for out-of-production Mac parts is eBay. Most of the service parts for early Macs (up to the middle of the Quadra line) have been discontinued by Apple as of late summer 1998. If your Mac happens to be new enough to still be supported, your local Yellow Pages probably has the names of several local computer repair shops, one or more of which may specialise in Mac repair. Shreve Systems and Sun Remarketing also stock parts for older Macs, though their prices may be several times higher than those of comparable parts on eBay.

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2.8.3 - How do I open a Compact Mac?

All the Compacts have Torx screws in them unless the original screws have been replaced with something else. To get at these, you need a Torx T-15 screwdriver with at least a 6-inch (15cm) shaft. The Craftsman Professional Torx T-15, available as part number 47431 at any Sears store or through their catalog, is a great choice and costs just $4.99 in most of the United States. Some people have reported success with using an Allen (hex) wrench, but I recommend against this as it has a tendency to eventually strip out the Torx heads, rendering the screws nearly impossible to remove.

Those of you in the US who aren't near a Sears or are out of the mail-order range of Sears might like to check out your local hardware store, courtesy of Bill Brown, for the Vermont American 6-inch T15 hex shank, part number 16093. It costs $3.99 and works with most standard hex-drive removable-bit drivers. Home Depot's Husky line of tools also includes a long-shaft version of the T-15 that will work.

Not in the US? No worries. I've compiled a list of international sources for Torx drivers thanks to readers around the globe.

Don't forget, if you're taking apart a Plus or earlier, to remove the fifth screw INSIDE the battery cover! If you don't, you'll be tugging and tugging and wondering why the heck you broke all your fingernails and the Mac still isn't open.

A good method to follow is to set the Mac on a carpet or thick towel or pillow with the monitor down. Unscrew all the screws and lift up on the case back. If it doesn't come off right away, try using your thumbs to push down on the SCSI and floppy connectors while gripping the sides of the case with your fingers. If this still fails to yield results, set the Mac on the floor and take off your shoes (or don't, if you're wearing clean shoes). Hook your big toes (or the edges of the shoe soles) on the top front corners of the case, in the groove between the faceplate and the case back. Now try the thumb trick, while pulling up hard on the case. If this still doesn't do it, get a wooden popsicle stick (or a spring clamp, if you have one) and work on gently prying the two halves of the case apart a little bit at a time.

If you prefer not to use your toes, try this method: remove the handle screws about halfway and grasp the handle while pushing down on the screws with the Torx driver. This should loosen the caseback around the top of the case and the rest of the caseback should follow. I've never been able to get this method to work as well as the others, however.

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2.8.4 - Where can I get instructions for repairing my Mac?

Apple provides their Authorised Service Providers with Service Manuals for the various models of Macintoshes and other Apple products. Unfortunately, most do-it-yourselfers (yours truly included) do not work for an AASP or otherwise have access to these manuals through Apple. Thanks to the ever-vigilant Gamba, you can now download most of the service manuals directly from Apple's servers. (Note: IE displays the page very slowly due to a table rendering problem in IE. iCab and Netscape work just fine.)

Larry Pina wrote a series of books on repairing early Macs back in the late 1980s and early 1990s. They are, regrettably, ALL out of print now, but used book stores may still occasionally have one or two in stock. I highly recommend getting at least The Dead Mac Scrolls, which covers everything from the 128 to the SE and a few non-computer Apple hardware pieces as well. Macintosh Repair and Upgrade Secrets is at least as good as The Dead Mac Scrolls, if not better, for hardware-level repair information and tips. sometimes has a Pina book or two available and has been the best source of Pina books for the past year or so. eBay is also a possible source for the occasional Pina book.

S. Hamada has written up a page that has common problems with the SE and SE/30 video along with instructions for repairing some of them. If you're really stuck, check out his page (based at least in part on Larry Pina's books) and see if it helps.

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2.8.5 - I turned on my Colour Classic/Colour Classic II in the back but nothing happened. What gives?

The Colour Classic, Colour Classic II, and 5xx(x) series Macs (including the Macintosh TV) all have two power buttons. Once you turn them on in the back, you need to press the power key on the keyboard to start them up. Using one or the other by itself will NOT start up the Mac.

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2.8.6 - My Mac II/IIx/IIfx used to work fine but now it won't boot. Why not?

You probably have one or more dead batteries. The full-size Mac II series machines used two PRAM-style batteries - one for the PRAM and the second, in series with the first, to kick-start the power supply. One or both may be dead, which will prevent the Mac from booting. See the logic board section for places to get the batteries.

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2.8.7 - What's the slot in the back of my Mac with the chain icon?

That's for a security device. Several third-party manufacturers made a small metal slab with a ring on it that snapped into the slot and was impossible to remove without opening the case up. The ring was for running a security cable through in order to lock the Mac to a desk, table, or other secure surface. If you have the security rings in several Macs and want to remove them, simply push the device firmly into the interior of the case (this may require the case to be opened in some instances) and it will pop out.

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2.8.8 - How can I solder or repair components on my Mac's board?

First, you'll need a soldering iron. Radio Shack makes a great low-wattage (15 watts) grounded soldering iron, sold in the US with a blue handle. It costs about $8 or $9. In general, look for a low-wattage, grounded iron if you use an electrical iron or be very careful with a gas-powered iron. (Gas-powered irons can get extremely hot and damage components and boards if not used properly. The risk of this is lessened with a low-wattage electric iron.) Getting a grounded iron is VERY important, as is keeping yourself grounded during (or at least before) the procedure, because static electricity can damage sensitive electronic components quite easily.

If you're going to be doing a lot of soldering and desoldering, you'll probably want to invest in a good Weller soldering station. Doing a Google search for "Weller soldering" will find plenty of information.

Next, you'll need some solder. The solder you use should be made specifically for electrical component repair, with a low melting temperature. Again, this avoids damage to the board and makes repairs easier. Avoid acid-core solders as the acid can cause damage as well. Most electronics hobby shops (including Radio Shack) sell an appropriate electronics solder for a few dollars that will likely be more than you'll ever use. Most solder you'll want to use won't need to be any thicker than a pencil lead; for very small and delicate work, you'll want even finer solder, the thickness of a fine wire. Martin Perras has this to say about soldering (edited and commented slightly for clarity):

If you want to practice first, that's a great idea. Here are the basics:

Always make a good mechanical connection: twist or crimp wires together or to their contact(s) before soldering them. [Apply a bit of flux on the connection if at all possible, as it will make things infinitely easier.]

Tin the tip of the soldering iron first with solder by coating it with solder so it's shiny silver, not raw copper. I personally like to file one side of my standard conical-point flat so it looks a little like a chisel, so I can hold the flat side of the tip against the contact. The more contact area, the faster the contacts/wire will heat, which is also important.

Hold the iron against the wires/contacts lightly but firmly, and after a second or two, apply the end of the solder wire to the opposite side of the contact/wire. The solder should melt at once, and flow into (not over) the contact area, evenly coating the wires and contact area. Keep pushing the solder wire gently until the connection is coated with solder, then remove the iron and solder. This entire process should take no more than a few seconds. It's important not to heat the components for any longer than you must, as heat can damage components.

Finally, do not move/jiggle or disturb the solder joint for a few seconds. This is the cause of most solder joint failures or poor electronic connections. Moving the connection while the solder is setting will make a "cold" solder joint, which is often evident by its dull appearance. Good solder joints are bright and shiny.

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2.8.9 - There's some kind of gunk on my Mac. How can I get it off?

There are lots of different types of "gunk" that can get on Macs. Probably the most common form of gunk is dirt or grease, which can be washed off with detergent and water. If you're really ambitious, take the Mac apart and just toss the case in the dishwasher. Let it dry thoroughly and reassemble.

If the gunk won't come off after a good hand washing or machine washing, it's time to break out the big guns. Rubbing alcohol and/or lighter fluid work wonders on soap-insoluble gunk. Goo Gone works pretty well when used sparingly and lightly without hard rubbing. Park Tools' Chain Brite, available at most bike shops, works incredibly well to remove just about any soiling from Mac cases; mix three parts Chain Brite with one part water and start scrubbing.

For ink or marker spots, Techspray makes an "Ink and Mark Remover" product that Terry Laraway swears by.

Whatever you do, DO NOT use any solvents containing acetone, such as nail polish remover. It will dissolve the case of your Mac and remove the texture from the finish. Xylene and toluene, both key ingredients of Goof-Off, a common household cleaner, will also dissolve the case. I repeat, DO NOT use solvents when cleaning a Mac (or most anything plastic).

Special note for Macintosh TV owners: there has been at least one reported incident of rubbing alcohol dissolving the black colour on a Mac TV case. A product called "Back to Black" successfully restored the original colour, but at this time it is recommended that Mac TV owners use nothing more than a mild detergent and soft rag for cleaning the case of dirt and marks.

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2.8.10 - How can I determine my pre-Plus Mac's type via its model number?

The Macintosh 128 has a model number of M0001. This model number should be present on both the case back and under the screen near the brightness knob on the front of the case. The model without "128K" is somewhat rarer.

The Macintosh 512 has a model number of M0001W. This model number should be present on both the case back and under the screen near the brightness knob on the front of the case.

The Macintosh 512Ke has a model number of M0001E. This model number should be present on both the case back and under the screen near the brightness knob on the front of the case.

The Macintosh ED sold in Europe (a rebadged 512Ke) has a model number of M0001D. It says "Macintosh ED" on the front and has a 512 label on the back. The model number should be present on both the case back and under the screen near the brightness knob on the front of the case.

The Macintosh Plus has a model number of M0001A and is often found as an upgrade for the three previous machines. The upgrade replaced the logic board and case back. Factory-original Macintosh Pluses say "Macintosh Plus" on the front.

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2.8.11 - How can I get rid of that ugly yellowing on my Mac's case?

Jeff Garrison recommends you follow this procedure, which seems to work to lighten the yellowing pretty well (though it won't completely get rid of it):

If you can find Clorox Cleanup Gel, use that instead of Outdoor Cleaner. Jeff says it's gentler to the plastic and gives a lighter bleaching.

Keep the Mac away from UV light (including fluorescents) and sources of smoke and ozone to keep the yellowing from coming back.

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2.8.12 - How can I determine when or where my Mac was made?

Macintosh serial numbers have a built-in date coding that can tell you the week and year in which your Mac was made, as well as the factory in most cases.

The first digit in the serial number is the last digit of the year of manufacture. To determine this with certainty will require a bit of common sense (i.e., a Power Mac whose serial number starts with 6 probably wasn't made in 1986).

The next two digits are the week of the year, which ought to be reasonably self-explanatory.

The serial number begins with a letter or two in most cases, and this is a factory code. Below is a list of all the factory codes I'm currently aware of; if you can add to or correct this list, e-mail me.

If you have a Mac Plus or earlier, I've written a Perl-based decoder that takes the serial number and gives you a whole load of nifty information about the Mac.

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2.8.13 - What buttons on my remote control can be used to control the TV tuner in my 580/630-series Mac or MacTV?

Galen Tatsuo Komatsu was kind enough to do some exploring. Note that only Sony-branded (or Sony-programmed universal) remotes work.

FunctionRemoteButton Pressed
volumeTVVolume up/down
channelTVchannel up/down
Display (switches between full screen and window)TVDisplay

Some of the other buttons generated an audible click, but none appeared to perform any function. Most notable is the failure of the "record" button to do anything.

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Browsers for Low-End Macs

This is, as always, a work in progress but is reasonably comprehensive as far as I currently know. I've included browser versions that I and others deem most significant and most useful; this generally means there are significant advantages to sticking with the version listed and not upgrading to the next version in certain situations. If, for some reason, you need a version of a browser that is not listed here or if any of these links are broken, I recommend you check out Gamba's "Where to Download Browsers" page. Alternate download links for most IE versions can be found here, and some alternate links for older Netscape versions are here.

Browser Version Support for: Minimum CPU Minimum
Mac OS
Plug-Ins JavaScript Java Encryption
Netscape 2.02 Y Y N 40-bit (1) 68020 7.0• 4/2.5 10, Taming NN2
3.04 Y Y Y 128-bit (1) 68020 7.0• 9/5 10
4.08 Y Y Y 128-bit 68020 7.1 (2) 8/8  
2.1 Y Y N 40-bit (1) 68030 7.1 4/2.5  
3.01 Y Y Y (7) 40-bit (1) 68030 7.1 4/8  
4.01 Y Y Y 128-bit (1, 8) 68030 7.1 4/22 10
MacWeb 1.00A3.2 N N N none 68000 7.0• 2/1  
1.1.1E N N N none 68000 7.0• 2/1.5  
2.0 N N N none 68000 7.0• 2/1.2  
MacLynx 2.7b1 N N N none 68030 7.0• 2/2  
CyberDog 2.0 Y (3) N Y (4) 40-bit 68030 7.1 8/14 5
iCab 2.8.2 Y Y Y 128-bit 68020 7.0• (6) 5/5  
MacWWW 1.0.3 N N N none 68000 6.0.8 1.5/0.5 9

(1): Browser security certificates have expired; these browsers are now useless for secure browsing. (See also Note 10.)

(2): Ignore installation warnings but make sure you have the CFM-68K Runtime Enabler 4.0, ObjectSupportLib 1.2 (included with CFM-68K download), Drag Manager 1.1 (included in 7.5.x and up), and Thread Manager (included in 7.5.x and up) extensions installed.

(3): Requires Internet Plugin Viewer.

(4): Requires Apple's Macintosh Runtime for Java 2.0.

(5): Requires OpenDoc.

(6): Requires Drag Manager 1.1 and Thread Manager extensions for pre-System 7.5 installations. See iCab site for more details.

(7): Requires separate installer for Java

(8): Requires separate installer for 128-bit encryption.

(9): Will not access FTP sites or .shtml pages. Only usable for .htm(l) and .txt viewing.

(10): If you are comfortable doing some modifications, the following directions from a now-dead page on explain how to update the security certificates for Y2K compliance:

People running 3.x generation browsers can upgrade their security to the same level as that supported by 4.0 generation browsers. The process takes about 2 minutes and ensures that your browser works with the tens of thousands of Thawte certified secure servers out there, well into the next century. You only need to do this once for your browser to be updated permanently. If you have already done so, then you can ignore this page!

Netscape Navigator 3.x
With Netscape Navigator 3.x you must first delete the old root and then install the new one. To do so, follow these quick steps:
1. Choose Options, Security Preferences.
2. Select the "Certificate Authorities" tab.
3. Find the entry marked "Thawte Server CA". Delete that certificate.
4. Close that dialog box.
5. Now point your browser at and accept the new root certificate. You will be asked for a nickname, use "Thawte Server CA". This certificate is identical to the last one, except that it is valid till 2020 and is the same as the certificate in Communicator 4.x.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.x
Even though the versions of IE 3.x that ship with the Thawte root (should be IE 3.01 and IE 3.02) use the old root, they are _not_ affected by the expiration in July, because that browser does not check root expiration dates, only cert expiration dates. If you see an error message when you try to connect to a Thawte secure site with IE 3.x, it can probably be fixed by following the steps below. This only works on IE 3.x on Windows95 or NT 4.0.
1. Point your browser at
2. Choose "Open File" if you are asked, then "Accept and Enable", "OK". 3. Now restart IE. You should now have a "Thawte Server CA" entry that is valid till 2020.

If you have the old root and want to roll it over for completeness you can do that too by following these steps.
1. Choose View, Options, Security, Sites.
2. Look for the entry called "Thawte Server CA". It may or may not be there, depending on your precise browser version and upgrade history. If it is there, click on it, then click on "Delete". Else, continue at 3.
3. Click on OK.
4. Now point your browser at
5. Choose "Open File" if you are asked, then "Accept and Enable", "OK". 6. Now restart IE. You should now have a "Thawte Server CA" entry that is valid till 2020.

Mac IE 4.x
The version of IE 4.x for the Macintosh (no other platform) ships with both the old and the new roots. To get it to work, you need to delete the old root. In your security preferences, find the Thawte Server CA roots that expired in 1998 (there should be two of them). Delete them. If you are asked for a password, leave it blank. Do NOT delete the newer roots which expire in 2020. You will now be able to connect cleanly.

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Macintosh Startup Key Combinations

This document is loosely based on Charles Poynton's startup key combinations document which has since disappeared from his web site.

A Mac does several checks when it is first powered on; one of the first things it does is scan the keyboard bus (ADB) for any signals. Certain keys will cause various actions to be taken. Note: command (cmd) is the same as the Apple key; option (opt) is the same as the alt key.

The following should be held down when the computer is first powered up to take effect:

The following should be held down just before the happy Mac first appears to take effect:

The following should be held down immediately after the "icon parade" finishes to take effect:

For shortcuts to use in the Finder once the Mac is booted, check out the Finder Shortcuts file in the Help menu.

The following are some other useful shortcuts/undocumented combos:

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International Torx Screwdriver Suppliers

Australian Mac users can find Torx T-15s at Dick Smith's or Alltronics.

British Mac users can find the screwdrivers online at RS Components, part number 217-3560, at a price of UKP6.85 (exclusive of VAT and P&P). Halfords and PC World, as well as many other hardware stores, should carry the Stanley line of Torx drivers, which are also useful.

Canadian Mac users are probably best off finding a Radio Shack store. Radio Shack Canada part number 64-1947, called a "Reversible tip star driver," will work fine and costs $5. Radio Shack Canada also has this in their mail-order catalog if you're not near a store. The Vermont American bit listed above might also be found at local hardware stores.

Luc Verhelst and Martin Castiau have been diligently searching Belgium for Torx drivers and found two sources. The national chain Superbois has them in the form of a multi-tip screwdriver pack that includes a T-15 tip. Be sure to get the optional extension or it will be too short. "Metalen Galler," a hardware store in Antwerp, has the 200mm Wiha T-15 with the T handle for about 9 Euro. They will ship at least to Belgian addresses; if you want to enquire about shipping to elsewhere in Europe, try e-mailing them at and ask. And let me know what you find out.

Marten van de Kraats and Richard, the omnipresent Netherlands contingent on the lists, present the following: Torx T-15 drivers can be obtained at Grottendiek, Laan van Nieuw Oost Indie, The Hague and Radio Rotor, Kinkerstraat, Amsterdam. Dutch Mac users not in either city can order one by post.

Dr. O. M. Betz has traipsed the wild Black Forest of Germany and reports that the Wiha 364/T 15x200, available at finer tool shops around the country for about 6 Euro, will work quite nicely. If that doesn't suit your taste, you may find the Westfalia part number 753343 screwdriver shaft and handle set (about 10 Euro) useful.

Chris Adams, maintainer of the Macintosh SE Support Pages and resident of Copenhagen, Denmark, writes that the hardware stores of Johannes Fog carry Torx drivers, including T15s. There's a store in Kongens Lyngby, north of Copenhagen, at Nørgaardsvej 3, tel. 45 87 10 01.

If you don't live in any of the above countries and don't have a local source for these screwdrivers, eBay usually has several for sale by sellers who ship internationally. If you're totally stuck, contact the pickle and he'll see what he can do.

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Replacements for High Failure Probability Parts on Mac 128K/512K/Plus Analog Board

Revised 16 Oct 2002.

Based primarily on Larry Pina's parts list in the appendix of Mac Repair and Upgrade Secrets. All part numbers are DigiKey part numbers unless otherwise specified.

Board ReferenceOriginal PartReplace WithPart NumberCost Each (US$)
C13.9 mfd BP {HF} 25V 85°C3.9 mfd NP HF 100V 85°CE1395-ND2.41
220 mfd 10V 85°C 220 mfd 16V HF 105°CP1168-ND0.81
2200 mfd 10V 85°C2200 mfd 16V HF 105°CP1172-ND2.57
1000 mfd 16V 105°C1000 mfd 25V HF 105°CP1184-ND2.50
GI854 3AMR824 5AFR604CT-ND0.76
IR31DQ 40V 5A or
MBR1035 35V 10A (CR20)
MBR1045 45V 10AMBR1045-ND0.94
T1Non bleeder-type flybackBleeder-type flyback157-0042C
(Main Electronics)
(NEI Parts)
R91/4W 1MOhm1/2W 1MOhm271-1134
(Radio Shack)
R161/4W 100KOhm1/2W 100KOhm271-1131
(Radio Shack)
n/a805-0563 upper RFI shieldDesolder and removeN/A---
n/a805-0577 lower RFI shieldInsulate with tapeN/A---
n/a20 or 22 AWG J4-J7 harness18 AWG J4-J7 harnessN/A---
Not specified by Pina:
100 mfd 200V 85°100 mfd 250V 105°CP5928-ND3.82

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History of the FAQ

3.1 - Why this FAQ?

Mostly because the pickle and others got tired of posting some of the same answers to the same questions over and over to the lists and they finally decided to do something about it. It was generally concluded that a FAQ would also be a great contribution to the Mac community at large.

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3.2 - Who helped out?

This FAQ wouldn't have been possible without the help of (in no particular order) Gregg Eshelman, JAG, b.b., Steve Strahm, Gamba, Chris Lawson, Paul Cherubini, Gina Wallace, Aqua, Mike Ford, Ben Koh, Leon Sargent, CP Jacobs, Dave Kraemer (the guy who suggested that someone put together a FAQ in their spare time instead of trying to figure out how to put a G4 into an SE), Dean Arthur, William Ahearn, Greta Heinse, Lasar Liepens and Nick Osborn (who started a FAQ that sort of died out) and without the inspiration of Dan Knight, who administers the mailing lists that got this whole thing started. If you want to thank them, e-mail the pickle and the message will get passed on.

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3.3 - Revision History

31 July 2003: Minor cleaning, fixed some dead links, brought full FAQ up-to-date.

04 Feb 2003: Buncha links checked and fixed.

20 Jan 2003: Oodles of stuff added, corrected, and updated. I'm too lazy to figure out what it all was, but a big thanks to Tom Lee and "Martin" for some of the info I added.

20 Nov 2002: Broken links to LEM fixed.

22 Oct 2002: Added Danish Torx supplier and split off Torx info into a separate page. Added Plus analogue board replacement parts list link to 2.1.4 and cleaned up full FAQ a bit to include Torx, browser, Plus analogue board, and startup key information.

08 Oct 2002: More Iomega floptical info and some Plus PRAM battery info added.

20 Sep 2002: Video adjustment tool info, Iomega floptical info, and a tip on using Back to Black to restore a discoloured Mac TV case added.

05 Aug 2002: Lots of battery info updates, a Torx update for Germany, some small corrections elsewhere, and updated info on MpegDec.

09 Jul 2002: Added SE ROM info and external floppy info to Floppy section and added remote control info to Miscellaneous Hardware section.

13 May 2002: A couple more additions to the s/n decoder and lots of cleanup work all over the FAQ. All the links should be fully functional at this point.

20 Mar 2002: Re-wrote serial number decoder in Perl so that it works with any browser supporting forms, regardless of platform or version.

16 Mar 2002: Added video adjustment tool information to the Graphics HW section.

05 Mar 2002: Added serial number decoding information to the Miscellaneous HW section.

11 Feb 2002: Added UK sources for Torx drivers and 800K floppies. Updated information concerning 68Ks playing MP3s. Added RAM disk information to the Memory section. Updated a couple errors about iCab on the Browsers page.

25 Jan 2002: A few more HTML tweaks to optimise display in newer browsers.

17 Jan 2002: Updated all HTML to 4.01 Transitional (doesn't require CSS!) and re-validated. Added OS X-System 6 connectivity info to the Networking section.

04 Jan 2002: Two minor updates on the Browsers page.

24 Dec 2001: Some HTML cleanup and a few slight clarifications all over the place.

17 Dec 2001: Corrected a slight technical error in section 2.8.6 - thanks, Gamba.

09 Dec 2001: Added yet another case cleaning product to the Miscellaneous section and updated a few more HTML tidbits throughout the FAQ.

12 Nov 2001: Updated all links to Gamba's material to reflect his new server. Fixed a bit of behind-the-scenes HTML stuff, mostly META tags and the like, to correct some Google indexing problems.

17 Oct 2001: Added maximum HD size info to the Hard Disk section.

14 Oct 2001: Added some soldering information and some more Torx driver info to the Hardware section thanks to Martin Perras and Bill Brown.

11 Oct 2001: Added a link for buying Mac Plus PRAM batteries for US$8.

28 Sep 2001: Added information about cleaning floppy drives to the Floppy Drive section. Fixed a couple dead links and added a few more links for buying 4.5V PRAM batteries.

30 Aug 2001: Fixed some stupid HTML mistakes in both versions of the FAQ.

29 Aug 2001: Fixed a few errors in the software section (thanks, Marten). Added some tidbits in several spots in hardware. Added a note about the extras to add to 7.1 to make it more like 7.5. Added info about Mac Plus PRAM batteries to the Logic Board section. Actually remembered to update the full HTML file this time.

14 Aug 2001: Fixed the broken TIL and TIL archive article links. Dropped PDF version of FAQ.

17 Jul 2001: Added more PRAM battery information and clarified the differences in PRAM batteries across 68K models. Fixed some more HTML validation stuff that was causing broken links (thanks, Alex!). Updated information about getting an OS on your Mac using only a PC.

02 Jul 2001: Revised video information for Mac IIsi/ci in Graphics Hardware section to make it more comprehensible.

28 Jun 2001: Updated a bit more ROM SIMM information in the Logic Board section. Added Jeff Garrison's new wonder-clean compound to the Miscellaneous section. Fixed a few silly blunders in the concatenated HTML version of the FAQ.

27 Jun 2001: Updated a bunch of ROM SIMM information in the Logic Board section. Added the IIsi to the list of Macs known to have an auto-restart-capable power supply. Changed all the links to ASU to point at Apple's FTP site, since Apple decided to retire ASU and replaced it with a piece of JUNK called the "Knowledge Base."

25 Jun 2001: PDF/all-in-one HTML version now available for you folks who like offline access. Thanks go out to OJ Lougheed for doing most of the background work that inspired it and giving me the kick in the pants I needed to do this. (And thanks to my girlfriend's roommate, who got me Acrobat 5 for free.)

07 Jun 2001: Full HTML spec and spell check. Caught a few little bugs but nothing major. Fixed a misspelled link in the Hard Disk section, but that's about it. Plans for a PDF version of the FAQ are now underway; I'll probably post something late next week.

23 May 2001: Fixed a dead link for Mode32. Thanks, Andre. Added 68K pinout information to Hardware section. Fixed the Lotem am Mac link to point to the new location of the site.

04 May 2001: Fixed a couple more broken links and added startup key combo information to the System Software section. The site I had linked to before disappeared completely about three days later; the new page is permanently here in the FAQ and is more focused on 68K Macs.

25 April 2001: Fixed a couple broken links (although the Alliance Power Tools link is still dead; I'm working on this one), added a lot of information about Drive Setup to the HD section, added some more information on where to get old 68K software to the Software section, and added startup key combo information to the System Software section. Noted that hyperlinks will not properly work in the downloadable version of the FAQ. Added some more ROM SIMM information to the Logic Board section. Zapped all the resource forks in the HTML files so the FAQ should load even faster now. (It's also about half the size it was before.)

16 April 2001: Updated GURU information in the RAM upgrade section, added a bunch of HD formatter links to the HD section, and added a link to System 6.0.8L to the System Software page. (We broke 12000 hits this week!)

10 April 2001: Fixed the link to termination resistors at Computer Geeks and added a question about termination resistors to the HD section. Added a link to Glenn Anderson's Ethernet card drivers in the Expansion/Upgrade card section. Added link to Japanese System 6 in the Mac OS section. Added link to German site with ports and pinouts on it.

05 April 2001: Fixed the accidental deletion of Q2.1.1; the new version is better than the old one was. Added a couple links to it as well.

01 April 2001: Fixed a bunch of unreliable links on by changing them to, which doesn't seem to have the problem. Happy April Fool's Day, everybody! Oh, and I added Gregg Eshelman's information about playing MP3s on a 68K - no kidding - to the Software section.

20 March 2001: Updated information on the Browsers page including new links for several browsers and a slight more-logical rearrangement of the notes for each browser. Fixed a couple mistakes in the SSI code that left out two recently-added (08 March 2000) questions in the Removable Media and Graphics Hardware sections. Added a link to System 6 Heaven in the "Ideal OS" question and added a note about Apple's newest software licencing stupidity to the Mac OS section. Added a question in Software about where to get productivity SW besides WP software, and links to System 6 Heaven and Jag's House.

14 March 2001: Moved FAQ to its new permanent home on Binhost Technologies. There will be a domain change in a couple months but the files are staying where they are now. No content updates on this one; just the move :)

10-11 March 2001: Lots of HTML revisions in an attempt to make the FAQ as compliant as possible with the HTML 3.2 spec (though it should work just fine on earlier browsers that don't know HTML 3.2). I absolutely refuse to go to v4.0 because it *requires* the use of cascading style sheets, among other things, which WILL break older browsers. There are a couple URLs that are giving non-compliance in the W3C checker but I think that's the checker's fault since hrefs shouldn't be affecting HTML markup at all anyway.

08 March 2001: Added information on identifying 800K vs 1.44MB floppy drives, new links to and eBay, and information about Mac (and Apple video card) video output resolutions. Added sponsor banners on index page in anticipation that I'll have to find new hosting in a while and I'll need to save up some cash to pay for it.

24 February 2001: Added lots of information to the browser profile page. Thanks, Gamba...

22-23 February 2001: Added information about the built-in debugger screen that pops up occasionally to the Misc SW section. Added more info about browser downloads to the browser profile page. Added a bit about StarGate in the PC-to-Mac transfer question. Corrected slightly misleading info about CRT swapping among Compact Macs. Added link to Low End Mac's video card database in the Graphics HW section. Added information about the Apple Hard Disk 20 (serial-based) to the HD section.

05 January 2001: Added S. Hamada's site about the SE and SE/30 repairs to the Graphics Hardware and Misc Hardware sections. I don't know why this wasn't in there before. Fixed a couple broken links, no thanks to Apple and Aladdin Systems.

19 December 2000: More behind-the-scenes HTML maintenance. I've finally got the FAQ broken into its 83 separate questions. Adding new questions and general maintenance will be significantly easier now. I know I keep saying this will be the last update for a while...this probably will be the last update for a while, but then again, I said that last time...

18 December 2000: Fixed some minor HTML issues and updated information on Born Again in the Mac OS section. One of these days, maybe before Christmas, I'm going to break up the FAQ into individual questions (though you won't notice a difference) to make it easier to maintain.

10 December 2000: Fixed some HTML that was causing problems in older browsers and added no-cache tags to the rest of the FAQ (non-Hardware) pages to get around the problem of annoying cache proxies.

07 December 2000: Added hack (with images! Don't worry - it's only about 15K worth of .gifs.) for installing Mac OS 8.6 on a Turbo IIci (thanks, Leon) to Mac OS SW section and added 68K browser profiles to Internet SW section.

01 December 2000: Corrected and added some information in the Hard Disk HW section. Fixed some HTML irregularities. Updated a few bits in the History section.

30 November 2000: Added a bit about the jumper block on the LC475/Q605 and its use to the Logic Board HW section. Clarified and corrected some power supply information in Logic Board HW. Added Macintosh ED info and a guide to reducing case yellowing to the Misc HW section. Corrected and clarified some of the information about Larry Pina's books in Misc HW. Added a table of Apple CD-ROM speeds to the Removable Media HW section. Added a link to the Apple Museum's early Mac OS version history page to the System SW section. Updated "How to get your Mac online" to reflect the fact that you actually don't need a HD. Added a link to Felix's Emailer to that section as well.

27 November 2000: Fixed some HTML coding to make text easier to read.

20 November 2000: Added Alex Harrington's directions for getting a Mac OS on your Mac using only a PC running Win 9x or NT.

11 November 2000: Added a bit about case cleaning and more Torx information to the Miscellaneous HW section. Added information about inkjet printers to the Printing HW section. Added more ROM SIMM information to the Logic Board HW section. Revised the question in Logic Board HW about PRAM batteries and their relationship to lack of video output. Added a note on the IIcx and IIci lockable power buttons to Logic Board HW. Updated information on playing MP3s on 68K Macs in Miscellaneous SW to reflect Ben Koh's comments on the 68040 FPU. Added a note on determining early (pre-Plus) Mac type to the Miscellaneous HW section. (Thanks, Dave Kraemer.) Added information about wiping out FWB formatting on hard disks to the Hard Disk HW section. Added information about getting old Macs set up for e-mail, WWW browsing, and WWW serving to the Internet SW section.

09 November 2000: Added link for Disk Copy in System/Mac OS SW section.

07 November 2000: Fixed a really stupid typo on the Networking Software page :) Ooops...

05 November 2000: Corrected a link in the Graphics Hardware section about monitor pinout information and fixed a problem with the SSI code on the Logic Board Hardware page.

04 November 2000: Added information for Torx drivers in Belgium in the Miscellaneous HW section. Fixed a dead link in the System SW section. Added a note about Mode32 to the Memory HW section. Sorry about the up-and-down problems over the past week or two; the server has been a bit flaky and I've been messing with SSI stuff some more too.

03 November 2000: added a counter (well, OK, that was back on 01 November, but who's really keeping track?) and the PicoSearch search engine. This should make the FAQ easier to use.

26 Oct 2000 update 2: First time I've updated twice in one day. Impressive. Didn't really add anything to this one but changed over all the HTML to server-side includes (thanks, Dan Knight) in preparation for that downloadable version you people have been begging me for. Actually made the downloadable, single-file version.

26 Oct 2000: Added monitor port pinout information to the Graphics Hardware section. Added a bit about the maximum length of LocalTalk networks to the Networking section. Added information on Localtalk Bridge to the Networking section. Noted the ATI Graphics Accelerator extension for 8*24GC acceleration is PPC-only. Added a note about black borders on monitors to the Graphics section.

25 Oct 2000: The FAQ gets christened by Luc Verhelst.

23 Oct 2000: Added a Ports and Pinouts link in the Logic Board section and a link to Hardware Tech Note #25 in the Memory section.

18 Oct 2000: Removed Section 1 as the FAQ is expanding to cover all 68K desktop Macs and re-numbered other sections to reflect this. Added a question in Software about disk images and what they are. Clarified a couple unclear questions in Hardware, one about CRT swapping and one about USB on 68K Macs. Dropped video card info page in favour of new section on Low End Mac.

13 Oct 2000: Corrected a couple of errors in the Daystar upgrade cards section.

10 Oct 2000: Split up Software and Hardware sections into multiple HTML files for easier browsing on a slow connection. Added a page about video cards that lists compatibility information for most Mac Nubus (as well as pre-PPC PDS, where applicable) video cards ever made. Still a work in progress. [This page has been removed. See 18 Oct 2000 update above.]

06 Oct 2000: Added a bit about System Enablers in Software.

05 Oct 2000: Added a couple more links for downloading WordPerfect 3.5e, a link for Nisus Writer, and URLs for Mariner Write and WriteNow information in Software. Added more ROM SIMM information and a bit about third-party CD-ROM drives in Hardware.

04 Oct 2000: Clarified the Drive Setup requirements, added a bit about Daystar CPU upgrades, and added a question about getting the MAC address of Ethernet cards in the Hardware section.

18 Sep 2000: Added a link to the M68K FAQ at JMUG and added some upgrading questions about the 68K chip. Reorganised the software section in preparation for some big additions. Added link to possible source for SCSI hard disk termination resistors.

11 Sep 2000: Fixed a few broken links and changed the System Software download links to point at the files directly because Apple nuked the ASU pages describing them (DAMMIT!).

26-28 August 2000: Fixed silly mistake in adding expansion card information about the IIvi and vx. Added questions about System 6 File Sharing, USB on Nubus Macs, Sad Mac error codes, updated Torx information for the UK, and added a question about solder and soldering irons for use in repairing electronics (the information is actually generally applicable, not just to Macs, but to any electronics). Added information about Born Again and running Mac OS 8.x on Vintage/Compact Macs. Added LC III+ information to list of ideal OS information (oops). Added a link to a standalone PC Exchange so people don't have to download all 40MB of the System 7.5.3 Unified Release to get it. Added information about TransMac to go with the 16-18 August update. Checked spelling on everything and found some really funny mistakes. No, you can't see what they were now :-P

16-18 August 2000: Added question in Software about PC to Mac transfer. Added general information on expansion cards.

28-29 July 2000: A few corrections, some additions to the Ethernet information made. Talking Mac bit added, as well as a section on Printing (in Hardware, combined with Networking).

02-03 July 2000: Minor revisions, some new information added. Switched pages to new e-mail address for the pickle.

13-14 Jun 2000: Lots more hardware information posted. Link to the pickle's archive added to software section.

12 May 2000: First "real" version posted.

up to 12 May 2000: preliminary work began, general structure outlined.

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