Written and © by Joe Kudrna,; Produced on a 520c
Updated November 15, 2001, started August 1997,

This page is dedicated to the memory of Cary Lu

"If you are in the pantheon of products it lasts a decade, then it rapidly becomes a sediment layer on which the next layer of technology is built", Steve Jobs for a Time magazine interview.

In May 1994, on the 10th anniversay of the fisrt Macintosh, Apple released a new PowerBook that used the Motorola 68LC040 CPU (The Quadra CPU). Just like the first Macintosh, Apple once again shook the computer industry, This new PowerBook named the 500 series introduced so many firsts and so many features even desktop designers and users suddenly rethought what a computer should be.
This was the first true "portable desktop".


520cCode named: "Black Bird" 550c
Introduced MAY 1994

NEWS!
WARNING! Upgrade BURNOUT
PowerPC
upgrades in HUGE demand!!!

ATTENTION!!!

Batteries made by BTI may be bad, dont hold a charge, or outright dont work!!
Test I have made on five
BTI MC-500 batters loose 50% of charge in 7-8 hours after being fully charged and removed from computer! Also, run time is about 45 minuets, instead of over one hour!! BTI is very good on warrenty coverage, they are excellent company.


Clock Chipping the 68K PB 500 up to 40MHz!!
Get MORE performance out of the 68LC040, CHEAP!!!

PC Card (PCMCIA) compatibiblity guide.
The 500 series is the FIRST PowerBook to have PC card compatibity with the optional Card Cage.
If the card works for the PowerBook 5300 it will work in a PowerBook 500.
Many makes will state a higher system or model, but chances are the cards will work!
NOTE:
The newer "Card Bus" is a 32 bit system, and works in newer PowerBooks (3400 and newer, I think).
PB 500 specific PCMCIA software can be found here.
CONFIMRED COMPATIBILITY

 type

 maker

notes
 Wireless Lucent Orinoco 802.11b  Also called Wi-Fi, Lucent makes hardware for many models, including Apples, its possible any 802.11 card will work with Orinco driver in System 7.5.3
 Flash card readers  Sony Memory Stick  Make sure card is "unlocked"! ANY Flash card reader should work! Includes Compact Flash and Micro Drive.
 modem any brand With generic Apple modem card extention, it will work

 

The first notebook computer with built in:

  • 16bit stereo sound @ 44.1kHz
  • Stereo speakers (upper corners of screen)
  • Track pad (instead of track balls, pointer (IBM), or mouse)
  • Ethernet (32bit AAUI)
  • Internal expansion bay --->
  • "Intelligent" NiMH batteries
  • upgradable CPU on daughter card

...and the first PowerBook to offer

Built around a CPU daughtercard, the intent was to make this powerhouse upgradeable to the PowerPC CPU that was sweeping the Mac community. Today this grandfather is still as feisty as its siblings. Newer Technologies offered a CPU upgrade that fairly challenges its grandson 1400 series, and soundly stomps the 5300. In all, nearly 600,000 units were produced, making it one of the best selling PowerBooks made (in comparison, the 5300 managed only some 300,000).

ALL 500 parts are interchangeable will all other 500's, with the exception of the screen on the 550c. Occasionally, a replacement will not behave properly; however, minor problems are easily corrected.

Photos

550c-open view.jpeg (25K)
 
 
520c & 550c.jpeg (30k)
 
 
PC Card cage.jpeg (25K)

Articles/Reviews

Trouble-Shooters corner
 
 
Hinge problem on 500
 
 
Cary Lu's Diary
 
 
Other must see sites!
 
 
500's Fan Club Page!
  HD/CPU benchmarks
 
 
PowerBook SCSI Secrets
 
 
Japanese PB 500 site

Accessories

Newer Technology:
NUpowr 167 MHz Upgrade
NUpowr 183 MHz+L2 Upgrade
 
VST Technologies
 
Output Enablers
 
 
Farallon Computing
 
 
BookEndz Docking Station
 
 
BookWares
 
 
Grip~It Strips
Note!

32MB Memory modules in short supply


Key Specifications of all Versions

Feature\Model
520 520c 540 540c 550c Jp

Apple Part #

M3981LL

M3984LL

M2809LL/B

Processor

68LC040

68LC040

68LC040

68LC040
68040

Speed CPU/Bus

50/25

50/25

66/33

66/33

66/33

RAM built in

4

4

4

4

4

Hard drive (MB)

160 or 240

160, 240, or 320

240-320

240-320, later 500

750

Display (9.5")

B+W; Dual scan passive

Color; Dual scan passive

B+W; Active Matrix

Color; Active Matrix
10.4" Active Color Matrix

Maximum color

640x480x16

640x480x256

640x480x64*

640x400x32K

640x400x32K
* 64 Grays, though you can set it to 256 gray mode and adjust the mapping of grays with the 'Option' button in the 'Monitors' Control Panel.
K 32,000 colors at 640x400, OR 256 colors at regular 640x480

This a listing of all the resolutions and colors supported on external monitors. The Monitors and Sound control panel list resolutions, or 'Option-click Option' in the older Monitors control panel.

Resolution

Frequency

Mac/PC Monitor

Maximum colors

512x384

60Hz

MultiSync

256 colors or grays

640x400

Not supported on external monitors (540, 540c, 550c only)

640x480

67Hz

VGA

256 colors or grays

800x600

56Hz

SVGA

256 colors or grays

832x624

75Hz

MultiSync

256 colors or grays

1024x768

60Hz

XVGA/VESA

16 grays

Upgrades available

\Feature Model\
Sonnet Apple 100 NUpowr 117 NUpowr 167 NUpowr 183 NUpowr G3

Maker

Sonnet

Apple Comp., Inc.

Newer Technology

Newer Technology

Newer Technology

Newer Technology
Notes/ part #

M3081LL/A

discontinued

discontinued

discontinued
Exists!#

Processor

68040

PowerPC 603e

PowerPC 603e

PowerPC 603e

PowerPC 603e

PowerPC 740

CPU Speed

66/33MHz

99MHz (not 100

117MHz

167MHz

183MHz

233MHz??

L2 cache

---

---

---

---

128kb

512kb??

Memory

4 MB

8 MB

0,4, or 8 MB

0 or 8MB

0 or 24 MB*

24 MB??
Produced

unknown

~6000

"excess of 15,000"

development models
* The 24 MB RAM w/ 128kB L2 Cache occupies space normally reserved for modem, thus cannot have INTERNAL modem (then again, modem is only 19.2 kbps).

# If the demand is high enough, Newer Technology has assured me that they WILL produce G3 upgrades, even if they have to cannibalize parts from older daughter cards to do it. I expect a $500 cost for a 233MHz w/512KB cache and 16MB RAM [addendum, so much for promises].

With a G3 installed (PowerPC 740), it would have great performance despite bus limitations. With a G3 upgrade, performance of the 500 would have been close to the 1400 with G3 despite differences in underlying bus technology (A 16bit 500 with a NUpowr 117MHz upgrade had 95% the performance of a 5300ce 117MHz with 32bit, and the 1400 is based on the 5300). I estimate at worst about 80% that of a comparable G3 1400.

What delayed the making of this upgrade is the connector (made by AMP) is no longer in production, worse, the molds where destroyed! The remaining supply of those connectors was too small to be usable. I do not know why this happened, but if you like conspiracies, either someone (Apple?) did not want Newer to make more upgrades (kill the 500), or AMP (connector maker) wanted to hobble Apple, make money off Newer Technology, or prevent Newer from making more upgrades. While it could have been possible to save the tools, AMP could honestly not have the space or materials to spare to keep it. Such already happened to the Duo connector. However, I truly do not know why it happened so no point to speculate further. I recently recived a message from a person in the connector industry that stated it is extreamly unusual to destroy such a mold. One could only seculate furthur that it was done to stop NewerTech from makeing more upgrades.

Clock Chipping for the 68K PB 500 up to 40MHz!!

If you do not want to spend a huge amount of $$$ for the PPC upgrade, then you could just up the Megahertz of the 68k CPU! It is called 'Chipping', and simply what it does is change the chip that controls the MHz, and makes it run faster. Most of the time the computer can easily run at the faster MHz, which simply means you have a faster computer! There are no compatibility problems since it only involves a much faster but exact same CPU. If the computer cannot handle the faster speed, then a slightly slower chip can be used. The main side effect to chipping is increased power usage (double the speed, quadruple the power consumption) and overheating (becuase of greater power consumption), so good ventilation is important. Output Enablers Sells the chipper for a mere $50. The kit comes with 2 different chip speed in case one does not work properly. It also has 2 sizes of thermal foam to distribute heat and a Torx 8 Screwdriver!. I hope to soon have results of my speed boot to my trusty ol' 520c.

For information on installing a CPU upgrade, please visit the PB 500 Fans Club Page site, "How to" page.
There is a primer about Opening up the PowerBook 500 below.

What ever happened to the G3 upgrade?

In June 1998, I recived email from Roger Kasten Jr., Sr. VP & C.T.O of NewerTechnologies stating that if the demand is large enough, Newer WILL make G3 upgrades, even if it requres removing the connector from old daughter cards to mount on the new G3. I was also informed that Newer made about 15,000 upgrades, and Apple made an additional 5000 to 6000 of its 100MHz upgrades. Last Febuary 2000, a used NuPower 167MHz w/8MB upgrade sold for an incredible $436.02 on ebay. Of course, NewerTech thmeselves are also inudated with requests, exceeding 3000 messages by January 1999. Without a doubt, there was an incredible demand for it, and recovering old connectors is easily done.

With each new generation of PowrBook, and especially with NewerTech going bankrupt, mass production of G3 upagrade will never happen; however, it did not prevent some Japanese hobbyest from tinkering around and making a working G3 model! Newer themselves made a prototype G3 to test the fesabilbity, but without those connectors (the manufacturing die was destroyed, something very unusual), they could not mass produce it. It should be noted the G3 740 is based on the 603, so is very similar, and obviously was easy to upgrade it.

It does not seem practical to make an upgrade for such an old machine, but it is not as crazy as one may think. Here is a list of some reasons why it would be profitable to make one back then:

  1. There were nearly 600,000 of the 500 series made, one of the best selling powerbooks ever.
  2. An individual in Japan DID upgrade a PPC 500 daughtercard to a G3, without the help of any company!
  3. Older PPC upgrades for the 500 are sold out, and demand for more is strong.
  4. An upgraded 500 performs within 7% of a same MHz 5300, which the 1400 is based on (faster with cache).
  5. An upgraded 500 will run MacOS 8.5 and up.
  6. G3 is a status symbol that means speed in no matter what it is in.
  7. The 1400 G3 upgrade is made by at least 3 companies and is selling strong.
  8. Upgrades exists for a large variety of Macs and Clones
  9. Even first generation PowerMacs (6100, 7100, 8100) now have G3 upgrades.
  10. Affordable. In 1999 a 520c sold for $300. An upgrade is estimated at $500. $800 for G3 500, it is reasonable.
  11. Used 1400's sell used over $1000, and the consumer portable (pre iBook) may cost more.
  12. Old cars, Harly's, Trucks, original Mac, etc. Legends are collectible and fashionable.
  13. Response about the G3 upgrade in the C.S.M.Portables news group received 40 "YES!" replies in a week!

Old contact info:
NewerTech (eric@newertech.com) (maker of 500 upgrades) or call 1-888-656-TECH (1-888-656-8324)
Sonnet Sales (mades the 68040 w/ FPU upgrade) or call 1-949-261-2800



Other Specifications - all 500's

Bus Speed

25 or 33 MHz depending on CPU
Bus Data Size

32bit for CPU subsystem, 16bit I/O
Maximum system RAM

Currently 56MB with NewerTech upgrade, may be max
Monitor Resolution

640x400 to 1024x768 SEE CHART
Video RAM

512KB VRAM for internal and 512KB external
Video Out

Standard Apple video-out. Supports mirroring or spanning monitor, display up to 1024x768 @ 64 grays or 832x640 @ 256 colors.
Ports (order left to right)

One serial port (printer/modem), sound in, sound out, ADB, AAUI ethernet, video, SCSI, internal modem (optional)
Expansion RAM slot

One RAM slot for one RAM card, 32 MB available, possible unconfirmed existence of 64 MB
Expansion Bay

90 pin PDS slot in left battery bay
PC Card slots

2 Type II or 1 Type III w/ cage
Battery

"Intelligent" Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH), Sleep battery
Trackpad

1st generation trackpad, no tap
Speakers

TWO built-in speakers located in corners of screen; 16-bit STEREO output
Sound system

16bit stereo in/out @ 44.1kHz (maximum)
Dimensions

11.5"W x 9.7"D x 2.3"H
Weight

6.3 pounds with one battery, no modem
7.3 pounds with both batteries and modem
Software bundled with 7.5 (originally) perhaps 7.1

Apple Remote Access client, MacLinkPlus & Easy Open compatibility software, Eric's Solitaire sample, PowerTalk, Apple Guide, QuickDraw GX, File Assistant
Notes
  • keys are raised above the palm rest such that the bottoms are just below the palm rest
  • the sleep actuator is located in the latch, like the Duo, 2400, & 5300-series
  • Sleep/Clock battery to swap main batteries (located under right palm rest)
  • Removable keyboard like the 1400 and MainStreet/WallStreet
  • Easy access to components under removable keyboard like above
  • CPU and memory on a daughtercard (a FIRST)
  • 15 watt/hour international AC adapter with 2 circuits, 1 for running power and another for charging batteries
  • "Intelligent" batteries have a sensing circuit to monitor charge. VAST improvement in battery reliability.
  • Expansion bay in left battery bay for optional PC Card 'cage'; 16bit system
  • expansion bay does not accept 5300 or 1400 devices
  • Very smooth, stylish artistic, organic case. Only new 2400 or WallStreet is similar in style
  • The 550c was only released in Japan, sported a 10.4" screen active matrix screen and full 68040 CPU with the Japanese keyboard and Japanese system
  • The 550c Japanese keyboard and System can be easily changed to English version
Expansion Bay Accessories
  • PC Card (PCMCIA) cage, 16bit, 2 Type I/II or 1 Type III
  • PDS FPU modual using a 68882 FPU coprocessor made to fit in bay (by Sonnet)
  • Reports of wierless modem made by Motorolla

Operating Notes!

Operating Systems
Originally the 500 came with 7.1.1. Today you can run 8.6 if you want (must have PPC Upgrade). It is best to use at least 7.5.3 (7.5.5 upgrade is focused for PowerPC Macs). If it is PPC upgraded, then use 8.1 (8.6 may be a bit hard, but try). I myself am running with 7.6.1 (formatted and clean install!) and it is running solid. PLEASE be aware that 7.6 no longer supports classic (MacTCP) AppleTalk. It is Open Transport only.
Here is a list of recommendations:

*MUST upgrade 7.6 to 7.6.1 (free upgrade). The extension 'CMF-68K' is installed and other bug fixes done. WARNING: there seems to be a BUG in some extension in the ".1" upgrade that prevents the PB from turning off during it Shut Down procedure (it does complete all other shutdown procedures, and restart is normal). If you start without extensions, shutdown is normal.

#To 'trick' the 8.5, 8.6, whatever installer into installing onto the 500, there are 2 methods. The easy way requires the use of another PowerMac ( PowerBook is best, but Desktop will work) and a SCSI Slave cable (see SCSI Secrets). Connect the two using the SCSI slave cable, boot the two so that the PowerBook is a SCSI drive it is mounted on the desktop of the other PMac. Run the installer. Because the installer does know know it is for an PPC 500, it will merrily install into it.Another way is to use Wish I Were... or ResEdit to change the Gestalt (the systems ID code) into something it will install on.

Booting in 10 seconds!

Using a PC Card (PCMCIA) RAM card needs the PC Card cage, a RAM Card (60MB size is available), and a driver to mounting it on the desktop.

Installing OS 8.5+ on a PPC PowerBook 500

MacNN and Mac Internet News pages offers tricks, user experiences and how to's in installing 8.5, and perhaps later versions.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Initially, the System 8.5 installer wouldn't install on upgraded Newer Technology NUpowr 183MHz (no RAM) w/ 128k cache PB520c and 32MB of RAM (it still has the original 320MB Apple hard disk, and the Global Village 14.4 internal Mercury modem). So I used the Wish I Were... extension/control panel and set the machine gestalt to be a 5xx/PPC. This I did on the internal, boot drive of the PB 520c. Then I restarted and ran the Apple System Profiler - it recognizes it as a Duo 2300 - a qualified PPC PowerBook. Then I ran the System 8.5 installer - it recognized the machine as OK to install, and completed the installation.

Then I restarted. It wouldn't let it boot up - not a qualified machine.

So then I hooked up the PB520c in SCSI-Disk mode to a desktop Mac, copied the new 8.5 System file to this Mac, then used ResEdit to change the 'gust 1' resource - changed the '007C 0024' pair to '007E 0024'. I then trashed the original 8.5 System file on the PowerBook 520c, and replaced with the "patched" version. I then manually removed the Wish I were extension/control panel files from the 8.5 System folder before I rebooted

Then I started up the PowerBook w/ the Shift Key to boot up with Extensions off. It worked. Then I restarted with all Extensions on - worked fine. Apple System Profiler correctly identified it as a PowerPC upgraded 500 Series PowerBook.

Mike M.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

I just purchased 8.5 to try it on my PowerPC-upgraded 540c (with the Apple 100Mhz 603e card (8MB RAM)).

The first interesting thing is that the packaging and manual disagree on what's supported. The box indicates that 68040 Macs with PowerPC Upgrade Cards are not supported. The manual indicates that: "You cannot use this version of the Mac OS if your computer has been upgraded with a PowerPC processor card but still has a 68040 (or earlier) processor that is accessed during startup." This, to my way of thinking, is a totally different statement, particularly since my PowerBook 540 no longer has a 68040 at all. So, I hooked up the CD drive to the PowerBook and launched the installer, and immediately received a notification that my system was not supported by 8.5.

Since the manual seemed to indicate that it was supported, I was undeterred. I hooked up the PowerBook in SCSI Disk mode to an 8500/200 and proceeded to do a generic install. Upon rebooting, the PowerBook displayed the dread system version not supported message.

Still undeterred, I fetched a copy of MacsBug and set it to trap on Gestalt, then watched for a call with the 'mach' selector. Sure enough, the first call was to fetch mach. Gestalt returned 7E for my system. According to the Gestalt tables I've seen, 7E is valid for a PowerPC-upgraded 5xx system -- but is not the _only_ valid Gestalt. 7C is also documented as being a 5xx/PPC. Watching the code, sure enough, 7C appears as a supported system in 8.5; 7E is not. Patching the system's table to indicate that 7E was valid worked; the system continued to boot without incident. Eureka! MacOS 8.5 nirvana was mine.

But, I was still stuck with a universal install. I switched back to my saved 8.1 System Folder, and back out came the CD, along with a copy of Wish I Were... (http://macfixit.pair.com/library/tul/Wish.sit.hqx). Picking the 5xx/PPC setting in Wish I Were (on my 8.1 System Folder) and rebooting resulted in a system which the 8.5 installer was happy to install on.

At this point, with 8.5 installed but unpatched, and no MacsBug, it was back to the 8500 to patch the System file. The patch is in the 'gusd 1' resource. Simply look for the '007C 0024' string and either change the 007C to 007E or pick another pair (I picked the '0080 0024' pair) and change the first number to 007E. I opted to replace the 0080 pair since 0080 is a 5300 and it's very, very unlikely I'd ever use this PowerBook to boot a 5300.

My conclusions to all of this are: PowerBook 5xx/PPCs _should_ be supported by 8.5, both because of the language in the manual and because of their inclusion in the boot gestalt list. Nevertheless, a bug on some 5xx/PPCs (at least) prevents them from working. The work around is pretty easy, overall -- but of course, since it involves patching the System file, you're back to being unsupported. And I'm happily using 8.5 on my PowerBook, supported or not.

John

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Some reported problems.

Here are my experiences with Mac OS 8.5 + Powerbook 540C/PPC + Jaz. I was able to install Mac OS 8.5 onto my Powerbook 540c which has been upgraded with Apple's 100 MHz 603 CPU as suggested.

I installed Iomega's latest software for the Jaz drive onto the Powerbook (Extension: "Iomega Driver" 6.0.2, Control Panel "Iomega Drive Options" 1.4.3, "Guest" version 6.0.2, and "Tools" 6.2) also from my 8500 with the Powerbook in SCSI disk mode. I opted for a PPC install instead of a universal install (68k + PPC). The installation went smoothly.

With installations completed I can use the Powerbook with Mac OS 8.5 fine (40 Mbytes of RAM, VM is off).

With the Powerbook off I connected up the external Jaz drive to it hoping to be able to access my Jaz disks. I first applied power to the Jaz drive and then booted the Powerbook. Now I ran into problems: the machine freezes some way into the boot (but before the desktop appears).

I tried again this time with extensions off: the Powerbook would boot fine and be usable. Then I ran Iomegas's "Guest" and the it would load up fine. Then I inserted a Jaz disk and let spin up complete. However, no Jaz disk icon would appear on the desktop but Mac OS 8.5 was still running. Now if I did something else, e.g., selected Chooser then the machine would start to go into an endless loop of reloading the Finder.

So up to now I have _NOT_ been able to use the Jaz drive with the Powerbook 5xx/PPC and Mac OS 8.5

Note: I have a ZIP drive once cause the same problem on my 68K 520c. This is not necessarily an 8.5 problem. -Joe

Mike M. reported difficulty with a serial StyleWriter 2400, but worked fine with the LocalTalk update.

Opening up the PowerBook 500
(Installing Memory,CPU card, etc.)

Easier than it seems, but does need care and a special TORX #8 wrench (You can buy one at Sears (41681) and Wiha from Germany makes a great set). In a nut shell, here is a boiled down procedure. If you feel unsure about doing this yourself, PLEASE ASK FOR HELP! Do not destroy your PB. BE SURE YOU ARE PROPERLY GROUNDED.

1. Close the PB, lid and door.
2. Remove the 2 screws in the middle of the bottom of the PB. These hold the keyboard down, but do not remove yet!
3. Remove the two screws behind the PB, inside the port door. This is for the trim under the monitor.
4. Now open the lid and remove the beauty strip at the bottom of the lid/LCD.
5. Carefully remove the keyboard, lay it to the side (do not need to remove the cable), then the loose trim. May be tricky to remove
6. Now you have access to the hard drive, floppy drive, and CPU/memory/modem bay. Each will have metal cover/bracket screwed down with 3 to 4 screws. Remove the bracket for what you need.
6a. For the delicate memory/CPU/Modem compartment, be sure you are well grounded, use a plastic or wooden tool, and a calm hand. Most of all, take your time.
7. Installing the memory/CPU/Modem is not difficult. Make sure the pins are straight, the connectors are aligned, let the card fall in, and gently push in.
8. Reverse the process for assembly

Motherboard layout image from www.MacGurus.com


Notes from the late, great Cary Lu.

Cary Lu passed away in September 1997, however his practical view of computers and unbiased opinions are as valid today as when he first wrote them. Here are a pages of wisdom useful for todays PB 500 (and others for that matter) users.

Solid PowerPC upgrade for 500; www.macworld.com/ns-search/pages_collection/september.95/Reviews.2275.html

Charting the PowerBook's Progress; www.macworld.com/ns-search/pages_collection/september.95/Column.1225.html

Upgrading your PowerBook; http://www.macworld.com/ns-search/pages_collection/february.95/Column.308.html

PlainTalk microphone adapter for modern PB's; http://moof.com/nirvana/micnotepad-notes/mpun-24.html

PowerBook users Hints and Helpers; http://www.macworld.com/pages/january.96/Column.1677.html

PowerPC card ships for PB's; http://www.macworld.com/ns-search/pages_collection/march.96/News.1899.html

Notes for the 5300, 190, and a bit on the 500
PowerBook 5300,190; http://www.macworld.com /ns-search/pages_collection/november.95/column.1222.html

Other great PowerBook 500 sites, merchandise, and helpful info.

Global Village bundles modem; http://www.globalvillage.com/press_release_text/mac/ppmfor500.html
How to install the upgrade (and memory); http://www.runtime.se/technical/pbinstr.html
Seller of Nupowr upgrades; http://www.microoutlet.com/nupowr16.html
BookEndz Docking Station; http://www.pilot-tech.com/BE500.html
Changing the Clock/Sleep battery, http://pw2.netcom.com/~Jbcole/PB500battery.html
Screen Repairs; http://www.macresq.com/PortableProducts/lcd.html
Memory for GREAT PRICE; http://www.macgurus.com

Apple's Tech Info Library data on PowerBook's

PowerBook 500 series: Battery Troubleshooting INDEX; http://til.info.apple.com/techinfo.nsf/artnum/n24489
Resetting Power Managers, article 14449; http://til.info.apple.com/techinfo.nsf/artnum/n14449
Power and Batteries info, article 18241; http://til.info.apple.com/techinfo.nsf/artnum/n18241
Telecom with PowerBooks, article 18230; http://til.info.apple.com/techinfo.nsf/artnum/n18230

Wide world of PowerBook 500 reviews!

Macworld, October 1994; http://www.macworld.com/pages/october.94/Reviews.1013.html
Macworld, 4 Stars for Upgrade!; http://www.macworld.com/pages/august.96/Reviews.2275.html
MacWEEK, 4 Diamonds for Upgrade;  http://www.zdnet.com/macweek/mw_1018/rev_nupowr.html
MacUser, 4 Mice for Upgrade; http://www.zdnet.com/macuser/mu 0696/review03.html
Upgrade for the 500 (Newer);  http://users.quake.net/~ntech/products/nupowr2.html
Low End Macs;  http://come.to/lowendmac


Trouble-Shooters corner

WARNING! Upgrade BURNOUT
I have heard news of the NuPower upgrades overheating and burning out!

The case was engineered to handel the heat produced by known CPU's. The 167MHz and 183MHz NuPower CPU's could produce more heat then the case can handel. Personally, my 550c 33MHz 68040 did overheat twice on hot days, and froze, and refused to restart until cool.
ADVICE: Keep the room cool, and place a small fan to blow air around the this, and any PowerBook.

Given the complexity of the computer, even today, it is nearly impossible to prevent problems from rearing its ugly head. The 500 has its own share of defects that show up. Here is a short list of problems I have been aware of and some possible solutions.

Sleep/Clock Batteries:
A LOT of 500 users cannot start on battery and losing Date/Time/Memory/Views/etc settings. The cause is a Sleep/Clock battery that power the Perimeter RAM and clock dying. These are 2 large 3volt Lithium-Ion (?) button cell batteries on a 3 wire harness located in a compartment under the right palm rest. The cells have the number VL2330, made by Panasonic (Japan), part number 616-0021 on the assembly, Apple catalog part number 922-0786 (use this number to order part!). I do not know why the batteries fail, but it appears totally at random. JB Cole has an excellent page on the subject, but the operation is much harder than he may lead you to believe! I took me over an hour to replace the battery, so hiring a professional may be worth it. Important: 3ed party replacement batteries may be constructed too thick to fit! The correct part is only a little (10%) thicker than the batteries themselves. I was able to get the replacement battery from MicroCenter for $13. www.800batteries.com 1-800-Batteries are also a source (#23546), but be careful of size.

--Other problems--

1. The Hinge/Lid is loose/wobbly. This author has had to deal with this. While rare, it must be fixed ASAP! Fortunately, it is quick to repair but needs a special tool. See the Hinge repair for 500 page co-written by me.

2. Half the screen has vertical colored lines, or it suddenly goes 'BLACK' (Passive Matrix Dual Scan).
Another problem I have encountered. It may be a problem with the interconnect cable and not the screen itself. The Black is when the display goes to maximum dark contrast. Another cuase may be the LCD controler circuit board. The short-term cure I use so far is to Shut down (Command-Quit serveral times, Power Button til beep and Return key several times), let it cool, and it is back on line. Annoying to say the least. If a poor connection of the interconnect (the thin ribbon cable that connect bottom to lid/screen) sometimes pushing the lower right of the screen or moving the lid a few times will fix it because sometimes it would work 100%, until it moves again. In the end, it is better to get it fixed. EXTERNAL MONITORS NOT AFFECTED by problem.

3. PowerBook not charging. Most of the time the Power Adapter has over heated and shut down. Unplug it and replug, voila! Many users have this problem, shutdown, look it over, it cools down, problem goes away and user continues. Rarely would you need to reset the Power Manager by removing both batteries and power adapter, and press the Command-Option-Control-Power button

4. PB wont sleep/freeze on wake/crash on sleep (NOTE, problem with 7.6.1)! First check all your extensions! Start with no extension (Shift Key held on startup), then try sleeping. Apple once mentioned a software patch to fix it, but I have never seen a patch itself. Bottom line, 99% of all these problems is extension and/or control panels. Only if crash continues with no extensions is an OS or hardware problem the cause. This may be the trickest problem to fix. Try running a newer version of the OS. I have noticed that any number of things could cuase the problem, even a simple as a CD-ROM or ZIP disk not in the SCSI drive.

5. Battery does not hold power. Theri is the "Intelligent Battery Checker" from Apple, BUT VST and Lind have 2 better utlities (more on that, and links in next update). Please note that NiMH batteries will decay and loose charge life with use. It is also a good idea to drain totally once every month or two. I also had one battery that stopped working all together. Even the IBC did not help. Two weeks later, it sprung back to life!! Go figure. If a battery does not seem to recondition, do this:

  1. Remove the troublesome battery from right battery bay.
  2. start the IBC program. It will ask you to insert a battery in the right bay.
  3. Insert the battery. It will then immediately start checking. Somehow it did the job better.
    Addendum; I recently had a client with a battery that flat out does not work anymore. It was was not use for a long time.

6. Upgraded to PowerPC and internal modem not work? The GV internal modem (Global Village) must have version 2.5.5 (2.5 may work) of the GV software. NOTE, the Chooser is a special version made by GV! Be warned that installing new OS will erase it. I renamed mine Choose GV.

7. The PowerPC is not running as fast as it should, bench marks show less than rated CPU speed. I was told this but do not know the cause of this, and no one has offered any information on why. Still no solution.

8. Screen cracked/broken. Mac-Res-Q has a service just for you! Just don't drop/step/kick/hit/run over it the next time.

 

Please visit my Pippin and Pippin News PowerPages


 

visitors since April 5, 1999

Odyssey Systems

Produced on a PowerBook 520c

Copyright © 1997 Joe Kudrna . All Rights Reserved.