PowerBook 540c & Accessories
The PowerBook 5oo series was released in 1994 to replace the 100 series introduced in 1991. It was the first redesign of the PowerBook since the introduction of the Duo line in 1992. The series consisted of two models – the 520 and 540. Each included a Motorola 68040 processor (think 486), a floppy drive, and firsts for the PowerBook line including a trackpad, stereo speakers, a full sized keyboard with function keys, built-in AAUI ethernet networking, and the ability to run off of two batteries for extended use for up to 4 hours. The 520 models had slower CPUs and passive-matrix grayscale and 256 color displays. The 540’s had top-of-the-line 33 MHz CPUs and high quality active-matrix color displays. The 500 series included an internal expansion slot in one of the battery bays that could accept a PC card cage. Apple even released a PowerPC upgrade card for it.
I got my 540c from eBay as a second chance bid for $58 including shipping. It was a great buy because it included a working 540c with the hard to find power adapter as well as software disks for Microsoft Word and Excel, Speed Doubler, RAM Doubler, Norton Utilities, and Mac OS 8, as well as an external CD-ROM drive, an external Zip drive, the original user manual, and a boxed set of games. The accessories are great because I can use them with my other Macs that do not have CD or Zip drives.
My 540c is in good condition except for the power port which will disconnect if the power adapter is moved slightly . It includes two batteries that are dead so it’s important to make sure it stays plugged in. The case is in good condition save for a bit of creakiness in the screen hinge. Although small at 9.5″ the screen is crisp and bright. The keyboard feels solid and the trackpad works well. There is a bit of battery corrosion on the inside of one of the battery bays, but that can be cleaned. It came with 16 MB of RAM (1/3 the max) and Mac OS 8 installed. A 68040 processor is the bare minimum for OS 8 and it doesn’t run well on PowerBooks that lack an FPU so I downgraded it to System 7.6. I haven’t had a ton of time to play with it but it seems a bit on the slow side, which is surprising. It feels much slower than my Quadra 660 AV and not dramatically faster than my PowerBook 170 which has a 33 MHz 68030. I’ll have to spend more time with it to decide.
Newer Technologies Floppy Microdock for PowerBook Duo
I just posted about winning an auction for an external floppy drive and adapter for my PowerBook Duo. Well this is a third-party version of the floppy adapter. I purchased this with the intent to save money on the adapter and get the floppy drive when one fell into my price range. This was a really cool find because it was not only in the original box, but it had never even been opened. Inside is a pretty standard adapter with a manual and tons of foam padding. The adapter fits onto the docking port on the back of the Duo and includes a floppy port and an additional ADB port, just like the Apple version. It will be really interesting to compare this adapter to the Apple adapter as I believe they are both exactly the same.
System Disks for Macintosh Quadra 660AV
Soon after I received my Quadra 660AV I found an auction for the original floppy disks for the machine. As I have an interest in a) preserving my Macs in their original state and b) collecting original copies of old software, I had to get this. The disks came in the original cardboard disk filer and included a bonus copy of the “what’s inside this packet” document as well as the setup information for the AV display that was sold alongside the Quadra. The original system software is a version of System 7.1.
Macintosh HDI-30 SCSI Adapter
Almost all PowerBooks until the 2000 PowerBook G3 Pismo include a fast SCSI port to connect external drives. It can be used with the same drives as desktop Macs, but Apple uses a smaller “high density” version of the port which requires an adapter in order to connect to regular drives. As I assumed that I’d pick up a SCSI device or two in the future that I’d want to use with my PowerBooks, I bought this generic adapter for $9 including shipping. A week later I bought my 540c which not only included this adapter, but another one of a different type as well. You can’t win all the time.
Zip 100 Drive for PowerBook G3 (Lombard / Pismo)
I love expansion bay drives and I love the PowerBook G3s because they have two of them. How could I not fill up one of my Lombard’s drive bays with this Zip drive, especially for $12 with free shipping!