Powerbook G4 Questions
  • Just looking around
    Posts: 11 from 2018/6/9
    Hi there,

    I have tried MorphOS on my Mac mini a bunch of times over the years but never committed because of the 32MB video memory. I recently tried 3.10 and was impressed enough to track down a nice Powerbook G4 1.67Ghz (9700/128MB video).

    HDD:
    So problem is the machine didn't come with a hard drive. Nor did it come with the screws or rubber grommets to fit one. Typical!

    For now I have put the drive from my Mac mini in there (without grommets) but since I've had that machine from new I'd prefer to put it back together. Can anyone recommend a decent drive for the Powerbook? I need it to be nice and quiet if not silent as noise bothers me. Is there an SSD option? I have a Kingspec 32GB PATA SSD that I have had for some years but not only does the PB not recognise it but also when it is plugged in, the PB will not see the CD either - it's like it's blocking the entire IDE interface.

    License:
    When I license the PB, if I change the hard drive will that change the fingerprint or whatever it is that is used for licensing?

    Battery:
    Finally, not surprisingly the battery is completely dead. Anyone have experience with 3rd party batteries? Trash ones to avoid? Ones that are OK? While I don't need super long battery life it would be nice to be able to sit on the sofa and do stuff for a while like I am now on my modern MacBook Pro :)

    Thanks and hello!
  • »09.06.18 - 13:38
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 9745 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    > if I change the hard drive will that change the fingerprint or whatever
    > it is that is used for licensing?

    MAC address is used for licensing, so no.
  • »09.06.18 - 14:05
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  • Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    koszer
    Posts: 767 from 2004/2/8
    From: Poland
    Quote:

    MartinW wrote:
    Hi there,

    HDD:
    So problem is the machine didn't come with a hard drive. Nor did it come with the screws or rubber grommets to fit one. Typical!



    All you need is a harddrive, a ribbon cable, four screws, some insulation and a metal mounting rack. Of course the machine will work without them, but it's always good to secure the drive somehow.


    Quote:

    Is there an SSD option? I have a Kingspec 32GB PATA SSD that I have had for some years but not only does the PB not recognise it but also when it is plugged in, the PB will not see the CD either - it's like it's blocking the entire IDE interface.


    SSD is a good option, but it's hard to find a new PATA one. On the other hand, there's a quite-cheap option using a mSATA 1,8" drive with a mSATA to IDE adapter. But then, you'd need to secure the drive really well.
    As for the trouble with harddrive blocking the interface - I'd say it's a master/slave conflict. First of all - are you sure the ribbon IDE cable is from A1138, and not from an earlier PowerBook? If you're not sure, try to change the jumper settings on the harddrive (if there are any) setting it to slave and see what happens. You can disconnect the optical drive too and check if the computer starts to see the HDD.

    Quote:


    License:
    When I license the PB, if I change the hard drive will that change the fingerprint or whatever it is that is used for licensing?



    MorphOS keyfile (stored on a harddrive) recognizes the motherboard. You can swap the harddrives back and forth and that will not alter your registration as long as there's a MorphOS.key in DEVS:.
  • »09.06.18 - 14:05
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  • Just looking around
    Posts: 11 from 2018/6/9
    Thanks for the quick replies. Re the licensing, that's great - I'll get on and put in for the license over the weekend since I'm pretty sure this machine is a keeper. It seems to run well. I was a little concerned about the video when it did some strange things on boot once or twice but I have read on here that it is a known bug in the driver so that's fine.

    So to address the IDE issue, I have tried the different master / slave options for the SSD and it didn't change anything. I have had problems with this drive in the past - I bought it for my GB-A1000 machine which also didn't like it but I did manage to get it working at one point so I know it works. You can buy PATA SSD on eBay but it would probably be a Kingspec again. They're not cheap so I would be wary of hitting the same problem.

    I cannot be 100% sure if the cable is the correct one but it is properly taped in and does not look out of place so I have no reason to suspect otherwise. The seller showed pictures of the machine running a HDD in the auction but removed it before shipping. I guess they were concerned about data or something.

    I have not tried removing the CD cable. I can try that.
  • »09.06.18 - 14:25
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  • Just looking around
    Posts: 11 from 2018/6/9
    OK, that's the hard drive sorted. Well sort of!

    I thought about what you said about the CD and thought "if I remove the CD then how will I boot anything anyway?" So I created a MorphOS USB install stick. When I booted from that I could see the partitions of the SSD but MorphOS locked up when I tried to install. So I tried again and this time wiped the drive first and found the problem. It had perviously been in one of my Amigas and had the RDB partition scheme.

    Only problem now is that it prevents the CD from being seen. Now this is familiar territory - I seem to remember this drive expects to be the only one on the bus. I don't think there is anything much I can do about that is there?

    I can however live with no CD drive. It's not like I have one in any of my main PCs these days.
  • »09.06.18 - 18:11
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  • Just looking around
    Posts: 12 from 2017/8/9
    Macsales.com (OWC) makes the Legacy Pro SSD which is designed/intended for this exact use case.

    https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/SSD/OWC/Mercury_Legacy_Pro

    I am a happy customer of OWC and have been for many years.
  • »14.06.18 - 15:44
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  • Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    NewSense
    Posts: 637 from 2012/11/10
    From: Manchester, UK...
    Quote:

    MartinW wrote: I recently tried 3.10 and was impressed enough to track down a nice Powerbook G4 1.67Ghz (9700/128MB video).

    So, is that the A1106 (which has an optional upgrade to 128MB of VRAM) or the A1138 DL/SD model?

    The HDD cradles are the same, but the cables are different

    The A1138 part numbers are: 821-0391-A / 632-0356-A printed on the cable
    The A1106 part numbers are: 821-0350-A / 821-0287-A printed on the cable

    So, if you have the incorrect cable in the PowerBook, you might get unexpected results.

    Quote:

    MartinW wrote: HDD:
    So problem is the machine didn't come with a hard drive. Nor did it come with the screws or rubber grommets to fit one. Typical!

    I also probably have a spare A1138 cradle, and set of rubber mounted HDD screws, and probably a spare HDD ribbon flex cable, if you want any of those just send me a PM, and we can discuss that, if you want to acquire any of those.
    Quote:

    MartinW wrote: For now I have put the drive from my Mac mini in there (without grommets) but since I've had that machine from new I'd prefer to put it back together.

    I also have some really thick/sticky back foam that I've used on occasions to cushion HDDs that you could stick to the base of the Powerbook HDD bay, but unless you fit it in thin strips then there won't be much cooling, but I could send you a fairly long piece that you can then cut into thin sections to cushion it, but not stop heat dissipation.
    Quote:

    MartinW wrote: Can anyone recommend a decent drive for the Powerbook? I need it to be nice and quiet if not silent as noise bothers me. Is there an SSD option? .......

    I have used WD 250GB or 320GB IDE PATA drives (along with every other 2.5" HDD capacity you can buy), and apart from one failure/breakage, they have been really reliable (though I always keep a backup anyway) in my Mac Minis and PowerBooks for over 6 years now, and they've been really quiet also, and in use most days. I don't see the issue with PATA drives generally, but I do have some SSD drives, but I've never used one as a main MorphOS system drive, though I'm sure from the variety I have I could, but the IDE/PATA HDDs are a testament to their reliability and quietness, and the very slight 'hum' is no issue for me, but maybe that is the issue for you. I just thought I ought to extol/sing of the virtues/benefits of IDE/PATA HDDs, that's all. As they are a lot cheaper than SSD HDDs. 8-D

    Quote:

    MartinW wrote: I have a Kingspec 32GB PATA SSD that I have had for some years but not only does the PB not recognise it but also when it is plugged in, the PB will not see the CD either - it's like it's blocking the entire IDE interface.

    Why go to all the trouble of having to work out, and time and time again get the wrong type, in order to eventually find an SSD that doesn't cause all these issues, when you can easily, and fairly cheaply, get a IDE/PATA HDD? :-?
    Quote:

    MartinW wrote: Battery:
    Finally, not surprisingly the battery is completely dead. Anyone have experience with 3rd party batteries? Trash ones to avoid? Ones that are OK? While I don't need super long battery life it would be nice to be able to sit on the sofa and do stuff for a while like I am now on my modern MacBook Pro :)

    I use the freely available Coconut Battery utility on Mac (Dual-Booted with MorphOS) to check battery life - compared to what it was when new.

    I also have a relatively cheap NewerTech NWTBATCAPL15AL dedicated PowerBook battery charger, still for sale on that worldwide well known website for all consumer goods old and new. It's a specific PowerBook battery charger, this model ONLY being compatible for 15" models, there are other models, including one for 17" PowerBook AL models, much rarer. This allows me to charge up to 2 batteries in 2 battery trays, but they are charged one after the other. So, while I'm using another battery there will be 2 more ready when they've finished their charging processes. The charger also does a diagnostic/discharge check/re-charge cycle so you should get the best battery life out of any PowerBook battery.

    I hope the information is of some use to you. ;-)
    Mac Mini 1.5GHz, Model 10.2, 64MB VRam, 250GB HDD, 1GB RAM, Airport, Bluetooth, Wireless Keyboard & Mouse, DVD-RW-DL+CD-RW, Iomega MiniMax, Belkin 6 port 3 x Firewire/3 x USB2, MorphOS 3.9, Mac OS X 10.4 & 10.5 & A1138 Powerbook MOS v3.9, Model 5,8 (Also
  • »14.06.18 - 19:20
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  • Just looking around
    Posts: 11 from 2018/6/9
    Sorry guys, I don't get email notifications from this site for some reason so I missed the replies.

    I already replied to most of this in one of my earlier emails. I got the 32GB Kingspec SSD working nicely after realising that MorphOS could not recognise it because it was in RDB format from being in my A1000. After a full wipe I was able to install MorphOS and it works nicely. Fast and silent. OK, it's not huge and certainly not big enough for a dual boot which is a bit of a pain on the odd occasion I might need OS X but that's not the end of the world.

    I cannot access the internal Superdrive DVD but honestly? I don't see a big pile of MorphOS software ready to order on CD / DVD so I really can live with that. I don't have CD drives in any of my other laptops or PCs these days anyway, I do everything via either USB CD drives or USB sticks so I'm pretty used to that.

    For the record, this is a model A1138 15" Powerbook. I contacted the eBay seller and fortunately he / she was really helpful and still had the screws / rubber grommets from the original drive so they sent them to me.

    Now for the battery, I've just ordered a PRAM cell and am still looking into the main battery. I think it is shot. MOS is reporting a full charge capacity of 1286mAh which is not much in itself but it seems to stop charging after just 32mA. I just ordered one of those conditioners for less than a tenner, that's fine.

    At the end of the day, I don't really need to run it off of battery, but I'd like it to remember the time at least!
  • »17.06.18 - 22:47
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  • jPV
  • Paladin of the Pegasos
    Paladin of the Pegasos
    jPV
    Posts: 1374 from 2003/2/24
    From: po-RNO
    Quote:

    MartinW wrote:

    At the end of the day, I don't really need to run it off of battery, but I'd like it to remember the time at least!

    At least you can enable the SetclockNTP line in the S:user-network-startup to get the clock synced automatically at boot if you have the machine connected to Internet :)
  • »18.06.18 - 06:05
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  • Just looking around
    Posts: 11 from 2018/6/9
    Ok, now I feel dumb. I had been doing it manually every time (clicking set from internet that is) Thank you for that!!

    At least when the new pram cell turns up I can finally screw this machine back together.
  • »18.06.18 - 12:29
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