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os9er's picture
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Joined: 2013 Nov 15
Found a Macintosh LC III, would like one question answered

Hi all,

A few days ago at my school, I found a Macintosh LC III in the e-waste collection. All the specs say it's an LC III (25 MHz 68030, 20 MB RAM, 80 MB SCSI HDD, Mac OS 7.6.1), but there seems to be a bit of a discrepancy in the date of manufacture. The serial number tag says it was manufactured in June of 1994; however, all the spec websites I've visited say that model was discontinued in February of that year. Could it be that it was discontinued for the consumer market, but was still manufactured for a few more months for the education market? I figured I'd take the question here, because I don't have a definite answer and I'm hoping that the experts here can give one.

Incidentally, this LC III is the second oldest Mac I've ever owned (second to my PowerBook 160).

Some amazing things it came with: an Apple 14-inch color CRT monitor, in addition to the original keyboard and mouse. (I've never found any other Mac of that vintage that came with its original monitor.)

Anyhow, I hope someone can answer that question, because I haven't been able to.

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MacTouch's picture
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Joined: 2016 Mar 19

Hi os9er,

May be the serial number tag is incorrect or at least, it is a little erased, no ? The LCIII was introduced in february of 1993. And as u know, it was discontinued one year later... If u request it, I can read myself the serials of most of Apple machines before 2012. I don't need Internet... Wink

Ah, & if u read on my guestbook, u can find that I have bought a LC475. It was in the middle of 1994 if I recall correctly, but sure not in January or February, so... Smile

On this WikiPedia page, u can see that some equivalents "Performa" machines was introduced on late 1993. Perhaps theses machines finished in the education market, but, here, I'm not sure...

MikeTomTom's picture
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Joined: 2009 Dec 7

First up. Congratulations for an excellent find. I wish it was me who found it, as I regret parting with the last "pizza box" I owned.

About the production date, I don't know. I suspect that you are correct in the assumption. Except, was the LC III ever anything but an education release? - I had thought the Performa 450 was the consumer release and the LC III was the educational released version of the Performa 450 (being the model equivalent to the 25 MHz 68030 LC III).

Perhaps production was discontinued in February '94 but educational back-orders still needed to be met for a time afterwards? I really don't know tho' and am only surmising.

os9er's picture
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Joined: 2013 Nov 15

First off, thank you both for the responses.

To clarify, the serial number tag is quite readable, even after 20+ years, and clearly says, "June 1994".

I can post the serial number here for decoding purposes if you like.

Also thought I'd mention that the front of the machine's case looks more like the later "pizza box" models (i.e. doesn't have the "groove" design of the original LC III). I'll have to see if I can insert a picture of it sometime later.

WhosIt.There's picture
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Joined: 2014 Aug 23

Yep, the LCIII came in two (at least) different box designs ...

groovy Wink

and groove-less

os9er's picture
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Joined: 2013 Nov 15

WhosIt.There, the second design is the one I have.

MacTouch's picture
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Joined: 2016 Mar 19

Well, it could be a LC III+ or the top of the pizza box could be not the original one. I suppose that u have booted it to see what's really in the box or opened it. But the serial will help us to know. The LC III was discontinued in february of 1994 & all the models of this family, Performa included... You can read all the history of these models. And of course, well done for your "special" acquisition. Smile

WhosIt.There's picture
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Joined: 2014 Aug 23

Both existed. Apple changed the design of the box's front (including the different the floppy drive slot) during the product's life cycle. The groove-less version is the newer version of the two.

MacTouch's picture
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Joined: 2016 Mar 19

Yep, I know that, I owned a LC 475 with the groove-less box (the LC 475 doesn't exist in groovy, right ?). I suppose that was introduced in October 1993 at least.

bertyboy's picture
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Joined: 2009 Jun 14

Awesome find. And much respect for having the brains to rescue it from e-waste.
If you have the serial, just the first 6 or so characters will be enough for us to see where it was made (first two characters), the year and week of manufacture.

I have to agree with your assumption about the filling of back-orders for the education market, this was a time when - those of us who bought new Macs at the time will know - it could take many months to have an order fulfilled. I waited two months for my IIsi, plus another two weeks for the extended keyboard. The IIci was even longer, and six months for my CD300e.

And this model wasn't really superseded by a model, ie. the LC475 was available for sale at the same time. I think the LC550/575 came out when the stopped the LCIII, but that had a built-in screen and was nearly 3x the price of an LCIII.

os9er's picture
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Joined: 2013 Nov 15

I don't remember the serial at the moment - I'll have a look when I get home from school - but I do know that it starts with "LC", which is probably why none of the online decoders I used could decode it.

EDIT: First six characters of the serial number are "LC4252".

MacTouch's picture
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Joined: 2016 Mar 19

Can u take a photo of the serial, please ? I have some doubts about this strange one... If it looks like "LC4252080HD", well, the serial is certainly elsewhere on the machine... Smile

os9er's picture
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Joined: 2013 Nov 15

I'll do that as soon as possible, although I'm not entirely sure how to put images in a forum post here. All I know is, the last few digits are not those.

MacTouch's picture
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Joined: 2016 Mar 19

Ok. Those are just some condensed informations about the machine :

LC4 : could be the name of the machine or the processor (Low Cost 4th or 68LC040 for example), LC4 could be the 4th generation of LC.
25 : 25 MHz
2 : 2 MB RAM
80: Hard Disk size
etc

A serial number is just a little different (like CKxxx37SVA2).

I'm not entirely sure how to put images in a forum post here.

Just like me very recently. Fortunately, MTT shows me how to do that. Smile You can (right) click on the picture WhoIs.There & select Get Info there. You just need to upload the image somewhere, then add a link on your post here, just with this.

os9er's picture
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Joined: 2013 Nov 15

There's no other tag on it that could be a serial number, so I really don't know. Another thing this tag has on it is a barcode.

MacTouch's picture
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Joined: 2016 Mar 19

Ok, on the left top corner under the machine ? So, it looks like it is, but, not sure...

bertyboy's picture
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Joined: 2009 Jun 14

LC4252

should be enough.
"LC" should be the factory. I know CK is Cork in Ireland, because nearly all my Macs came with me from the UK. The only US sites I know of at the time were Elk Grove, one in Colorado, and Fremont. There was one in Singapore too.

"4" is the year, 1994.

25 is the week number, sometime in June.

After that, I can't remember, it could be like the 2,080th Mac off the production line that week. I'm sure that we can google it.

os9er's picture
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Joined: 2013 Nov 15

I wonder, since the second digit is "C", if the factory it came from could be the Colorado one...?

EDIT: Nevermind, I googled it, the Colorado factory is "FC".

MacTouch's picture
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Joined: 2016 Mar 19

Yep. Indeed, number 4 is the year of production (last number of the year 1994). The two next digits is the week of this year. So, 25 means June here. The 3 next are the number reference of the product. The last 3 digits are the model product code (LC).

os9er's picture
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Joined: 2013 Nov 15

In case it's needed, the last 5 digits of the number are "KB3HT".

MacTouch's picture
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Joined: 2016 Mar 19

Ok, so your complete serial number is LC4252KB3HT. This one is unrecognized as I've asked also a database & it's an unknown serial number... In others words, your machine doesn't exist. Smile But, well, I'm thinking that may be it's a hidden serial number. Why ? Perhaps, it was produced for the education market only. Should it be that Apple doesn't wanna be identified by anybody else, really ? I don't know frankly. Another possibility, could u have got a prototype ? Not sure, but why not ? If someone has another idea...

os9er's picture
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Joined: 2013 Nov 15

Another possibility, could u have got a prototype ?

I thought all prototypes were for Apple internal use only... I could be wrong though...

MacTouch's picture
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Joined: 2016 Mar 19

In fact, some developers have kept a few prototypes Apple has lent to them... So, all prototypes were not for internal use. Sorry. Wink

os9er's picture
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Joined: 2013 Nov 15

Well, it is certainly possible that it was an education-only product... I'll have to see if I can find any info on that.

MacTouch's picture
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Joined: 2016 Mar 19

Ok. Another possibility is it could have an error in reading the serial, but if u are sure about it... Smile

os9er's picture
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Joined: 2013 Nov 15

I'm sure about it, the tag hasn't been worn off or scratched in all the years since the machine was manufactured.

sstaylor's picture
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Joined: 2016 Aug 26

Unlikely to be a prototype, as the non-groovy case was a later design, when Apple changed over from the auto-inject floppy drive to the non-auto-inject drives. The auto-inject drives would kind of grab your disk upon insertion and pull it in the rest of the way. The non-inject type were more like the typical PC drives where you needed to push the disk all the way in until it seated; hence the large indent for the floppy drive. As I recall, it was a cost saving measure.

max1zzz's picture
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Yeah it was most likely made for the education market for a few months after it was discontinued from the consumer market, apple have a bit of a track record for doing this

Zippy Zapp's picture
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Joined: 2016 Apr 21

I have an LC III that looks like the top one. Mine says July 1993 on the serial label. Inside it has the extra vram and the coprocessor and a 160MB HD. How do you decipher the serial number? I have seen a few sites online but they cannot usually decipher this Mac. Either too old or too new for their decoder.

bertyboy's picture
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Joined: 2009 Jun 14

By Magic,

So the first two characters will be a plant code, CK for Cork in Ireland, and in 1993 there would have been 4 or 5 others, Singapore, and three or four others in the US.
Then a single digit year number, yours will be 3, and from the model we know this to be 1993.
Then a two digit week number, yours may be something between 26 and 30.
Then it gets a bit hazy, you may have to google it. So there is a unit number (ie. so 187 is 187th off the production line that week), could be three or four (google it), and some model identifier. Can't be sure of the order they come in.

Apple changed the serial number format in about 2006 (when it became obvious that they were going to sell more stuff than the old serial could support), from 9 alphanumerics, to 18 digits, so some websites may get lazy and only decode the new ones. The one at everymac should be good for sn's of the LC era.

OK, a bit of searching has come up with the following plant codes. Of course, most of these didn't exist in Macs of our favourite era:

CK : Ireland (Cork, Ireland)
CY: Korea
FC: USA (Fountain, Colorado)
G8 : USA
PT: Korea
QP : USA
QT: Taiwan (Quanta)
RN: Mexico
RM : Remanufactured Model
SG : Singapore
UV: Taiwan
W8 : China (Shanghai)
XA: USA (ElkGrove/Sacramento, California)
XB: USA (ElkGrove/Sacramento, California)
YM : China

os9er's picture
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Joined: 2013 Nov 15

One of my other machines is a PowerBook G3/500 with a serial that starts with "QT". Thanks to that information, I might now be able to decode my own serial numbers without having to use the Internet. So, thank you for posting it, because it will probably help a lot, not just for me and my machines but for others as well.

MacTouch's picture
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Joined: 2016 Mar 19

And there is also 3R which means refurbished models... Smile

os9er's picture
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Alright, one more question: I downloaded the SSW 7.1 floppy set for LC III, and even the "Disk Tools" disk from that set won't boot my LC III. It says, "SSW 7.1 won't work on this model; you need a newer version that does." This is probably because it's a newer LC III, but my question is, what other SSW version would work with it besides 7.5 and up?

WhosIt.There's picture
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Strange. Puzzled

According to Low End Mac, the LCIII (and LCIII+) ...

requires System 7.1 (with Enabler 003) to 7.6.1

Sounds like you need a newer version of the System 7.1 install disks with that Enabler included. You might be able to make your own if someone has that Enabler, but there may also be other tweaks missing on the disks you have got.

MikeTomTom's picture
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According to Low End Mac, the LCIII (and LCIII+) ...

requires System 7.1 (with Enabler 003) to 7.6.1

Someone aught to inform them to correct that. True, requires an enabler for 7.1, but only until 7.5 was released.

WhosIt.There's picture
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That exactly what it says ... the LCIII runs "System 7.1 with Enabler 003" up to "System 7.6.1".

To misquote Apple's iPhone answer: You're reading it wrong. Wink

MikeTomTom's picture
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I can read and I know that's exactly what it says. To repeat myself; "Someone aught to inform them to correct that." It is misinformation.

MacTouch's picture
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Joined: 2016 Mar 19

Hey, nobody has wrong there.

requires System 7.1 (with Enabler 003) to 7.6.1

means "requires System 7.1 (with Enabler 003 only for this system) to 7.6.1 (without enabler)"... Is anybody disagree with that ??? Smile

SkyCapt's picture
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Joined: 2017 Jan 11

my 2cents, the descr is vague. Not enuf words show specific details. It might mean enabler required for that whole range of systems, and but if it means 7.1 (with) & 7.6.1 (without), then we're left wondering where in the middle is the cutoff point for sys with enabler vs. sys without.

MacTouch's picture
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Joined: 2016 Mar 19

Yep, may be there is not enough words. But if the whole range of systems was concerned, then, the parenthesis with enabler should be at the end, not on the middle... And, well, that's only a little detail. Wink

WhosIt.There's picture
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Joined: 2014 Aug 23

It's perfectly understandable and not that confusing or difficult to understand ... unless perhaps English (or American English) is not your native language.

It's less vague than the System requirements on the pages here. Tongue

It's even better than the system requirements printed on most original software boxes ... it says "System 7.5 or better", so what doesn't it run in Mac OS X 10.4? Or the old joke: it says "Windows XP or better", so it should run in System 6, which is much "better" than any version of Windoze. Wink

Zippy Zapp's picture
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Sounds like you need a newer version of the System 7.1 install disks with that Enabler included. You might be able to make your own if someone has that Enabler, but there may also be other tweaks missing on the disks you have got.

This is exactly right. You have to download the specific 7.1 for LC III and boot with the install first disk or something like that, IIRC that is the enabler. I believe that set of disks is on here.

MikeTomTom's picture
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The original Mac OS 7.1 disks that shipped with the LC III are here.
- They're the 9th DL on than page; SSW-71-LCIII.sit (5.26 MB)

The included Install disks and Disk Tools boot floppy, contain the required System Enabler for the LC III Mac. These are floppy images of the install discs that came with my own LC III.

Most Macs shipping with 7.1 required additional System Enablers for their particular Mac model type.

For additional info on what Mac shipped with which System Enabler see here. The Mac models denoted with a "D" in the Note list shipped with 7.1 plus enabler.

MacTouch's picture
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Joined: 2016 Mar 19

The original LC III (and the LC III+ besides) must work from SSW 7.1 thru 7.6.1, so I suppose SSW 7.1.1 could work (not 7.1.2 as it was reserved to PPC machines). I have to be agree with WhosIt.There as it is strange, may be the enabler is missing indeed...

os9er's picture
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Joined: 2013 Nov 15

Just a clarification, the enabler is there. I downloaded the SSW-7.1-LCIII.sit file from this site and wrote the Disk Tools image from that set to a blank 1.4-megabyte floppy using my iBook G3/700 and a USB floppy drive. (Now I wish I had thought to put that info in my original comment, LOL.)

MacTouch's picture
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I can't edit my previous posts myself if someone has already answered to. I suppose Mike is the only one who could do...
Have u finally installed the system on your Mac successfully ?

os9er's picture
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Nope, as mentioned before, it won't boot from the "Disk Tools" disk or the "Install Disk 1" disk.

MacTouch's picture
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Joined: 2016 Mar 19

Well, I think u haven't a real LC III. If your machine was manufactured in June of 1994, u could have a LC 475 instead of. So, u can try "System Enabler 065" with the installation of the system 7.1 from your boot floppies. If this is not work, I should recommend u to take photos of the front of your Mac, the motherboard & the serial, then upload theses photos somewhere on the web & finally post some links here. This will help us a lot to identify your machine... Thxs. Smile

bertyboy's picture
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Yeah, if we believe that there is even a slight chance that it is a later Mac, open it up and find the CPU (should be close to the PDS slot). It'll be marked with the processor type, beginning MC68030. There should be an empty maths co-processor socket close by. Or maybe it has a co-processor.

If it is an LC475, with a 68040 cpu, then it is a much bigger CPU, probably near the SIMM slot, beginning MC68LC040 if doesn't have a maths co-processor (built into the 68040), or beginning MC68040 if it does (unusual on LC, but you could upgrade them).

os9er's picture
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I know for a fact that it's an MC68030. I opened it up a while ago to check the internals. It also has no co-processor in the socket.

MacTouch's picture
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Joined: 2016 Mar 19

There is certainly some informations we are missing... Your Mac was manufactured in June of 1994. The currently system released at this era was 7.1.2, but for Power Macintosh & LC/Quadra/Performa machines only. This version was released in March of this year. As your machine was introduced in June, it must accept the system 7.1 or 7.1.1 (with the good enabler) because the system 7.5 was released in 1995. Moreover, this one should be tested also with your machine... The message u have is it denies it & request a newer version than the 7.1, so the system 7.1.1 needs to be tested with the good enabler for booting your machine. Wink