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epicMac's picture
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Joined: 2010 Nov 10
I bought a Macintosh LC III, any tips for getting started?

I don't have the LC III in yet. The listing says no hard drive, it should be possible to get a SCSI to IDE adapter for use with a CompactFlash card, yes? I could probably find a SCSI hard drive if need be. I don't have any disks for OS installation or games, would a PowerPC iMac with a USB floppy drive be able to write 68k Mac disks? I have an ADB mouse already but no keyboard, is the machine mostly functional without a keyboard? Until I get one that is.

Any game suggestions while I'm at it? I am definitely going to grab some LucasArts and Broderbund games, especially Prince of Persia. Any favorites I should play on it?

Also, is it possible to get a joystick for a Mac LC III?

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24bit's picture
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Joined: 2010 Nov 19

As far as I recall the old Macs would boot without keyboard or mouse.
For some very basic character input you may use the built in char-map or a flavour of PopChar:
http://macintoshgarden.org/apps/popchar-252

All PPC Macs should be able to write to USB 1.4MB floppy, which the LCIII can read.
Easiest way may be DiskCopy 6 to prepare a System 7.1 boot disk from MacOS 9 or lower.
(PCs with Basilisk II Build 142 do write Mac HFS HD floppies fine either.)

I did not succeed writing floppies with DiskUtilty in OSX so far.
Files can be copied over to floppy from a System 7 disk image manually though.

You may also use MiniVMac to fill a .RAW floppy image with data and write to floppy with dd from Terminal.

A SCSI to CF adapter sure is the way to go once you found the LCIII booting from floppy.
Some Macs did not boot without a good 3.6V Li battery, no idea about the LCIII, as I never owned one.
Never had a joystick with my Macs either. Wink

MikeTomTom's picture
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Joined: 2009 Dec 7

Some Macs did not boot without a good 3.6V Li battery, no idea about the LCIII, as I never owned one.

I had some LCIII's and this model is one of those Macs that will not boot if the clock battery is low or dead.

1st port of call if it won't start up was to check the battery and replace if necessary.

systemseven's picture
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Joined: 2016 May 19

joystick: look for "ADB" joysticks on ebay, that is the Apple Desktop Bus. Gravis made some. ADB stacks, so for instance, i currently have a Next ADB keyboard, Wacom tablet and MacAlly trackball all plugged into one port on my Mac.

for hard drive, i find the SCSI2SD most convenient. you can write disks to the SD from a modern desktop (using the SCSI2SD interface tool) and plop that in the SCSI2SD device and it just works. super fast too and no mechanical noise!

Bolkonskij's picture
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Joined: 2009 Aug 3

Ah, the LC III. Had one of those too. It's really a very nice early 90s Macintosh. Just keep in mind these were Low Cost computers and not overpowered media machines. Take them for what they are and you'll love them.

I second systemseven, I personally prefer and use a SCSI2SD in three of my Macs and they all work very well except for very old MacPlus / SE. A v5 SCSI2SD should do very fine within your LC III. No need for a v6. Use google to find a seller near you.

As pointed out, ADB joysticks will work with your LC III. One of the easiest to find is probably the Gravis MouseStick II, which was kind of THE standard joystick during the LC era. They are still relatively easy to find - the later ones are harder to score. Nothing special about them, they are just more rare like e.g. the Gravis Firebird. I've been looking for one for quite some time.

Go ahead and install System 7.1. on the LC III, it's the OS the machine was made for and it should be snappiest on it. As for games, I don't know what you like and what not. You may want to explore the Mac Garden by checking the software by released year. As a rule of thumb, everything from 1991 - 1994 should run well on your LC III. Everything later might require more horsepower or a PowerPC while the older software before '91 might work or not, depending on whether System7 breaks them or not.

http://macintoshgarden.org/year/1991
http://macintoshgarden.org/year/1992
http://macintoshgarden.org/year/1993
http://macintoshgarden.org/year/1994

Anyway, apart from the superior Mac versions of LucasArts games I believe there's some games with a "real Mac background" that are still very much fun today. Go ahead and try Maelstrom, which is really great arcade fun to play with the joystick. (I played hours after hours during the 90s .. using a MouseStick II btw Smile ).

Also highly recommend the game Glider 4.0, that is very Macish and - to me - is one of the greatest Mac titles of all times. (You control a paper plane and fly it through different houses)

Lastly, there is one Flight Sim to shape them all Smile the amazing Hellcats over the Pacific. Yes I'm totally biased on that one, but it's just amazing how much was achieved with how few. It's not an arcade flight sim, yet it's very approachable and loads of fun. Check the manual on the page for the mission descriptions though, so you know what you are expected to do in the scenarios.

Well, there are so many other games and I'm sure fellow Mac Gardeners will add their favorites, but this should pretty much get you started. Smile

IIGS_User's picture
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Joined: 2009 Apr 8

I second the SCSI2SD as an internal hard drive as well.

If its internal floppy drive does not work, try probably BMOW's FloppyEmu as replacement,
using SD cards with floppy disk images stored on it.

But for Keyboard and mouse, you can get BMOW's USB Wombat as well, which is an ADB-USB converter and let you connect USB keyboard and mouse with the LC's ADB connector. That site also states, as an ADB cable (which is usually be used to connect Keyboard and mouse to the Mac), you could also use standard S-Video cables.

sfp1954's picture
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Joined: 2013 Dec 29

I have several Gravis ADB Joysticks. One that's new in box.
Also some ADB trackballs.

I don't believe there is such a thing as a SCSI to IDE adapter.
SCSI is parallel - IDE is serial.
You would need to go SCSI2SD.
https://store.inertialcomputing.com/Default.asp

The other option would be a SCSI Zip drive.
At 100MB it's bigger than original HD would be I believe.
I have one of those and a Jazz drive as well.

epicMac's picture
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Joined: 2010 Nov 10

Wow, really great information, thanks guys.

Looking around more, yeah it sounds like compact flash wouldn't be the easiest thing to use here. The SCSI2SD looks nice but being in Canada it's looking like v5 board would be over $100 with shipping. Is it normal for these things to be expensive?

Going over the lists of games compatible with this era of Mac, it sounds like I may not need a joystick. I like adventure games and other mouse/keyboard driven titles.

I've read the LC III can run 7.5 and 7.6, would those be any good or is the LC III too slow for that?

24bit's picture
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Joined: 2010 Nov 19

From my fainting memory, I feel that we had similar 68030 powered Macs, mostly Centris/Quadra and even a MacII with Daystar cpu upgrade, running with 7.6 fine.
If you can max out the RAM the newer MacOS should be fine.
Adding some RAM won´t burn such huge holes in your wallet as it did in the old days. Smile

IIGS_User's picture
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Joined: 2009 Apr 8

I also second the SCSI Zip drive, to be connected to the LC, another USB Zip drive connected to a current Mac that can write to HFS Standard media.

Using a Zip medium as data exchange disk, it needs to be formatted with the oldest Mac OS located in your inventory first.

epicMac's picture
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Joined: 2010 Nov 10

What sort of RAM does a Mac LC III take? Maybe I have some that's compatible in my box of assorted RAM modules. Also, how much can one add? I think I read somewhere the LC III can't handle over 128MB.

A USB Zip drive would be cool, I even have some Zip disks already from an old Dell laptop that has a Zip drive. One thing I am curious about is CD-ROM. Is it possible to get an external SCSI CD drive? Would it work on a LC III? Nearly all my original Mac software is on CDs. I've never owned a floppy-only Mac before.

sfp1954's picture
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Joined: 2013 Dec 29

I have several Apple compatible SCSI CD drives.
And they are still available on ebay.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-1995-Apple-Mac-CD-300i-Plus-SCSI-CD-ROM...

I also have access to a drawer full of 72 pin RAM.

24bit's picture
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Joined: 2010 Nov 19

For the RAM, you want 72pin SIMM, 80ns (or faster). I think PC RAM called PS/2 (IBM) should work too. At least we could mix that type of FPM RAM and use it with Mac or PC, but this may be not true for all modules, the EDO type for PC will not work, methinks.
The LCIII has a memory ceiling of 36MB, with 4MB soldered in, best look for a module like here:
32MB SIMM,16 Hitachi chips, 5 volt, 16M (4x4M), 2K refresh, Fast Page Mode (FPM) 60ns.
(If your RAM slot is empty that is.)

LCIII-Mo-Bo

Any SCSI CD drive should be fine - booting from it will usually only work with Apple branded CD-ROM drives.

Here is a caddie oldie from Germany: https://www.ebay.de/itm/Apple-CD-150-externes-SCSI-Laufwerk/113842964424...
Maybe you will be better off looking for a naked SCSI drive, Toshiba, Panasonic etc. and an empty 5.25 inch SCSI housing. The caddie system was safe and slow, but you may want to avoid it just because of the additional caddy handling.

epicMac's picture
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Joined: 2010 Nov 10

sfp1954, that external CD drive looks nice, but the listing doesn't offer shipping to Canada.

Once I get the LC III, I'm going to try my 72pin SIMM ram modules and see if any work. I'll see if I end up needing a 32MB RAM module.

I notice the LC III can take a 68882 FPU, what software needs that?

systemseven's picture
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Joined: 2016 May 19

"what software needs that" - some graphics and scientific programs, but most also have a non-FPU flavor release. a search for "FPU" on here will come up with quite a few hits!

lilliputian's picture
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Joined: 2010 Jul 29

If you're feeling adventurous, you can overclock your LCIII by moving a tiny 0Ω resistor from the top of the board to the bottom. You will need to add a different System Enabler to your system folder if you plan on sticking with 7.1, but I have found that the boost from 25MHz to 33MHz does make a noticeable (if not breathtaking!) difference:

https://lowendmac.com/2014/overclocking-the-mac-lc-series/

You might as well get the 32MB ram module as they're not expensive. I also recommend getting the extra VRAM as well to unlock new video modes. And you may as well get a 68882 FPU as they're easily found on eBay (just watch out for fakes!).

And, if you want to go the extra mile, a PDS ethernet card will be very handy! Laughing out loud

lilliputian's picture
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My LCIII setup (ignore the Plus in the dustcover Tongue )

20190828-114847

IIGS_User's picture
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Joined: 2009 Apr 8

CD ROM, Zip drive, AppleTalk despatcher. Party

The monitor, how is it connected? Recently I've got an LCIII, too, and it comes with DB15-to-VGA converter. Still need to assemble and build the setup, tho'.

Speaking of VGA, with the other computers I've done recently, Apple IIGS (+ VGA adapter), PowerBook G3 Pismo, I've interposed an VGA-to-HDMI converter and got an image output on an HDMI device.

lilliputian's picture
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This is the adapter I'm using with a VGA cable, works great! https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002J1JAE/

And the box is actually an Apple MIDI Interface! I do want to get some sort of AppleTalk/Local Talk thing going, but I don't know where to begin with that, not something I ever dealt with before.

IIGS_User's picture
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Joined: 2009 Apr 8

Uh yeah, I mixed it with the Apple Drucker / Local Talk Doppelkupplung and Poweruser Apple Mac Serie 2-Port RJ-11 Localtalk/Appletalk Adapter Kabel.

To establish AppleTalk connection between two Apple computers,
you would just need simple printer cables, like these ones:
APPLE PRINTER CABLE, Apple Mac 10 ft Printer Cable Imagewriter Image II mini din 8 pin (the later one shows the connector design) .