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thecandymancan1423's picture
Joined: 2020 May 13
Finally scored myself a Powerbook 520 (not c)

https://ibb.co/qWTKsR6
OK so i was searching eBay a week ago and i found this great deal for a PowerBook 520 with the PowerPC 601e upgrade there was 9 watchers for at least the 8 days it was still for bid and well... nobody bid for it so i got a late notification from eBay saying that it was ending soon and in the last minute of the auction i placed my bid and i won it

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cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

Nice score! A first-generation '040 Smile it has a sweet trackpad, one of the very, very few 68k Powerbooks to sport one of those, too!

RAM is your friend on those! Stock they came with as little as 4MB but hopefully you got one with 12MB, which is very useful. Max RAM is 36MB, iirc, so be on the watch for that upgrade.

Back in '94 they cost close to $2500 for the extra RAM model, and the sweet spot OS for this one should be 7.6.1. It can work fine with 8.1, but it adds more GUI functionality (think fun GUI stuff) a little overhead and slow some things down just a little bit, if speed is your thing. If you boot with 7.6.1, I do recommend Popup Folder. Read the workaround for getting some additional Command-Key functionality on that system extension.

I usually keep at least two system folders on my Macs using the bless system folder trick to go back and forth between two OS; this way it gives you more compatibility with different applications, just be careful when doing the switch. It's better to use a blesser tool than to do it manually. I'm sure someone here has documented the how-tos for doing all that. Bottom line: be careful when toying around with two OSes unless you have boot floppies or an external drive or zip drive or another 68k SCSI Mac w/adapters and cables to boot it back up.

Another cool hack is to connect an external color display. This gives you a color 68k Mac. I know, yet another investment... welcome to the club kid, lol Wink

thecandymancan1423's picture
Joined: 2020 May 13

would this work for transferring the software i do have a 256MB USB 2.0 drive that is backwards compatible with USB 1.0 and 1.1 https://www.ebay.com/itm/Best-Connectivity-PCMCIA-Cardbus-SATA-2X-SD-PCB... without drivers or what i do have 10.5 installed on a Mid 2007 iMac

thecandymancan1423's picture
Joined: 2020 May 13

i believe i have a old RCA tube TV from '97 that my dad got back then you see the thing is for my life whole up until 2018 we had a old RCA black TV with a VHS and DVD player and about 1500 tapes and DVDs we collected through the years (think salvation army and Goodwill) then my little bros got a Wii and we were constantly switching the red yellow and white cables and eventually the TV would go black and we would have to mess with the wires to get the display to come back on so now we have it in the basement and we now have a 8k tv

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

whoa, 8ks are the real latest, lol!

But preferably, a VGA computer display, but to use one of those, you need an adapter that plugs into the 520s mini-15 video out port in the back. When they were new I think it came with those video cable(s), if I remember correctly, so ebay may help out for one of those.

Unfortunately, old television screens have too low of a resolution to do much on them (and you'd need even older adapters to make that work anyway.

thecandymancan1423's picture
Joined: 2020 May 13

so would this usb pcmcia card work https://www.ebay.com/itm/Best-Connectivity-PCMCIA-Cardbus-SATA-2X-SD-PCB... for transfering files with a usb 1.0 stick

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

Sorry brother, that one's too new Sad in fact, any cardbus cards would/should likely only run on G3 Powerbooks and up.. oh wait, that card does USB? Then definitely that one's out: USB connectivity wasn't built into Powerbooks natively until the Pismo (a G3 Powerbook) and hockey-puck iMacs!

But ORINOCO-based wifi cards should work. There have been lists compiled of these cards that work throughout the line of PPC Powerbooks, so I believe that if it works with the Powerbook PPC 5300, then it likely works on the 520.

Again, I've never had a 68k Powerbook that has had a PCMCIA card slot. Those have only dial-up modems and serial ports. While the Powerbook could definitely have those ports, they are from a very different time in Internet history, so they wouldn't be very useful to you with ethernet and wifi connections.

Found a nicely drafted answer with some details on the hardware for web/home network access:
(mind you this info was posted five years ago, so some parts may be more scarce now compared to back then)

Wired:

You'll need an AAUI to Ethernet adapter. You can find an official Apple adapter on eBay, or a generic one for less. These aren't terribly difficult to find, but aren't common enough to find in a local parts store.

Wireless:

Method 1: You'll need the Apple PC Card Cage and a PC Card compatible with Apple's Airport card (to make it easier). The PC Card Cage is very hard to find and expensive if you find it. An ORINOCO PC card is relatively easy to find and cheap.

Method 2: Using the AAUI to Ethernet adapter and a Ethernet to WiFi adapter. You can find a battery-powered Ethernet to WiFi adapter, but all these adapters won't make it easy to move around.

For comparison, here's a small diagram of how your 'Blackbird" (Apple's codename for the PB520) may look from the back to show you what all the ports represent:

Although ancient tech, the floppy disk drive can read and write files, it's just the how you get the files onto floppies that would be the issue, and you'd have to get your hand on some floppies, too. An old PC would work for that task since Apple built-in PC floppy reading onto its system.

The ethernet port (if what's labeled in this picture is indeed an ethernet port) could work as well, but I have my doubts since I've never seen an ethernet port that looked like that! Shock

Troyd's picture
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Joined: 2014 Nov 14

Main issue with these is the small SCSI hard drive. A lot are sort of dying now. Replacing them is difficult to say the least. Usual way is to buy another Mac laptop from the same era sold for spares/repair and hope for the best. I had to do that with mine as the logic board was flaky on my first 520. If money is no object, you can blow $100 on a CF or SD to SCSI adapter.

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

Ouch! that rare, huh? Shock

But in return to such an investment, a CF/SD to SCSI solution would seriously bump up his read/write speeds and volume sizes, especially if he formatted several volumes on one CF or SD card. It would be a Powerbook with seemingly endless storage space to load it with a ton of games.

He could also take advantage of larger card capacities (GBs) to greatly increase his virtual RAM to be able to run more programs and provide each program or game more RAM to use.

The Mac games he could run alone on this bad boy could fill up so much on some big volumes. For example, this 3.3GB file with Ambrosia game add-ons is chock full of gaming extras to some real fabulous arcade-style games, at that size doesn't even include the games themselves. And there's so many more playable games outside of Ambrosia's, the sky's the limit! Laughing out loud

The hardest part is weeding out the compatible games, although the majority of them should be close to the time the Powerbook was introduced in the mid-nineties!

thecandymancan1423's picture
Joined: 2020 May 13

here is the Ethernet according to everymac.com https://pasteboard.co/JomLrXJ.png

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

Ha, so it is! Laughing out loud

So maybe they sell cables that have an ethernet plug like the ones we use on one side and the other then fits that odd-looking ethernet port! That would be perfect to suck the net dry of all the stuff you can run on this bad boy!

But as Troy commented, your weakest part is the internal SCSI hard drive type, since it sounds like it been out of production for quite a while. Of course, I've plugged old 68k Macs to external SCSI hard drives and removable external drives that are not limited by a more frail internal hard drive. The cost of the cables needed to connect an external drive isn't high, but the drives themselves may be.

Boy Troy, you threw a solid, heads-up curveball there, buddy! Shock

thecandymancan1423's picture
Joined: 2020 May 13

i was thinking about getting a PCMCIA to CF/SD and making multiple partitions with leopard/tiger for different operating systems and storage as i have a 32 GB SD card and a 16GB microSD card any suggestions for a reliable adapter for my PowerBook as this comes with a PCMCIA card cage

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

Add-on hardware like that is not my forte, so I will defer to others here for the specs you need to do that. A hard search on this site's forum posts may also get you what you need, but I'd still run what you find by this post first to get a thumbs-up.

Troyd's picture
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Joined: 2014 Nov 14

This is one I have used in my PPC Macs

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Compact-Flash-CF-to-PC-Card-PCMCIA-Adapter-Ca..., though not from this particular seller. Avoid any that came from cars like BMW, Mercedes or branded Panasonic. Those do not follow the standard and only work with Windows plus a driver. All of the working adapters are pretty much all generic pass-throughs with no circuitry inside and cheap so no need to splash out on Sandisk, IBM etc.

Use an SD to CF adapter inside if you want to use an SD card. CF cards will be a little hardier, though. Be careful of SD to PCMCIA adapters are those will have some circuitry inside and not all are Mac compatible. You would be better off with an SD to CF adapter as CF cards follow the ATA standard electronically.

It should work in the 520 but as I have a working SCSI drive in mine, I have never tried. OS8 and OS9 support booting from PCMCIA but I cannot guarantee for sure that System 7 does and realistically, System 7 is what you will be running.

thecandymancan1423's picture
Joined: 2020 May 13

https://www.ebay.com/itm/VAP11G-Bridge-Cable-Convert-RJ45-Ethernet-Port-...
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Apple-Macintosh-M0437-Ethernet-Twisted-...

would these work well

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

I really like that Apple adapter cable you found! It literally can connect you to your network just like that! Laughing out loud The end looks and the name sounds like it's what your 520 has in the back.

And that wireless doohickey... I actually could use something like that for my laptop to increase wifi pull, but as a wifi end to the Apple ethernet dongle, well that sounds both crazy and ingenious, so I love the idea! And what's even crazier is that it might just work, too!!

With a third-party wifi driver and old wifi standards compatible with older PCMCIA cards, you have to deal with very limited to no wifi security. Doing it with these two items, you solve the compatibility issues on both sides... you literally 'bridge' the gap, so to speak (pun very much intended, lol) who cares what it looks like as long as it works! I only wonder if that means that you get two wifi dongles to complete the bridge, you know?

thecandymancan1423's picture
Joined: 2020 May 13

well unfortuanatley it turned out to be a scam a macbook pro 2006 came in the mail instead of this when i contacted the seller he wouldn't reply so i got a refund apparently it was also totally destroyed so i put it in the garbage apparently he tried selling this crap before and violated eBay policy when he literally put a death threat in his description that if none of the watchers buy his stuff he will hunt them down and kill them i think he might be coo coo 0:

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

What! That's so low Angry

I missed the part where it had the PPC upgrade, that means some of my advice about 68k-only Macs can be thrown out the window and that would have made this purchase a real steal, sorry kid! Sad at the very least you got the cash back Smile

Earlier, I was going to say that a 3400-G3 Powerbook would have made a better purchase for you (that was before I saw the PPC upgrade part you wrote) still, the processing speed would greater (so would the price, of course) and up to the Powerbook 3400c, Mac OS 7.6.1 is a solid OS for its processor, but OS 8.1 is a nice, albeit slower, update.

thecandymancan1423's picture
Joined: 2020 May 13

ah getting a powerbook 5300cs with os 7.6 for 68k and ppc emulation has a brand new battery and tons of preinstalled software

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

Did you order a Powerbook 5300cs then?

Working and at the right price, this Powerbook would make for a good 'middle-of-the road' computer! Smile

thecandymancan1423's picture
Joined: 2020 May 13

might within the future still waiting for the refund to go through the bank among other things Smile

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

Now if you're open to a more capable Powerbook, a G3 Wallstreet offers some more flexibility as far gaming. It would run the more modern OS 8 and 9 flavors, so very old games may not work as well.

That aside, with a working CD-ROM tray and PCMCIA card reader, this ebay listing would get wifi access and relatively easy CD reading to make your life easy. It also has 64MB of RAM and a 4GB hard drive, so that's plenty to have a lot of Mac fun!

I'm just throwing an example your way; I know this example would push you back 140 smackeroonies, but all that it's missing is a wifi card and a working battery. I'm hesitant to recommend much farther back than this for Powerbooks only because the maintenance is likely to be too more trouble. That and gaming specifically was a little better during this period compared to earlier times of the Mac timeline.