iMac G3 Update

1. September 2019 16:06 by Cameron in   //  Tags: , , , , , ,   //   Comments

It would appear that I was wrong about the flyback dying on my original Graphite iMac G3. I had installed the PRAM battery in the wrong direction so it was not saving any of the PMU data, preventing the CRT screen from turning on. After reseating the battery in the correct polarity and resetting the PMU a few times, I was able to get the CRT working again.

I received that second iMac G3, but it arrived in poor physical condition. The seller did not pack the iMac appropriately and the front bezel had shattered into dozens of pieces. I was able to get a refund for this iMac since it was in bad condition and shipping it back would have made the condition worse. Luckily, the CRT seems to still be intact on this iMac so I will be keeping it around for spare parts for a later date.

My original thought was to try and install the 250GB IDE HDD I had in the Graphite iMac, but there are no boot disks for the Intech Hard Disk Speedtools to properly format the larger disk. The installer for Mac OS 9 and OS X only saw the first 128GB of the drive. I played with the idea of using a second G3 Mac to format the iMac's internal HDD over FireWire, but ultimately decided to install my 128GB class 10 SD card instead. I now have Mac OS 9 and OS X installed on the same partition and can boot into either by switching the startup disk from within the OS. I haven't figured out how to get both OS 9 and OS X to list in the boot menu when holding down options on startup though. I read somewhere that you can press 9 or X at startup to boot the respective OS, but I have yet to try that.

My next goal for this iMac will be to get some more retro Mac PPC software and install a few games on the SD card. As the internal DVD drive doesn't eject disks correctly anymore, I will use an external FireWire drive or a second Mac in Target Disk Mode to install disk based games. Some of the games I will be installing include Sim Tower, Sim City 2000, and Fable The Lost Chapters.

In the spirit of vintage Macs, I recently purchased an eMac G4 1.25GHz. Upgrades on that one will be more of a hassle since Apple put access to the HDD and DVD drive on the bottom side of the logic board. I will probably tackle those, but only when absolutely necessary. I will be posting more about eMac soon.

iMac G3 Update

21. August 2019 20:35 by Cameron in Mac  //  Tags: , , , , , , , ,   //   Comments

Well, after about a week's usage, it would appear that my flyback transformer died on my Graphite iMac G3. I verified by booting up the iMac with an external display and verifying that the Apple bootloader was present. The flyback dying is unfortunately a common occurrence with these late 90's early 2000's iMacs and CRTs. I looked at replacing this part, but they're very hard to come by these days and Apple used a variety of parts for the flyback. One part I found was about $50, but it would require a lot of work and would ultimately not be worth the effort.

I decided to buy one more iMac G3 to satisfy my classic Mac wants. It's either an Indigo or "Fruit" iMac G3, but I will need to wait and see. The seller didn't take a picture of the sticker on the bottom of the unit so I'm not sure. I purchased this model for $69.99 with the known issue of not having a hard drive. It did however have pictures showing the CRT in working order. I have accepted now that whatever happens with this iMac happens. It's possible I get a few years out of it, but it's possible I get a week. It just depends on the previous owner's usage.

There was no mention on condition of the CD (maybe DVD) drive so I will need to proceed with caution on using the internal disk drive. I will try putting in a blank CD to make sure it ejects disks correctly before attempting to use the internal disk drive. If the internal disk drive doesn't work, then I will use Target Disk Mode from my iBook G4 like I did on the previous iMac G3. I did see that there are some "salvaged" slot loading CD drives on eBay so I may give those a look at a later point. I didn't see any replacement DVD drives though. I did actually confirm that my external Pioneer Blu-Ray drive works on the USB 1.1 ports on these iMacs so that could work in a pinch.

For the storage,  will see about using a 250GB IDE HDD since it is the standard 3.5" form factor and should fit nicely without modification. There might be some compatibility issues preventing all 250GB from being seen. I've heard that you can just partition the drive into smaller partitions for it to be recognized by the system. If that doesn't work, I guess it will only be able to address the first 128GB of the drive. Another option will be to use my original SD to IDE adapter with the Class 10 128GB SD card. This should be fast enough with 80MB/s read and write.

Once I've confirmed installation of Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X Tiger, I will do a logic board swap (assuming the logic board needs swapping). Then, I will make sure that the PRAM battery is replaced and re-install the 2x512MB of RAM. I could get an AirPort card, but there isn't much point since it would be 802.11b which would heavily cripple the rest of my 2.4GHz network. I will likely keep it hooked up via 100Mbit ethernet on my desk. Hopefully after all that everything will still work!

Once all of the parts are salvaged from my previous iMac, I will need to see about taking the CRT to an ecycler which is kind of a bummer. I could also try to sell for parts first and then go the ecyle route if that doesn't work.

I will post an update following my reassembly of the next iMac shortly!

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