eMac Restoration

20. September 2019 09:35 by Cameron in Mac  //  Tags: , , , , ,   //   Comments

Continuing retro Mac collecting, I picked up an eMac! Upon receiving the eMac, it was packed very well and the shell was mostly undamaged. There are a few small cracks on the front bezel, but mostly cosmetic. When I tried to boot up the eMac, it failed to load any operating system. I booted up the Mac OS X Tiger installer and tried to format the hard drive, but kept getting errors during formatting. Ultimately, I had to replace the original 60GB HDD with a spare 250GB HDD I had. The replacement wasn't too bad, but it is more involved than servicing an iMac G3. I also replaced the DVD drive since it is a standard 5.25" IDE DVD drive.

In the process of putting the case back on, I accidentally snapped the wires to the power button because I forgot to disconnect it until the case was properly aligned. This is a common problem with eMacs. Thankfully, I was able to find some replacement power button assemblies from a computer recycling company. While I waited for this to arrive, I fashioned a makeshift power button. My plan is to desolder the original power button connector and solder on a JST connector in its place. While I have the case open, I will be replacing the PRAM battery too since it seems to have gone bad.

Once I have everything reinstalled, I hope to not need to open the case again for a while since it's a bit of a hassle to service an eMac. The screen is a beauty though. Apple used Trinitron CRTs in their vintage iMac, eMac and studio displays. It will be nice to keep these in working order as long as I can. Next, I would like to find a classic 68k Mac. I haven't decided on which model yet, but I will keep my eyes open for a good deal.

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.

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