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

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!

Getting Into Retro Macs

15. August 2019 13:16 by Cameron in Mac, Mac OS X  //  Tags: , , , ,   //   Comments

I have a strong affinity for things that are from my childhood; things that are 20+ years old and now considered vintage! I recently stumbled upon a local FaceBook Marketplace listing for an iMac G3 for $22. The listing seemed too good to pass up so I picked it up last weekend. It's a 2001 Graphite iMac G3 clocked at 700MHz with 512MB of RAM, a 60GB HDD, and a CDRW/DVD drive.

This particular Mac is a bit of a fixer upper meaning that the DVD drive is broken and it was missing the keyboard and mouse. However, I have purchased a Graphite Mac keyboard from that era as well as a black optical Pro Mouse. Technically, the "puck" mouse is what most of these iMacs came with, but I haven't used a ball mouse in a long time and wanted something I could use without a mouse pad. Since the DVD drive was broken, I purchased an iBook G4 in order to use the internal DVD drive over FireWire Target Disk Mode to install Mac OS X 10.4 on the iMac. I now have a dual boot of OS 9.2.2 and Mac OS X 10.4. The great guys at Mac OS 9 Lives! provide an easy to use method for setting up your Mac's HDD with 9.2.2.

My plan for this Mac is to use as a retro Mac gaming computer. I may also experiment with the Mac as a cheap audio recording setup since I still have FireWire 400 audio interfaces. I will be upgrading the RAM from 512MB to 1GB, upgrading the HDD to a 128GB SD card with IDE adapter, and replacing the DVD drive. 

Lenovo x220 Hackintosh

14. October 2017 00:10 by Cameron in Hackintosh, Mac  //  Tags: , , ,   //   Comments

I recently acquired a Lenovo x220 for $60 to make a nearly 100% compatible hackintosh laptop. The x220 series allows for custom BIOS to be flashed to remove the Wifi whitelist enforced by Lenovo and I was able to install a Broadcom AC wireless card. Following this guide, http://x220.mcdonnelltech.com/, I now have a 95% compatible hackintosh laptop. The only thing that doesn't work is the SD card reader which isn't a big deal. I have installed macOS High Sierra on my 256GB mSATA SSD and I've set up the machine for iOS development. I plan to use this machine until I can buy a Macbook Pro or equivalent in the near future. Since the Lenovo x220 was released in 2011, I imagine I have about 2 years before this machine is obsoleted by the newest macOS. I should by that point be able to replace the laptop or buy an official Macbook Pro.

Happy New Year 2017!

14. January 2017 00:31 by Cameron in Hackintosh, Mac  //  Tags: , ,   //   Comments

Hey guys! It has been way too long since my last blog post. I will make more of an effort to write at least one blog entry per month this year. One of my latest tech thing I've been doing is getting a new hackintosh laptop configured for iOS development.

I read recently on Reddit that the Thinkpad X220T is the perfect hackintosh laptop. After looking for a decent sub $200 X220 device, I couldn't find any that were reasonably priced. I did however find a $115 Lenovo X230T with 8GB of RAM, an i5 2.6GHz Ivy Bridge, and a 320GB 7200RPM HDD! The laptop came with no OS, but that was no problem as I planned to install macOS Sierra. The install went through without a hitch. I have nearly 100% compatibility on this hackbook minus the internal Wifi and multi-touch on the touch screen. These are minor things that I can ignore as the rest of the laptop works quite well. I hope to write a more detailed post about this hackbook and my setup procedure soon.

Please stay tuned!

Qt Development on OS X Mountain Lion

1. October 2012 21:18 by Cameron in C++, Mac, Mac OS X, Qt  //  Tags: , , , , , ,   //   Comments

OS X Mountain Lion changes a few things on how XCode is installed. Xcode is now contained in an app bundle and the SDKs directory is part of the bundle contents, thus you will need to update your SDK paths in your project file like so:

MAC_SDK  = /Applications/Xcode.app/Contents/Developer/Platforms/MacOSX.platform/Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.7.sdk
    if( !exists( $$MAC_SDK) ) {
        error("The selected Mac OSX SDK does not exist at $$MAC_SDK!")
    }
    QMAKE_MAC_SDK = $$MAC_SDK

If you want to support Snow Leopard as a target platform with your Qt applications, be sure to use the 10.7 SDK and not the default 10.8 SDK. Your app should work just fine in Snow Leopard provided that you don't make any calls to Lion specific features while using the 10.7 SDK.

Another important thing is to install the command line tools for GCC so that Qt can find the compiler during installation and successfully compile C/C++ applications from Qt Creator. If you do use the 10.8 SDK with any Qt version less than Qt 5.0, it will give warnings that OS X 10.8 is unsupported during compilation. These warnings can be safely ignored. Aside from that, everything else should be the same as before. Happy coding!

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