PowerBook 190CS with SSD

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EngineersCake's picture
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Howdy 'Fritters.
I'm not sure if this qualifies as a hardware hack, but I thought it was interesting enough to mention here.
I'm attempting to build an SSD PowerBook 190cs. I've seen these laptops boot from a CF card adapter in the PCMCIA slot which is cool, but I'm taking it a step further. I went on eBay and bought a CF card to IDE adapter. When it arrived in the mail I realized that I don't have the hardware to get System 7.6.1 (which is already on the PowerBook's hard drive)on to the CF card. So I fretted and finagled and realized that there's some software that can be downloaded on a Windows machine that will read HFS disks.

The next step was packing the PowerBook's hard drive into an external USB enclosure and imageing it to the CF card through the Windows machine's built-in multi-card reader. The imaging was successful... or I thought it was. I plugged the IDE to CF card adapter in to the power book and it booted up to the disk with the blinking question mark. I was afraid of that.

To test the IDE to CF card adapter I plugged it into the external USB enclosure and plugged it into both of my Windows machines. Not surprisingly neither of the machines read the CF card.

I know there are hundreds of possible compatibility issues that could be occurring, but my hope is that it's just a faulty CF card to IDE adapter.

Before I go yell at the person that I bought the adapter from, maybe one of you can tell me if this project is even feasible. Can the PowerBook see the the CF card adapter or is that tech too new for it to recognize? Any pointers or thoughts are welcome and appreciated.

Thanks guys.

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PowerBook 190cs 16/500 33Mhz 68LC040 (Recently Defunct)
NeXTstation T/C 32/400 33MHz 68040 (Classic pride and joy)
ThinkPad T420s 8GB/500GB SSD 2.9GHz i7 (Work)
MacBookPro 13 16GB/256gb SSD 2.9GHz i7 (Work)

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Dr. Webster's picture
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Re: PowerBook 190CS with SSD

I'm not sure about the 190 series specifically, but I remember someone posting to the DuoList mailing list not too long ago about getting a CF-to-IDE adapter working in a PowerBook 2400. You may want to dig through their archives to see if you can gain any insight.

My gut feeling, though, is that you can't use a PC to clone one Mac disk to another...the simplest solution might be to just install the CF card adapter in the machine and do a clean OS install from floppy or CD.

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eeun's picture
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Re: PowerBook 190CS with SSD

I remembered this being done with a Powerbook 150. Surprisingly, the link is still active:
http://www.cosc.canterbury.ac.nz/greg.ewing/hardware/pb150/
This is an old article, and I believe the adapters have come a long way since then. If nothing else, it verifies it can be done.

I've been working on and off with CF card storage on the Atari ST, but rather than using IDE, it's bit-bashing right off the 68000. How this may be applicable to your case is I've found not all CF cards will work, and it's pretty much a crap-shoot. I've heard SanDisk is generally more reliable for this application, since they tend to use faster memory. Try a few cards.

And speaking of the adapter, if you're using one of those cheap-o ebay CF to IDE adapters, double-check the connections. Both the ones I've bought had solder bridges across connections out of the box.

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Re: PowerBook 190CS with SSD

It can be done.

I have a cffa card in my PB5300 running OS 9. Smile

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EngineersCake's picture
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Re: PowerBook 190CS with SSD

Thanks for restoring my hope for this project.

Further reading has led me to believe it's a crap shoot getting the right CF card and the right CF card to IDE adapter. My first mistake was buying a cheapy IDE adapter on ebay. Although it only cost me $7.00 (Shipping included) and it looks very similar to the Syba adapter found on Newegg. Upon closer inspection, it is the same, save for the in-board wiring. The cheap ebay one has holes in the runs all over the place.

Time to invest in a quality product. More to come.

Thanks again for the advice.

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PowerBook 190cs 16/500 33Mhz 68LC040 (Recently Defunct)
NeXTstation T/C 32/400 33MHz 68040 (Classic pride and joy)
ThinkPad T420s 8GB/500GB SSD 2.9GHz i7 (Work)
MacBookPro 13 16GB/256gb SSD 2.9GHz i7 (Work)

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Re: PowerBook 190CS with SSD

you could use a CF->PCcard adapter to clone the OS to the CF card.

dan k

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EngineersCake's picture
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Re: PowerBook 190CS with SSD

@gsmcten: Who makes your CF card to IDE adapter? So I don't have to go poking around in the dark. (-:

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PowerBook 190cs 16/500 33Mhz 68LC040 (Recently Defunct)
NeXTstation T/C 32/400 33MHz 68040 (Classic pride and joy)
ThinkPad T420s 8GB/500GB SSD 2.9GHz i7 (Work)
MacBookPro 13 16GB/256gb SSD 2.9GHz i7 (Work)

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Re: PowerBook 190CS with SSD
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Oelmuvun's picture
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Re: PowerBook 190CS with SSD

I would like to just say here that as far as I am aware you want an adapter that has no smarts on it whatsoever. Then you want to get a decent CF card.
The adapter should be straight through, cheap or not and the card should be a decent one.

I have a Kingston Elite Pro 133x 4GB that I know works with my P580 and PM6500 boards(also beige G3).. but those are desktops and not Apple's crazy portable machines.
Though isn't the PB190 less retarded than the PB150 that the one dude needed a crazy workaround for?
I could be wrong, but that was the impression I was under. (but then I also have no non-stock HDDs that my PB150s like so.. *shrug*)

I would say to try different cards if you are having problems.

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EngineersCake's picture
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Re: PowerBook 190CS with SSD

@gsmcten, Awesome. Thanks for the info. I'll be picking one of those up ASAP.

@Oelmuvun, yeah, the 190 should be somewhat easier to work with. I recently disassembled a 180 and a 180c and they were a certified pain in the butt, not only yo get to the drives but to put them back together too. Headache!

Though they are neat machines, I think I'm done with the first generation of PowerBooks.

Thanks for the help people!

More when the CF to IDE adapter arrives.

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PowerBook 190cs 16/500 33Mhz 68LC040 (Recently Defunct)
NeXTstation T/C 32/400 33MHz 68040 (Classic pride and joy)
ThinkPad T420s 8GB/500GB SSD 2.9GHz i7 (Work)
MacBookPro 13 16GB/256gb SSD 2.9GHz i7 (Work)

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Re: PowerBook 190CS with SSD

I just want to say that I like your new Icon. lol

I haven't done anything with my 5300's lately. They're operational, but during the job hunt they seem to have fallen by the wayside for a while. Just like the rest of my projects. Supposedly, Rich Dreher is almost finished with his new CFFA card, and if you check out A2Central.com they have a segment on a new CFFA Adapter for the Apple IIc.

Now THAT is exciting. Smile

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EngineersCake's picture
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Re: PowerBook 190CS with SSD

Thanks for the avatar love. Illustrator does have a use after all. Haha

I just got a line on a screaming deal for a black MacBook (something I've been wanting for a long time), so I may be liquidating my 040 and PPC collections... but hopefully not before I finish this project.

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PowerBook 190cs 16/500 33Mhz 68LC040 (Recently Defunct)
NeXTstation T/C 32/400 33MHz 68040 (Classic pride and joy)
ThinkPad T420s 8GB/500GB SSD 2.9GHz i7 (Work)
MacBookPro 13 16GB/256gb SSD 2.9GHz i7 (Work)

EngineersCake's picture
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Re: PowerBook 190CS with SSD

So I got the PowerBook 5300ce to steal the active matrix display from. $1.00 on eBay. Screen swap to come tomorrow.
Specs thus far:
PowerBook 190cs
33MHz 68LC040
40MB RAM
1.2GB standard hard drive
(Addonics CCF to IDE adapter on the way)
10.4" Active matrix display and accompanying display card
ORiNOCO Gold 802.11 b/g wireless card

ALMOST DONE! Laughing out loud

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PowerBook 190cs 16/500 33Mhz 68LC040 (Recently Defunct)
NeXTstation T/C 32/400 33MHz 68040 (Classic pride and joy)
ThinkPad T420s 8GB/500GB SSD 2.9GHz i7 (Work)
MacBookPro 13 16GB/256gb SSD 2.9GHz i7 (Work)

gsmcten's picture
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Re: PowerBook 190CS with SSD

Cool. Smile

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EngineersCake's picture
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Re: PowerBook 190CS with SSD

Update!

I got the display and video card from the 5300ce installed in the 190. It worked very well until... I changed the colors from 256 colors to thousands and the computer freaked out. I restarted it and got a checkered pattern on the screen for a couple of seconds, then it looked like the screen switched to an incompatible resolution. Restarted again with extensions on to see if it would default to something less broken looking, alas no luck. Would starting up with a system software CD allow me to reset the color selection? Maybe taking the display card out so the "thousands" color option is not available...

If you think you know what the deal is, please let me know. I'm hoping that I don't have to remove the screen again because it's a pain in the butt especially since I don't have a t-8 torx bit. Like an a-hole, I've been using a small flat head screw driver. I'm not sure what the next move is. Any constructive criticism or suggestion would be greatly appreciated.

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PowerBook 190cs 16/500 33Mhz 68LC040 (Recently Defunct)
NeXTstation T/C 32/400 33MHz 68040 (Classic pride and joy)
ThinkPad T420s 8GB/500GB SSD 2.9GHz i7 (Work)
MacBookPro 13 16GB/256gb SSD 2.9GHz i7 (Work)

kormsbee's picture
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Re: PowerBook 190CS with SSD

I would try by zapping the P-Ram

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EngineersCake's picture
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Re: PowerBook 190CS with SSD

@kormssbee How do I do that? Is it something like "command P" or "option P" at start up?
Thanks for the info.

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PowerBook 190cs 16/500 33Mhz 68LC040 (Recently Defunct)
NeXTstation T/C 32/400 33MHz 68040 (Classic pride and joy)
ThinkPad T420s 8GB/500GB SSD 2.9GHz i7 (Work)
MacBookPro 13 16GB/256gb SSD 2.9GHz i7 (Work)

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Re: PowerBook 190CS with SSD

Apple-Option-P-R immediately after pressing the power key

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alk's picture
alk
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Re: PowerBook 190CS with SSD

Reset PRAM, then boot with extensions disabled (hold shift). After that, I think you'll also need to delete a preferences file. Look for something like "Displays Preferences"... Then you should be able to reboot as normal. I don't think the ce display will work correctly on a 190, but I would be very interested in hearing that I'm wrong.

Peace,
Drew

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Re: PowerBook 190CS with SSD

ehh I dun think it's that it might be that the cf card won't be recognized as a hard drive because it's marked as a removable instead of a fixed drive by the manufacturer. I think there is a hardcore hack to set that bit, but I dun know it.
However there might be another solution to your problem there is cloning software for macos, however I dunno what it is at that operating system level, so what ya do is insert the flash drive in a compactflash to pcmcia adapter first clone it and then put it in the ide to cf adapter afterwards putting it on a windows pc or another mac will not work because the bios drive geometries are not the same it needs to be formatted with that same computer and then cloned
good luck
terramir

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Re: PowerBook 190CS with SSD

Another thought: the 190 has insufficient VRAM to drive the display at thousands of colors and 800x600. You need 1MB of VRAM for that. 800x600 pixels times 16 bits per pixel = approx 938 KB. Trying to drive that display in that mode with less VRAM probably corrupts the frame buffer resulting in the checkerboard pattern. I had that problem on a 5300cs that I dropped a CE screen on. I even went so far as to install an extra 512K of VRAM into the empty pads on the motherboard, but I had no success. Either the pads weren't active, the chip was bad, or my solder job was poor. I suspect the latter. Wink

I don't recall if the 190 uses system DRAM for the video or not. I think it does. In that case, you're really hosed because that would probably need a ROM rewrite or OS patch to overcome. If the 190 uses 640KB of DRAM for the video, you should have luck with the 5300c active matrix 640x480 display, though.

Peace,
Drew

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Re: PowerBook 190CS with SSD

Also FYI. The "video card" on the 190/5300 series is for an external display *only*. It has no effect on the built in video.

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Re: PowerBook 190CS with SSD

Hi. Just joined up with applefritter. I have a powerbook 190 as well. I have tried putting the 800 x 600 5300ce display on it but have not ever got a picture, so have stuck with the 190cs dual scan passive matrix display. Sounds like the only functional upgrade is the 5300c display? Or is there a way to use the 800 x 600 display with fewer colours? On the issue of an SSD, has anyone tried a Mercury SSD from Other World Computing? They do one with a SATA/EIDE adapter. I'm thinking about getting a 40GB (the smallest they make) for my 190 but don't really want to spend the money if it doesn't work!

cheers