Planning out ways to utilize an LC 475

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Rezmason's picture
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I found a pizza-box mac the other day sitting in a hallway on my college campus. There's a protocol for this stuff; it's destined for the campus recycling program, but since I showed interest in the machine, there's a good chance that they can just deauthorize it, wipe the data off and give it to me. No mouse, keyboard or monitor.

Now, my family's got what looks like fifteen different Macs in our basement ranging from a Mac SE to a ton of late 90's PowerMacs, to a bunch of G3's and G4's, to the modern stuff. I've got every OS version on disk in some form since probably 1993. We're thinking of Ebaying most of this stuff, but it could serve other uses.

Here's what I'd like some help with– what can I do with an LC 475, and how feasible are my different options? I've currently got the following ideas, which can be mixed together:

  • Keep the machine as it is, but pair it with a monitor, keyboard and mouse from downstairs. Run old Mac software on it.
  • Find PDS cards to give the machine Apple // and PowerPC functionality, depending on what card's inside at the moment. Ethernet would be a nice plus, but since that would only work with a PDS card, I couldn't have Ethernet and a PowerPC architecture in the box simultaneously.
  • Replace the chip with one with a full FPU.
  • Gut the LC and stick it in another case. Take a newer Mac, one that can run Flash Player (my forté: http://www.rezmason.net/engram ) and fit it in the LC case. If I'd do this, I'd want to somehow still benefit from the pizza-box form factor.
  • Cut an ugly hole in the top and stick an LCD monitor inside. Not sure if I could even pull this off.
  • Put a handle on the side (probably will happen).

I imagine that you guys have all sorts of neat ideas for something like this. I don't want to turn this machine into a "utility machine", one used chiefly to read floppies or decompress .sea files or whatever. I want this to be a proud computer. That router thing that ct2193 is working on sounds cool, but it's not exactly my style.

Let me know what you guys think of my ideas and your own, whether they'll work, what I'd need to get them done. Remember, I've got a ton of Macs from all over the place.

Feels good to be back at AppleFritter! Smile

References:

http://www.apple-history.com/?page=gallery&model=605
http://support.apple.com/kb/SP211

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Rezmason's picture
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painting the case

Oh, I nearly forgot– a paint job could be neat, but electroluminescent lighting would probably be over the top.

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DrBunsen's picture
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Re: Planning out ways to utilize an LC 475

Rezmason wrote:

  • Gut the LC /. Take a newer Mac / and fit it in the LC case.

Space might be tight, but you could try something like the Mac mini Centris.

Other suggestions for logic boards that might just squeeze in there and run Flash would be a Powerbook, iBook or MacBook, Beige or B&W G3 (beige without PERCH card, B&W with right angle PCI adapter for a video card), or a 5500/6500 (optional L2 slot G3 upgrade and single slot PCI riser from a 5x00). Using slim, external or laptop drives for HD and optical would free up some space, as would making your power supply external.

Quote:

Replace the chip with one with a full FPU.

Well, then you could run NetBSD, if you want.

Quote:

stick an LCD monitor inside.

Again, space will be an issue, depending on what logic you have in there. Maybe get a complete 'book of some kind with case issues, and mount both the logic and LCD in there, with some cheaper desktop sized HD/CD?

Wait - is yours an LC475 or a 605? The 605 came with a full '040 IIRC.

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Rezmason's picture
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It's a 475, but I'm happy wit

It's a 475, but I'm happy with that. Is it hard to track down the full '040? And it's just a matter of popping out the old one and sticking in the new one, right?

The Mac mini Centris looks like a neat idea. I'm sure I've got hardware in the basement that could be repurposed similarly.

Say, my brother's got an iMac G4 with some problem. Maybe I could score a screen from that.

The plan is that I'll have the LC next week, and can then figure out what specifically I have to work with. If the machine's in pretty good shape, I might concentrate more on maxing out the old hardware at first than on repurposing the case.

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DrBunsen's picture
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Re: It's a 475, but I'm happy wit

Rezmason wrote:

Say, my brother's got an iMac G4 with some problem. Maybe I could score a screen from that.

It won't be much use without the iMac G4 logic board. See the FAQ link in the top right corner of this page.

OTOH, if the iMac G4 logic can be restored to working status, it might be a candidate for LC mounting

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Oh, the problem with the iMac

Oh, the problem with the iMac G4 was the LCD backlight. Undecided That could complicate things. But then the entire computer could still be a candidate for sticking into the LC 475.

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[UPDATE] Computar acquired!

Hey, good news. I finally got my hands on the machine. I'm short one power cord, but until I track one down to power the monitor, I can at least power up the box and hear the chime.

They took out the hard drive. That's not such a big deal- I was going to put a bigger drive in anyway. It'll just take longer to get up and running, but I have time. I also have two SCSI drives back home that can probably boot this machine right up, no questions asked.

There's no PDS card currently in the machine. That means I'll need to track some down myself once I'm certain the machine's working. I'm particularly interested in an Apple II card, a PowerPC card and most importantly an Ethernet card, but there may be some other neat ones out there.

Once I get home, I'll dust off this machine (is there any skill involved in using a pressurized air can that I should know about?), whip out a real camera and take some pictures. In the meantime, here is some preliminary footage taken with an iSight.

UPDATE: A friend has loaned me a power cord for the monitor, and I've plugged all the peripherals into the LC. Without a hard disk, it doesn't boot or recognize the display, but by holding down the mouse button while booting, I can indicate to the LC that I plan to boot from a floppy disk, and it responds accordingly.

I'm going to buy a floppy tomorrow morning and try putting System 6 on it or something.

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themike's picture
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I should still have a new in

I should still have a new in box ethernet card kicking around somewhere, if you're interested.

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Rezmason's picture
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Sweet. Do you mean a PDS Ethe

Sweet. Do you mean a PDS Ethernet card? That may be all that this machine will take.

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Re: [UPDATE] Computar acquired!

Rezmason wrote:

I'm going to buy a floppy tomorrow morning and try putting System 6 on it or something.

An LC475 will not boot to System 6. It shipped with System 7.1 and can take up to 8.1. As I recall, 7.1 was the last system small enough to boot from a floppy. If memory serves, System 7.5 was too big to physically fit in the 1.2MB space available on a floppy disc. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong about that.

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Thanks for the heads-up. I'm

Thanks for the heads-up. I'm running System 7.1 in Basilisk II; I can probably transfer the system to a floppy somehow.

EDIT: What am I saying? System 7.5.3 is a free download from Apple.com. I'm going to fetch a floppy and get this machine running.

UPDATE: Using the instructions here, I've managed to make a System 7 boot disk from the Network Access Disk available here. I now have every reason to believe that this computer works.

I might try adding Stickies and some other DAs to the boot disk tonight, but that involves modifying a disk image without invalidating it, which has been difficult to do successfully.

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It should be PDS... the only

It should be PDS... the only other choice is Nubus, right? I know it isn't that.

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Millimeter of dust

There's a coat of dust on all the LC's components. I've tried blowing it away with compressed air, but no dice. It's almost like a light soot. I could remove it from the power supply with a dust rag, I suppose, but I'm not sure if it's such a big deal. What're your opinions?

I'll be photographing today and asking some more questions. Also, I'm about to attach some old external SCSI drives from the basement, I'm getting bored of this boot floppy real fast. Laughing out loud

UPDATE: I've connected an external SCSI drive full of old Mac junk, and a SCSI CD-ROM drive with the install CD for System 7.5. The CD drive isn't recognized and the system on the external drive is too old, but fortunately I've got a System 7.5 Disk Tools floppy. Replacing the external's Finder and System suitcase with the ones on the boot disk let me boot right off the SCSI, but that's not a legitimate install. In fact, it breaks all kinds of things.

So! Where could I find Mac drivers for a LaCie CD ROM drive from around '94? Laughing out loud

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no drivers needed if ...

that's an actual bootable CD disk. Just startup with the CD in the drive, hold cmd-opt-shift-del and it should boot from any drive other than the designated HD. A bootable CD has the needed driver already on the disk, and will load it automagically.

If the CD disk you've got is a CD-R, then there's a good (bad) chance the CD-ROM drive can't read it. CD-Rs are problematic in old optical drives.

dan k

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Right, but the CD-ROM drive isn't internal.

My CD is genuine and probably bootable, but the CD-ROM drive is an external. The LC 475 doesn't have an internal CD-ROM, so I need a CD-ROM driver to get it to recognize the drive.

I think I have the driver in place actually from the Mac driver museum, but it and most of the other system extensions and control panels have a red X going through them.

I think this is because rather than performing a (currently impossible) install of 7.5 on the external SCSI drives, I simply replaced the old System suitcase and Finder with ones off the 7.5 boot floppy.

I have a new plan. Once I fit the LC with an internal SCSI drive, I'll back up the contents of the external SCSI (which is currently full), and then use one of the computers in my basement that has an internal CD-ROM drive and a SCSI port to install 7.5 on the external. I think that will finally work.

The key is having that internal SCSI drive to copy files to. I'm going to take photos in the morning; I might need help figuring out exactly what drive type I need to use. How many variations on SCSI were used in Macs?

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re: Right, but the CD-ROM drive isn't internal.

Heh, I have yet to meet the (working) SCSI CD-ROM drive that won't boot to a pressed (vs. CD-R) bootable CD. And trust me, I've seen _ALOT_ of SCSI CD-ROM drives.

It doesn't matter internal or external.

Your bootable CD already has the needed driver written to its bootblocks. Believe.

Try my suggestion.

dan k

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Though I admire your confidence

Thanks, dankephoto, but I couldn't get that to work just now. Maybe my external CD-ROM drive is faulty.

Regardless, I've come up with the following plan:

  1. Buy a 50-pin internal SCSI hard disk from eBay. I've[url=http://myworld.ebay.com/kkkp/]found a vendor[/url.
  2. Bring up my PowerMac 7500/100 from the basement and swap out its internal hard disk with the new blank one.
  3. Install System 7.5 on the blank hard disk and swap it out again.
  4. Stick the new hard disk into the LC.

Once that's done, I'll try to get the LC to recognize a CD-ROM drive. I'm getting tired of this stupid floppy.

Now, new question: I'm trying to pop open my PowerMac 7500/100, and I feel like I'm missing something. Figured it out.

UPDATE: I've pried the face off my 7500, and am holding in my hands an Apple-certified SCSI drive. It turns out these cases are really intricate... I pulled on a plastic tab and it snapped. It was one of those bits of plastic intended to assist in servicing the machine, so it wasn't critical, and the next owner can get the job done with a flathead screwdriver and a gentle touch.

Anyway, since I can take this hard disk out and put it back in again with no problems, seems like I'm good to go. I'd really like to get all this out of the way; I'd prefer to be messing with PDS cards right now instead of hard disks.

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Progress

Well, the LC 475 now has an internal drive I swiped from the PowerMac, and it's running just fine. I'll be buying and installing an Ethernet PDS card sooner or later, as well as some others just for kicks.

There is still one lingering problem, though– I've got two CD-ROM drives, now, serially connected to the LC, and although both devices are detected, neither of them will mount a CD! I'm using Apple CD-ROM version 3.5.2, which is supposedly capable of supporting every single CD in existence. I'll keep trying, but this problem is exhausting.

I do have some interesting news, though– it looks like data transferred between old and new Macs on a floppy will have a greater chance of success if the disk is PC-formatted. Good to know!

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Sudden problem

Hey guys, I've got some good news and bad news.

Good news is, I bought an EtherNet PDS card, which works. I can now download files from the web to the LC, which helps a lot. Also, I found a driver for one of my CD ROM drives. Oh, and I put in a new CMOS battery, which is just grand.

The bad news is, as of yesterday my computer won't boot from the internal hard disk. When I boot it from a floppy, it recognizes the internal HD; it just won't boot from it.

UPDATE: I reinstalled Mac OS on the drive, and it works again. In fact, it recognizes my CD-ROM drive without any extra effort pertaining to drivers, as dankephoto suggested before. And I think I know what the problem was– since I borrowed the internal HD from a Powermac, the OS that was installed on the drive was only partially supported by the LC. Apparently I'll need more physical memory to run Mac OS 8 properly.

With all the early obstacles nearly cleared, I'll be focusing now on doing something actually interesting with this computer. Watch this space.

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