Darth Maul PowerBook

Darth Maul PowerBook - front

Basically what I have done is replace the metal inserts on the top and bottom of the machine's outer plastics. I obtained some unpainted panels from a friend of mine in PowerBooks, which already had adhesive on them. Since the original panels has started to come loose at the edges, I started there. Using a heat gun, I applied heat to the metal panel and gently peeled it up using a pair of pliers. It took about an hour for each panel. I discovered that it was easiest if I left the machine fully assembled with 2 batteries in it for weight. Once the old yucky black panels were removed I cleaned the plastic with alcohol and applied the replacement panels. No, I cannot get more replacement panels for you.

Darth Maul PowerBook - rear

I then removed the rear display housing leaving the front housing and display still attached to the machine. Utilizing an Exacto knife I carved away the black plastic inside the cover right above and below the white Apple logo insert. When I was satisfied with the size, I mounted a T-1 sized red LED on either side with the lenses pointed towards the center of the Apple logo. Do not use an accelerator if you use cyanoacryllate to attach the LED's. The accelerator will dissolve the white coating on the Apple logo. For power I tapped the 5V line going to the microphone apmlifier board. Make sure you wire this circuit in parallel, not in series with the microphone power line or you will reduce the dynamic range of the microphone. The LED's I purchased were rated at 20mAh maximum current. From the 5V line I went through a series of resistors to limit the current, the each LED in series, ending at the ground wire on the microphone amplifier. I calculated the resistor values using Ohm's law (V=ir). In this case 5V(minus 1.2V drop per LED) = .02A(r) solving alegraically, r=130 ohms. There is no such thing as a 130 ohm resistor so I wired 2 47 ohm resistors in parallel, then in series with a 100 ohm resistor arriving at the value of 123.5 ohms. Considering the 5% tolerance on these resistors, it's close enough for government work. Doing the math again with that value I see that I will be allowing 21.05 mAh of current through the circuit. Running the LED's 5% over thier rated spec is nothing to be concerned with; it simply means that I have to dissipate an additional 2.7 milliwatts of heat. An LED can easily tolerate that. In fact it would take a pretty darn precise instrument to even measure the change. Finally before reassembly, I glued all the components down and covered the contacts with capton tape. I will probably pour epoxy over them later.

When later finally came I decided to remove the original LED's and install a pair of high intensity red LED's that are each 3 times brighter. It now shows up even in daylight. Also I changed the circuit so that each LED has it's own 100 Ohm resistor. I'm not adding anymore pictures as the camera flash still obliterates it.

Darth Maul PowerBook - angle

The LEDs are bright enough to be seen indoors, and seen very well in dim light. However, the camera flash is too bright to photograph it well. Here is one without a flash:

Darth Maul PowerBook - dark

I must emphasize STRONGLY that this project should not be attempted unless you are comfortable with wiring basic electronic circuits, are very very patient, and you are brave/stupid enough to risk destroying several thousand dollars of machinery for a cool red light.

Darth Maul PowerBook - red apple