20th anniversary mac - Start problem

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by hexed666, Feb 6, 2009.

  1. hexed666 macrumors newbie

    Feb 6, 2009
    Hi everybody,

    I am new to Mac, I always had PC's, but yesterday a friend gave me a 20th anniversary Mac, he said it's old and haven't been used for ages.
    Well, I pulled it out of the box and thought this is a Cool Piece of Computer, plugged it in, but coudn't find the" On botton". I did some research on the net and watched a couple of Video's on YouTube, first I was very suprised that this is some kind of fancy Mac, certainly looks good, keeping in mind the age, this was for sure way ahead of his time.

    Long story short, the "Start botton" on the right side top corner of the keyboard does not start the computer, to start him, I have to unplug the keyboard and reconnect it. After this is done, it appears to me that the thing is running fine, sound, video, tv, radio, touchpad, all the keys from the keyboard, everything works great besides starting the machine.

    One more thing, the Bios battery is bad, I had no change yet of getting a new one, could this be the reason ?

    Any help is highly appreciate,



    What could this be
  2. madog macrumors 65816


    Nov 25, 2004
    Korova Milkbar

    Did you know that the TAM cost nearly $9,000 when it first came out? Those things were pretty badass in my opinion, though I never would have sprung for one.

    Kind of the first iMac design. Built in TV/FM tuner, Bose sound system complete with additional sub woofer, and not to mention it was one of the few (if only?) desktop Macs to have s-video built in! Also, it was black!

    That thing was state of the art a decade ago :p, but I still think it's damn good looking still.

    Aaaaaaanway, the backup battery should only affect the time, and some other minor things as far as I know (but potentially could be the issue under this circumstance?). Generally it's a 3.6v, but the TAM took a 4.5v Alkaline battery. I have no idea how to take it apart though or if those batteries are common enough to find anywhere.
  3. hexed666 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 6, 2009
    no power botton

    Thanks for your quick reply,

    well, there is a power botton on the back, but the same here, it tuns of the machine but not on.

    I am thinking, why would it fire up when one plugs the keyboard in ? Could it be that there is a key stucked or something like this ?

    I tried all the keys, they all work !

    Hmmmm ????????
  4. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    Wow, you are very lucky to have a friend like that.

    The power button is on the back side right beside where the cable from the base unit is connected.

    There were a very nice and expensive computer.

    Have one! :)
  5. hexed666 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 6, 2009
    off, but not on !

    Tx, for your reply,

    the botton on the back turn him off, like the top right corner key on the keyboard. I was watching a Video on Youtube and the guys there just pushed the key on the keyboard, mine doesn't do this !

    more ideas ?


  6. yoyo5280 macrumors 68000


    Feb 24, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia & Bay Area
    Take it to the genius bar and watch mac geeks in awe and a genius drool and the fail to help you :p

    thats an amazing computer there. my friends father apparently has one

    sorry I cant be much help
  7. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    Macs of that era used a button on the keyboard to start, as well as shut down the computer.

    My TAM is pristinely packed right now so I cannot easily double check. But if memory serves, the button on the back, in addition to the keyboard, will both turn on the TAM.

    You might need to reset the PRAM since the battery was dead.

    Also, when pressing the key to start the computer, you must hold it down for a second or so. A quick press will not start the computer. This was done to prevent inadvertent starts.

    Try shutting down the computer via the menu item "Shut Down". Then press and hold the keyboard key for a couple of seconds and see what happens.

    Let us know and we'll go from there.
  8. hexed666 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 6, 2009
    what kind of battery


    I have to go today to get a new battery, is this a regular 4.5V battery or is it a rechargeable ?

    Does this TAM have a Bios like a PC or are those settings done through the above mentioned PRam ?

    Mike :apple:
  9. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002

    Replace the battery with a Rayovac Alkaline 4.5v Model #870 or 871 (or equivalent).

    For this discussion's sake, you can consider the PRAM on the TAM and the BIOS on the PC are basically the same thing. Basically, reseting the PRAM would be like resetting the BIOS to the default settings.

    FYI, for early Macs, the ROM chips contained the BIOS as well as most of the Mac OS which is why the PC BIOS ROM might be 64K where as a particular Mac may have a 2MB ROM. Pretty phenomenal.

    So try replacing the battery and reseting the PRAM and see if that helps.
  10. hexed666 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 6, 2009
    Hi Guys,

    here are the news:

    I believe now that the keyboard is damaged, to be exact the little control board from the keyboard. When I got the Mac, I noticed that the corner key ( Start key ) was lower than the other keys, but I didn’t pay too much attention to this issue at the time, since the key worked well while the TAM was running.


    First thing today I replaced the battery in there with regular AAA in a base; I couldn’t get the original or anything close to it. This fixed the issue with the time and date and I could do the reset from the Pram. This done I was hoping that the startup problem was fixed too, but I was not that lucky.
    Then I unplugged the keyboard and tried to start the machine from the main switch in the back. This worked perfect. The on and off worked without the keyboard plugged in. Plugging in the Keyboard, the machine started up again, then it became clear to me, that there had to be a short or something like it in the keyboard, since all the keys are working, it couldn’t be a stucked key or something like this.

    I toke the think apart and found that there had been a spill of Coke or Coffee some time back, which was cleaned up, but most obviously not very well. I disconnected the actual keyboard from the controller board and plugged the board alone back in. Same thing, the Mac fires up. The last thing I could do was separating the mouse connectors from the board and trying again. Did this but still no luck ! By the way, this was most likely when the little yellow plastic piece got lost, the guy who toke it apart in first place might have lost. Maybe one of those guys who has a screw left over every time he fixes something!

    Then I cleaned the board in a Ultrasound cleaner to remove every little drop of coffee or others from the board an tried again, but no luck !
    I am almost sure now, that one of the components from the board is bad, most likely got shorted out sometime and is causing the error now.

    Once again, everything is working perfect on the Mac, the keys, sound, software, everything besides it won’t start from the start key on the keyboard or the switch in the back when the keyboard is plugged in. To start the machine the keyboard has to be unplugged to start from the switch in the back or just unplug the keyboard and plug it back in. Also the machine starts the moment it get’s plugged in, into the wall, wall outlet 110V.

    Does anybody know where to get a keyboard or the board for the keyboard or who or where to repair the board?

    Any other suggestions? I fixed the Keyboard key with a little spring from a Ball Pen, works perfect, but if somebody has the original yellow part would be great.

    I have a few pictures uploaded from the whole issue, just in case somebody is interested.

    Thanks again to all of you
    Mike :D

  11. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    Glad that you were able to figure out the problem.

    Sometimes, a keyboard will be available on eBay.

    In the interim, you can use any ADB (Apple Desktop Bus) keyboard with the TAM. You can pick one up fairly cheaply along with an ADB mouse on eBay or a computer store that carries old parts.

    Personally, I never did like the TAM keyboard. So I used the ADB keyboard and mouse that came with my Quadra 840av. Worked fine.
  12. finnschi macrumors 6502

    Dec 30, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    Sell it on ebay, and buy urself a new iMac for that money :eek::eek::eek:
  13. opeter macrumors 65816


    Aug 5, 2007
    Slovenia, EU
    Hey, you can add RAM to it. There are two free slots, as I see... :)
  14. hexed666 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 6, 2009
    You are right !

    This is what I am going to do, just got an original 3com switch to it with a working in perfect condition Apple Laserwriter Select 360

    There is one on eBay right now, once he is done I put mine up !


    Mike :D
  15. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    I would be surprised if he gets anything close to what he is asking.

    Usually the TAM sells for much less since it is an older computer.

    In your case, with the bad keyboard, the value will take hit since the keyboard is an integral part of the concept.

    Good luck!
  16. ppayne macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2005

    Awesome to find this post, since my TAM, which I had not booted in 1-2 years, had the same issue. Unplugging the ADB keyboard made it work magically.

    I have to say, though, the computer is so bloody old it's hard to use it for much. (I have mine upgraded to the max yet an 8 year old iPod still shames it), takes like 6 minutes to boot too. I'd love to do some kind of conversion where I take a Macbook and put the insides in, complete with screen, and run OS X. I think this would be such a great idea, yet googling I see nothing about hacks like this. Anyone know of any conversion projects?

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