Macintosh LC Issues...won't boot?

Discussion in 'Apple Collectors' started by alexreich, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. alexreich macrumors 6502a


    Jan 26, 2011
    Last Monday I bought a Macintosh LC and other various 1990's Apple products off an ad I saw on Craigslist.

    The list of things mentioned are as follows.
    -Macintosh LC computer
    -Apple 12" display
    -ADB Keyboard
    -ADB mouse
    -personal 56K Modem (Serial)
    -Apple StyleWriter Printer
    -System 7 floppy discs
    -various Mac OS games

    Interested in the listing, and all of the products, I offered the guy $90 for everything mentioned. He took the offer. After asking the seller (and him confirming) if the computer was fully functional, we agreed to meet up to buy/sell the items.

    After meeting, I brought the devices home and began to plug them in. First plugging in the computer and display, I scrambled around to find the keyboard cable. Turns out, the guy didn't include it, or mention it's absence. Not a big deal, so I ordered one online and waited until it arrived (today) to continue configuring the LC.

    Once the cable arrived, I plugged the keyboard into the LC, plugged the mouse into the keyboard, and booted up the machine. After a few seconds, a flashing floppy disk with a question mark on it appeared on my display. No worries (or so I thought), I assumed the seller would wipe the OS and personal data off the machine before selling. So I grabbed the System 7 floppies and tried to figure out which one to try and boot the machine with to install the OS. With my inexperience in Classic OS use/installation (other than Mac OS 9), I couldn't ever figure out which floppy disk to use. So I tried them all. One by one.

    Here are the ones I tried/had to choose from regarding System 7:
    -Disk Tools
    -Install 1
    -Install 2
    -StyleWriter Installation Disk (knew it was a useless attempt, but bear with me)
    -Printing (knew it was a useless attempt as well, but kept on trying)
    -HyperCard Program
    -Macintosh Printing Tools (frustration really was kicking in)
    -Macintosh TrueType Fonts (remember I tried every single floppy)
    -(Floppy Disk with missing tape label)

    None of the System 7 floppy disks booted my machine. After the LC tried to read each disk, an image of a floppy disk with an X flashed on my display. A few times the machine actually ejected the floppies quickly after booting.

    Wondering if I'd been really screwed over, I put some of the floppy disks in a USB floppy drive I had lying around with another machine and it turns out the floppy disks were just fine. So it must be the computer that has issues. Maybe a non-functional floppy disk drive?

    Is there anything I've done wrong that is keeping me from using this machine? Am I missing a floppy disk?

    Based on my endeavor of trying to use this old Mac, I've come to the conclusion that either the floppy disk drive is broken, or I'm missing a floppy disk to boot the system.

    Any input on the matter would be highly appreciated, and thank you for taking the time to read my post.

  2. g4cubed macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2004
    My guess is the floppy drive. Try cleaning the head first. Then use the tools disk and initialize the hdd, then try the install disks.

    Good luck.
  3. tyche macrumors 6502

    Jul 30, 2010
    You might want to open up the LC if you haven't yet and determine what is inside. Does it even have the HD? 2 or 4MB RAM, etc.

    And I agree you will want to try and clean the floppy drive unit.
  4. MacTech68 macrumors 68020


    Mar 16, 2008
    Australia, Perth
    The hard drive may have a "stiction fault" which prevents it from spinning up, or the head park mechanism may be jammed. Both are fairly common faults with SCSI hard drives of that age.

    Open up the top cover of the LC, and when you turn the machine on, listen for the hard drive to spin up. If it does, there should be a short sequence of clicks and possibly a "shuffling" sound as the heads calibrate. Depending on which sound(s) are missing, might give a clue to what's going on.

    I'll echo the previous post to say that checking for the physical presence of a HD is a good starting point.

    Your system disks should be

    (for installation)
    Install (1)
    Install 2
    Fonts - the unlabeled disk?

    Your disk to re-format the hard drive and/or check it's directory structure is:
    Disk Tools

    "Macintosh Printing Tools" & "Macintosh TrueType Fonts" might be part of the "Stylewriter Install" set.

    If they are original disks, System 7.0 should have a coloured Apple logo and a large "7" on the front. System 7.1 should be a black Apple logo.

    But yes, cleaning the heads sounds like a good idea.

    Pics with the LC's top cover off & of the disks will help.
  5. alexreich, Jan 10, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2012

    alexreich thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 26, 2011
    Thanks for the replies.

    Thanks for all the replies and guesses at what exactly the issue is. I will go take a picture of the LC with the top of the case off so you all can see what I'm seeing.

    EDIT 1: I forgot to ask, how does one go about cleaning a floppy drive? I've never had to do this in the past. I'd like to know what supplies are needed, what parts to clean, etc.

    EDIT 2: I have attached 3 images of my Macintosh LC. A view from the top, and two from the front. One without the lid on, one with it on. I have also included images of the Apple-labled floppy disks I received when purchasing the machine.

    Attached Files:

  6. MacTech68 macrumors 68020


    Mar 16, 2008
    Australia, Perth
    Great pics!

    It looks very clean inside, so that's a huge plus!

    That model of hard drive doesn't usually suffer from head-park lock problems, but still might get a stiction fault.

    To clean the floppy drive, I would suggest a floppy cleaning diskette with a few drops of isopropyl alcohol (usually supplied with the disk in a kit). Like this.

    If the floppy drive has been ejecting disks un-aided, then the mechanism is probably ok.

    I see you have the full set (including the "Fonts" diskette) of System 7.0. :)
  7. tyche macrumors 6502

    Jul 30, 2010
    That's a really nice looking LC. That model is my favorite of the older ppc models.

    Have you checked if the hard disk is spinning up? With the cover off it would be easier to hear if it's spinning up or put a finger on it to feel the vibrations.

    The unit looks clean enough I wouldn't suspect much dirt inside the floppy unit.
    You can remove the floppy drive and bracket to get to its guts. This is when you can blow dry compressed air from the back to the front to clean it out. It's possible due to its age the moving parts inside need lubrication but that might be a long shot. Then do the floppy cleaning method mentioned above. The worst case is the drive is out of alignment which these days pretty much means getting a new one.
  8. alexreich thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 26, 2011
  9. MacTech68 macrumors 68020


    Mar 16, 2008
    Australia, Perth
  10. David Schmidt macrumors 6502

    David Schmidt

    Aug 22, 2006
    Southeastern USA
    Yep, if mechanical disassembly isn't your thing, a cleaning disk is the next best thing.
  11. alexreich thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 26, 2011
    Air didn't work :(

    Just tried taking the floppy drive out and cleaning it with the air duster, and the drive still won't read the floppy disks. After inserting a floppy, the computer beeps once (NOT the startup sound, a beep), makes a sound like the disk is spinning, beeps again, and ejects the floppy.

    I guess my only other option is the cleaner disk... Damn I'll be pissed if it doesn't work after that. Such a waste of money.
  12. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    I have one sitting around. It has not been used since about 1995. I kept it because I always wanted to get info off the hard drive. Let me know if you need it; I'll try to take the hard drive out.


  13. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    Check the cable from floppy to the board too. Don't be disheartened, I think you have a bargain on your hands.

    I'm about to start collecting old Macs myself, just waiting for the right deal to appear here in the UK

    Something like your find would be great. Worse case is you end up replacing the hdd and the floppy.....Not bad for what you paid.
  14. alexreich thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 26, 2011
    Thanks for the uplifting message!

    If I was to need another cable from the motherboard to the floppy, would I get it from We Love Macs? (

    I see they have a large amount of old Macintosh hardware/software on their site...
  15. tyche macrumors 6502

    Jul 30, 2010
    I wouldn't expect the cable to be bad. They were just suggesting to make sure the cable is properly connected at both the motherboard and the floppy drive. Same goes for the hard drive cable.
  16. alexreich thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 26, 2011
    I'll go check both ends of the cable to make sure.

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