My first G3 :D

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by ptdebate, Apr 22, 2015.

  1. ptdebate, Apr 22, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2015

    ptdebate macrumors 6502

    ptdebate

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    #1
    It's a Lombard 400. I would have preferred a Pismo but laptops of this vintage in solid working condition are becoming increasingly hard to find, so I took what I could get. This is going to be my dedicated OS 9 portable now that I no longer have a TiBook.

    I miss the TiBook in some ways, but it had a few mysterious flaws that constantly bugged me, such as an ill-fitting bottom panel and seeming incompatibility with aftermarket RAM.

    The Lombard has already been fitted with the official "maximum" RAM of 384MB and has 9.2 and 10.1 installed. I'll probably swap out the HDD with a clean Hitachi drive and install 9.2.2.

    Pictures attached!
     

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  2. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #2
    Very nice! The Lombard and Pismo share a lot of the same basic design features, and they are still great computers.

    If it's like the Pismo(I'm not sure-I've never had one) you can probably squeeze in even more RAM if you remove the CPU card and change the RAM underneath.
     
  3. spf2 macrumors regular

    spf2

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  4. ptdebate, Apr 22, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2015

    ptdebate thread starter macrumors 6502

    ptdebate

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    #4
    I purchased it on eBay just now so I won't know until Monday probably :). I will update later!


    The "actual" maximum is 512MB IIRC but 384 is still more than enough for 9.2.2 and my intentions. The keyboards on these models are renowned for their ergonomics so I look forward to comparing it with my 12" PBG4. I don't enjoy how hot the top panel gets on that model, therefore I anticipate the Lombard to be better at least in that regard.

    The only real modifications I'm planning at this point are installing an AirPort card if it doesn't already have one and swapping out for a bigger, newer drive.

    EDIT: According to EveryMac, this model doesn't actually support AirPort, which means I might be stuck looking for a PCMCIA solution. Not sure if any of those actually work with Classic OS though.

    ANOTHER EDIT: Found one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/GOLD-Lucent...403?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item35a1e6cdb3

    Of course, Classic OS is restricted to 802.11b with WEP encryption, but I have a second router daisy-chained to my main one broadcasting that very specification for this purpose.
     
  5. weckart macrumors 68040

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    #5
    Odd. Over here, Pismos crop up all the time and are cheap to buy. Lombards and Wallstreets are rarer and fetch higher prices. I have my eye on a couple of Lombards right now as they are the only G3 PBs I don't have.
     
  6. ptdebate thread starter macrumors 6502

    ptdebate

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    #6
    I almost never see late-model PBG3s on craigslist in my area and when they're on eBay, they're usually on the expensive side. I paid $70 after shipping for the above mentioned one, which isn't that great of a deal, but I wanted it at the moment, so...:rolleyes:
     
  7. weckart macrumors 68040

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    #7
    The going rate here on eBay for Pismos is about £15-20 shipped. Lombards can go into the £30s although one sold yesterday for £12 shipped.

    I do note that US sellers tend to have an idea of the history of their laptops and show them working or otherwise. Many UK sellers just acquire or find their machines during house moves and sell them as-is, usually untested without PSUs, which depresses interest and prices.
     
  8. Dronecatcher macrumors 68000

    Dronecatcher

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    #8
    This shows the variable nature of ebay - I've bid on 5 or so Lombards & Pismos this year, I let them go as all of them went above £50 (without the shipping). These were shown working examples however.
     
  9. ptdebate thread starter macrumors 6502

    ptdebate

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    #9
    Wow! Just the shipping (even the slowest method via USPS) costs more than that over here.
     
  10. iModFrenzy macrumors 6502a

    iModFrenzy

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    #10
    I have always wanted a Pismo, loved the design. Finally found one, now I gotta wait 4 days of suspense. :p
     
  11. A.Goldberg macrumors 68000

    A.Goldberg

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    #11
    I looked into buying a PB G3 but was astounded by the cost of them on eBay. I've seen literally 2-3 on Craigslist but their either destroyed or atrociously expensive (100+$). I cannot justify the cost and the design to me isn't anything revolutionary. It looks much like any of the PC laptops from that era with a bulbous plastic case and swappable bays. $70 for yours sounds like a decent deal.

    I ended up just going for the TiBook 1Ghz to run OS 9.
     
  12. ptdebate thread starter macrumors 6502

    ptdebate

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    #12
    You're right that the appearance isn't very distinctive, but the hot-swappable bays made it unparalleled in upgradability.
     
  13. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

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    #13
    I agree on eBay they're very overpriced when for the same price one could get a much more capable titanium Powerbook G4 or even an aluminum PowerBook G4 (although those can't run OS 9 natively). I got my Wallstreet 266 MHz for $45 with a working third-party battery, which is less than the cost of just the battery on eBay since batteries for these machines are also hugely overpriced.
     
  14. ptdebate, Apr 23, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2015

    ptdebate thread starter macrumors 6502

    ptdebate

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    #14
    I was in a position once to buy a Walstreet 233 in utterly perfect condition on eBay but I couldn't tell whether it was a PDQ or the dreadful cache-less version. I couldn't get in touch with the seller and didn't want to risk it so I never pulled the trigger. Kind of wish I had though, as it went for $40 or less if I remember correctly.

    I surmise that the batteries are so expensive because they're basically unique to every revision of the PBG3. Kanga batteries won't work with Wallstreets and Wallstreet batteries won't work with Lombards.

    EDIT: No, that's not correct at all. They're probably just expensive because so few work anymore.
     
  15. weckart macrumors 68040

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    #15
    I lucked out a couple of times with that. Got a Wallstreet with a cracked display for free plus a pristine PDQ for 99p from eBay. Both had original batteries with very few cycleds on them still holding a full charge.
     
  16. ptdebate thread starter macrumors 6502

    ptdebate

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    #16
    That's crazy! Could have resold those to Americans for a pretty profit :rolleyes:
     
  17. A.Goldberg macrumors 68000

    A.Goldberg

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    #17
    Swappable bays were great. Sometimes I wish they were still around. Many of my Dad's laptops (Latitudes and ThinkPads) of the 90's had the feature. In that advances in technology allowed for the thinning out of laptops and now that optical drives essentially obsolete, hot-swappable bays aren't practical, but they did come in handy. Being able to stick 2 batteries in was always a plus.

    I have a docking station for my ThinkPad T450s at work. I feel like is such an archaic practice. It does come in handy but it's another one of those things that I can't imagine will be around too much longer- especially with advances with things like USB 3.0, ThunderBolt, and now USB C. I mention this because some of the old docking stations had an extra hot-swappable bay.

    [​IMG]

    I'm surprised Apple never quite jumped onto the dock craze with their devout simplicity philosophy. They have the Duo for a while, but that didn't last too long. There were/are some contemporary 3rd party option (BookEndz, Hendge) but I never though they have a very good (or safe looking) system.
     
  18. weckart macrumors 68040

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    #18
    I am not surprised. Apple sucks, sucked and will suck at anything to do with the corporate sector. The problem with the Duo, compared with its PC contempories, is that it is pretty much useless without its dock. You cannot even install a program without one. The only connection it has apart from the dock socket is one Appletalk port. Far too minimalist for its own good.

    No way. The batteries cost a small fortune here, too and I have a use for them.
     
  19. ptdebate thread starter macrumors 6502

    ptdebate

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    #19
    Pics or it ain't real! :D
     
  20. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #20
    My first laptop was a Compaq Armada 4130T.

    These were made in 1995 or 1996(I think) and had a Pentium I. The 4130T was the high end model of the series, and had a 133mhz processor. It has 16mb of RAM on board, and two expansion slots. I think you can go up to 80mb. My first one was a gift from my parents in 1999-when it was actually still relatively current-and I later bought a second one when my first one started showing some signs of age.

    In stock form, it was actually a pretty slim and trim laptop-a lot smaller than a Pismo or the like. It also had a neat hinged piece on the back that held a battery, could serve as a carrying handle, and could be folded under the computer to prop it at an angle. The floppy drive could be popped out and a battery(obviously a different form factor than the handle battery) stuck in its place.

    There was also an expansion module for it that many folks called a dock, even though Compaq called it a "Mobile CD expansion unit." It doubled the thickness of the laptop(without adding much weight) and gave you a CD-ROM drive, a great set of Harmon-Kardon speakers(among the best I've ever heard on a laptop, and much better than the wimpy built in ones) as well as another expansion bay that could hold a battery of the same form factor as the one that went in the floppy bay.

    So, add that up and you get a total of 3 batteries. You could get NiMH or Li-Ion batteries, although I only ever had Li-Ion(I still have a new, unopened floppy bay battery stashed away somewhere). Each Li-Ion batter was good for 3 hours or so, meaning it had a theoretical 9 hour battery life(of course it also took about that long to charge fully).

    You could get a docking station for it, although it was basically a port replicator. I saw very few of them on Ebay.

    Unlike the crummy laptops people remember Compaq for, that Armada was a solid piece of engineering. Of course I think it was also around $4K new. It is fanless, with the entire(magnesium) chassis acting as a heatsink. The magnesium also keeps the weight down.

    Both of mine still run, although the display cable is "touchy" on one. The other is connected to my Lionel train layout via its RS-232 port(find many newer laptops with one of those). Lionel published all the serial communication protocols for the system I use, and I wrote a program that could control everything from the computer-in some ways it actually worked better than the Lionel-supplied remote(there have been some other 3rd party options that did the same thing as my program). Interestingly enough, after 20 years, the original Lionel equipment that I based all of this on is still being made and sold, although there are more updated(and backwards compatible) options.
     
  21. ptdebate thread starter macrumors 6502

    ptdebate

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    #21
    These sound very interesting! Share some pics if you can!
     
  22. A.Goldberg macrumors 68000

    A.Goldberg

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    #22
    My dad had a laptop in that 1995-1996 era - I vaguely remember it was a Compaq. I remember it's docking station was almost like a VCR, it was motorized and pressing a button would "eject" the computer from the dock.

    You would have model trains!
     
  23. weckart macrumors 68040

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    #23
    My first was and is a no-name HiGrade Atlas Flyer. It is just a clone of some anodyne reference design but was the only XGA laptop around the time that retailed for close to £1,000. It has either an AMD K6 or a Pentium MMX cpu. Different OSes report different hardware and I cannot remember what it actually was. I was using it yesterday. On one drive I have DOS 6.22 plus Windows/386, Windows 3.11, NT Server 3.51 and NT Server 4.0. On the other drive I have OS/2 Warp 3.0 and OS/2 Warp 4.51. I had OS/2 2.0 working but I cannot get that or 2.1 to cooperate with other partitions installed. I have forgotten how hot these old laptops ran.

    The CMOS battery has died and leaked (fortunately no internal damage) so a replacement is on the way from China. It has a swappable 2nd battery/floppy bay, very similar to the bronze PB G3s but otherwise no goodies except the Silicon Motion Lynx GPU. That allowed (with NT4) dual monitors with app splitting; e.g. Excel on one screen and Word on another. Nothing special for a Mac but PCs were way behind with this sort of technology.

    The other thing about docks is that they add functionality over and above swappable bays. My Thinkpads all have VGA on board. Dock them and you can use DVI monitors. I have just bought another old Thinkpad and have spotted the dock for it going cheap.
     
  24. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #24
    I'll try to get some if I can. I actually disconnected the command base(the "brain" that controls everything) to use with the train around the Christmas tree this year, and have been so caught up in everything else that I haven't even had time to do anything with it in a while. I did flip the power on and work all the track switches a month or so ago, since the solenoids get "gummy" with non-use. When I built the thing, I used a very strict, true common ground everything connected to a big 8 gauge ground wire connected to multiple places on the track and several handy ground posts. I then ran that 8 gauge wire to a 40A relay with a 12V coil, and connected the other end of the relay contacts to the other to the ground rail on the transformers(a couple of postwar Lionel ZWs). I have a couple of strategically placed master "kill switches" for the whole thing that are connected in series, and any one of which will kill power to the coil on the master relay and kill the power to everything past the transformer. The last time I fired it up, I had to spend a few minutes tracking down a loose wire in the kill switch circuit. Hopefully when I fire up the computer program, it will boot.

    The computer actually more of a curiosity than a necessity, as a lot of older stuff(postwar Lionel) doesn't "talk" to the command base and is operated by adjusting the track the voltage-leaving me grabbing the transformer handles a lot of times. I actually enjoy that in a lot of ways. Newer stuff that can "talk" to the command base can be controlled with the Lionel wireless CAB-1 or CAB-2(which use RF bands-the CAB-1 in shortwave and the CAB-2 in WiFi bands). A lot of interesting stuff(such as automated operation) is possible with the computer, but it takes a LOT of complicated programming as well as some special hardware and special layout wiring to achieve.

    Of course! Lionel Trains were the first things I got into collecting. If nothing else, they taught me a WHOLE lot about electricity.
     
  25. ptdebate, Apr 25, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2015

    ptdebate thread starter macrumors 6502

    ptdebate

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    #25
    I'm typing this post from the Lombard, which arrived yesterday. The first thing I did was swap in a 60GB Toshiba HDD from a TiBook which had 10.4.11, 10.2.9, and 9.2.2 preinstalled.

    OS 9.2.2 and Classilla performance are solid. I actually get much better results from the full desktop version of MacRumors than the mobile one Classilla defaults to. Can anyone tell me how to edit that preference so I can make Classilla default to the desktop version of a site?

    The Keyboard takes some getting used to after working with the AluBook as it requires a bit more force to depress the keys. The palm rests are much more comfortable than the cold aluminum of later models (as I suspected).

    The 'Book's screen is actually brighter than that of my 12" PBG4 of a few years later. The battery, of course, is totally shot and I'm currently debating the utility of shelling out for a new one.

    Overall, the design is very good. It's really not just a typical-looking late 90s laptop; the minutiae of ergonomics and user experience are typical Apple. The swappable bays and easily upgradable CPU are features I pine for in modern notebooks.
     

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