New PowerBook 1400 owner looking for more info

yattaro

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 16, 2019
3
1
Hello, I am relatively new to PPC Macs and recently acquired my first one, a PowerBook 1400c/166. I'm not 100% sure of its working state just yet except that the hard drive works because I'm waiting on a charger to come in for it, but I'm looking for some more information on them since in my research there seems to be relatively little knowledge on them compared to some newer PBs. In addition, are there any good places to source parts for it? It seems like the CD drive is probably going to be impossible to come across, so I will probably wind up getting an external SCSI drive with an HDI-30 adapter. It would also be nice to do something about the enormous crack in the lid near the hinge (which also crumbles a little more every time you open and close it) but I doubt that would be fixable without another donor PB.


 

AphoticD

macrumors 68000
Feb 17, 2017
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Australia
Click the link in my signature. LOTS of information.
Wow! You have compiled an impressive archive of PowerBook resources. This is fascinating. Thank you for sharing @micahgartman

@yattaro, I also become an owner of one of these pre-G3 PowerBooks this week. My first pre-G3 Mac since about 2003.

I scored a PowerBook 1400cs, 603e 166MHz with 128K L2 cache, 40MB of RAM and a 1.3GB HDD. It has the passive matrix display and not the better active matrix TFT like yours, but I enjoy the novelty of the ghosting from the passive matrix... it adds to the nostalgia :)

I didn’t get a CD module with mine either, just a floppy drive.

I have ordered a 44pin CF-IDE adapter for less than AU$10 shipped and have a 2GB CF card ready to install. It should arrive tomorrow.

For connectivity, I had a little bit of fun wirelessly zapping files through the air via the IR panel on the back (paired with my Pismo). It whips megabytes of data through the air in just minutes! Just don’t bump it or the connection drops...

I tried playing around with it but couldn’t figure out how to get TCP/IP going to effectively get online via IR, but that’s no big deal. I’m going to pick up an Orinoco Silver (or Gold) 802.11b 16-bit Type II PC Card next to get it online.

The keyboard is glorious to type on. I recommend grabbing a copy of Corel WordPerfect 3.5e, which was made free. It’s a nice word processor to work with which surprisingly utilizes many common, modern text editor shortcuts ( http://main.system7today.com/software/wordperfect/wordperfect.html )

I currently have Mac OS 8.1 installed. It runs well with the RAM config, but I’m considering decking it out with a zippy, fresh Mac OS 7.6.1 once the CF adapter arrives.

This old Mac is no speed demon, but I’m sure it is not as slow as the crippled cache-less models like the 5300.

There are lots of fun old games that run perfectly fine on this Mac. My kids spent hours challenging each other on Snood and Apeiron.

Let us know how you get along with your PB1400. I’ll post my updates as they come! :apple::apple::apple:
 

yattaro

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 16, 2019
3
1
Click the link in my signature. LOTS of information.
That's an awesome resource! Thanks for sharing! Definitely bookmarking it.

@yattaro, I also become an owner of one of these pre-G3 PowerBooks this week. My first pre-G3 Mac since about 2003.
Sweet, nice to see someone else joining me in this little adventure, I'm excited!

I scored a PowerBook 1400cs, 603e 166MHz with 128K L2 cache, 40MB of RAM and a 1.3GB HDD. It has the passive matrix display and not the better active matrix TFT like yours, but I enjoy the novelty of the ghosting from the passive matrix... it adds to the nostalgia :)

I didn’t get a CD module with mine either, just a floppy drive.

I have ordered a 44pin CF-IDE adapter for less than AU$10 shipped and have a 2GB CF card ready to install. It should arrive tomorrow.

For connectivity, I had a little bit of fun wirelessly zapping files through the air via the IR panel on the back (paired with my Pismo). It whips megabytes of data through the air in just minutes! Just don’t bump it or the connection drops...

I tried playing around with it but couldn’t figure out how to get TCP/IP going to effectively get online via IR, but that’s no big deal. I’m going to pick up an Orinoco Silver (or Gold) 802.11b 16-bit Type II PC Card next to get it online.
Yeah I still can't power mine on until the charger comes in later this week but from opening it up and cleaning up the internals, it looks like the previous owner did upgrade it because it has a 2GB HDD, an additional 16MB memory added on top of the factory memory, and a NewerTechnology VIEWpowr 1400/16 video card.
I do need to go ahead and do that IDE adapter route for two other laptops I have (a Toshiba Libretto and a Dell Inspiron) as well as the 1400.
As far as connectivity goes, I'm hoping to get an ethernet PC Card working with it. I do have a D-Link DFE-670TXD which, strangely, claims to work on Mac OS in some places but doesn't in some others, so I guess the only way to find out is to try it and see what happens. I'll probably check the chipset it uses later with lshw in Linux on some newer hardware to see what it actually uses and if it's compatible.

The keyboard is glorious to type on. I recommend grabbing a copy of Corel WordPerfect 3.5e, which was made free. It’s a nice word processor to work with which surprisingly utilizes many common, modern text editor shortcuts ( http://main.system7today.com/software/wordperfect/wordperfect.html )
I have to agree, the first thing that amazed me when I got my hands on it was how nice the keyboard felt. I'm definitely gonna be trying out some word processing on it.

I currently have Mac OS 8.1 installed. It runs well with the RAM config, but I’m considering decking it out with a zippy, fresh Mac OS 7.6.1 once the CF adapter arrives.

This old Mac is no speed demon, but I’m sure it is not as slow as the crippled cache-less models like the 5300.
I'm not 100% sure what was already on mine as of yet, but from browsing the filesystem with it plugged into my MacBook Air, it looks like there was a decent loadout of software on it:


There are lots of fun old games that run perfectly fine on this Mac. My kids spent hours challenging each other on Snood and Apeiron.
Oh yes, I definitely hope to explore some old games on it! :)
 
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RhianB

macrumors 6502a
Sep 3, 2016
955
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505 USA
Man, those cracks are big. I wonder if a dries super-hard epoxy like JB weld or equivalent could be used to fill in & stabilize the cracks until you find a donor display/shell.
 

yattaro

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 16, 2019
3
1
Man, those cracks are big. I wonder if a dries super-hard epoxy like JB weld or equivalent could be used to fill in & stabilize the cracks until you find a donor display/shell.
I was wondering about that, looks like someone tried to use super glue on it before and it discolored the plastic around that big crack... Also you have to be really careful when opening and closing it because it puts a lot of stress on said crack and the plastic is crumbling apart.
 

RhianB

macrumors 6502a
Sep 3, 2016
955
1,093
505 USA
I was wondering about that, looks like someone tried to use super glue on it before and it discolored the plastic around that big crack... Also you have to be really careful when opening and closing it because it puts a lot of stress on said crack and the plastic is crumbling apart.
Certainly any attempted repair would be pretty obvious. When I think about the stress that hinge area & plastics receive, I’m unsure if any type of bonding agent would last very long vs just leaving it be & enjoying it.

My inner tinker-er is overly opinionated this evening. :)

Cool 1400!
 
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AphoticD

macrumors 68000
Feb 17, 2017
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I’ve read the enclosure cracks at the hinge like that are very common on the 1400.

I’m lucky to have no major issues with mine. Just a missing release latch at the battery bay.

I would dismantle the display assembly and approach the crack from the back/inside of the panel with a rigid plastic strip to reinforce and adhere it with generous amount of 2-part epoxy glue. The more height there is to work with inside that display assembly, the more substantial the rear support could be.
 
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weckart

macrumors 601
Nov 7, 2004
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This old Mac is no speed demon, but I’m sure it is not as slow as the crippled cache-less models like the 5300.
I somehow ended up with a few of these, 2 with a G3 upgrade processor, which sounds great until you realise that RAM maxes out at 64MB and the Nubus architecture rules out OS X.

The base 117Mhz model is also cacheless, IIRR, and is noticeably more sluggish than its big brothers.

Also getting hold of a CD drive isn’t tricky as long as you can get hold of the housing as it is a standard Teac drive. Plenty of the bare drives in eBay and sometimes the full shebang:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/661-1358-Teac-CD-48E-008-Internal-CD-ROM-Drive-for-Apple-Powerbook-1400/392366443462

Just a word of warning, the CD drives are notoriously flaky; the azimuth goes skewiff constantly and adjusting it is a complete pain. I would just use a Zip/Jaz/CF over PCMCIA to install stuff. Out of all my 1400s only one CD works.

As for the lid, the plastic is weak and brittle and tends to crack if the hinges seize up even slightly. I tried repairing one of mine and gave up. It was less hassle to find a donor dead 1400 with an intact case and perform a transplant.

Sorry if I’m just regurgitating info found on micahgartman’s page. I’m on a phone and sigs aren’t showing.
 
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RhianB

macrumors 6502a
Sep 3, 2016
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I’ve read the enclosure cracks at the hinge like that are very common on the 1400.

I’m lucky to have no major issues with mine. Just a missing release latch at the battery bay.

I would dismantle the display assembly and approach the crack from the back/inside of the panel with a rigid plastic strip to reinforce and adhere it with generous amount of 2-part epoxy glue. The more height there is to work with inside that display assembly, the more substantial the rear support could be.
Sorry OP if this is too off-topic, but to Ds point, I did do a repair (not on a laptop) using multiple layers of fiberglass mesh & 2part epoxy. While not steel hard, it was pretty darn sturdy. If there is adequate room behind the lcd, something along your inside-outward method I bet would yield very good results.
 
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