PowerBook 5300CE restoration help?

Discussion in 'Apple Collectors' started by Anthony817, Sep 19, 2017.

  1. Anthony817, Sep 19, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2017

    Anthony817 macrumors newbie


    Sep 19, 2017
    Hello guys and gals! So, I received this vintage laptop from my moms ex-boyfriend around 3 or 4 years ago, and it sat for literally years untouched until about a month ago I decided I wanted to play retro games on it after watching Lazy Game Reviews channel where he restores vintage computers and plays games on them on YouTube.

    The specs are as follows: 800x600 10.4" color active-matrix display with a 117 MHz PowerPC 603e processor, 48 MB of RAM, and a 1.2 GB hard drive running Mac OS9.

    The power port is totally trashed, so I need to resolder it on, already rebuilt the ac plug from the adapter to the pc, which was a total headache to do but now I get power to it better, but I need to fully resolder the port on the mobo. The battery was also busted open so it was a complete and total loss. However most of the case is in good condition for a 22 year old laptop. Save for the screen bezel issue.

    Also, does anybody have any tips for trying to fix the plastic bezel around the bottom of the screen from separation as they tend to do after years of use? I don't want to have to buy an all new screen for it when this one works perfectly, it just catches on the plastic and separates when opening or closing the screen.

    I have ordered a pcmcia to sd card adapter so I can easily move files from my Windows 10 PC to it(still hasn't arrived in mail yet). I have no floppy drive or disks, and don't plan on getting an external CDRom drive. I am wanting to know how I can install Mac OS 8.5 and upgrade to 8.6, as I am told it is the absolute optimal OS for this machine. It is really struggling with OS 9, and it is absolutely filled to the brim with apps from around 1999 or so when it was a Texas Tech University laptop.

    I am wondering how I can make an SD card as a boot device, and how should I go about formatting an sd card with an install disc of OS 8.5? Also, does anybody know where I should be able to find all the drivers for this machine?

    I should also let you folks know, I have never owned or really messed around with Mac's before, so as a PC guy this is going to be a fun wonderful experience for me to get acquainted with some of the awesome history of Macintosh. So please forgive me if I don't understand a few things yet.

    I did learn a few important things from this old post here, but as it was a 2005 thread, I thought it best not to necro-post and create a new modern thread that might help others in the future with one of these laptops looking to restore it.


    Sorry for the super long post, but just trying to show this little laptop the respect it deserves so I can fully bring it back to working order.

    Regards, Anthony

    P.S. Does anybody know where I could find an affordable Apple Pippin controller to mod back to ADB connector for this since I want to use it as a gaming machine, might as well use it like a souped up portable Pippin. XD
  2. MacTech68 macrumors 68020


    Mar 16, 2008
    Australia, Perth
    I'm not sure an SD card in a PCMCIA adapter can be used as a boot device since PCMCIA devices required a driver to load - happy to be proven wrong and would love to know if anybody has got that to work.

    Apart from that, the external SCSI CD drive (with appropriate PowerBook SCSI Adapter) would be the best solution, however, I note your desire to not go there. Fair enough, but AFAIK, 8.5 or 8.6 is not available as a floppy install.

    However, all is not lost. If you can get hold of a "universal" 8.5 or 8.6 'clean installed' system, you could copy that to the SD card, boot the 9.1 system it already has, copy the 8.5/8.6 System Folder and other content to the internal drive, then disable the 9.1 system folder, bless the 8.5/8.6 system folder and reboot. How you get this is not as clear, I don't seem to be able to find one with a quick look at the usual places.

    As for the display housing, these machines were a bit of a disaster in early manufacturing runs. The case plastics for the PB 5300 and PB 190 (a non-PowerPC version or 68K CPU) were shown to be brittle and prone to cracking. I've recused much earlier PowerBook display housings, where the brass threaded fittings break free of the plastic but only where the plastic is still relatively intact and present. I fear that if YOUR display housing is cracking, it may be due to brittle plastic which makes disassembly potentially catastrophic, requiring replacement of the housing plastics. I wouldn't like the chances of finding non-brittle display housing at this point in time.

    The top and bottom case of the main machine should have a date-stamp inside the battery bay, if those plastics have been replaced, and the serial number label (on the bottom center of the machine) should have an "AA" in the corner if all the revisions to plastics and power supply shield have been applied - however, in my experience, not all Apple certified repair dealers did this correctly.

    The AC adapter socket inside the machine, and the plug on the cable, is another common failure, and you're on the right track there with your repair of same.

    Do yourself a favor and search google for "powerbook_190.5300.pdf" and "powerbook_190.5300_rea.pdf" for disassembly and "Repair Extension" information.

    Sincerely wish you luck with your endeavor. :)
  3. Anthony817, Sep 21, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2017

    Anthony817 thread starter macrumors newbie


    Sep 19, 2017
    Thanks for the information! Yes, I was watching this amazing video by another Aussie Mac aficionado where he showed me how to disassemble it, and discussed the AA marking for the REA program. I have been lucky that it was a University laptop(Still has markings on bottom) that it had all the usual components replaced, but the battery bay did not have a stamp on anything unfortunately.

    Great video for anybody who owns one of these laptops, this guy is amazing at going over every single thing about the hardware.

    Another thing I should mention, I did locate a 60gb Eide hdd from another laptop I have laying around, does anybody know limitations to the IDE controller on what all it can accept?

    The spare HDD I have is this exact model.

    Edit: In case anybody else in the future needs the 2 PDF manuals mentioned in the post above, I have located them here.



    This also shows where to repair the power connector. I suggest using all new leaded solder. Don't just reheat the old solder.

  4. Anonymous Freak macrumors 603

    Anonymous Freak

    Dec 12, 2002
    I miss my 5300CE. I have multiple 5300C, and one 5300 (black and white) models, but the CE was the best, with its faster CPU, higher resolution screen. Unfortunately, quite a few years ago, I dropped it, and broke the LCD.

    As for booting from PC Card - it absolutely supports it, I've booted my 5300s from a PC Card Sony Memory Stick adapter.

    Not sure how to make a PC Card based media a bootable copy of a CD-ROM install disc, though. It might be as simple as just drag-and-drop copying the files over (from a machine running the classic Mac OS, which would keep all the Resource Fork data intact.)
  5. Anthony817 thread starter macrumors newbie


    Sep 19, 2017
    Yeah I guess I got really lucky it was the CE model I was given. Guess institutions like a university could afford the outrageous at the time, and even by now standards expensive $6000+ USD for it. Even now it boggles the mind that it cost that much in 1995.

    That is great to hear it is possible to boot from the PC card slot and SD. Unfortunately, the idea about copying something like already installed OS files from another classic Mac to this is going to be pretty impossible. I don't know anybody else around me who messes with older systems.

    This is also the only mac I have access too unfortunately.

    By the way, know if there are any limitations to SD card size it would be able to detect? I reckon with it being OS 9.0 it should see larger sizes. I have as small as a 1gb sd card somewhere I think if anything larger is a problem.
  6. CooperBox macrumors 65816


    Nov 28, 2010
    France - between Ricard & Absinthe
    Sorry I can't offer any suggestions about fixing the screen plastic bezel or your other queries, but thought the following post of mine #1 may be of general interest. MacTech68 and others offered excellent advise which is what makes these forums so special.

    If you should get the opportunity to find a Pismo Powerbook, don't pass on it. They are amongst my favourite PBooks, and the comparison to the 5300 is like chalk & cheese.
  7. Anthony817 thread starter macrumors newbie


    Sep 19, 2017
    Thank you CooperBox. Yes I had seen it in my searches for relevant threads regarding the 5300. Lots of nice information in there for sure! :)

    I agree, these veterans really are quite knowledgeable and happy to help out newbies which is a joy to see. I am normally trying to help people out with retro consoles, so vintage computers are a new thing for me to play with after being partial to the Sega Dreamcast and original Xbox for years due to their flexibility with homebrew games and apps.

    It was to my surprise to see there were so many awesome homebrew ports of Doom and other classic FPS engines to bring more flexibility to the classic 90's hits to Mac.

    Also, since I am primarily interested in making it a little retro gaming machine, I would really appreciate it if anybody could help me locate an affordable Pippin controller and good ADB optical mouse. I was told the pinout on the Pippin controller pcb is the same ADB bus. So all I would need to do is solder a new cord inside the controller to make it look original.
  8. weckart macrumors 601

    Nov 7, 2004
    I have done this with my 5300ce. Use a CF to PCMCIA adapter, forget about sd cards. Format this this in the 5300ce and drag and drop the installation files from whatever OS version you pick on another Mac. I keep mine on system 7. The 5300ce is not a powerhouse.
  9. Anthony817 thread starter macrumors newbie


    Sep 19, 2017
    Yeah, the people I have seen said that 68k emulation on the earlier OS really slows down the machine, and that stuff that is emulated under earlier OS runs natively in 8.5 and 8.6.

    So from my research most say you want to keep it on 8.5 or update to 8.6 since you get so many benefits from this OS version like usage of SD cards and other more modern things like actually being able to use a WIFI PC card.

    I learned this from a post on these forums I linked above actually. This was in response to somebody saying what you have about using the older OS.

    Source of the post.

    Powerbook 5300

    Also, keep in mind, my machine has 48mb of ram, so it would handle the newer OS better than a lower spec'd machine.

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8 September 19, 2017