Reviving my PowerBook 540

iModFrenzy

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 15, 2015
772
545
Our actions define our legacy
Long ago, I received a PowerBook 540 and with some help from @Gamer9430 I was able to find out if it worked and it did!

Turning it on, I found one major issue and that was the lower part of the screen glitching and requiring pressure to actually work. Along with that, the audio wasn't working. For a while I had put it away as I wasn't sure of the problem and finally decided to take a look again. Looking closer I found that the Interconnect cable to the display was ripped a little bit from the hinges it would seem, I assumed that was the cause of my problems but the screen requiring pressure made me skeptical. I bought a new Interconnect cable and when it finally arrived(I was at fault for the lateness), proceeded to repair it.

One broken stuck-in screw later on the hinge, I found that the interconnect cable fixed the audio but the screen however was still glitching and requiring pressure. Luckily after ordering the Interconnect cable, I found a possibly broken PowerBook 520c and grabbed it for parts(for $30). It was on the way already and would arrive tomorrow.

After a long painful morning of waiting(and dealing with the iPhone X launch:oops:, everything went great), I finally received the PowerBook 520c and unboxed it with my trusty Karambit. Grabbed my 500 series charger and plugged smashed in plug it had. It chimed and the colored screen lit up(and of course its noisey 120mb hard drive as well). The condition of the 520c, besides the broken plug and latch, was great. Seeing that the 540 was very fragile I wasn't too motivated to teardown the 520c. Instead I decided to transplant the 540s hardware to the 520c since they both use the same motherboard(Thank you 90s Apple) and use daughter cards for the CPU and RAM. It now happily runs a 66/33mhz 68k processor instead of the 520c's 68k 50/25mhz and with 8mbs of ram(from NewerTech) combined with the motherboard's 4mb of ram. I also swapped the 520c's screen bezel with my 540's bezel that has a latch. I have yet to transfer my 540's 320mb SCSI HDD as my 120mb has some software on it that I don't wanna erase just yet.

Here are some pictures below:
IMG_2746.JPG
The poor PowerBook 540 that I was transplanting parts from, and the old daughter card/RAM from the 520c. Also put my 540's keyboard and floppy drive in.

IMG_2747.JPG
There is the 540's Floppy drive, the 120mb HDD and the trusty Karambit I mentioned earlier:p

IMG_2748.JPG
Here is a shot of the 520C bezel-less as I was transferring it, this is a Passive Color Matrix screen(forgive me if I got the name wrong) so the ghosting surprised me when I moved my mouse for the first time as the 540 was an Active Matrix B&W screen.

IMG_2750.JPG
Here is a shot of the finish product, working perfectly. The last thing on the to-do list is a new battery(Thanks to reading the 68kmla forum I might have that sorted out). I apologize for the dirty if you see any, I have yet to scrub this down.

Also because some people like processor shots(*cough* @LightBulbFun *cough*), I took a shot of the 50/25mhz 68k daughter card(forgot about the 66/33mhz one)
IMG_2764.JPG

Enjoy!
 

weckart

macrumors 601
Nov 7, 2004
4,665
1,656
Congrats on finding a 340MB HDD for that thing. My 520 came with a measly 80MB drive and a failing LB but I found a 270MB drive sold 'untested', which fortunately worked fine.
 

iModFrenzy

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 15, 2015
772
545
Our actions define our legacy
Congrats on finding a 340MB HDD for that thing. My 520 came with a measly 80MB drive and a failing LB but I found a 270MB drive sold 'untested', which fortunately worked fine.
Thanks haha, when I started googling for parts is when I realized how rare everything really is LOL, still surprised I found the interconnect cable on its own(although it wont be used).

Were you able to fix the failing LB? and awesome that the 270mb drive works :)
 

weckart

macrumors 601
Nov 7, 2004
4,665
1,656
I fixed it by replacing it. That after finding another power supply, which I mistakenly thought was the cause. Another item unique to the 5xx series of PowerBooks.