Upgrading PowerBook 140 RAM.

Discussion in 'Apple Collectors' started by tevion5, Dec 10, 2014.

  1. tevion5 macrumors 68000

    tevion5

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Location:
    Ireland
    #1
    How uncommon are ram upgrades for the PowerBook 140/170?

    If I was on the lookout for one and found one would you say I should get it asap? Or do they come and go on eBay?

    How easy are they to install? (For someone willing to anything but solder).
     
  2. orestes1984, Dec 10, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014

    orestes1984 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Location:
    Australia
    #2
    RAM should not be at all expensive, but it is very difficult to come by and not really standard. They take 100ns pseudostatic RAM cards otherwise known as PSRAM. Everything up to the Powerbook 500 uses the same RAM so if you can find it for any model in that range then buy it.

    The hard part is finding an actual RAM board. PSRAM chips are fairly easy to find, but the early PowerBooks have it soldered to a special RAM card.

    http://www.memoryx.com/pb1406.html

    You should upgrade it to 8mb of RAM, install OS 7.6.1 and Connectix RAM doubler if you want it to be in any way usable.

    The biggest problem with these is the old SCSI hard drives, they were going on machines when I was fixing these in the late 90s. By now your internal hard drive is going to be a bit of an issue if it hasn't been changed, and your PRAM battery is also probably going to be dead.

    The passive matrix screen on these machines is really quite crappy, the colour versions were better, but still crap by even the standards of the late 90s let alone today. They also have the horrendously annoying trackball.

    The 165c and 190c were much better machines, the 550c is the pick of the litter with a decked out 68040 processor meaning you could run and install OS 8.1 and make the machine quite modern by then they also had an active matrix screen.
     
  3. MacTech68 macrumors 68000

    MacTech68

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Location:
    Australia, Perth
    #3
    I agree with everything orestes1984 said, and I'll add a couple more things.

    The plastics where the brass screw threads are fitted are very prone to cracking. Be careful how tight you make the screws. A brass screw thread spinning around when trying to get these apart is the most frustrating thing I know.

    Also, if you do get RAM for it and open it up, be very careful when separating the top case from the bottom case. When you lift the rear up, lift it JUST ENOUGH to undo the inter-connect cable with a plastic "spudger tool". This cable is made up of single strand copper wires which can break internally with minimal flexing.

    And finally, a tip I discovered about the IBM series hard drives fitted to some models. On the bottom of these drives is the drive's logic board. Soldered to it is a large surface mounted chip with very fine pitch pins. I had a heap of these that failed, but discovered that I could at least get all the customer's data off them by placing them in a gentle vice grip, placing a small amount of pressure on that chip. My theory is that the chip is in contact with the bottom case, and constant shock and vibration/flexing thru normal use breaks the soldering on this chip. The drive is un-usable, but you can at least copy all the data from them.
     
  4. orestes1984 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
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    Australia
    #4
    Way cool at getting to the bottom of why these machines seemed to have a habit of trashing their hard drives... I worked in an apple authorised reseller back in the late 90s and we had a shelf full of old SCSI internal drives of various sizes ready for when another one failed on these machines.

    We just chucked out old dead drives at the time and put new ones and wished for luck.
     
  5. tevion5 thread starter macrumors 68000

    tevion5

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Location:
    Ireland
    #5
    How much work is involved in installing something like this? Does it simply click into place like a regular SIMM? Bare hands a screw driver? Or is it more fiddly?

    [​IMG]

    I found this same item on WeLoveMacs and MemoryX, so it mustn't be as uncommon as I initially thought.
     
  6. MacTech68, Dec 11, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2014

    MacTech68 macrumors 68000

    MacTech68

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Australia, Perth
    #6
    5 screws to take the machine apart - one fiddly connector to undo. Locate socket, push in RAM card. Re-assemble. Swear and curse at fiddly connector cable. Job done.

    Seriously, you should do a google search for:

    powerbook_140_145_145b_170.pdf

    That will help a LOT.

    EDIT: I wonder if MemoryX & WLM have stock. Great if they do.

    The only other one I can find is a Kingstion KAT-PB170/6 on ebay, but it looks pretty costly with shipping to IE.

    http://www.ebay.ie/itm/390786403878
     
  7. orestes1984 macrumors 65816

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    Australia
    #7
    If I'm not mistaken MacFixit still has tear downs for this machine.
     
  8. tevion5, Dec 31, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2014

    tevion5 thread starter macrumors 68000

    tevion5

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Location:
    Ireland
    #8
    My "Mystery Condition PowerBook 140" arrived recently and, to my great satisfaction, is in almost pristine shape!

    It looks structurally perfect and completely works in every way. Using my QuickTake 150 power adapter, I booted it up and and to my surprise I was treated to a System 7.0.1 desktop. HyperCard and other nifty things already installed.

    But here's the best part...
    It has a full 8MB Ram and a whopping 80MB internal HDD! Not a bad find for $10 plus shipping :D

    I updated it to System 7.1 over my LocalTalk network, as the floppy drive seems to need a little overhaul before it can read properly.

    It's a much better performer than my 4MB Classic II despite the identical processors. I already really like this laptop. Yet another mystery purchase that turns out to be the full spec, after my maxed out Quicksilver DP 1.0GHz earlier this year. Winning! :p

    Also: Turns out the previous owner of this laptop was a TV producer and rights activist Marion Stokes.

    http://articles.philly.com/2012-12-21/news/35955478_1_television-show-philadelphia-chair-son
     
  9. MacTech68 macrumors 68000

    MacTech68

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Location:
    Australia, Perth
    #9
    Gotta love a good 'score' now and then.

    Enjoy the New Year with your new kit! :)
     
  10. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Location:
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    #10
    These grey colored laptops have to be my favorite form of laptops ever. I had a Toshiba (Maybe? It's been years and years and years) and then the 180c. Great combination of real keyboards, and small usable screens. Make them with today's tech, with thinner casing, and I'd totally take one.

    The 180c hasn't worked since it got stuck in storage in the garage and the battery and maybe other bits melted, but it otherwise is intact externally. It's not a Jobs era design, but it's still very lovely, I'm still not sure why someone left it in a closet at school only after having it for maybe a year or two.

    But yeah, enjoy your 140.
     

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