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 Topic: PowerBook 1400 Compact Flash via PCMCIA? (Page 1 of 2)
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  Deckard (Profile)
  2 MB
 
Posted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 3:53 am
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I've been reading a lot about replacing the internal hard drive in a PB 1400 with a Compact Flash card, but considering the fact that my 1400 is the original 117mhz model with no L2 cache, I don't really want to bother tinkering with it. It's also in pristine condition since it's virtually been unused, so I don't want to risk any damage.

But considering the excellent keyboard and the ability to run Word 5.1 once again (!), I've been finding myself doing virtually all my writing on it rather than on my sleek, fancy MacBook Pro. The hard drive is a mere 750MB, however, and while that's more than enough for word processing, I've found that System 7.6.1 can also run Internet Explorer 5.1.7 and a bunch of other applications that supposedly are only for OS 8 and 9, and it runs them rather smoothly, all things considered. It plays MP3s well enough that I can work with Word and listen to music at the same time. And the ethernet works great, so no complaints there.

So, it'd definitely be nice to have some extra drive space. I don't know a lot about Compact Flash cards, but on the Low End Mac article about this topic, it's mentioned that some PowerBooks are able to utilize Flash cards via the PCMCIA card slot? Is this possible with the 1400 and if so, how would I go about doing this? Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Also, my 1400 had been upgraded with OS 8.6. I found this to be intolerably slow, so I decided to erase the hard drive and do a fresh install of 7.6. However, after erasing the hard drive, the system froze (using a 7.6 CD) and refused to boot the 7.6 CD again, nor any other System CD, all of them retail versions (not system specific.) A few times it did boot the CD, but didn't get very far and would freeze up or crash.

The only solution I came up with was to first copy the System folder from the Disk Tools image found at this site to the HD via floppy and then manually copy System 7.6 files from an old PowerBook Duo 2300 using self-extracting StuffIt files, again using floppies since the Disk Tools didn't seem to be compatible with the CD-ROM driver in the Extensions folder. Tedious, to say the least, but it worked. Interestingly, after doing all that, the computer was now able to boot from CD without any issues. Very strange, as I've never encountered this problem before.

Any ideas on what that might be all about?
  
  Lichen Software (Profile)
  128 MB
 
Posted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 5:57 am
Quote
  
To use a compact flash card you need a PCMCIA adaptor. I found mine at FutureShop. I would take a look at what cards the adaptor supports. I think some of the newer card formats are faster. That being said I have a 2 Gb CF card in mine as a backup. I also replaced the hard drive with a 30 Gb hard drive from Wegener Media (I think it was about $50.00 at the time).

1. The CF card is slower than a hard drive.

2. I would look at a hard drive just because of the age of the machine. All hard drives fail eventually. It is really the only thing in there with moving parts aside from the bay mounted devices.

3. On my hard drive, I did a three way partition. I have 2 x 2 Gb partitions, one holding System 7.6.1 and the other holding system 8.6. The balance of the drive is a data partition. I did this for multiple operating systems, but the side benefit of this arrangement is that when I crash ( and you do crash ), the machine only has to do a diagnostic on 2 Gb of drive instead of 30.

4. If you are going to keep the machine "Pristine", do not go above 7.6.1. The 117 MHz model is really the slowest of the slow. It was originally labeled as a road apple. If you see a Sonnet accelerator for the machine, it will give you a definite speed boost. I have a 333 MHz one in this machine and I approximate a 600 to 800% boost. I use this machine every day so I really do appreciate the difference. I also have one with a Newtech model (266 Mhz). These ones run hotter than the Sonnet ones. There used to be quite a few of these on EBay, though they were never cheap. I have not seen any in quite awhile.

5. Staying on 7.6.1 will not let you use Classilla for browsing. It needs 8.6. Go to this thread:

http://forums.system7today.com.....php?t=1538

and it will tell how to speed up Netscape.It's default configuration is for dialup. It can be changed to take advantage of high speed connections.

6. To boot from a CD, the system has to have the CD drive extentions. You did not have these on the disk tools system.

7.You can also run wireless on these machines. A good article is here:

http://www.penmachine.com/techie/airport1400.html

Note that there are two different sets of software for this:

WavLan - which runs on 7.6.1 (available here) and

ORiNOCO - which requires 8.6

WavLan installation on the PB 1400 is counterintuitive. If I remember correctly, I had to install the 68000 drivers instead of the PPC drivers to get it to work.

ORiNOCO is a better driver, but requires 8.6 and it is really hard to find.

The coffee shop I go to has a login on it's wireless set up. Either WavLan can't handle it or the browsers on 7.6.1 can't handle it. I am not sure which.

8. You do not say how much RAM you have. 64 Mb is the limit. These machines are always RAM starved. If you can max out the RAM it is worth while. This would be in keeping with having the machine "Pristine".

9. There are probably other places, but Wegener Media does sell parts for these machines. They are located here:

http://www.wegenermedia.com/parts.htm

Sometimes the parts seem expense and other times, they have sales. But they do sell parts, batteries and hard drives. So you are not stuck for repairs.

10. You can rebuild the batteries for these. There is an article here:

http://groups.google.com/group.....51fda3dc07

I looked at the cost. It was about the same or cheaper just to buy a battery.

Have fun
  
  Deckard (Profile)
  2 MB
 
Posted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 8:02 am
Quote
  
Thanks very much for the very detailed advice. Much appreciated! Basically, any standard PCMCIA Compact Flash adapter will work? If I can get a 4 or 8GB Flash card to work with this system, that would be incredible.

Do you need any special drivers or software to get the Flash adapter and card to work, or this feature is built directly in OS 7.6?

That's very interesting you have WiFi working on a 1400. I will definitely look into WavLan. Thanks for letting me know.

My system has 48MB RAM and I considered upgrading it since it only needs another 16MB as well as upgrading the CPU to a G3, but it looks like it would be very expensive. I believe the compatible upgrade would be one of the NuBus G3 cards and I've been searching on the Web and finding some for sale around the $200-400 range. That's way too much money.

For a 117mhz PPC, it actually runs very fast on 7.6.1. It takes about a minute to boot and get to the Finder and the only applications which do get bogged down a bit are the bloatware like IE 5.1.7 and Netscape. Word 5.1 runs at a blazing speed. If the CPU upgrade wasn't that expensive, I'd do it, but for the same price I could buy a G3 PowerBook or iBook with maxed out RAM and a decent hard drive.

I actually did call Sonnet directly to inquire whether they had any remaining stock of G3 upgrades but the person on the phone was extremely rude and abrupt and told me, I kid you not, "Get a life and stop being cheap. Just get a new computer!" and then hung up. Pretty sad.
  
  dpaanlka (Profile)
  1024 MB
 
Posted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 9:50 am
Quote
  
I used an actual solid state 2.5" IDE drive in my 1400c. You might prefer that.

Here's a 1GB model, which should be more than roomy for System 7 and a collection of programs:

http://www.xpcgear.com/pqi-han40-001gr2000.html

You'll be amazed at how quiet the PowerBook 1400 becomes with one of these. It's about as loud as an iPhone.
  
  Lichen Software (Profile)
  128 MB
 
Posted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 2:41 pm
Quote
  
Deckard wrote:

Thanks very much for the very detailed advice. Much appreciated! Basically, any standard PCMCIA Compact Flash adapter will work? If I can get a 4 or 8GB Flash card to work with this system, that would be incredible.

Do you need any special drivers or software to get the Flash adapter and card to work, or this feature is built directly in OS 7.6?


There is an ATA PC Flash card driver. It makes the PB 1400 recognize it without asking for it to be reformatted. Probably not necessary if you are going to use it as a drive as you would format it anyway.

Deckard wrote:

That's very interesting you have WiFi working on a 1400. I will definitely look into WavLan. Thanks for letting me know.


I have several cards. My Dell TrueMobile 1150 does not work with WavLan, only ORiNOCO. Look for one with the original Lucent chip set.

Deckard wrote:


My system has 48MB RAM and I considered upgrading it since it only needs another 16MB as well as upgrading the CPU to a G3, but it looks like it would be very expensive. I believe the compatible upgrade would be one of the NuBus G3 cards and I've been searching on the Web and finding some for sale around the $200-400 range. That's way too much money.


RAM is good. You need an accelerator card specifically for this machine and the associated driver so it will recognize the card for what it is. Technically, the PB 1400 is a Nubus machine even though it does not have any slots, but you cannot use a Sonnet card from say a 7100 in this machine. The card I got on Ebay was about $125.00 a couple of years ago. As I said earlier, I have not seen any around for awhile.

Deckard wrote:


For a 117mhz PPC, it actually runs very fast on 7.6.1. It takes about a minute to boot and get to the Finder and the only applications which do get bogged down a bit are the bloatware like IE 5.1.7 and Netscape. Word 5.1 runs at a blazing speed. If the CPU upgrade wasn't that expensive, I'd do it, but for the same price I could buy a G3 PowerBook or iBook with maxed out RAM and a decent hard drive.

I actually did call Sonnet directly to inquire whether they had any remaining stock of G3 upgrades but the person on the phone was extremely rude and abrupt and told me, I kid you not, "Get a life and stop being cheap. Just get a new computer!" and then hung up. Pretty sad.


The joy of these machines is not it's speed. It is the keyboard, the clear display, reliability and the form factor. What I would do is make a list and priorize it. Then pick up one thing at a time as you see a deal. I would go:

Hard Drive/Flash Card
RAM
Wireless
Speed up Netscape
All upgrades on this site
RAM Doubler if you can find it
ClarisWorks 5 if you can find it
Accelerator on a good deal, preferrably Sonnet
  
  Deckard (Profile)
  2 MB
 
Posted: Sun Jul 04, 2010 5:12 am
Quote
  
The Sonnet Crescendo/PB G3 is the only CPU upgrade I've found so far that explicitly list support for the PowerBook 1400. There's a few other Sonnet Crescendo cards on Ebay and elsewhere (going for less than $100) that the sellers have claimed will work the 1400, but I'm skeptical. And the Crescendo/PB G3 elsewhere lists for around $250-300. Unless the 1400 is really easy to upgrade, I'd be nervous about opening it up and doing that, as I've never done that on a laptop. It's the same thing with laptop hard drives.

But if the 1400 isn't like the G3/G4 PowerBooks (I replaced the hard drive in a clamshell iBook once, having to take apart the entire case, and I would never do it again), then I might take a chance, as well as add in another 16MB RAM to max it out. The Sonnet website claims that upgrading the CPU is rather straightforward (listed as out of stock, of course.)
  
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