Sometimes to fix a 30 year old computer, you’re better off buying a 20 year old computer to help

A few months ago, I picked up a 12″ iBook G4/800 MHz to use as an OpenBSD/macppc experiment. After the Duo’s power supply went poof, I was rather hesitant to spend $30+ on a replacement that I would likely have to split open and re-cap to avoid a repeat of said smelly poof. Since the iBook G4s still used a 24 volt charger, and mine already had a replacement tip scarily attached. I decided to buy another G4 charger as a replacement, and attempt to graft the Duo’s tip onto my G4’s charger.

Sadly this proved unsuccessful, be it my limited soldering skills or the problem of figuring it how the old replacement tip’s three wires were adapted to the G4’s one wire and ground, it didn’t work. So I decided to do a bit of research. Excluding a brief difference in the 500 series it seems that Apple largely kept 24 volt chargers from at least the early ’90s PowerBooks up until the early Clamshell G3 models with the hockey puck, and swapped tips towards ’99 or ’01. It’s kind of hard to find one of the hockey puck chargers, and much like the iBook G3, I really can’t decide if the design was genius or silly.

In my efforts to dig up a replacement charger, I ended up buying a 20 year old mac to help me fix a 30 year old mac. Got a good price on a 14″ PowerBook G3 series, which from the 233 MHz/512K/etc on the bottom I suspect may be a PDQ. Since this machine happens to have both 10BASE-T Ethernet and a floppy drive, it’s made it really handy to try and deal with abusing software onto floppy diskette with disk copy. The machine even came with a CD-ROM module, user manual, emergency guide, and some spare floppies.

Opening up the PowerBook G3, I really, really, really hope that whoever designed the internals won an industry award or at least got a huge bonus. Eject the expansion bays, push the switches and pop goes the keyboard. Unscrew and yonk the heatsink and vola memory, hard drive, right there. Makes working on my old ThinkPad (and pretty much very laptop I’ve ever touched) look hard by comparison.

Not sure if anyone fathomed how useful the mix of old and new ports on the Wallstreet/PDQ would be for something like this. Having 10 Mbit/s Ethernet and a version of Internet Explorer 5 that’s better than my first Pentium machines kind of made my chuckle, but is quite handy. While at the same time it has the same kind of ADB keyboard/mouse, HDI-30 external SCSI, and mdin serial ports my Duo has. Not sure what to make of the S-Video, other than to remember way back then we couldn’t afford TVs now computers with that 😜. On the positive side looks like it also has a real VGA instead of the whatever-the-heck-Apple-dsubs were that my Duo has.

Duo 230 off G3 charger

More importantly the M4402/1998 charger works as a perfect replacement for my blown M7783/1992 charger ^_^.

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