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Disclaimer: I am NOT an Apple repairman, nor an employee of Apple in any way, shape, or form. I am a powerbook user that likes to get the most bang for my buck. What advice you take from this page you take at your own risk, because not only do I not have much money for my machine, I also don't have ANY money for yours.
You're at home, busily typing away while all your friends are hanging out at the local coffeeshop. You wish you could be with them, but you gotta finish that paper for class tomorrow... and 8600's don't pack well. What do you do? For a little money you can take it with you. This is what I have done to take a moderately priced machine, the pb 3400, and turn it into a portable multimedia superpower.
What I've Made:
First of all, you will need to find a 3400.
Although I bought a 3400/200, other models are available (3400/180, 3400/240).
Obviously I would recommend the 240 MHz machine if you can find one at
a reasonable price. Reasonable in this case is around $500; with
the new G4 powerbook release, the prices on its predecessors should drop
to a new low. Here are some links to some sites where you may find
a good deal:
When purchasing your p'book, ensure that you are getting the whole deal; you should get a power adapter and a Lithium battery, a floppy drive and a cd rom for the expansion bay, the internal modem/ethernet card, and some kind of memory and hard drive. As you will see later, the size on these isn't really all that important. If you can get it right off the bat with 144 megs you can add about $100 to the "reasonable price". Add $30 per spare battery, too.
Prepararing Your Tools and Parts for Surgery:
Preparing Your Book:
If you just got your book, you can probably
skip this section.
OK, please tell me you have an internet connection. If you are borrowing a friend's computer right now or just surfing at work and don't, now is the time to get one. I am at this point going to recommend Earthlink and ask you to tell them that I referred you (email@example.com). This will get me free months. But on the plus side FOR YOU, I have never gotten a busy signal and I have local dialup numbers no matter where I take my book. Plus, it doesn't throw all of that annoying "you don't really know what you're doing so we'll do it for you" software onto your system. Take the time to learn a little about ftp, how e-mail really works, what browser plug-ins are, etc. so you can use an ISP (Internet Service Provider) that just connects you and gives you an IP. You should be able to take it from there. A few friends of mine are using free ISP's, but I can't recommend them because they are constantly having connection difficulties. Oh yeah, and they gotta watch endless mind-numbing ads...
Use your internet connection now to email to yourself all that you want to save off of your hard drive. This is things like registration codes, browser bookmarks, address books, etc. Anything that you are not comfortable sending via e-mail is going to have to go to floppy (unless you're lucky enough to have a Zip or a CDRW), which is incredibly slow. I opted to use the net for saving stuff. If your ISP won't let you send mail to yourself use yahoo or hotmail (<- more on Microsoft later...) to get a free account and send it to your new account.
Find your installation software for everything. It's all going to have to be reinstalled on your new hard drive. Trust me, this is a very painful process for a few hours (or days) but the end result is a stable, hard-working machine.
The Operation Begins:
Scalpel... errr, T-8, please. Turn your book off (full shutdown from
on, not just sleep). Disconnect the power adapter and remove the
battery and the expansion bay device. Close the lid and flip the
book over. On the bottom of your book you will find 3 screws that
fit the T-8 wrench. Unscrew these and be sure not to drop them and
lose them. They sometimes unscrew all the way without coming out;
flipping the book lid-side up and jostling it a bit will help the screws
to change their minds about staying put. Lid side up now, open the
lid. The keyboard is now loose. If you push in on the space
bar you can get under one
of the adjacent keys and then gently pull the keyboard gently up (gently)
from the side nearest the trackpad. Once you have cleared the palmrest
(the front part with the trackpad on it) you can (gently, gently) pull
the keyboard toward you enough to slip the retaining plastic out at the
screen-side of the keyboard. You will notice that all that holds
the keyboard to the book now are two orange-colored plastic wires; you
can disconnect these (see Disconnecting the Keyboard/Trackpad)
or alternately just rest the keyboard against the screen with no strain
on these wires. The keyboard is pretty much out of the way for all
the remaining surgery.
Touch big metal pieces! This will ground you. If you bought an antistatic wrist strap, use it now! The big metal pieces that you see are grounded. The optimal place to ground yourself is on the mid-right side of where the keyboard used to be (under [h],[j],[k], etc). Touching your powerbook here will make it very happy.
***Important side note: Now is a good time to check for a fix that Apple implemented for 3400's with memory expansions. Under the [ctrl], [option] and [apple] keys should be a little piece of single sided sticky foam tape. The single sided sticky foam tape is sticky sided to the underside of the keyboard. The function of the single sided sticky foam tape is to keep the expansion RAM in place even when you play catch with your 3400 (although this is not recommended). If there is not a piece of single sided sticky foam tape taped to the underside of these keys, put one there, even if you don't plan on playing catch with your little book buddy.
There is another solution to the RAM unseating problem, discovered by Wozinak himself. If you can't get any single sided sticky foam tape (Home Depot, Ace Hardware, True Value, probably Walmart...), check this site.
You can now access the RAM expansion area, but the hard drive is still out of reach. To get to the hard drive, you have to remove the palmrest. It's not really going to want to come off, but that's actually a good thing. You don't want your palmrest falling off in the middle of a level of Diablo. And imagine how embarrasing that would be in the middle of a business conference. I can see it now, all those suit people mumbling under their breaths, "he/she should have bought a Viao". Bad thing.
If you look at the upper edge of the palmrest, there is a stylish horizontal line heading both directions from the trackpad clicker. The trick to getting this apart is to push the bottom right part in (under the line, where the battery used to be... you did take the battery out, right? Take the battery out!) while pulling toward yourself from behind the palmrest above the line. Behind the palmrest in this case is inside the book, where the battery was. As you pull the book apart, bring the top part up. You will hear a satisfying click, kinda like the sound your remote control makes after a successful battery change. This noise is genetically attributed to happy plastic and is distinctly different from the plastic "pop", which means you pulled the top up too hard without bringing it toward you and just broke a retaining plastic piece or two. This clicking (and be sure you click and don't pop) can be continued around the front to the trackpad. Then start at the other end. The end-points of this piece are at the screen-end of the battery area and just short of the pcmcia slots where you see a plastic line "cross" (ie. + ). If you lift the plastic above the pcmcia slots, the palmrest section can pop... I mean click, out around to the trackpad from the other direction. Eventually, the palmrest is loose. Again, you have options at this point. You can disconnect the trackpad (see Disconnecting the Keyboard/Trackpad) or just kinda lay the palmrest over where the keyboard is supposed to be. Now would also be a good time to disable the lid's sleep when shut function, if you are so inclined.
OK, now we see the hard drive! It's where your left palm rests when you type. It needs to be unscrewed to remove it, so do that now. WAIT, first lemme remind you that there are a lot of loose parts right now so you want to be extra careful not to drop those screws into the motherboard area when removing them. OK, now do that. WAIT! I should also probably tell you that you want to loosen the 3 silver screws along the closest edge, NOT the 4 black screws that hold the hard drive to its bracket. OK, go ahead.
Now the aluminum bracket is loose; it can be (have I used the word gently too many times?) lifted straight up. Now unscrew the 4 black screws that hold in the hard drive. Don't let the bracket or the drive fall on the motherboard. There are a few mounting configurations for the hard drive; your new Travelstar may or may not match the original hard drive's. Mine didn't, but all I had to do was cut the plastic sheet that sits between the drive and the bracket to allow the 4 screws to hold the new drive. I'm pretty sure this piece of plastic is kinda important, because the hard drive has an impressive number of little circuit lines running all over the place, so in order for the drive to work you probably don't want the drive mount to short anything out. I guess. Unplug the old drive, match plugs and plug in the new drive. Don't force it; it will only go in one way, so if it doesn't, look at what you are doing and think back to that preschool toy with the round holes and the square pegs... OK. Now put the plastic (altered or not, whatever you gotta do) back between the drive and the bracket, screw the drive to the bracket (the 4 black screws), and screw the bracket back to the casing (3 silver screws).
Whew! Almost done. The hard part is over. You can now replace the palmrest, and know that you won't have to take it off again for a long time. You're packing 30 gigs now, right? OK, 20? 10? That's still a lot. Oh, I guess maybe you will take it off again to disable the "sleep when lid closes" switch, or to replace the bus frequency crystal to overspeed your processor (a $5 upgrade for a 5% speed gain) or just as a party trick. For now, though, let's finish the operation.
Insert the new RAM card. That'll give you 144 megs. I regularly run Netscape Communicator, Appleworks 6, Adobe Photoshop 5 and whatever other programs I forgot to close simultaneously without a problem. You're going to like 144 Megs, and your book will love you for it.
Remember how you got the keyboard out? It goes in the reverse way. Slip in the plastic retainers under the screen side of the case, then (gently) lay down the space bar end. Your keyboard is loose still, so if you flip the book over to screw in the 3 screws the keyboard will fall out. (Voice of experience) Just leave the book right side up, with the lid open, tilt it back towards the lid side until you can fit a screw into its hole and the wrench to turn it. Pressing the keyboard toward the screw that you are putting in first is very helpful, the other two are generally not a problem. Your book is together!
Put the battery back in, plug in the power adapter, get your OS CD out; here comes the hardest part- System Reinstallation.
The Recovery Room:
OK, put your cd rom into the expansion bay.
Press the power button. (Most likely nothing will happen unless you
use [apple][ctrl][ power ]) Your book will make a few noises, like
it's trying to figure out what the heck just happened. Let it take
it all in, and remember that its internal organs have been violated.
That takes getting used to. Eventually you will boot off the cd,
because the hard drive has no OS to boot. Your mac will probably
tell you that the new disk is unreadable. Whether it does or not,
reformat the drive and install apple drivers. Once formatting is
complete and before you start shovelling applications and OS's on the drive,
PARTITION IT! You've got a lot of gigs in there now; I recommend
at least splitting it in half. There are a lot of reasons for this,
which I am not going to get into here. What you want to do with your
mac will determine your number and size of partitions. I chose 4;
a main drive w/the OS and most common app's, an internet drive for downloads/internet
apps, a photo drive and a really big video editing drive. If you
don't partition now you will kick yourself later when you have to start
all over again with application installations because the whole drive is
bad. Better to just lose a portion; at least then you can still boot.
More info on partitioning can be found here.
The rest is a software game. Install your OS, then your applications, then get back online and download your mail to yourself. Restore all your address books and bookmarks, customize your apple menu, make a new fonts folder called "spare fonts" and download 2,000 fonts. (Just don't put all 2,000 in your system fonts folder!!!) Be decadent. You've got more room now than most of your G3 cousins. Your book is going to act funny for a few days while things straighten out, but after 5 days all the glitches, bugs, bombs and freezes ended for me.
Speaking of which: When you install your operating system the easy install will install Internet Explorer. I've got nothing personal against Microsoft, I'm sure a lot of them are very nice people, but when I have IE or Works or Word or anything Microsoft related on my Mac, it crashes or freezes. When I keep it all off, it doesn't. I like to custom install and not install IE. I think that's all I want to say about that.
The reason I say that software reinstallation
is the hardest part is that the hardware stuff is straightforward.
You plug it in and screw it together. Not much else to do.
But software likes to play this little game with you; you know you didn't
break anything, that the computer is rebuilt well. But software makes
you doubt yourself. For a few days your mac will just hang up.
Why? Only Steve knows... or maybe he doesn't. Whatever.
If you followed these instructions your mac is together the way it should
be, and don't let the software trick you into breaking the thing apart
again, because that just starts it all over again. If you do the
math that means the game will never end. So unless your keyboard
won't let you type, didn't let you type at all after you were done putting
the book back together and you REALLY can't remember if the keyboard came
unplugged, just leave it alone and deal with the crashes. Use [ctrl]
[apple] [power]; eventually your mac will get past this little problem
and you will be crash and hang-up free. Enjoy!
Disabling the Lid's "Sleep when Shut" Function:
Disconnecting the Keyboard/Trackpad:
The keyboard and trackpad both have these little orange wire looking things
that connect them to the motherboard. It looks like they just plug
in and pull out and that's half right. Under strain, the cable will
pull out, but that's not really the right
way to do things. If you look closely where the wires interface with
the motherboard, there's a plug-in with a little wire lock on it.
The lock is disengaged by lifting up on both sides. Then the wire
goes in, out, in, out, easy as pie. Hmmm. Now put the wire
in the way it came out (or look at the picture) and push that little lock
down. Not going anywhere, is it? Well, yeah, you're right.
If you pull that hard it will come out, but just try and get that
little mother in there with the lock engaged. This will not
happen, no matter how many cups of coffee you drink. Quick fix:
disengage the lock as described above. Now it goes in again!
Isn't microprocessor-based technology fun?
I hope that you have found this information helpful, and I wish all you fellow powerbook 3400 users good luck with your Supersizing...
I want a job! Obviously I have way too much free time on my hands if I have done all of these modifications to my P-book... My resume is located at my homepage.
Go back to my homepage here...
Disable the lid's sleep when shut function.
Connecting/disconnecting the keyboard to the motherboard.
Make your own BicLite, an ADB-powered
keyboard light so you can type in the dark.
This page created on a Macintosh Powerbook 3400 using Netscape Composer