Thursday, 21 September 2017

Opening the Mac Classic

Memory and half-removed motherboard
I got a bit worried about a possible battery leak inside my Mac Classic, so I opened it for the first time.

It turned out to be much easier than I thought. Remove four torx screws, pull out the back of the case. Remove the memory sub-board, then remove all the drive and power cables from the motherboard. Now the motherboard can be slid out quite easily. 

This is a pretty neat design for that era, or for any era for that matter.

The memory sub-board and the motherboard fully removed. Red spot marks the battery holder.
Two of the torxes were in deep holes, so I used an screwdriver with removable tip and an extension which gave the screwdriver some added flexibility. 

The board is very small, even when considering the memory sub-board.

Putting it together was just as simple. Push the board in gently, plug in the relevant cords as you go along.

The other half
After I put the case back together, I checked if the computer still functions. It only gave an empty desktop backdrop. As it's missing a keyboard, a mouse and a battery, this might be normal. Still, it's a bit uncharacteristically unfriendly response from a Mac, so I hope there is nothing wrong.

Alive or dead?
Supposing it works, what to do with it? The Classic Mac is one of the last iterations of the original design, so it's not that old really, 1989-1990 maybe. But this also means it still has the 8Mhz 68000.

Compared to 8-bits, it is a bit cumbersome to get anything running on it, as all the interfaces and connectors are a bit weird from today's perspective, and there's no "load from tape" option to fall back on. HxC floppy emulator apparently won't work with it, and the SCSI interface is not as common as the IDE.

Perhaps the best bet is to use the 1.44Mb floppies for file transfer, which at this stage ought to be PC compatible.

Uncomfortable perspective: the case from below, with the board removed.

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