FAQ - The Apple PowerBook 100 FAQ

The Apple PowerBook 100 FAQ

Table of Contents

General info
PB100 Specs
Printers and Modems
Battery and Adapter Experiences
Disk Issues
Miscellaneous Hardware Issues
PB100 resources

Welcome to the Apple PowerBook 100 FAQ web pages, for short the PB100 FAQ. This FAQ was compiled by Stuart Bell as a voluntary service to the PB100 community across the globe, the members of which provided all the information within it. As of June 1, 1999 the FAQ is hosted and maintained by Peter Sloep. Please report any URLs which seem not to work, or information which appears no longer to be accurate, or any other queries you might have about this FAQ to .

Although occasionally the names and e-mail addresses of those who have contributed to the FAQ have been incorporated, only contact them directly if you absolutely must (their names mainly appear to give them due credit). If you need additional information, I'd rather have you contacted me or, even better, address your question to the PB100 mailing list. This list has been and still is a singularly important resource for this FAQ. It also is the prime resource for those who want to keep themselves informed about the latest news on the PowerBook 100. To subscribe, send a message to majordomo@lists.stanford.edu, with the text 'subscribe PB100' in the body of the message. Contributions to the list itself should be sent to PB100@lists.stanford.edu.

Copyright notices
This page may not be sold or form part of material which is sold. It may be distributed free of charge by electronic or other means provided i) it is not edited in any way, ii) I am notified of its use and the way it is used, iii) I am credited as the author. Under no circumstances am I responsible for any errors in these pages or any damage which may result from following the instructions given in them

'Opening your PowerBook' is by Tim Steele, © 1992, all rights reserved. These instructions may only be reproduced with this copyright notice, and may not be sold or form part of material which is sold. They may be distributed free of charge by electronic or other means. Under no circumstances is the author responsible for any errors in these instructions or any damage which may result from following them.
'PowerBook 100 Battery Insights' is by by Don Edberg, © 1994. It may be reproduced non commercially only if: 1) it is reproduced or transmitted in its entirety without editing; 2) credit is given to the author, and 3) notification of such usage is made to the author by email or other means. Permission for commercial republishing is not given.
Rejuvenating Dead Batteries' is by Dave Beane, © 1999. These instructions may only be reproduced with this copyright notice, and may not be sold or form part of material which is sold. Under no circumstances is the author responsible for any errors in these instructions or any damage which may result from following them.
Broken power cable socket on motherboard is by Jack Van Olst © 1998. Jack does not take responsibility for any damage you may inflict on your mac or on yourself when following his advice.

All trademarks are acknowledged. All material received which was marked © has had that mark retained, and the author is acknowledged. Any inadvertent breach of copyright will be rectified on request.

This FAQ is listed at among others: Lowend Mac, Mac Directory, Mac im Netz, Knubbelmac, Macinsites.com, Old Mac Site !

General Info


Q: What is the PowerBook 100?

A: The first portable battery-powered laptop computer made by Apple. (The Apple IIc was a portable laptop but required mains power; the Macintosh Portable - which is logically identical to the PB100 - was more of a 'luggable' - and certainly not a laptop!). It weighs about 2.3 kg (5.1 lb.)

Q: When was it sold and what did it cost?

A: From 21 October 1991 to 3 August 1992, it cost originally about $2500

Q: What is one worth now?

A: Highly dependent on configuration, especially memory size, and whether supplied with external floppy drive. Battery condition is significant, as new ones typically cost $70 - $110, depending on country. Price also dependent on local demand and configuration, but according to The Used Computer Price Index ( May 2000) a 4 Mb/40 MB unit should cost about US$65.

 Q: How does age affect the machine's usefullness?

A: Obviously, a computer conceived in the early nineties of the previous century shows its age. You cannot run the latest software on it, so its functionality is limited compared to modern standards. The machine's hardware also ages so, ultimately, it will start malfunctioning. This kind of problems always result from usage or, interestingly, the lack thereof. They come in two categories, not so serious and serious.
Connectors that have come loose are in the not so serious category. You can remedy this kind of problems by simply disconnecting and reconnecting the flat cable, memory unit, daughterboard, or whatever other piece of hardware has come loose. A corrupt hard disk is repaired by reformatting it (according to some, hard disk failure is often caused by running the pb100 below its recommended voltage, see the article on disk issues). Drained PRAM batteries should simply replaced. And if your screen suddenly stays dark before or during start -up, let the pb100 run for some time and often the screen will be revived.
To the serious category belong problems for which you need spare parts that are no longer available from their manufacturers. Then you will have to work with used parts of similar age or you may have to improvise. At present, in this category only come problems with batteries and hard disks. Batteries have not been manufactured for quite a while so the spares are about as bad as the one in your unit. There really is no satisfactory solution to this problem. We really need a creative mind that knows how to change the on board circuits so that NiCads can be used (if that is possible at all) or a benevolent manufacturer who will start producing lead acid batteries of the required size and shape (or is willing to refurbish our old ones). Meanwhile, all kinds of nifty and less nifty solutions have been tried (see the article on batteries). Hard disks of the 2.5" SCSI type are no longer manufactured either. As their mechanical parts start to fail (through wear and tear or because lubricants become more viscous as they oxidize over time), at some point of time we will be out of hard disks. Luckily, this is not the case yet.
(June 2000)

PB100 Specs


Q: What was the specification of the PB100?

[Also check the Apple specs for the PB100]

A: Hardware:

  • Logic Board
    • Processor: M68HC000, 15.667MHz
    • Data path: 16 bit
    • Floating Point Processor: none
    • MIPS Rating: 1.3
  • Memory
    • 2 Mb / 4 Mb pseudo-static RAM, 100ns (upgradable to 4/6/8 Mb)
    • 256 Kb ROM
  • Hard disk: 20 Mb / 40 Mb 2.5" SCSI drive (upgradable to c.1Gb)
  • Floppy: 1.4 Mb external drive via HDI-20 connector
  • Video: 9" 640 x 400 pixel FSTN supertwist LCD with CCFL backlight
  • Sound
    • output 8 bit mono
    • no sound in
  • Keyboard: Standard Apple, 3.0 mm travel, US Version has 63 keys, ISO European Version has 64 keys. The ISO version has the tilde key between Z and a smaller Shift key, and the additional key with the international currency symbol (Itës option 6 on the US keyboard) at the top left where the US version has the tilde key.
  • Pointing device: 25 mm trackball - mouse via port
  • Ports
    • External floppy via HDI-20
    • External HD, CD etc. via HDI-30 see below.
    • Apple Desktop Bus for mouse, keyboard etc.
    • Mono audio via 3.5 mm socket
    • RS 422 serial port for printer, external modem etc.
    • Internal modem slot
    • No external video
  • Power
    • Source: 2 A 100- 240 V, 50 - 60 Hz
    • Consumption: 17 W
  • Size and Weight
    • Height 1.8 inches (4.6 cm)
    • Width 11 inches (28.0 cm)
    • Depth 8.5 inches (22.0 cm)
    • Weight 5.1 lb. (2.3 kg)


  • System: Generally supplied with 7.0.1, but see below for compatibility with other versions), AppleTalk Version 52, ROM ID $037A, 256 K, 24 bit Addressing Mode
  • Applications: Will run any software compatible with 68000 processor. within the constraints set by available RAM and hard disk space. (see below)

Q: How much RAM do I need for sensible use?

A: The maximum possible is 8 Mb. Even with this amount, you will not be able to use current versions of large applications. However, even with less than this productive use can be made of your PB100. As standard, a PB100 has 2 Mb soldered to the main board. It can then take ONE extra PB100-specific RAM card, which can hold 2, 4, or 6 Mb. Thus, to upgrade from 4 Mb or 6 Mb requires you to replace your existing RAM card. 2 Mb will allow you to use a stripped-down System 7, with a text editor. Some users install System 6 to save memory (see below). 4 Mb will allow sensible use with System 7 and ClarisWorks (version 3 or earlier) or similar. 6 Mb will allow sensible use with System 7, and Word 5 or similar. Alternatively, you can create a 3 Mb RamDisk and use ClarisWorks 1 or 2 in the remaining 3 Mb. 8 Mb gives more space for larger documents, or several applications loaded at once. If you are buying a PB100, bear in mind that memory cards can be hard to locate, and they can be expensive if not being 'reduced to clear' by vendors. The ideal is to buy one with 6 Mb or 8 Mb in the first place, but the ideal is not always possible! Memory is hard to come by. NewerRam lists the 4 Mb and 6 Mb modules still in their Memory Configurator. It is unclear, though, whether they are actually available. Outpost and Megamemory.Com list it as N/A.
(last updated 10/99)

Q: Can I use RamDoubler or similar on a PB100?

A: RamDoubler and similar applications require at least a 68030 processor, so cannot be used. However, some users strongly recommend RamCharger: RamCharger by Syncronys (formerly Jump Development) dynamically allocates memory to applications as they need it - and takes it away from those that only think they need it. The result is a lot fewer 'out of memory' errors, and a lot more applications open at the same time. Unfortunately Syncronys does not appear to be in business anymore.
(last updated 05/00)


Printers and Modems


Q: What printers can I use with a PB100?

A: If buying new inkjet printers, beware that the drivers that come with most if not of all modern Apple printers require a 60020 processor or later and/or Color QuickDraw, so cannot be used. If buying used, the best ones to look out for are probably the StyleWriter and StyleWriter II and the original HP DeskWriter and DeskWriter 500 and 600. Also, the HP 3xx series. Charles Spaeth notes: 'It might be of some interest for PB100 users to know that they are not stuck to using old HP Deskwriters printer models. I am for instance using a HP 870 Cxi DeskJet printer with my PB100. The trick is to disregard the original printer driver which comes with this printer as it is intended for 68020 and higher Macs. In place of this driver I'm using an old DeskWriter driver and it works flawlessly, for printing in black of course. HP's version 2.2 of the DeskWriter driver is ok. Version 2.1 of Jetlink Express from GDT Softworks which contains a DeskWriter driver is ok too. I haven't tried this trick with other drivers or printers, but it is worth trying. Beware that the DeskWriter driver which is downloadable from HP's site is not usable.'
As far as laser printers are concerned, the Personal LaserWriter 300 - a QuickDraw 300 dpi serial printer - will work fine (use the latest driver available: v.1.2). Many postscript laser printers will work too, provided you can connect them to your PB100 (either via a LocalTalk connection or via EtherTalk, see the Networking section below) and the printer works with the Apple LaserWriter driver v.8.3.1 or lower. Joe reports to have successfully used this driver with both the HP printers 5MP and 6MP.
An alternative approach is to use a PC-compatible printer (with parallel port) and Infowave Wireless Messaging Inc.'s (formerly GDT's) PowerPrint package of serial-parallel converter and software. One user reports to print on a DeskJet 550C with PowerPrint 2.5.2. Infowave's websites as of July 1997 are mirrored at gdt.com. PowerPrint works well. Finally, don't forget the 'faxing the hotel front desk' trick to print the odd thing out, if you have a modem with fax software, and no printer with you.

Q: What modem can I use?

A: Several manufacturers made internal modems for the PB1x0 series, but those which fit some other models fine may be too deep for the PB100, working OK, but sticking out at the back. Caveat emptor! Alternatively, you can use an external modem via the serial port, but do not expect the PB100 to work reliably above 14,400 baud. The Global Village PowerPort Bronze internal fax/modem fits OK. It will only do 2400 bps data transmission, but fax speed is 9,600. The PSI PowerModem also fits physically, and works well at similar rates - adequate for news and email, but not for the WWW. Try to find the Global Village Powerport Gold, if possible. 14,400 is about as high as it gets; set the baud rate to 38,800 in the setup. If using an external modem, be aware that the PB100 serial port may not be too reliable above 19.2 Kb. As Michael reported: 'I got the email to work on my PB100! I was right: the 100's input buffer was getting swamped. The way I got it to work was to set the port speed to 19.2 and the init string to make the modem sign on at 14.4. The key was really the port speed, though; the PB100 just doesn't seem to be reliable above that. Actually, it might work at 28.8, but my US Robotics modem doesn't appear to be able to communicate with the computer at that speed, odd as that sounds. It works at 19.2 and 38.8, and everything above that. So, since 38.8 was too fast for the 100, I went with 19.2. I'm now able to download large emails with no problem.'

Q: I need two serial ports, is there anything I can do about that?

A: SigmaSevenSystems provides the PB Serial Adapter which goes into the modem area in your PB100 and provides a true serial port. Good for MIDI, external modems, printers, anything for which you would need a second serial port. If you connect an external modem via the serial adapter, you might well experience a faster and more reliable connection (the manufacturer claims); another benefit is that it had a wake-up facility. As of January 1999, a few adapters were still available. For ordering information mail to sigma@ruby.he.net.
(January 1999)

Battery and Adapter Experiences


Q: What batteries are available for the PB100?

A: The standard battery supplied with the PB100 is a lead-acid one. If you are lucky you may be able to get an original battery somewhere. Search the Internet using the Apple part number: 661-0782. However, do not count on the battery's condition, as it probably has been on the shelf for a long time uncharged (lead-zinc batteries should never be fully discharged. In summer 1997, BTI released a Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMh) battery, which is lighter than the lead acid one. However, the user community is offering very mixed reports on this battery (let the reader understand) and it seems doubtful whether it offers significant advantages over the Apple lead-acid one. Contact batterytech.com. eBatts has a NiCad branded Hi-Capacity which it guarantees to work with the PB100: "This NiCad battery is guaranteed to meet or exceed original specifications and to be 100% original equipment compatible". When checking out their site, type 'PowerBook 100' in the search dialog box, click PowerBook 100 and you'll see the battery listed. One user, however reports that, in his experience, the battery can only be charged to some 40% of its maximum capacity. Otherwise it works fine, though. Nesco batteries of California has also got a replacement battery (OEM part number M3053, Nesco's part number LT231-0 ) for only 57.95 (last checked December 1999). Joe writes about it: "After an initial overnight charge, I was able to run the PB100 with a bright backlight and continuous processor and HD operation for a little over an hour. Not too shabby. Only time will tell of their extended durability and capacity." He's not sure though what kind of battery this is: "The paper NESCO labels on these batteries say Nickel Cadmium. The manufacturer's green silk screened model number says MC-100H. Given the flakiness of the NESCO labeling, part numbers, and website info, I don't necessarily take much stock in their NiCad designation. At 285 grams, the weight is identical to that of my old FEDCO "Pb" battery, and 170 grams less than the Apple OEM battery."
See also Apple's list of alternative battery vendors.
(December 1999).

Q: How can I use my PB100 for longer, away from mains power?

A: Apart from not using the backlight and HD, an alternative approach is to augment the internal battery with an external one. For several years a 'ThinPack' battery was available, the area of a PB100 and about a quarter inch deep, but it is understood that this has now been discontinued. Some users report effective use of external 7.2v NiCad battery packs of the type used for model car racing, charged separately and then plugged into the power-in the back of the PB100. Advantage Computer Exchange is advertising a Lind PB supplementary battery at $19.95. It had previously sold at $200+. Measuring about 9" x 6" x 1", it offers a life of five hours heavy use with a PB100. All users were pleased with his purchase, the only drawback being its weight (at 1.7 kg or 3 pounds, 12 ounces about as much as the entire PB100!). Note that if you can buy one of these batteries, even with dead cells, they are easily replaceable from good electronics stores. As of December 1999 ACE reported to still have some 30 on their shelves. See also the article PowerBook 100 Battery Insights and Apple's (admittedly rather old) list of alternative battery vendors
An entirely different solutions would be to use solar power as an alternative or supplemental energy source. A few users report to have achieved useful results, for instance with the (expensive) Sun Catcher Professional built by PowerQuest (actually by a different firm bought by PowerQuest), which on a sunny day generates sufficient power to run the PB100 after power up. It may be purchased via Jade Mountain, a firm claiming to specialize in products for a sustainable world. The Jade Mountain site lists other, cheaper solar devices too, but the question is of course whether it generates enough power to make a difference.
When using an external battery, the voltage might not quite match with what the powerbook expects. This may result in low voltage warnings or even the powerbook putting itself in sleep mode in order to save the battery. This behavior can be prevented through a little (memory footprint 50 k, download size 44 k) program by Jeremy Kezer. It is called Threshold and may be downloaded. .

Q: Can I run my PB100 without batteries, just using the adapter/charger?

A: As long as your lithium back-up batteries are in place and alive, the general opinion is that the PB100 works just fine. Meanings diverge about the PB100's performance without any batteries, lead-acid and lithium back-ups. Some claim (from conversations with SOS-Apple tech help people when they still knew about the PB100) that without the three small lithiums, the PB100 may behave oddly: disk errors, system errors and so forth. Others maintain that this only holds true in areas with fluctuating, unreliable mains power as a UPS apparently solves the problem.

Q: How long should a battery charge last?

A: This is dependent on the state/age and type of the battery. Running time will be at least 50% longer if you switch of the display backlight (use the dial on the screen bezel, although for some systems this might not work). Shine a desk lamp or similar on the display to keep working (one user even reported using a flash light for this purpose!). Having the HD spin down, perhaps using a RamDisk (see the article on Ram) will increase running time by up to 25%. Use Chooser to turn off AppleTalk. This saves power and lets the PowerBook wake up faster. You may wish to have AppleTalk turned on when you restart and then turn it off. That way you can turn AppleTalk on and off without restarting. Run times on the lead-zinc batteries of 1 hour 30 minutes are probably typical, with more possible though power-saving measures outlined above, and a time of less than an hour indicating a lead-zinc battery nearing the end of its useful life. See the article on battery insights by Don Edberg for more details. Run times with the external Lind batteries are around 5 hours.
(January 2000)

Q: How often should I recharge the lead-acid battery?

A: Unlike NiCad batteries, which should always be discharged before recharging (to avoid the so-called memory effect), lead acid batteries should never be fully discharged. If you do, you may not be able to charge them at all. So, try to stop using your PB100 on battery when you are warned that battery charge is low, and recharge the battery perhaps once every two weeks when it's not in regular use. Some people recommend leaving the PB100 plugged into the charger permanently, or whenever a mains socket is available. Fully discharging a lead-acid battery will seriously curtail its life. As the PB100 manual suggests, if you are storing your PB100 for a while, save everything onto disk, and flick the small switch on the back of the computer to disconnect all batteries; 'off' is down. But still check the charge on the lead-acid battery every month or so, and recharge as required.

Q: What should I do to maximize the long term life of the battery?

A: It would seem that the PB100 recharges the battery with quite a high current in order to reduce recharge time. However, overall battery life is maximized if a reduced current is used. Some users may wish to try using low-current chargers. However, it may well be worth while, when you do not need a very quick recharge, to do that charging with the PB100 on, the back- light on, and the HD spinning, thus reducing the current available to recharge the battery! (See also Don Edberg on Battery Insights.)

Q: My PB100 battery seems totally dead. It will only run the computer for a few seconds or minutes, however it works fine on mains power. Is there anything I can do to boost the batteries?

A: The lead acid battery is almost dead, possibly by having it discharged fully. Some people have had success with very slow trickle charging to rejuvenate apparently dead batteries. It won't always work, but may be worth trying, given the cost of new batteries, if they are available at all. See Rejuvenating Dead Batteries by Dave Beane. An alternative is to replace your batteries. This is easier said than done, though. If you're able to lay your hands on an original battery, it is probably as bad as the one you're replacing as it has been on the shelf for a long time, uncharged (but see the article on available batteries for how to go about this). Finally, you may attempt to refurbish the contents of your battery pack. This is certainly not something for the faint-hearted, however for those with an engineering inclination, James MacPhail has a couple of interesting suggestions (be sure you heed his safety warning!).
(January 2000)

Q: My PB100 seems totally dead, on both mains and battery power. What can I do?

A: First, check that the mains adapter is working and/or the battery is OK. If so, there are at least two possible causes for this. To repair either one you must open up your PB100. Before attempting to do so yourself, you may want to have a look at the article on opening your powerbook and specifically the article on repairing your power connector socket and power fuse. The latter includes detailed instructions for the procedures described below, illustrated with color photos.
Replacing the PB100 Fuse On the main motherboard, there is a fuse in the power line which sometimes blows. There are two ways to solder in a fuse. The first way is to clip off the burned out fuse and solder the new fuse onto the old one's legs. The second way is to remove the entire motherboard, unsolder the old fuse, and solder in a new one. (The third way is the simplest: Apple put fuse sockets on its newer boards, so you can simply plug in the new fuse). The fuses are from the company Littelfuse Inc., called Picofuse, and the rating was 5A, 250 V.
Replacing the PB100 Power Connector Socket Alternatively, a common problem is that the power-in connector becomes electrically detached from the main PCB, the solder joints being fractured by physical pressure on the power-in plug. Again, dissemble as above and remake the soldering around the power-in socket. To do this, the entire motherboard must be removed. There are exactly five screws. Two at the main battery terminals, two near the hard disk and one next to the back-up batteries. Remove the motherboard by lifting the front end of the motherboard first. When putting the motherboard back, note that the rear end of the motherboard fits into small plastic retaining guides. You may not need to replace the socket - remaking the solder joints may suffice. The socket has two or three solder connections on the bottom of the board, they'll be obvious. The socket itself is a 2.1 mm right angle jack. Removing it is fairly easy but requires a solder sucker to remove all the solder. Work slowly and be patient. When you can pull it loose, do so. Then press in the new one and solder it in.

Q: My loyal PowerBook 100 has recently shown some strange behavior: Even though the power adapter is connected, it sometimes displays a message saying that the battery is empty and that it will shut itself immediately.

A: Some apparently inexplicable problems, of which the above is an example, are not the hardware problem that they seem. but may be caused by a corruption of the special area of memory which holds various system parameters - such as the Startup Disk. Before starting on hardware surgery, it can be worth zapping the PRAMS first. To do this, hold down CMD-OPTION-P-R while re- booting. It can also be due to the power manager being corrupted. To reset the power manager, back up any RAM disk, then shutdown and remove all batteries (including the lithium back-up batteries). Wait three minutes and then hold in interrupt and reset buttons (on the left hand side) for 30 seconds. Then reinstall batteries and plug in to main power before starting the machine.

Q: My PowerBook won't recognize a fully charged battery, refusing to wake up unless the AC adaptor is connected. What's wrong?

A: Assuming that the battery itself is OK, the problem might be the microswitch at the back of the battery slot in the PB, or rather, the 'hinge' that the battery pushes the switch down with, to let the PB know that the battery is in. A very slight, gentle bending outwards (towards the front of the PB) may solve the problem.

Q: Why does the battery seem to discharge when the PB100 is not in use?

A: It does discharge indeed! A unique feature of the PB100 is that the contents of RAM are maintained even when the PB100 is shut down (Only the new iBook offers something similar by writing Ram contents to disk, to be reloaded when waking up). This means that the information in a RamDisk is maintained - a very useful feature. However, this means that the battery will slowly discharge. Even worse, if you remove the main lead acid battery, the PB100 will try to use the (expensive) lithium cells to maintain the RAM, discharging them very quickly indeed. So, never leave your PB100 without a main battery and disconnected from the mains, unless the 'battery disconnect' switch is set. Of course, with the switch set to the off position, your RamDisk will be lost. (March 2000)


Disk issues


Q: How can I increase the size of my PB100's hard disk?

A: In the short term, one of the data compression programs will increase the apparent capacity of a hard drive by up to 100%, so a 20 Mb drive looks like a 30 - 40 Mb one, albeit with a small loss in speed due to the need for data compression and decompression. However, especially if you want to use more recent versions of applications packages, you may well need to increase the real disk size. Various retailers supply HDs for such a purpose, in capacities up to over 1 GB. However, some drives that will fit most Powerbooks will not fit the PB100. The reason is that most earlier Powerbooks used 2.5" SCSI drives. These are now quite rare, with the result that they are commonly replaced by IDE drives, together with a SCSI-IDE adapter. In the PB100, the extra size of the adapter means that they won't fit. So specify when ordering that the drive must fit in a PB100. Note that the mounting brackets for the Apple 20 Mb differ from the brackets for the Apple 40 Mb and probably all other hard disks that fit. So if you are about to replace the original Apple 20 Mb disk, you need to somehow lay your hands on the correct mounting brackets. For further fitting instructions, see Opening your PowerBook 100.
To give you some user reports, one user tells, "I have used 5 or 6 different drives installed in my PB100 over the past seven years. I haven't yet encountered one that wouldn't fit. Toshiba 210; Quantum 120, 160; IBM 120, 540; and of course the Apple 20 MB and 40 MB units all work quite nicely, thank you. (And my original LaCie Silverlining software dating back to 1992/93 also has had no trouble formatting any of these drives.)
Another user reports, "For some reason, a Quantum 'Go' 160 meg drive doesn't seem to like the PB 100 much -just get hardware chimes-o-death on install. I have used a Conner 120 with no problem, formatted with FWB Hammer. Unfortunately, the latest incarnation of the software (2.0x) crashes the PB when run on it. 1.8s worked fine, however, and is to be recommended. Whichever 3rd party software you use, remember to do two things in whichever section of your software the 'Configure Driver' resides: 1. Allow the HD to sleep (power management option in FWB) 2. Allow automatic reallocation of bad blocks. To do this, you need to leave a few k (say 100) free on the HD after partitioning - so be careful of the 'max Apple' option!"
A supplier of suitable new and/or used hard drives which has been used by various people in the past, and has provided good service, is Small Dog Electronics.

Q: How can I disassemble the external floppy drive?

A: 'Joe' gives the details: To open the case for the external Floppy Drive HDI-20: i) Remove the door/front stand assembly by gently spreading the ends to release its pivot pins. The pivot pin sockets are along the lower edge of the drive case. Caution: the pivot pin bushings will jump out and run away when you are not looking! ii) Remove both pivot pin bushings. These actually lock the two halves of the case together. iii) Slide the UPPER portion of the case towards the front, or the LOWER portion of the case to the rear about 1/4 inch, to disengage four tabs (tabs are along each side, 2 are two inches from front edge and 2 are one inch from rear edge). iv) Press apart slightly at the cord while sliding to disengage a small tab on the cord (cord moves with lower portion). v) The UPPER portion of the case should now be free to lift apart.

Q: How do I attach external Hard Disks and CD ROM drives?

A: In terms of hardware, you need an adapter cable to connect to the HDI-30 port on the back of the PB100. These vary in cost greatly, so shop around! Note that there are two varieties, depending on whether you want to attach an external drive, or to make your PB100 act like an external drive to another Apple computer. Read the PB100 manual. You can get adapters with a switch, to select which of the two modes is required. Apple warn that the PB100's termination of the SCSI bus can be rather marginal - see their technical note referenced below. Also, you may find that your PB100 will only drive the SCSI bus adequately when it is connected to the AC supply. Since the SCSI devices are likely to be mains powered, this is rarely a problem! You will also need software to make your PB100 accept a non-Apple drive. Most suppliers of HDs for PB100s supply them with the drive. See the previous note above about FWB Hammer and leaving a few K free for bad block reallocation.

Q: Can I attach a ZIP drive (or similar) to my PB100?

A: It all depends on having the correct drivers. Some later versions of some drivers seem not to work on ancient Macs. Steven Kan reports great success with a ZIP drive: How's this for plug 'n play and backward compatibility? I have a PB100, System 7.0.1, 4 MB RAM, no Iomega drivers currently installed. I hooked up a Zip drive, inserted a Zip disk containing the Iomega Driver v. 4.3 and a System Folder with 7.0.1, and booted from it! Try that with a Windows machine: boot from a device the machine has never seen before without installing any drivers. I don't think so. Although the Zip is supposed to require at least an SE (or something like that), it seems to work fine. Booting: I was able to boot either with cmd-opt-shf-del, or via the Startup Disk CP. Mounting: I was able to mount the drive using any of the following: 1) Iomega Driver in the Extensions folder; 2) Iomega Guest application off a floppy; 3) Load driver from Zip disk at boot time by inserting the disk as soon as I start up. Note that 2 and 3 didn't require installing anything on the PowerBook. Use: I was able to read/write to and from the disk, and I even formatted a Zip disk. I haven't really put it thru all the paces; I just wanted to see if it would work. And actually the Zip seems to be faster than the old 20 MB HD. Also, the previous maintainer of this FAQ (Stuart Bell) has had no problems connecting both 105 Mb 3.5" and 44 Mb 5.25" Syquest drives to his PB100. The 105 Mb drives were sold in a portable 'brick' by Syquest under the 'Marlin' label, and it can even run off 5 rechargeable AA batteries.

Q: My PB100 won't boot. It appears not to recognize the hard disk. I get the floppy-with-the-question-mark symbol when I boot up or an error message; when I then boot with a floppy, I can't run Disk First Aid as the hard disk is 'invisible'.

A: In case of these kinds of problems, there are a number of things to be tried before resorting to more serious (and time-consuming) measures. First of all, make sure you haven't reformatted your hard disk immediately prior to experiencing these problems. If indeed you did, you may unknowingly have installed incompatible driver software. Particularly the original 20 Mb hard disk seems to be picky. Make sure you use the driver software that comes with system 6.08L or system 7.01 (perhaps other drivers work too, but these are known to work properly; the driver that comes with system 7.5.5 does not work).
If this is not your problem, you try the following tricks:

  • While all the power is removed, reset the power manager (look here for how to accomplish this)
  • Reboot with shift-option-cmd-delete to force the drive to look for an alternative (internal or external boot disk) if it is just not booting.
  • Reboot with cmd-option-P-R till you hear three startup chimes, which takes a while; this forces the machine to rebuild the parameter ram (see also here)
  • Try to replace your your three lithium batteries with fresh ones (however ...).
  • Tjabring van Egten reports the 'method Harm Spek', named after his sysop who helped him out with a broken pb100. The needle of a hard disk not used for a while may get stuck, perhaps because the lubricant becomes sticky. Without opening the Pb100, hit the back of it gently but not too gently a couple of times right where the hard disk sits (see picture in Jack Van Olst's article for the location). If you're lucky, the needle becomes unstuck and a SCSI scan will reveal the hard disk.
  • More invasive but still relatively simple is the following advice: disconnect and reconnect the flat cable that links your hard disk to the motherboard. Apparently, miraculous results have been obtained by this method. The idea is that contacts may deteriorate over time, which can be remedied this way. To do this, you will have to open up your Powerbook; see the article by Tim Steele for how to do this, or the article by Jack Van Olst. Jack's has a picture of the ribbon cable in question. If you're not entirely comfortable attempting this trick, you may want to follow the instructions below first. That way, you can make sure that the problem is in the hardware, not in the disk software.

If all this is to no avail, there probably is a serious problem with the directory structure on your hard disk, so serious that Disk First Aid is not up to the task of repairing it. You have two options left. According to Michael Van Lane the simplest one is to boot from a floppy several times in a row until finally the hard disk mounts after all; then you initialize it (if you run Disk First Aid before initializing the disk, DFA may report that the disk is repaired; according to Michael you should keep up your guards, his hard disk still went corrupt in the end). This procedure has the unfortunate side effect of loosing all your data. Hank Roberts therefore suggests that you consider the following options before resorting to initializing a balky PB100:

  • Use Norton Utilities if available, they are a more powerful set of tools than Disk First Aid, and might just suffice to help you out.
  • Use DiskWarrior (commercial); it completely recreates the directory from scratch if possible, then gives you a chance to check whether it looks right before overwriting the old directory.
  • Use TechTool (shareware 1.1.8 available still at Micromat; commercial version is in the 2.x range now) or Norton Disk Doctor (commercial); both offer the option of completely deleting a desktop file but leave the Finder to rebuild it. Cmd-option-reboot just forces a Finder rebuild of the existing desktop file.

DiskWarrior is about 1 meg and can't be run from either the bootup disk or the disk to be rebuilt - so you'd need a boot system floppy disk AND an external SCSI (DiskWarrior comes on CD-ROM) in order to rebuild the internal HD. There is a good recent (Sept. 1999) comparison of disk repair tools at the MacFixit site. It'd be good in any event to have an external SCSI drive available and hooked up - if you can get one that has System 7.5.5 or earlier on it, try booting from that. Else have it there in case you can recognize your internal drive. Copy your files at once; you may not get a second chance.
If you have the right cable (see above) and have another Mac to spare, you could try to salvage or reinvigorate your non-functioning hard disk by running your PB100 in SCSI mode from the other Mac. The PB100 then behaves as an external hard disk and any relevant utility you have available on the spare Mac could be used. As an added bonus, some users report that it sometimes even suffices to connect your PB100 in SCSI mode to revive its hard disk!
(June 2000, added material December 2000)


Miscellaneous Hardware Issues


Q: My PB100 won't boot, what do I do?

A: Check out the final question under disk issues.

Q: Is there any way to improve the trackball performance?

A: Yes! Remove the ring, remove the trackball, and find the little blue rollers. Each roller can be moved back and forth along its axle. Slide the bottom roller to the right, moving it to a position about 2/3 the length of the axle, checking to ensure you have vertical trackball control. Essentially, only the left "rim" of the roller will be in contact with the ball. Similarly, move the vertical roller down to a position about 2/3 the length of the axle, while still retaining horizontal cursor control, again leaving only the top "rim" of the roller to contact the ball. The "catch" and "jump" you have been experiencing has nothing to do with dirt. If you inspect the trackball mechanism, you will find a perforated disk mounted on the far right end of the bottom axle and the extreme bottom end of the left axle. This is the disk that the LED sensor shines through to detect trackball motion. When the ball is seated against an axle, the axle, which is fixed at the disk end, is deflected to an angle. The disk, in turn, is tilted as the axle is deflected; this causes the perforations in the disk to catch upon nearby fixed nylon parts, momentarily jamming the axle and causing the ball to stick or jump. By moving the rollers "off axis" in the way that I describe, the ball deflects each axle significantly less, each disk is tilted less, and this catching no longer occurs.
As described in a 1993 Tidbits article, Apple quickly realized the less than satisfactory state of the trackball mechanism and had Logitech engineers develop a new mechanism, using ruby bearings. Unfortunately, because Apple decided to discontinue the PB100 after one year only, the new mechanism never made it into production.

Q: My trackball has worn through the PCB below it. Can it be repaired?

A: One user (George Schreyer) reports a successful repair procedure: I managed to fix my worn out trackball. The posts that support the ball were so worn that the ball settled down against the circuit board below and wore a dish shaped hole in it too. Finally, a circuit trace was worn through and the trackball ceased to work. I first repaired the trace by soldering a fine wire back across the trace. I then glued a 1/32" thick #6 nylon washer down to the board to support the ball and to protect the solder patch. I then attached 1/8" square pieces of 0.010" thick styrene with CA to the worn surfaces of the posts to build them back up. Now the trackball works better than it has in years. When yours wears out the same way, it's fixable cheap. See also Article n9300 in Apple's TIL.

Q: How do I replace the broken feet or I/O door nurdles of a PB 100?

A: The feet attach at their center with a split shaft. You'll need to open up the PB to be able to squeeze the shaft end to be able to remove the old feet. The problem of course is how to put your hands on new ones!
The same goes for the I/O door at the back. The small nurdles on both sides tend to break. Although this doesn't your PowerBook no less useful, it would be nice if the door could somehow be repaired. Replacing the door is an option, if you can actually find one. The other option is to replace the nurdles. On the PB100 list two procedures have been suggested. The one uses a hot finish nail that is melted into the door at the nurdle position, then covered with epoxy glue en cut and filed to size (use a torch or soldering iron to heat up the nail). The other relies on gluing on a piece of wire (for instance from a coat hanger) with epoxy glue; file away the nurdle's remnants and cut or file away a hole in which to fit the wire piece. Obviously, combinations of both techniques may work equally well.

Q: Is it possible to hook an external monitor to the PB100?

A: The short answer is 'no'! However, a company called Envisio made a card for external monitors. This card plugged into the RAM slot and had 3 MB of onboard RAM so you do not have to sacrifice too much memory. It supports only 1-bit video because the PB100 doesn't support Color QuickDraw, but it does supported up to 21" monitors (The graphic card can be built into a PB140/170 and then features 16 grays/colors). The output jack was located next to the lithium battery door, and a new door was provided to make room for the jack. If you can find such a card, it might be worth buying secondhand, but they seem to be very rare indeed! Alternatively, other manufacturers made display cards which connected to the PB100 via the SCSI port. Again, they are hard to find. (290200)

Q: My screen has gone dead, turning the brightness control has no effect.

A: First you need to check whether the light bulb has been broken. Even when the screen is dark, light from a functioning bulb will be visible if you look to the far right edge of the screen, behind the plastic frame. If the bulb is broken you'll have to open the case and replace the bulb. This is a bit tricky. For instructions on how to open the case, see the articles section.
If the bulb still is ok, you'll first need to exercise patience. If the processor is kept running for a while, often the screen will reappear. You may prevent this problem from occurring by using the PB100 regularly. Note that it is not sufficient to keep it plugged in, you really have to activate the video circuitry! What rationale there is behind this is as yet not entirely clear. Perhaps it is indicative of the onset of a much more serious condition: a malfunctioning motherboard. Several people on the PB100 list have reported that slightly warming the machine (by putting it out in bright sunlight, bottom up) solved the problem temporarily, that is, until the machine cooled down again. They contribute this behavior to cracked solder joints. A procedure to locate the crack suggested on the list is to locally cool (with freezer spray) and heat (with a hair dryer or heat gun) various parts of the motherboard. The warm and properly functioning machine should start misbehaving the moment you cool the bad spot. Before attempting this, make sure that you know what you are doing and no other part is at fault (i.e. the hard drive spins, the RAM hasn't come loose, there is sufficient power, etc.).

Q: Is it possible to upgrade the 68000 processor in a PB100?

A: The short answer is 'no'! One company in 1993-94 said they were going to make a 68030 upgrade for the Portable (and later for the PB100). But they never did. According to a 1993 Tidbits article, though, at least 2 prototypes were made at Apple with a 68030 chip.

Q: How do I get into my PB100?

A: You may need to do this for several reasons: to upgrade RAM or HD or to repair the power connector or fuse (see below), or install and internal modem. However, do not attempt this unless you are justifiably confident in your own ability to work carefully and patiently with small tools, following instructions to the letter! For a full description, see Opening your PowerBook 100. See also the link to the .pdf file containing a technical/reference for the PB100, which is referenced in the Resources on the Internet section.




Q: Can I access the Internet with a PB100?

A: Many people use their machine for newsgroup and e-mail purposes. Web access is likely to be tricky due to limited memory and a black-and-white display. Eudora Lite is frequently recommended for email purposes. One report says, "I use a 4 MB PB100 with Eudora Light 1.5.5 and NewsWatcher 2.1.6, together with Sys 7.0.1, MacPPP 2.0.1, MacTCP 2.0.6. In lieu of PPP 2.0.1 another user reportedly uses version 2.2.0a. This had the additional benefit of reporting connection speeds!
Another: "to get email on the PB 100...one needs to go to Eudora site and download 1.3.1 that will work on the 100...since it is a 68000 series PB running at 16 MHz, it cannot use even a earlier version of Netscape (such as 1.12) due to it being unable to use color QuickDraw.. ...It would HELP greatly if the PB 100 had at least 6 Mb of ram ... 8 Mb being the maximum amount of ram that the early Powerbooks (100-140-170) can have"
Another comment: "newspaper, an offline news reader, certainly worked when I used it." Stuart Bell has used MacWeb 2.0 with few problems, other than one that the background can go black at times, making black text on a black background hard to read! ;-). There is a patch for this, which can be found at the Macintosh SE Support Pages. This resource, maintained by Graham Adams, also sports a detailed discussion on the benefits and drawbacks of using one or an other of the various versions of MacWeb on a 68k machine. George Schreyer reports: Mosaic 1.03 works on a PB100 but it doesn't support many constructs that are found in more recent version of HTML. Forms and tables are not supported among other things.
To get help on surfing with older Macs, there are two most useful sites. Jag's house has page on web access for system 6 Macs with all the software (as a package or per application) to get you going. The other source is the Web Toolbox which has a page on how to get online with a 68000-class Macintosh. It offers you the possibility to download a disk image of a complete Internet ready system (7.01) for a Mac Classic. Detailed instructions on how to go about the download and installations are provided. I haven't tried to install the disk image on the PB100, which might or might not work. However, you can also download the various pieces of software: MacPPP 2.01/MacTCP 2.06, Internet Config, Eudora 1.5.5, MacWEb 2.0, NCSA Mosaic 1.03, NCSA Telnet.
(May 2000)

Q: How can I connect my PB100 to an Ethernet network?

A: There are three different ways of coupling a LocalTalk to an EtherTalk network: i) through a specific hardware device (a LocalTalk-Ethernet-Bridge), ii) through a device that connects to the PB100 SCSI port, iii) via a separate Mac that runs specific software. I'll discuss them in turn.
Bridges were made by firms such as Asanté, Focus, Farallon and others. They number of devices they can support on LocalTalk and route to Ethernet varies from 2-16. I am not familiar with the products by Asanté, Focus, although people have reported to use them without any problems. Farallon has two products, both called the EtherWave, that connect your PowerBook with a 10 Mbps Ethernet network using the LocalTalk (serial) port. The Printer Adapter and Mac/Powerbook Adapter include a serial driver which is claimed to boost the speed of the RS-422 port 5 times over the standard AppleTalk (230.4 Kbps) rate. The Printer Adapter gets its power from a separate power supply, the Mac/Powerbook Adapter can also draw power from an ADB port. There is yet another Etherwave device, somewhat misleadingly called Multi Printer Adapter (misleading, for you may connect any LocalTalk device). It also has a separate power supply. Your PB100 connects to it via an (included) PhoneNet Connector (that plugs into the PB100's serial port). Like the other two this adapter also has two RJ45 ports to connect it to your Ethernet. An important benefit of this adapter over the other two is that you may daisy-chain up to 8 LocalTalk devices. Furthermore, there's no need to install any software (your PB100 has standard AppleTalk capabilities). So if you have a LocalTalk printer, this may well be the adapter to buy, as it allows you to print from your PB100 and from your Ethernet machines without disconnecting and reconnecting anything. With none of the adapters, you have to reboot the machine when physically disconnecting it from the network. Reportedly, the adapters that connect to the serial port are suited for classic networking only - NOT Open Transport.
Dayna list two devices which provide 'pocket' SCSI <-> BNC/RJ-45 connections. Asante used to make EN/SC, a desktop SCSI/RJ45 solution with two SCSI ports, and selectable SCSI ID. The dark gray one is for the PB, but it's only available second hand. A user reports flawless experiences with it, and it offered Open Transport compatibility. However, as these adapters connect to the SCSI port you need to shut down before physically connecting or disconnecting to the Ethernet network.
A third way to connect your PB100 to an EtherTalk network requires an spare Mac. The spare Mac should be connected to the Ethernet network via one of the above SCSI devices and via its serial port to the LocalTalk network. The Apple LocalTalk Bridge is a piece of software (control panel device, cdev) installed on the spare Mac that interconnects the two networks, creating a full, integrated network that allows you to share files and print. One user reports: "At one time, I was working at a location which had an EtherTalk network. Originally configured with through the SCSI port, I found it very inconvenient to have to reboot every time I connected/disconnected from my desktop location. Resolved that by finding an old MacPlus in the company storage room. Connecting the SCSI Ethernet hardware to the Plus, I then used a LocalTalk Bridge to give the PB100 access to the network. Very elegant, and I no longer had to reboot to get on the network. Plugging in an AppleTalk connector to the printer port and double-clicking the server's alias was all I had to do to connect." The LocalTalk Bridge used to be a commercial product, however version 2.1, which supports Open Transport, is freely available from the software updates library from Apple. Apple's Technical Information Library contains an article on the LocalTalk Bridge. Please note that version 2.1 runs only on 68020 machines with system 7.1 or better (so not on the Plus mentioned). Older versions, such as version 1 do run on 68k machines, but are not available from the Apple site. You may download it from here (158 k).
(December 2000)



Q: What version of Mac OS should I use with my PB100?

A: PB100s were generally supplied with System 7.0.1. Make sure that yours has had the 7.0.1 'tune-up' applied to it: Select 'About this Macintosh' from the Apple menu, and check for a bullet point after the '7.0.1'. This is probably the best version for normal use. Versions up to 7.5.5 work fine, although some parts such as QuickTime won't install, and later versions take more memory and HD space. As the regular 7.5.5 installations installs all sort of extensions and color icons that are useless on the PB100, one reader suggests to install the bare-bones, Network Access Disk version of system 7.5. Being small enough to fit on one disk, it is very well suited to use with a RAM disk on larger PB100s. This system comes on the System 7.5 Network Access Disk and is really meant only to connect to a server to subsequently do a full installation. Parenthetically, Bert Bruynooghe reports that one should not try to reformat the original 20 Mb disk with system 7.5, it won't work.
Some users install System 6 to save memory and gain speed, particularly with smaller PB100s. System 6.0.8L was released specifically for the PB100; it is the recommended version if you want to use System 6 on the PB100, which you really should if you own one of the earliest 2 Mb/20 Mb PB100s (see the ReadMe). You may download it from here. It comes as two disk images: system start up and system additions, about 1 Mb each. They come as self extracting archives. Double clicking the .sea files will produce the disk images that you may subsequently transfer to two high density floppies. Dragging seems to work, you do not need Disk Copy. Other versions of System 6 seem to work, but Apple doesn't guarantee it! Even if MacOS 8 would fit on your PB100's HD, it would neither load in its RAM, nor run on its 68000 processor!

Q: What application software will run on the PB100?

A: Here's a list of one user (users with the modestly sized hard disks that the original PB100s were equipped with, will not be able to squeeze all of this on their 20 or 40 Mb disks):

  • ClarisWorks 3.0
  • Eudora 1.5.1
  • Quicken 6.0
  • InTouch 2.1.1 (contact organizer)
  • Aldus Personal Press 2.0.1
  • American Heritage Dictionary 3.0
  • SoundWave 1.2.1
  • SilverLining 5.42
  • Universal SoftPC 2.5.2, DOS 6.22 (always surprises folks...)
  • Word 5.1a (OK, OK - but I have been installing CW for Windows)
  • Excel 4.0 on as many of those OTHER machines as I can!!!)
  • DeltaGraph Professional 2.0.3
  • PowerPoint 3.0b
  • AccessPC 2.01
  • Connectix PowerBook Utilities 1.0j
  • MasterJuggler 1.58
  • STATsimple, a simple though not simplistic program; according to its author Chris Pereira it is fully 68000 compatible, all the way down to the MacPlus. It seems t work well on a PB100 with 4 Mb RAM, even under System 6.08L (Chris mentions System 7.1 as a minimal requirement).

Q: Which version of ClarisWorks is most appropriate for use with a PB100?

A: All versions up to ClarisWorks 3.0 work. ClarisWorks 4.0 doesn't install. Perhaps the most appropriate version is 2.1, but 3.0's OK, if a little chunky in the disk space it takes up. A useful 3.0 installation is about 6 Mb and a 975K recommended partition size. A similar 2.1 installation is only 3 Mb with a 950K recommended partition size. The last 2.1 version was 2.1v4. Version 1.0 works OK, but is a little featureless! Updaters are available from all 2.x versions. One user says, "I like 3.x, but custom install it (no telecom, clipart or templates)" The file structure for ClarisWorks 2.0, 2.1 and 3.0 are identical, and match that for ClarisWorks for Windows 3.0. The ClarisWorks 4.0 file structure is different. CW1.0 came on 6 800K floppies. CW2.0 on 2 1.44 Mb floppies, CW 2.1 on 3 1.44 Mb floppies and CW 4.0 on 6 1.44 Mb floppies. Another user comments:
"ClarisWorks 3.0 works beautifully on a PB100. I've been using it for over a year and have almost never had to resort to the "heavy hitter" programs.
The word processor is perfectly adequate for most general purposes, including headers and footers, auto numbered footnotes, etc. but does not do tables of contents, indexes, etc. and lacks some of the fancier style functions--you can make up for many of the deficiencies by making separate files for the fancy elements, then using "publish and subscribe" to link them to the main document. The paint/draw functions are also basis but work fairly well. You can do simple graphics work, newsletters and so on without too much trouble. I don't use the "Assistants" much but they look okay.
The spreadsheet is adequate. The database is relatively unsophisticated but not bad if your needs are simple. Transporting data from one to another can be a pain but is doable.
(Often, the easiest way is to save the spreadsheet data as text, then import that into the database--things sometimes go wrong when importing an SS into a DB directly.
The XTND translators open Mac and PC files well but, of course, CW3 doesn't include the translators for Word 6, Excel 5 and other recent programs. (I just ask people to save their files in an earlier format, or "cheat" by modifying the "creator" information on files until I find a way of getting them to open.
I've never had CW3 crash or hang up on me, but I've got 4 MB of RAM. I don't know how well it would work with 2 MB--my selection of fonts and doodads pushes System 7.1 up above 2 MB with the fax and pdf drivers, and it's still 900k loaded without extensions. My guess is you'd want to use the smallest number of fonts and extras if you work on long documents. However, I've done things like open all the chapters of a novel for a global search-and-replace operation without any trouble."  

Q: What about Microsoft products?

A: The compilers of this FAQ do not wish to encourage the purchase and use of such products. If you need more functionality than ClarisWorks can provide, then you probably need a more powerful computer. Certainly, no current version of major Microsoft applications will run sensibly, even if they'll fit on your PB100. But if you must, here's one user's advice:
"Excel 4.0 and Word 5.1, as well as ClarisWorks 3 were the last versions to support 68000 processors. All of the above work (and fit) fine on a PB100. Claris bundled an application with CW4 that converts files from CW4 to CW3 formats in support of the 68000 models. Microsoft, in a rare humanitarian gesture, also makes a Word6-to-Word5 converter for Word 5, enabling PB100 or other 68000 machines to use files created by more current software. Excel users must request providers to save files in the Excel 4.0 format, which does not support the Workbook."

Q: What utilities are particularly appropriate for the PB100? (See some of the resources listed below for generally applicable Mac and PowerBook utilities.)

A: One user writes, "If running system 7, I'd get MyBattery from Jeremy Kezer, and/or selectively install his Control Strip Modules. The former enables you to see how the battery really works, the latter allows much slicker AppleTalk, Sleep and sharing controls. His clock takes up less memory than SuperClock, too!" Jeremy Kezer has also written a little program called Treshold, which may or may not be the same. Allegedly, it allows one to use an external battery whithout being bothered by the pb100 putting itself to sleep. Treshold may be downloaded (44 kb hqx archive).

Q: What languages can I use to program my PB100?

All current program development environments are liable to over-stretch the resources of your PB100. Back when the PB100 first came out, Symantec's Think C 5.0.4 was the preferred compiler. For the Pascal devotee, Symantec's Think Pascal is recommended. Reportedly, both are freeware now and should be downloadable from the Symantic ftp-site.
You may also want to look into running the UNIX variant, Minix. It runs as an application under the Finder. See Andrew Tannenbaum FAQ for general minix information and the macminix FAQ for specific information on the mac version of minix.

Q: What games work well on the PB100?

A: Game selection is a very personal thing. Having said that, the PB100 has some interesting possibilities, like emulating a Mac ][. Brandan Weartly reports: 'Right now, I'm running ][ in a Mac in the default configuration on a PB100 4/20 running System 6.0.7L, and it's worked really well, with a few caveats. The ][ in a Mac software is available for download from emulation.net in the Apple ][ section (click the Apple II icon in the Finderlike list), and you'll probably want to scroll to the bottom of that page and pick up the Image Converter utility as well, since ][ in a Mac uses a non standard disk image format. I haven't played with it too extensively, but I've noticed that the emulator seems to have trouble with disk images whose originals were copy protected, then cracked. I haven't gotten classics like Phantasie or Deathlord to work at all, but that still leaves a lot of software, particularly on the entertainment side, which helps out a lot during those long trips.

PB100 Resources

Q: Are there any manuals for the PB100?

A: There are three manuals available on this site. The Developer Note, which describes the features that are new and different from those of the Macintosh Portable (Article n8980 in Apple's TIL details the differences between the PB100 and the Mac Portable). The Service Source, which contains chapters on technical specifications, trouble shooting and the like. And, finally, the User Guide. It is similar to your regular user manual that comes boxed with the machine, the only difference being that it serves PowerBooks 100 and 140/170 at the same time. All files are available either as straight Acrobat files (uncompressed) or as binhexed, self extracting archives (compressed). The binhexed version is larger and may be downloaded using the table below, the self extracting archives may be downloaded from here.


Uncompressed pdf


Developer Note

425 Kb

531 Kb

Service Source

909 Kb

828 Kb

User Guide

3300 Kb

3520 Kb

All documents are Adobe Acrobat files, so you'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read them. The documents may appear slightly damaged, letters in boxes may for instance be chopped off. What exactly causes this is unclear (cf. discussions on the PB100 list), however, the damage does not significantly hamper legibility. Version 1.0 of the Acrobat Reader is needed to read the manuals on a 68000-based machine such as the PB100 (you will be able to read the documents with higher versions of the Acrobat Reader too). The 1.0 reader is also available for download. It comes as four separate binhexed files, 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Once you've downloaded the four files they will extract themselves (after double-clicking them) to produce four folders. Now you must transfer the contents of the four folders to four 1.4 Mb floppy discs, making sure to give the disks the same names as the folders. Finally, install onto your HD from the floppies. Make sure you do not drag the resulting folders to the disks. The installer won't work then (it will tell you that the disks have the right name, but the wrong contents).

Thanks to Simon Storey for supplying the User Guide and version 1.0 of the Acrobat Reader.

Q: What resources are to be found on the Internet for PB100 users?

A: Here follows a list of resources:


Q Where to buy hardware for my PB100

A: Quite on purpose, this FAQ has never listed any commercial information on where to buy second hand PB100s and where to buy replacement parts. The idea was that such information was readily available on the web and of a local nature. After all, it doesn't make much sense to buy a PB100 in California if you live in The Netherlands! One piece of advice, if you're going to search the web for a particular item, use the Apple part number, this narrows down your search rapidly. ICN lists part numbers.
However, with the machine getting older, resources are becoming harder to find. Moreover, Internet trade is also becoming much more common and reliable. Therefore, I've decided to add this article. First of all, bear in mind that the PB100 list still is the best starting point for these kinds of questions, as the information provided by the list members is most up to date. Here I will just list names of vendors that came up there or that I've dealt with myself. One final caveat, being mentioned here does in no way guarantee the availability of goods nor their quality, nor the reliability of the vendor. It just is what it is, a starting point for your search.

(FAQ source)