Macintosh Classic Project: Part 3

The moment I’ve been waiting for since June…

The 1991 Macintosh Classic is up and running again.

Back in late May I got the Classic up and running with a recapped logic board and an ADB keyboard and mouse. However, I made one flaw – I didn’t get the analog board recapped at that time. I didn’t want to remove the analog board from the computer unless necessary because it is requires working with the CRT, which is dangerous and easy to break. (In my Classic, the CRT is in really good condition.)

As luck would have it, the analog board decided to fail less than a week after getting the Classic buttoned up. The hard drive refused to spin-up, the CRT had display issues, and inserting a floppy would crash the machine and throw it into a “chime cycle.” See for yourself:

Symptoms of the failed analog board

After months of waiting, I finally found someone to conquer the task of replacing the old capacitors and cleaning the board up. I mustered up the courage to remove the analog board from the computer.

Thankfully, as mentioned in the previous update, the analog board mostly came out of the computer without a fight. The only difficulties was the stubborn anode cap and packaging the analog board for shipping. (None of my anti-static bags were large enough.)

Tonight, I finally got the boards back and got them installed.

Thomas of Amiga of Rochester did a decent job replacing the capacitors and cleaning the board. According to him (and his pictures) the board was extremely dirty. So dirty that the leaked electrolyte, unfortunately, ate away at some of the silkscreen on the traces. Thankfully, the traces themselves were still intact so no jumper or “bodge” wires were necessary.

The extent of the damage to the silkscreen on back of the analog board. (Photo: Thomas, Amiga of Rochester.)
The repaired analog board

Installing the board back in the computer was much easier than I anticipated – it was almost about the same as removing the board in reverse. The anode cap was still slightly stubborn, but I eventually got it in.

After reinstalling the boards and connecting everything back up, I plugged in the machine for a smoke test. Thankfully, the machine booted – no smoke, no sparks, no flames, and no bangs.

The Classic booted with no problems. Just as before the analog board failed, the hard drive and floppy drives both seem to work fine.

Before heading to work, I had just enough time to play a couple rounds of Crystal Quest and create a “teaser” in MacPaint.

A MacPaint “teaser” I made

I’m extremely excited to get the Classic back up and running. While the recent addition of the 1988 Macintosh SE is nice, the Classic is a better machine with its internal 40 MB hard drive, System 6 in ROM, and the Apple SuperDrive which allows me to use high-density floppies. (The only thing I can do with my SE currently is load System 6.0.8 and TeachText, as all my software is on high-density disks.) The Classic also looks nicer and doesn’t smell of stale cigarette smoke.

What’s Next?

Believe it or not, part 3 is not the end of the Macintosh Classic project. I have a couple additional things to do to it.

First is to coat the exposed traces on the analog board with nail polish to protect it from the elements and humidity. Thankfully, this shouldn’t be too difficult. At the same time, I’m going to (finally) install the two extra megabytes of RAM on the memory expansion card, bringing the machine total to its maximum of 4 MB.

Later, I’m planning on purchasing a FloppyEmu to share between the Classic and SE. The FloppyEmu will not only allow me to transfer files and software between my modern MacBook Pro and the Classic and SE, but will also allow me to create a “hard disk” volume for the SE so I’m not limited to 800k disks. This addition will allow me to achieve my goal of being able to use the Classic for some word processing.

A FloppyEmu will allow me to transfer files not only between my modern Mac and these vintage Macs, but will also allow me to use more software (and create a “hard disk” volume) with the 1988 Macintosh SE.

Last, I plan on removing the floppy drives out of both the Classic and SE at a later time (likely December) to clean and lubricate them. The floppy drives on the SE seem to work really well, but the SuperDrive in the Classic seems to be a little flaky when inserting disks into the drive. I’d also like to get some PRAM batteries for the Classic so I don’t need to worry about resetting settings like screen brightness or the time and date every time I boot the machine.

At some point in the future I’d also like to get an ImageWriter II, which will allow me to print directly from the Classic or SE. But that’s probably going to come in the far future.

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