Macintosh LC 475
26th Jan 2006, 12:54:09
I've wanted a 'Pizza Box' style Mac for some time. I finally gave in and bought one. It's proving to be a lot of fun...
According to my favorite old Mac site, Low End Mac, The LC 475 is the latest and greatest of the LC series. Unlike the LC and LC II, it is not limited to 10 MB RAM, nor does it cripple the 32-bit 68LC040 CPU with a 16-bit bus, this is 32-bit clean.
The LC 475 was also branded as the Performa 47[5|6], which also shared the LC III case. The Quadra 605 is identical in specification, but has a different (better looking) case.
So, finally, my new-old Mac arrived in the post:
When I turned it on it sounded like it booted fine, but there was no image on the monitor. Rembering my old IIfx, I thought this was due to a flat PRAM battery and I was right. A visit to Maplin for a ER3S battery cured it, but also relieved me of £5 >:-(
The LC had System 7.1 already installed. It also has a 8 MB SIMM in it, giving 12 MB of RAM. I had to reinstall the Mac OS myself for four reasons:
- I never trust anybody to install an Operating System for me,
- I like to know that I can reinstall a system if I have to in future,
- I wanted to swap out the 160 MB HD for a 1 GB drive I had spare
- and finally I never trust anybody to install an Operating System for me :-)
I got some System 7.1 disks from a link on the Home Page of Gamba. Grab System Update 3.0 while you're there, it has buxfixes you'll need later. Not having a computer with a floppy drive, it was not easy to create physical disks.
I borrowed a USB floppy drive and plugged it in to our B&W Power Mac G3 running Debian Linux. I used stuffit to decompress the .hqx files and copied the resulting disk image files over to my G3. This command wrote out each image:
# dd if='Name of Image.img' of=/dev/sda bs=84 skip=1
To explain, the bs=84 skip=1 is needed to strip the diskcopy headers from the image, which don't form part of the floppy disk I want to make. If you don't have Linux, there are several other options on the pickle's Low-End Mac FAQ.
I started out by using the Disk Tools floppy disk, because I had installed an unformatted 1 GB hard disk. Apparently, Apple's HD SC Setup doesn't like SCSI drives that lack Apple's firmware. Not to worry though, there's a patched version of HD SC Setup. I got this file on to the disk by putting the old hard disk back in, booting system 7 and copying the file across to the Disk Tools floppy. I also needed System Enabler 065 in the sytem folder of the Disk Tools and Install disks.
I put the 1GB drive back in, booted the LC from the Disk Tools floppy and ran HD SC Setup. I initialized (sic) the disk and created two partitions, one for System 7 and an A/UX partition to use for a Debian installation I have planned for later.
Once I had the hard disk sorted, I booted from the Install floppy and System 7 installed without a hitch. Here's the desktop:
What's the first thing you do with a 1994 Mac? Play SimCity 2000 of course! Ahh, just like my Amiga 1200 all over again, sniff:
My next thought was "How can I make this thing faster?" From what I read on the Web, getting rid of the 68LC040 and dropping in a full 040 seemed to be a popular upgrade, so that's what I did. For someone used to ZIF sockets, this was not a comfortable excercise! The old CPU needed to be gently prised out with several small, flat-bladed screwdrivers and the new one pressed carefully, yet firmly into the socket. The 68040 came with a tiny heatsink, so I clipped that on too. "I swear, it feels snappier!!!11oneeleven" :-P
I learnt three things about the 68040:
- According to the Wikipedia article about the 68LC040 it isn't possible to install Debian with an LC040 due to the lack of a (useful) FPU.
- A 68040 from an Amiga can be used, but don't get a 68EC040 - this is worse because it lacks both an FPU and MMU! The model number of my full 040 is XC68040HRC25M.
- A 25 or 33MHz 040 can be used, but it will run at 25MHz unless one clock-chips the logic board.
Some more pictures of interest (?)
I also gave it a bit of a clean in there while I was swapping CPUs! Here's the LC with the case off.
A close up of the logic board.
See also Debian Linux on a Mac LC.