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PRAM (bacup) batteries
The PRAM battery for iMacs and G3/G4 towers is a smallish cylindrical 3.6v (or 3.7v) lithium battery. Some are green-and-white, some are red/silver/yellow, some are blue-and-white, some are purple-and-green. A suggested good battery voltage range is 3.39v to 3.69v. A battery showing a lower voltage is considered 'bad', and should be recycled.

All G3 ibooks and G4 12" ibooks do not have a PRAM battery. They use a capacitor to supply enough power to maintain the clock and PRAM contents for about 20 seconds while changing a system battery. This is documented at and .


Edgy software update I cloned an Edgy HD for an iMac on Saturday and then updated the distribution. Before starting the update, I edited /etc/apt/sources.list to enable the edgy-backports repositories. The resulting update consisted of what looked to me like 50+ packages, or about a 160 Mbyte download.

At the same time, FG is preparing to migrate its PC installation Ubuntu version to Feisty Fawn (7.04). Mac Build should either replace its Edgy HD images with updated images, or with Feisty images, or both. There have been dual-processor G4 Mac tower machines showing up, so adding an image for that would seem to be in order.


HD Replicator, using Feisty
I created Feisty (7.04) rsync archive images for imac and g4. During that process the edgy imac image was destroyed. Rather than recreate that image, I made the Feisty images the defaults, and removed the dvse and g3 images from the replicator selector window. The next g3 and dvse installations should be done using the CD, and the completed installation/configuration captured from the resulting HD. Then they can be added back to the replicator selector. The installations don't have to be on new machines. We could replace an existing dvse installation, for example.

CD Eject kdb key
Some Mac keyboards have a special CD eject key. Under Ubuntu the default behavior ot that key is ill-defined in some cases. Some typical behaviors are a tray re-opening immediately after closing, or immediately closing after opening (trying to remove a CD, for example. One workaround is to redefine the Eject key in the Keyboard Shortcuts preferences (System->Preferences->Keyboard Shortcuts). I used the F15 key (white uncovered keyboard on a G4 800 LCD). This didn't work perfectly, but it works better than the default. This needs a little more investigation. This workaround was the first one I saw with Google.

Some Projects that need attention
A spate of G4 machines arrived on Friday from Dark Horse Comics, in various states of disrepair. There were several of the big white eMacs. Sergio says these may be repairable by an authorized Apple shop if they exhibit certain symptoms and fall into certain serial number ranges. He had used MacForce in the past to do this. One of the qualifiers is 'date of purchase' according to Apple. MacForce may not do it for donated machines at FreeGeek, but it is worth an inquiry. Otherwise it will be an exercise of trying recombine working parts into working machines.

There were also a couple of Mirror Drive Door G4s. Together with other ones like this that we have stashed away, there may be enough working parts to cobble whole machine together. There are a variety of configurations (cpu speed, single/dual cpu, FSB speed). This will require a little research to see if there are enough matching things to build a system.

Earlier last week a G4 733 QS came in. It was gutted, but may have enough parts to combine with another 733 QS that we have stashed to make a working machine. Worth a looksee.


G4/QS 733 rebuild attempt
Dan (Stein?) worked on the two G4/QS 733 machines yesterday. He swapped processors and logic boards. There was only one CD cage between the two machines, which was moved to the machine that seemed to POST (issued a power-up chime). After rebuilding that machine, it no longer posted, but the power button light would illuminate briefly. I researched the problem a bit on the internet. Here is the best survey of 'things to try' that I have found so far:


Target Disk Mode"
Kathey Sutter, volunteer and collaboration consultant, asked MacBuild to help her transfer her data from her Mac OSX iBook back to the same iBook after Ubuntu was installed. To that end she and Loren transferred the contents of the ibook hard drive to temporary storage on the MacBuild resident iMac. After Ubuntu was installed on the iBook (NOT dual boot), the question arose (a little late IMHO) about how to get the saved data back onto the iBook. The solution was to connect the iMac (with the data) to the iBook with a Firewire cable and boot the iMac in Target Disk Mode so that it would show up in the iBook as an external device. Ubuntu handles this automatically, recognizing and mounting the device. Kathey enlisted Martin to help her do this. She said there were some permission issues that had to be overcome, and I asked her to let me know exactly what they did so that I could add the whole process to MacBuild Tips 'n Tricks.