Code Name: Jedi
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The PowerBook 150 replaced the 25 MHz PB 145b. It offered the faster performance at a lower price and was the final model in the 140-145-145b-150 line of economical PowerBooks. It was also the lightest of the line and its battery rated at 2.5 hours, about 30 minutes longer than previous models. Finally, the 150 sported a 640 x 480 display, the same size as a regular monitor.
Using the same memory modules as the Duos, the PB 150 was far more expandable (to 40 MB!) than other PowerBooks in the 100-180 series. The PB 150 was also the first PowerBook to use an IDE hard drive.
As a cost-saving measure, Apple used a pretty poor LCD and left out the ADB port. The 150 was the only PowerBook without an ADB port. This helps earns it the Compromised Mac designation.
- introduced 1994.07.18 at US$1,300; discontinued 1995.10.14
- requires System 7.1.1 (with PowerBook 150 Enabler) to 7.6.1, supports Mac OS 8.1 with Born Again
- CPU: 33 MHz 68030
- FPU: none
- ROM: 1 MB
- RAM: 4 MB, expandable to 40 MB using a single Duo RAM card
- display: 9.5" 4-bit 640 x 400 79 ppi passive matrix
- 80 MB, 120 MB, or 250 MB IDE hard drive standard
- ADB port: none
- serial ports: 1 DIN-8 RS-422 port on back of computer
- SCSI ports: HDI30 connector on back of computer
- hard drive: 120 or 250 MB IDE hard drive (this was the first PowerBook to use an IDE hard drive rather than a SCSI drive.)
- proprietary modem slot
- Gestalt ID: 115
- Size (HxWxD): 2.25" x 11.25" x 9.3"
- weight: 5.8 pounds
- power supply: APS-17adp - 17W, 2A
Accelerators & Upgrades
- Low End Mac's best classic Mac OS deals. Best online prices for System 6, 7.1, 7.5.x, Mac OS 7.6, 8.0, 8.1, 8.5, 9.0, 9.2.2, and other versions.
- Mac 'Book power management adventures, Charles Moore, 'Book Value, 2009.05.19. If your 'Book won't power up, shuts down while your working, or has other power issues, resetting its internal power manager may clear things up.
- Why you should partition your Mac's hard drive, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2008.12.11. "At the very least, it makes sense to have a second partition with a bootable version of the Mac OS, so if you have problems with your work partition, you can boot from the 'emergency' partition to run Disk Utility and other diagnostics."
- Creating Classic Mac boot floppies in OS X, Paul Brierley, The 'Book Beat, 2008.08.07. Yes, it is possible to create a boot floppy for the Classic Mac OS using an OS X Mac that doesn't have Classic. Here's how.
- The compressed air keyboard repair, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2008.07.24. If your keyboard isn't working as well as it once did, blasting under the keys with compressed air may be the cure.
- My 4 favorite PowerBooks, Carl Nygren, My Turn, 2008.05.28. The PowerBook 150 has a big screen for a vintage PowerBook, the 165c has color, the 100 is diminutive, and Lombard has USB and a great keyboard.
- A vintage Mac network can be as useful as a modern one, Carl Nygren, My Turn, 2008.04.08. Old Macs can exchange data and share an Internet connection very nicely using Apple's old LocalTalk networking.
- PowerBook 150 still a winner, Carl Nygren, My Turn, 2008.03.27. An ancient PowerBook can be a great portable for word processing and email - and it can even browse the Web.
- Lean word processing, PowerBook 150 drawbacks, Mac ethernet issues, and more, Dan Knight, Low End Mac Mailbag, 2008.03.27. Also thoughts on WordPerfect, Microsoft Word, MacWrite, ClarisWorks, WriteNow, and Bean, and FireWire with modern iPods.
- Vintage Mac networking and file exchange, Adam Rosen, Adam's Apple, 2007.12.19. How to network vintage Macs with modern Macs and tips on exchanging files using floppies, Zip disks, and other media.
- Better Classic emulation, Leopard on any G3?, CardBus and Compact Flash, and more, Dan Knight, Low End Mac Mailbag, 2007.12.18. Also where to find even older versions of BBEdit Lite, more oddball Mac video connections, installing System 7 on a PowerBook with no install disks, and lockups when faking out the Leopard installer.
- Solving Mac startup problems, Adam Rosen, Adam's Apple, 2007.12.12. When your old Mac won't boot, the most likely culprits are a dead PRAM battery or a failed (or failing) hard drive.
- Better and safer surfing with Internet Explorer and the Classic Mac OS, Max Wallgren, Mac Daniel, 2007.11.06. Tips on which browsers work best with different Mac OS versions plus extra software to clean cookies and caches, detect viruses, handle downloads, etc.
- Hacking Mac OS 7.6.1 so many Mac OS 8 apps will run, Max Wallgren, Mac Daniel, 2007.10.30. With a little ResEdit work and a second copy of your System Folder, you can run a lot of OS 8 apps with Mac OS 7.6.1.
- Simple Macs for simple tasks, Tommy Thomas, Welcome to Macintosh, 2007.10.19. Long live 680x0 Macs and the classic Mac OS. For simple tasks such as writing, they can provide a great, low distraction environment.
- OS X MacBook 'blows Vista out of the water', PB 150 boots from Compact Flash, iDock laptop stands, and more, The 'Book Review, 2007.10.12. Also Seagate Momentus hybrid hard drive speeds booting and extends battery life, Apple MagSafe airline adapter, calibrating your 'Book's battery, replacement batteries, bargain 'Books from $200 to $2,688, and more.
- Mac System 7.5.5 can do anything Mac OS 7.6.1 can, Tyler Sable, Classic Restorations, 2007.06.04. Yes, it is possible to run Internet Explorer 5.1.7 and SoundJam with System 7.5.5. You just need to have all the updates - and make one modification for SoundJam.
- Silence is golden: Running your existing notebook using flash memory, Dan Knight, Low End Mac Reviews, 2007.05.23. With a new adapter from Addonics, you can replace your laptop's IDE hard drive inexpensively and boot silently from a Compact Flash card.
- Appearance Manager allows Internet Explorer 5.1.7 to work with Mac OS 7.6.1, Max Wallgren, Mac Daniel, 2007.05.23. Want a fairly modern browser with an old, fast operating system? Mac OS 7.6.1 plus the Appearance Manager and Internet Explorer may be just what you want.
- Format any drive for older Macs with patched Apple tools, Tyler Sable, Classic Restorations, 2007.04.25. Apple HD SC Setup and Drive Setup only work with Apple branded hard drives - until you apply the patches linked to this article.
- First Blu-ray drive for Apple's 'Books, replace notebook hard drive with Compact Flash, and more, The 'Book Review, 2007.04.13. Also 160 GB 7200 rpm hard drives, upgrading from a MacBook Pro to a MacBook, Waterfield's flexible new Sling bag, bargain 'Books from $170 to $1,699, and more.
- Making floppies and CDs for older Macs using modern Macs, Windows, and Linux PCs, Tyler Sable, Classic Restorations, 2007.03.15. Older Macs use HFS floppies and CDs. Here are the free resources you'll need to write floppies or CDs for vintage Macs using your modern computer.
- Getting notebook design 'just right', Andrew J Fishkin, The Mobile Mac, 2006.12.05. Some notebooks have just the right mix of design, quality, and features, while others fall short in one or more categories.
- System 7 Today, advocates of Apple's 'orphan' Mac OS 7.6.1, Tommy Thomas, Welcome to Macintosh, 2006.10.26. Why Mac OS 7.6.1 is far better for 68040 and PowerPC Macs than System 7.5.x.
- 30 days of old school computing: No real hardships, Ted Hodges, Vintage Mac Living, 2006.10.11. These old black-and-white Macs are just fine for messaging, word processing, spreadsheets, scheduling, contact management, and browsing the Web.
- 30 days of old school computing: Increasing battery life with a RAM disk, Ted Hodges, Vintage Mac Living, 2006.09.14. When using the hard drive, the old battery ran out of juice within 30 minutes, but running from a RAM disk it still has a 50% charge after half an hour.
- 30 days of old school computing: Computing at work with a PowerBook 170, Ted Hodges, Vintage Mac Living, 2006.09.08. This vintage Mac laptop's battery still holds a charge, and it's a competent performer for browsing the Web, email, writing, and instant messaging.
- Mac OS 8 and 8.1: Maximum size, maximum convenience, Tyler Sable, Classic Restorations, 2006.09.11. Mac OS 8 and 8.1 add some useful new features and tools, and it can even be practical on 68030-based Macs.
- Inside your notebook's battery: Ordinary AA Li-Ion cells, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2006.09.08. That expensive battery in your notebook computer probably holds less than $30 worth of off-the-shelf AA Li-Ion batteries.
- Replacing the Internal Disk of a PowerBook 150 with a Compact Flash Card, Greg. It's possible to boot the PB 150 from Compact Flash, but it takes some trickery to make it work.
- Need for a midrange Mac, Internet café needs, internal or external 7200 rpm drive?, LEM broken with IE 4.5, and more, Dan Knight, Low End Mac Mailbag, 2006.06.27. Suggested ways to use Compact Flash with vintage Macs and PowerBooks, problems getting CD-RW to work with a PowerBook 1400, and more thoughts on website incompatibilities.
- Compact Flash with SCSI Macs, PB 1400 CD-RW upgrade problems, and Web incompatibilities, Dan Knight, Low End Mac Mailbag, 2006.06.16. Suggested ways to use Compact Flash with vintage Macs and PowerBooks, problems getting CD-RW to work with a PowerBook 1400, and more thoughts on website incompatibilities.
- Moving files from your new Mac to your vintage Mac, Paul Brierley, The 'Book Beat, 2006.06.13. Old Macs use floppies; new ones don't. Old Macs use AppleTalk; Tiger doesn't support it. New Macs can burn CDs, but old CD drives can't always read CD-R. So how do you move the files?
- System 7.6.1 is perfect for many older Macs, John Martorana, That Old Mac Magic, 2006.03.24. Want the best speed from your old Mac? System 7.6.1 can give you that with a fairly small memory footprint - also helpful on older Macs.
- System 7.5 and Mac OS 7.6: The beginning and end of an era, Tyler Sable, Classic Restorations, 2006.02.15. System 7.5 and Mac OS 7.6 introduced many new features and greater modernity while staying within reach of most early Macintosh models.
- Web browser tips for the classic Mac OS, Nathan Thompson, Embracing Obsolescence, 2006.01.03. Tips on getting the most out of WaMCom, Mozilla, Internet Explorer, iCab, Opera, and WannaBe using the classic Mac OS.
- Which system software is best for my vintage Mac?, Tyler Sable, Classic Restorations, 2005.11.22. Which system software works best depends to a great extent on just which Mac you have and how much RAM is installed.
- Why you should use Mac OS 7.6 to get the most out of vintage Macs, Thomas Ahart, The Productive Mac, 2005.12.12. Although you may be able to run OS 8 or 9 on your old Mac, you'll generally find better performance using Mac OS 7.6.
- Upgrade: Add ADB to the PowerBook 150, Michael Fincham, Applefritter, 2003.03.04. One of the three or four reasons the PB 150 is considered a "Road Apple" is lack of ADB - now you can fix that one.
- Replacing the Internal Disk of a Powerbook 150 with a CompactFlash Card, Greg, undated
- The 10 worst Macs ever built, Remy Davison, Insanely Great Mac, 2001.08.06
- The PowerBook 150, Orion Lawlor. You can download a stuffed copy of the PB 150 Utility disk from Lawlor's page.
- Run Mac OS 8.1 on your '030 Mac, Charles Moore, Applelinks, 2000.08.08. "Born Again enables certain 68030 Macs to support Mac OS 8.1."
- PowerBook history, Adam Robert Guha, Apple Archive, 2000.05.12. A history of portable Macs from 1989 through 1996.
- Games for '030s, Brian Rumsey, Low End Mac Gaming, 2000.05.26. A look at games that run nicely on the old 68030-based Macs.
- Recovering a stolen PowerBook, The 'Book Page. One user's experience.
- Faster browsing on older Macs, Mac Online Tech Journal
- Email lists: PowerBooks, Classic Macs Digest, Vintage Macs
- Links to System 6.0.8 and 7.0.1
- PowerBook 150 Technical Specifications, Apple Knowledge Base Archive
- The PowerBook 150 does not support SCSI Disk Mode.
- One source notes that PB 150s with 120 MB hard drives are sometimes troublesome on LocalTalk networks. He notes this can not only slow down the LocalTalk network, but even cause other machines to crash.
- The 100-series and 500-series PowerBooks do not provide SCSI termination power, depending on external SCSI devices to provide it. For more details, see SCSI Termination Power.
- The internal hard drive must be formatted with Internal HD Format, never with a third-party utility. Installing a third-party drive will make it impossible to boot from the internal drive; the only solution is to perform a low level format with Internal HD Format. (Be sure to backup first!)
- Serial port limited to 57.6 kbps; throughput using a 56k modem may be limited. See 56k modem page.
- Apple has discontinued support and parts orders for this model. You may be able to find dealers with parts inventory either locally or on our parts and service list.
Low End Mac Reader Specials
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The Mac Observer
Accelerate Your Mac
The Vintage Mac Museum
Mac Driver Museum
System 6 Heaven
System 7 Today
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