Apple replaced the Mac 512K with a model supporting double-sided 3.5″ disks, just like the Mac Plus. Unlike the Plus, the 512Ke used RAM chips rather than SIMMs, just like the 128K and 512K. This precluded upgrading RAM beyond 512 KB by simply plugging in higher capacity chips, although some companies did make memory upgrade kits for the 512Ke.
The 512Ke and Mac Plus were the last Macs not to use ADB ports for the keyboard and mouse – and the first to use mini DIN-8 serial ports.
Except for the name on the front, the 512Ke looks just like the Mac Plus pictured here. The biggest differences were the amount and type of RAM and the lack of a SCSI port on the 512Ke.
- Got a compact Mac? Join our Vintage Macs Group or Vintage Macs Forum.
- Our System 6 Group and our System 6 Forum are for anyone using Mac System 6.
You can convert a non-working compact Mac into a Macquarium. (Please, don’t even think of converting a working one!)
- introduced 1986.04.14 at $2,000; discontinued 1987.09.01
- code name: Mac Minus
- Gestalt ID: 3
- Order no.: M0001E, M0001D (education version)
- upgrade path: Plus
- works with System 3.0 through 6.0.8
- addressing: 24-bit only
- CPU: 8 MHz 68000
- ROM: 128 KB
- RAM: 512 KB, expandable to 2 MB with party upgrades
- 0.8, relative to SE
- 0.7 MIPS
- 9″ b&w screen, 512 x 342 pixels
- floppy drive: 800KB double-sided
- floppy connector on back of computer
- keyboard attached via coiled telephone-like cable
- mouse attached via DB-9 connector
- serial ports: DB-9 modem and printer ports
- size (HxWxD): 13.6″ x 9.6″ x 10.9″
- Weight: 16.5 lb.
- PRAM battery: 4.5V PX 21 (a.k.a. Eveready 523, ANSI 1306AP, IEC 5LR50)
- power supply: 60W
- Mac Plus logic board (gives more RAM plus SCSI)
- Guide to Compact Macs, a quick overview of Apple’s 10 compact Macs.
- The Compressed Air Keyboard Repair, Charles W 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.
- Tales of old Mac data retrieval, Adam Rosen, Adam’s Apple, 2008.06.13. Getting apps and documents off 400K floppies, old disk images, and a Mac running System 5.
- 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.
- 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.
- Getting Inside Vintage Macs and Swapping Out Bad Parts, Adam Rosen, Adam’s Apple, 2007.12.14. When an old Mac dies, the best source of parts is usually another dead Mac with different failed parts.
- Antique Macs are still useful computers, Charles W Moore, From the MacCave, 2008.09.09. Charles W Moore’s first online article looks at the utility of compact Macs – and foreshadows his longterm affection for PowerBooks.
- Unreliable Macs, future Apple CPUs, replacing a Mac Plus mouse, and more, Dan Knight, Low End Mac Mailbag, 2008.08.12. Also Windows Media Player content that doesn’t work on Macs, Leopard on a 700 MHz iMac G4, Apple’s $99 Pro Care service, and CPU options.
- 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.
- A (Mac) classic spookfest, Tommy Thomas, Welcome to Macintosh, 2007.10.31. How to set up those old compact Macs with screen savers to enhance your Halloween experience.
- 4 steps for resurrecting old Macs, Sonic Purity, Mac Daniel, 2007.07.18. Hardware problems may be solved with a thorough cleaning, deoxidizing electrical contacts, replacing failed capacitors, and/or repairing broken solder joints.
- Leopard compatibility list, bad capacitors kill Macs, 1 GHz G3 upgrade resurrected, and more, Dan Knight, Low End Mac Mailbag, 2007.06.26. Also tips for troublesome OS X installs, ‘About This Mac’ sometimes lies, PowerBook advice, and aluminum PowerBook design.
- The Truth About CRTs and Shock Danger, Tom Lee, Online Tech Journal, 2007.05.22. You’ve been warned that CRT voltage can injure and even kill. The truth is that this danger is overstated – and takes attention away from a greater danger.
- 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.
- Floppy drive observations: A compleat guide to Mac floppy drives and disk formats, Scott Baret, Online Tech Journal, 2006.06.29. A history of the Mac floppy from the 400K drive in the Mac 128K through the manual-inject 1.4M SuperDrives used in the late 1990s.
- Software bundles: What came with the Mac 128K, 512K, and Plus, Andrew Conachey, Classic Mac Nostalgia, 2006.01.03. A look at the software and system versions that Apple shipped with the original Macintosh, the 512K Fat Mac, the Mac Plus, and the Mac 512ke.
- 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.
- To err is human, to correct divine, Manuel Mejia Jr, Triassic Mac, 2002.11.21. More information on why the Mac Plus degrades over time – and how to fix it. Much of this applies to the Fat Mac as well.
- Care for a Mac Plus, Manuel Mejia Jr, Triassic Mac, 2002.11.05. “Of all of the Triassic Macs, the Mac Plus has the most sentimental value among the Low End Mac community.” Much applies to Fat Mac as well.
- Replacements for High Failure Probability Parts on Mac 128K/512K/Plus Analog Board, the pickle’s Low-end Mac FAQ
- The compact Macs, Matthew Glidden, Profiles in Networking, ATPM, 2002.06. LocalTalk and ethernet networking for compact Macs.
- The original Macintosh, Dan Knight, Online Tech Journal, 2001.05.29. An in-depth look at the original Macintosh and how it shaped future Macs.
- Making a video adjustment tool, Chris Lawson, Mac Daniel, 3/24. Would you believe you can craft one from an old toothbrush?
- System 6 for the Macintosh, Ruud Dingemans. If you have an older, slower, memory-limited Mac, System 6 is fast, stable, and still very usable.
- Applied Engineering AE HD+ FAQ, Adam Takessian. The ins and outs of Applied Engineering’s 1.4 MB floppy for the 512Ke, Plus, and 800 KB SE.
- Email lists: Classic Macs Digest, Vintage Macs
- System6, the email list for those who choose to use System 6.0.x.
- Mac 512k User Group
- Q&A for the Macintosh (128K) through the Macintosh 512Ke, The Mac 512K User Group
- Links to System 6.0.8
- Software Compatible with 68000 CPU
- Vectronic’s Macintosh 512Ke, Vectronic’s Apple World
- Get your compact Mac on the web with tips from JAG’s House.
- Never connect an Apple II 5.25″ floppy drive to the Mac’s floppy port. Doing so can ruin the floppy controller, meaning you can’t even use the internal drive any longer.
- The 512K and 512Ke can only access shared volumes on a network with AppleShare 1.1 Work Station, not with AppleShare 2.0 Work Station. More details in Apple TIL 5356.
- That monitor packs a lot of voltage. Read Compact Mac CRT Energy before working inside.
- Reliably supports serial speeds to 19.2 kbps, although default is 9600 bps. May have better throughput at 28.8 kbps despite some dropped and retransmitted packets. Throughput with a high speed modem may be limited. See 56k modem page. For more information on Mac serial ports, read Macintosh Serial Throughput.
- Apple discontinued support and parts orders for the 512Ke on 1998.08.31. You may be able to find dealers with parts inventory either locally or on our parts and service list.
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