Charles Moore's Mailbag

PowerBook 1400 Woes, Sleep of Death, Older PowerBook Value, and More

Charles Moore - 2002.09.12 - Tip Jar

PB 1400

From Jon Ahlstrom

I think that the total memory limit has been the biggest drawback to my PB 1400. It is working well as my wife's main computer. It is upgraded with a 250 MHz G3, a 20 GB hard drive, and an internal NewerTech ethernet. To get around the memory bottleneck I bought a 256 MB Compact Flash card, put it in a PC Card adapter, plugged it in, and mapped virtual memory to it. I haven't done any benchmarks, but on OS 9.1 it has sped things up well. Flash memory isn't as fast as normal RAM, but it is a lot faster than your hard drive.

Just an idea.

Jon Ahlstrom

Hi Jon,

I've heard of the Flash RAM workaround. Glad to hear that it works.


1400 woes

From Tim Baxter

I hate to trouble you with this, but as I've mentioned before, I'm new to the world of PowerBooks, and I don't know exactly where to turn. As you may recall, I bought a 1400 a while back, and it has been a great little laptop for my needs for me. I pretty much just use the laptop for word processing, so it's more than up to the task. But I've done a stupid thing. I let it sit, unplugged and in sleep mode, for way too long.

I realized I had done so when I heard a slow, steady clicking from the hard drive. I had done this once before, so I recognized the click. That time I plugged it in, left it overnight, and then it was fine.

This time, nothing. It's been plugged in for days. The only sign of life is the green light in the corner. The screen remains dark.

Any suggestions?


And by the way, if you need Imperial parts, let me know. My father in law is building up quite the little stockpile.

Hi Tim,

Have you tried hitting the Reset button, which is on the back panel between a couple of the ports (little triangle symbol, I think)?

If that doesn't work, try unplugging the 'Book, removing the battery, and letting it sit for 10 minutes or so. Then plug it in again and try the Power button.

I'll pass the word along to Tristan about the Imperial parts.


WallStreet Sleep of Death Inquiry

From: Dave

I know you are most likely busy at the moment, but I have a question regarding my soon to be received WallStreet. The seller of PowerBook G3 WallStreetthis WallStreet has asked me which version of OS 9 I would like, and I have heard lots of good things about 9.1, but is it the right one to use in order to avoid having a Sleep of Death problem? Also, could you recommend a version of X to run on it, since it is the 300 MHz version and I would like to try out X on it? I haven't really gotten into the newer OSes greatly since I own mostly older Macs (mostly 1xx PowerBooks), with my "newest" Mac being a PowerBook 540c, but now that I have made the full the switch to Macs, I can get rid of the junk box PC I'm typing this on and buy a newer Mac.

All help is appreciated.


Hi Dave,

I found OS 9.1 to be the best all-round system for the WallStreet. OS 9.2.x worked okay, too, and was a bit faster, but it was plagued with the Sleep of Death problem, which never manifested on my WallStreet under OS 9.1. Note that some WallStreet users report no SoD problems with 9.2, but I found that it would happen in about one out of three wakeups on mine.


Sleep of Death

From Bob Friede

Hi Charles,

Disabling no extensions but taping a demagnetized Exacto blade to the back top of the drive cage solved my WallStreet sleep problem instantly. Info is somewhere at Mike Breeden's site.

Thanks to your article a while back, I've since moved from the WallStreet to a Pismo/500. I'm running 9.2.1 and have experienced no sleep problems. One thing though: If asleep, the machine immediately wakes up upon my merely opening the lid. Convenient, but I never heard of this one before. Inside is a 30 GB 4200 rpm IBM drive, which shouldn't be a factor.

Bob Friede

Hi Bob,

I've noticed that my Pismo is a very light sleeper as well. Sometimes just walking past the table where it sits most of the time will wake it up.


Prefers WallStreet to iBook

From Chris Chow

Hello Charles,

Enjoy reading your articles. Sorry about the WallStreet. I have a 266 MHz WallStreet of my own that I prefer over my 700 MHz iBook.


Low-end PowerBooks for College

From Cap


I enjoyed your article, because I myself own two 5300cs Macs and three 520cs. Though in great working condition, Blackbirdthey have been in storage since I got a Pismo and an iBook. I am in the process of home-networking them soon, hence I'd like to know where you found the connector dongle for your daughter's PB. That is only item I need to hook up my 5300cs 'books.


Hi Cap,

I'm assuming that you are referring to the missing Asante ethernet card connector dongle I mentioned in the article. So far, I haven't had a chance to really look for one. The Motorola Mariner card came with its dongles (one for ethernet; one for the modem).


The OS X Patch and WallStreet?

From Peter J. Pedersen

Dear Sir,

You mentioned a patch enabling OS X to take advantage of the graphics accelerator in Lombard PBs. However, I have heard several people deny that it works with WallStreets (their GPU is RagePro LT).

Can you say anything about whether the patch will speed things up on a WallStreet?

Peter J. Pedersen

Hi Peter,

I can't say with 100 percent certainty, but I don't think this patch will work with the WallStreet.


Electrovaya battery packs

From Bob F.


Electrovaya battery packs: Coincidentally I exchanged emails with Electrovaya only a week or so ago, and, alas, both the Mac models (120-c and 160-c) are still backordered indefinitely. They seem to be unable to acquire the necessary cables/connectors. Pretty weird, eh?

Bob F

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Charles Moore has been a freelance journalist since 1987 and began writing for Mac websites in May 1998. His The Road Warrior column was a regular feature on MacOpinion, he is news editor at and a columnist at If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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