Charles Moore's Mailbag

2 GB RAM in an eMac, iBook Repair Issue, Pismo and WallStreet Questions, and More

Charles Moore - 2004.05.03 - Tip Jar

2 GB RAM in an eMac

From Paul O'Keefe


Here is news of someone successfully maxing out the 1.25 GHz eMac's RAM to 2 GB.

The 1 GB DIMMs they used came from

Paul O'Keefe

Hi Paul,

Cool! Thanks for the link!


iBook Repair Issue

From Kathy White

Hello, I wonder if you can help me?

I have just been reading your article on backing up your data before sending your iBook in for repair. I have just had my iBook repaired, and it was sent back to me with a brand new hard drive in it.

Do you know if they always replace the hard drive when they do these repairs?

Is it necessary for the hard drive to be replaced?

I was unaware of the logic board problems, as I have been travelling around India for 4 months with no access to the Web.

My iBook died the day before I was coming home, therefore I was unable to do any kind of back up because my screen had gone blank. I have lost a lot of the work I had been doing.

I am in the process of trying to get my old hard drive back, and I would appreciate any other information you may have about this issue.

Many thanks,
Kathy White

Hi Kathy,

Losing all your un-backed-up work must be devastating.

To the best of my knowledge, they don't always replace the hard drive, but they sometimes do. Replacement would only be done if an issue is detected, I would think.

That's not much help to you now. All I can suggest is that you contact Apple Service, explain your problem, and hope that they tag pulled hard drives for identification.

I wish I could be encouraging, but I suspect that getting your data back is a very long shot. Hope I'm wrong.


Pismo Repairs

From Simon Magennis

Hi Charles,

I thought I'd update you on a repair job I carried out on my Pismo. The power connector on the power and sound board has been loose for some time and eventually broke off. I took the Pismo to pieces (after looking at the tear down instructions you had a link for sometime ago) and discovered that the two metal pins from the power connector through the circuit board had actually broken - it looks like they may have corroded. The pins on the back of the connector carry the power and are soldered to the top of the circuit board - not through it.

So I cleaned it up as best I could and then used Superglue to glue the connector back onto the board - the bottom of the connector is plastic - and then I soldered the pins on the back of the connector back in place. So far it is working fine, and there is very little movement on the back of connector as I put the power adaptor in.

I also did a repair on the yo-yo adaptor. I am currently on my fourth yo-yo in 3.5 years. What happened with the three that failed is that the cable comes loose at the point where it enters the connector which goes into the PowerBook - the reinforcement plastic breaks, and then it shorts out. The plastic cracked on my current yo-yo a few weeks back (about one year old). I put some Superglue on the crack and around it, and it worked - I wasn't sure if it would take on a "rubbery" plastic , but it worked fine. In fact I would say that it is now stronger than it was before.

Now all I need to do is source a backlight and solve the orange discolouration - I tried the link you gave some months back without success.

Now if only I could figure a way of replacing the print head on an Epson 860 printer I would really be doing my part slowing down the march of computer parts to landfill.

Simon Magennis

Hi Simon,

Thanks for the report. Superglue to the rescue!

Was the place you tried for a replacement backlight here?

They seem to be still in business (just checked the link)


Pismo Screen

From Tyler


I was reading some of your articles on the Pismo and was noticing that my screen looked different than when I had purchased it several months ago. I noticed that when the backlight is turned on after being asleep or off for a period of time, the display seems dim and takes around 3 min. to reach full brightness. Also, the lower left looks darker than the rest of the screen. I was wondering if it is possible to just replace the light in the display or if this is just a normal occurrence.


Hi Tyler,

A new Apple Knowledge Base Article notes that LCD panels require a warm-up period to reach full brightness.

"When you first turn on a backlit display, or wake it from a lengthy sleep, its brightness gradually increases until it reaches a normal operating temperature. This warm-up period can range from several minutes to over an hour, depending on display's size and the environment in which it is being used."

Interestingly, while my G3 iBook very much manifests this warm-up phenomenon, my Pismo and WallStreet PowerBooks do not.

The backlights in these displays also very gradually lose some of their brilliance with use over time. Backlights can be replaced. You can find them at <>.

LCDS4LESS offers replacement Apple notebook LCD screens and has units for the Apple PowerBook G3 Series 14.1" for $395. Since you can pick up a whole used Pismo these days for about $600, I'm not sure about the economics of that.


WallStreet Problem

From Matthew Junker


I have a Wallstreet 233 MHz rev2 that has fried one screen since switching to OS X and appears to be on the way to screen No. 2.

A lifelong Mac junkie, I wanted to get into OS X without a big outlay of cash to see if I liked it.

After buying a no-frills Wallstreet for $200 on eBay, I picked up OS X 10.2 and started using the new OS.

I'd say I like it a lot, but I have a screen problem in it.

It boots fine, and the gray apple is there okay, but as soon as it switches to the next screen, it goes blank, and you have to increase the brightness to get it to come up.

After about a month, the same thing happens, but after hitting the brightness, the screen comes up with lots of lines and weird stuff.

This gets quickly worse until the screen is unreadable.

I am running w/o a battery.

What do you think? Perhaps a cracked motherboard?


Hi Matt,

It's definitely not normal. You didn't say what size screen your WallStreet has. The 13.3" models had video issued related to a poorly designed ribbon cable connector.

Does the same phenomenon occur when you're booted in OS 9? If so, it's probably a hardware problem. If not, one would have to suspect some software issue with OS X.

Could be a bum mobo, but check out the more likely stuff first.


Apple Color StyleWriter 2200 on the Pismo?

From G Farris

Good day, Charles:

Greetings from Pretoria, South Africa. I have a couple of questions I'd like to pose, and I'm hoping you'll be kind enough to help me, providing you have the knowledge and wish to share.

Recently, I returned to the States due to a death in the family. To add insult to injury my Lombard and a Canon S520 were stolen out of my suitcase in my hotel room while I was at the memorial service.

Based in large part on your recommendations I have decided to replace it with a Pismo equipped with the Daystar 550 MHz G4 upgrade. I plan to partition the drive, so I can run 8.6, but primarily I intend to run Panther. My question centers around how I can use an Apple Color StyleWriter 2200 on the Pismo under both operating systems. Do I need special drivers, converters, PC Cards? Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

Very respectfully, I remain...

sine pari,
George P. Farris

Hi George,

Good choice of replacement. I'm loving my Daystar upgraded Pismo. However, OS 8.6 is not supported by the Pismo. The lowest OS version supported is 9.1. I recommend 9.2.2 for both direct booting and Classic Mode.

What you need for printer support is a Keyspan USB-Serial adapter. Here's the info:

  • Plugs into any USB port
  • Provides two RS-422 mini-DIN8 ports
  • Supports data rates up to 1 Mbps
  • Draws its power from the USB connection - a power adapter is not required
  • Emulates the printer port on one port
  • Five year warranty
    Macintosh Requirements:
  • At least one available USB port
  • Mac OS 8.6, Mac OS 9.x, or Mac OS X
    Under Mac OS 9, compatible products include:
  • Modems and ISDN TAs
  • Apple StyleWriters
  • Apple Personal LaserWriter (300/LS models only)
  • Epson Stylus Color printers*
  • HP DeskWriters and serial DeskJets
  • Wacom Tablets
  • Palm organizers
  • Olympus, Epson, Agfa and other cameras
  • CoStar LabelWriters
  • Miro, Barco and LaCie color calibrators
    Under Mac OS X compatible include:
  • Modems and ISDN TAs
  • Palm organizers
  • digital cameras
  • other serial devices which have Mac OS X drivers
    For printers under Mac OS X:
  • Use our USB parallel printer adapter with printers which have a parallel port
  • For printers which only have a serial port, the Twin Serial Adapter can be used if the printer manufacturer offers a printer driver for Mac OS X


Many Thanks!

From George Farris

Hi Charles:

May I have two follow-up questions? The first one sounds dumb, I know, but isn't there any way by which one can run 8.6 on the Pismo? Secondly, on the Keyspan USB-Serial adapter, do I understand you correctly that, using the Keyspan USB-Serial adapter I will be able print from my Pismo from OS 9.x.x to my StyleWriter 2200, but whether I'll be able to print from 10.3.3 seems murkier? Any help you can offer in helping me clarify that for me would be greatly appreciated. Again my thanks.

from afar,

Hi George,

There are no dumb questions. ;-)

No, there is no way I know of to make a Pismo boot from OS 8.6. As a general rule, Macs have only been able to boot from OS versions current at the time of their manufacture and later. The earliest Pismos came with OS 9.0.4 or 9.1 - I can't recall which off the top of my head.

The StyleWriter through the Keyspan adapter may only be supported by OS 9.x. It would be a driver issue. It is apparently possible to get StyleWriters to work with OS X. More info on that on Mac OS X Hints.


Passwords and Dual-Boot

From Peter da Silva

You don't need a dual-boot machine to reset the password.

Boot OS X with CMD-S held down. This will bring you up in single-user mode. Follow the instructions it gives you to check the file system and remount the disk read-write, then remove (or rename) the netinfo directory. Then when you reboot, it takes you through the account setup again.

# fsck -y
# mount -uw /
# cd /var/db
# mv netinfo netinfo.bad
# reboot

Contrariwise, if you want to protect data on your laptop, encrypt it, and store it in the keychain or some other encrypted database (e.g., FileVault on Panther). It doesn't matter what OS you're running, if someone has physical access to your disk then they have access to any unencrypted data you put on it.

Thanks Peter.


Corrupt Archive in Select Mac Software Downloads?

From Michael Thibault


I've been on the hunt for the PPC version of Redux for quite some time (having lost my own copy to a faulty disk) and was glad to find it on LEM. However, the archive at - which would be just the ticket for my purposes - appears to be corrupted (or should be binhexed to facilitate downloading). Hopefully it's simply not binhexed; otherwise, I'm hoping you have a backup somewhere that isn't corrupted.

Thanks for your attention in this and, of course, for all the eye-opening info you make available on LEM - it's a perpetual candy-store for Mac kids, and a great resource for the grown-ups.


Hi Michael,

I've forwarded you rnote to Dan Knight.

Glad you enjoy LEM.


Editor's note: I have just replaced the copy on the server with a fresh one that I verified before posting it. This is a standard .sit archive and should work with no problems. dk

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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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