Upgrade the Lombard and Pismo PowerBooks

In the pages of Macworld you learned how to upgrade the RAM and hard drive in the original PowerBook G3 Series (Wall Street) and PowerBook G4 (Titanium). Welcome to the online adjunct to that article, in which we reveal how to upgrade these same components in the other two members of the PowerBook G3 Series family: the Lombard and Pismo models.

PowerBook G3 Series (Lombard)

Released in 1999, the Lombard was Apple's first Bronze PowerBook. It featured two USB ports and a keyboard that could be removed by pressing two small tabs beneath the display.

Upgrading the Lombard's RAM

If you looked at specifications alone, you'd think this PowerBook's maximum RAM capacity was 384MB. Small high-capacity RAM modules weren't available when the Lombard was released, but they are now. You can actually install up to 512MB of RAM if you put 256MB 144-pin SDRAM modules in both the user-accessible upper RAM slot and the supposedly for-Apple-techs-only slot beneath the processor card.

1. Prepare the PowerBook and Remove the Keyboard

After shutting down the PowerBook and removing its battery and cables, press the two tabs (found between the escape and F1 keys and the F8 and F9 keys) at the top of the keyboard. Gently lift the top of the keyboard, push it slightly away from you to release the lower tabs, and fold it back toward you.

2. Replace the RAM in the First Slot

Remove the three Phillips-head screws that hold the heat shield in place, and pull on the wire handle to remove the shield. Now touch the hard-drive bracket to discharge any static electricity if you're not wearing a grounding strap. (If one came with the RAM you purchased, use it.)

The white slot on top of the processor card is the PowerBook's user-serviceable RAM slot. If you want to upgrade the PowerBook via this slot only, insert a 144-pin SDRAM module (up to 256MB) at a 45-degree angle, and press the module into place so that the indentations on the side line up with the snaps on the retaining brackets. (If your RAM upgrade is complete, go on to "Upgrading the Lombard's Hard Drive.")

3. Replace the RAM in the Hidden Slot

If you want to go all the way and upgrade the Mac's less accessible RAM slot as well, refrain from installing RAM in the top slot for now. Instead, pull up on the white plastic ribbon on the left side of the hard-drive bracket until the side of the bracket is about an inch away from the bottom of the PowerBook. Now gently pull up on the hard drive's data connector to detach it from the motherboard and remove the hard drive.

Use a plastic shim (a couple of old credit cards you're not attached to will do) to carefully pry up the right side of the processor card. Don't use a screwdriver, as it can damage the processor card's delicate traces and destroy your PowerBook. On the underside of the processor card, you'll see another white RAM slot filled with the PowerBook's original RAM. Remove this RAM by gently prying apart the retaining brackets until the module pops up. Replace it with a module no larger than 1.5 inches (the top slot can accommodate 1-, 1.5-, or 2-inch RAM modules).

When you put the processor card back, be sure to press it firmly into place. Your PowerBook may not boot up otherwise.

Upgrading the Lombard's Hard Drive

All PowerBook G3 Series models use 2.5-inch IDE/ATA hard drives--either the Slim 12.5mm or SuperSlim 9.5mm varieties. This PowerBook's bracket and data cable aren't difficult to remove.

1. Remove the Drive from the Bracket and Remove the Data Cable

It's easier to remove the data cable by first removing the silver bracket that holds the drive in place. To do so, remove the four Torx T-8 screws on the sides of the bracket.

The data cable is threaded through the bracket. Carefully fold the data cable away from the drive (but not to the point of creasing--and possibly breaking--the cable). Insert the end of a small flat-head screwdriver between the connector and the hard drive and gently pull the connector away. Need I say it again? Don't bend the data cable.

2. Reassemble with the New Hard Drive

Put in your new drive, attach the data connector to it, screw the drive into the bracket, reattach the data cable to the motherboard, and press the hard drive into place. Replace the heat shield and its screws. Replace the keyboard by inserting the bottom into the appropriate slots and pressing the top into place. Plug in the power cord and any peripheral cables.

Finally, insert a system software CD into the CD-ROM drive. You'll need to format the new hard drive, so push the power button and hold down the C key to boot from the CD. If you've booted from a Mac OS 9 CD, launch Drive Setup (found in the Utilities folder inside the Applications (Mac OS 9) folder). Select the drive in the resulting Drive Setup window, and click on the Initialize button to format it.

If you've booted from a Mac OS X Installer disc, select Disk Utility from the Installer menu, select the drive in the left side of the Disk Utility window, and click on the Erase tab. Choose Mac OS X Extended from the Volume Format pop-up menu and click on the Erase button. Once the drive is formatted, install the Mac OS and enjoy your updated PowerBook.

PowerBook G3 Series (Pismo)

The other Bronze PowerBook--the Pismo--was the first to include FireWire ports and an AirPort slot when it was released in 2000.

As with the Lombard, Apple's RAM specs aren't accurate. Although officially the Pismo tops out at 512MB of RAM, it actually can hold up to 1GB. To take it to that level, you'll need to upgrade both RAM slots--including the one that's harder to access--with 512MB PC100 or PC133 144-pin SDRAM modules. (This PowerBook shipped originally with PC100 RAM, but PC133 RAM may be easier to find.)

1. Prepare the PowerBook and Remove the Keyboard

After shutting down the PowerBook and removing its battery and cables, pull the two tabs (found between the escape and F1 keys and the F8 and F9 keys) at the top of the keyboard. Gently lift the top of the keyboard, push it slightly away from you to release the lower tabs, and fold it back toward you.

2. Replace the RAM in the First Slot

Upgrading the Pismo's RAM

Remove the two Torx T-8 screws that hold the heat shield in place, and pull up on the shield to remove it. Touch the hard-drive bracket to discharge any static electricity if you're not wearing a grounding strap. (If one came with the RAM you purchased, use it.)

The white slot on top of the processor card is the PowerBook's user-serviceable RAM slot. If you want to upgrade the PowerBook via this slot only, insert a PC100 or PC133 144-pin SDRAM module (up to 512MB) at a 45-degree angle, and press the module into place so that the indentations on the side line up with the snaps on the retaining brackets.

3. Replace the RAM in the Hidden Slot

To upgrade the Mac's other RAM slot, refrain from installing RAM in the top slot for the time being. Instead, remove the three Phillips-head screws that hold the processor heat sink in place, and remove the heat sink.

Upgrading the Pismo's Hard Drive

Use a plastic shim (a couple of old credit cards you're not attached to will do) to pry up the right side of the processor card, and remove the card.

Don't use a screwdriver, as it can damage the processor card's delicate traces and destroy your PowerBook. On the underside of the processor card, you'll see another white RAM slot filled with the PowerBook's original RAM. Remove this RAM by gently prying apart the retaining brackets until the module pops up. Replace it with a module no larger than 1.5 inches (the top slot can accommodate 1-, 1.5-, or 2-inch RAM modules).

When putting the processor card back, press it firmly into place. (Your PowerBook may not boot up otherwise.) But before you replace the card, consider upgrading the hard drive. You'll have to remove this card in order to detach the hard drive's data cable from the motherboard.

Removing this hard drive is almost exactly like removing the Lombard's drive. In this case, however, you'll first have to remove the processor card to access the hard drive's data cable.

1. Remove the Data Cable and the Hard-Drive Bracket

Pull up on the data cable connector to detach it. Pull up on the plastic tab on the left side of the hard-drive bracket. Pull the bracket and the drive out of the PowerBook.

2. Replace the Drive

Remove the four Torx T-8 screws that hold the drive bracket in place. Insert the end of a small flat-head screwdriver between the connector and the hard drive and gently pull the connector away.

3. Reassemble with the New Hard Drive

Put in your new drive, attach the data connector to it, screw the drive into the bracket, reattach the data cable to the motherboard, and press the hard drive into place. Replace the processor card, being careful to press it firmly into place. Replace the heat shield and its screws. Replace the keyboard by inserting the bottom into the appropriate slots and pressing the top into place. Plug in the power cord and any peripheral cables.

Finally, insert a system software CD into the CD-ROM drive. You'll need to format the new hard drive, so push the power button and hold down the C key to boot from the CD. If you've booted from a Mac OS 9 CD, launch Drive Setup (found in the Utilities folder inside the Applications (Mac OS 9) folder). Select the drive in the resulting Drive Setup window, and click on the Initialize button to format it.

If you've booted from a Mac OS X Installer disc, select Disk Utility from the Installer menu, select the drive in the left side of the Disk Utility window, and click on the Erase tab. Choose Mac OS X Extended from the Volume Format pop-up menu and click on the Erase button. Once the drive is formatted, install the Mac OS and enjoy your updated PowerBook.

Related:
1 2 Page 1
Shop Tech Products at Amazon