Author Topic: Between a rock and a lack of knowledge. Powerbase 180 G3 360/180  (Read 1341 times)

Offline raeshao

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Between a rock and a lack of knowledge. Powerbase 180 G3 360/180
« on: December 29, 2023, 02:59:32 AM »
Been a long day so far trying to get my first ever mac (clone) up and running again. I've got a bunch of pre-FCPX project files that were neglected for almost 20 years, that I'm trying to build XML files for to ring them into 2024. FCP doesn't run in vmware. Damn lack of Quartz Extreme. So then the easy way would've been to purchase a 2008-2014 mac mini and just load up FCP7. But in the back of my mind, I've always wanted to get my first computer up and running again. One problem. The HD was pulled decades ago.

It's a Power Computing Powerbase 180 with a Powerlogix G3 350/175, some kind of ATI graphics card and a PCI IDE card. I can't remember the SCSI ever being used, although there was probably something like a 2GB drive in there at some point. Found it at a local thrift back in '99 for $40, (with the system disc in the tray) and booted it up right when I got home.

Been pulling out all the CD's I can find. 7.5.5 system disk that won't load with the G3 in there, 9.2 (and the new 9.2.2 custom beast from this site) which both give the unsupported error. Every version of OS X up to Tiger (trying to get something to boot into Disk Utility). And finally getting somewhere with a newly written copy of 9.1. That one booted right up, but then cannot see the only old school drive I still have. a Samsung 400 GB that was partitioned using my modern mac into 7.4, 197 and 196GB partitions. I just need something to see that first 7.4GB. No dice since I've got no way to get the OS 9 disk drivers on there.

VMware doesn't support anything before 10.5, and I even attempted to load a copy of osx86 10.4.6 on my MBP, but don't really know what I'm doing with that. Been hammering away at it all night and have run out of ideas. I'd put osx86 on my PC if it's the only way to get that impossible to find OS 9 driver checkbox, but doing that in Windows 10 sounds like a whole nother project. Any ideas to get my drive ready for 9.1? Once that's installed, getting up to 9.2.2 and then whatever version of OS X seems like a cakewalk compared to this.

I'm also not sure if the PCI to IDE card is being recognized. If I have to buy an old SCSI drive, so be it. I might even be able to find one that already has the proper drivers still installed. Although I'd rather not go that route. Putting an SSD in there once things are running would be hilarious.



« Last Edit: December 30, 2023, 11:54:43 PM by raeshao »

Offline raeshao

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Re: Between a rock and a lack of OS 9 disk drivers
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2023, 04:40:34 AM »
Took a closer look at the 9.2.2 drag and drop, and loaded the folders onto a still non-bootable 7.4GB first partition to see what might happen. Dropped it back into the clone and it shows a floppy, but without the ?. Then the CD attempts to load, but doesn't mount the installer and then hangs the system about 15 seconds after the disc should appear on the desktop. Decided to remove the ethernet and graphics cards and swap the IDE cables so that the HD went to the board and the CD went through the PCI card. Same result. Held down the pram reset button for 10 sec after each change.

Attached photos including one of the PCI card.

Offline gregbuchner

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Re: Between a rock and a lack of OS 9 disk drivers
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2023, 05:38:03 AM »
Took a closer look at the 9.2.2 drag and drop, and loaded the folders onto a still non-bootable 7.4GB first partition to see what might happen. Dropped it back into the clone and it shows a floppy, but without the ?. Then the CD attempts to load, but doesn't mount the installer and then hangs the system about 15 seconds after the disc should appear on the desktop. Decided to remove the ethernet and graphics cards and swap the IDE cables so that the HD went to the board and the CD went through the PCI card. Same result. Held down the pram reset button for 10 sec after each change.

Supported Mac OS versions for that are listed on this page.
https://everymac.com/systems/powercc/powerbase/powerbase180.html

It might require a special version of the earlier OS versions to be able to boot.

A Mac OS 8.1 CD might be the best option to try. And if you formatted the disk as HFS+, it might be the only option.
http://macos9lives.com/smforum/index.php?topic=3140.0

Offline teroyk

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Re: Between a rock and a lack of OS 9 disk drivers
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2023, 09:13:54 AM »
It's a Power Computing Powerbase 180 with a Powerlogix G3 350/175, some kind of ATI graphics card and a PCI IDE card. I can't remember the SCSI ever being used, although there was probably something like a 2GB drive in there at some point. Found it at a local thrift back in '99 for $40, (with the system disc in the tray) and booted it up right when I got home.

Interesting Mac compatible computer.
Without CPU upgrade it needed this helper from MacOS9.1 to MacOS9.2.2:
https://web.archive.org/web/20110927020132/http://www.os9forever.com/os9helper.html
I don't know does it work with Powerlogix upgrade.
And another problem is that with G3 it wont boot to MacOS8.1 without CPU enabler. Did Powerlogix gave that? or Does CPU enabler from Powerbook G3 PDQ MacOS8.1restoredisk work with that Powerlogix?
MacOS9.0-9.1 is more compatible to some 90s hardware and old PPC Macs than 9.2.2.

Offline aBc

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Send in the Clones…
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2023, 11:07:02 AM »

Offline raeshao

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Re: Between a rock and a lack of OS 9 disk drivers
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2023, 12:26:38 PM »
Thank you all so much for the tips! That youtube video was so enjoyable. Fingers crossed I'll have it up and running tonight... about to try 8.1. Didn't even know that one had G3 support and could be the hidden key to unlock this bad boy!

Offline aBc

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Re: Between a rock and a lack of OS 9 disk drivers
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2023, 12:40:20 PM »
Had one. Think I sent it off to nanopico years ago.
You might PM him for more insight.
Good luck.

And BTW, those “Mac friendly” Sonnet Tempo 133
PCI cards now sell for between $100 to $200.  ;)

Offline raeshao

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Re: Between a rock and a lack of OS 9 disk drivers
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2023, 04:46:56 PM »
Man I was tired last night, not noticing it was a Sonnet card. Noticed they came out with a $100 graphics card for these types of systems a couple years ago. Definitely plan on looking for a couple cheap upgrades for this thing. Tried the 8.1, but am pretty sure I didn't write a bootable disc. While searching around, figured why not go for the bone standard 9.0, that I remember having new in box way back when. For good measure, I dropped a 128GB "deathstar" in, and it was immediately recognized in Disk Setup. Figures that larger drive sizes would throw these old installers for a loop. We'll see what it looks like in a few minutes, but it's moving along.

Offline raeshao

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Re: Between a rock and a lack of OS 9 disk drivers
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2023, 01:40:21 AM »
Got 9.2.2 running smoothly and transferred over to a quiet 500GB Seagate. I figured why not try xpostfacto... May not happen, but I'm a glutton for punishment.

Offline raeshao

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Re: Between a rock and a lack of knowledge. Powerbase 180 G3 360/180
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2023, 12:12:49 AM »
This is so fun. Although it's mentioned that this machine isn't supported by xpostfacto, I've got it up and running. Took a few tries, and had to turn off things I was never planning on using anyways (language localization, printer drivers, etc), but it lives! Gonna take it slow with any additional osx upgrades, after ordering a USB/FireWire PCI card and maybe a different graphics card, but will put a version of FCP on tonight. This OS is way snappier than it has any right to be. Pretty sure this is the first time I've gotten osx on here as I replaced it with a blue and white G3 shortly after osx was released. No real reason to get Tiger on this, but wanna find the fastest and most stable 10.2-10.4 version for it. 😬

Offline IIO

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Re: Between a rock and a lack of OS 9 disk drivers
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2024, 07:13:47 AM »
Figures that larger drive sizes would throw these old installers for a loop. We'll see what it looks like in a few minutes, but it's moving along.

if it has been preformatted elsewhere, its volumes´total size will be too long and the machine can not properly use the disk.

if formatted on the controller you are going to use it with, under normal circumstances a too big disk will not be a problem. it will just have "free space" besides the partition(s) with no adresses.
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Offline raeshao

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Re: Between a rock and a lack of knowledge. Powerbase 180 G3 360/180
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2024, 11:58:18 PM »
Fun learning experience, plus getting my circa 1996 machine back up and running. I now remember why I had to upgrade all those years ago. The PB180 can only support up to 160MB of RAM. I've got it maxed and it's showing 145MB usable. Definitely not enough to run any but the first version of final cut pro. I hope to drop a FireWire/USB card into it and fire up a really old USB wifi adapter I've got here. Pretty sure I used it with this setup before. The USB card I was using got transferred to a different machine that was sold eons ago.

I'm now attempting to dual boot my Intel based 13" MBP, and see that I firmware locked it so gotta get that sorted first. Glad to find this site and will see what old software I can play around with on my old clone.