Previous 1 2 Next 19 Replies Latest reply: Jul 6, 2006 6:12 PM by Grant Bennet-Alder
Joe Hanna Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
I have a Power Mac G3 that primarily runs Panther 10.3.9, but occasionally I like to use OS 9. Classic mode works great on it, and so does OS 9 for that matter, but...
After using OS 9 I go to the startup disk control panel and select my 10.3.9 System folder and reboot, and the computer comes up with no video. The friend who owned this computer before me has indicated he never had this problem. He was running 10.2.8 and I've wiped the hard drive and done my own installations. A PRAM reset solves the problem and OS X will then boot normally, with video, but this is a pain.
I'm using an Emachines CRT monitor connected to the VGA port on what I believe is the G3's original video card (identifies as ATY,Rage128 in Apple System Profiler, with 16MB VRAM). My friend who didn't have this problem was using a Sony LCD connected to the same video card.
Any solutions other than "reset your PRAM everytime you use OS 9" would be appreciated.

Also, is there anyway to get OS X to recognize the old round serial port. I have an old printer that I'd like to hook up to this machine, and it plays nicely in OS 9, but OS X doesn't even know it's there. The port is of the old "printer port / modem port" type, but there is only one and it's marked with the modem symbol. Strangely, Apple's spec's page doesn't say that the B&W G3 had one of these, but it's clearly on the back of my computer, and it's built in, not added on.
OS X's networking control panel also "sees" an internal modem that doens't exist on this machine. I was wondering if it might be recognizing the serial port as a modem, not knowing what else to make of it. Anybody have any ideas that would make OS X utilize this old port the way classic OS's do?

One final question. I read about B&W rev.1 and rev.2 and such. How do I know which one I have?

14" iBook G3 800, B&W PowerMac G3 350, Mac Classic II 16 :-P   Mac OS X (10.3.9)   System 7 Rocked!
  • Appaloosa mac man Level 5 Level 5 (4,330 points)

    Last question first.

    "Later revisions of the Power Macintosh G3 (Blue and White) provide support for dual IDE drives. They can be identified by the presence of a U bracket installed in the rear most drive bay which allows two hard drives to be mounted in that single bay."

    This site has more information and a picture:

    For platinum G3s, this is the link:

    Power Macintosh G3: Identifying The Logic Board Revision

    Second question, you must boot from OS 9 to use that serial port.

  • Texas Mac Man Level 8 Level 8 (46,550 points)
    A weak internal memory battery can cause the no video. When did you last replace it. See Mac PRAM, NVRAM, CUDA/PMU & Battery Tutorial

    Cheers, Tom
  • Appaloosa mac man Level 5 Level 5 (4,330 points)

    Good point on the video wanting a fresh PRAM battery. Not mandatory, but helpful.


    Your comment about zapping the PRAM does indicate a solution. Zapping the PRAM is not really needed to cure a dead battery issue. Just hitting the reset button on the face of the B&W will give the computer a 'warm boot' and jump start the video. I have been very fortunate in that my macs never complain about dead PRAM batteries but it does not rule out that very plausible answer to your issues.

    If the issue is with a multi-sync monitor, then zapping the PRAM will also invoke a fresh look at VRAM and cause the multi-sync monitor to possibly change resolution. Have you experienced a reset to 640 x 480?

  • Joe Hanna Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    The reset key on the front of the case has not solved my issue. It forces a reboot, but still with no video. I know I can hop into RadioShack any day on my way to work and grab a new PRAM battery. How ironic that my Mac Classic II uses the same little 1/2AA as the G3 but my Power Mac 6500 uses some big square thing.
    I asked my friend how the PRAM battery was, and he didn't know what I was talking about. I suppose the month the computer was unplugged between his using it and my taking it was enough to kill the battery, although I'm pretty sure the clock remains set even if I turn off OS X's network update.
    The PRAM reset does force a reset to 640x480, but at some point during the boot sequence (I think it's between the gray Apple screen and the OS X splash screen, but I really haven't paid THAT much attention) it reads the .plist file and returns to the setting I've selected, 1024x768 at 85Hz.

    14" iBook G3 800, B&W PowerMac G3 350, Mac Classic II 16 :-P   Mac OS X (10.3.9)   System 7 Rocked!
  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 9 Level 9 (54,255 points)
    On the Blue & White G3, the port location marked with the telephone handset icon is the output port for the optional Built-in Modem (not a serial port). If present, it is a standard square RJ-11 4-wire modular jack to accept a lead-in cord to connect to your telephone wall jack. If absent, it is a square blank knockout.

    The round port nearby is an ADB port, which uses a 4-pin variant of the 8-pin Mini DIN-8. It is marked with the branching tree of ADB, which was later changed a bit and adapted for use as the USB Icon. It is a serial port, but no printers ever plugged into it. If you have ever tried to plug a standard printer-8 cable into it, you will probably bend the pins before it seats.

    In summary: The Blue & White G3 does not have a round serial port for a printer or modem.

    Are you currently using the built-in modem to connect to the Internet?
    What make & Model is this printer? There may be another way...
  • Joe Hanna Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    In summary: The Blue & White G3 does not have a round
    serial port for a printer or modem.

    Well, I'm quite sure that this is a vintage Mac Serial Modem Port. It's round, very unlike the more squarish RJ-11 connector that I'm familiar with on my telephone. The printer in question is an HP Deskwriter 520, which was originally purchased for my 2-round serial port toting Mac Classic II. When we bought a PM 6500 in '97, it had the same serial port scheme, so the printer moved up to the new computer with us. The G3 serves as a dual replacement for the 6500 and my aunt's dying iBook. With her iBook, my aunt used to just plug into the USB printer in my room, but that's pretty inconvenient with the behemoth G3. A USB printer is the perfect (expensive) solution, so I'd much rather print to our still functioning 12 year old DW520. To confirm my suspicion that this round port is a serial port, when I boot the G3 in OS 9 (which will have no video under OS X after :-P ) and go to the chooser, the serial port is there, listed as "modem port" and clicking it allows me to print to my aged printer. Now to get OS X to be so kind....

    The ADB port is opposite the modem port, and is indeed marked by the ADB symbol. I know it well. The IIgs that I used it kindergarten had that symbol, and so did all of the Macs I owned last century.

    So in conclusion, it's round, not square, I can print through it in OS 9 (my issue is to get X doing the same), and the ADB port is clearly separate from this one. If you still don't believe me that it's a serial port, I can email you a digital photo.
  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 9 Level 9 (54,255 points)
    The stock Blue & White G3 does not have a serial port that has a backpanel connector. As shipped form Apple, the serial port seen by Apple System Profiler is either unused, or has the buit-in modem in it.

    There is an aftermarket accessory that can be substituted for the built-in modem -- the Stealth Serial Port:

    The manufacturer says that this port can provide either serial or LocalTalk service in Mac OS 9. If you have a different brand, most others do not provide LocalTalk capability.
  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 9 Level 9 (54,255 points)
    The hp web site suggests that a Local talk printer can be used with Mac OS X by using an EtherNet-to-LocalTalk bridge, and suggests the two types that were commercially avaiable when their note was issued:

    HP Printers - Mac OS:
    Connectivity Options for the iMac and Newer Macintosh Computers

    LocalTalk printers

    Printers with a LocalTalk port may still connect to the newer Macintosh computers with an Ethertalk to LocalTalk converter. Several developers, such as Asante and Proxim [Farallon brand], offer an Ethertalk to LocalTalk solution. This device will then connect to a Hub or, in some cases, directly to the Macintosh (consult with the interconnection device manufacturer for specific cable and connection details).

    These two devices are still available on the used market, Asantetalk is also available new. There is also a software-only solution that can be run on an older Mac (pre OS X) that has both LocalTlak and Ethernet Ports, called Localtalk Bridge, available for free download on the older software downloads page.

    These solutions (as well as hp's additional solution of buying their print server) would all result in a Network Printer, that can be used directly form any Mac with the driver available. OS X drivers may not be available, but Classic drivers could be used to print using AppleTalk-over-Ethernet.
  • Appaloosa mac man Level 5 Level 5 (4,330 points)

    "A USB printer is the perfect (expensive) solution, so I'd much rather print to our still functioning 12 year old DW520."

    What planet are you on, Pluto? lol Working USB printers are being thrown away by the hour. People are moving to all in one scanner/printer/copier models. We let kids tear USB printers apart for science projects. Drop by, you can have five, one each of five brands or five matching HP inkjets. : )

    Seriously, I respect your desire to keep an old Apple product going. Ink cartridges cost more than printers these days. Only you can decide how much time, money and trouble you want to spend on an ethernet solution but I can guarantee that a USB printer would not be expensive. Gas to drive to Goodwill will cost you more!


    I am interested in the manufacturer information on your serial port, too.
  • Joe Hanna Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    The economy here on Pluto is not so good. I'm putting a lot of money into getting this computer wirelessly netwetworked, so printing off it is something I'm willing to put a little more labor and a little less effort into.
    Further investigation has shown me that the device replacing the G3's internal modem is a Griffin G-Port. A well designed product and a well done had me fooled into thinking it was shipped from Apple this way. I downloaded the Panther drivers and installed them, and they do nothing! There supposedly is a CUPS solution to getting my printer online, and I'm working on that. I'm actually surprised at how many resources are on the 'net for people trying to do what I'm trying to do. If anyone is interested and anyone still believes in my sanity, I'll let you know how it goes.
    Hope everyone had a great 4th.
  • Appaloosa mac man Level 5 Level 5 (4,330 points)

    Of course we are interested. That is why we hang out here. Gleening information is what it is all about. Good to hear you made it back to earth for the 4th.

  • Joe Hanna Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    I got it! Thank you all for your thoughts and suggestions. I found the following page completely necessary:

    It gives basic and not so basic information about printing through a serial port using OS X. Of course, HP does not support use of my printer in OS X; they provide no driver. The Gimp-Print Driver link on the page solved that problem for me, and the serial printing enabler provided sort of bridged the gap between the driver and OS X understanding that I have a serial port. The PDF "how to add a serial printer" helped guide my way through the web interface CUPS setup (though I probably could have navigated it on my own). I selected "modem" for my port, as my best guess because the serial port is hacked into the logic board where the internal modem goes. Per the PDF instructions, I did not select "serial." I selected a low baud rate, figuring that would give the printer the best chance of working, but it did not. Finally I went with the 56K recommendation at the bottom of the webpage, and it worked. I don't understand why this is. I don't think my Mac Classic II had serial ports that ran at 56K, and it printed just fine.
    One problem I have now is that the rollers on my printer are old, and have trouble picking up the paper without help from my finger, even after I've cleaned them according to HP's instructions. Normal feedback from the printer such as "I have no paper, stop sending me data," is not provided from the Gimp-Print Driver, so on occasions that the printer gets stuck picking up a fresh sheet of paper, the computer overloads it with data and the printer stops responding. In fact the whole serial port deal locks up and to get it back I have to reboot the computer.
    I remember this deal well from when I got my PowerMac 6500. PCI PowerMacs had accelerated serial ports, faster than 56K and when I tried to use the same driver for the DW 520 that I'd used with my Classic II, the printer stopped responding in exactly this same way. It took a driver update from HP that regulated the data flow to correct the problem.
    I also needed to download and install the CUPS authentication patch offered on the page I linked.
    If anyone has any bright ideas on fixing the rollers, let me know. I've been thinking about what I can use to "re-tread" them. Using grittier paper helps. I wonder if you can buy little mini Goodyears on Pluto.
    I'll look around. Maybe somebody has a better driver out there that provides a bit of feedback from the Printer to come up on the Mac (out of paper messages, paperjams, etc.).

    14" iBook G3 800, B&W PowerMac G3 350, Mac Classic II 16 :-P   Mac OS X (10.3.9)   System 7 Rocked!

    14" iBook G3 800, B&W PowerMac G3 350, Mac Classic II 16 :-P   Mac OS X (10.3.9)   System 7 Rocked!
  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 9 Level 9 (54,255 points)
    >"the rollers on my printer are old, and have trouble picking up the paper without help from my finger, even after I've cleaned them according to HP's instructions."
    The proper solution is to apply a substance called "Rubber Rejuvenator". A hack substitute is to use Goof-Off Latex paint remover (available at most hardware stores) on the rollers.
  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 9 Level 9 (54,255 points)
    Say, that mbroughton site is a gold mine for how to make serial printers work with Linux Printing! It is a little disappointing to read that the built-in serial ports on the beige G3 are not supported.

    My earlier suggestions were aimed at getting it working as a LocalTalk/LocalTalk-over-Ethernet printer, rather than a serial printer. As a serial-only printer, it will not be directly available to the other Macs on your Network (but that may not be an issue). With the Linux Printing driver, it is available directly under Mac OS X, rather than requiring you to use Classic to print.
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