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My PowerBook 540c (still unnamed) replaced my dear departed PowerBook 170 (Snuppa), which was appropriated from the apartment in March of 1998 and is still missing (along with 150 or so cds, mostly R through Z of my collection, but that's another story). I'm running it with 36 MB of RAM, a 500 MB hard disk, and System 8.1.

I decided to make a 500-series PowerBook page in order to collect what little information I've found in one convenient place.

Tiny History
The PowerBook 500 series was released in May of 1994. It had 16-bit stereo sound and speakers, a trackpad, built-in ethernet, and an internal expansion bay. The 540c has a 68LC040 CPU, a 9.5" 256-color active-matrix display at 640 x 480 pixels, a full-size keyboard, and two battery bays. When it was released, it was the top-of-the-line PowerBook. The processor was later upgradeable via daughtercards from Apple and other suppliers. Approximately 600,000 500-series PowerBooks were produced.

There are a couple of problems unique to the 500 series. One is the loose screen hinge, the other is the death of the sleep/clock batteries. I've dealt with the loose hinge several times and try to check it every month. Sadly, one of the flanges has developed a little crack from previous overtightening, and so I might have to replace the screen bezel at a later date. My sleep/clock battery hasn't died, but there are several homepages devoted to this as well.

Loose Hinge
As you open and close the lid/screen, this action seems to flex the mountings and slowly work the screws loose that hold the screen to the rest of the machine. Failure to address this results in the screen probably coming off, or at least everything getting badly damaged. There's a great article on fixing this at O'Grady's Powerpage and another at MacInTouch.

Sleep/Clock Battery Failure
If this battery fails, you apparently won't be able to start up on battery power and you'll lose all of your setting stored in PRAM (date/time/etc). Information on fixing this problem can be found here, including where to purchase the replacement battery. The procedure involves opening the case of your PowerBook and disconnecting lots of stuff.


Main PowerBook Links

O'Grady's Power Page
Updated almost every day, with all of the latest PowerBook news and rumors. There's also a page for the PowerBook 500 series, which contains specs for each of the models and PowerPC upgrades, and a forum for 500 series users.
PowerBook Source
Regularly updated with news on new products and upgrades. Also has a collection of links for battery and memory prices for most recent models and a forum for users.
PowerBook Zone
News, specs, and links for most PowerBooks.
PowerBook Central
News on sales, links to price information, articles, and other information. 
PowerBook Army Page
PowerBook news and product info. Also reviews and a great collection of utilities and control strip modules.
MiningCo Macintosh Hardware page
Contains info on Mac hardware and has a good collection of PowerBook links.