Macintosh Portable

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Muirium
µ

12 Jul 2014, 03:09

Back in the late 1980s, Apple made its first Mac laptop: the Macintosh Portable. The only one before the PowerBook introduced the ubiquitous modern laptop look with a wrist rest at the front and keyboard at the back. The only one with a trackball on the right. And the only one to feature a mechanical keyboard…

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I bumped into this teardown, and found the following pictures of the naked switches:

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Does anyone know what switches these are? Regular complicated Alps? The only mention of this keyboard that I've found in the wiki is about its ISO version's Return key: which was on a narrow 2/3rds linear Alps switch.

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kps

12 Jul 2014, 17:07

Orange on the original (M5120), cream on the backlit version (M5126). Source: the pair in my basement.

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Muirium
µ

12 Jul 2014, 17:09

Thanks! Some pictures would be especially useful. The backlit version has two things going for it now!

Findecanor

12 Jul 2014, 17:30

The local recycling place had the heart to save one of these and put it on display behind the counter. :)

jacobolus

13 Jul 2014, 08:13

I got 2 separate macintosh portable keyboards (one ANSI and one ISO), and both are salmon Alps switches http://deskthority.net/wiki/Alps_SKCM_Salmon, just like the ones in the pictures in this thread. Except the ISO enter uses a skinny green linear switch instead: http://deskthority.net/wiki/Alps_SKCL_Compact

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Muirium
µ

13 Jul 2014, 15:47

How do these boards feel, by the way? The machine has a reputation as a boat anchor, but I suspect Apple might have made the keyboard a bit light and flexible anyway.

jacobolus

13 Jul 2014, 17:06

Very sturdy. Same kind of plate you find in an M0115 or M0116, but smaller so even more rigid. Put it in a new case and it would make a nice 60%-ish Alps board.

Findecanor

13 Jul 2014, 19:23

Hmm... Is this the only vintage Apple keyboard with a 1.75 ANSI Return key?

The AEK/AEKII and the AAK have a 2.25 ANSI key, and the M0116 has a backwards-L key that is 1.75 wide. The AKII has a 2u key.

jacobolus

14 Jul 2014, 10:21

Some Apple II keyboards also have a similar keyboard layout, but not quite the same type of keycaps.

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bhtooefr

14 Jul 2014, 18:00

The Apple ///, //e, //c, Lisa, and original Mac all had 1.75 ANSI enters.

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Muirium
µ

14 Jul 2014, 18:06

jacobolus wrote: Very sturdy. Same kind of plate you find in an M0115 or M0116, but smaller so even more rigid. Put it in a new case and it would make a nice 60%-ish Alps board.
Now there's a thought! Anyone got a broken Mac Portable?

Other than this guy…
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Apple-Macinto ... 0365021341

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urbancamo

29 Jul 2014, 16:07

That is *mega* cool. I love this kind of re-purposing of vintage hardware - taking the best bits and modernising. It's like me using the wyse terminal keyboard as my main work drive but on acid.

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Muirium
µ

29 Jul 2014, 18:22

The Mac Portable's still a stylish machine, I like to think. Helps that you can stuff a whole desktop inside of one these days. I have similar plans for my broken SE/30, but the CRT is hard to drive (truly black and white, the electronics hate greyscale I'm told) and 9" is a funny size to find an LCD, which would have to go behind curved glass to keep the look anyway.

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mr_a500

29 Jul 2014, 18:47

Muirium wrote: I have similar plans for my broken SE/30, but the CRT is hard to drive (truly black and white, the electronics hate greyscale I'm told) and 9" is a funny size to find an LCD, which would have to go behind curved glass to keep the look anyway.
Somebody did something like that here.

And there's always this option:

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scottc

29 Jul 2014, 19:33

You know you can buy Retina iPad displays for about €50-75, and then pretty cheaply buy a board to break it out to DisplayPort. It's something I've wanted to do for a while. You could put a little mITX computer in there! Or in your case, Mu, maybe the guts of a Mac Mini or similar.

That video is hilarious, mr_a500 - I'm amazed that it's such a perfect fit!

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Muirium
µ

29 Jul 2014, 19:41

Yep, saw that when I investigated the project a while ago. HHKB is to M0110 what iPad is to Macintosh.

I have a 2007 Intel Mac Mini spare that could go inside and be a fully functional system, with DVI video output. Tell me more about these retina displays, Scott!

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scottc

29 Jul 2014, 19:56

Sure! You can get the screens on eBay and the usual places. Check out this one, for example. Looks like about £50 shipped to the UK. That's the 9.7" full iPad version, though, so it may be slightly big for the SE. The 7.9" Mini version might work better, if it's supported!

There's an article about the converter on hackaday, and you can buy a complete set of assembled converter + display from the creator in Southampton for £110 here. It's supposed to be open source, but it doesn't look like the creator has released it yet because the schematics are still a gift on Kickstarter.

It uses the all-too-familiar ATmega 32u4, so you could probably save most of the money by just using a Pro Micro and doing it all yourself.

On the Kickstarter page, it does say the following:
kickstarter wrote: "PLEASE NOTE: OSCAR is ONLY compatible with DisplayPort / mini DisplayPort and Thunderbolt"
Which might be an issue for a C2D-era Mac Mini.

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Muirium
µ

29 Jul 2014, 20:28

Bugger. Didn't think I'd be able to pull off retina with DVI anyway, but thanks for the info. 2048x1536 could be beyond DVI's reach, and then there's the problem of getting retina scaling working on older versions of OS X, as the old Minis were ditched by Moutain Lion onwards.

I also doubt I could drive a simple 1024x768 iPad 2 screen either, as Displayport and DVI are quite different things far as I know. Pity, as my old 12 inch PowerBook was that resolution and that would add a second order of nostalgia to the result!

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scottc

29 Jul 2014, 20:34

I don't think that the normal non-retina iPad screens are supported by the adapters anyway, and I've have absolutely no idea about how to go about using them. Shame!

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bhtooefr

04 Aug 2014, 13:01

The non-retina screens are probably FPD-Link internally, so you could (with lots of rewiring) probably use a controller out of a 15" desktop LCD (which was 1024x768 as well).

And the iPad fitting in the Mac like that is intentional on Apple's part, I think. See, today's Mac isn't the successor of the classic Mac, it's the successor of the NeXT machines. There's a recording of Steve Jobs from 1983... and he's describing the iPad as his target: http://lifelibertytech.com/2012/10/02/t ... app-store/

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alh84001
v.001

29 Aug 2017, 17:30

jacobolus wrote: I got 2 separate macintosh portable keyboards (one ANSI and one ISO), and both are salmon Alps switches http://deskthority.net/wiki/Alps_SKCM_Salmon, just like the ones in the pictures in this thread. Except the ISO enter uses a skinny green linear switch instead: http://deskthority.net/wiki/Alps_SKCL_Compact
Where did you get the ISO one? Canibalised it from a machine? I'm looking for one, but all I can find is full machines and their prices are through the roof.

Edit: holy necro! I just now realised the posts were from 2014, not from 2017 :o

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mecano

31 Aug 2017, 09:52

Hey Alhazarus84001!
There is one at 600€ not far from me.

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alh84001
v.001

31 Aug 2017, 18:35

mecano wrote: Hey Alhazarus84001!
:)

mecano wrote: There is one at 600€ not far from me.
A bit over my budget :)

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ideus

01 Sep 2017, 01:00

I am afraid that very few real life samples of this model look as cool as the one in the picture, most should need retrobrithing and cleaning, but, well, it is a super nice vintage computer. It was pretty much a market failure, though, overpriced and underpowered.

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alh84001
v.001

02 Oct 2017, 01:07

Just putting a soarer's controller for my board here.
Attachments
mac_portable_2.sc.zip
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mac_portable.sc.zip
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Last edited by alh84001 on 21 Dec 2017, 07:59, edited 2 times in total.

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green-squid

10 Oct 2017, 20:39

Muirium wrote: The Mac Portable's still a stylish machine, I like to think. Helps that you can stuff a whole desktop inside of one these days. I have similar plans for my broken SE/30, but the CRT is hard to drive (truly black and white, the electronics hate greyscale I'm told) and 9" is a funny size to find an LCD, which would have to go behind curved glass to keep the look anyway.
Why not try to repair it? The 8-Bit Guy (Youtube) has great videos on restoring similar old compact macs. I'd at least try.

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alh84001
v.001

21 Dec 2017, 08:40

This is a pinout for the 34-pin headers.
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Keyboard and keypad map to a raw matrix (with some special keys), but trackball is an ADB device on pins 27, 28, 29 and 30.

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