PowerBooks! What a concept! When they first came out in 1991 or so, (you remember the 100, 140 and 170, don’t you? Are you by chance reading this article on one?) I’ll be honest, I had my doubts. Yes, they were Macs through and through (gotta love that!) and ran System 7.0 like all the big boys at the time and they had some absolutely wonderful reviews about user comfort (the first laptop with a sleek, ergonomic layout
designed to reduce Carpal Tunnel Syndrome) and other neat stuff like that but they had their share of first generation problems.

One of my pet peeves was that the batteries died so quickly. It would come up with
the message… You’ve got ten seconds of reserve power left and this baby’s toast! Man, I hated that. Right in the middle of running a test and hasta la vista, baby. Well, I’m glad to report that Apple’s has fine-tuned these wonderful little babies to the place that they can proudly take the title of “The fastest notebook in the world” (Check out Apple’s site for info on that) and yes, they have greatly improved the battery issue. Do you remember when they had some batteries that actually caught on fire? Boy, I’m glad they fixed that one! :^) I love going down Memory Lane!

Alright, enough with the small talk! The last of the PowerBook 100 series, the 150 (Now, I know that some of you are reading this article on this machine, (Hi Phoebe!) occasionally crash and won’t restart even when the battery’s known to be good and you’ve got a functioning AC Adapter plugged into the wall. You’ll know that it’s working by the nice warm feeling you get when you put your hand on it. No, it’s not on fire,
it’s just a transformer doing its job. Trust me! But you just can’t get it to start up.

Why? Chances are you need to reset the Power Manager. “The what?”, you may ask. Read the last line again, it’s called the P-O-W-E-R M-A-N-A-G-E-R. “Well, what in the world is that?” Glad you asked. I’ve never read a spec sheet on what it does but I do know that it holds certain internal settings that regulate the power that the PowerBook uses. It sounds like a bunch of gobbledy-gook but you gotta believe me it’s good, it’s important and best of all, it’s an easy fix.

Yea! And yes, kids, you can do this at home without the supervision of a parent or legal guardian. (Sorry about all the one-liners…I’m late getting this article in so I tend to get on the goofy side when under pressure) I’ve written a to-do list below to show you how to reset the Power Manager. Just follow the instructions and you’d be surprised how often this will take care of the problem. As I review what I’ve written so far, I have to smack myself on the forehead. If you’re having problems with your 150 right now, then you can’t even read this! Just go with me on this, it’ll be over in a minute. Consider this as help for the future. Yeah, yeah, that’s it! Okay, check this out:

Reset the Power Manager if:

1. The battery and AC Adapter are proven good, but the computer will not turn on.
2. The computer will not reset after a system crash.

To reset the Power Manager in a PowerBook 150:

1. Remove the AC Adapter and the battery.
2. Using a paper clip, hold down the reset button on the back of the computer for 5-10 seconds. This is the little hole located directly beside the startup button.
3. Reconnect the AC Adapter and briefly push the reset button again. You should hear a small pop from the speaker.
4. Turn on the computer.
5. If the computer turns on, reinstall the battery. If the computer doesn’t start, it may need servicing.

Okay, I’m done with the serious stuff. What do you think of that cool comet? I show it to my kids every night. I think it’s great. They think I’m nuts. :) Ah, kids these days, they never listen!

Last thought and I promise I’ll stop. Is this column helping you? No, I’m not down on myself. I just want to be sure that I’m filling a need for all of my Mac comrades. Drop me a line and let me know if there is anything I can help you with. Thanx, Catcha L8r!


Ed Tobey (edtobey@mymac.com)

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