Cyrozap's Tech Projects

Computers. Circuits. Code.

Debian Linux + ReplicatorG

Recently, I have been trying to get rid of my MacBook Pro so I will be able to upgrade my iPhone in the Fall when the new one is supposed to come out. Up until now, my MacBook had been my MakerBot-controlling machine. Now that I have a nice, speedy Linux laptop with an average of 7 hours of battery life and become more proficient with Linux, I've been using the MacBook less and less. Today, I decided I was going to print more parts from the Mendel-Inspired Lowrider. To do this, I needed to install ReplicatorG. Well, I got it running fine, but it wasn't detecting my serial port (I plan on using the physical RS-232 port on my laptop instead of the USB-TTL convertor). As is the norm with Linux, I figured it was a permissions problem and, lo-and-behold, I was right! This article got me up and running rather quickly. Basically, I just had to sudo chmod a+rw /dev/ttyS0 and I was good to go.

An interesting thing I noticed: for some reason, Skeinforge works a lot faster on my Debian Laptop than my MacBook Pro even though they have the same processor (T7300) and RAM speed (DDR2 667 MHz).

The thought just occurred to me that maybe my Debian Laptop's Skeinforge is faster because the Debian Laptop has an SSD.

My New Old Macintosh SE

Today, I got a free Macintosh SE! It's pretty awesome. Unfortunately, it's giving me a RAM error, so I'll have to swap out the modules. I'm going to try to fix it to the best of my ability because to gut a fixable machine would be to destroy a piece of Apple history. I'm thinking about replacing some of the components with more reliable modern equivalents, too. Now that I think of it, I might just go ahead and replace all the capacitors before they start leaking and ruin the board. If I can, I'll also replace the floppy drive with an SD card-based floppy drive emulator.

Anyone interested in buying the DIY-intosh?

Well, I kinda want to buy a more portable Mac (an older 17" MacBook Pro), so I'm going to be selling this for $400. Why $400? Well, I actually built it for just over $300 and similar Macs are over that price. It's really great at running a MakerBot, and it's good for iPhone development, too.

Specs:

  • 2.0 GHz Intel Core Duo Processor
  • 2 GB of DDR2 667 MHz RAM
  • Bluetooth
  • Wireless N networking
  • 100 GB 7200 RPM SATA HDD
  • 2 USB ports
  • 1 Firewire 400 port
  • 1 Mini-DVI port
  • Mic In and Audio Out ports
  • 10/100 Ethernet port
  • Magsafe power connector
  • OS X Snow Leopard pre-installed

What it will come with in the box:

  • DIY-intosh
  • A 60W MagSafe PSU
  • OS X Snow Leopard Disk
  • A Mini-DVI to DVI Adapter
  • A Mini-DVI to HDMI Adapter (video only)

Note #1: The DIY-intosh does not have a DVD drive. You can, however purchase a USB DVD drive if you need that capability. You can also enable Remote Disk on the DIY-intosh (search Google for the terminal commands). I suggest that once you have recieved the DIY-intosh that you enable Remote Disk and make a DMG of the install DVD. Then, you can restore that DMG to an 8 GB USB drive. In the event you need to install OS X again, you can just boot off of that USB drive.

Note #2: I don't ship overseas. It's just too expensive.

Email me ASAP if you're interested (click on the "Contact Me" page to see my email address). If many people email me with serious interest, I'll put it on ebay, otherwise I'll just use SellSimply. I must recieve at least one email with serious interest before I put it on either site.

How-to: Build Your Own DIY-intosh

Well, I think it's about time that I made more of a how-to to build a DIY-intosh.

There are plenty of how-to's to make Hackintoshes, but those are teetering on the edge of legality, are difficult to get as stable as a store-bought Mac, and OS updates can't always be installed without any mods. Macs are supposed to be reliably stable—that's one of their main selling points; when you remove that stability, you remove a major component of the Mac. The only reasons you would want to build a Hackintosh is to have a really powerful Mac Pro at a really good cost, to have an OS X netbook, or to have a really inexpensive Mac Mini.

The DIY-intosh can be built as a really inexpensive (mine was around $300) yet still Apple-reliable Mac. Here's how to make one of your own:

DIY-intosh is Working!

UPDATE (8/19/2010): You could probably do this a lot easier/quicker by just making an OS X USB drive by making a DMG of the OS X install disk and then restoring that image onto an 8 GB or larger USB drive, but this post is just about how I did it.

The final result!

Well, that sleep switch certainly did the trick! It turns out that Macs w/o an OS can't do anything until OS X is installed. This means that boot keys like "T" for Target Disk Mode and "C" for Boot from CD won't work until the OS is installed. The good news is, using this info that I learned myself, I was able to install OS X on my DIY-intosh.

High-Resolution Pictures of the Macbook Sleep Switch/Battery Connector

I tried figuring it out, but I couldn't get the sleep switch pinout (Apple goes to a lot of trouble to obscure the traces with the silkscreen and both my multimeters are wonky—they don't like displaying correct values). Now it's in the DIY-intosh and it still doesn't default to outputting to the external screen. I can only hope that it doesn't work for the same reason that Firewire Target Disk Mode doesn't work; OS X hasn't been installed yet.

As always, click on the pictures to see the hi-res versions.

Confessions

Ok, in the last post about the DIY-intosh, I said that it was complete. Well, it wasn't. I really did think it was, but I was unable to install OS X. The reason? It doesn't actually think that its non-existent lid is closed. I thought the sleep switch was built into the board, but it is in fact built into the battery connector. So, after trying to emulate the switch by shorting out pins and not succeeding, I decided to take the easy way out and just buy the battery connector. $8.50 in a Best Offer on eBay; search for "Macbook battery connector." When I get the item, I'll run tests on it to find the real pinouts and I'll take a bunch of high-resolution photos of it because there are no high-res photos of the battery connector online that I could find. I think it's a hall-effect sensor and not a reed switch, and that might make things a bit more difficult, but I'll try. I'll look for a chip number. Even if I don't succeed, I'll still have some great photos so others can figure out something without needing the actual sensor/assembly.

And I'm still under my $300 goal ($293.29) :D

Edit: Oh, and it looks like PuSH wasn't working before, but there was an update for it and it's working now. Instant updates FTW.