Living with PowerBook 5xx

By Kuratate0

I like the design of PowerBook 500 series!

PowerBook 500 series is my most favoriate design from Apple Computer Inc. (Second is PowerBook G3!) I bought PowerBook 550c, a special model for Japanese market, in 1995. It doesn't have enough RAM, recent faster CPU, but I don't care. It is enough to typing text, checking e-mail via network. Of course, the recent small PowerBook G4 is really nice. But I still like my old PowerBook 550c 'cause I love the design!

If you have a PCMCIA modlue with wireless network card, you can type text anywhere in your house! (if your battery works ;-P)

This PowerBook helped my miserable life and work condition after the terrible disaster, HANSHI-AWAJI earthquake which killed over 6000 people around Kobe area in Japan at the dawn, 5:46am on January 17th in 1995 (magnitude (M) 7.2 on the Richter Scale). I was living in Konan-cho, Higashi-Nada-ku in Kobe city at that time. Every houses around my apartment building was completely destroied almost instantly. My apartment building was renovated three years before the incident so it was strong enough to stand against the bibration, but still had a terrible damage. I spend 10 minutes just espace from my literally "shaked" room. I rescued 6 people and digged two dead bodies from a corruped building close to my apartment... anyway, this is not the main topic.

Current condition of my PowerBook 550c

  • CPU upgraded: NewerTechnology NUpowr 500 (PPC604e, 166MHz + 8M memory)
  • memory: 40M (32M + 8M from NUpowr 500)
  • HDD upgraded: 20G IDE HDD + PowerMonster RX (2.5inch IDE->SCSI converter) from
  • PCMCIA module type C
  • OS 9.1Japanese or 9.1 international English (you need "Wish I were..." to install those)
  • PCMCIA cards work with my PowerBook 550c

    For PowerBook 500 series, PCMCIA module is very important device to expand its capabilities. However this is NOT a recent CARD BUS slot, there are not so many options available now... You have to find PCMCIA type II or III cards, 5V 16bits.... Here is a list I tested.

  • PCMCIA Flash ATA card
  • CompactFlash cards with PCMCIA adapter
  • AirStation wireless card (Melco Inc.)

    Macintosh driver is avilable from . The installer won't work for PowerBook500 series. Then you have to use "Wish I were..." to pretend as PB5300 and install. After you install, you can change PB500 sereis again (or remove "Wish I were...") and the driver still works!

    I had a problem to install ver 6.00.6, then I used ver 6.00.4.

  • WLI-PCM-L11
  • WLI-PCM-L11G
  • WLI-PCM-L11GP (recognized as 'WLI-PCM-L11' but it works fine! I like this model!)
  • 10M/100M PC card LAN adapter (Planex Communications Inc.)
  • EM-702P (Only model which supports Macintosh from this company.)

    This product won't support PowerBook500, then I used "Wish I were..." to pretend as PB5300 and installed it. It works fine!

    Even it can connect via 100M Ethernet, PB550c is quite slow, then you may not feel benefit of this card... So I usually use wireless card.

  • What can I do next with my PowerBook 550c?

    Actually, I have no idea... It is too bad that Newer could not release G3 upgrades... I'll try to find more options but it is getting hard to find...