Adventures in Macintosh restoration Part II: Getting a crossover machine

In Part I, I discussed my history with classic macs, my plans to restore a 30-year old compact mac, and some of the hurdles to getting started.

I decided that my first step would be to buy and restore a “crossover” machine. Basically, get a “newer” classic mac, one in-between the mac I want to restore and the modern PCS that I currently own.

It’s a staging ground

Despite the general availability of classic Mac software online, getting it off the internet and onto a pre-Internet, floppy-oriented device can be a bit of a pain if you only have modern equipment. Getting a crossover machine means more options than floppies: CD-ROMs, USB flash drives – even direct Internet-access itself.

It’s practice

I’m a fair hand at electronic repairs – I’m not worried about that aspect of a restoration. But there are other things I’ll need to do, cleaning and repair techniques I’ll need to learn too. Getting a crossover machine gives me a chance to test those skills out without worrying too much about ruining the final result.

Time to troll eBay

I’d been watching eBay for a while, but mostly I was looking for a good compact mac, or good prices on parts for an eventual compact mac. So I switched gears and started looking at newer macs. My requirements were pretty minimal – it needed to boot (at least enough to ask for a disk), have a floppy drive and some other way of accessing data – a CD-ROM drive, Ethernet card, USB, something.

I finally found a Power Macintosh 8600/200. It had no hard disk, but it included a keyboard and mouse, and there was a photo of it booting to the “insert disk” screen. Overall condition looked pretty good, but most importantly, it had a CD-ROM drive, built-in 10Base-T internet, and the option of adding PCI cards with USB. What sealed the deal, so to speak, was that I found the original manual and install CD online, which meant I could potentially get it up and running without having to resort to floppies at all.

So I bought it, and it arrived exactly as pictured – a little dirty, a little scuffed, but seemingly intact.

My Power Macintosh 8600/200 (Outside)

My Power Macintosh 8600/200 (Inside)

So, does it work?

Guess you’ll have to wait until Part III to find out. 🙂

/jon