Technology and retro computer blog

Macintosh SE/30 restoration and networking

I recently picked up an SE/30 that was advertised in my local area.  It wasn't in the best of condition, the seller was honest about it needing several power cycles to start up properly.  But on the plus side it was capable of booting from the internal hard drive and what really caught my attention was that it had an Ethernet adapter installed.  From the back you could see both the AUI 15 pin and RJ45 jacks.  Ethernet cards for SE/30 are fairly rare so I thought this was a great opportunity to get hold of one.  I made an offer and managed to buy the machine for a reasonable price.

On getting the machine home, I inspected the case and overall it was reasonably good.  It had some patchy yellowing and it also had some engraving on the back, but there were no cracks or any other damage.  On powering the machine up it displayed the typical jail bars several times before eventually booting from the hard drive.  Once the machine booted I could see that the CRT had some screen burn in the picture.   This wasn't good at all as screen burn can't be fixed.  Luckily I have a spare CRT from a Mac Plus parts machine, so the plan was to swap the CRT with that one.  There were some stickers on the back which I removed and these left patches of white on the back.  So considering this I  thought that this machine would be a good candidate for retro-brite.

After a short test of the machine I could see that it generally worked when booted.  But on subsequent power cycles it would continuously display the jail bars until eventually booting to the desktop.  So considering this it was time to take it apart and start diagnosing what the issues were.  One possible cause of the jail bars on these Macs is the connection between the RAM and logic board or the ROM and logic board.  I removed all the RAM, it had eight 1meg SIMMS installed.  I also removed the ROM.  The logic board was in very good condition, there were no visible signs of capacitor or battery leaks.  Although on closer inspection I scraped around the caps with some cotton buds and I did manage to clean off some capacitor goo that wasn't easily visible.  I gave the logic board a good clean with a brush paying special attention to the RAM and ROM slots.  On re-assembly I still got the jail bars on start up.  I tried removing the logic board again and giving it a second clean up and eventually I managed to get rid of the jail bars on start up!

The machine now starts up normally every time.  So I suspect the issue was a short on the logic board either caused by dust in the RAM/ROM slots or by the capacitor goo that I cleaned off  but all things considered this was an easy fix.  The logic board will need a re-cap at some stage, as the capacitors are leaky and also the sound isn't working which is a typical symptom of bad caps.  But for the moment everything else seems to work fine.

Now that the machine seemed to be booting consistently I decided to take everything apart for a good clean up.  There was a nice surprise when I looked at the hard drive, it was a Quantum 500mb SCSI.  This would have been upgraded at some stage as these machines originally came out with either a 40meg or 80meg drive.  A 500mb 50 pin SCSI drive is a great score as these larger 50 pin SCSI drives are rare. 

The floppy drive was extremely clogged up with dust, one of the worst that I've seen.  I removed the eject/insert mechanism from the floppy drive and  gave it a good clean out.  I also lubricated the mechanism with some lithium grease.  Once cleaned out and serviced it seemed quite good.  I  gave all the internal components a good clean out and they all seemed good.  The Ethernet card in the machine was a DaynaPORT E/SI30, it seemed to be in good condition.

I removed all parts from the plastic cases and treated them with 40vol peroxide cream.  This worked great, all yellowing from the case was gone including the patches where the stickers were on the back.  This process works wonders.  The case is now a nice clean even white colour.  Once the peroxide process was finished I cleaned everything up and re-assembled the machine.  I replaced the CRT with the spare CRT from the the Plus.  On power up everything worked fine.

The next step with this machine was to see if I could get it on the network.  I re-formatted the hard drive using the System tools floppy and installed a clean copy of System 7.5 from floppy disks.  The floppy drive worked perfectly.  I also tracked down the driver for the DaynaPORT E/SI30 card and installed that.  Using the DaynaPORT hardware diagnostics I could see that the Ethernet card was recognised and reported to be  working.  I also installed Fetch FTP to connect to my local FTP server on my pc. 

On connecting a network cable from the RJ45 port on the DaynaPORT card to my local network hub I noticed that the activity light on the DaynaPORT started to flicker, this was a good sign.  However, there was no activity light on the hub.  I configured the MacTCP on the SE/30 with the appropriate settings.  I selected a manual IP address which was valid for my local network and I put in the correct gateway and DNS server IP's.  But on attempting to connect to my local FTP server using Fetch FTP there was no connection.  The fact that there was no activity light on the hub was an indication of a hardware problem.  I posted a question on and I soon got a response indicating that the issue may be that the old DaynaPORT network card running at 10mbps and half-duplex, is not being detected by newer network hardware.  This in fact was the case.  Apparently many of these old network cards don't broadcast the speed and duplex that they run at, so they are not detected by newer network hubs and routers.  Even though newer network hardware will support equipment that runs at 10mbps, they require the equipment to broadcast the speed and duplex that they run at.

There are a couple of solutions to this problem, one is to get an old 10mbps hub and connect it in-between the old network card and the newer hub/switch.  The other solution and the one that I took, was to get a router that supports switching one of the ports to 10mbps.  It was suggested through the post on that the Linksys WRT54G was one such router.  These routers are fairly old now and I was able to pick up two of them for $10 each.  Depending on the version that you get some may just automatically detect a 10mbps device but the ones I got didn't.  Luckily there was a fairly simple solution, I installed DD-WRT firmware on both routers and configured them to run as switches.  This involved turning off most of the features of the router like DHCP, routing and wireless.  See this great guide for setting up the Linksys WRT54G as a switch.  Once DD-WRT is installed you can configure each port through the VLAN settings.  To set the port for 10 megabit, un-check: autonegotiate, 100 Mbit, and full duplex for one or more ports.  Once this was done the connection to the DaynaPORT was detected and I was able to connect the SE/30 to the network.

One further enhancement that I want to do is configure the Linksys WRT54G as a wireless switch.  This would enable the SE/30 to become a  wireless client.

Comments (2) -

  • Ginjaian

    4/20/2016 11:57:57 PM |

    Hi, I've just posted the following on the 68kmla forums here

    I have a number of old Macs, and got a working SE/30 a couple of months ago. I, too, have been looking around for a network card, and have ended up with three of them! I have two Shiva Etherport II cards (one branded Novell), both with the 'Kinetics SE' back panel board, with only AUI and 10base/2 outputs. I may start another thread about building an RJ45 panel for these, as I don't have any means of connecting these to a standard router at present, and would rather not use a AUI to RJ45 transceiver.

    However, I have recently found a Daynaport E/Si30 board, but without the back panel board (with the AUI/BNC/RJ45 connections). I don't fancy my chances of finding the back panel board on it's own online, so I'd like to try and build one. Also, I've seen these boards come up on their own before (ie without the back panel), or with an AUI/BNC version, so I think it's worth trying to reverse engineer a board with an RJ45 connection. I've seen a few other pictures of these boards, but yours is the first I've seen with an RJ45 10base/T port. The BNC/AUI version has a few passives on the back, but I think these are for the BNC connection; see http://www.recycledg...bbon-cable.html. There's also an area on that board for the RJ45, with space for a bunch of passives. I've got another ethernet adaptor which has the same SONIC-T chip as the E/Si30 (it's an Apple Comm slot 1 ethernet board), and there appears to be very few additional passives and connections to the RJ45 port, and roughly equivalent board components. This makes me think it should be a relatively simple connection... I hope.

    What I really need is a good picture of both sides of your back panel board, as clear and zoomed in as possible, ideally so I can read the values of any surface mount resistors. This will hopefully make it clear what connections need to be made. Ideally, tracing the pins of the RJ45 back to the ribbon cable connector would be perfect, but I don't expect someone to do that for me! Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • tkc8800

      4/21/2016 4:48:29 PM |

      I'm planning to take the SE/30 apart for some work so I'll take some high-res pictures of the E/Si30 while I'm at it.  I'll post up in the next few days.

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