The Quadra 610 Lives

Quadra 610 Boot

Good news – the Quadra 610 lives. And boots. There are still some issues to work through, which I will get to eventually, but my blood, sweat, and broken pieces of plastic might be worth it.

Here are a few of my learnings:

  • The case plastic is brittle.
  • I thought I had both a dead cdrom and floppy drive, but after some stubborn attempts, I got the machine to boot off of a Disk Tools floppy. Turns out I needed a working floppy disk that wasn’t older than my kids.
  • Apparently, the cdrom drive is dead.
  • After a successful boot, I was happy to see the Quadra has 40MB of RAM.
  • I invested in a SCSI2SD (version 5b) during a sale on eBay. While it was a little tricky to get setup, don’t overthink it. Make sure you set the SCSI ID correct, a maximum of 2GB partitions, and don’t try to DD an image onto a partition unless you know exactly what you are doing. The Quadra was not booting at all for a while when I plugged in the SCSI interface in, because I had tried to put a Mac OS 7.6.1 cdrom on the first partition in a clumsy, ill-advised manner.
  • Your Power Mac G5 is a friend. After formatting the first partition using a handy Disk Tools floppy, the partition mounts on my G5. I was able to copy over the install files for System 7.6.1 at that point. And then I was able to install from that partition on to another partition. It was a juggling trick but it worked.
  • The thing boots pretty quickly off of the SCSI2SD interface. I updated a few pieces via the¬†System7Today¬†guides. Netscape Navigator 3.0.8 runs quickly. Turn off java and javascript.
  • Future updates: Cleaning memory slots, figuring out if I can revive the CDROM drive, and installing A/UX on to another partition.

Progress is good.

— Nathan

To Rehab or Not: Quadra 610

Quadra 610

Several months back, I, in a fit of poor decision making, bid a low offer on an old Quadra 610 on eBay. I regretted it, but I didn’t think I was going to win the machine. And guess what? I won the auction. The Quadra 610 arrived in decent shape in a big box at my doorstep.

Since then, I have tried to get it working. The good news – it does boot up and shows the question mark folder sign. There is a purplish tint to the screen, which I believe is a sign of an aging motherboard. Unfortunately, nothing else works – floppy drive spits out any disk I put in, and after scrounging up an old CD tray, the drive churns to meaningless purpose. What do I do?

Like any of these old Macs, the case has yellowed and is brittle as all get out. I have to be extra careful when handling it, but that is also true to the old Performa 5215 sitting in my basement. It’s really not worth it to fix, but I have it. 68k Macs are fun. I haven’t decided my course of action.

The cheapest route is probably to pull the scsi CD-ROM drive from my Performa and see if I can at least get a Mac OS boot install to work. From there, I can try to scrounge up a SCSI hard drive that I can put in (which isn’t cheap) or invest in a floppy emulator for $129. I’m not keen on spending much money on such an old computer, so I may keep poking around and see what I can figure out.

The positive thing is that this Quadra 610 is one with a full 68040, which means I could run A/UX on it as a whim. I have no idea how much RAM or cache it has beyond that. So, we’ll see.

What do you think I should do? Restore it? Or let it sit?

— Nathan