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Installing an SE to SE/30 upgrade

The information on installing the official Apple SE-to-SE/30 Upgrade Kit was provided by Andrew Spencer, who has kindly agreed to let me reproduce it here for the benefit of others. If you kill yourself doing this, don't complain to either of us!

An alternative if slightly nerve-wracking way to upgrade without the official kit (a logic board swap) is provided by Mike Bellman at the end of the page.

THESE instructions result from the experience gained during the installation of one Apple SE to SE/30 Upgrade Kit which arrived without any installation documentation. I do not pretend to be a hardware engineer, but with common sense and my experience installing hard drives and SIMMs in compact Macs I was able to figure out just how to do it.

As of this writing, the SE/30 that I upgraded has been functioning without a single problem for over six months, so the installation worked for me. If however you have even a single doubt as to your ability to install hardware inside a compact Mac, then have whomever you got the upgrade from install it for you.

I have written down these instructions because there are people out there who get Apple hardware and software on the grey market, trading in the often expensive service of an Apple dealer for a remarkably lower price. Real Apple dealers, employees and representatives can get their hands on the Apple hardware repair books, which include more detailed instructions for this upgrade.

I will not in any case accept responsibility for problems resulting from incorrect installation of the SE/30 upgrade. If you are attempting installation of this upgrade without any real Apple documentation, you do so at your own risk. Additionally, if you are not an Apple licensed technician, you are probably voiding any warranty that may come with the upgrade or still be active on your Mac.

A quote from The Macintosh Bible, Third Edition (© 1987-91 by Arthur Naiman, published by Goldstein & Blair, Berkely CA, USA):

"... the Mac contains high-voltage components, as well as capacitors that can hold those high charges for 30-60 minutes after you turn the Mac off. If you don't know what's going on in there and what precautions to take, you shouldn't be messing around inside your computer".

(For further information on opening up an SE, go to this page - CA).



  1. Ground yourself! It only takes a second, and could save your motherboard's life.
  2. Remove programmer's switch, Mac case cover and RF shield.
  3. Remove internal SCSI cable, floppy cable(s), power cable to motherboard, and finally the motherboard itself. Remove speaker connector.
  4. Take SIMMs out, stow them safely with the motherboard.
  5. Remove floppy drive(s) and hard drive.
  6. Remove power supply plug from analog board.
  7. Remove four anchor screws for the power supply from the analog board side. You don't need to remove the white analog board shield, since all of the screws are accessible with the shield on.
  8. Unscrew the green grounding wire from next to the power supply switch. Remove power supply.
  9. Unscrew the screws that attach the analog board to the chassis. You should be able to remove the analog board enough so that you can get to the four Torx screws that anchor each corner of the monitor tube. You don't need to remove the monitor tube from the analog board, but it doesn't matter.
  10. If included with your upgrade kit, install the ferrite bead around the video board cable near the analog board. The video board cable is a cable bundle going from the monitor tube to a 5 x 2 white plug on the analog board.
  11. Remove the five Torx screws that anchor the chassis to the bezel. Remove the chassis.
  12. The new chassis has several spots where you need to use old screws to attach things to it: the analog board and the external port holder for the 030 direct slot. These holes are not tapped - there are no threads for them. If you want, you can force the screws in, but a good worker will tap these holes.
  13. Screw the new metal slot port holder on to the new chassis with the three screws provided.
  14. Use the old Torx screws to attach the new chassis to the new bezel.
  15. Lay both Macs face-down and side by side, then carefully move the monitor and the analog board from the SE to the SE/30 chassis/bezel. If cables get in the way, you can remove most of the cable bundles at the analog board. Each plug is unique, so you won't go wrong putting them back together again. Be careful of the cathode ray tube, which is fragile and could contain a high-voltage charge.
  16. Re-anchor the monitor, analog board, power supply and floppy drive with the screws you removed. Plug in any cable bundles if necessary.
  17. Install the SIMMs into the new SE/30 motherboard. The SE/30 has two banks for RAM, and each of the banks must contain four of the same capacity chips. Install four 1MB SIMMs into Bank A, and if you have any spare 256K SIMMs you can install them into Bank B. Make sure that the 256K SIMMs are at least 80 ns fast.
  18. Plug in the speaker to the new motherboard and let the power supply, floppy and internal SCSI plugs hang down through the metal chassis before you slide the board in just like the old SE one.
  19. Attach the floppy and the SCSI bus from the internal hard drive to the motherboard. Attach the power supply plug. The SE/30 only has one floppy plug on the board. The 800k drives work with the SE/30 as well, but you might want to get a new or used SuperDrive. (For possible suppliers, see this page - CA).
  20. Make sure the motherboard sits right, then slide the new RF interference shield over the whole assembly. Put cover back on and screw shut. Replace programmer's switch.
  21. Plug and go!

BE READY with your system diskettes, since the system information on your hard disk may have been specified for an SE, and wouldn't contain all the right resources for the SE/30. Re-install your system software. Make a full backup and re-format your hard drive if you need to change the interleave factor - it should be 1:1 for the SE/30. (If you don't have any formatting software, see the relevant section on this web page - CA).

Andrew Spencer

Installing an SE/30 motherboard in a Mac SE

I BOUGHT a Mac SE with 800k floppy, 1MB of RAM, a 20MB hard disk, and also got an SE/30 motherboard and 1.4MB Superdrive.

I took out the old board and removed the 256k SIMMs, then took out the drives and switched the floppy. I did not have a new frame, so I have been left with the old case.

When installing the new board on to an old frame, follow these steps:

These steps had to be meticulously followed or else some piece of a SIMM would be pressed against the metal frame and force my movements (scary). To my chagrin, the ROM chip had been broken off and I had to anchor it with vinyl covered paperclips. The floppy did not sit right and would not eject out the slot until I rigged the frame.

Mike Bellman

If you need to install an expansion card, however, some further surgery might be needed, as one visitor here relates:

"The SE/30 motherboard fits into the SE chassis easily. The only problem comes when trying to use the PDS slot. The SE/30 needs a longer slot in the chassis for Ethernet (or any other) type of cards to fit. If you have no need for such cards, don't worry about it. I needed an Ethernet card, so I made the slot larger with a hacksaw blade."

And another offers this important tip:
"If you elect to increase RAM beyond 8MB you'll need Mode32 by Connectix, since the SE/30 is not 32-bit clean." If your Mac is running System 7.5, make sure you have the Mode 32 for 7.5 (and up to 7.6) as in the link above. If you use the version for pre-7.5 it will corrupt your System and Finder resources beyond recovery and you will need to do a clean System install.

And from UseNet comes this:
"The SE/30 logic board will fit into all SEs except the earliest version, which had a slightly different chassis design - an SE/30 logic board won't slide in with the power cable connected. You'll also want to use the SE/30's high density floppy drive and ribbon cable to give your SE the ability to use 1.4MB floppies." (N.B. Some SEs already have 1.4MB floppies).

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