Getting EtherLink III Cards (3C589C, 3C589D) To Work in a Mac Laptop
3Com deserves a serious slapping around for their pathetic Macintosh support.
This is slowly improving, but there is no legacy support added for many of
their old products. Too bad, since the 3C589 series of PCMCIA Ethernet cards
are cheap and plentiful, and there are no native Mac drivers for them.
This is my attempt to rectify this egregious disparity.
Thanks to Jon Glass, who mailed me a Farallon driver and instructions on
how he modified it (thanks to his contact!), which works with the
3C589 series. I have further modified the driver to properly identify the
card and have some useful information on it in the Extensions Manager.
Here are some known gotchas:
- This driver does not work with most of the Megahertz cards, and it
does not support NICs
based on the 3C589E. You must use a different driver for these
devices. If someone can get me the four-character code for the 3C589C/D
based Megahertz cards, I can tweak a separate driver for them, but there are
too many internal differences in the 3C589E to support cards based on it.
The Dell-branded C/D EtherLink III cards *are* compatible with this driver.
EXCEPTION: It does seem that the 3Com Megahertz (note full name --
not just "Megahertz") badged cards DO work, provided they are 3C589C or
3C589D. This includes XJACKs. Those simply badged "Megahertz" do NOT, but
most of the latter are not 3C589-based. More datapoints are needed; please
write in your results.
- This driver does not support combo-modem cards, but it *does* support
combo 10Base2/10BaseT cards, providing that they are 3C589C or 3C589D
- At least one user has reported a working configuration with a
3C589B, but don't take this as guaranteed yet.
- On several systems, a system error occurs ONLY THE VERY FIRST TIME after
you install the extension and reboot. IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT YOU CLICK
THE RESTART BUTTON ON-SCREEN -- do NOT hard reset your PowerBook with
Ctrl-OpenApple-Reset or any other method! If you don't observe this,
the PowerBook seems to have trouble finding its System Folder. Don't reboot
with extensions off -- it isn't necessary as it only
happens the very first time, and has only been reported on a few systems.
After this, the driver reportedly works just fine.
I have received a couple reports that
a subminority of this small minority didn't even get a system error, just a
white flashing window. Obviously,
if you don't get a Restart button, you have no choice but to three-finger it.
However, if you do get a Restart button on the bomb window, you
*must* click it to properly consummate the installation.
- Works best on:
- PowerPC NuBus PowerBooks
Best tested on the 1400 thus far,
with increasing evidence of compatibility with the 5300. I use
a 3Com EtherLink III in my personal PowerBook 1400+G3/333, and have done so
- 68K NuBus PowerBooks
There are field reports that it also works with the 190, although I don't
have a 190 of my own at the moment. Also,
I don't see any reason why this wouldn't work on a Blackbird (520, 520c,
540, 540c, 550c) with a card cage either (useful if your internal Ethernet
has died), but my 540c doesn't have a card cage to test with. If anyone
wants to try this, please send me a datapoint.
- Reported problems on:
- OpenFirmware (non-NuBus) PowerBooks
This means pretty much everything after the 1400 with a PCMCIA slot,
including the 3400 on up.
At the very least, the driver doesn't seem to reliably work on these later
models, and at worst, you may get
a system crash. If you want to try this on an OpenFirmware-based PowerBook,
back up your System Folder first.
For this reason, I can't test this in Classic
mode under OS X, but I would be very surprised if it worked.
- Will never work on:
Check the list of working and non-working configurations below.
- Intel-based laptops (MacBook Pro, Intel iBooks, ...)
Never going to happen, at least not with this driver; it's 68K code, it's
firmly grounded in Classic MacOS, and if it doesn't work with OF, how the
sam heck will it work with EFI? :)
- Known conflicts with other Ethernet drivers:
if you get a constant recurring system error (not counting the
known issue above which only happens once),
or if the card doesn't seem to work or even be recognized,
disable all other Ethernet PC card drivers
including but not limited to Apple Built-In Ethernet, Asante FriendlyNet
and especially a real Farallon driver. (The "Apple Enet" extension seems to be
safe [note: "Apple Enet" is not "Apple Built-In Ethernet" -- they are different
extensions], and you shouldn't disable non-Ethernet-card extensions.)
If you have an uninstaller, use the uninstaller instead of disabling
the extension in the Extensions Manager. This means any code resources
inserted into the
System file by these conflicting extensions are cleaned up, too. Otherwise,
use the Extensions Manager as usual.
At least one particular Ethernet and networking extension may be needed in your
system folder (EtherTalk Phase 2), and for certain PowerBooks the
Farallon Skyline driver is also needed to get the 3Com driver to work (see
If you find other Enet extensions that can safely coexist, or if your
results vary, I would like to know about them so that
we can have multiple card support one day (knock on wood).
Orinoco and Farallon side by side??
Tom Porcelijn reports the following. Please note: I have not tried this!
I spend a few day's trying to get 3Com's 589D EN card working on my
PB5300 under OS 8.6[...]
What worked well out was the following workaround:
1. LOCK the System-file in the system folder (and make a back-up to be sure !)
2. Drop the 3ComEN-extension in the Extension folder of the System folder.
3. Restart the PB5300 - all should work, except that the 3ComEN
extension won't work yet.
4. UNLOCK the System-file.
5. Restart the PB5300 - half way the start-up, the computer will stop
and restart on its own.
6. Now the start-up will run normally, and: after dubbel clicking the
3ComEN-icon, ther is a new
choice under the "Connect Via:" menu in the AppleTalk menu:
Works nicely together & alongside a Orinoco wifi-card
(simultaneously) and the OS 8.6 hacked iTunes!
I have not verified this, but there's hope of getting this driver to coexist
with some wireless drivers.
Please, back up your System folder if you wish to try
this trick first!
The 1400s and 5300s seem to really work well with this driver, and it
seems the 190 is also compatible too!
I would appreciate datapoints for the Blackbirds if anyone
has tried this driver on those systems ... ?
Also thanks to Bill Grady who made multiple tests of OS/driver pairings on his
1400, and to Dan Fackler for the same on the 5300 (and the Skyline tip).
- 1400, OS 9.1, 3C589C (with G3/333, this is my personal PowerBook)
- 1400, OS 9.1, 3C589D (thanks Dan)
- 1400, OS 9.1, Dell-branded 3C589D (thanks Garry)
- 1400, OS 9.1, 3C589D (thanks Robert)
- 1400, OS 9.1, 3C589D (thanks Gil)
- 1400, OS 9.1 (French/Canadian), 3C589D-TP (also a G3; thanks Vincent)
- 1400, OS 9.1?, 3C589D (thanks Tim B; initial crashes but resolved on
second shot without Skyline)
- 5300, OS 9.1, 3C589D (thanks Dan F; this required the
- 5300, OS 9.0.4, 3C589D (thanks Dan F; this required the
- 5300, OS 9.0.4, 3C589D (thanks Scott B; Scott did this without
Skyline, but relates an initial crash, revived his System
Folder, restarted, second crash, waited a couple minutes,
and rebooted 100% working ... odd ^^;; )
- 5300, OS 9.0.4, 3Com Megahertz 3CXE589D (3CXE589DT) (thanks
Mikael; this required the Skyline driver;
"I installed your driver, the skyline driver, and copied Ethertalk
Phase II from the old 7.5.5 system folder ...
Thanks a ton, you rock!")
- 1400, OS 8.6, 3C589D (with G3/333, thanks Rob)
- 1400, OS 8.6, 3C589C (thanks Leif)
- 1400, OS 8.6, 3C589D (thanks Brian; initial system error on first
boot, then worked fine)
- 1400, OS 8.6, [model coming] (thanks Run)
- 5300, OS 8.6, 3C589D (thanks Dan F; this required the
- 1400, OS 8.5, 3C589C (thanks George)
- 1400, OS 8.5, 3C589D-TP (thanks Patryk, initial crash then worked)
- 1400, OS 8.5, 3C589D (thanks Gerald, initial crash but resolved with
- 5300, OS 8.5, 3C589C (thanks Brian)
- 1400, OS 8.1, Dell-branded 3C589C (dual 10b2/10bT, thanks Greg)
- 1400, OS 8.1 (French/Canadian), 3C589D (thanks Dany)
- 1400, OS 8.1, 3C589-TP (thanks Ross; initial system error on first
boot, then worked fine)
- 1400, OS 8.1, 3C589D (thanks Bill)
- 1400, OS 8.1, 3C589D-TP (thanks JLB; extension error noted after startup,
went away after that)
- 5300, OS 8.1, 3C589D (thanks Julian; connected happily to a Cube running
- 5300, OS 8.1, 3C589B (not C or D!; thanks Andre, also worked on 7.6.1)
- 5300, OS 8.1, [model coming] (thanks Tom)
- 5300, OS 8.1, 3C589D "I got connected in five minutes" (thanks Juha)
- 5300, OS 8.1, Dell-branded 3C589 [model coming] (thanks Stephen)
- 190, OS 8.1, 3C589D (thanks Jason N; running without conflict with
- 1400, OS 8.0, 3C589D (thanks Bill)
- 5300, OS 7.6.1, 3C589D (thanks Colin; initial Sad Mac, then booted on the
- 1400, OS 7.6, 3C589D (thanks Bill)
- 5300, OS 7.5.5, 3C589D (thanks Scott B)
- 190, OS 7.5.5 (D), 3C589C (thanks Stefan)
- 190, OS 7.5.5, 3C589D (thanks Ted)
- 5300, OS 7.5.2, 3C589D (thanks Dan F)
- 190, OS 7.5.2, Dell-branded DF63-3C589D (thanks Chris)
Some general workarounds for crashes
If you got a system error, did you remember to click the Restart button
on the system error (see known issue above)?
If your system is not finding its system folder, please try these
workarounds and let me know if any work for you.
A fix for 5300 owners running 8.6, 9.0.4,
9.1 (and other PowerBooks?)
- Reboot from your system CD. Go to the Startup Disk control panel and
select your hard disk again. Close the Startup Disk window, and *then*
restart your system.
- Reboot from your system CD. Go to your System Folder and drag the
System file out to your desktop. After the system has moved it there,
drag it back to the System Folder. Now, reselect the Startup Disk as
above, and try again.
- Reboot from your system CD. Remove the old System Folder and rename
your backed-up System folder to "System Folder" (you did dupe it in the
Finder, right?). Make sure the System Folder is blessed (has a MacOS logo
appear on it). Then go to the Startup Disk control panel, select your
hard disk again, and restart.
Dan Fackler discovered that the
Farallon Skyline driver can fix crash bugs on the 5300, and this may also
work for the few 1400s that are problematic as well. He says,
When booted into System 7.5.2(OEM System on this PB) your
driver works flawlessly, but the EtherTalk Phase 2 extension must be present.
Under OS 8.6 and 9.1(I'm assuming that this holds for OS 8.5 and 9.0.4 as
well... [a later note from Dan said that 9.0.4 also suffers from
this]), the Skyline driver AND EtherTalk Phase 2 must be installed. I
suspect the critical Farallon component is the "Wireless PC Card" extension.
The machine will crash hard on the first startup attempt(no graphic, text or
Restart button), but the 3-fingerd salute(Command-Control-Powerkey) starts
the machine and all loads properly thereafter. Built-in Ethernet must be
Remove the Built-in Ethernet extension, put the 3Com driver in your
Extensions folder, make sure the EtherTalk Phase 2 driver is present,
then run the Skyline installer, and restart.
The Farallon Skyline driver Dan used can be downloaded locally:
Not Working (Yet?)
I have exonerated RAM Doubler as a factor, since RD9 is humming along
like a champ on my personal 1400. Stated non-working systems:
- 1400, OS 8.5, 3C589D -- second noted crash; may be secondary to RAM size
(his unit has only 16MB). Waiting for corroboration. (thanks Bill)
- 1400, OS 8.6, [waiting for card] -- first significant nasty crash on the
1400s (sigh). This may be related to the known issue with improper reboots
after installation, but I have not heard back from this user. Please
contact me ASAP! (thanks Wayne)
- 3400, OS 9.1, 3C589 -- Card is recognised, but it's just not working.
Checking extension conflicts. (thanks David)
- 3400, OS 8.1, 3C589D -- nasty system crash. Back up your System Folder
before trying this yourself. (thanks Ted L)
- 2400c, OS 9.0.4, 3C589C -- nasty system crash. Back up your System
Folder before trying this yourself. (thanks Francine)
- 2400c, OS 9.1, 3C589C and 3C589D -- extension doesn't load. (thanks Pawel)
- 2400, OS 8.6, 3C589D-TP -- nasty system crash. Back up your System
Folder before trying this yourself.
- Wall Street G3, OS 9.1 -- nasty system crash. Back up your System
Folder before trying this yourself.
Drop this in your System Folder's Extension folder and reboot. This is
an unofficial hack of a Farallon software product. Do not ask them for
support of this file! This is provided AS IS and strictly at your
own risk. Consider making a backup copy of your System Folder first, just
in case (highlight the System Folder and Duplicate it in the
If you get a system error immediately after installation on the first
reboot, remember, click the Restart button -- don't hard reset your
system, and don't restart with extensions off. If you get an outright
system crash, please try one of the workarounds,
or try installing the Farallon Skyline driver
Please submit successful or unsuccessful tests on your system to firstname.lastname@example.org, including the Mac
model, OS, type of card (the exact brand name and model number, such as
III 3C589D" or "Dell 3C589 something or other"), and any other useful details.
In particular, I would like to hear from XJACK users. Even if you have a
known working configuration listed above, please send it anyway so that we
have more datapoints! :-) If you are reporting a driver failure, please
include how much RAM you're using, and any interesting extensions.