Installing PowerBook 500 Series Memory
How to install memory into a PowerBook 520/540 in 20 (easy) steps
Last Updated: 5/22/2000 JE
Do this at your own risk! I take no responsibility for actions of others
that I cannot control. Do this at your own risk.
I get this question ALL of the time: (someone else's instructions!) :
Powerbook 500 Series PRAM Battery Installation.
First, you need to get your memory. I suggest purchasing RAM for
all microcomputers from
TechWorks. I'm in no way advertising for them - but I love their
service and prices.
For parts, etc. try these sites:
1. First, you need to order the RAM.
2. Second, you'll need a good torx 8 wrench. In fact, it's a
good idea to have a size 9, and 10 as well. There are also some
torx sets at the local discount stores that work just fine, and
also include more sizes - be sure to get the TORX set, though.
3. When working with any static sensitive electronics, you should
be using an Anti-Static Pad that includes a wrist strap. In this
case I've shoved the metal contact button that usually attaches to a
flexible wrist strap under my watch.
4. Memory dealers ship their memory in anti-static bags (Below,
left). A good memory company will also ship some kind of wrist
strap - and in this case, TechWorks shipped a disposable wrist strap
(Below, right). I won't need to use this, as I'm using my anti-static
pad and Wrist strap.
5. Locate the PowerBook to install memory into... :-) REMOVE ALL
BATTERIES and do NOT plug in the AC Adapter. You don't want the
PowerBook to accidentally power-on while installing the RAM which
could possibly short out the daughter card! (ie, a BAD THING).
6. Close the PowerBook, and take out all batteries. Turn the
PowerBook over. Using a Torx 8 Wrench, unscrew the left middle keyboard
7. Do the same to the other keyboard torx screw. Remember what kind of
screws go where! (It will matter later.)
8. Turn the PowerBook over. On the backend of the Powerbook, there are
two little screws. Each screw is on either side of the Serial Number
label. The picture below is fuzzy, but you get the idea. Remove the
screw to the left of the serial number sticker.
9. Remove the screw to the right of the serial number sticker.
10. Lift up the screen. Pop up the keyboard; reach under it with your
fingernails or a knife blade. Pull the keyboard towards you (trackpad
direction), and place it out of the way without disconnecting the
11. Pop up and lift out the gray cover bar beneath the screen, which was
held in place with the two flat head sheetmetal screws by the serial
number sticker. This gives access to the third screw that holds down the
heat sink (see next step).
12. Remove two sheetmetal hold-down screws on either side of the
perforated metal cover plate (actually, a heat sink) over the CPU bay.
Also remove the third screw, under the screen.
Third Screw removal->
13. Lift off the perforated cover plate (heat sink). Make sure you don't
lose the third screw! You are looking at the CPU bay and the
motherboard/CPU daughterboard. It's not pictured below, but you'll
need to remove the gray plastic bar ("retainer") that the sheet metal
screws attached to - it covers the interface for the RAM module.
14. Carefully hold the RAM module ONLY BY THE EDGES.
15. Orient the RAM module so its back edge will plug into the rear
alignment slots as shown. Then align the connector on the RAM card with
the connector on the daughterboard, and press it in place gently but
16. Pull the retainer as far back onto the RAM card as you can. The screw
holes in it will have to line up with the screw holes in the heat
17. Put back the heat sink (CPU bay cover plate). Carefully place all of
the feet of the heat sink INSIDE the CPU bay (the heat sink plate will
not lay as flat if one of the metal feet isn't tucked in correctly), and
check to see that the screw holes line up. Then pop the graybar back in.
This is a test of persistence and luck. Then slide the keyboard back
18. Hold the keyboard in place...
19. ...and put back the screws in the outside bottom of the 520. Also put
back the two screws by the serial number.
20. Replacing the screws on the under side...
If you notice that any of these instructions aren't clear (gasp!) please
feel free to write Justin Elliott.
After years of having our department PowerBook 520c's, I'm convinced
that these were some of the best PowerBooks that Apple has ever made.
Last Update: 8/25/2000 jde