View Full Version : Powerbook G4 modding- open to your ideas

Sep 6, 2010, 10:23 PM
Hello all,
I recently rediscovered my dads old powerbook G4, 15inch. Not sure of the exact specs. It was put away because the old man spilled grapefruit juice all over it. The mac tech at the time said that the motherboard had fried aswell as the DVD drive. We decided that it wasnt worth it putting money into the thing. Now several years later i found it and was wondering if there was any way that i could salvage the screen and case and just replace the inards with an intel motherboard (intel because, from what ive read, they respond the best to OSX through hackintosh) I dont need a DVD drive so i really have a lot of space to play with. I myself was considering a mac mini motherboard, but could find the exact measurements anywhere. But i thought I would ask the community for their ideas before i do something stupid :P
Any ideas, no matter how crazy would be great!

Note. i dont want to buy a replacement motherboard that was made for this computer because i want it to run snow leopard - which requires and intel processor.

Sep 6, 2010, 10:28 PM
A Mac Mini logic board will not fit in a Powerbook G4. My suggestion is to sell it for the parts or put it back where you found it. Because unless the logic board works there is very little that can be down with it.

Sep 6, 2010, 10:29 PM
that could prove to be a trick, given the different interfaces and dimensions of intel boards. You may be able to find a MBP board to put in it, but I don't know if it will fit or if all of the components on the computer will work.

Sep 6, 2010, 10:54 PM
I just finished taking it apart and i have discovered that nothing is sticky on the inside. The juice was just over the bottom right corner of the computer and as such it makes sense that the DVD drive was damaged. How would i go about testing the computer to see if the motherboard still works? (I just called my dad and he said that the tech guy might not have even bothered trying to fix it because he knew that he<dad> was going to buy a new one anyway...
At the moment the computer does not ahve a hrddrive (thought its nearby, was using it as an external for a while now.) it also doesnt have any RAM<seems chips where taken out>
Any Ideas?

Sep 6, 2010, 11:16 PM
If you have the power cord for it, just plug it in. If it beeps or makes noise of any kind, it might still live.

Sep 7, 2010, 03:57 AM
there are two possibilities ,
first option would be getting a original logicboard that still works ,very easy as there a plenty of cracked screen or dropped powerbooks around and everything just fits plug and play

, but as i read you want intel inside so second option would be to
just get a dell mini 10v or Msi Wind u100 or any of its siblings , everything under snow leopard works nearly out of the box and fit their motherboard inside ..definitely enough space inside the powerbook , you might need to rearrange some things inside, but otherwise it should be straight forward once you found out how to power and connect the screen .....

i mention these netbooks because they are cheaper to buy then a working powerbook logicboard ,but it will get tricky ,
also it may be funny if you show people your new Powerbook and the "about this Mac "reveals :
Model Name: MacBook Pro
Model Identifier: MacBookPro5,1
Processor Speed: 1.6 GHz
Number Of Processors: 1
Total Number Of Cores: 1
L2 Cache: 512 KB
Memory: 1 GB
Bus Speed: 533 MHz
Boot ROM Version: MBA11.00BB.B03
(about this Mac from my msi wind)

but honestly i would try to get a logicboard salvaged out of a dented and cracked screen Powerbook
powerbook as i think it should be left original

Sep 7, 2010, 10:30 AM
Just remember, with any new non-original logic board, none of the internal things will work. This means no screen, keyboard, or trackpad. As they all have their own odd connector.

Sep 7, 2010, 03:04 PM
OK, just did some searching on ebay, and it seems that I could just buy a working one for 200 or so $$$ :) This does mean that i still have this broken laptop sitting around. I was thinking about just salvaging the parts, which lead me to the screen, which was in perfect woking order when the perviously mentioned accident happened. So i was thinking that it would be neat if I could turn the screen into a secondary monitor for my current imac (late 2006, 20" imac5,1). I have taken the screen away from the main body of the computer with all the cables attached (just pulled them off the motherboard, all the connectors are fine). I will post a picture later. Does anyone have any good guides or ideas on how i would go about converting the screen into a external monitor?
Wow, it seems like with every post im going in a completely different direction :P Sorry about that, And thanks for all you help so far!

I took this pic with my iphone, hope its clear enough, i can take some close ups if need be. [URL=http://img690.imageshack.us/i/img0004kfa.jpg/]

Sep 8, 2010, 06:52 AM
The screen cannot be used with any computer other then the same or similar model Powerbook G4. To connect it to your iMac you'll have to make a driver board for it. This is because it isn't a regular VGA or DVI cable that's attached to it.

Sep 8, 2010, 11:31 PM
Dam... hmmm soo how would i go about making a driver board? Or if i where to buy one what would be the price.. i mean its a decent screen, but i know that you can get some decent 20 inch screens for pretty cheap now-a-days..

Sep 10, 2010, 06:58 AM
Making a driver board from scratch is very hard and expensive. I suggest looking over the Mac Mini in a G4 iMac thread to get an idea. It's a long thread, but it has some relevance. http://www.forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?=t224698 and remember, most of the people in that thread who are working on this work with electronics for their job and have lots of expertise.

Sep 11, 2010, 06:37 AM
i would still go and get a powerbook that was driven over by a car or similar damages are always sold on ebay :rolleyes:(means dents and scratches and the like)
and then do something interesting with it (if you dont want it original that is )like that mod done with a ibook

Sep 11, 2010, 10:17 PM
As long as the board hasn't corroded, you may still be able to save the logic board. This may sound a little ridiculous, but I've repaired a lot of phones using this method. Reliability shouldn't be an issue, I've been using a water damaged blackberry (that I cleaned) for over a year now.

Take the logic board out of the computer, and over to your sink.
Rinse it off with water, and scrub lightly with a brush.
Rinse the board with isopropyl alcohol and pat dry with a paper towel.
Wait until the computer is dried (about 24 hours), even though it may look dry after an hour or so, water could still be stuck under some surface mount components. Put everything back in the case and power it up ;)