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View Full Version : PowerBook G4 and iBook G4 - worth it?




oprie
Sep 15, 2011, 05:02 AM
Hi

I've found a guy in my local classifieds selling an iBook G4 and a PowerBook G4 for 30 for the pair. He says he was given them to salvage the harddrives as they were faulty.

I am looking for a cheap laptop to do a bit of web design on, and thought perhaps I could take these and try to repair them. He says the chargers and batteries are still there, the only thing missing is the RAM and the harddrives.

I know it's hard to say without much information on the faults, but how tough do you think it would be to get these running? and would it be worth it for 30?

Thanks



adcx64
Sep 15, 2011, 05:25 AM
do you know the specs on these machines?

oprie
Sep 15, 2011, 06:43 AM
do you know the specs on these machines?

Thanks for the reply. I have since bought them, after questioning the specs for awhile!

I'm mostly interested in the PowerBook. It's the Aluminum 1.3Ghz model (http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/powerbook_g4/stats/powerbook_g4_1.33_15.html), with FireWire 800 and DVI port. It doesn't have a HDD with it, but it does have 1GB and 512MB RAM sticks with it - so that's good.

I have an original Tiger install DVD I was given by a friend who no longer needs it - do you know if it will be possible to install onto an external HDD in order to test the machine before I buy a new internal HDD?

If not, would a HDD like this one fit it?
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Fujitsu-40GB-2-5-hard-drive-ata-/170696826760?pt=UK_Computing_HardDrives_RL&hash=item27be52df88

Kind Regards

rowley
Sep 15, 2011, 06:50 AM
would be worth opening up the powerbook and putting a new HD in it, I think any 2.5" IDE drive fill fit nicely.

To install an external Boot off CD with the external drive attached.
Install and reboot.
Press Alt button down at startup and select the external drive to boot from.

A good buy for 30

oprie
Sep 15, 2011, 06:51 AM
would be worth opening up the powerbook and putting a new HD in it.
The can of course boot of external drive if you press the alt button down at startup.

A good buy for 30

Thanks - would I be able to install to a USB external HDD and use that to boot from? Then if it works OK I'll buy an internal.

Sound like a plan?

teleromeo
Sep 15, 2011, 07:01 AM
Bootable USB won't work with G4 macs, you'll need an internal or a firewire drive. The price is really a steal for two laptops, just don't expect high speed.

rowley
Sep 15, 2011, 07:10 AM
Bootable USB won't work with G4 macs

That I did not know. Thanks for the heads up there.

A tenner on a little IDE drive is not that much expense oprie, unless your external is a firewire.

oprie
Sep 15, 2011, 07:19 AM
Bootable USB won't work with G4 macs, you'll need an internal or a firewire drive. The price is really a steal for two laptops, just don't expect high speed.

Thanks - would a standard external firewire enclosure work OK?

Cheers

EDIT: I've just seen this: http://hints.macworld.com/article.php?story=20060301112336384 would it work OK?

oprie
Sep 15, 2011, 11:31 AM
Bootable USB won't work with G4 macs

That I did not know. Thanks for the heads up there.

A tenner on a little IDE drive is not that much expense oprie, unless your external is a firewire.

Didn't see that post, but I've just got back from my local PC store where I bought an internal 20GB drive for 10. They have a 120GB for 18 so if it works I'll be picking that up.

Cheers

oprie
Sep 15, 2011, 02:29 PM
So I've got the laptops. Both in pretty decent condition overall.

I have installed a 1GB Kingstom RAM stick into the powerbook and fitted the HDD. Upon plugging in and turning on, I hear the chime of the system starting up, but the display remains black. There are a couple of dents on the hinge at the bottom of the screen- perhaps this is the issue?

Any suggestions?

Thanks

adcx64
Sep 15, 2011, 02:32 PM
Try connecting an external display, if you get video, the internal LCD is faulty, if you don't, it could be a logic board problem.

oprie
Sep 15, 2011, 03:25 PM
Try connecting an external display, if you get video, the internal LCD is faulty, if you don't, it could be a logic board problem.

Thanks for that reply. I don't currently have a DVI cable to test, although I will do tomorrow. I have dissembled the laptop and removed the display to get a better look at the dents. They are located pretty much bang on the left and right sides of the inverter board- could this be the issue?

The board itself doesn't seem to be too damaged but the plastic surrounding it has been torn.

Thanks

Nameci
Sep 15, 2011, 03:41 PM
Shine a flashlight at the back of the apple logo, if you see something while is is on then the inverter board needs to be changed, otherwise you need to change the LCD panel.

oprie
Sep 15, 2011, 03:45 PM
Shine a flashlight at the back of the apple logo, if you see something while is is on then the inverter board needs to be changed, otherwise you need to change the LCD panel.

Nameci, I'll be honest - when I read that comment I thought it was completely pointless and that I wouldn't get anywhere with it. Well I suppose I'm an idiot because I shone a torch through the Apple logo and behold there was a small icon indicating the new HDD was empty.

So I need a new inverter board? or could this be another issue?

Thanks so much.

Nameci
Sep 15, 2011, 07:52 PM
Yes, you need to replace the inverter board...

The inverter board provides power to your CCFL backlight. What I have told you is the first thing to do to test the LCD screen if it goes black. You are lucky it is the inverter board not the screen. They are cheap on ebay. There are also guides on iFixit.

http://www.ifixit.com/Device/PowerBook_G4_Aluminum_15%22_1-1.5_GHz

Is it a 15" or 12"?

oprie
Sep 16, 2011, 02:11 AM
Yes, you need to replace the inverter board...

The inverter board provides power to your CCFL backlight. What I have told you is the first thing to do to test the LCD screen if it goes black. You are lucky it is the inverter board not the screen. They are cheap on ebay. There are also guides on iFixit.

http://www.ifixit.com/Device/PowerBook_G4_Aluminum_15%22_1-1.5_GHz

Is it a 15" or 12"?

I certainly am lucky - well I hope so anyway (providing nothing else is wrong with the machine!)

I have just ordered this board from eBay (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Apple-15-Powerbook-G4-Laptop-Inverter-614-0232-2740-/230661446006?_trksid=p5197.m7&_trkparms=algo%3DLVI%26itu%3DUCI%26otn%3D4%26po%3DLVI%26ps%3D63%26clkid%3D2815078966575854182), does that look correct? I matched the model numbers to my current one (it's a PowerBook 15" Aluminum).

Also, my local PC store has a 2.5" ATA 120 GB HDD that should fit in the PowerBook for 18 - is that a good deal? I've heard these older HDD's are getting a bit harder to find now.

I've also found a replacement clutch cover on eBay (instead of my dented one) for 9.95 - does that sound like a decent price?

Thanks

Heavertron
Sep 16, 2011, 03:40 AM
I see your enthusiasm is growing, but try to hold off the spending until you can get the thing running at a bare minimum level.

Worry about the aesthetics once you have the thing working. A working powerbook is worth something, but the you spend on it soon add up, and it's wise to keep track so you don't spend more than the resale value of the machine.

Or you could look at it as a project and just throw money into the pit... :D

oprie
Sep 16, 2011, 03:51 AM
I see your enthusiasm is growing, but try to hold off the spending until you can get the thing running at a bare minimum level.

Worry about the aesthetics once you have the thing working. A working powerbook is worth something, but the you spend on it soon add up, and it's wise to keep track so you don't spend more than the resale value of the machine.

Or you could look at it as a project and just throw money into the pit... :D

Heh, you're right. I did buy it more as a project than a re-sellable item. I'm looking at the iBook today rather than the PowerBook until the new inverter arrives.

All seems to be working pretty well with the iBook, I'm about to install Leopard. Is there any sort of tool I can use to run diagnostics and detect any faults?

Thanks