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Old Jan 6, 2013, 09:45 AM   #1
blesscheese
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iBook G4 Airport randomly drops connection

Anybody have any ideas? I'll be connected to my router and the internet one moment, and then all of a sudden the connection drops and i can see my Airport icon grayed-out. This doesn't happen with any of my other notebooks or wireless connections (Mac and PC). It happens on this iBook in both 10.5 Leopard and Tiger.

The funny thing is, after it drops, when I go to select the network back, nothing shows up in the list of networks to select from...not my network, and none of my neighbors, which is a bit odd.

More details...iBook G4 1.42GHz, 1.5GB RAM, 10.5 & 10.4, Apple Airport card inside...Ok, I ran to get on here before the connection dropped, while writing it dropped, and now I have to get it back...sheesh...
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 10:00 AM   #2
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No real idea what may be happening.

Have you tried reseating the airport card antenna? By that I mean disconnecting the airport card cable and then pushing it back in fully. It sounds like an airport card issue if you aren't picking up an other networks.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 10:41 AM   #3
DarkSel
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Originally Posted by eyoungren View Post
No real idea what may be happening.

Have you tried reseating the airport card antenna? By that I mean disconnecting the airport card cable and then pushing it back in fully. It sounds like an airport card issue if you aren't picking up an other networks.
This.

Also, is the iBook being moved in any way by you while this is happening? By that I mean, make sure it is on a flat surface and not being moved in any way.

If your airport card is not fully seated in the expansion slot, there will be a very poor connection between the logic board and the card, resulting in the slightest movement disconnecting the card.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 11:55 AM   #4
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iBooks made in 2005 had a known fault in their Airport Card connector, because of repeated heating and cooling cycles the solder connections crack causing all kinds of issues of the card not showing at all, the machine giving kernel panics when the card is installed/enabled or that the machine refuses to boot at all.

You could try this trick (or similar, apply pressure to the left side of the touchpad):

http://ottergoose.net/imgs/ibook-clamp.jpg

And if it works better, it might be that soon the problems will be worse (without the clamp). Had this kind of machine once, I "fixed" it by disassembling the machine and putting couple layers of paper over the card and screwed that small metal (if I remember right it wasn't plastic) thing tighly so it created pressure to the card and the slot, after that machine worked, even when moved. That clamping to table fix isn't so portable and you cannot say that common Apple -chant: "A mac just works"

EDIT: Of course, if you are lucky it might be that card is faulty. I can't remember if 2005 iBooks used the wlan/bluetooth -combo card, I think so. Replacing it is of course bit tricky as the iBook is not that easy to disassemble.... but that connector fault on the motherboard is well known and I'm afraid that's the problem.

Last edited by Zotaccian; Jan 6, 2013 at 12:09 PM.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 12:09 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Zotaccian View Post
iBooks made in 2005 had a known fault in their Airport Card connector, because of repeated heating and cooling cycles the solder connections crack causing all kinds of issues of the card not showing at all, the machine giving kernel panics when the card is installed/enabled or that the machine refuses to boot at all.

You could try this trick (or similar, apply pressure to the left side of the touchpad):

http://ottergoose.net/imgs/ibook-clamp.jpg

And if it works better, it might be that soon the problems will be worse (without the clamp). Had this kind of machine once, I "fixed" it by disassembling the machine and putting couple layers of paper over the card and screwed that small metal (if I remember right it wasn't plastic) thing tighly so it created pressure to the card and the slot, after that machine worked, even when moved. That clamping to table fix isn't so portable and you cannot say that common Apple -chant: "A mac just works"

EDIT: Of course, if you are lucky it might be that card is faulty. I can't remember if 2005 iBooks used the combo card or not. Replacing it is of course bit tricky as the iBook is not that easy to disassemble.... but that connector fault on the motherboard is well known and I'm afraid that's the problem.
This is precisely what happened with my iBook, though I didn't have connection problems. It went straight to kernel panics.

I trashed the kexts for AirPort Extreme, after which the System Profiler no longer recognized the presence of APE. I got a USB WiFi signal booster, which gives much better performance than AirPort.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 12:16 PM   #6
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Yeah that what you did can be recommended if the OP is not comfortable disassembling the machine, in my case it also worked, I just disabled it from the upper menu. After reading more about this issue I ended up going the dissasembly route and after a while started to regret it but eventually it all worked
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 12:21 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Zotaccian View Post
but that connector fault on the motherboard is well known and I'm afraid that's the problem.
Nothing indicates it in OP so far. Symptoms of slot failure are more "heavy" - freezes, KPs.

To me, it looks more like this issue :http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13727_7-10332007-263.html

...and yes, 1.42 uses combo card.

BTW, I'm afraid that "clamp fix" won't work for 1.42, because AP card is located on the left, near USB ports, very close to keyboard.

Last edited by 666sheep; Jan 6, 2013 at 12:31 PM.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 12:45 PM   #8
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I assume the OP has already installed all updates to OS so if there was somethinf wrong with the software it would have been fixed. What you linked was basically people noticing that there was issue.

I would still encourage the OP to try the clamp fix (or just put pressure otherwise) to see if it helps because that's what I tried myself when I was having problems with AP and eventually ended up disassembling the machine to do bit better trick for it. If I remember correctly it was the same model altough I have owned 12" iBooks too.

And solder connector cracks do not always result into kernel panics, I had Macbook machine and its wireless connection worked fine when the machine was cool but started to degrade and eventually browsing was pain. Installed Ubuntu to see if there was any difference, there was not and the card itself worked fine on PC so no kernel panics but somehing wrong with the motherboard.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 01:18 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Zotaccian View Post
What you linked was basically people noticing that there was issue.
You didn't read carefully They described quite precisely when it does happen, symptoms and one potential fix that worked for some people.

IMO nothing that OP has described (so far) fits into "slot failure" category.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 01:28 PM   #10
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Aa well there was one trick yes. I have owned many iBooks or PowerBooks and never tinkered with IP v6 settings, used two different routers so I guess those were both good as is my service provider so that's why I never faced those issues

But I would like hear more from OP as well, has he updated everything to max, has he tried resetting everything (PRAM and SMC whatever), has taken the laptop as close to the router/modem and switched every other machine off to eliminate all possible conflictions/distractions possible and has he tried the clamp fix.

Until yesterday I had Macbook Pro which had some kind of conflicts whenever a certain PC laptop was used in location between the modem and the Macbook, whenever that PC was in a network and in that location, the Macbook's network stability started to suffer, it did not affect anything else, my Windows PC's, cheap crappy chinese tablet or my phone, just this overpriced aluminium Mac which died the last time yesterday (because of Nvidia issue)
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 05:28 PM   #11
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Wow, thanks for all the help and suggestions! If we were all in a room together, I'd hug each and every one of you

I went to the link by 666sheep, and the IPv6 was already configured to "Automatically" so it sounds like the easy fix isn't going to work.

I appreciate the want for more details...I have it with both 10.4.11 and 10.5.8; I was just assuming people would know that I had all the latest updates.

And I am working with it in my office, so we aren't even 10 feet from the router...

The bit in the links about the heating and cooling, and having it appear mainly when plugged-in is interesting, and sounds suspiciously like what I am seeing. I had an iBook G3 800 lemon ages ago, and it had the problem with the GPU solder joint coming unhinged...based on all indications, it sounds likely this is a mechanical fault.

I have a battery coming in the mail...so I can try it when not plugged in. I'm not afraid to take the thing apart, and was planning on putting a new hard drive in (the "cheap" Transcend 64GB SSD on Amazon had caught my eye...). But now, if this thing has a problem like this, I'm not sure it is worth upgrading...I'll think about taking it apart just for the heck of it, and reseating the Airport card.



Well, on the bright side, I do have a spare USB wireless modem I can use, and that should not drop connections. And...maybe the 2004 iBook 1.33GHz I'm "inheriting" won't have the same problem, and I can soup that up! (I got this 1.42 iBook from my mother-in-law, and the next one is coming from my wife's aunt, who just got a brand new MBA).

It is annoying...when your 7+ year old hardware goes south on you...I was looking forward to hot-rodding the 1.42 GHz iBook, since it can have more memory in it, and has the slightly faster graphics card. Oh well...
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 05:37 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blesscheese View Post
It is annoying...when your 7+ year old hardware goes south on you...I was looking forward to hot-rodding the 1.42 GHz iBook, since it can have more memory in it, and has the slightly faster graphics card. Oh well...
So…it's still useable. Hook it up via ethernet cable and have it do something else. Maybe not what you planned but it'll still be used.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 06:03 PM   #13
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So…it's still useable. Hook it up via ethernet cable and have it do something else. Maybe not what you planned but it'll still be used.
Oh, heck ya' it's useable! I never get rid of something if it can still be used (he says as he eyes his shelf...2 Sawtooths, a Quadra 700 (2 more of those in a closet), 2 SuperMac S900's, 3 Pismo's and about 5 Lombards...).

Frankly, the less time I spend on the interwebs, the better...I get more work done, and more play done as well.

I got it hoping I could run some PPC programs in Tiger and Leopard, and see if I could get used to Classic, so I could pare down my Lombard and Pismo collection.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 06:52 PM   #14
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Oh, heck ya' it's useable! I never get rid of something if it can still be used (he says as he eyes his shelf...2 Sawtooths, a Quadra 700 (2 more of those in a closet), 2 SuperMac S900's, 3 Pismo's and about 5 Lombards...).

Frankly, the less time I spend on the interwebs, the better...I get more work done, and more play done as well.

I got it hoping I could run some PPC programs in Tiger and Leopard, and see if I could get used to Classic, so I could pare down my Lombard and Pismo collection.
Excellent, we think alike!

My Mac collection is no where near as extensive as everyone else's here. Mostly laptops and only two of those are my own personal machines. The only desktops I have are a PowerMac 7200 and a PowerMac 6500, both OS9 machines of course.
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Old Jan 11, 2013, 10:15 AM   #15
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Converging on a mechanical problem

Ok, just an update...

I haven't opened it up yet, but I have made some reliable observations:

After a cold start, or having had the Airport off overnight, I can get 30 minutes of use first time out, before it drops a connection.

Then, after it drops a connection, if I turn it off for at least 10 minutes, I can then turn it back on and get 5-10 minutes of connectivity before it drops again.



So, it looks like a mechanical fault caused by heating/cooling. I was looking forward to getting my Aunt-in-law's old iBook G4 1.33GHz for comparison purposes (since this problem was only reported in the 1.42GHz iBook), but she forgot to bring it out with her! Oh well, if that is my only problem ,then I am doing ok...it will push back my timeline for trying out fixes/ideas, and posting results.
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Old Jan 11, 2013, 10:48 AM   #16
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Ok, just an update...

I haven't opened it up yet, but I have made some reliable observations:

After a cold start, or having had the Airport off overnight, I can get 30 minutes of use first time out, before it drops a connection.

Then, after it drops a connection, if I turn it off for at least 10 minutes, I can then turn it back on and get 5-10 minutes of connectivity before it drops again.



So, it looks like a mechanical fault caused by heating/cooling. I was looking forward to getting my Aunt-in-law's old iBook G4 1.33GHz for comparison purposes (since this problem was only reported in the 1.42GHz iBook), but she forgot to bring it out with her! Oh well, if that is my only problem ,then I am doing ok...it will push back my timeline for trying out fixes/ideas, and posting results.
That's bad. Maybe you can use a USB wifi stick?
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Old Jan 11, 2013, 11:10 AM   #17
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Oh yeah. . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by rjcalifornia View Post
That's bad. Maybe you can use a USB wifi stick?
AirPort on iBooks has a history of funky behaviors -- kernel panics, dropped connections.

I got a cheap USB WiFi signal booster on eBay. It's more reliable than AirPort ever was -- it never drops a connection -- and the signal is much more powerful. Prior to this, I bought a standard WiFi dongle, but the signal was just too weak.

After responding to this post, I realized I already posted a reply to this thread. One more thing: Even the USB dongle worked better than Airport Extreme on my iBook.
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Last edited by skateny; Jan 11, 2013 at 02:05 PM.
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Old Jan 11, 2013, 04:29 PM   #18
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That's bad. Maybe you can use a USB wifi stick?
Oh yeah, already have one and been using it.

It is ultra-reliable (compared to the Airport). It is several years old, so it is only a 54g model, but...it works!

Ugly though! At least it came with a 90 degree elbow, so it doesn't take much room on the side. The software interface is pretty ugly, too.

I'll post more when I put the SSD in it...which will be after I play around with the SSD in my Pismo (it may never make it to the iBook )
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 11:46 AM   #19
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Anybody have any ideas? I'll be connected to my router and the internet one moment, and then all of a sudden the connection drops and i can see my Airport icon grayed-out. This doesn't happen with any of my other notebooks or wireless connections (Mac and PC). It happens on this iBook in both 10.5 Leopard and Tiger.

The funny thing is, after it drops, when I go to select the network back, nothing shows up in the list of networks to select from...not my network, and none of my neighbors, which is a bit odd.

More details...iBook G4 1.42GHz, 1.5GB RAM, 10.5 & 10.4, Apple Airport card inside...Ok, I ran to get on here before the connection dropped, while writing it dropped, and now I have to get it back...sheesh...
As no one else has asked this yet, does this happen at multiple locatiospns (more than one base station) or just with the one. I had a iBook g4 (800) back in the days, and the behavior was similar and was fixed by resetting the access point (until I had to reset it every 3 months). It was finally fixed by using a different access point.

Btw, if your USB-WLAN is in your way, you can always put it at the end of a USB extension cord, but honestly (if you normally work at your desk) I'd just go for wired LAN.

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Old Jan 12, 2013, 06:21 PM   #20
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As no one else has asked this yet, does this happen at multiple locatiospns (more than one base station) or just with the one.
RGDS,
Yes, unfortunately, it has happened at multiple locations, and with Apple and non-Apple routers (base-stations).

The USB extender is a good idea, a regularly use them with flash drives, to get them out of my way. Thanks for the suggestion!
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