Bought an iBook G4 for $70...

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by SkyBell, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. macrumors 603


    ...I think you can see where this is going. :eek:

    So, long story short, I missed my old iBook so much after selling it, I wanted another one. Found this deal on eBay, a 12" 1.07 GHz with 256 MB RAM. The seller said it had kernal panics and that was the only thing wrong with it. A fairly simple few solutions to that problem I had thought. Well, come to find out nothing is quite like what it seems. So I'm hoping you knowledgeable members of MR can help me out a bit on this one. Let's just preface it with the fact that I'm fairly certain it does not kernal panic at all.

    First off, upon boot, sometimes it will show the flashing finder/question mark folder just for a second, and then the grey Apple screen appears. However, it will only boot to a blue screen and stay there. I would say this happens about 2/3 of the time I try to boot it, the other times it boots up just fine. I've reset the PRAM/NVRAM and it doesn't to seem to have made a difference, nor resetting the PMU.

    Second, I fear it has the dreaded logic board issue, it will freeze within anywhere from 3 to 45 minutes of use most of the time. (From what I've seen, this problem may have the same "shim" solution used on the white iBook G3's, but I'm not certain.)

    And finally, I'm having a bit of trouble with AirPort. Yesterday, it worked fine. Today, it can't seem to turn itself on. The status bar shows it as on as well as in Network settings panel, but under System Profiler it shows it as off no matter what. I am on a different network than the one I was using yesterday, but there are at least three others around me and it sees none of them.

    Yes, you can see what a bargain I got here. :rolleyes: I knew I was taking the risk, but I wasn't aware the issues were this bad. Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks.
  2. macrumors 6502

    I bought

    the same ibook a couple weeks back, paid 80 for it and so far problem free. It has a CD ROM drive, which is hella annoying, but I used FireWire Target disk mode to install Tiger. Which is by far the best OS for a 1.07 GHZ ibook.

    I am no mac genius, just a user since 1987, but sounds more like HD than logic board to me. Try booting off a install disk if you have one, if everything works fine, problem is HD, not logic board. If problems persist its likely the logic board.
  3. macrumors 603


    Yeah, it came with Tiger on it but I thought the OS files might've been corrupted. I have a copy of a hard drive I had a long time ago with Tiger, and I also used Target Disk Mode to clone that copy over. Didn't help anything, unfortunately.

    Well, today it's been running for 45 minutes without issue, and every time I restart it it boots properly, which is much more than I can say for its performance yesterday...
  4. macrumors 68000


    Well it's obviously got a dying hard drive in there,that's most likely the reason it's freezing too. And do you have another AirPort card you try in there? I've had faulty AirPort cards before, that could solve that issue. The shim fix used on the dual usb iBook G3's were to solve the graphics card problem which is when the awful soldering Apple performed on the iBook's GPU's came loose via heat from the laptop, therefore making it come loose from the logic board, & that wouldn't make the machine actually freeze, you'd lose the screen or the backlight or you'd get lines across the screen.

    It really doesn't sound like a logic board problem. If I were you I'd try & get another hard drive in there & try another AirPort card, if a 2nd card doesn't work, your best bet is to get a USB dongle. :)
  5. macrumors 603


    Actually, I do have one in my eMac. I 'll try switching it out later today. And you reminded me as well that I also have a USB dongle laying around, and I know I've got the software for it somewhere on my eMac, I'll give that a shot if the different AP card doesn't work.

    I know most if not all of you have quite a bit more knowledge on these things than I do, and I'm not doubting your answers, but I'm curious, what exactly makes you believe the hard drive is the issue? I don't see the connection. :confused:
  6. macrumors 68000


    The fact that it hangs on the blue screen, freezes randomly & takes longer to find the OS itself in the first place.
  7. macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

    harddrive like others are saying

    i just bought a 12" ibook myself last week ($40) and replaced the harddrive...i used ifixit,and even though it's a fair number of steps if you take your time,it's really not to bad and pretty easy...

    i posted a couple tips that i did to make it even a little simpler...
  8. macrumors 603


    Unfortunately, I do not have an install disk of any kind to test how things work. However, like I mentioned earlier I do have a cloned partition of Tiger on my external FW HDD from an iBook G3 I had a long time ago. I wiped the HDD on this iBook and cloned it over from the external. Would it give the same answer as to how things are working that an install disk would, running directly from the external?
  9. macrumors newbie

    Yes, boot from the external drive and if it seems to run smoother without the timeouts it probably means the HD inside is on it's deathbed.

    The airport card is likely another cause, it is a common issue with iBooks (and PowerBooks) and can cause kernel panics if it's malfunctioning.
  10. macrumors 603


    Alright, thank you so much y'all, you've been incredibly helpful. (But what else would you expect from this fourm? ;)) I'll swap AP cards to see if it fixes the internet connection issue, and I'll run it from my external HDD to see if it still freezes/has boot issues. I'll report back tonight with the results. :)
  11. macrumors 603


    So, update. (Sorry it wasn't last night, I got home way too late and had to work at 6 this morning.)

    I ran the iBook off of my external hard drive last night. For a while, things were going well, it didn't freeze for well over an hour and a half, just kind of opening and closing windows and folders. But, then I tried to play a game (Armagetron Advanced if it matters) the game menu loaded, but as soon as I tried to start the game it froze up. I rebooted, again off of the external hard drive, and it got stuck on the blue screen like when booting off the internal. And just now, I loaded and played the same game without issue, but upon trying to exit - frozen.

    And I took the AP card out of my eMac, and switched them out. Still nothing. Although when I got to thinking about it, AP worked fine until I wiped the hard drive and cloned my own copy over, perhaps it's something wrong with the drivers? I know that the copy it is running now originally came from an iBook G3 which I believe used the original AP card, not extreme. Would it need updated drivers to use AP Extreme?

    I'm at a loss now, nothing seems to be working. :(
  12. macrumors regular

    I recall, that there were some Airport problems with iBooks. I would try to take out the AP, and even disable the AP kexts to see it the machine still freezes.

    There is a post here, which describes the entire process. Try it on the external fw drive you boot from.
  13. macrumors 603


    Thank you, I shall try that later tonight when I get home.

    It honestly doesn't seem to be the video chip problem so many have IMO. It doesn't freeze doing anything in particular, sometimes it will freeze just messing around in finder, nothing processor/video intensive. It'll play iTunes just fine usually, browse the internet, there seems to be no rhyme or reason for why these things happen. I suppose it could be heat related, but sometimes it'll do it when it's been on for 5 minutes, other times an hour. Just completely random... :confused:
  14. macrumors 6502

    I actually just got my hands on one of these. Currently I'm trying to install Tiger on it and it seems to be installing alright.

    The person I got it from said she bought it used from a computer store a few years ago (its a 2003 G4 and apparently she thought it was a Macbook or Macbook Air!) and then said it died and they told her it was the logic board.

    Long story short it gets the start up tone and can recognize and appears able to boot from disks so the board is likely fine.

    In your case it's probably the dying hard drive causing issues.
  15. macrumors 68040

    I got the SAME computer for $30 from a computer recycling place here in Phoenix. I really don't know what I am going to do with it yet, but I also acquired a lot of other PowerPC Macs (including a Dual 2.0 G5) recently, and now they are sitting there collecting dust.

    The iBook will most likely continue collecting dust
    and the G5 will most likely go to my girlfriend so she can mess with a Mac and it's respective photo apps such as Aperture and iPhoto. (coincidentally her name is also Cassie - noticed your username ;))

    Now that I am off my tangent, I think it also could just be plain very well a dead or dying hard drive. Try putting in another one and see if that helps you out. (The HDD in these things are a PITA to get to however)
  16. SkyBell, Apr 24, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2012

    macrumors 603


    Thanks for the reply, but it still freezes and refuses to boot even running off an external HDD, so at least in my mind it's not a HDD problem.

    Still can't get AP to work, tried downloading the latest update and it told me it could not run on this machine. Maybe there's a different one out there, I don't have a whole lot of time to use the internet so I haven't done a lot of research. Also cannot find any software that will work on it with my USB dongle, there seems to be none for my particular model on OS X.

    Honestly, the more I use it, and from all the googleing I've done, it seems like all signs point to the infamous video chip issue. I'm really just thinking about tearing it down and using the shim fix method and hoping that really is the issue. I've done it on an iBook G3, and I would assume the G4's are pretty similar in construction method. (Of course, after a while, even a shim no longer helped with my old G3, so I don't know how well this would work as a permanant fix.)

    Any more suggestions are much appreciated. I'll do everything I possibly can to get this thing in good running shape, as it's a gift for a special person and I'd hate to let them down.
  17. macrumors 68040

    Starting to think that the solder joints on the video card are going bad. Have you looked up how to reflow the joints with fire? (nothing I would try myself but you may be more brave in attempting such a task)
  18. macrumors 603


    OK, it's been a while, but I had some trouble sleeping (didn't sleep at all actually, been up all night) and finally decided to try this one hail mary, the good 'ol shim fix.

    The procedure itself went surprisingly well, considering most of my efforts at tinkering with computers end up in complete disaster, or I at least have a screw or two left over. None of that this time, however, it does not seem to have solved the problem. I booted it, and it had no issues. Played a few songs in iTunes, no problems. Attempted to load a game; worked for about two minutes, then bam, frozen screen, iTunes skipping like a scratched CD. Reboot, and it actually boots fully (usually after a freeze it boots to a blue screen for a while, usually around 15 or 20 minutes before it will complete a full boot again). Having it run iTunes now for the past half hour or so, it's doing fine, but I'm afraid to mess with it.

    I simply can't think of anything other than a faulty logic board being the issue. It has the same behavior running off an external hard drive, i've wiped the drive and put reinstalled the OS, done everything I can think of. Is this the end of the line for this 'ol iBook? :(
  19. macrumors 6502

    Jesus! Where the hell do you lot buy these things? A decent G4, for some reason Powerbooks are cheaper than iBooks, go for the equivalent of 250-280 USD (current rates as of 16-08-2012.)

    I recently saw a G4 MDD (Same model as mine but lower specced, DP 867, 1gb ram, 120GB, Radeon 7500) go for ~ 150USD. In normal used condition, so it wasn't NOS or anything like that.
  20. macrumors 68040

    At this point, a MacBook would be a better investment, now there's tons of them on eBay and CL thanks to Mountain Lion :)
  21. macrumors 68040


    There's one more thing to do (of costless soultions): famous tealight/heatgun/oven "fix". ;)
  22. macrumors 603


    Well, this iBook was kind of a long shot from the beginning, I knew there was a good chance it would never work properly. And it's not essiential, my netbook serves all of my portable needs. A MacBook would be nice, but unfortunately as cheap as they are, I really can't afford them. Also, I'm a rabid PPC fan. ;)
  23. macrumors 6502a

    it always seems that it is freezing while trying to play that game, my advice is to try and run it without playing that game. also i seem to rember that in the ibook g4's it wasn't the graphics chip but a differen't smaller one. will try to dig up which one it is

    EDIT: Look here : if your not good at soldering you can just try placing a shim on that chip
  24. macrumors regular


    You could always try hunting down a new logic board and replacing it. I've seen a lot of iBook's turn up on ebay and craigslist for cheap that have broken screens or something else wrong with them. You just have the risk that the board is still working if the machine hasn't been tested.
  25. macrumors 6502

    Just read through this entire thread and to see that the first post was "Replace the hard drive" made me facepalm. Bad hard drives can certainly cause issues but often times a bad hard drive isn't going to make the whole damn PC freeze. Typically that points to a memory issue. How many of you actually work with PCs and don't front about them? Not much it seems.

    Although in this case, chances are (because of soldered RAM) that the best option is to replace the logic board, it just astounds me how some people just throw away logic to gain thread posts.

Share This Page