finished my ebay project g3 ibook, some tips for others.

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by 840quadra, Aug 24, 2005.

  1. 840quadra Moderator


    Staff Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    Twin Cities Minnesota
    Well, I have been piecing an ibook together for a few months now. Working nights I sometimes have large blocks of free time to surf Ebay auctions. With that, and some local parts sourcing, I was able to assemble a complete ibook G3 600Mhz for ~# $330 US.

    Building a "Budget" ibook takes time, and some say a strong will. If you play your cards right, it can be a great learning experience, and quite fun!.

    Tip #1
    Learn what you are getting into!

    Taking apart, or putting together an iBook is something most anyone can do, but only after you take some time to learn what is involved. Special tools are needed for some points of the job. Some can be worked around, but knowing what is needed beforehand will simplify the task greatly.

    The parts are fragile in some cases, and you need to ensure that you know how to deal with static electricity, correct storage (or placement) of the removed parts, and the many shortcuts that can, and shouldn't be taken to make your job easier.

    I found the following sites a GREAT help in helping me assemble my ibook.
    A great site to describe ways to take apart and put together apple laptops.

    Yup that's right, Good old Macrumors was a great source for information. On top of helping me find the link above, I was also able to search for many threads to other links, and points of information. If you use search on here, you will find some great posts and links to help you on your journey!

    Tip #2
    look for auctions without pictures of items

    Buying something on Ebay without a picture does take a leap of faith, but ask yourself one question, is the picture that someone is using on their auction always the actual item? If you you are aware of how the internet works, you should also be aware of how easy it is to link, or save pictures online for your own personal use. You would be surprised how many auctions, from different sellers, use the exact same pictures!

    One thing you can (and should) always do, is ask for additional pictures of any item that you intend to buy, especially if it is expensive. Many times auctions without pictures are from people who do not have the technical skills to understand how to post them, no matter how easy ebay makes it. Many times people that don't know how to post the pictures, can get you a photo of the item in email if you ask them nicely.

    Tip #3
    Ask the seller questions on the item

    Communication with the seller is a great way to figure out questions about the item you are trying to buy. On top of getting answers on specific information, you are also starting the communication process. Depending on how (or if) the seller replies, you should have more information to make a decision wether or not you want to do business with the seller.

    Tip #4
    Take your time

    If you are in a hurry to win, or buy your item, you will end up paying more then you need (or should). Buying something on ebay can be stressfull, especially when people decide to hold their bids for the last second. All you can do is take your time and prepare for that.

    Tip #5
    Pick your price limits and stick to them

    It is easy to win an auction, simply outbid someone right? While that is always true, try to avoid that. Part of keeping costs down for your build is to limit how much you will spend on the actual items. In my case my goal was to keep the total cost of the iBook $100 (or more) below what the average cost for those selling on ebay.

    Tip #6
    Watch the shipping costs!

    I am amazed by the prices some people pay to ship items as small as an airport card! Some sellers will have SUPER low prices for the item, but stab you on the shipping costs

    Example Ebay Item# 5800268482. $60 for the airport card, and $28.00 to ship! I have shipped 225/45-17 tires (in pairs) for MUCH less then this seller is asking for shipping. Tires are quite a bit heavier, more awkward, and take much up more space then a box containing an airport card.

    Tip #7
    Search completed listings.

    sometimes people are not able to sell an item for many reasons, price was too high, they didn't have a picture, their shipping costs were too high, or their status was too new on ebay.

    If you find completed items that nobody bid on, and or the reserve wasn't met, don't hesitate to contact that seller to see if it is still available! If it is, give them an offer, and see if they will re-list the item. I wouldn't ask them to sell it outside of ebay for it violates their policy, and you also wouldn't be protected by ebay if the seller doesn't "play by the rules"

    My conclusion.

    Searching ebay, I found an ibook G3 600 that was not working. The auction didn't have a picture, and the information on the auction was quite vague. After sending an email to the seller, I was able to get a picture of the broken ibook along with some more detailed information. The ibook was in great condition overall and had no visible physical damage. The screen was known to work by the seller, and the case plastics, keyboard, track pad, and hinges were in good condition. From what I could gather from the description of the problems I was likely buying an iBook that needed a new Logic board. I bid on the item (along with 2 others) and was able to pick it up for $200 (including shipping).

    I received the iBook and started to look into what else I may need. The book was shipped by itself, and had some charge to the battery! I was able to boot to look around and see if things were working ok. Sure enough, I got a strange screen, and it eventually locked up. Searching on Macrumors and on the web, I re-confirmed that this iBook needed a logic board. Needless to say, the search was on for a replacement board.

    Prices for boards on ebay seemed reasonable, but I wanted to find better. I decided to search completed items, and discovered 4 boards that didn't sell from the same seller. The seller had 100% positive feedback from 4 auctions (all purchases). I told them that I was interested in the item, and what I was prepared to pay (possibly breaks ebay rules). The seller was interested, and re-listed the item.

    To my surprise the auction was ended early by the seller after my first bid! I was able to score my 600mhz logic board for $75 shipped to my door.

    The last thing I needed to get was a power supply for my ibook. I decided to look local for this, as I didn't like the prices online, or on ebay. In most cases the prices were almost the same as new, and I still would have had to pay shipping. I was able to get a new power supply (power cord and adapter) from Microcenter in their sale bin. The item was exchanged by someone else, so I was able to score it for $60 (a fair price).

    Following the steps above I was able to take apart, and remove the old logic board, and later install the new one. The entire task took me only 4 hours (yes I am slow), but now I am sitting here with a fully working ibook that I paid only $330 to get up and running.

    One thing I also did (while it was apart) was replace and upgrade both the Hard disk, and the CD drive with some parts I had laying around (from Dead Dell Laptop). I was able to reuse a 40GB Hard drive, and CD/RW-DVD drive to give my ibook a slight upgrade.

    It isn't the fastest computer I own, but it is my first portable macintosh, and makes my free mornings at the Coffee shop much more enjoyable then they were using my Dell (my current work laptop).

    I hope this post can help someone in the future find, build, and save money, all while learning allot about the inner workings of one of Apples great computers!

  2. 840quadra thread starter Moderator


    Staff Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    Twin Cities Minnesota

    Hit "Back" too many times, can someone please move this to the "Buying Tips" forum that I intended on posting it in ?

    Please with sugar on top!!

  3. gwuMACaddict macrumors 68040


    Apr 21, 2003
    washington dc
    :D excellent post- lots of good tips... sort of makes me wonder if i want to try the same thing...

    all of the broken laptops are going to be sold to macrumors members now ;)
  4. sprstu macrumors member


    Apr 27, 2005
    white bear lake, mn
    I have a broken ibook 800mhz with a screen issue as well. I was going to try and sell it for 300$ cash, as I do not need it now because of my PB, but after reading this I may take a swing at getting some pieces together and get this bad mama in shape. Thank you for this inspiring post.
  5. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
  6. 840quadra thread starter Moderator


    Staff Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    Twin Cities Minnesota
    I am not sure what photos you want, however the photos of the process to take out the motherboard are all on the PBFix site, otherwise my ibook looks like any other ibook 600. Did you want pictures of my (now working) ibook 600?

    I can attatch pictures of the ibook before, and the actual Logic board I bought if you like also.

    The install was a mess (screws everywere) but the directions on the pbfix site worked great!
  7. 840quadra thread starter Moderator


    Staff Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    Twin Cities Minnesota
    Good deal!

    I didn't have an iBook until I took on this project. I have 2 G4's and a G5 at home, I just wanted to have my OS X portable if possible, and not pay more then $400 for it.

    I love it so far, and now I understand the draw to these machines, as it is more then speed that makes portable computing fun, and interesting!
  8. dagaul macrumors newbie

    Sep 13, 2005
    LOL, I notice most of the genuine pics on ebay items normally state sold "AS IS" ie don't work
    Unlock phones music soccer tv Cheap mp3s get back on ebay even after suspension
    Money reading emails
    Male entertainers
    Improve your golf score in 2 weeks
    Stop smoking within a week
    Amazing paypal loophole a must for buyers and sellers
    Get £5 for absolutely free
    Get £4 for joining ebay and bidding absolutely free

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