Powerbook G4 DC-In replacement. Advice?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by craig1410, Jan 23, 2010.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Hi guys,
    I've just bought a Powerbook G4 12" 1.5GHz on eBay which is reported as having a charging fault caused by dropping the machine on the charge port corner from about 0.5m. I've also bought a DC-In board because I am assuming that the DC In board is damaged.

    I should get both in a few days and would really appreciate any advice regarding the DC In board replacement. I'm an electronic engineer and IT consultant and have successfully repaired two iBook G4's and a bunch of PC laptops over the years and I have all the necessary tools and equipment. I have also looked at the repair guide on iFixit.com and powerbookmedic.com and although it is a more difficult repair than on the iBook, it doesn't look too bad.

    However, this is my first dealings with the Powerbook G4 and I was wondering if you have any tips for me to avoid any silly mistakes? I believe I will require some thermal paste to reseat the heatsink but are there any other parts or consumables required to carry out this repair? Are there any other things I should do while the machine is in bits? Common faults etc?

    Many thanks,

    ps. I'm looking forward to owning one of these highly regarded little machines. I love my iBook so I hope this will be even better! :apple:
  2. macrumors 68000

    Ooooh. We have one of those here. It is a marvelous machine, one of the most coveted.

    I've got no help or advice to give you, just compliments on your good taste! Good luck, and please post back your progress onto this thread.
  3. macrumors 6502

    I replaced the DC-in board on a 15" Powerbook. It was a lot of work but you should be able to handle it given your experience. As I recall, the hardest part was rotating the logic board to get it out of the case. The DVI connector made it difficult to get out. You will need the thermal paste. Make sure you keep track of the screws. There are a lot of them that look similar.
  4. macrumors 68000


    Nice machine. And +1 on the screws. ifixit used to have a screw guide you could use to put the screws on as you worked your way into the machine - highly recommended if this is your first one.
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Hi all,

    Thanks for all of your replies, good positive feedback is always appreciated! :)

    @sjinsjca - Yes I have always fancied a Powerbook as they are so highly regarded. I don't think they photograph very well because they often look a bit odd in photo's but I think this is just some sort of interaction between the camera flash and the aluminium. Thanks for the compliment, I don't often getting complimented for taste or style... :eek:

    @rowsdower & techound1 - Thanks for the technical tips, sounds like a fairly typical procedure with different screw sizes and awkward logic board removal... It would be boring if it was easy wouldn't it??? ;)

    On the thermal paste, do I need to use anything special or can I just get the default stuff from my local PC World (UK) store. I know in the past their used to be special stuff like Arctic Silver but I suspect they are all much the same really.

    I'll certainly update you all once I get the machine (hopefully) working... Thanks again for your time.
  6. macrumors 68000


    You can get the official apple stuff, but it takes a bit of detective work. I've done a lot of thermal paste replacements and Artic Silver has always done alright by me.

    [EDIT: let me add that Shin-Etsu Microsi Silicone Heatsink/Processor Thermal Compound is the official apple stuff for that gen machine]
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Thanks, I've just found a source locally for Arctic Silver 5 and the associated cleaning solutions. For those in central Scotland try www.kustompcs.co.uk

    One other thing - after my experience with the iBook's, I often found myself needing some of that yellow tape which Apple use to secure cables etc. Does anyone know what this tape is and where it can be sourced? Sometimes it can be restuck but often it doesn't hold very well. I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to engineering so these things bother me... :eek:

  8. macrumors 6502

    I don't remember what I used, but it was definitely not official Apple stuff.
  9. macrumors 6502a

    Hi Guys,

    Just remembered I hadn't updated this thread yet to let you know how I got on. I'm currently typing this message on my fully working Powerbook G4 12" and it really is a great little machine. I like pretty much everything about the design, especially the keyboard.

    When I got the machine there was visible damage to the case around the DC inlet where it had obviously been dropped with the power adapter plugged in and had bent the case a bit. The adapter plug also had a crack in it across the white plastic outer of the connector. The first thing I did was to plug it into my iBook power supply and would you believe it it started charging just fine!! It is the adapter connector which is faulty - the laptop was 100% working! Result! :D

    Anyway, I took it apart anyway to check that everything was okay inside and it became apparent that someone had disassembled it before me. There were screws in the wrong places and several screws missing. Nothing major though and no apparent damage as such. I replaced the heatsink compound with Arctic Silver 5 as a precaution and then reassembled the machine correctly using the correct screws in the correct places and replacing the missing ones as well. I also replaced foil tape where it was missing. To finish off, while disassembled I straightened out the bent case around the power inlet so it now looks pretty good. I also had to straighten out a couple of bits of the case here and there where the ham-fisted repair technicians had opened up the machine wrongly. Oh yes and I had to open up the LCD enclosure and refit all of the retaining screws which had apparently come loose. The screws were all lying in the bottom of the LCD enclosure.

    The end result of my activities is a much cleaner, much more rigid machine which appears to work perfectly. I even got a brand new battery through the battery recall program! The only problem I had was that the machine didn't have a 1GB DIMM installed as described on eBay but instead had a 256MB DIMM. I contacted the seller who suggested this may have been swapped by the repairer who he had asked to estimate the costs of repairs. This is probably the same person who made a bad job of reassembling the machine... As compensation I got £30 refunded via Paypal which allowed me to buy a new 1GB DIMM from crucial.com. I sent the 256MB DIMM back to the seller along with his recovered data. Speaking of which, this guy sent his laptop to me with all his data still intact including scans of his passport & credit cards, photo's of his family, other personal documents, you name it! I couldn't believe the naivety. Fortunately I am honest and now that he has confirmed receipt of his data on DVD's I can delete it from my machine.

    So, a good result all round, and thanks for your help.
  10. macrumors 6502

    Interesting story. Thanks!

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