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Powerbook G4 Problem

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by dragonmantek, Sep 13, 2009.

  1. macrumors regular


    I've recently come into possession of a powerbook g4, and I don't have much of an idea of what to do.

    It's one of those "you fix it, you can have it". I really need this, because I'm at college, and I need a laptop, and I can't really afford one.

    The thing that happens is, after I hit the power button, it turns on, and a question mark / sad finder flashes in the middle constantly.

    I was going to try putting in the Snow Leopard, but I realize it's wasteful because it won't install on PPC machines. So I put in the Leopard DVD, but it's an upgrade DVD, and it can't detect an older version. Past that, I put in the Tiger DVD, and whenever I load from DVD, it just crashes, and says to restart.

    Any suggestions, or anyone know what that flashing icon means?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. macrumors 604


    Well, the flashing question mark means that it cannot find a hard drive. So it sounds like the hard drive is dead, for the PowerBooks you'll need a PATA hard drive, which can be had for pretty cheap.
  3. TEG
    macrumors 604


    The PBG4 may have a bad HD or bad RAM. I would try removing and reseating the RAM just to make sure. You could also try to reset the PMU, which solves a large number of problems.

  4. macrumors regular


    So how do I change the hard drive?

    Thank you so much by the way.
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do it.


    Just need to pick the model you have, take your time you have to take the entire top case off (keyboard, trackpad etc...) to get to the hard drive.
  6. TEG
    macrumors 604


    It depends on if it is an Aluminum or Titanium G4. A search at EveryMac.com will give yo the option of a teardown to show you how to replace the HD.

  7. macrumors regular


    I have no idea what model this powerbook is. How can I find out? They all look the same to me.
  8. macrumors 604


    Titanium is the one with black keys, aluminum has silver keys.

    Attached Files:

  9. macrumors regular


    I looked at how to install a harddrive, and I don't want to do anything near what that guide wants me to do.

    If I take it to an apple store, would they do it for me? If so, how much would they do it for?
  10. TEG
    macrumors 604


    The Apple Store will NOT open a machine more than 5 years old (liability). But many Authorized Repair centers will. The Titanium's HD replacement takes about 20 minues. The Aluminum, takes about 75, mainly due to latches above the optical drive. I did it last week, for the first time, and it was a lot easier in practice (you twist the top case, instead of trying to pry the latches free) than in the guide.

  11. macrumors regular


    It's 3-4 years old. I'll be at college tomorrow, which is close to an Apple store, so I'll try to visit and see what happens.

    First I'm going to try to get a different DVD and install Tiger, or even Panther, I just want to get the thing working.
  12. macrumors regular


    Alright, I managed to install Leopard onto it, after a long morning.

    I found the exact model and serial number and all, and found out all the specs. Where can I get some more RAM for this, anywhere that can be found for cheap? I went on a site and it said it was $60 for just 1 GB. I'd also like to get a new battery. The battery lasts for 20 minutes when unplugged.
  13. macrumors 604


    For the RAM I'd suggest getting it from here. As for the battery, it's pretty expensive to get it new, so I'd get one from a reputable seller on ebay.
  14. macrumors 603

    NC MacGuy

    I haven't seen exactly what kind of PB you have in your posts.

    Assuming it's a 15", there was an Apple battery recall program that's still active for the later gen. 15"ers. I just had one replaced on a 15/1.67 about a month ago for free.

    Again, I haven't seen if this is a 12-15 or 17 PB reference in your posts and there is a pretty large disparity in usefulness between the Ti PB's and the last PB's produced. If it's a Ti - forget it, the others maybe worth putting a few bucks into.
  15. macrumors regular


    According to ifixit, I have the 1.5 GHz (BT 2.0) Aluminum 15"

    Pretty much this


    Except mine doesn't look like trash ;P

    Anyway, so I got all the software fine, but sometimes the powerbook will just completely freeze. It's frozen a bunch of times, and a couple times when I was updating. It always worries me when something is frozen while updating.

    Is it a heating problem and can i use a cooling pad or is the whole laptop just not worth trying to fix
  16. macrumors 601


    Make an appointment at the apple store and have the genius diagnose it for you.
  17. RKO
    macrumors 6502


    Just run repair disk permissions first and see if that helps before you do anything. BTW how much RAM is installed?
  18. macrumors regular


    stock ram and hard drive.

    512 MB RAM, and 80 GB HD.

    I can't really afford to put in more RAM, that type of RAM is so expensive. PC-2700 DDR333
  19. RKO
    macrumors 6502


    That model should not be overheating. It should not be freezing while updating. It can handle Leopard. First things first and that is a "repair disc permissions".
  20. macrumors 603


    I wouldn't worry about it too much, I run Leopard on an eMac with nearly the exact same specs (1.4 instead of 1.5 GHz) for my main machine, and it works well. You may be used to something a little nicer though, so it might be more of an issue.
  21. macrumors regular


    Alright, well, now the computer runs fine, until you get around into 15 minutes of using the laptop. then it just freezes, and I have to restart.
  22. RKO
    macrumors 6502


    Do you have the original install discs for that model PowerBook? If so run the Apple Hardware Test and see if any issues show up with the RAM, HD, Logic Board etc.
  23. macrumors regular


    I don't have original anything. All I got was the powerbook and the charger cable with adapter. is there any other way I can run the apple hardware test?
  24. TEG
    macrumors 604


    The RAM is cheap at about $33 for 1GB. I just bought a stick for mine, and vastly improved the machine. As for the issues, it may be the hard drive is wearing out, or the software just needs to be refreshed.

  25. macrumors regular


    i've decided to take the powerbook to an apple store, but before i do that, i'd like to know if there is an apple hardware test software that i could download. i tried googling, but i haven't found anything i could download.

    just things that say put your restore dvd into the drive, which i don't have.

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