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white iBook "head transplant"

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by squirrelhenge, Nov 6, 2006.

  1. macrumors newbie


    I have a 500MHz white iBook that a cat dumped a glass of milk on a few years ago. It still works, but the screen is fried; it comes on but it's too dark to make anything out. We use it hooked up to an external monitor right now. After the incident, we sent it to Small Dog (where we bought it from as a refurb) and they cleaned it up and said the issue was with the video card, I think, but I've lost all those e-mails.... Anyway, it wasn't a motherboard or logic board or whatnot.

    Recently I came into possession of another 500MHz iBook that has other issues which make it unsuitable for daily use (it turns off randomly). However, it has a perfectly suitable screen. I'd like to swap it for the bad one, so I have a laptop again instead of a keyboard tethered to a 20 in. display.

    If there's anyone there who's done this operation before and can offer me a step-by-step guide, or direct me to one on the web, I'd apprecaite it. I prefer to be e-mailed directly to squirrelhenge AT gmail DOT com.


  2. Moderator


    Staff Member

  3. macrumors 603


  4. macrumors 68030

    So a cat broke your iBook and a small dog tried to fix it?
  5. macrumors 6502





    Once in a lifetime, man...
  6. macrumors 6502a


    Chances are the screen is just fine on your original iBook. Switching it out probably won't make a difference. If Small Dog narrowed it down to the video card, and left it at that, they didn't do a very good job of explaining the issue to you.

    For one, saying that it's the video card, and not the logic board, is a bit misleading. The video card on the iBook is built in to the logic board. If you have a bad video card, you have a bad logic board.

    The problem you describe sounds like a pretty common one with that model of iBook. The problem is caused by heat building up around the video chip. The heat actually builds up to the point that the chip actually loses contact with the board.

    This is a widely known problem. I had it with mine, so have thousands of others, enough that Apple recalled these iBooks.
    There is a simple solution, though, that doesn't require completely dismantling your iBook. Here's what you do:

    1. Remove the bottom case and the internal shielding from your iBook.
    2. Locate the Video ship on the logic board.
    3. Notice where the chip will rest on the case when it's assembled. You need to glue a shim on the case (most people will fold a piece of paper a few times). This shim will push the chip back into place, when the computer heats up, renewing the its contact with the logic board.

    It's a pretty easy fix. It worked for mine and is a pretty widely accepted solution to the iBook video problem. I actually found this fix on the Apple forums when I had the problem.

    If you don't like this solution, though, swapping out the logic board with a known good one will also do the trick. But, honestly, having done a pile of logic board swaps on these iBooks, I can tell you the shim solution is a heck of a lot easier. To replace the logic board you basically need to dismantle the entire computer.
  7. macrumors newbie

    My iBook G3 has had continuous problems with something that sound familiar. Apple replaced the mother board (so they say) five or six times over the past 4 years under an extended scheme. I believe that scheme is now over and my iBook has gone again. Can anyone help!
  8. macrumors 6502a


    Did you bother reading the post directly above your's?
  9. macrumors 68000


    Ah, but the wedge does not work for everyone and it seems to be a long-term solution for few.

    I, too had this issue and stumbled upon someone who resolders the video/logic board connection. Mine's run like a dream since. The cost: $75.

    LMK by PM if you'd like his contact info.
  10. macrumors newbie

    OK this is dumb. If it works on an external monitor, it's not the video card. If you can faintly see the image on the screen but it's just not lit, it's still not the video card. It's the screen... the backlight is cooked. Replacing the screen may just do the trick, or at least give you an idea if it really is the loose connection or not. Fixing a laptop isn't too bad as long as you go slow, don't force anything, and keep track of what plugs in where. take digicam pics of the dissection to help you put it back together.
  11. macrumors 6502a


    Sorry to be so blunt, but you're wrong. What she described a classic G3 iBook logic board failure. Google it, heck go straight to the horses mouth. You can find it front and center on Apple's support site. Here's the link:


    This was a widespread problem, large enough to warrant a recall. Many of us have dealt with it, and obviously still are.
  12. macrumors 68000

  13. macrumors 6502a


    It may not work for everyone, but it worked here, and has worked for others. It's certainly worth taking the free shot first. It's not like there's a warranty to break at this point.

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