12" PowerBook G4 smells "sweaty"

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by LOLZpersonok, Jul 19, 2014.

  1. LOLZpersonok macrumors 6502a

    LOLZpersonok

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    Calgary, Canada
    #1
    I'm not even making it up. This PowerBook really smells like sweat. It's gross. When I first got the machine and ran it for a bit, I wasn't sure what the smell was coming from. It wasn't me, because I wear cologne.

    The smell of sweat is most prominent on this machine when it has been running for a little bit and is quite warm. It's not strong when it is off or cool, but it becomes somewhat strong when it's warm.

    Is this normal for these PowerBook models, or is it something that was probably just from the original owner? I've had computers that came from the homes of smokers, but the smell left somewhat quickly. This sweaty smell seems to stay, and it doesn't show any signs of leaving anytime soon. How could I get rid of it? I'd spray it with Febreze but it'd get sticky and nasty.
     
  2. harrymatic macrumors 6502

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    United Kingdom
    #2
    There is a backing on the underside of the keyboard. This is held on with an adhesive which breaks down over time (not helped by the heat), causing the smell. This was also a well known problem with the white iBook G3s (mine included). Replacing the keyboard is the only really effective way of solving this.
     
  3. MysticCow macrumors 6502a

    MysticCow

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    #3
    I've heard of some plastics that wind up smelling like a skunk. Is it a similar smell to skunk smell?
     
  4. Intelligent macrumors 6502a

    Intelligent

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    #4
    Is it thermal paste? One of my iBooks from (2001?) smells extremely bad.
     
  5. harrymatic macrumors 6502

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    #5
    It's definitely not thermal paste, as the smell is completely confined to the keyboard. As the original poster said, it smells just like stale sweat. Not sure of the chemical details of why this happens.

    You can get rid of the smell to a certain extent by removing this backing from the keyboard. I had to use a hairdryer to heat up and soften the glue. Once it was removed, I used isopropyl alcohol to clean up any residue.
     
  6. JohnnyH1012 macrumors member

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    Jul 12, 2014
    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    #6
    I noticed the same thing. About a year ago I purchased an iBook G3 Late 2001 Model, and despite being virtually flawless it smelled of sweat. I kind of shrugged this off, assuming that it was simply a case of the previous owner producing some sort of an odor. Although, now that I see this thread I have checked the keyboard on this laptop, and can obviously see (and smell) that it is the source.
     
  7. TheMacMan56 macrumors newbie

    TheMacMan56

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    Pittsburgh,PA
    #7
    DO NOT use Febreze for cleaning computers! Febreze doesn't ACTUALLY remove odors, it just masks them. You should try for example: A Clorox wipe or Lysol spray. My PowerBook G4 didn't smell too fresh when I got it either. I just wiped it with a Clorox wipe and the smell is gone!

    If you want to know, here are the specs:
    250 GB hard drive
    1 GB RAM
    PowerPC G4 1.5 GHz Processor
    And that's all I can remember for now.
     
  8. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #8
    What hard drive is in it?
     
  9. TheMacMan56 macrumors newbie

    TheMacMan56

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    #9
    It has a 232 GB WDC WD2500BEVE-00A0HT0.
     
  10. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #10

    Not bad!
     
  11. TheMacMan56 macrumors newbie

    TheMacMan56

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    #11
    Very True! It works like the new MacBooks at the Apple store. In fact, the 2 Apple stores in Pittsburgh!
    Speaking of, The Hard Drive noises in my IMac are gone! It just stopped making the noises! How odd!
     
  12. PowerMac G4 MDD macrumors 68000

    PowerMac G4 MDD

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    #12
    That's a very common thing on PowerBooks/iBooks. My G4 aluminum sorta has the smell, but I have an iBook G3 (snow) keyboard that is horrible. It's some adhesive/plastic part underneath that breaks down or is baked by the sun over all the years.
     
  13. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #13
    It breaks down from the heat of the machines unfortunately.
     
  14. PowerMac G4 MDD macrumors 68000

    PowerMac G4 MDD

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    #14
    Ah... yeah, and it's worse on iBook keyboards. I can sort of smell it on my 15-inch Aluminum, but it may be from previous use. In case you want to know: 1.5Ghz, 512MB RAM. HD is dead... stupid "light saber" sound and then it was dead months later. I paid $50 for it and a new 70-75GB HD (similar to the size of the stock one) will cost twice that. Sucks that a head HD totals a PowerBook, especially a nightmare-to-work-on iBook. : /
     
  15. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #15
    There are new 60 GB drives on eBay in the sub-$30.00 range. They are smaller but at least they are new. To perform this repair on a PowerBook G4 15" isn't all that hard at all.
     
  16. PowerMac G4 MDD macrumors 68000

    PowerMac G4 MDD

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    #16
    I always find Chinese sellers who don't even post a brand, leading me to believe that they are no-name drives. People have had issues with them failing early. Do you know of any that are FOR SURE Western Digital or Hitachi? I do not want Toshiba.
     
  17. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #17
    You are at the mercy of the schmucks who somehow have 1000s of brand new drives that no one makes anymore whether they are honest or not is a different story.
     
  18. TheMacMan56 macrumors newbie

    TheMacMan56

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    #18
    Very true, it's kind of like how I wanted an iBook G3 at another goodwill but it smelled TERRIBLE! It was very dirty anyhow, and when I powered it up, it got extremely hot the second I went on the internet. What's strange is this happened in 2011!
     
  19. trevwilson macrumors newbie

    trevwilson

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    Midwest
    #19
    First, I apologize for bringing this thread back from the dead, but I am really struggling to find good information on this.

    I recently purchased my first two Macs off of Craigslist - a 2004 Powerbook G4 and a 2007 MacBook Pro (3,1). I bought the Powerbook first. I was blown away by the stink (horrible BO). The guy I bought it from was on a break from his construction job. I honestly just figured he had thrown the thing under his arm. Gross, but whatever.

    Then I found the same thing to be true of the MacBook Pro (albeit not as pungent). While doing some research on this issue with both machines, I came across several articles detailing issues with late 2007 and early 2008 iMacs and MacBook Pros. It was claimed they were off-gasing benzene among other VOC's. I found it interesting that I found no such articles regarding the older PowerBooks. The only ones I saw about the PB's regarded the tape under the keyboard (like those mentioned above).

    My MacBook Pro is actually in really good shape all things considered. I upped the RAM to 4GB and its running El Capitan rather well. It needs a new battery and could benefit from a new SSD. However, I dont want to sink any more money into this machine if it is slowly giving me cancer.

    Has there ever been any word on whether or not this smell was hazardous?
     
  20. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    Kentucky
    #20
    My "calibrated nose"(I'm a chemist) says that there's no benzene or related compounds off-gassing from the older stinky laptop keyboards. For lack of a better term, benzene has a sort of "sweet" smell that I definitely DO NOT detect.

    If I get motivated to do it, I can do a solid phase microextraction/GC-MS on an iBook and see what's actually coming off of it. My nose tells me that it's probably some short(ish) chain fatty acids and maybe some thiols-both things that could give a "BO" like smell.
     
  21. bobesch macrumors 6502a

    bobesch

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    Kiel, Germany
    #21
    Concerning BOgate:
    The white iBook G3 are the worst (both the opaque and the translucent).
    The PowerBookG4 12" also slightly "smells".
    The white iBookG4 is free of that smell.
    When I tried to remove the stinking plastic sticking under the G3's keyboard my wife happened to pass by and immediately went to the bathroom to take a shower... :)
    That's the funniest thing I can remember about the stinky iBookG3 keyboard.
     
  22. trevwilson macrumors newbie

    trevwilson

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    Midwest
    #22
    So long as it is just an odor, I can live with that! Thanks for the feedback
     
  23. MacinDan macrumors regular

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    Jun 26, 2010
    #23
    On my iBook, the odor went away after a few months of leaving it open as much as possible.
     
  24. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #24
    I can sort of confirm that.

    I have a loose iBook G3 keyboard(among the worst of the bunch) that was absolutely rank when I liberated it from its donor.

    It's been kicking around in the back seat of my car for a year while I keep forgetting to mail it to the person I pulled it for, and after a hot summer and some warm days in between it has no detectable smell at all.

    There were a couple of days last summer where the keyboard reminded me it was there when first getting in the car, but its fine now.
     

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