broken latch on powerbook g4 15". what to do?!?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by peterpa5, Aug 23, 2006.

  1. peterpa5 macrumors newbie

    Aug 23, 2006
    philly area
    i bought my 15" powerbook g4 a year ago; within a month the screen was warped and wouldn't close flush. (i'd say that when the screen is down, the right side of the computer does not closed by about 1/5"). i found this annoying, but did not bother to worry about it as the problem seemed purely cosmetic. now i think this is what might have caused the latch to break.

    a week ago the latch in the bottomcase broke, meaning that the piece of metal that latches the screen broke off and came out of the computer. i took it to the apple store only to have a genius tell me that it is "accidental damage" and that i must have done something to break the latch and warp the screen. as this not covered under applecare, the only way to fix it would be for me to pay to replace the bottomcase– this seems to cost several hundred dollars. i called apple and they also said that this repair won't be covered. they won't even pay for me to ship my computer to them.

    i am extremely frustrated and am not sure what to do. i really feel that apple should pay for the repair, as i have taken very good care of my computer and do not think that the latch broke due to negligence on my part. i think it is a design defect due to a weak latch system and warped screen. furthermore, i believe that apple knows the latch system is far from perfect, as the 15" mac book pro's come standard with TWO latches.

    i have also begun to think that while highly annoying, this may be a fairly minor repair and so maybe i should just live with the broken latch.

    anyway, i would really appreciate some feedback on what do next.

  2. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor


    Staff Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    The reason the MBP comes with two latches is because the iSight camera is centered in the screen bezel.

    Warped screens and broken latches don't pop up on here very often as problems. If they do, it's usually because some accidental damage did happen to the machine. I obviously haven't followed you around every minute of every day to see how you treat your machine, but I understand why Apple would say that it was due to damage and not a hardware fault.

    I don't really know what else to say...if Apple won't fix it for free, you're either stuck with paying for it, trying to fix it yourself, or living with it as is.

    Sorry. :(
  3. dansgil macrumors regular


    Aug 17, 2005
    Vancouver, BC
    I would call Applecare and ask to speak to Customer Relations. Explain your problem politely, and tell them it wasn't accidental damage. If that doesn't work, I'm sorry, I don't know what else you could try.
  4. Elbeano macrumors regular

    Apr 21, 2004
    I had some issues with my latch on my 12"pb. I had to send it back three times to get it repaired. They actually send it to somewhere in tennessee instead of california after you've sent something back for the same problem twice. It kind of worried me that Apple has a repair center specifically for problems that were not resolved by their technicians twice... but I digress.

    They are right about the cost for the replacement, that's what they did to finally fix mine, and the invoice (which in my case was covered under my warranty thankfully) ended up being about 700 or 800 dollars.

    Personally, I'd try to live with it since they don't seem to have given you much of an option. Talking to a representative isn't really going to get you anywhere if something is just "broken" and not defective, and the unfortunate warping isn't going to help you much either. It was hard enough to get them to finally repair my machine, and it was unquestionably not something I did.

    If you can live with it, try a big rubber band to keep it closed when you need to, or something like one of the InCase cases. They are tight enough to keep it closed and asleep when it's in there, that's what I used when mine was refusing to latch at all.

    If you can't live with it, sell it for parts on eBay and buy a MB
  5. Rajeev macrumors newbie

    Sep 2, 2006
    Broken Latch

    I have exactly the same problem with my Powerbook (broken latch) and the same response from Apple. I think they have some quality problems with Powerbooks made about a year ago, and are refusing to acknowledge them and fix the problem, even though I have Apple Care.
  6. Warbrain macrumors 603


    Jun 28, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    Actually, I had my iBook sent to their Tennessee repair facility when a cable deseated somewhere between the screen and the logic board. Could be that the Tennessee facility specializes in some other service that the California one doesn't.
  7. liutaio97 macrumors newbie

    Sep 3, 2006
    to me the same thing happened

    Yesterday the same thing happened to me. I opened my powerbook and immediately shut it again because I decided to read a magazine instead of working. On closing, the top hook pressed the little latch down and broke it. I took the broken piece out and realized that it is very small and fragile. The material used doesn´t seem to be appropriate. Looks like some cast alloy with some iron in it and not at all a proper piece of hard steel.
    My screen seems to be warped as well. This might be due to some heat differences of the alluminium frame. I will try to contact apple care tomorrow and will post their response.
    Not being able to close the powerbook properly isn´t an alternative, a closing mechanism has to be designed to resist normal use.
    Anyhow, I think the best thing to do is to take as many photos a possible and sue them if they want any money for the repair,

    all the best,

  8. liutaio97 macrumors newbie

    Sep 3, 2006
    same happened to me

    It would be nice to know if anyone had this problem fixed by apple. Also the problem with the warped screen seems to pop up every now and then,

  9. pidwidget macrumors newbie

    Sep 3, 2006
    I had a similar problem a while ago with my 15" PowerBook. The screen wouldn't close flush, and then it just wouldn't close at all (and the screen would pop back open after a few seconds or a minute). I treat my PB like royalty and never dropped it or banged it.

    I took it into the Apple Store and showed them the problem (but of course, the screen wouldn't pop open while I was there :p). They could see that one side had more space between the screen and case when it was closed, though. They told me it could only have happened because I dropped it and that wasn't covered, so it would cost $700 to repair. I told him I never dropped it, and so he looked it over again and told me all we could do is send it off to Apple and that they might decide to fix it for free if they believed us. Worst case, they'd just send it back unrepaired. So I told them to do it, and I got the computer back repaired free. They had to replace the casing, from what I understand. My PB still doesn't close completely flush -- the right side is minimally higher -- but this was more than a year ago and I haven't had any popping-open probelms since.

    So ... I say just take it in and see if they'll do for you what they did for me :)

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