Diagnosing 15" PB G4 Display Issues

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by sprite420, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. sprite420 macrumors newbie

    sprite420

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2008
    Location:
    Venice Beach, CA
    #1
    I bought a used 15" Powerbook G4 Aluminum last summer. It had a small dent in the corner by the optical drive, but everything else seemed copacetic.

    Anyway, I work in a bar and one of my co-workers borrowed my laptop during some downtime. When she dropped it, it landed on one of those rubber bar-mats. It seemed to be fine at first until a few days later. Here is how everything started deteriorating:

    • First, a black bar appeared across the middle of the screen. I found that if i stuck an aligator clip on the left border of the screen, the problem went away.
    • About a week later, I started getting kernel panics after every 30 minutes or so of use.
    • Shortly after that, I found that I could only sucessfully boot OSX once in every 5-10 attempts. It would usually hang just as soon as the login screen appeared.
    • Now, I can hear the start-up chime, I can hear the optical drive working when I try to boot from a disk, but the display is completely dead. I have tried using an external monitor, but it displays nothing.

    Any insights? I suspect that maybe it's the video card, which means that I would have to replace the entire logic board, (or just learn to enjoy my new fancy paperweight). But I guess that maybe the hard drive could have been damaged? I don't have access to another Mac, or a PC with Firewire, so I haven't been able to try Target Disk Mode.

    I read a post somewhere (which I can't seem to find now,) about a Frenchman who had a similar problem and fixed it by mounting some little rubber feet underneath a certain part of the logic board. The idea was to put pressure on a specific chip, to help the broken solder joints make contact again. Has anyone tried this, or something similar?
     
  2. panzer06 macrumors 68030

    panzer06

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    Kilrath
    #2
    Simple, she needs to find a used PB G4 and buy you another PB.

    Failing that, you could take it apart and make sure everything is connected firmly and properly seated.

    Or try to locate a used unit with a bad LCD and use the two systems to create one working system.

    I'm sure some folks here will have some other suggestions but that's all I can think of right now.

    Cheers,
     
  3. sprite420 thread starter macrumors newbie

    sprite420

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2008
    Location:
    Venice Beach, CA
    #3

    thanks. i'll probably be taking it apart this weekend. it's a pain in the butt not having the right tools, though; i'm going to have to use my grinding bits to make some.

    do you know of any good websites where people can buy/sell damaged powerbooks? i imagine that it's sort of a tricky business, buying something that's already broken, with no guarentee that the components you need will be in working condition.
     
  4. TheMonarch macrumors 65816

    TheMonarch

    Joined:
    May 6, 2005
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #4
    1: Try something simple, like holding F7 to "Detect displays" and see if something shows up on an external monitor. Sometimes just plugging something into the DVI doesn't work.
    2: It might [though I doubt it] be the hardrive, try replacing that before buying a new logic board/screen.
    3: If all else fails - ifixit.com
     
  5. panzer06 macrumors 68030

    panzer06

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    Kilrath
    #5
    pepboys sells a single screwdriver with like 20 bits in the handle, all small torx and phillips for computer repair. Cost me $14.95.

    Yes, buying damaged systems can indeed be difficult. you can try the marketplace here, those systems sometimes pop up.

    Cheers,
     
  6. sprite420 thread starter macrumors newbie

    sprite420

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2008
    Location:
    Venice Beach, CA
    #6
    thanks. with the external monitor, i've tried booting with the lid closed and booting while holding down CMD+F1. F7 doesn't seem to work either. does that only work once OSX is running, or is it a boot key? because, toward the end, i was never able to get into OSX before the kernel panic.

    hopefully, it's just a problem with the hard drive. but i doubt it, too.
     
  7. simonhead666 macrumors newbie

    simonhead666

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2008
    Location:
    Uxbridge Ontario
    #7
    Hi
    depending on the dents made by the fall, it could be the ribbon cable from logicboard to LCD is damaged, or unplugged. it could be the inverter board...
    If you look on ebay, you might find a whole Laptop that has a functioning logicboard for under $250 USD.. and ifixit.com is the best place to get tutorials on replacing pretty much anything on a Mac...and the whole repair requires a torx 8 and a few sizes of phillips drivers

    It isn't the HD.. when the HD goes down you get the blinking folder with a question mark..

    hope this helps
    Simon
     

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