Dropped PowerBook 17" Please Help Diagnose

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Moof1904, Aug 12, 2007.

  1. Moof1904 macrumors 65816

    May 20, 2004
    My friend just dropped her 17" powerbook and brought it to me to determine the extent of the damage. Here's what I've found so far:

    -the hinge is slightly bent and the laptop doesn't want to close completely, though with very slight pressure, I can get it to fully close
    -the startup chime sounds properly on startup, but the screen remains black no matter what I do
    -attaching an external monitor, hitting the power button, closing the lid, and putting slight pressure on the powerbook lid to keep it closed, the external display shows and apple, then the spinning gear, then just a grey screen (with a cursor). The cursor moves with the trackpad, but nothing else appears on the screen. I'm rather certain that the laptop is driving on the external display at the point because the lid is still closed and when I trace the edges of the external display with the cursor, the cursor doesn't leave the screen, as it would if the laptop were using both the built-in display and the external display.
    -attaching a firewire cable and attempting to start in target disk mode does not work. Even if I attach an external keyboard to the laptop and use that T key instead of the laptop's keyboard.

    So, at minimum, it sounds like the video card is hosed because the external display shows only grey after the apple/spinning gears has ended. It also sounds like some funkinyess with the motherboard that's preventing target disk mode from working.

    Other than just taking it to the apple store and paying for diagnosis, is there anything else I can do to get a feel for just how hosed up the laptop is? I'd kinda like to give her an idea of what to expect. I warned her that with the price of laptop repairs, it's probably not going to be cost effective to get it fixed. (I need to remember to ask her if she bought it with a credit card that has accidental damage protection.)
  2. mpw Guest

    Jun 18, 2004
  3. swampfox macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2007
    Dang dude that hurts. You might try http://www.ifixit.com but if that won't work then this is a great excuse to go out and buy that macbook pro!:D
  4. Stadsport macrumors regular

    Nov 9, 2006
    -bend the hinge back
    -the ribbon cable to the monitor is broken, disconnected, or the screen itself is broken. Look closely under sharp light. If you can see a faint image, the backlight is broken (it's a thin fluorescent bulb) or it's power supply is broken, but this is an easy fix.
    -The external monitor won't turn on at all if it were a bad video card. It's possible, however, that the hard disk was damaged and is preventing it from booting properly.
    -If the internal keyboard is broken or disconnected (probably disconnected), you won't be able to enter Target Disk Mode. Boot options can't be changed with a USB keyboard, including TDM.

    Here's what you need to do:
    Diagnose the screen problems. You may need to replace a ribbon cable, a small power supply, the entire screen, or nothing at all (it might just be unplugged). Generally a ribbon cable runs from the motherboard to the inside of the screen (the entire upper portion of the laptop, I mean). Part of it will lead to a transformer (the power supply) which will power the fluorescent bulb, and the other part will lead to the display itself. This ribbon cable likes to go out, I've had to replace them in several screens before, so it should be the first part you go to. But like I said, it might have just gotten disconnected or pulled out from the impact. If you honestly can't find out what's wrong, you can probably find an entire replacement screen on eBay.

    Take out the keyboard and make sure it's in one piece. Make sure its ribbon cable is in good shape, and plug it back in. Again, it sounds like it just came loose. On the other hand, it's possible the hard drive is just hosed in a way that's creating problems. Do you happen to have a USB hard drive you can try installing OS X to?

    Oh, and bend back that bent hinge!
  5. Moof1904 thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 20, 2004
    yeah, she's been talking about getting a new MBP. I wonder if dropping her laptop is her subconscious way of justifying the new laptop to herself!!

    Stadsport, thanks for the plan of action. I'll take a look and see if I can determine just how hosed she is.

    Thanks, gang.
  6. Moof1904 thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 20, 2004
    Ack! Under a bright light, I can see a diagonal crack on the screen, going from center top all the way to the bottom left corner. It looks like there's fluid seeping from the crack, causing a wet look on both sides of the crack.

    Not good.

Share This Page