Help and advice needed for restoring old ibook g4

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Zedsdead185, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. Zedsdead185 macrumors 6502

    Sep 14, 2006
    Hi everyone,

    I recently got my hands on a cheap second hand ibook g4 1ghz model (my first powerpc mac) for real cheap. It initially wouldn't work at all but after a quick PRAM reset and resittting of the battery, ram, airport and case screws, I miraculously got it working. However there are 2 issues I'm still having a problem with that I was hoping someone could help me with.

    1- The internal combo drive is not working correctly. I'm pretty sure its the actually hardware of the drive and not the software as I have done every kind of memory reset possible and performed several maintenance checks on osx. The problem is that it will just not 'grab' any disks. I can insert it fully with no unnecessary force needed, but instead of grabbing it and giving it a read, it instead instantly spits it back out. Doesn't even attempt to suck it in like usual. I was wondering if there was any chance that it would be possible to fix the drive itself if I was to remove it and open it up? Or does it usually mean its dead?

    2- The ibook came with an airport extreme card. on the first few boots the ibook instantly received kernal panics and couldn't get past the apple logo. After inspection it turned out it was the airport card and after removal the ibook worked perfectly. I have since however managed to reconnect the airport card and it works again. However, it is very VERY weak. I easily lose half signal by sitting 3m away from the wireless router... Obviously this isn't correct. I have reconnected the card to the antenna several times and i can confirm, it is connected as firmly as possible and it still produces a weak signal. I have suspicions as to whether it is the operating system however, as I am currently running panther (10.3.9). I plan on upgrading it too leopard but am waiting for a firewire cable to arrive from the internet. Is it possible that upgrading to leopard could improve the signal, or is it more likely hardware?

    Thanks for even bothering to read guys. I have looked over and scoured the internet as best as I can and cannot find satisfactory answers to these questions just yet, so absolutely any input or knowledge would be a great help. Thanks :)


    oh yeah, and any further advice towards enhancing the ibook which I may not know about would also be a great help :). As i said, its my first mac with powerpc architecture.
  2. Imixmuan macrumors 6502

    Dec 18, 2010

    I own the same ibook G4, 1.07 ghz.

    Here are my thoughts:

    a) get a new combo drive. Dismantling the ibook is a beeeatch, but you want a working combo drive to do c).

    b) get a new airport card. Sounds like your card is flaktastic, not worth it to mess about anymore.

    c) Max your RAM and install Leopard. I went up from Leopard from Tiger and while I cannot argue that it is indeed a titch slower at some tasks, the better overall software is worth it. Leopard webkit, Auroafox...Aquadocks' amazing, mindblowing Moutain Lion PowerPC theme....yes, definitely worth it.

    All the above will cost you in the range of 100-150, more if you don't own a copy of Leopard of course. Only you can decide if that is worth it to you. I picked up my ibook for 80 bucks, already had Leopard, the ram and a combo drive (POS came with a CD drive), so haven't spent a penny on it. Outing to a 23 inch monitor (will need the screen spanning app) makes me feel like I own a bloody new mac. Ok, not really but close facsmile thereof.
  3. havokalien macrumors 6502a


    Apr 27, 2006
    Kelso, Wa

    The motherboard connection to the airport card is aknown fault in the iBooks, probably why you got it cheap. Best bet is to turn off airport and see if the issues go away. If so you then know the motherboard airport is desoldered. Best bet is a USB wireless dongle.

    Good luck
  4. PowerPCMacMan macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2012
    PowerPC land
    If the op doesn't have leopard, there is an enhanced powerPc only leopard out there. Runs pretty quick thanks to no Intel binaries at the library and core system services level.
  5. Zedsdead185 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 14, 2006
    Thanks for all the advice. Luckily I have managed to win a working combo drive replacement for dead cheap on ebay and awaiting the arrival of it through the post. Won't be ina massive rush to install it yet though as I already have an external and have since seen the ifixit guide! (yikes!) I have also maxed out the ram and installed leopard using target disk mode and it runs so much better than I would have expected for an 8 year old machine!

    Thanks for this very informative piece of info. I was unaware of this. Luckily, I haven't had any kernal panics since the initial boots, and I have also upgraded to leopard. Whilst it has improved connectivity a bit, it still isn't up to par with my expectations for a wireless network, so I think a dongle may be in order as you suggested. Could you spare any suggestion as to what may be compatible with a PPC mac running leopard?

    Thanks for this information. I already had an install disk, but after reading this comment I decided to look into it before I performed the fresh install. However, after finding that it is mainly distributed through torrent sites, and could possibly have a slight chance of carrying trackers, malware or unwanted mods I decided to stick with my retail disk and using monolingual to rid of the intel architecture. Thanks for the suggestion though :)

    Thanks for all of the replies guys. You have all been a great help as I have tried to restore this ibook over the past few days. It is running fantastically. I can't beleive the performance I am getting out of an 8 year old machine! I am still open to any improvement suggestions from other members if anyone wants to add to the thread by the way. :) I'm sure it will be a great help to me and any other future second hand ibook buyers! :apple:

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