iBook G3 12" Heat Issues

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by HandleVandal, Jul 23, 2008.

  1. HandleVandal Guest


    Jan 15, 2008
    First off, honestly, I did make an effort to find another thread on this before starting a new one. It seems most of the iBooks with heat issues are G4's and that's fairly common, even I know that.

    As it says in the subject line, I have a 900mhz G3 12" iBook with 640 mb of memory and 10.4.11. I *love* this little machine. It has been absolutely rock solid for the nearly 5 years I've owned it. I know I'll need to upgrade to a MB/MBP eventually but the reliability of this iBook has allowed me to put that off for a long time. Hopefully it'll hold out for a while longer and I can wait out a couple refreshes/upgrades/Rev. A's.

    Anyhow, the sturdiness of this iBook having been addressed, the last 4 months have left me reeling. I can no longer run processor intensive applications (iMovie, iSquint, Photoshop, Handbrake, VLC etc) for any useful length of time without the bottom left of the iBook becoming insanely hot and hearing what I assume is the hard drive going into this super hyper spin. The smell of plastic soon follows then I flip out and put Whopper the iBook to sleep for a while. Even when I'm running nothing but VLC to watch Doctor Who, 30 minutes into a 45 minute episode, I have to interrupt my viewing to cool down Whopper.

    Right now, all I'm doing is running Firefox to surf the web and the temp is 118 F (48 C). When running VLC, or iMovie, iSquint, Handbrake, something intensive, the temperature will reach 122-124 F (52-54 C) and the super spinning HD and plastic smell follow.

    It didn't use to be like this! Which is why I'm annoyed.

    Once upon a time, I could run iMovie for hours on end. I could leave iSquint running all night to convert movies to high quality .mp4 format or use Handbrake to rip dvd's all. day. long.

    I have run disk utility, repaired permissions and S.M.A.R.T status is verified. I booted in safe mode and that checked out ok too. I have noticed that my iBook runs about 10 degrees cooler on battery power than when powered by the AC adapter. Does that mean anything? Is this just part of the aging process and I need to go buy a cooling pad or is this the very beginning of a catastrophic meltdown?

    Feel free to say "well duh" at any of these observations.

    I can repair G3 iMacs with ease, but these notebooks make me crazy with all the screws and itty bitty parts. Fortunately I have a really good Mac repair guy in Greensboro but I don't want to bother him until I know I've exhausted all do-it-myself options.

    Thanks for any insight!! This problem has crippled my productivity and I'm frustrated beyond belief.
  2. mr.light macrumors 6502

    Not much help but:

    The noise you hear is most likely the fan. I have an iBook G4 and I never heard the fan run until this year. Maybe programs are requiring much more processor power these days? :confused: I don't want to give up my iBook but I think it is time.
  3. HandleVandal thread starter Guest


    Jan 15, 2008
    Actually you bring up a good point. I've often found myself wondering if it's the fan. It just boggles my mind that I haven't heard it before now! I can't find any info on where the fan(s) on a G3 iBook are located and since it isn't intel, I can't use a program like iStat to monitor the fan.

    One thing I haven't taken into consideration, and I should have, is that now I'm running 10.4. Previously (until last winter) I was running 10.3 and never encountered this problem.

    Although 10.4 runs well on this iBook, I wonder if it's taking more of a toll than I thought?
  4. GlassOgnion macrumors member

    Sep 10, 2003
    Quebec, Canada
    If your iBook G3 temperature raise to 122-124 F and you don't hear the fan running then you surely have a faulty fan. Check on www.ifixit.com to learn how to replace this very cheap $$ part.
  5. noodle654 macrumors 68020


    Jun 2, 2005
    Never Ender
    I totally forgot the average temps of the G3s and G4s. Have you tried to do anything CPU intensive such as watching Youtube? That should shoot your CPU up and see if you notice the fans. To me 124F isnt bad, but I am used to my MBP!
  6. Project Alice macrumors 6502

    Project Alice

    Jul 13, 2008
    Post Falls, ID
    my 12' ibook 500 gets very very hot, I had to go buy a cooling pad from walmart, it works pretty good.:D
  7. HandleVandal thread starter Guest


    Jan 15, 2008
    I had no idea the fan was such a cheap part to fix. I read the instructions and it doesn't seem too painful to repair myself. I now suspect the culprit is the fan, given the fact that the noise and plastic smell always seem to start around a certain temperature. What has caused me to freak and worry that it might be my HD is b/c last Oct. the original HD bit the dust. One of the symptoms was the ridiculous amount of heat being generated from the bottom left side of the iBook.....the exact same spot the heat is originating from now.

    Oh I know! In digging around the forums and reading about the heat generated from PB/MBP's, I really feel like a wimp sniveling about 124F during processor intensive use. That temperature is practically chilly for MBP's! And yes, Youtube does do a number on my CPU after about 20 minutes. When it reaches between 122-124F the horribly whiny spinning sound starts up and the plastic smell follows in short order. I can't decide what bothers me worse: the sound I can't really ID or the smell of plastic when I walk into the room if I leave it unattended. :rolleyes:

    I think that may be my next plan of attack. Even if it's just a temporary solution until I can replace the fan. It can't hurt, right? I just hate the idea of having to cart around a chill pad with me when I didn't have to before. Grrrrrrrr!
  8. HandleVandal thread starter Guest


    Jan 15, 2008
    I mean to include this in my recent reply. D'oh!

    An interesting thing happened last night. I was working in iMovie, doing lots of importing, editing, exporting, etc. The type of stuff that jacks the temperature up quickly, but I was feeling frivolous.

    I kept an eye on the iStat temperature in the menu bar, watching it rise from 118, 120, 122 (started preparing myself) 124 (any minute now..) 126 (huh?) 128 (wtf??) 130 (holy hell!) and finally 132 F. A full 10 degrees beyond when the fan (or lack thereof) kicks in. Not a peep from the lower left side of Whopper. No smell, no whiny whirling sound, no nothing. I put it to sleep anyway b/c it was hot as blue blazes and didn't want to leave it to chance.

    I *really* didn't want to have to call my local Mac Repair Guy and say "uh, my iBook is dead. I wanted to see how hot it got before it wouldn't work anymore"

    Part of me wants to do the happy dance, and part of me wonders if the fan (if that is the problem) has now really and truly died.

    So the mystery continues. I'm off to buy a cooling pad to see if that'll help make a difference.

Share This Page