Is my PowerBook G4 really BLIND?! (2-day turnaround...please help!!!)

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by jadex, Oct 5, 2005.

  1. jadex macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2005
    Houston, Tx, USA
    [the original post got deleted, so this is a slightly shorter recap]

    I have had my PowerBook g4 (12", 512 RAM, no superdrive) for two months. Was working on a Word document while opening a LARGE .pdf file in Safari. Computer became really really SLUGGISH; left it alone for 20 minutes to let the PB sort itself out. The .pdf file finally loaded, but the Word document was still stuck on a command. Haven't studied the shortcuts to force quit and so on, so held down power button and completely shut it off.

    Tried to restart. HD fan comes on, and startup noise is made...but the screen is still blank (black!). No blue apple screen or anything. Tried again, same response (has happened before, but have been able to get it going again eventually). I have tried to adjust the brightness and have gone through the entire PowerBook troubleshooting tutorial and book, to no avail. Also, no peripheral devices are being recognized (mouse will not light up, the screen also will not respond to tapping the touchpad). I cannot even get to the basic boot screen.

    Called AppleCare today, they said that the backlight has gone out (blindness!!), and I will have to send it in. I don't believe it, especially with a two-month old brand-new PB. Any thoughts or suggestions as to what to do? I'm good with computers, just tell me EXACTLY what to do :) (I have a 2 day turnaround, before I have to send the packet back in to Apple with my computer) I don't have the startup disks with me, though.

    Not having this computer is a MAJOR inconveince, btw. I need it both for school and work. And I have no other Mac and Fireware to do the Target Disk mode to. Please help!!!
  2. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    You need to back up your data.

    First and most obvious -- get an external monitor (borrow, beg) and see if you can boot to the extenal screen. If all is well, start burning CDs/DVDs of your data because chances are you wil get your drive bcal reformatted.

    Even easier, get (buy,beg, borrow) a firewire hard drive to back your data onto.

    If the machine doesn't boot with an external monitor, go to a computer dealer or friend who has a Mac with OSX and a Firewire cable and boot your machine into Target Disk Mode, back up to CD/DVD or Firewire hard drive.
  3. tdhurst macrumors 601


    Dec 27, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ
    Logic board

    Um...most likely a logic board issue. Send it's toast.
  4. Erendiox macrumors 6502a


    Oct 15, 2004
    Brooklyn NY
    If you want to see if it's just your backlight thats broken, take a flashlight and shine it on the blank screen. If the screen is working, you should be able to see the startup window. The screen displays an image whether the backlight is on or not.
  5. jadex thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2005
    Houston, Tx, USA
    hmm...that's what the Apple customer service told me to do, shine a flashlight on the board. Absolutely nothing shows up...and after talking to a couple of other people who have mac laptops, i'm convinced it's pretty much shot. Does this happen often, the backlight just going out like that? I mean, I switched to Mac because I thought I was getting some sort of product quality - something that would *work* and not break within two months or a year.
  6. yenko macrumors 6502a

    Aug 29, 2005
    You're wasting time. It takes 3-4 days for Apple to repair the machine including shipping in both directions. The way you're going about it will take forever and you still may not get it repaired properly.:eek:
  7. ElectricSheep macrumors 6502


    Feb 18, 2004
    Wilmington, DE
    Have you tried all of the various booting methods?

    Boot into verbose mode: hold down Option-V just after you press the power button.

    Boot into single-user mode: hold down Option-S just after you press the power button.

    Boot from a CD/DVD: hold down C just after you press the power button. If you have your HW Test CD lying around, I would use that.

    Boot into the startup manager: hold down Option just after you press the power button.

    Boot into open firmware: hold down Command-Option-O-F just after you press the power button.

    Have you tried resetting the PMU (Power Management Unit) on the PowerBook? I've had to do this on my desktop unit several times after a hard lockup as it would not start fully. To rest the PMU on newer PowerBook models:

    Turn the PowerBook off.
    Simultaneously press and release Shift-Control-Option-Power on the keyboard. Be careful to no press the Fn key.
    Wait five seconds.
    Press the power button.

    Resetting the PMU will also reset your NVRAM, so you will have to reconfigure your date/time/startup disk.

    See if any of these gets any different results.
  8. gekko513 macrumors 603


    Oct 16, 2003
    Then you have to find someone with a Mac or go to an Apple retailer to help you out with the target mode rescue operation.
  9. Spock macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2002
    If the thing is covered by Apple Care why waste time posting here about how to fix it? If Your not carefull You will void the Apple Care and really be screwed.
  10. jadex thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2005
    Houston, Tx, USA
    I do not believe I am wasting my time here.

    I don't know about anyone else, but I find it fairly odd for a two-month old computer to have such a major flaw, much less one that (as they have said) seems to be fairly common. Secondly, I have had trouble with computers before, and usually it's due to some simple component or another piece of information that I did not have before. Thirdly, apparently Apple is backlogged with computers to fix, so a short turnaround from them is not likely. That's why I'm asking about it. ElectricSheep, thanks - I have tried all the boot shortcuts, but nothing's changed. It's shot.

    I finally found another mac to transfer to, at any rate, and the box to send the PB in is here.
  11. gekko513 macrumors 603


    Oct 16, 2003
    At least 14% of notebooks, all brands included, require repair during the first year. Over 20% is common for most brands. link
  12. matticus008 macrumors 68040


    Jan 16, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    Assuming it's just the backlight that really is out, then it's just a broken fluorescent light bulb or two, which can happen pretty easily for a variety of reasons. I really wish people would stop abusing the term "flaw" around here. Yes, your computer is broken. No, it is not a flaw.

    Now, if it is the backlight or inverter, you need to send it in to Apple, because fixing that yourself (or locally) is tricky business on any notebook, and much more so on an Apple because of the tight spaces (and the cost of replacement parts). If it doesn't output any image to the external display, then you have a video subsystem or logic board defect.

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