Introduction I recently decided to give some attention to my PowerBook G4 12" 1.5Ghz, SuperDrive with 1.25GB RAM, which I acquired earlier in the year. The previous owner didn't know what the specs were and had it listed as an 867Mhz original series with CD-ROM and 256MB RAM. I took a punt and snapped the old girl up for a low, low bid of just AU$6.50 (plus $30 shipping), in turn, saving it from the grave. Early Diagnosis... When the courier delivered the PowerBook, I found it wasn't booting beyond a blue screen. A quick Single User Mode run of /sbin/fsck -fy got the previous user installed Tiger up and running. I was delighted when I saw the specs in System Profiler, revealing it was not the original 12" series, but the final 2005 model! It was a pleasant surprise to also see it had a 1GB stick of RAM already installed. It looked like it was used for audio recording/performance based on the installed Native Instruments software, Ableton Live and Reason. The exterior had been absolutely beaten around. Grubby stickers were plastered all over it, the bottom case was all bent out of shape around the battery, the optical drive was all out of shape and the base had been heavily scratched up during it's life as a road warrior. Non-critical issues found: - The bottom case was bent out of shape around the perimeter. - The battery was completely toast. - The optical drive was rejecting every disc I tried. - The Firewire port refused to recognize any devices. - The sleep light did not pulse or illuminate. - The CPU fan ran constantly and is VERY noisy (sounds like worn bearings). - Hard drive was noisy during regular use and occasionally makes "clunking" sounds. - Gparted reported hard drive had numerous bad sectors which had been blocked off. - CPU Temps exceeded 50C under minimal load. - GPU temp exceeded 70C under minimal load. Sure enough, this machine needed some work. Initial Repairs Within a week I snapped up a bargain, brand new Apple genuine battery (boxed and sealed with the original retail AU$199.00 sticker price on it) for $12 inc shipping. Once the battery arrived, I decided to pull the machine apart to clean up and reapply the thermal paste. Stripping it down was a mighty job, but thanks to the iFixit Guides, it was really just a process of following the steps. Inside was caked in dust and hair, all the components received a clean up with cotton tips and an old toothbrush. I didn't pull the logic board at this stage as it looked too involved for me. I just cleaned it all enough to apply new silver thermal paste. I reused the original silicone heat pads (even though they looked terrible), because I didn't have any replacements. I did my best to bend the bottom case back into shape by hand and also with some blunt/soft tools. Once I was happy enough with the shape, I put it all back together again. Semi-Successful Repairs: - Battery replacement at 4800mAh, 0 cycles - ran in OK. Performs perfectly. - Cooling fan is coming on less during regular CPU load. - CPU running around 42C on average with new silver thermal paste. - GPU running around 60C under Leopard, non-intensive work. - GPU running up to 76C under load (Tested with Doom 3 and UT2004) - Bottom case bent back into shape OK. The CPU cooling fan was still loud and came on more often than I would like. Installing an array of Operating Systems... Once it was all back together again, I learned that it can be difficult to install an operating system on a PowerBook which has a faulty Firewire port and a dead optical drive. I really didn't want to pull it down again, pull out the HDD and install the OS via a different machine, so I set out to find a way. As I couldn't boot off a Tiger or Leopard install DVD and I couldn't use my handy Leopard installation iPod (20GB Firewire), I was limited to installing via USB. USB booting via Open Firmware seems to only selectively support particular USB thumb drives. None of my 8, 16 or 32GB drives were recognized, however I had an old 4GB drive which worked. I initially wanted to bypass Mac OS X and go straight to Linux with the little 'book. So, the first step was to prepare an Ubuntu Mate (PPC 16.04.1) install ISO restored onto my "known-to-boot" 4GB USB thumb drive. I found the restore was best performed using an existing instance of Ubuntu MATE with Applications > Accessories > Disks, then use the menu to Restore Disk Image... to copy the ISO onto a USB drive. I did this via VMware Fusion on a Mac Pro. Mac OS X Disk Utility refused to make any kind of bootable Linux USB thumb for me. Ubuntu MATE installed okay and I used Gparted to re-partition the drive to accommodate for Tiger, Leopard and an extra temporary 8GB partition for the Leopard Installer. I repeated the bootable 4GB USB method with an ISO of the Tiger install DVD. Once Tiger was installed I was able to use Disk Utility to restore an ISO of Leopard install DVD onto the temp partition and installed Leopard as well. I then used Gparted again to wipe the Leopard installer temp partition and regain the space. I found the CPU cooling fan ran much more frequently under Leopard as the GPU takes on more of the standard OS GUI than in Tiger. I used the PowerBook for about 6 months like this. I really like the size and design of the machine and have tried to make it my go-to portable Mac. Further Repairs I knew the hard drive was on it's way out and the fan noise was bugging me so I planned some further repairs. Firstly, in my 15" PowerBook G4 (1.5Ghz), I use an OWC Mercury Legacy Pro SSD (60GB), but I felt it was overpriced and doesn't perform anywhere near the speeds I've gotten from SATA based SSDs. So I did my research and settled for upgrading the 12" PowerBook with an mSATA Kingspec 64GB mini-PCIe SSD (ordered in from Hong Kong) installed via the Lindy mSATA<->IDE 2.5" interface (ordered in from Poland). I also ordered in a second hand CPU Cooling Fan to suit this model from the UK and bought a 100x150mm sheet of 2mm Silicone Thermal Padding from a local distributor. Once all of the parts had arrived, I took a few days to prepare myself and got started last night on the repair... 1. Preparing the PowerBook 12". iFixit's website is loaded on the PB 15". 2. Note the heavy scratches, a missing screw from the RAM door and missing front-left foot. I stuck some 1.5mm 3M pads to prop up the front evenly. 3. My assembled mSATA to IDE 2.5" interface. 4. This is the correct CPU cooling fan for the 1Ghz - 1.5Ghz models: SUNON QC054509VH-8A V1.B659.F DC5V 0.8W (This one arrived pre-caked with dust) 5. The components are all lined up, ready to install. 6. The cooling fan after a scrub up with IPA on a cotton tip and a toothbrush. 7. In order to remove the keyboard, you need to gain access to the small screws under the F1/F2 and F11/F12 keys. This is one of my most dreaded steps. I always feel like the little clips under the keys are going to snap.. And I can see a whitening of fatigue forming on the weak points of the clips. 8. The keyboard is safely removed, now to remove another 20 screws or so to get inside... 9. From all reports, this stage has stumped many people who have tried to pull on the Mic and Power Button leads from above the top case via their access holes only to find that they've pulled too hard and the entire plug assemblies have come clean off the logic board (solder and all). I find that propping the top case up to the side like this, then gently using the spudger to separate the plugs from their sockets with a little leverage and/or twisting of the tool prevents the logic board from being destroyed in the disassembly! -- Maximum files uploaded -- continued below..