New 15" PowerBook Firewire 400 port manufacturing defect?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by doowrehs, Feb 11, 2005.

  1. doowrehs macrumors regular

    Oct 14, 2004
    Hi there,

    I purchased one of the new 15" 1.67ghz PowerBooks with Superdrive last week from my local Apple store. It's been quite a saga from then to now, with that first one having to go back due to scratches and dents on the case. Although Apple quite happily exchanged it for a new one, the replacement had a faulty Firewire 400 port - which leads me to the point of this message.

    What I experienced is that the port only allowed sporadic communication with peripherals plugged into it. For example, if I plugged my iPod in, it would either a) not mount, with the 'do not disconnect' message never appearing on the iPod's screen, or b) would take much longer than usual to mount. This was also the case with other peripherals, such as midi keyboards, etc. Interestingly, the port did provide power to anything plugged into it (for example, the iPod would charge despite not mounting), but just wouldn't allow communication. As I say, this behaviour was sporadic and only occured every 4th or 5th time I plugged something in. Otherwise it worked as normal.

    Now comes the interesting part. I examined the firewire port on the PowerBook and found that the metal casing appeared to be slightly pushed in from where it should be - thus probably not allowing a full connection to be made when a plug is inserted into it. It's a little difficult to explain, but the best way for you to visualise it is for you to plug something into one of your own Firewire 400 ports. See how a small portion (1-2 mm) of the metal part of the plug is still visible when fully inserted, and the plastic rim part of the plug doesn't actually touch the casing of your computer? That's how it should be (and is on my iBook and PowerMac). However, on the PowerBook, there was no metal visible after inserting a plug, and the plastic rim part of the plug made full contact with the side of the case.

    So, thinking that I was just a bit unlucky, I went back again to my Apple store where the port was examined, confirmed to be faulty, and I was given another replacement. No problem, you're probably thinking, except that this third replacement also visually exhibits the same problem as the previous one. i.e. the metal casing in the port appears depressed inwards, and the plastic rim part of the plug again meets with the case. While I haven't had a peripheral connection failure yet (mainly because I've only had the book for a few hours), I am worried about this.

    My reason for posting here then, is just to see if anyone else can confirm this situation. If you purchased one of the new 15" PowerBooks, I'd be very grateful if you could take a look at the Firewire 400 port, and whether the plug sits properly when inserted. If it doesn't, please could you also report if you've had any problems communicating with peripheral devices. I'm hoping that I'm just doubly unlucky and maybe a batch of the new models exhibit this problem, but I'd also like to know if it a wider manufacturing issue.

    Many thanks!

    PS - sorry for the length of this message!
  2. ollie macrumors member

    Oct 21, 2004
    *prays i dont get a fuxed one*

    NOT the way to convince my family mac is the way.. plus i would have to post it back, and wait 3 more weeks.
  3. Demon Hunter macrumors 68020

    Mar 30, 2004
    As you say it's kind of hard to visualize. The one thing that comes to mind is that the 12" iBook and Powerbook have a little "extra" exposed metal, that is the plastic won't come as close to the case as the 15" and 17". Could this be it?
  4. doowrehs thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 14, 2004
    Thanks for the replies both of you. Don't worry Ollie - because very few people have replied to this, I think you can assume it might just be a small, bad batch that slipped through Q&A. You can buy with confidence, because in all other aspects, the machines that I've had are a dream!

    Dferrara - thanks for the tip. I must admit, this is my first 15" PowerBook (having previously had a 12"), so I don't have knowledge of how the ports on 15" models should look. If this is a common (intended) trait on the 15" and 17" models, then I feel pretty stupid for making such a fuss :eek: Could I ask then (if you have time to check, and if you have 15" model), just to confirm that the plastic on a Firewire plug meets completely with the side of the case when you insert it into the port. If that is the case, then I think I can rest easy and stop worrying.

    Many thanks again!!
  5. swiftaw macrumors 603


    Jan 31, 2005
    Omaha, NE, USA
    I got a new powerbook a few days ago and the firewire plug meets completely the side of the case, and i have had no problem with it when plugging in my ipod.
  6. Demon Hunter macrumors 68020

    Mar 30, 2004
    Yeah I just checked myself. It may just have to do with the motherboard design, and how far out they can place the connector. :)
  7. doowrehs thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 14, 2004
    Thank you everyone for helping me out with this. It's good to know that it's just ignorance on my part (as is usual for most of my computer woes!) which is to blame. Thanks for taking the time to reassure me - hopefully now I can get on with actually putting the PowerBook to use, instead of just worrying about it...!

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