Powerbook Corrosion

Diatribe

macrumors 601
Original poster
Jan 8, 2004
4,226
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Back in the motherland
I don't know what to say, I thought I didn't have this problem, as it hadn't started but now that just about a year has passed since I bought my Powerbook it is starting to develop black dots.
The aluminum on the palm rests is corroding, also called pitting. It is a reaction of the body chemicals with the aluminum and can get pretty bad.

I've attached a picture so people can see what I am talking about.

Although mine isn't as bad as the picture, it is getting there and Apple will do nothing about it since it is purely cosmetical. I guess I'm just pissed right now, I know I can use clear PDA screen protectors and the such and I do right now, but I cannot say which one are uglier the dots or the screen protector thingies. I'm thinking about taking them off again, I don't know. Fixing this, what I'd need to do when it becomes really bad, would cost about $200.

I don't know what to say, I guess it is just a computer but it still is bugging the hell outta me. :(
 

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WinterMute

Moderator emeritus
Jan 19, 2003
4,715
4
London, England
You mean something like this?

This is a 2 year old 17" powerBook, the pitting has started to affect the trackpad key as well.

The cause is pretty clear, acid sweat.

Sorry about the quality, cameraphone.
 

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Applespider

macrumors G4
I have this problem - started just before the 12 months but Apple said it was cosmetic although they appear to have fixed it for others which is annoying. Be consistent in what's covered! It also only happens in the area just above the CD drive on the right hand side - it's really frustrating; it's the only visible sign of wear on my machine (no scratches/dents anywhere else). I can't understand if it's 'chemical' why it isn't on both palm rests, or why it's spread beyond the area where the heel of my hand rests. And I don't recall my hands getting sweaty/clammy...which is another reason it bugs me.

It gets worse quickly; mine started as only visible in very good light but although not as bad as image, it did deteriorate quickly. I have the screen protectors to stop it getting too bad. Although they're ugly, I figure that having the dots make the entire wrist area black would be worse.
 

Diatribe

macrumors 601
Original poster
Jan 8, 2004
4,226
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Back in the motherland
Yep, exactly what I am talking about. How do you deal with it? Have you gotten over it, and if, how?
Did it get worse quickly after the first dots appeared or was it a gradual process?
Geez, if it would be a wintel laptop I wouldn't give damn but this just annoys me.
 

brap

macrumors 68000
May 10, 2004
1,701
0
Nottingham
I too have (albeit less severe) corrosion on the left side of my trackpad button, and the left side of the screen release latch! :eek:

It's just force of habit, where you leave your hands when you work/read/type/game. *Shrug* even with pits, it still looks better than any Wintel laptop you can shake a stick at.
 

Darwin

macrumors 65816
Jun 2, 2003
1,082
0
round the corner
Count me into the club

On the left side of trackpad where hand usually is rested, only noticed it a few months ago and I'm sure it wasn't there before when my dad handed it down to me, its only slightly worse then Diatribe's picture though
 

killuminati

macrumors 68020
Dec 6, 2004
2,405
0
I have it too. It started a couple months ago and is rapidly getting worse. It is now slightly worse as Diatribe's pic. It's only in one small circular area on my palm rest though. It's all clumped together.
 

California

macrumors 68040
Aug 21, 2004
3,766
40
"Purely cosmetic" is a misnomer on Powerbooks. The palmrest is an integral, functional part of the design of the machine and if one must resort to babying it or worrying about it or having to wear gloves or put iskins on it, there is a problem with the whole machine because it affects your use, or the functionality of the machine.

Powerbooks are all style -- function plus form equals style in the PBs.

I'd scream BLOODY murder if I had a Alpb that started corroding.
 

ckelley

macrumors regular
Aug 25, 2003
129
159
Austin, TX
Yep, I had this problem too... it sucks because I used my PowerBook to present work to clients, and that was always something that I wish I could have covered up.

Doesn't matter, I still got the clients! They liked the crisp 15" screen and overall looks of the machine too. ;-)

Sold it for a Dual G5 a few weeks ago though, kinda sad to see my laptop go. I was so used to being able to kick back anywhere in my house, now I'm back to the desk.
 

njmac

macrumors 68000
Jan 6, 2004
1,759
2
I have a little next to the trackpad. My PB has taken a little bit of a beating though so I thought it as just me.
 

Darwin

macrumors 65816
Jun 2, 2003
1,082
0
round the corner
Reminds me of the problems that affected the Titanium PowerBooks when the paint came off, the design process, solving one problem to create great new ones :p
 

killuminati

macrumors 68020
Dec 6, 2004
2,405
0
I doubt there is a way to reverse it but do you guys know of anyway to prevent it from getting worse? Will just washing your hands before using be enough?
 

WinterMute

Moderator emeritus
Jan 19, 2003
4,715
4
London, England
killuminati said:
I doubt there is a way to reverse it but do you guys know of anyway to prevent it from getting worse? Will just washing your hands before using be enough?
Not really, as the Powerbook tends to be warm (!) in use, so your hands will sweat after a while anyway.

I've seen people using their screen protectors to cover the area, seems like too much trouble to me, it's a tool, it's going to get knocked around.
 

superbovine

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Nov 7, 2003
2,872
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Diatribe

macrumors 601
Original poster
Jan 8, 2004
4,226
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Back in the motherland
Wow, I didn't think it was affecting that many people. I guess the only way to be safe is not using your keyboard :rolleyes:
I'm all for carbon fiber for the next Powerbook. That'd be really light, look awesome and be safe to use. I wonder whether they stay with this material once they redesign the entire thing...
 

WinterMute

Moderator emeritus
Jan 19, 2003
4,715
4
London, England
Diatribe said:
Wow, I didn't think it was affecting that many people. I guess the only way to be safe is not using your keyboard :rolleyes:
I'm all for carbon fiber for the next Powerbook. That'd be really light, look awesome and be safe to use. I wonder whether they stay with this material once they redesign the entire thing...
It's better for insulating heat as well, a double hulled construction would effectively remove that toasty thigh feeling you get after an hour or so.

I used to love the look of my Pismo G3 powerBook, any self-respecting geek is a sucker for black... ;) :D

I'm going to bring this issue up with my Apple contacts, Applecare won't touch it, but if it's a widespread problem, Apple should do something about it.
 

Diatribe

macrumors 601
Original poster
Jan 8, 2004
4,226
21
Back in the motherland
WinterMute said:
It's better for insulating heat as well, a double hulled construction would effectively remove that toasty thigh feeling you get after an hour or so.

I used to love the look of my Pismo G3 powerBook, any self-respecting geek is a sucker for black... ;) :D

I'm going to bring this issue up with my Apple contacts, Applecare won't touch it, but if it's a widespread problem, Apple should do something about it.
Yeah, black would look nice. The only problem I see is that aluminum has now become the standard for the pro line. Changing the Powerbooks' design would be a pretty big step.

Apple contacts, huh? :D I'd like a replacement top case but can you imagine how that'd cost Apple. Though I definitely think they should do it, because this is not only a cosmetic defect it's corrosion. How can corrosion possibly be just a cosmetic defect? If the aluminum in the Audis would corrode, I bet Audi would be in a lotta trouble. Apple is being a bit nonchalant about their design failures.
 

superbovine

macrumors 68030
Nov 7, 2003
2,872
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WinterMute said:
It's better for insulating heat as well, a double hulled construction would effectively remove that toasty thigh feeling you get after an hour or so.

I used to love the look of my Pismo G3 powerBook, any self-respecting geek is a sucker for black... ;) :D

I'm going to bring this issue up with my Apple contacts, Applecare won't touch it, but if it's a widespread problem, Apple should do something about it.
the problem with insulating heat is that it has to vented some place else. it would make the design of the PB a lot of more interesting.
 

YS2003

macrumors 68020
Dec 24, 2004
2,139
0
Finally I have arrived.....
I use Palm screen protector film on the palm rest areas on my PBs. It does not have glue (if it is safe on the touch screen such as Palm, it should no harm to aluminum). I put it on my PBs as a precation as other forum members experienced rust or stain problems around the palm rest aresa on the PBs. Washing hands will help I think (which I do, a litte short to OCD level). I also use the external Kebybords at home so that most of the heavy typing will be on that external KBs.
 

Diatribe

macrumors 601
Original poster
Jan 8, 2004
4,226
21
Back in the motherland
YS2003 said:
I use Palm screen protector film on the palm rest areas on my PBs. It does not have glue (if it is safe on the touch screen such as Palm, it should no harm to aluminum). I put it on my PBs as a precation as other forum members experienced rust or stain problems around the palm rest aresa on the PBs. Washing hands will help I think (which I do, a litte short to OCD level). I also use the external Kebybords at home so that most of the heavy typing will be on that external KBs.
You know, it is pretty sad that we have to go through this kind of trouble...
 

fistful

macrumors 6502a
Mar 29, 2004
892
0
Socan
you know I never realized until just now I too have some of this pitting, it's minor but it's there.

Ah well, adds character... goes nicely with the dent my powerbook recieved a few days ago. :eek:
 

killuminati

macrumors 68020
Dec 6, 2004
2,405
0
Another thing I just noticed is that the dark grey plastic that goes around the edge of the powerbook is starting to separate from the metal near the palm rests. Also the metal all along the edge is very corroded. This problem is way worse then I initially though. Eventually this whole thing will fall apart.
 

skubish

macrumors 68030
Feb 2, 2005
2,669
0
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Diatribe said:
I don't know what to say, I thought I didn't have this problem, as it hadn't started but now that just about a year has passed since I bought my Powerbook it is starting to develop black dots.
The aluminum on the palm rests is corroding, also called pitting. It is a reaction of the body chemicals with the aluminum and can get pretty bad.

I've attached a picture so people can see what I am talking about.

Although mine isn't as bad as the picture, it is getting there and Apple will do nothing about it since it is purely cosmetical. I guess I'm just pissed right now, I know I can use clear PDA screen protectors and the such and I do right now, but I cannot say which one are uglier the dots or the screen protector thingies. I'm thinking about taking them off again, I don't know. Fixing this, what I'd need to do when it becomes really bad, would cost about $200.

I don't know what to say, I guess it is just a computer but it still is bugging the hell outta me. :(
I am not sure what that is but it is not corrosion. Aluminum corrodes to alumina Al2O3 which is white. It looks like paint coming off. Are you sure that piece isn't painted plastic? I know parts of the PB are metal but maybe the piece around the touchpad is plastic.