Powerbook G4 Aluminum Black Screen

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Aelita, Jul 6, 2014.

  1. Aelita macrumors newbie

    Jul 6, 2014
    I just got my first (somewhat working) Apple laptop today. I would love to install leopard and use this laptop, but it either boots (with chime) to a black screen or it will freeze at the logo screen. Occasionally it will successfully boot up and let me log in and everything, but freezes later on. I have found that if I remove the 512 RAM stick then it always boots up and works perfectly fine, so I have deduced this as either a bad RAM card, or a RAM slot failure. Unfortunately I don't have another stick of ram to test the slot so I am wondering if anyone else here had the same problem and could diagnose my laptop. Here are the specs:

    Powerbook G4 Aluminum 12"
    867 MHZ
    640 GB RAM (with the stick in)
    OSX 10.3.3

    As a side note... for some reason this laptop will ignore any key combinations held down during boot-up.

    Any info would be GREATLY appreciated :D
  2. SadChief macrumors regular


    Jan 15, 2010
    Montpellier, France
    You mean 640 MB RAM, not 640 GB RAM I think :roll eyes:

    Anyway: in my opinion the RAM stick is the problem.

    You may want to look here:


    People report that they have been able to upgrade the RAM to 1152 MB with a single 1.0 GB memory module for this model.

    Hope it helps.
  3. Zotaccian macrumors 6502a


    Apr 25, 2012
    It does sound like bad RAM, altough some models of PowerBooks had huge amount of RAM slot failures, your model is not known for that but of course it is still possible. If you can get another RAM stick to test that would tell how is it. PC2100, PC2700 or PC3200 DDR SO-DIMM RAM should all work in that laptop. 256MB sticks might very well be free if you look certain forums, some people just want to get rid of old PC junk.
  4. Altemose macrumors G3


    Mar 26, 2013
    Elkton, Maryland
    It is easy and affordable to order a new stick of RAM off eBay. When the display stays black, the RAM makes it fail POST (Power-On Self Test), while when it freezes the computer tries to write to the RAM and it fails and locks the Mac up. Generally, when the slot fails it does not recognize RAM at all, but it can still cause issues like you describe. Start by spending the $15 on a new stick of RAM and I think you will be pleasantly surprised to find it is the issue.

    Apple used multiple parts vendors over the years. It wasn't so much the models but the part vendors. That being said, this Mac is at the very least eleven years old and RAM can go bad over time!
  5. Aelita thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 6, 2014
    Thank you everybody!!! I ordered a new stick of 256mb RAM for a couple bucks on ebay, installed it, and the computer has been working perfectly fine!

    Now I just need to know what the maximum amount of RAM I can put in the slot and how smoothly it will run Leopard with 867 ghz and fully upgraded RAM.
  6. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    Your 12-inch PB can take 1 GB stick of PC-2100, giving you a maximum of 1152 MB.

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