PowerBook G4 Optical Drive Issue

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by ITguy2016, Nov 3, 2016.

  1. ITguy2016 Suspended

    Joined:
    May 25, 2016
    #1
    A few days ago I picked up an 867MHz 12" PowerBook. The optical drive is not being recognized by the system. It does not show up in the System Profiler report, there's a disc stuck in the drive (which doesn't eject when I hold down the mouse button on startup), and it makes no noise what-so-ever. It's as if there is absolutely no power to the device.

    I'd like to get the groups thoughts on what I should do about this. Options are:

    • Do nothing - There is already an OS on the drive (10.3) and the system is usable as is
    • Remove the optical drive and inspect - This is a 51 step process according to iFixIt and appears to be a complete disassembly of the entire system.
    • Replace the drive - Will the optical drive from a G4 iBook fit / function in this system? I have a non-functional G4 iBook which was included in the purchase of this system.
    I'd like to install a clean OS on the system and it would be a lot easier with a functional optical drive. I could use one of my other systems for TDM but I do not have a Firewire cable (and I don't want to purchase one just for this purpose). I've also read where people have used USB drives as well. Is it possible to boot this model via a USB drive? I understand it will take forever to install given the USB ports are 1.1 but hey...as long as I don't have to babysit it.

    Any other suggestions? It's a nice laptop but it is a little beat up (lowercase frame has bends) so not sure I'd want to put a lot of money into it (especially since the only functional power adapter I have is from my iBook G3 system so I'd likely be looking at the expense of purchase a power adapter too).

    What are people's thoughts on how I should proceed?
     
  2. MacCubed macrumors 68000

    MacCubed

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2014
    Location:
    Florida
    #2
    I would tear into it, the drive could be bad or maybe even the cable. The only way to find out is to get inside of it. You can install Leopard or Tiger off of a USB, so an OS install shouldn't be an issue.
     
  3. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #3
    A year or so ago during one of my many travails with my former 17" PB (the one I have now replaced the original I got in 2009 and it's replacement) the optical drive died. I inserted a disc, it took it, there was some sort of spin up and then just utter quiet.

    Just as in your case, the optical drive disappeared from System Profiler. A new drive off eBay and it was right back in business.

    So I'd suspect the drive. Always possible it's the cable (I've torn a HD cable before from it's connector) but I'd suspect the drive more.

    How badly do you want the drive to work? Would a FW or USB external optical drive be an easy alternative you'd consider?
     
  4. ITguy2016 thread starter Suspended

    Joined:
    May 25, 2016
    #4
    That's the thing...I'm not really that interested in having it operational. I would like it to work and inspecting it is something to consider. However 51 steps (and a bazzilion screws) is a lot of work given I'm mostly indifferent on the optical drive. The primary reason for wanting to use it is to install a fresh OS...something I can do through TDM or USB. It's a nice system but I don't see myself using it a lot thus not sure I want to put any money into it (especially since the lower case is beat up a little). If it were pristine I might do it...have to see what drives are going for on Ebay.
     
  5. AmazingHenry macrumors 65816

    AmazingHenry

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2015
    Location:
    Central Michigan
    #5
    If you don't want to use it that much, just leave the drive and use TDM. It's not worth the trouble unless you really use your optical drives frequently. That's just my opinion.
     
  6. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    Aug 31, 2011
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    Phoenix • 85037
    #6
    This is a post I actually agree with @HFTaylor12 on. ;) :D

    If it's not worth your time then just move on.

    One of the advantages I think of having the 17" models. Lots more room in those models. Working inside my wife's 12" PowerBook when she first got it was a nightmare!
     
  7. ITguy2016 thread starter Suspended

    Joined:
    May 25, 2016
    #7
    Thank you for the advice everyone. I think I'm going to start off with just finding a Firewire cable and reinstalling the OS. Perhaps when I have some time I'll do as MacCubed suggests and try pulling it to inspect.

    Has anyone encountered issues reassembling a laptop where the frame has been slightly bent?
     
  8. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #8
    Yes.

    The second logicboard replacement I got for my A1013 came in a Mac with a broken screen and bent lower case (I didn't know it at the time). I swapped screens only to find out the lid would not close.

    I gave it up at that point because this Mac was on it's second replacement and things were NOT going well for it.
     
  9. ITguy2016 thread starter Suspended

    Joined:
    May 25, 2016
    #9
    I'm concerned if I dig into it I'll have some difficulties getting it to go back together correctly. Given I have no use for the optical drive, outside of re-installing the OS, it might be better to just leave it alone.
     
  10. 128keaton macrumors 68020

    128keaton

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2013
    #10
    I have a love/hate relationship with the 12". I hate everything about them except how nice and cute they look and how the keyboard feels.
     
  11. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #11
    The keyboard is too cramped.

    I am constantly banging on the wrong keys any time I have to use my wife's Mac.

    It's a great Mac but really has a tendency to make psoriatic-arthritic hands cramp up. :D
     
  12. AmazingHenry macrumors 65816

    AmazingHenry

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    Jul 6, 2015
    Location:
    Central Michigan
    #12
    If you have no use other than reinstalling the OS, why all of the trouble? How often do you need to reinstall your operating system? And if the frame is already bent I strongly suggest that you just leave it be. But do what you want. ;)
     
  13. ITguy2016 thread starter Suspended

    Joined:
    May 25, 2016
    #13
    Well, that's the question. There really is no reason for me to fix it other than "because it's there" :D I am one of these people who just like things to work no matter what so maybe it's an obsessive compulsive thing. If the chassis was in great shape I'd be replacing the drive just to have a fully functional system. But since it's got some bends it's unlikely I'd be willing to "restore" it to complete working order because it would be almost impossible to fix the frame.

    On a positive note I pulled the memory compartment to add some memory and found a 1GB module which wasn't fully seated. So the system actually has 1.125GB of memory...its max. Making it a little more attractive to fix.
     
  14. AmazingHenry macrumors 65816

    AmazingHenry

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    #14
    With full memory, this could really be a nice Tiger (or tweaked Leopard) machine with some upgrades like an SSD. If you plan to actually use this computer, maybe it is worth the fix. But that bent frame could cause you to run into problems, so I'm still reccommending that you don't try it.
     
  15. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #15
    Just what "problems" could a bent frame on a 12" Powerbook cause? Virtually all of them have some bending to one degree or another.

    BTW, these machines run Leopard really well even with a platter drive.

    As far as the optical drive goes-I have one with a 128gb SSD installed by the previous owner. He also intentionally disconnected the optical drive because he wanted a quiet computer and hearing the ODD every time he woke it from sleep. I've never bothered to reconnect it since I didn't want to take the computer apart and it's not that hard to work around it being missing.
     
  16. ITguy2016 thread starter Suspended

    Joined:
    May 25, 2016
    #16
    I was pleased to discover it had a 1GB memory module. It was surprising to initially see the 128MB of memory given the original configuration was 256MB. I just thought someone removed the 128MB module, replaced it with something larger, then pulled the larger memory before selling.

    It's a nice little system but I think I've decided against pulling it apart. Given the case damage I don't want to be dealing with trying to get it back together (this is really just an excuse...I don't feel like pulling it apart given the effort...lol). It's perfectly usable as is. Once I obtain a FireWire cable I can reinstall the OS (it's running 10.3 right now) and have a nice little laptop. Even the battery holds a decent charge.
     
  17. AmazingHenry macrumors 65816

    AmazingHenry

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    Jul 6, 2015
    Location:
    Central Michigan
    #17
    Good idea. Once I took apart my iMac (Intel) with a slightly damaged frame and I still don't have it correctly put back together.
     

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