PowerBook G4 questions

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by zackkmac, Jun 18, 2018.

  1. zackkmac macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    Hi all. I just let go of a G4 15" HR-DLSD in pristine shape that I've had for a long time and already miss it, so I ended up getting a replacement for $35; however, it's a 1.5GHz DLSD A1106 that is in better (near perfect) physical condition, but is untested, so I'm curious to see if it works at all. Also, I have a working A1138 HR-DLSD that has a dead battery, a dead HD and a beat up case that I plan to swap the logic board from. A new SSD + adapter is on the way for whatever PB I end up using. :)

    My ideal solution would be to have the SSD and guts of the 1.67 laptop inside the case of the 1.5 I just bought, but I am not familiar with all the physical variations/changes between G4 models. My main question is this - even if I use the 1.5 PB for *just* the case/outer shell, is that doable, or are there any minor differences that won't allow the 1.67GHz logic board and display to transfer over?

    Also, is it normal to not be able to boot the PBG4 if the main battery is dead/missing, but the charger is connected? I thought it would at least power on, but I also feel like I've read that if the PRAM battery is shot, it will not boot off of the charger alone. I am using an 85W generic adapter FWIW, and it powers on perfectly fine with a working battery, though I no longer have one.

    Any advice/help is greatly appreciated. I really wanted a 17" this time, but for $35 I couldn't pass this one up, even if I am just (hopefully) able to use the outer case/keyboard/etc. and nothing else.
     
  2. AphoticD, Jun 18, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018

    AphoticD macrumors 65816

    AphoticD

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    #2
    The display assembly should be an easy swap. You can theoretically drive either the high res 1440x960 or standard res 1280x854 15.2” LCD panels on any PowerBook G4 15” going right back to the first gen Titanium. From what I have seen, they all use the same LVDS input and CCFL power connector on the back of the panel.

    I am not 100% sure, but the top cover (with keyboard and trackpad) could be interchangeable between the SLSD and the DLSD. It’s worth a try at the very least as it is just one connector. I haven’t tested this idea though.

    The bottom case however might be a different story. The 1.5 SLSD and 1.67 DLSD have a very different internal design and I wouldn’t count on the logic board mounts lining up.
     
  3. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

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    #3
    I know the logicboard in the 17 is different from the standard def model (final version) and the DLSD HD version. I would not be surprised if it's different with the 15".

    But I've not really dealt much with the 15's so maybe someone else will know for sure.
     
  4. zackkmac thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    Good info so far. :) Totally forgot the 1.5 is SLSD and not DLSD so please excuse my first post. :D

    I thought I read it was a different layout internally but I guess I could open them both simultaneously and see. But they’re a lot of work even just opening one machine, so I am hoping to find out for sure in case I can avoid doing two total teardowns just to find out it doesn’t work.

    Worst case scenario I suppose I could just swap screens and SuperDrives and have a 1.5GHz DLSD HD...but that’s IF the new 1.5 works when I get it. Any other features the 1.67 would have that I’d still be missing? Or just the slightly faster processor?
     
  5. AphoticD, Jun 18, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018

    AphoticD macrumors 65816

    AphoticD

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    #5
    Compared to the iBooks and the 12" PowerBook G4 they are a breeze to get into :)

    Definitely no harm in having them side by side, picking and choosing the best looking parts and then testing them out.

    The only major differences between the two are the VRAM. The 1.5Ghz model will have the 64MB Mobility Radeon 9700 whereas the DLSD unit will have the 128MB version of the same GPU. I've seen ATIccelerator II report different GPU clock and memory speeds between the DLSD and SLSD models.. It's only slight however...

    ATIRadeon-Cards9700.png
    I prepared this graphic months ago as a comparison between stock frequency of the two same model cards. I've just booted up my PowerBook G4 15" 1.5Ghz A1106 (64MB VRAM) to confirm that it operates at the same frequency as the 17" SLSD.

    Of course, ATIccelerator II will allow you adjust the frequencies anyway, so you're hardly missing out. I believe the reason why the stock frequency was adjusted is due to an improved thermal design in the DLSD, which was designed to accommodate the next generation revision of the G4 series; The elusive 7448. But that never eventuated...
     
  6. pl1984 macrumors 65816

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    #6
    My experience with booting a 17" PowerBook G4 (1.5GHz model) was that it would boot fine without the main battery and a dead PRAM battery. Unfortunately mine required me to reset the PMU if I went to power it on after having just shut it down (or rebooted it). If it was off for a day it would boot without having to do so. So, at least in my situation, there wasn't a dependency on having a main battery nor a charged PRAM battery.
     
  7. z970mp macrumors 6502a

    z970mp

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    #7
    Random question, think there's any Nvidia accelerators?
     
  8. AphoticD macrumors 65816

    AphoticD

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    #8
    Not that I am aware of... Don't cook your 12" PowerBook! :eek:
     
  9. z970mp macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Goodness, no! With that kind of user dedication to thermal management? If the card was just a little stronger in nature, I'd tune it DOWN.
     
  10. zackkmac thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    Yes, I just disassembled my 12" iBook G4 and that was something I hope to never have to do again lol, or at least for a long time! Good to know the differences aren't anymore than slight. I'm assuming that in today's world, the 64MB difference won't actually be noticeable.

    I did look at pics of the 2 logic boards using eBay, and they're the same shape, but some of the mounting holes are in different places, but I'd say 60-70% are the same, so maybe it'll fit fine but just not be secured down 100%? I'd think the several screws that do fit would hold it down fine. It seems worth a shot.

    Ah okay, thanks for sharing. A PMU reset doesn't help me in my case but this leaves me wondering why my 15" refuses to boot unless the battery holds some sort of charge.
     
  11. AphoticD macrumors 65816

    AphoticD

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    #11
    Could be a faulty DC-in board. The DC-in is combined with the audio I/O, modem and USB port on the left. It’s often called the “DC/Sound Card”. It might be worth sourcing a replacement.
     
  12. weckart macrumors 601

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    #12
    Keyboard and top layer of the A1138 and A1139 are unique and not interchangeable with earlier iterations. The connector to the logic board is slightly different in its wiring. I replaced mine because of dead keys that couldn't be fixed by cleaning the membrane after a spill. I recovered all but the backspace and I couldn't live with that not working.
     
  13. zackkmac, Jun 20, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018

    zackkmac thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    Thanks again for the tips so far. The new PowerBook has arrived! I cannot believe how good of a condition this one is in, aside from two minor dings in the top lid and just a bit of very light scuffing on the bottom case, it's perfect. No dents along the sides at all whatsoever.

    On an even better note, I plugged it in, watched the charger go from green to amber, and the battery LED began blinking...so I crossed my fingers and pressed the power button and it fired right up! The best part is, it turns out that this one is a 1.67GHz SLSD instead of the 1.5GHz it was listed as! And, the battery seems to be an OEM/genuine one, yet is only at 109 cycles.

    Due to the top case differences weckart just shared, I decided I will only be attempting a display swap at most. So, would it be easier to swap the entire display assembly, or just the LCD panel itself? Both look equally involved on iFixit. Are there any shortcuts at all that might make it an easier/quicker job compared to the iFixit way? Only asking because I myself have found ways to speed up things like logic board swaps on the newer Macs, but again, I'm not experienced at all with PowerPCs really. But on that note, is the "pea" method recommendable when reapplying thermal paste to these?

    I'm also getting ready to buy RAM since it is sitting at 512MB - is PC2700 the best fit or does another, faster type work? I know the DLSD uses a different kind which doesn't fit, but wasn't sure if there's other types that will.
     
  14. AphoticD macrumors 65816

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    #14
    Great score! It sure is nice to get little surprises like that. In my experience, most people don’t know much about what they are selling.

    The Airport and Bluetooth antenna cables have different connectors on the logic board/Airport Card end, so the best option really is to just remove the back of the display and swap the LCD Panel out. You can then use the non-dented display rear/top cover.

    I think last time I checked the steps on IFixit, they showed full disassembly, removing the keyboard/top case and display hinges just to change out the LCD Panel, but it’s not necessary at all.

    On the other hand, if you’re changing the thermal paste then you will tear it down completely anyway, so it’s up to you how you go about it.

    I have been using much less than a pea size of paste. Normally about a grain of rice sized dollop, which I evenly spread across the IHS/die - just wrap your index finger in some cling wrap and push it around or use a little plastic spatula.

    The Mobility 9700 GPU however has 5 heat contact points in the shape of an X. Apple’s service manual describes using a thick X of paste to almost engulf the GPU memory chips in paste, but on each unit I’ve done I just go for a rice grain sized portion on each contact.

    Maybe the ceramic paste they used from the factory really needed to be thickly lathered on, but I’ve only ever seen thermal improvements with taking the more economic approach.

    PC2700 SO-DIMMs are the type you’re after. 2x 1GB will max it out.
     
  15. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

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    #15
    I would suggest swapping the entire display.

    All of the Aluminum Powerbooks have lids on the back of the display. Inside, around the edges of those lids are a series of small hooks that slide into locks in the display frame. This keeps the lid secure on the back of the display.

    Some people are really good at getting those hooks to disengage and then rengage while swapping just the LCD. But I have never been that good. It's a seriously devilish contraption that just wound up as a very big mess for me.

    Save yourself the frustration and the cuts on your hands and just swap the entire display.
     
  16. zackkmac thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    Okay, so rice grain-sized replacements it is! I will give that a shot and see how it goes.

    And will definitely be bumping it to 2GB since it’s only about $10 and it’s getting an SSD in a few days anyways. :)

    It was definitely a great find. I am super happy with it and the battery holds a great charge for its age due to the low cycle count. I installed Leopard on it last night just for fun (since the SSD is due any day now) on battery only, it went from 80% to about 50% start to finish, if I remember right.

    Kind of seems to me like someone used it very lightly when new and put it away for a long time, and it’s just now getting used again. It still has some downloads like “Apple PowerBook Battery Update” and what not.

    This is great to know. I think based on this and AphoticD’s opinion that if I’m tearing it down for thermal paste anyways, I’m gonna go ahead and just try a full assembly swap. But with the AirPort/Bluetooth card connection differences, do I overcome this by swapping out the cards between my DLSD and SLSD?
     
  17. AphoticD macrumors 65816

    AphoticD

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    #17
    Unfortunately no, the Airport cards aren’t interchangeable between the two models.

    I understand what @eyoungren is saying about the clips. They can be stiff. Use two plastic spudgers, pry in at the base near the hinge to separate away from the front bezel, then work your way around the sides with the 2nd tool. With a bit of leverage the clips along the sides should just pop out. Once you’ve got the sides free, slide the entire cover up toward the top of the display to clear the top clips and it should then lift clean off.

    Just remember the grey plastic trim is glued into the back cover you are removing so don’t separate those two pieces with the spudgers.
     
  18. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

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    #18
    I ended up ripping the strip of those hooks (clips) off the back of the lid. Not even super glue would keep the strips attached after that. One giant mess when I put the lid back on.

    Also had to clean the blood up off the back of the cover. Getting sliced by those is like getting sliced by an X-Acto.
     
  19. AphoticD macrumors 65816

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    #19
    Sometimes these old Macs bite back! :eek:
     
  20. z970mp macrumors 6502a

    z970mp

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    #20
    Zack, your descriptions make me green with envy.

    Great find. You're very lucky.
     
  21. zackkmac thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    I practiced the LCD removal and reassembly (minus going into the logic board area and removing the LVDS cable) and...I’ll probably keep the display standard res on this one. So much work and as delicate as I tried to be my spudger still left tiny nicks on the bezel.

    As cheap as I got this one, I’ll probably just look around for a dead HR-DLSD one and swap cases later. Plus, I forgot, this HR screen I have has a few light spots anyways.

    Now just waiting on the RAM and SSD to come in. I also thought about maybe trying a wireless-N USB dongle. Are there any for PPC Macs that are small?

    And for when I’ve got it open later, are there any other mods/tweaks/upgrades I should consider?
     
  22. VanneDC macrumors 6502a

    VanneDC

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    #22

    Is there any chance you could host the ATIccelerator II files, as no doubt , it will probably disappear into the nether soon.
     
  23. AphoticD macrumors 65816

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    #23
    Here you go - ATIccelerator II 1.0.6b.dmg.zip
     

    Attached Files:

  24. VanneDC macrumors 6502a

    VanneDC

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    #24
    Cheers mate appreciate it, as will the ati X850 in my 2.7 PMG5 >;)
     
  25. dbdjre0143 macrumors regular

    dbdjre0143

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    #25
    Forgive me if this is a dumb question. ;) With my DLSD PB, do you know if there is any hope of using that to squeeze a bit more graphical umph from it, or would I just be running the risk of overheating with any increase?
     

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