Powerbook G4 [Screen Issue Fixed, Need Help With Airport!]

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Ryuukumori, Oct 8, 2008.

  1. Ryuukumori macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2008
    Alright everyone. Been a while since I've posted here.

    So tomorrow I'm going to be getting a Powerbook G4 from a friend. He says there are two problems with it.

    1. The Graphics. I haven't seen it personally, but he says every time the laptop starts up, the display has a bunch of parallel vertical lines running down it. Is this a hardware issue, and is it easy to replace? Or can an update fix it? I wonder because isn't the integrated graphics mounted on the logic board?

    2. The WiFi Card. I remember the day he got it, we both say the WiFi worked like a charm. One day, it pooped out on us. Now, the only way for internet is by ethernet. Did something possibly unhook from it, or is it a bad card? Once again, a possible update for it?

    I won't know for certain until I get this laptop tomorrow. I will post updates when I can physically check it out.

    For now, any posts welcome for your help.

    Also, this laptop is an older one, so no warranty or AppleCare on it. It is also running Leopard, but I doubt it is updated to the latest.
  2. nsbio macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2006
    Re the display: if the lines stay always and with the same pattern, then it is a display issue; if they are random or appear at random times, then it is the graphics card. In any event, it is too difficult and costly to replace to be worth it. In case of the former, you might find a use of your PB as a stationary machine once you hook it to an external monitor.

    Re: wireless card. If you happen to have a spare airport extreme card (or regular airport if it is an older, Titanium Powerbook), then you could try replacing it (see ifixit.com guides for instructions). If not, you can pick up one of those PC card WIFI things if you really need the wireless.

    Overall, unless you are getting the machine for free, or for a sixpack at the most, it does not appear to be worth it.
  3. Ryuukumori thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2008
    I'll be getting this for free.

    And I really think it is a graphics hardware issue. How exactly is the graphics card mounted on the Logic Board?

    And did the WiFi card just stop working? I can't imagine how it can simply do that in such short notice.

    The external idea sounds good, but would that also be affected by the display error? Would a normal CRT monitor work too?
  4. nsbio macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2006
    If you are getting it for free, then it is definitely a good deal.

    For the graphics card, it is impossible to replace just the graphics chip on these things - the only way to fix it would be to replace the logic board. This is not the easiest procedure to do, plus those logic boards are still very expensive to buy, which makes the whole thing not worth it unless you want to learn a new skill of working in the guts of Apple laptops.

    External display will fix the issue if the current graphics issue is caused by a bad display or bad inverter cable. External display will not fix the issue if the issue is due to a bad graphics chip. To check that, borrow somebody's monitor for a few minutes and hook it up to the Powerbook. (CRT or LCD is fine). Depending on the model of the Powerbook and the monitor, you might need an adapter to be able to connect your Powerbook to the monitor.

    Regarding the sudden "death" of airport card, all electronics die suddenly when they do :). However, sometimes the "deaths" are caused by loosened connections, which can be revived by resetting the airport card (a moderately difficult procedure on Aluminum powerbooks, described at ifixit).

    Also, one should not discount a possibility of the airport failure caused by a software, rather than hardware, glitch. Troubleshooting steps to be taken include: checking whether the airport card is seen by the system profiler at all; updating your OS to the latest; repairing permissions; logging in as a different user; running a diagnostic utility such as Techtool that comes with Applecare; resetting the PMU.
  5. Ryuukumori thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2008
    Wow, great help here! Thanks a bunch bro.

    I will be checking out all this tomorrow, and hopefully try your ideas first as far as system diagnostics, updates, etc,, and if they will make any improvement. I will keep this thread open to further suggestions as I investigate this notebook tomorrow. I'll update it with information as well. That means pictures, evidence, etc.

    I hope to get this thing working. If there's a will, there's a way!
  6. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    First, is it a Titanium or an Aluminum?

    The Tibooks would get lines in the screen sometimes if there was some undue pressure on the hinges.

    Might be very easily fixable.

    But tell us the specs first.
  7. Ryuukumori thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2008
    Okay, this morning I am going to pick it up. Will be home at around 3 PM PDT.

    I know that for a fact, this G4 is aluminum, because by pictures shown on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PowerBook_G4#Models, the laptop is exactly like the aluminum, with silver keys, not the black. The specs I know of by memory is a rather large hard drive (for the typical G4), 1.5 GHZ processor, and 1.25 GB RAM.
  8. Ryuukumori thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2008

    I just got a chance at using the laptop. So far, it is different than what I expected. I was even surprised at what I discovered.

    I started it up on the power cable, and no display issues formed. My friend then opened up World of Warcraft, and then the display went bonkers. Here are two pictures I shot just minutes ago.



    So the display error looks much like a chain-link design. I was surprised I got a clean display just a minute before we tried opening up WoW and then it went crazy.

    The WiFi, I haven't tried for sure, because it is very difficult to navigate through a mess of the display.

    Also the chain-link design seems to flicker sometimes. Not sure if this is the graphics or simply the screen.

    Help greatly appreciated.

    I managed to try rebooting the laptop without the cable plugged in, and I managed to get a mostly clean display. I have a picture to show what I mean. Soon enough, the chain link design appears and begins to flicker. I have a video of this too. Note this does not matter if the cable is plugged or unplugged.

    Mostly clean display.



    I just plugged in a CRT external display to it, and the chain link design is also seen there. Looks like a graphics issue. Any ideas?

    No Apple Care or warranty. Maybe I could open it up and remount the logic board and graphics?

    Yeah! Good News, another Update!
    Looks like I solved the problem with the flickering screen. I basically plugged in the external display and set another display profile. A bit complicated, I guess, but at least it's not doing it anymore!

    Now the final problem is the WiFi. How do I enable it to work? I try going into network settings, and the "Turn Airport On" is grayed out. When I go to diagnostics, it simply does not recognize my visible WiFi signal at all on this notebook, even though it does to every other WiFi device/ computer in my house.

    Also, it seems as thought the backlight of the keys does not seem to work, even when I enable it in settings. I try enabling it and increasing backlight key brightness, and nothing. Any last help would be sweet! Thanks guys.
  9. Ryuukumori thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2008
    Any ideas?

    One major problem, two minor ones.

    1. AirPort Card is not being recognized. Any good way on how to fix it?

    2. Backlit keys aren't illuminating. Any idea why? I try setting this in system preferences and trying to increase key brightness with nothing.

    3. Internet seems to run slow. Is it simply my router, or is there a way to boost internet speed and performance? Seems to be more distinguishable on Firefox than Safari, but both seem to run slow when opening new web pages.

    Please help with the last of these problems!
  10. Ryuukumori thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2008
  11. Ryuukumori thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2008
    Need help remounting AirPort Card in Powerbook G4.

    Recently, the AirPort Card in my G4 Powerbook is not being recognized. I know for sure I have to open up the Powerbook and remount it.

    I am using this guide to try opening it up. Is this the right way?

    I am uncertain. I do not want to damage any latches or whatnot when taking it apart. Has this been done by anyone before? And can you ensure taking the AirPort card out and mounting it back in would recognize it?

    You think there might be a way to access the AirPort without taking apart the notebook?
    Do you also think repairing disk permissions might work? Thanks.
  12. Ryuukumori thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2008
    Powerbook G4 "AirPort Card not Installed" Solution Idea... Problem.

    I believe I have pinpointed the exact problem of why my airport card is not recognized. I am following this discussion on the Apple website.


    Since I updated the computer to the latest Leopard software, it is causing a problem with the AirPort recognition. In system files, the "AppleAirPort2.kex" file is not there. So I have to install the Keychain and Login 1.0 Update, then the new key will be there, so I can delete it, restart my computer, and get the AirPort working.

    I just downloaded the Keychain and Login 1.0 Update, but run into a problem when going to install it. This is what I get.

    "You cannot install Login & Keychain Update on this volume. This volume does not meet the requirements for this update."

    Here's a picture.

    What is the meaning behind this? Any way I can find a solution to this?

    Once I can bypass this error and install it, I can finally delete the AppleAirPort2.kex file and be able to get my AirPort card to recognize.

    Serious help wanted. I'm not getting any extra feedback help. Thank you.
  13. Ryuukumori thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2008
  14. nsbio macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2006
    Instead of troubleshooting that particular issue, maybe it is better to do a completely clean install of Leopard? (You would need to backup any personal data and applications that you own first). The OS installation takes less than two hours on PB G4, plus some time for bringing Leopard up to date with updates.

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