PowerBook G4 won't wake up


macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 23, 2012
Stamford, CT
Last night I was attempting to downconvert an HD video file to SD using MPEG Streamclip. My poor old PB was obviously very taxed by this but it was moving along ok. I went to bed and left it to the task, plugged in to wall power.

This morning I looked over to find the power LED on the charger not lit and the sleep light on. I tried waking it up and tried performing a hard reset, neither of which worked.

I'm thinking maybe the DC board was blown somehow and since the machine was not charging, the battery slowly went down to nothing.

The machine was also running extremely hot and I half wondered if I fried it due to overuse.

If anyone has any thoughts I would appreciate the help. Thanks in advance.

I arrived home today to find the power light glowing amber and the machine off completely. I hit the power button and it fired right up. The only thing was that the date/time has reset due to the battery running out. Really at a loss to explain this whole thing.

Last edited:


macrumors 65816
Nov 2, 2013
Tacoma, Washington
I'm wondering if it didn't just majorly overheat, causing the graphics card to glitch out for a while. iBook G4s have been known to overheat causing damage to the graphics card, but still work usually, as long as the solder points are still relatively intact.


macrumors G5
Jul 29, 2011
Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
I don't think the G4's had the overheat protection circuit that newer Mac's now have built in. Sounds like yours overheated and damage possibly to the Logic Board has occurred...It's hard to run hardware diagnostics on such an old Mac though, but you might get Apple to take a look for free. They do often take a look for you.

At least you'd know what you're up against then.


macrumors 6502
Feb 6, 2014
It is just as likely that it powered off due to the thermal overload: You don;t need any magical circuit to cause this phenomenae; and overheating resistors, capacitors, and logic devices can cause a variety of problems, until they return to operating temperatures.

If you run a machine in such a way that it is overheating, you may wish to consider modifying it, by adding additional ventilation. I've seen my fair share of iBook, and Powerbook systems, with added cut-outs, and user-installed fans.

The iBook series, IMHO, is the most obnoxious in this regard: The buggers overheat constantly, as the plastic shell acts as thermal insulation, whereas the metal shell on a Powerbook acts as a (weak) thermal conductor. This, combined with the inefficient airflow design around the GPU tends to destroy G4 iBook systems from the 1Ghz spec, and above.

If you do not have diagnostic tools, youc an perform a series of routine tests without them. Do a small batch video job; save small, and large files locally, across a network, and via FireWire & USB; and finally perform video playback of a 30-minute or longer file. Note any anomalies.

These will give you an idea on whether your CPU, GPU, and SB/NB components are in any way affected.