Powerbook screen distortion...please help me fix.

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Anonimuso, Jan 8, 2015.

  1. Anonimuso macrumors newbie

    Jan 8, 2015
    Hey all. This is my first post on this forum, because I haven't owned a Mac since 2009. I now have a Mac that was given to me by a family member that has a very specific problem that I hope someone will be able to help me fix.

    It's a 2004 Powerbook G4 (A1046). It turns on, and I hear the chime, but the whole screen is distorted. It's weird because the screen flickers to a normal light blue screen for a second when it changes from the boot screen (with the spinning wheel) to the login screen, but then it remains distorted and I can barely make out anything on the screen. The computer works otherwise.

    Here's a link to my Youtube video showing exactly what is happening http://youtu.be/Ce7bTYFKrdE (around 0:56 is where you can really see the distortion most clearly).

    I tried to see if it was a problem with the OS, but since I don't have an OS X install disc, I tried running a live CD of Linux (PowerPC version). I was able to run the live CD, but the distortion remained throughout. I also tried connecting it to my external monitor, but the same distortion appeared across both monitors.

    Any possible causes for this you guys can think of, or possible solutions, would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
  2. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    If the distortion happens when the Mac is plugged in to an external monitor, then I'm afraid, it's bad news. That indicates a bad video chip on the logicboard. The only fix for that is a new logicboard.

    If the picture was clear on an external monitor, then the problem would be the LCVD cable, which can be replaced or the entire LCD can (easier to do). The LCVD cable runs through the hinges of the Mac and over time it can get pinched and frayed and that causes this.

    But since it happens on an external monitor as well - I'm sorry there's no way to fix it short of a new logicboard.
  3. poiihy, Jan 8, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2015

    poiihy macrumors 68020


    Aug 22, 2014
    Because it happens on the external monitor too, It is most likely a bad GPU (soldering). I'm sure it is. You could try to bake the logic board (reflow), but other than that you can only replace it.
  4. MrPilot, Jan 8, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2015

    MrPilot macrumors 6502

    Apr 30, 2013
    It could be like you say, a broken GPU.
    My experience tells me it could be the GPU has lost a bit of the soldering on the logic board. Therefor, the easy solution is a reflow (oven bake). There are may youtube vidz on how to do this.

    to OP:
    check ifixit.com for instructions on opening up the powerbook
    you can also try bending a bit while starting up the computer, see if there is any change
  5. poiihy macrumors 68020


    Aug 22, 2014
    By "bad GPU" people almost ALWAYS refer to the soldering.
  6. Anonimuso thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 8, 2015

    Thanks for all the responses guys.

    I have a Macbook Pro that also has a GPU problem that I was going to try to reflow already. I didn't know that the Powerbooks also had the same problem with the solder. I guess I can do them one after the other then.

    Thanks for the suggestion. If I get either of them working, I will let you guys know.

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