powerbook screen flicker problem

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by jerryheiss, Dec 14, 2003.

  1. jerryheiss macrumors newbie

    Dec 14, 2003
    I've had my G4 Powerbook for two years and two times in the past 6 months have experienced my screen "freak out" - whereas everything sort of scrambles and appears to have "interference" like a television would (only without the snow) almost like a TV when the antenna needs adjusting. Anyway when I re-booted it would be fine. Now today I'm getting very slight shimmers periodically flashing across the screen (I'd say once every 15-20 mins) I feel it's on the verge of something very BAD but I'm hoping it's a loose connection or ???....any body ever have this happen? Know what the problem could be?
  2. alex_ant macrumors 68020


    Feb 5, 2002
    All up in your bidness
    This was happening to me for a while too, on a rev B PowerBook while I was running Jaguar. It seemed to last from maybe April until Panther, although it was sporadic. I'm guessing your PB is a rev B and you are running Jaguar? Originally, for me, it seemed to be a random one-tiny-blip-every-20-minutes thing, and I suspected problems with the inverter board... which would have been a bitch to fix. But then I realized I could reproduce it when reloading a web page that had a certain Flash ad on it... and it only ever happened when I had a web browser open. (Camino/Chimera and/or Safari, I don't remember.) Also, it happened severely when I copied files over a Samba connection FROM (not to) a Windows PC - accompanied by some kind of terrible high-pitched squealing noise emanating from underneath the keyboard. Very bizarre.

    Well, I haven't noticed it again since upgrading to Panther. (Then again, I haven't used Samba since then) So... my guess is that at least it's not a hardware problem. Maybe Panther or 10.2.8, if you haven't upgraded to either of those yet, would help you out.
  3. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    bloody hell.... alex_ant.... good to see you back on the boards matey! ;) :)

    jerry does your problem look anything like this?? (I hope you've got AppleCare if it does) :(
  4. jerryheiss thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 14, 2003
    sorry not sure what a rev B is, but I experienced the "freak outs" I mentioned while running Jaguar and just installed Panther three days ago. So I've had the problem occur on both OS's, although the shimmering I'm experiencing today is slighter but more frequent.

    It's definitely only occured while my web browser has been open (Explorer) so that could certainly have something to do with it...just can't figure out what.
  5. jerryheiss thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 14, 2003
    IGAV yeah that's exactly the problem...maybe I should get applecare today.
    Do you know what the problem is?
  6. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    Rev A = 400 - 500Mhz G4
    Rev B = 550 - 667Mhz G4
    Rev C = 800 - 1GHz G4

    The problem I experienced on the screen grab above resulted in having the entire insides (save the HD, RAM and SuperDrive) and screen replaced on my 1GHz PowerBook.

    I did have a backlight flicker problem on my Rev A, that caused the bottom left hand side of my screen to very slightly flicker, and no pattern was ever established. This resulted in a new Logic board, that temporarily fixed my problem, but sooned returned.

    Have you tried resetting your PRAM and resetting your PowerBook PMU??
  7. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    okey dokey skip, I get you... it's not software, it's very much hardware sorry to say.

    Unfortunately to be the bearer of very bad news, if your PowerBook is 2 years old, and you don't have AppleCare, you won't be able to purchase it now, as you can only purchase AppleCare within the original 12 month warranty period.

    If you have house + contents insurance, you could see if they'll cover the cost of repairs for you, or if you purchased on a credit card, I understand that some of these offer automatic extended warranties when you purchase an elctrical item.

    So I understand, the problem can be related to either the Graphics card, logic board or in some cases, the wiring for the screen, which is routed on the left hand hinge (opposite side to the power up button) and this can get caught, and thus you get that interference.
  8. jerryheiss thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 14, 2003
    Do you know what the problem was that caused your flicker and resulted in replacing your screen, etc.?

    How do I reset my PRAM and PMU (what are they)?
  9. jerryheiss thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 14, 2003

    Did your screen crash completely when you had it replaced? (After you experienced the problem).

    Mine's still working. Could it be a fixable problem as far as you know (if taken care of now) or will it more than likely mean replacing the screen?
  10. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    Apple never told me what the problem was, they literally gutted the inside of my machine, and bolted on a new screen, and all seems fine now.

    Resetting your PRAM won't help if you've got the same symptoms, but if you want to try....


    if you want to reset your PowerBook, here's how.


    If you have the exact same screen problem (flicker) then it could be either the Logic board, iffy graphics card, or the screen wiring problem, what you need to do is get an Apple Tech to check it out and they'll give you an idea of what it could be. (will be one of the above though)

    Ring Apple though, and see what they suggest, I have heard of stories where in certain cases (on out of warranty machines) they've been amazingly helpful.

    Hope you manage to sort things out!

  11. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    I'd get the flickering on the screen, and they'd be no real pattern to it, regardless of how long it'd been on, or the ambient room temperature etc etc, it could occur from start up, or only occur after 10 hours use, when watching a DVD or when doing nothing. It's occur in OS9 as well if I booted in that.

    At first the flickering only occurred for seconds, then gradually the duration increased up to several minutes and that's when I acted, although the screen always functioned, just sometimes I'd have the flickering going on.

    It could be that it's not your screen, but your logic board, or it could be something to do with your graphics card, judging by comments on the Apple Discussion boards, no one seems to know exactly what the problem is, but it is a well known and documented problem I can assure you, hence why I think it could be worth your time talking to Apple about it, and then pointing them in the direction of their own Discussion boards, if they're not wanting to play ball.

    It's fixable obviously, but it could be very, very expensive (cost of a new iBook expensive).

    If you have it covered on your house insurance for 'Accidental' damage, it would be an 'unfortunate' accident if you happened to 'accidentally' drop it.... ;)
  12. epij macrumors newbie

    Mar 12, 2004

    i have exactly the same problem with my G4 titanium 1Ghz.
    and it was in applecare repair already, came back and some weeks later the same symptomes started again.

    i did not have any comments on the repair ticket, so i dont even know what they fixed, did or did not. however the symptomes are EXACTLY like iGAV describes them and its pretty driving me desperatly mad.

    the bizzar thing is, that i can "massage" the noise away by putting a very slight pressure on the bottom side of the powerbook at the region of the key "E". yes, that sounds sooooo bollocks i know, but it temporarily fixes it, and sometimes even for the rest of the day.
    i also have noticed that it certainly does something to do with heat.
    so my conclusion is some kind of "short circuit" malfunction on the board the the region of the "E"-key. would at least describe, that heat provokes the problem, and the slight pressure there "fixes the contact" back.
    however, the fact that i'm able to make it stop by pressing makes me really think that problem is mechanical nature!

    please mail or IM me at epij@jabber.org if someone finds a solution.
    its really annoying to get the noise while beeing within a live show :/

  13. preacherDave macrumors newbie

    Oct 12, 2004
    Tooo Bizarre

    I was searching for other information and came across this thread. I had the same problem and took my PB (Rev B Titanium) to the repair place and they could never reproduce the problem. Figures. It's been a long time since it happened, but it did reoccur just the other day. I always torqued on (gently twisted) the screen and/or the base of the laptop to fix it. Also, pressure to the bottom of the chassis seemed to help sometimes. Phew! I thought I was the only one in the world with this problem. Now Apple Care has long since run out, so I can only hope it remains as infrequent as it has in the past year. Thanks for the posts. Very helpful.
    Dave Kobliska
    Andover, MN USA

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