Troubleshooting iBook.....the clues are here

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by cheeryble, Aug 31, 2009.

  1. cheeryble macrumors regular

    Feb 1, 2008
    Hi from Chiangmai

    I recently gave my girlfriend my old iBook making her very happy.
    I didn't want to pay $120 for a new charger, which is what they cost here in Thailand, but I found a 20v/3.5a charger for $4 and cannibalised the iBook plug to it.
    It worked just fine, not only ran the machine but charged the (surprisingly still OK) battery.
    Last week my girlfriend came and said it won't start up.
    I checked the buttons on the battery and the last one was flashing slowly.
    I asked how charged it was when she last closed down and she said like 97%.
    But now it was empty. (BTW I have done lots of troublshooting in other technical fields and have found that people's evidence is not reliable. It's possible she left it to sleep, and I have had my MAcbook restart itself and use up it's battery power quite often, don't know why.)
    I was told by people "Ah you've used an unregulated power supply you've fried the iBook" and similar stuff. I'm not quite so sure.

    However this is fact:
    My girlfriend at my suggestion went to the Chiangmai Apple shop last week. She says they couldn't get it going with their iBook charger.
    Last night I plugged in the iBook to a newly made up $4 charger. The battery lights flashed in a row three times, then went back to the "charging" flash of one light.
    I pressed the startup button, and the Apple starting sound happened, but the screen didn't light up.
    I listened and could hear the HD or something very much like it.
    This morning it seemd to be charged up with all lights coming on with the button press.I repeated my attempt to startup with the same results, Chime, sound inside, but no screen.

    I think this is an interesting one.

    What's my systematic course of action chaps?

    cheers Cheeryble
  2. gr8tfly macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2006
    ~119W 34N
    Try resetting the power manager. The procedure should be (from power off) to press control-option-shift-power.

    If that doesn't work, the next step is resetting the PRAM. Hold down cmd-opt-p-r while starting up. Continue holding them until you hear a second startup chime, then release.
  3. cheeryble thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 1, 2008
    thanks gr8fly

    I have actually looked up how to reset PMU after your prompt on and it says there is a reset pinhole on the side of the dual USB iBook so I guess I should use that as it says instead of the command-option-shift-power method.
    One thing I'm interested (I shan't be doing this until I go home in a few hours) is why they seem so insistent that this reset should only be done in a last resort.
    Any idea why?
    I notice they also say to remove the battery so I guess I better obey orders.

    THe method for PRAM is just as you say.
    Thanks again and stay tuned I shall do this later tonight or tomorrow morning Thai time.....oh and love to hear why reset is a last resort....

  4. cheeryble thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 1, 2008
    In fact gr8tfly I just got back to the iBook and there isn't a reset button as described for the dual I'd better follow your suggested way.
    OK to leave the battery in?
  5. gr8tfly macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2006
    ~119W 34N
    Not sure if this was the reference you used, but here's the list of PB and iBook methods: "

    For iBook (16 VRAM) and later models of iBook, there is no physical reset button.

    If the computer is on, turn it off.
    Reset the power manager by simultaneously pressing and then releasing Shift-Control-Option-Power on the keyboard. Do not press the fn (Function) key while using this combination of keystrokes.
    Wait 5 seconds.
    Press the Power button to restart the iBook computer. ​

    So, looks like you leave the battery in. Good luck! Hope this helps.
  6. cheeryble thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 1, 2008
    Thanx gr8tfly
    I did the two procedures last night but without success.....though it was very late and I was only half with it.
    As I didn't see to press the power button a second time after S-C-O-P I shall do that later.
    If that doesn't work (and I read that resetting the PRAM which I attempted also resets the PMU.....I even got the second chime sound) what would be the next step?

    cheers Cheeryble

    ps:I have a feeling that as the chimes happen, the HD sounds spinning, the battery charges etc, it's not a catastrophic failure. I don't see why I should expect a HD failure or screen failure at this time.
    I think a real clue may be the Apple shop plugging in their charger with no charging response, as well as me doing it with at first no reponse, but me next day getting one.
  7. cheeryble thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 1, 2008
    After a few busy days I just got back to the girlfirend's iBook.

    I once again tried resetting the power manager and PRAM but without any light up of the screen.
    Once again, I get the startup chime, can hear something like the HD.

    This evening I did a little more.
    I connected to an external screen, my TV.
    I did it with my Macbook first to mirrored the screen.
    Tried the iBook......"no video input" came up on the TV. This if course suggests it's not merely the iBook screen at fault, but something about video production.
    What's more I tried using the iBook keyboard for signs of reaction. Both the num lock and the caps lock lights came on. Perhaps more relevant was that the volume up and down buttons produced audio pip sounds one would expect when using the iBook and pressing them.
    Does this mean anything to anyone.
    What's the next step in troubleshooting?

    thanks Cheeryble
  8. NewMacbookPlz macrumors 68040


    Sep 28, 2008
    Any chance your makeshift "charger" fried the thing? :eek:
  9. cheeryble thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 1, 2008
    I mentioned this earlier.
    However what I'd like is suggestions of what to check next to find out if I can recoup the iBook or not.

    The fact that we have the chime start up, HD sound, HD wind-down sound on force quit, volume up/down pip sounds, and a charged up battery are all positive that a lot is actually working. I don't know how a sudden voltage surge would suddenly affect one particular thing like the video card or and I rather doubt it.
    Just need a sensible flow chart of checks really......

  10. 4JNA macrumors 68000


    Feb 8, 2006
    looking for trash files
    i think the charger is fine. i've seen several aftermarket chargers with replaceable tips that would be about the same as the homemade.

    my suggestion for a next step would be to have the ibook on a hard surface (table/counter) and press down as hard as possible with your thumb near the left edge of the space bar, just below on the edge of the white plastic case, then press the power on button. if this doesn't help or change the symptoms, hard power down, and move your thumb a bit to the left and repeat. might take a couple of trys to find the right spot, but i believe you might get it to boot this way. if it does boot, you can remove your thumb, and the ibook should freeze and require a hard power down.

    have several like this with symptoms that match your post. it is a failing graphics chip and/or cracking ASIC chip solder mount on the logic board and is a common failure on ibooks. best of luck.
  11. cheeryble thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 1, 2008
    Thankyou 4JNA

    funnily enough I did some research and did the "squeeze" last night before seeing your post. (I find a "squeeze" from above and below did the trick better.)
    It worked!
    What's more it stayed on for a restart. Then this morning it didn't work and I resqueezed, it's working again and restarted again.

    I'm obviously going to have to do something. I think I'll try the shim method. I read it's somewhat temporary or shall we say semi-permanent but it may just be that those who it works longer for don't bother reporting. May be that compressible shims like business cards or silicone pads lose their pressing-power after a while. One could use a solid shim, say metal, but best would be something a bit compressible but that won't indent over time.
    Having said all that it will be compressing against the case which itself has some give and springiness in it. I think maybe it might be better to put bigger solid shims in than most people (who use about 2inch square) to spread the load to the case effectively stiffening the case resistance a bit.

    Any thoughts greatly appreciated and thanx again 4J

  12. cheeryble thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 1, 2008
  13. cheeryble thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 1, 2008
    Well this morning I decided what to do. I had the bottom case off and the tin shield inside off.
    I decided to leave the heat conducting pad on the chip , that although a fingernail would compress it easily, a larger area might not compress, so leave it to do it's job if possible. I put the shield back. I could see where the chip had previously pressed through the shield onto the lower case. Here I put a square of double sided carpet tape. To this a pressed a 10 baht coin, (most of the size of the square). Then I simply replaced the bottom case.

    So far it works!


    ps: I recommend putting little bits of double-sided tape onto a sheet of paper and keeping the screws and bits stuck to them. A piece of tape for each step. Details can be labelled or drawn next to each piece on the paper. video chip fix/P9080008-1.jpg

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