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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

iBook - iBook G4 display/fan/hardware issue


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charolastra

 
Member Since: Jun 12, 2008
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hello,

i have a seemingly complicated issue here that may take a minute to explain. thanks to anyone that reads this and extra thanks to anyone that replies.

a friend of mine recently gave me a 12" 1 ghz ibook g4 with 256 MB of RAM. the catch was that this ibook had a "broken display". he said that it stopped working about a year ago and after that, he more or less never turned it back on.

i hooked it up to an external monitor and everything else seemed to be functioning well with the computer. i connected it to the internet via a wireless connection and downloaded and installed os x 10.4.11. i also downloaded and successfully installed updates for itunes, java, and quicktime.

everything seemed to be working very well. i updated firefox and was using the internet for a couple of days and using itunes to play music. like i said, everything was working well.

Then one night last week, i subscribed to a few podcasts and downloaded a few videos. i also downloaded an installation file for drupal. when i tried to open the installation file, the computer froze. i had to power it down. when i booted it back up, it froze at the login screen. i powered it down again and waited a minute. when i started it again, i was able to get to the desktop successfully. when i got to the desktop, i deleted the temp file on the desktop that had been created by trying to unzip/install drupal. this is when it gets weird.

when i deleted that file, the fan kicked on and the display on the ibook itself turned on (presumably for the first time in over a year). the computer froze and i had to power it down. i left it alone for a half hour or so and booted it back up. the display was still working and everything else seemed to be working fine. i checked my email, was surfing the web, etc. and everything seemed fine. then, i watched a few quicktime videos (maybe about 25 minutes worth) and the computer froze again.

again, i had to power it down. after letting it sit for about twenty minutes, i powered it up again, watched about a half hour of video, and it froze again. When it freezes, the hard drive makes an ugly sound.

After a little bit of research and experimentation, I figured out that when the computer was “frozen” as I had previously thought, I could more or less pick up the front of the laptop and pivot it on the hinge. This would almost instantaneously fix the issue. the computer would continue processing and continue on.

The display is still working. I've closed the screen and opened it many times and the display is still working with no visible issues.

thinking about the issue, i imagine that it's possible that the computer is overheating. the fan only comes on for a second when the machine boots up. other than that, the only time i have heard it is the one time when the machine froze and the display came back on.

is this normal fan behavior? the computer doesn't seem too hot. it's definitely not as hot as macbooks get. but still, watching videos, etc. i would imagine that the fan would at least come on once in a while.

are the fan and display connected in any way? anyone have any troubleshooting advice? Am I totally off base? Does the “tilt” fix indicate anything to anyone out there?

I just installed 1 GB of RAM to bring the total up to 1.24 GB. I don’t think that’s going to affect the situation but we’ll see. Thanks a lot! Any help would be seriously appreciated! As a note, I am new to macs. Also, i'm up for taking anything apart. i got this free to see if i could get it to work so i can't really lose.

thanks again!
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charolastra

 
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as expected, this issue still exists with the increased RAM. also, the "tilt" fix only works for a little while. it seems that after a certain amount of time, the "tilt" is no longer effective and the computer has to be powered down and it has to cool. anyone?
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fletch33

 
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i have one of those exact same macs and the problem is the logic board solder. this is a very very very popular problem and apple extended a service fix for this well beyond the normal time of apple care but that time for apple extension has past as well.

basically your problem is that the solder under the logic board was not done properly and you will get an occasional screen and then it will go out when you move it or come on when you move it. the fan sound is what you get when you try and fire it up or when it looses the proper connection and has nothing to do with any software you installed or how much or what kind of memory you put in it.

the cost to actually replace this is more than the mac is worth and i spent a long time trying to figure out what to do with mine because i wanted it to work but didnt want to put any money into it.

so....

i realize this is going to sound a little crazy but it worked for me and i also fixed another friends this way as well.

my thoughts before i tell you what i did is that i didnt want to spend to the money it wasnt worth to actually replace the problem and i have another mac so if it worked great and if it didnt well then that sucks but i gave it a shot.

1.you basically need to take apart the ibook which you can get the easy to follow directions here. follow this until frame 30 because you are not going to need to take the top off or at least i didnt.

2. you will be looking for the problem chip on the underneath of the ibook



it is the chip covered with the yellow foam. you will need to scrape off the yellow foam and plastic around it and you will see the ATI card



3. that card is problem and if you exam it you can see that it is soldered to the board from the underside of it. that solder has gone bad

4. ok now we are getting to the fun part and if you read around the web you will here different solutions ranging from sending it off (we discussed the price problem already) to actually using alcohol and starting a fire on top of it inside something like a votive candle. you can actually watch a video of that here but i was not brave enough to try that for many reasons including not having a fire extinguisher handy

5. make sure you have the keyboard and memory removed as well as the airport card if yo have one.

6. open the ibook up at the end of a table so that the bottom with the problem chip is facing up and the screen is off the table and no longer under the ibook. (hope that makes sense)

7. wrap the entire ibook that is on the table in aluminum foil with 5 layers of foil cutting out the are to only expose the ATI chip

8. go to your local cheapy store like big lots and buy a $10 heat gun

9. put the heat gun on low about 12 inches away from the ATI card and slowly start to bring it closer to the ATI card in a circular motion so that you are sure to get the heat to go under the chip as well as hitting the top of it.

10. i was at first very nervous about how much heat it could take and i actually started with not much and it worked and i put it back together only to find it eventually went bad again and i had to do it all over again.

11. so that being said the lat time i had to do this i started 12 inches away and slowly over like 5 minutes brought it to within almost touching distance of the chip while going around it in circles being sure to get the solder underneath it and the top and i would hang out with the gun this close hwhile doing circles etc... for about :30 secs and then come up to about an inch or 2 away and then back down again and i did that over and over for about 5 minutes.

12. it is going to get really hot so dont panic, just remember to start far away and come down slowly and then when you have completed the whole process above take your time bringing the gun away allowing it to have the heat removed slowly from the chip.

13. DO NOT touch anything or move it for at least 45 minutes allowing it to cool.

14. you can plug it in and test that it worked and it fires up and if it does great put it back together and if it doesnt try again.

i just wanted to add that when i got around to doing this the second time i didnt hesitate to heat it up like i mentioned above until it almost scared me and it worked the first time.

i did this to my ibook more than 6 months ago and it has worked perfect ever since and so has my friends.

hope that helps

good luck
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charolastra

 
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Hello,

Thanks for your response Fletch. I have read about the logic board issue at length. I bought a soldering iron and was going to do what you suggested. However, I reconsidered because the symptoms described by people with the logic board issue are somewhat different than what I’m seeing. Did your ibook have the same type of symptoms that mine is having?

Thanks
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fletch33

 
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my money says its still the logic board.

well you can test the theory by following the take apart directions until you get to the uncovering of the bottom panel. dont worry about putting the battery back but put back the memory and the airport card and fire it up while putting pressure on the ATI card.

be sure to keep good pressure on the card and see if it has problems then. i did this same test and thats i how i made sure thats what it was.

when i kept good constant pressure on the card i was able to open and close the lid and never had any problems.

ooh i also dont think that you can fix it with the soldering iron. when you get in there and look at it you will see that you wont be able to get to the solder and you could also take a chance of melting a couple of solders together which would be bad. the heat gun softens them enough to melt back together properly.
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fletch33

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charolastra View Post
After a little bit of research and experimentation, I figured out that when the computer was “frozen” as I had previously thought, I could more or less pick up the front of the laptop and pivot it on the hinge. This would almost instantaneously fix the issue. the computer would continue processing and continue on.

The display is still working. I've closed the screen and opened it many times and the display is still working with no visible issues.

thinking about the issue, i imagine that it's possible that the computer is overheating. the fan only comes on for a second when the machine boots up. other than that, the only time i have heard it is the one time when the machine froze and the display came back on.
just like mine was. the hinge seemed to be the problem to me as well. i could open and close it many times as well and then suddenly it would stop.

the fan is coming on because of the logic board problem then it seems to be ok or the mac connects through the faulty solders and the fan will stop.

this is all exactly what i had the fan would be loud every time i had the problem and would be fine when i didnt.
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charolastra

 
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for the record, the fan does not come on when the computer is "freezing". i will probably try the logic board fix in the next couple days. there are a lot of resources out there that detail the fix using a soldering iron. i don't know. maybe i'll try the heat gun. thanks.
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fletch33

 
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good luck and let me know if thats what it was.
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charolastra

 
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hey Fletch, i think that you may be incorrect here. after further research, it does seem possible that the logic board is at fault. (initially, my system date kept reverting to 1969). however, i believe the correct approach for my particular issue is actually detailed here:

http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/tips/iBoo...eg_repair.html

notice, that this is a different chip than you had pointed out. i believe the fix that you are recommending is more often related to the ibook g3 video card, as shown in the following link:

http://geektechnique.org/projectlab/...c-board-repair

please let me know what you think if you have the chance.
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charolastra

 
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after thinking about this more, i think the logic board thing is the wrong approach here. my new theory is that it's a failing hard drive. would anyone agree with that? the ugly noises made on the left side of the key board happen when the computer starts to freeze. if i alter the position of the computer momentarily, i can make it work. after doing this for a little while however, the computer freezes. anyone?
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fletch33

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charolastra View Post
my new theory is that it's a failing hard drive.
1. throw in your Tiger DVD
2. boot from it and not your hard drive (put the tiger dvd in your mac and press and hold "C" during startup)
3. run disk utility from the tiger dvd to see if you have any errors

let us know the results.
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