Mar 27

G4 ibook motherboard fault.

There is a problem with the logic board in the Macintosh G4 ibooks. It can appear after a year or more in some machines and the symptom is that after being on for a few minutes, the screen goes black (it looks blank, but the light has gone off) , the fan turns on, and the computer freezes. You might think it is a problem with the display but it’s actually a problem with one of the chips on the main motherboard. This article describes the problem and how to repair it.


What models are affected?

I conducted a survey (thanks to over 300 readers who participated!) to see which model g4 ibook had the problem.  The results are here and it appears that every  iBook model can develop the blank display problem.

Thankfully the Aluminium power books don’t have the problem. In fact the powerbooks from this era are a great design, the 15 inch Aluminium G4 powerbook is one of my all time favourite macs – I still have one.

The original 2003 ibook G4’s (800/933/1Ghz) have the fault.

The “Early 2004″ (1Ghz) models up until Oct 2004 have the same motherboard.

The 60G (1.2Ghz) “Early 2004″ model and all the “Late 2004″ model ibooks (1.2Ghz/1.33Ghz) and Mid 2005 (1.33 and 1.42Ghz) have  different logic board (built in airport extreme)-  but they still have the fault – even models with the new logic boards are affected!

What is the fault?

One of the chips heats up and cools down each time the computer is turned on and off, so that eventually a small stress crack appears on one of the pins. When the computer heats up and parts expand, the crack opens up and the power does not get through. This means the display goes blank and the computer freezes. If you press the plastic case of the ibook in just the right place, it can put enough pressure on the chip so that the pin makes contact and the computer will power up again. In fact, here’s a crude DIY repair method involving a shim where you open the laptop and put a piece of rubber on top of the chip to press it down:  http://coreyarnold.org/ibook/?p=20

 

 

Here is another DIY solution is that involves clamping a g-clamp onto your iBook – I would not recommend this one it will place all sorts of physical stresses on the iBook internals!

http://johnbakersblog.co.uk/design-fault-in-apples-ibook-g4/

 

 

Here is a photo of the fault developing. (from here: ENGF959-orig). You can see the thin black line running below the lead which is a crack in the solder.

Picture 1.jpg
I rang Apple and they don’t acknowledge that the problem exists. They have officially ‘never heard of it’.

The repair!

You need a fine tipped soldering iron to heat up the top few pins of the chip one by one and resolder them to the logic board. Press the chip down while you apply a very clean and fine soldering iron tip to each pin.

Don’t attempt this one unless you have had some soldering experience – or you are ready to say goodbye to your G4 ibook if something goes wrong!
Here are some pictures:

Computer with bottom case off

The G4 ibook with the bottom case off. The offending chip is circled.

ibook with bottom case off

Closeup of chip

Here is a closeup of where I have soldered the legs of the chip. You can see the base of the top pins are shinier and a little fatter from the new soldering. I soldered the top 3 or 4 pins on each side, but it’s only the top 2 pins that the fault occurs with as they are the main power pins. I applied a little more solder to the joint as well, that’s why it looks a bit lumpy.

TYou don’t need to apply any new solder to the chip. Just apple some solder to your soldering iron to clean it. Then wipe the iron clean on a rag. Then gently touch the iron to the legs of the chip for about 3 seconds each leg to melt the solder down onto the joints again.

Here is a close-up of the chip you are soldering.  Solder the end with the little circle on it. Solder the top 2 legs on each side.

 

 

STOPPING THE FAULT FRM OCCURRING

As pointed out in the discussions below, once your ibook is fixed,  or if your G4 iBook has not yet developed the fault, you might want to take out $10 worth of insurance by buying this little app.

It turns your fans on earlier and lowers the internal temp of you ibook. You can set the temperature lower so that your fan turns on a little sooner to keep the iBook cooler.

If you repair your iBook be sure go make a post below. So far there have been lots of successes and no failures at all!

147 Responses to “How to fix a broken G4 iBook logic board problem”

  1. Eric says:

    Awesome!

    Thank you for sharing on how to fix broken G4 iBook logic board.. really helpful..

  2. Ember says:

    on test for a few hours now and all working! YAY!

  3. Onno says:

    Brilliant!!!

  4. bill says:

    I used the electrical tape trick and it is now working after setting under the bed for two years, now I have a great
    garage computer. thanks guys

  5. javier says:

    god bless people like you tankyou so much

  6. thanks for the guide :D
    really helped me a lot
    nice post dude :)

  7. Thanks!!!! it’s really usefull for me!

  8. Thank you for sharing. This is very helpful :D

  9. this was great
    this help me so much
    big thanks

  10. bill says:

    i used a piece of plastic that broke off of the case and taped it to the chip, screwed the case down tight and it worked for a while, i think i will try the soldering next. How hot should i get the iron, it has adjustable controls.

    thanks

  11. julien says:

    thanks a lot ! i’ve just repaired an old 14″ powerbook thanks to
    you :) <3

  12. Trudi Gothe says:

    This may not be the best place to ask but, I have been looking for a place to bring my Mac for servicing. Has anyone ever heard of this mac repair service? They’re right in West Los Angeles, which is not too far from my home. It’s called – Mac Repair Los Angeles, 11322 Santa Monica Blvd, Ste B Los Angeles, CA 90025 (310) 966-9099.

  13. Emeo says:

    Yes, I just performed the soldering minutes ago and it WORKED on my iBook G4 11″ 1.3 ghz. A week ago I had black & white stripes all over the screen BUT now is fixed. : )

    However it is already my 2nd attempt. My 1st attempt was 2 years ago on my iBook G4 14″ 900mhz. I did tried to put extra solder on the pin and like people mentioned above, I messed up the pins.

    So my advice would be to first put flux on those pins that you are going to solder. Then NO NEED to put extra solder. Just press the solder tip onto the pins and let it melt the existing solder on the pins. If done successfully, the solder on the pins will become shinier.

    My equipment: Aoyou digital solder
    Temperature: 450 Degree

    Good luck!

  14. Saskia says:

    Hi! My iBook G4 freezees right when I turn it on. I get the spinning wheel but it never fully starts. Any solutions???

    Thanks
    thanks
    thanks
    Did I say Thanks?
    Thanks

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