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iBook disassembly - Third time's a charm

After having opened my iBook two times already, tonight was the third time. You see, it had a broken graphics chip on the main board that caused the backlight to go out. Getting this repaired would have meant they'd have to replace the entire motherboard ... which costs about half of what a G4 iBook cost back when I inquired about that in 2004.

The only way to get the backlight to work was to push against the bottom of the machine, in the lower left underneath the hand rest. Of course, you get a cramp if you do that too long, not to mention I'm a horrible one-handed typist. Then again, you can signal someone with the translucent Apple logo by pushing there...

Then one of the readers of my iBook disassembly blog posting mentioned a friend of his had just taped a piece of carton to the graphics chip, thus making the iBook's case do all the work of pushing the chip on the board. I admit that the correct way to fix this would probably be to take out the whole board and solder the chip back on, but since I only have a very old soldering iron that is way too hot to work on computers, and since getting at this particular chip's pins would require taking apart the entire iBook to take out the motherboard, I decided to do it anyway.

The carton on the iBook GPU

I've already described how to open the iBook, so apart from the first ever picture of the shish kebab stick I use nothing above should be new to you. I started out with a fairly thick piece of carton, but upon applying it, it became obvious that this was too much. Essentially, two layers are sufficient (that's probably 1.5mm or so). I took some tape (bonus points if its glue doesn't melt in heat) and taped it to the shielding. I hope I didn't totally ruin the heat dissipation, though ... anybody know a better material?

And after re-assembling it ... who would'a thunk: It worked! So... now the only thing I gotta figure out is where to get a new print server, SVN server, fax machine and AirPort repeater. Not to mention a computer my Mom can use to surf the web and do e-mail. Yeah, that's what the iBook was doing, attached to a second screen.

But you know what? Apple seems to be selling tons of PowerMacs at bargain prices these days, and who knows what the next Intel-Mac will be... and I can wait a little while longer...

Reader Comments: (RSS Feed)
Ruth Less writes:
Why didn't you think of that two years earlier! This solution was too easy! It does not count! I demand at least one paragraph about soldering! Punch holes in the carton for ventilation! Buy Mom a new screen, the old one is blurry! And don't touch my poor Mac LC, it's not a fax machine! Insert unhelpful witty comment here! :-)
Ari writes:
I had the exact same problem happen with the backlight. Be careful where you push. That graphics chip is right under the hard disk. When I was trying to get the backlight to work, I pushed down too hard and broke the hard drive. The hard drive will bend much easier than you'd think.
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Created: 2006-02-17 @031 Last change: 2014-07-31 @943 | Home | Admin | Edit
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