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Portables (Apple) Businesses Apple Hardware

PowerBook Disassembly Guide 226

kwiens writes "We've been slaving away for months to create the FixIt Guide Series-- a set of Free-As-In-Beer step by step PowerBook disassembly instructions. Maybe waiting another 6-18 months for those PowerBook G5's will be easier if you fix your old PowerBook now (or just use the Guides as a starting point for that killer PowerBook case mod). Guides are up now for the PowerBook G3 Wallstreet, Lombard, Pismo and Titanium PowerBook G4 Mercury, Onyx, DVI."
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PowerBook Disassembly Guide

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  • Warranty? (Score:2, Informative)

    Will this void my warranty? I paid sooo much for my Powerbook, I'd like to keep the warranty intact.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Do you really have to ask?
    • Re:Warranty? (Score:5, Informative)

      by zenrandom ( 708587 ) * on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:46AM (#9106123) Journal
      Yes, it will void your warranty. Also if you shelled out the $300 for apple care it will void that. Doing anything besides a RAM upgrade, or possibly an airport/ap extreme card voids your warranty. These are the only consumer supported upgrades apple will support on the powerbook.
      • Re:Warranty? (Score:3, Informative)

        by caitsith01 ( 606117 )
        Good old Apple... 'yes you bought it, no you can't touch/open/look at it'.

        Actually, in many countries/states, you *are* allowed to open/touch your own computer. It won't necessarily void your hardware warranty - you should check up on local laws, which will most likely override any bullshit Apple feed you in their warranty 'agreement'.

        For example, I know that in Australia you have a statutory warranty that will NOT be voided by opening up your computer or laptop or indeed installing new parts or removing
        • Re:Warranty? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by falcon5768 ( 629591 ) <Falcon5768@comca ... t minus language> on Monday May 10, 2004 @10:45AM (#9106716) Journal
          We ARE talking about a laptop here. I dont know of ONE state that allows you to open up the case of a laptop when the contracts you agreed to buying it all say you cant (yep even though you didnt sign it, that warrente contract is something you agreed to by law, in your purchase of the item.

          Let me make it a little more clear. The truth is, THERE IS NOT ONE PART ON MOST LAPTOP MOTHERBOARDS YOU THE USER COULD FIX ANYWAY! You need special gear, and even there I would rather work on a desktop system then poke and prod in a laptop given how tight everything is put together and how hard it is to put things back together unless you do this on a regular basis.

          And before you ask, Yes I have been inside of a iBook, and even taking care and actually making foam board models for each layer of screws to make sure I got everything back together, I had a lot of trouble doing it and making it all fit. ITs honestly NOT a easy thign to do, they will nine times out of ten KNOW you where messing around in there and given the AppleCare service isnt much more expensive and they will replace everything for you for 3 years, INCULDING your LCD I would rather some guy in Tenn fix my computer than me potentially break it.


            The other day I dropped my laptop and the CD drive quit working. I opened it up, found and fixed one jarred-loose motherboard connection, and now it works fine.

            Of course, if it was under warranty, I'd almost certainly have just taken it to my dealer for the fix.
          • Re:Warranty? (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Psyborgue ( 699890 )
            Perhaps I jump into things too quickly but i have worked on laptop motherboards and re-soldered certain loose battery connections on the motherboard. Perhaps it is risky, but when Dell wanted 450 to replace the MB and the old laptop only costed me 800, i figured i'd take the risk. If you pay attention and remember how things came apart, taking photos if necessary at times, there is really no reason you can't modify a laptop in the same manner as a desktop. I also yanked the winmodem out of the mini-pci s
        • Re:Warranty? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jcr ( 53032 ) <.moc.cam. .ta. .rcj.> on Monday May 10, 2004 @01:39PM (#9108448) Journal
          Good old Apple... 'yes you bought it, no you can't touch/open/look at it'.

          Dude, this is not like swapping the power supply out of an ATX case..

          If you'd ever tried to reassemble the display of a Titanium powerbook, you'd know why Apple doesn't want to deal with machines that have been dismantled by anyone who didn't get the laptop repair certification..


        • Re:Warranty? (Score:2, Informative)

          by Macgrrl ( 762836 )

          Umm... I suspect that if an item is sold as a "sealed unit" item that you would find that warranty is voided if you open the case. It is not uncommon for certain items to be designated CRU (customer replaceable units) - for example in your laser printer, the toner cartridge is a CRU but the fuser assembly probably isn't. Pulling out the fuser and taking it to HP and saying you want it fixed under warranty is probably not going to get you very far.

          Laptops are designed to very fine tolerances, even experienc

          • Well, I didn't say that if you disassembled it and broke it while you were doing so that that would be covered, only that hardware faults are still covered by the warranty if they occur independently from any disassembly. Obviously if you crack it open with a hammer Apple is not legally bound to replace the shattered case; on the other hand if there is a faulty memory module in there and you open it up, have a look, seal it again and send it to Apple, they are likely still bound to replace it if it's within
    • Re:Warranty? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      do people who ask questions ever read them back to themselves?

      this is obviously geared to those who are out of warranty, and want a possible alternative to expensive out of warranty repairs.

      but go ahead and think yourself insightful.
  • by caffeineboy ( 44704 ) <(ude.uso) (ta) (22.eromdiks)> on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:38AM (#9106044)
    I think I remember a website that explained how to get to the second DIMM in a flatpanel iMac got shut down because apple didn't want people breaking their computers.

    What do you think the odds are that this site will have the same kind of problems?
  • Urm (Score:3, Funny)

    by BenBenBen ( 249969 ) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:39AM (#9106051)
    a starting point for that killer PowerBook case mod
    Metal case + mains electricity + "modders" = true in more ways than one?
  • Geez (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:39AM (#9106053)
    Dont know about anyone else, but these catch phrases are getting a bit old. Just say it's a free step by step guide.. Free as in beer, air whatever..
    • See, the disassembly guide is Free as in Beer
      The reassembly guide is where they make their profit.

  • by adzoox ( 615327 ) * on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:42AM (#9106082) Journal
    I'm all for people wanting to save money. These seem like great how to guides with clear instructions and great pictures.

    That said, what i don't like is novices that "cheapskates" that buy these things, use them, screw up their computer while they are still under warranty, then take them to a service provider (me, others) and then have the units fixed for free - it's no less than fraud - because usually someone that messes their unit up after doing something like this doesn't disclose that information.

    I have had many a customer tell me that NO ONE has ever opened their computer (including them) - I open it up and there are screws missing, the magnetic sheild has fingerprints on it, etc etc.

    The funniest thing, I saw ALL of this on an iBook a while back. The customer said they hadn't touched it. There was a long blonde hair inside and one of "these manuals" on the hard drive.

    Pssst: the customer has along haired blonde.
    • The funniest thing, I saw ALL of this on an iBook a while back. The customer said they hadn't touched it. There was a long blonde hair inside and one of "these manuals" on the hard drive.

      Pssst: the customer has along haired blonde.

      Hey, it was the little blonde computer troll. He has gotten inside my computers too. He comes out when there's sunlight cause that's when i scurry away to hind.
    • Or Worse (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mfh ( 56 ) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:47AM (#9106139) Homepage Journal
      > That said, what i don't like is novices that "cheapskates" that buy these things, use them, screw up their computer while they are still under warranty, then take them to a service provider (me, others) and then have the units fixed for free.

      Likely much worse when they sell them on Ebay [ebay.com] after messing with them. Obviously not all powerbooks on Ebay have been modded, but some of them might have been. Caveat Emptor.
    • by JayPee ( 4090 ) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:50AM (#9106168)
      I get this shit all the time. I'm the sole Apple hardware guy at a laptop campus which currently has around 600 students with iBooks and 12" Powerbooks.

      I've heard and seen just about everything.

      Student: "I didn't spill anything on my iBook"

      Me: "Oh yeah? What's this sticky shit that smells like a Gin and tonic?"

      Then again, the guys that work on the HP/Compaq's have it worse. They've had two or three laptops that have been pissed on. I suspect it has something to do with lower customer satisfaction.
      • by caitsith01 ( 606117 ) on Monday May 10, 2004 @10:33AM (#9106595) Journal
        My girlfriend once used my computer for an evening. The next day, when I tried to type, pressing a key would produce something like:


        instead of, say 'a'. So I find my girlfriend, who has an innocent look of concern on her face, and I ask her: did you download any strange software yesterday? No. Did you scan your floppy disk? Yes, no viruses. Did anything else weird happen while you were using my computer? No, nothing weird.

        Hmmm... so after tapping away in frustration and checking the cables I decide there must be something loose inside the keyboard that is producing crazy input signals every time I press a key. I decide to check it out, so I go and get the trusty phillips head and go over to my computer. I pick up the keyboard, and as I turn it on its side, liquid starts pouring out. Lots of liquid... lots and lots of liquid... in fact, an entire cup of tea pours out all over the desk.

        Using my Sherlock Holmes-like powers of deduction, followed by an appropriately Holmesian denoument in which I made my accusations, I discovered the following. She'd knocked her tea over with her hand, and it had fallen neatly and poured directly into the keyboard body. Then, realising how terrible her crime was (it was a nice keyboard), she quietly logged off using the mouse to select Start->Shut Down->Yes, quickly packed up her stuff, and weaseled away into the night without saying a word.

        Things I discovered from this incident:
        - keyboards are remarkably water-tight
        - darjeeling tea with one sugar is very bad for circuit boards and contact-based switches like the ones inside a keyboard
        - there is no limit to the optimism and weaseliness of people when they want to get out of trouble
        - it will cost you more than the price of a new Logitech keyboard if you call your partner an evil keyboard murdering wench to her face

        • Reminds me of my girlfriend.

          I came over one day with her in a panic because she was working on her G3 (that I had overclocked, rebuilt, added USB2, ATA-133 the works and given to her because I had a iBook now and her compaq was dying a slow death) and accidentally spilled her ENTIRE CAN OF COKE into the B/W case.

          What I learned.

          Even two years later, you will find someplace where soda will hide in the case as I found last weekend putting a new PCI card in.

          Coke that dries up has a very wierd sticky texture that can be molded.

          Apple motherboards are suprisingly resiliant to coke

          The motherboard actually DOESNT kernal panic now like it used to because I had a 400mhz G4 prossesor overclocked to 600mhz. Dont ask me why, I DONT KNOW. The only Kernal Panic I have had was one with the shitty D-Link USB wireless adapters that suck ass and I returned, other than that it runs better than before.

          Wierd but true (she btw did what your did too a year later, I have gone through 4 keyboards because of her)

          BTW I dont advocate dumping coke into your computer to control overclock heat

    • by FesterDaFelcher ( 651853 ) on Monday May 10, 2004 @10:08AM (#9106326)
      There was a long blonde hair inside and one of "these manuals" on the hard drive.

      How can you try to take the high road about your customers, when you are reading the contents of their hard drive? Where are YOUR ethics?
    • I worked at a company that made sophisticated bouys. The last step in assembling them is to purge them with dry nitrogen (so that even with temperature changes, there will be no water vapor in the air to condense on the circuit boards inside) and then seal them up tight. We know they're sealed tight because we need to keep the nitrogen in and the water out - otherwise they'd sink.

      So, some researchers using our bouy in hawaii had one wash ashore on the beach. It didn't work anymore, so they sent it back to
      • having it on your hard drive doesn't indicate a wrong doing even under AppleCare - it is conclusive to a "warranty honoring issue" if you have it on there and the unit has been disassembled to repair "non user" installable parts.

        If I were not an Apple Authorized technician I would disassemble my stuff in and out of warranty - but I wouldn't ask for warranty coverage if I screwed it up. It WOULD cross my mind, but be a devil on the shoulder, angel on the other scenario. Most people just have a devil on both
    • I've had a customer bring in his iMac G4 for repairs, and when we opened it we immediately noticed that the board screws (which require the calibrated torx driver to screw back in) were overtightened. This had forced the onboard video connector into the fixed video cable connector and consequently damaged it.

      So we called Apple, and notified them. they immediately canceled the warranty on the computer's serial number, and we refused to do the repairs.

      This doesn't happen very often, but it's happened two or three times in the 5 years I've been working here as an Apple Tech.
    • I have had many a customer tell me that NO ONE has ever opened their computer (including them) - I open it up and there are screws missing, the magnetic sheild has fingerprints on it, etc etc.

      Interesting, because I bought my Wallstreet brand new, it never had been opened by anyone (including me), until I opened it a few months ago to replace the sound board. There were no missing screws, but there were fingerprints on the shield over the CPU.

      I have enough pc and notebook repair experience that I don't
  • by hype7 ( 239530 ) <u3295110@@@anu...edu...au> on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:45AM (#9106111) Journal
    without meaning to sound like your father, it's the best thing you can do, especially for a valuable investment like an Apple laptop.

    They don't go wrong often, but when you pick the thing up and carry it round with you everywhere, inevitably some of the laptops develop issues. And portables can be expensive to fix.

    It's what, a couple of hundred dollars? Trust me, you'll make that back many times over if a hinge goes, or a screen dies, or whatever...

    -- james
    • They don't go wrong often,

      Unless you were lucky enough to buy a G3 iBook in late 2002, in which case you're one of the lucky few to ever get Apple's failure-prone laptops in 10 years. Motherboard failure 6 months ago and now my backlight doesn't come on any more with the lid more than about 30 degrees open. Apple produces nothing but crap as far as I'm concerned. I'm going back to Dell (my 5 year old Inspiron is STILL going strong).

    • by danaris ( 525051 ) <danaris.mac@com> on Monday May 10, 2004 @02:18PM (#9108900) Homepage

      Unfortunately, they won't fix my 8-month-old TiBook with AppleCare and broken hinges.

      The problem is, of course, that it wasn't a "defect" that caused them to break. It was...well, I don't know what it was. I jump up, 'cause I hear a bunch of stuff fall down in the next room, I try to put my computer down on the little table...and my aim is a fraction of an inch off, so it hits on its corner, rather than landing on its base. The screen bends backwards.

      It's still a perfectly usable computer, it just needs its screen propped up on something. And to fix it would cost nearly $700.

      I'm considering giving it to my fiancee in a few months when we get married, and getting myself a newer AlBook. And being a little more careful with it this time. :-/

      So don't forget, AppleCare only covers things that break by themselves. I know, it's the standard way to do warranties, but it's still really annoying.

      Dan Aris

  • Hmmm.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by JayPee ( 4090 ) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:46AM (#9106127)
    These guides are great and all but if you hang around Apple specific hardware hacking forums enough, you'll come across the official Apple repair manuals which feature complete dissasembly guides, exploded views, etc.

    That said, I love being an Apple tech.. I get these goodies within a week of the product being released.
    • if you hang around Apple specific hardware hacking forums enough, you'll come across the official Apple repair manuals

      Is that really how you have to find them? I needed one for my ThinkPad recently and I just downloaded it from ibm.com. Came in handy too. Had to replace my noisy R50 fan with the quiet T41p type.
      • for laptops, if nothing else. bulletproof construction, freely available technical manuals, linux support, etc.

        mind you, they make up for this by blowing goats when you start dealing with IBM Global Services...

        • Well Apples thing is quality control, they want every single b roken computer to come back to be tested and re-tested to fix a problem if it exists. I honestly beleive them because when I was a campus rep I saw their repair facility myself, they put those repairs through a shit load of tests

          That being said the iBook logic board problem has been a kick in the ass for them, because all their tests say it should be OK, but they are still comming back even with redesigned motherboards.

  • by jcostantino ( 585892 ) on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:49AM (#9106162) Homepage
    are these manuals better or worse than Apple's (or the same?)

    Apple's manuals are generally OK if you need to disassemble stuff but their diagnosis flow charts SUCK.

    Wow, I actually got a little nostalgic :) two months ago I was up to my elbows in broken Macintosh, now I'm sitting in front of a MDD and flanked by a bunch of PC's in my cushy corporate job :)

    • by smcv ( 529383 ) on Monday May 10, 2004 @11:06AM (#9106912) Homepage
      I glanced through the one for the DVI Powerbook G4 before the database ran out of filehandles and died; their photos for access to the underside of the Powerbook show the it with the keyboard/other components removed and the screen closed over the top, which I'm not convinced is a good idea (if something falls through the gap where the keyboard should go and onto the screen, it'll get scratched).

      The Apple manual for the same model suggests putting the keyboard/wrist rest area of the laptop flat on a desk (with a towel or similar underneath), with the screen open and extended off the desk into your lap; that strikes me as less likely to get the screen damaged.
  • wallstree pb g3 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by zenrandom ( 708587 ) * on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:50AM (#9106172) Journal
    I've used one of the take apart manuals for my wallstreet g3. It had the infamous solder joint on the powerboard problem (solder and superglue fixed that) the hard drive was one of the 8gb ones that had a really low mtbf... which has been replaced with a 20gb 5400 rpm... the processor card wouldn't recognize memory in the top slot so it's been replaced with a sonnet g3/500 and 384 mb of ram now. The take apart guides are nice, common sense is good, patience for that first time you take it apart. Make sure you have all the screws out! The g3 books feel like you are going to break them that first time you pull them open. Fun though, to play around inside your apple.
    • I owned a first gen G4 Titanium powerbook and it got a lot of use...

      Around the 2 year point, the top third of all the scan lines started to become intermittent. As the weeks went on, intermittent turned into off, and now the middle third started going intermittent. With the thing far out of warranty, knowing full well it'd make more sense to get a new one (vs. get it serviced), I decided to roll the dice and assume it was a (fixable) loose connection somewhere in the screen to the main board...

  • Danke Danke Danke (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Daemonik CyCow ( 719521 ) <daemonNO@SPAMcowbarnindustries.com> on Monday May 10, 2004 @09:53AM (#9106192) Homepage Journal
    Well, i can understand anyone in the service industry hating those "cheapskate" "unkowledgable" "freaky" people that can't even put a lightbulb in a socket, let alone install their own airport card. But, for us out there that at least think we know what we are doing, this is much appreciated. I know that I have questions though... I seem to have the most wonderful luck (NE Sarcasm) buying computer equipment just before it get's outmoded by another update to hardware. Case in point : The IIvx I bought many a year back. One of the worst Road Apples made. It perves me that Apple doesn't release this info, even for the older equipment. I can understand something that is as of yet still covered by them, but to have to dig extremely hard (usually) for the info, well, ERGH. I just hope that i can get some more ram in this baby. I can't wait for that nanograss (someone told me it was self rolling?)
  • I can't believe it! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Stud1y ( 598856 ) on Monday May 10, 2004 @10:00AM (#9106256) Homepage
    in a room full of computer dorks, someone says things like "don't open your own case and fix your machine..." ! isn't this what helps to progress the technology? why does everyone need to stand around like they're our mommys (happy mothers-day btw..!) and hold our hand and tell us "no, don't open your 3k laptop you might break something No Shit! If you're dumb enough to open the case, and not know what you're doing its your fault. Most lame-ass n00bie computer users aren't going to be poppin' the case on their machines. argh, i just can't believe all the negitive 'don't do it!' posts Also, why the fuck do you need a guide to take screws out of a computer? I opened my powerbook two days after i bought it.
    • Sadly, there are too many shits that tear stuff apart that had no business doing so. A lot of them are the kind of people that put tacky neon lights in their computer cases too.
  • Right... (Score:2, Informative)

    by tomstdenis ( 446163 )
    1600$ laptop + 400$ warranty + 0$ self-mod case == useless warranty.

    This guide may be ok if you're past the manufacturers warranty and you didn't get an instore one...

    But for me, I got a 3yr [practically useless] warranty from Futureshop. I'll let them [or their sub-contractors] fix problems with my laptop.

    Though if I had todo it again I would probably a) not buy a laptop and b) not get an extended warranty. It's been nearly 60 days since I dropped of my laptop to have the hard drive replaced.

    nearly 9
    • Re:Right... (Score:2, Informative)

      by tomcio.s ( 455520 )
      Well, see here's your problem, you got suckered intot the 'special' new type of Futureshop warranty deal. Should have headed to bMac.

      They used to be so good (over the counter, no questions), then 30 day (my Sony DSC-717 is under this warranty) and now the 60 day fix or replace for refurb kit. It's just not worth it. Better save the pennies spent on that and use it for future upgrades.

      Good luck with getting the laptop back tho. When my cam broke (flash stopped popping up, they 'fixed' it by breaking the wh
    • Re:Right... (Score:5, Informative)

      by HeghmoH ( 13204 ) on Monday May 10, 2004 @10:22AM (#9106466) Homepage Journal
      Apple extended warranties are very nice. Apple has this nasty habit of using Airborne Express overnight service for everything; you call them with a problem, and a guy delivers a box the next morning. You put the computer in the box and off it goes. They fix it more or less instantly, and it comes back within two or three days. They're not always like this, of course, but very often. All the more reason not to rip open the innards of your Apple portable!
      • Re:Right... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by FredFnord ( 635797 ) on Tuesday May 11, 2004 @05:28PM (#9120768)
        I got an AlBook with the white-spots-on-screen problem. (I got it because they had it for $300 off at the Apple store, because of the screen... they told me I could send it in for repair but not bring it back for the money-back guarantee, which suited me fine.)

        I called Apple up a couple months later and told them I had to send them my laptop to fix the screen, and it had also (a few times, maybe one time in ten) turned itself off when I unplugged the DVI cable. The next day I got the box. Two weeks later I got a call saying, 'Uh, we don't have your computer yet, are you sure you sent it?' Well, er, actually, I hadn't been able to live without it for long enough to send it in. But it was nice of them to call.

        I eventually took a friday and a monday off. On thursday evening at 5:30 I dropped the box off at an Airborne Express location and went home. On monday at 10 AM I got a call from one of my coworkers asking if I wanted to come in and pick up my laptop. So they got it on Friday around noon (according to the tracking number) and sent it back out on Friday sometime later in the day. And not only was the screen flawless, but it has never turned itself off when disconnecting the DVI connector since.

        Got to admit, as hard as I am to impress, that impressed me.

  • or... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Jon Proesel ( 762574 ) on Monday May 10, 2004 @10:12AM (#9106359) Homepage Journal
    Or you could just go with CowboyNeal's method of disassembly. http://cowboyneal.org/ex-powerbook.jpg [cowboyneal.org]
  • Compared to Dell (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Xenna ( 37238 ) on Monday May 10, 2004 @10:16AM (#9106401)
    Dell has clear instructions on taking their laptops apart (and putting back together again) on their website.

    When I bought my current X300, I considered a 12" powerbook as well, but the 3 year warranty period on the Dell made the difference.

    OTOH, when the hard disk died the on-site engineer that came to fix it was so clumsy that I had to do some of the taking apart myself (that included finding the howto's on the site).

    So, what exactly am I trying to say here..? ;-)
    • Re:Compared to Dell (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nordicfrost ( 118437 ) *
      So, what exactly am I trying to say here..?

      I dunno, but I bought a Dell øaptop from a friend that does Dell service. He thre in a cracked screen spare laptop that "trust me, it'll bee needed", as he said. And sure enough. After one week, the notch that holds the screen to the casing (That thingy that locks the computer) broke. Dell sent a new one in metal, to replace the flimsy platic thing. B fixed it. Soon, the CD drive went, one from spare. The plastic aroud the screen cracked, replace. The key

  • Here are some more links to free disassembly instructions for laptops and notebooks [tuxmobil.org] (also links to service manuals), dissectioning HOWTOs for PDAs and handheld PCs [tuxmobil.org] (including information and pictures of JTAG ports), take apart notes for mobile (cell) phones [tuxmobil.org] and dismantling guides for mobile MP3 music players [tuxmobil.org].
    -- Keep your mobile running ;-)
    • Agh.. If I only had this site when I tried to replace my keyboard last time.. =( I missed the bottom screw on the bottom of the case and completely screwed up my keyboard trying to remove it..

      To those who are ready to jump into dissecting their powerbooks, be sure you are extremely gentile and remove all of the screws..
  • by caitsith01 ( 606117 ) on Monday May 10, 2004 @10:40AM (#9106653) Journal
    Is anyone aware of a repository of similar information for other (non-Apple) products? This kind of stuff is always so hard to find on the net - and not just computers, it seems to be pretty hard to find info about all kinds of electronic devices that should be reasonably easy to fix with the appropriate guidance.

    Two recent examples I have had: a Panasonic VCR, for which I could not find anything at all, and the wiring in a 1990 Mitsubishi, which I did eventually locate on some acid-induced Japanese website.
  • The reason why is that in my g3 266 PB,G3 500 PB and G4 1G Ti, the hinges or clutches for the display lid have all snapped after the warrantee expired but through normal use. Apple fixed the two g3's free of cost but not the Ti. Makes you want to start a class action lawsuit. Refrigerator door hinges do not fail after a year of use, why should my laptop's?

    With the replacement cost being out of my range, I've either got to live with it, fix it myself or find a good lawyer.

    Any good lawyers out there?
  • by INeededALogin ( 771371 ) on Monday May 10, 2004 @11:05AM (#9106903) Journal
    No disassemble!!!! G4... is alive!
  • Since this is basically reverse-engineered service manuals, anyone know where one can find the *official* ones? I've Googled a few, but most aren't up-to-date, and the one I use doesn't have the new manuals yet. (It had the new manuals for the refresh before last... they move so quickly!)

    Anyone got any good links (other than paying $$$ to become a Apple-certified repair tech?).
  • by dexterpexter ( 733748 ) on Monday May 10, 2004 @11:23AM (#9107112) Journal
    But I believe that it was Cowboyneal who found the most efficient way to disassemble a Powerbook. [cowboyneal.org]

    He found this method of disassembling the powerbook after a long battle with his failing hardrive, and less than helpful Apple technicians.

    Before the disassembly, Cowboyneal was heard to say [cowboyneal.org]:

    "I got my PowerBook back today, but it's not nearly as nice as I'd hoped. The technician where I brought it failed to image the drive (like he said he would) before shipping it to Apple so now while the hard drive works perfectly again, I've lost all my files. The point of catching the hard drive failure early before losing any data has now been completely negated. Looking at my PowerBook which is now clean as a slate makes me just want to smash it, knowing the hours of work I've lost." (emphasis mine)

    I asked pudge about it and his response was:
    "It deserved it"
  • by DarkRecluse ( 231992 ) on Monday May 10, 2004 @12:14PM (#9107601)
    I never see anything about what type of screw goes where. I was taking apart a Pismo 400 the other day and while I thought I could remember where each screw went I later realized that I could not. Of course now I can seeing as how I had to take it apart a few times to make sure everything was seated correctly.

    Needless to say, when you feel resistance on a screw and you're not quite sure where it goes, don't keep screwing it in. That goes for laptops and women.
    • Yeah you think you will be able to remember what went where but you really won't. Just document everything.

      So whenever you take out a screw or other part, tape it to a note saying where it went and number the notes according to what order you disassembled the parts in. Works for me at least.
    • I never see anything about what type of screw goes where.

      Can you realistically tell the difference between them by sight? Some of the screws in their laptops differ by fractions of millimeters.

      The trick I use (and is also mentioned in Apple's training manuals): grab an empty ice cube tray. For each step in disassembly, use a different ice cube slot. While this may not help much for a step that has a lot of screws (eg - taking the top plate off of an iBook), it's certainly better than nothing!

  • These guides have been out for a long time - they are usually called "Service Source"

    I have piles of the old Service Source CDs that have take-apart guides for nearly everything that Apple has ever made.

    Nothing new here, move along..
  • heresy, i know, but if anyone knows of a shop that does a TWO mouse button mod for a powerbook, please let us know.

    i really like apple's laptops but the single mouse button is the insurmountable barrier to entry. if i could get two mouse buttons a powerbook would be my next machine.
  • WATCH OUT! (Score:2, Informative)

    This voids your warranty!
  • NOOOOO!!!! (Score:2, Funny)

    by ed1park ( 100777 )
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "a set of Free-As-In-Beer step by step PowerBook disassembly instructions."

    Anyone can take something apart. Putting it back together is usually the tough part.
  • My two cents (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jon Abbott ( 723 ) on Monday May 10, 2004 @08:43PM (#9112511) Homepage
    I recently had a hard drive fail on my Powerbook G4 550 (a 2.5 year old machine), and I found the PDF step-by-step guides on Apple's support pages to be more than adequate for the drive replacement. The guides on PB Fixit's site appear to be less detailed than Apple's guides, but then again, I don't think Apple documents how to remove the logic board. :^)

    It was interesting to note how many people attributed my laptop's hard drive failure to the fact that it was a Mac. The Powerbook used an IBM Travelstar (or should that be IBM Travesty?) hard drive, which is also very common in PC laptops (as are Toshiba drives). These people just didn't realize that I was toting it back and forth to school every day, and waking it from sleep a LOT daily. Some days I would tote it on the back of my motorcycle, sitting in my backpack without a case of its own (admittedly not a smart thing to do). One day I accidentally dropped it three feet onto hard ground (thankfully while it was off). I can attest that any machine would die given what I put it through. Thankfully, it was just the hard drive, and it was easy to swap out. Otherwise, it's still chugging along, like a double decker bus packed into a sports car body.

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27