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Back to My Nerd Roots

Various members of my family have been pestering me to fix my sister’s dead 15-inch PowerBook G4. The reason it doesn’t work is because the power receptacle is broken. Blackened and cracked, even if it did work, I wouldn’t feel safe plugging the power cord into it, so I definitely wouldn’t feel comfortable letting her do it either. She mentioned, in passing, that “a couple times, it sparked really loud and bright when I plugged it in, but it seemed fine so I didn’t tell you.” Then I envisioned seeing her entire dorm building burning down on the news because of an electrical fire from her loudly-sparking PowerBook.

I checked online and it looks like DC-Power Jack A1095 boards are like $90. I might have invested in one, but then I came to possess an old 12-inch PowerBook. It seemed to be in working condition, but it didn’t have a bootable disk. This is when the idea for me to “fix this one with that one” was suggested. But I didn’t want to. I don’t have the time. Weeks later, I was nagged enough times to push me over the edge. “FINE, I’ll do it. Jeez.” But I didn’t have any tools at home. Not ones that would be useful in this case. Who knew they made hex screws so small? WHY?

So I decided to take her PowerBook to work so I could dismantle it there. After a few minutes of searching and searching for screwdrivers small enough for the job, I finally found one and got down to business. It took more than an hour, but it was pretty straightforward thanks to the awesome guys at iFixit. I took her old hard drive out and put the shell back together. I took a break from that stuff and just caught up on actual work work, and then I went home.

The next day, I was still riding the high of getting down and dirty with my hands in computer guts. So I started working on opening the smaller laptop, even though it was Monday and I thought I wouldn’t want to do this during the week. It took me about an hour because it was a slightly different (and so slightly unfamiliar) model. I got all the way to the last step and then I saw that there was, in fact, no hard drive in there, so the previous owner must’ve had a good reason to toss the shell. Although, I am able to boot from my old PowerBook recovery DVD, and the mouse/keyboard/display all seem to work just fine. I’m not sure what’s wrong with it, but I’m patiently waiting for some major flaw to rear its ugly head (i.e. something’s wrong with the logic board or something).

Anyway, since the hard drive was gone, so was the ribbon cable that connects it to the board. And the one that came from the fried 15-inch laptop isn’t the same kind of cable. So I just ordered one on eBay for like $8.50. So I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what happens when I put the old hard drive in the new shell. Fingers crossed.


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  • Response
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  • Response
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