Help keep my old Powerbook G4 on WiFi. (Technical Mac Question.)
September 11, 2009 11:57 AM   Subscribe

Help keep my old Powerbook G4 on WiFi. (Technical Mac Question.)

I have an older Powerbook G4 that has seen better days. At some point, the internal Airport card stopped working (I think because the internal antenna broke after a fall). I then popped an external wireless card into the PC slot (the Morotola WN825G) and it worked like a charm for 2+ years. Suddenly, however, the external card is dead. None of the LEDs light up and the computer does not detect it in any program or profiler. I bought a new card (they're only $20) and got the same result. I have done about every kind of reset there is -- battery and power out overnight, reset-nvram in the firmware, control-apple-PR, etc and there is no change. When I look at "Console," nothing happens when I put the card in and pull it out -- i.e., the computer is not registering that a card is in the slot as far as I can tell.

Here are my questions:

1. I have not done any software re-installs. Is it worth it to start re-installing the OS? This seems more like a hardware problem, no? If I re-install, do I need to wipe the drive and start over? Or can I just re-install the system on existing drive?

2. I have not done anything with drivers. I'm pretty sure the Mac does not need a driver to operate this card because the card uses the same chipset as the orginal Airport card.

3. Assuming this is a hardware issue, should I just junk the machine? I feel like anything over $250 is wasted in a machine that is already pretty beat up.

Thanks for your thoughts and guesses.
posted by Mid to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Best answer: Seems hardware related to me. You could always go the USB Wifi adapter route if you want to keep this machine.
posted by white_devil at 12:03 PM on September 11, 2009

I have a Hawking USB wireless-N adapter that works magnificently, costs about $40.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:16 PM on September 11, 2009

This sounds very hardware if the card doesn't even power on. Maybe a fuse burned out inside the machine. If you want to get rid of it you might as well inspect inside or give it to someone who might. I don't think a re-install will give you much help
posted by Napierzaza at 12:18 PM on September 11, 2009

Response by poster: I never thought about the USB route. Any suggestions on make/model and getting it to play with MacOS appreciated!
posted by Mid at 12:18 PM on September 11, 2009

Which OS version are you running?
posted by white_devil at 12:20 PM on September 11, 2009

Response by poster: The last version of 10.4.x
posted by Mid at 12:21 PM on September 11, 2009

Bunch on Ebay. Here's one.
posted by white_devil at 12:28 PM on September 11, 2009

You may just need to reseat your airport card. Look up where it is located on your particular model. First check around the battery compartment you may get lucky. If is the antenna wire well that sucks. If that's the case look into replacing the pcmcia slot itself. I did this recently and it took about an hour. repair guides and parts
posted by bravowhiskey at 2:32 PM on September 11, 2009

Response by poster: Update and resolution: I bought a USB WiFi card and it works great. Thanks everyone.
posted by Mid at 10:15 PM on October 4, 2009

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