Help save my beloved iBook!
April 26, 2006 8:40 AM   Subscribe

Help save my laptop! I was using my G4 iBook last night, and suddenly the screen went black.

Nothing else happened-- no noises or anything-- and I had been using it for about a half hour or so. It has never done that before.

Anyway, I held down the power button to shut it down as it was not responding to anything else. I turned it off, then turned it on again. Now when I try to boot it, the start up chime does not sound. Instead the screen stays off and the fan comes on full power.

The battery was partially drained so I tried re-charging it fully. The computer come on long enough for me to see some of my startup programs boot, and then the screen went black again. Now I can't get that far again.

I've tried it with the adapter and battery in, with just the battery, and with just the adapter. Same result each time. When the fan comes on, it seems like it'd sit there running forever if I let it (I left the room and came back about 15 minutes later and it was still going).

Can anyone help? I got the iBook about a year and a half ago and have had no other problems with it. It isn't on warranty and there is no way I can afford a new one, not to mention that there are some files I really need on there (I do back up regularly, but there are some that hadn't run through my backup cycle yet).
posted by synecdoche to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Response by poster: Also, I've tried the standard "computer won't boot" articles on the Apple knowledgebase, and to no avail. Resetting some of the stuff requires the start up chime, which I am not getting, and the other things have been fruitless. Also, I am currently away from home and don't have my Tiger discs handy.
posted by synecdoche at 8:43 AM on April 26, 2006

Do you have access to another Mac? If so, boot the iBook in Firewire Target Disk mode (hold "T" during startup, connect both computers via Firewire -- the iBooks hard drive should mount on the other Mac's desktop) to copy the needed files.

The symptoms sounds similar to logic board failure. That's not a diagnosis, just an observation. You might want to check the Apple forums for "reed switch" or "logic board". There are some inexpensive DIY solutions if you know that's what wrong.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 9:07 AM on April 26, 2006

Is the screen completely gone, or is it just very, very dim (i.e. if you hold a flashlight up behind the apple logo, can you see anything?). If it's still there, this part may help.
posted by magwich at 9:41 AM on April 26, 2006

Second the logic board failure suggestion. I recently had the same symptoms with my iBook and had to get it replaced. FYI, Apple has a recall & replace program for some laptop models that have experienced logic board failure.
posted by donpedro at 9:42 AM on April 26, 2006

If your laptop isn't part of the logic board replacement ones, then try resetting the power management unit. If that doesn't work, try resetting the PRAM.
posted by echo0720 at 10:04 AM on April 26, 2006

Response by poster: I read on the Apple forums about the "clamp" method, which lends creedence to the notion that it is the logic board. In short, the thing works when I hold it firmly in the corner to the left of the trackpad.

So I guess it is the logic board. I'm going to try to set up a more permanent clamp for the time being while I locate any crucial files that my nightly back-ups missed.
posted by synecdoche at 11:41 AM on April 26, 2006

Hey, since synecdoche seems to have an answer, I'd like to tack on a similar question about my G4 goes black, but goes to sleep like it’s narcoleptic. Sometimes I can only get it to blink awake for a second, sometimes it is just fine. Also the logic board?
posted by gokart4xmas at 1:06 PM on April 26, 2006

Tried echo0720's suggestions, by the way. No dice.
posted by gokart4xmas at 1:07 PM on April 26, 2006

Response by poster: gokart, I don't know. Does it "wake" right back up? Mine wasn't going to sleep-- leastaways, the sleep pulse wasn't going.
posted by synecdoche at 2:54 PM on April 27, 2006

Nope, my sleep pulse is going and it doesn't wake up except to blink. Oh well, took a stab that it was the same problem...thanks!
posted by gokart4xmas at 4:18 PM on April 27, 2006

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