How to fix my computer
November 4, 2006 6:51 PM   Subscribe

Can my 2002 iBook be revived?

The LCD (liquid crystal display) of my iBook has died. While I was working on a Word document, the screen froze, became covered with vertical multi-colored lines, and went black. It came on a few minutes later, but began to shiver, and went black for good. Turning the computer off and on does nothing, though sounds suggest that the drive may still work.

On Googling, I find that the lines phenomenon is attributed by some to a serious motherboard failure, by others to a mere detached cable. I think the computer is dead because this is how my other Macs went -- the lines phenomenon (black and white on earlier models).

Four years old, the computer is out of warranty and I would have to pay full price for any fixing. Can anything be done?
posted by bad grammar to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
Read this page and then check your serial number to see if it's one of the affected machines. You may very well be able to get them to replace it for free.
posted by smallerdemon at 6:54 PM on November 4, 2006

Try it with an external monitor, if you have or can borrow one. That'll give you a health check on the rest of the machine. If it works with an external monitor, then you can transfer your work / ghost your hard drive. Alternatively, you can boot the machine to act like a firewire hard drive (I think it's holding down the A key on boot) and get the stuff off of the machine while you deal with the display problem.

If it's not covered by a warranty or recall, now's a good time to think about replacing it. A lot has happened since 2002.

FWIW, I have gotten a lot of mileage out of my 3 year AppleCare and think it's worth the $350 they charge for it.

Good luck!
posted by FauxScot at 7:25 PM on November 4, 2006

The button to hold down when trying to boot your iBook as a firewire Hard drive enclosure is usually 'T' for 'Target' mode.
posted by Orb2069 at 7:49 PM on November 4, 2006

If you're very lucky, it's only the reed switch ($20 part; DIY repair) that's failed. Try this test: power on, then slowly move the screen all the way back and forth. If the display flickers on at all, it's worth trying a reed switch replacement.

If you know for sure the logic board, salvage the data and don't bother with repair. You should have no trouble eBaying a G4 iBook for less.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 8:21 PM on November 4, 2006

I have a friend who had this exact problem. She was able to get the data off the hard drive and wasn't willing to spend the $300+ to get it repaired.

In the end she tried the suggestion in this thread, figuring she had nothing to lose and it worked great.

Good luck!
posted by GoshND at 8:37 PM on November 4, 2006

I had the same experience approximately 3 months ago while working on med/grad school applications. Fortunately, I took it to the Apple Store, and they told me that they could replace it for free. (This was after my Applecare expired in April.)

Your best bet is to explain the situation to them and tell them that you suspect that it is a logic board/video card failure. If they do it for free, they'll send it off to be fixed, and it will be back in less than a week. I can't say enough good things about Apple's customer service--bottom line: they rock!
posted by scalespace at 11:27 PM on November 4, 2006

Actually, to follow up, I had the exact same problem happen twice before (vertical/horizontal lines then no video signal on a G3 iBook from 2003), so that might have influenced their decision to get it fixed for me, even if it was out of warranty for four months.

posted by scalespace at 11:33 PM on November 4, 2006

Oh, if you decide to go the get-a-new-one route, Low End Mac keeps tabs on what used G4s are selling for via the various retailers - It's worthwhile as a sanity check for your bidding, if nothing else.
posted by Orb2069 at 5:48 AM on November 5, 2006

Contact Apple and tell them you have an iBook displaying the symptoms described on the page smallerdemon URLed.

Apple replaced my out-of-warranty iBook under this program in January. The program is likely to expire some time, but if the program's page is still up, as far as you're concerned the offer is still valid.

Apple will require their own inspection of your computer before fulfilling the repair extension. If there is an Apple store within driving range, take it there.

Keep all your paperwork on the issue. If the compuer has to be repaired repeatedly for the same problem, Apple will replace it, but it can be up to you to provide proof.
posted by ardgedee at 3:36 AM on November 6, 2006

Holy cats. Thanks for the heads-up, smallerdemon. I had never heard of the repair program for this mode of failure, but I checked the symptoms, double-checked my serial number, and called Apple today. They tell me my iBook probably does qualify for the free repair. You just turned a frustrating lump of once-loved junk into a tiny pile of potential --- and just three days before my eligibility would have expired, happily enough!
posted by Elsa at 3:19 PM on November 6, 2006

Hooray! That's great Elsa. I find all of those "old" computers still in great shape for day-to-day computing. The old G3 Snow iBook's are still my favorite iBook design simply because they didn't get as stained as the subsequent G4 ibooks (I think because they use metal instead of plastic for the palm rest).

I've referred several folks over to that program where I work, and I've got a lot of happy campers. In one case, where there was really nothing wrong, the person just gave me the iBook and now I have a 500MHz G3 snow that my wife uses for couch web surfing that works great.
posted by smallerdemon at 5:13 PM on November 11, 2006

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