My computer left its passport at home.
January 6, 2007 7:16 AM   Subscribe

Why won't my iBook G4 charge in a foreign country, even with a converter?

When I plug the iBook's power adapter into the converter (a really simple one that'd basically just a small box with a plug on the back) the LED ring glows green, then red, then green-- but then it slowly fades away before coming back on (in green) and then fading away again.

Did I just fry my laptop? How can I make it work?

If it makes a difference, I'm in Thailand.

Also, I know about Apple's World Adapter package, but Thailand isn't one of the countries included on its compatability list.
posted by chickletworks to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
I had a similar problem on my powerbook G4 (though I wasn't in Thailand) and I found resetting the power manager (PMU) fixed it. Could be worth a try: instructions.
posted by Rumple at 7:31 AM on January 6, 2007

Are you sure you need a convertor? I thought laptop powerbox's were all multi-voltage? Look on the bottom.
posted by A189Nut at 7:39 AM on January 6, 2007


Chickletworks may mean a plug converter (that just lets you physically plug the machine into the wall) rather than a voltage converter.
posted by sindark at 7:44 AM on January 6, 2007

Yes - as A189Nut says, you don't need a converter that changes the voltage, you only need an adapter to make the laptop plugs fit into the wall fittings.
posted by Rumple at 7:45 AM on January 6, 2007

all i can say is BE CAREFUL. yes, all you need is a "plugin" converter (note that the box on apple's cord is supposed to work with most voltage), but all things considered, ive had major problems taken apple laptops abroad, especially europe (higher voltage), and especially older apple laptops.

power adapter related problems have been a huge problem for the apple laptop line. depending on the year of your laptop, you may have friend your motherboard, maybe you fried your dc inboard (later models) or maybe your power adapter plug is bent and not making good contact with the ac input (this is all assuming your have an ibook with the "circular ring" connection type). ive basically done all of these. apple has pretty much solved this problem by totally revamping the ac connection type - using a magnetic type lock connection.

in any case, check to see if your power adapter ring is totally circular. you may need to jam it in there in just the right angle to get contact. having said this, by doing this you may damage your power connection inside the computer, and also i have no first hand experience in thailand (i do think certain asian countries have a different voltage than europe/other parts of asia) and if you continue to have problems state-side, send it in to apple.
posted by phaedon at 8:28 AM on January 6, 2007

also, to answer your question about the led lights, as far as i know, apple hasn't set it up so that "green-red-green" light sequence means anything significant, outside of the typical "powered on" or "charging" meanings. its simply switching from one to the other.
posted by phaedon at 8:30 AM on January 6, 2007

It's not clear from your post whether you're using a transformer or not. It sounds like you might be and it isn't working properly, so if so, buy a simple plug adapter instead.

It also might be a problem with the socket itself. Try plugging something else in.

ive had major problems taken apple laptops abroad, especially europe (higher voltage), and especially older apple laptops

They've sold exactly the same power adapters worldwide for a long time, so the voltage is unlikely to be an issue.
posted by cillit bang at 12:11 PM on January 6, 2007

The problems I've had while traveling don't come from the power brick but from the little adapter I plug into the US-styled plug. Sometimes the shape is not exact and so it doesn't get seated right and hence no power. This was most apparent with the 2 prong europlug. I haven't been to Thailand yet [I'm going in the spring], but I thought that plug was similar to the europlug -- if not the europlug itself. You might be having a similar issue. Have you used that plug adapter successful with another product using a 110-240v power brick? [like a cellphone]

On my old Powerbook that used the same power brick you're using, it would sometimes not light the green/yelllow/red LED [or flicker] when I had it plugged in at all. It had to do with the connector beeing slightly bent I think. The battery charged just fine [you can see the little lightning bolt from the menu bar]. So in other words, it could be charging, but that LED might not be as reliable an indicator as it once was.
posted by birdherder at 2:32 PM on January 6, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks so much for the advice, everyone! Ya'll are swell.

When I get back to my hotel from the internet cafe, I'll try bending the ring in the adapter, and turning the computer on to see if the status bar shows charging.
posted by chickletworks at 2:30 AM on January 7, 2007

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