should i start ritually cannibilizing ibooks?
March 14, 2007 2:44 PM   Subscribe

broken ibook conundrum: help me come up with an affordable and sensible replacement solution?

my ibook G4 gave me some funny display issues for a day before crashing and not booting at all. it was 2 years old, and i didn't have applecare, but had it shipped to apple on the advice of a local mac-shop that's helped me out in the past. verdict = bad logic board, and since they believe it was due to "fluid damage" it would cost over $900 to fix (not sure how that could have happened, but i've been caught in the rain with a shoddy bag a couple of times).

i know the hard disk was good right up to the end, and i was able to backup everything to a firewire drive. here are the options i'm considering.

(a) snagging an external drive enclosure, removing the drive from the ibook and slapping it in there.

(b) locating a similar model of ibook on ebay (they seem to be going for around $500 right now), slapping my old drive in that one, and the existing drive in an external enclosure.

(c) option (a) + trolling the applestore website for a refurbed macbook, which seem to go for around $900 occassionally.

(d) just plunking $400 or so on a new eMachines desktop, slapping ubuntu or something on it, and getting along without a laptop for a while.

(with each of these options, i would probably take the drive-less ibook and put it up on ebay for parts, just to get some cash for it).

the caveats: i've built a desktop before, but haven't ever delved into the innards of an ibook. and i'm not up on the ubuntu world quite yet either, which could make for a steep learning curve.

so, i'd love to hear your views on which of these is a crazy course of action, most likely to fail, biggest waste of time, etc. especially interested to hear from anyone that's salvaged a drive from an old ibook.
posted by garfy3 to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
Just out of curiosity, will it really not boot, or will it boot (power-on sound, hard drive grinding) but not display anything?

The latter is a common problem with iBooks, and I recently bookmarked this site as insurance against this possibly happening to my own iBook G4. Of course I just realized that it's bookmarked ON my iBook, but whatever : ) Could be worth investigating.

Barring that, you can buy a logic board and probably replace it yourself, for less than $900. See here, and Google for other places as well.

If you think it might be the first problem, I may have access to a hot-air reflow station at work. I'd be willing to take a crack at doing the repair for you. Email's in my profile.
posted by autojack at 3:40 PM on March 14, 2007

You should know the G4 iBook is extremely hard to get a drive out of. By far the hardest among the Mac portables. I'd definitely recommend googling to see the procedure before you decide what to do, because the unusual amount of time & labor should be a factor in your decision.
posted by sparrows at 4:37 PM on March 14, 2007

Response by poster: autojack: thanks for the link. the issue started when the display would suddenly go all "barcode-y" and i'd have to reboot. now nothing appears on the screen at all, and after hitting the on button it makes a loud fan-spinning sound, with no detectable hard-disk noises. the old guys in tie-dies the mac shop i went to all nodded heads saying "logic board, logic board."

i'll definetly start investigating the logic-board replacement idea. good tip!
posted by garfy3 at 5:22 PM on March 14, 2007

Response by poster: oy vey! apparently there's an "alternative" diy fix for this.
posted by garfy3 at 6:06 PM on March 14, 2007

I wouldn't attempt to swap hard drives in iBooks. It can be done but it can be screwed up, too. The connectors / ribbons are easy to mangle. Why not put your old drive in an enclosure and move your files back onto your new (used) eBay'd iBook.
posted by SciGuy at 8:07 PM on March 14, 2007

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