Fixing a dropped Powerbook
July 21, 2007 8:55 AM   Subscribe

DIY repair for a narcoleptic titanium Powerbook?

I have a five year old TiBook which was recently dropped. Fortunately, the drop wasn't very far and the thing still seems to work perfectly well with only one permanent problem. The laptop now will go to sleep sometimes when there is pressure on the palmrest on the right side.

When it has a bout of this random sleep, I've found I can temporarily stop the sleepiness by gently shaking the laptop for a little while. However, the problem always returns eventually. I assume something with the latch mechanism went awry.

This laptop is only used as a couch/bedroom computer and so I don't want to spend a lot of money on it. My question is: is this a repair I could do myself? I found a guide for latch replacement at ifixit. But I'm not sure if a simple latch fix would do the trick or if I need to look at something else.

Has anyone else had this problem? Searching here and googling hasn't come up with much.
posted by pandaharma to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
Best answer: The latch itself actually doesn't control sleep. The switch that controls sleep functions is a reed switch - it's possible that in the drop, yours got bent, and is now triggering without the influence of a magnetic field. The tolerance on those switches is pretty tight, so I don't think I'm just talking out of my ass, here - I think that's a plausible issue.

This page seems to indicate that the reed switch in the TiBook is to the right of the trackpad, so that adds to my case, maybe?

If you're comfortable opening up the case, it's an easy fix. If you wish to keep sleep function, you just have to replace the reed switch. If you're comfortable always putting it to sleep through the apple menu, you can just take the reed switch out, and the tibook will never know the difference. My wife's ibook functions this way, and after a few days of using the apple menu to put it to sleep, you forget it was ever any other way.
posted by god hates math at 9:42 AM on July 21, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks very much. Very glad you pointed out the reed switch as I'm not sure I would have found that on my own. I'll crack the case open and give that a try.

First thing I'll try is a software solution. Have no idea if that would work, considering that my hardware is broken, but if this could force OS X to ignore the malfunctioning switch, then that will save me the hardware work.
posted by pandaharma at 10:27 PM on July 21, 2007

iFixit has really nice guides for taking apart Apple stuff. Find your model and you should be able to browse through the guides to either find one specifically for replacing the reed switch or a more general/complete one on disassembly. Try the logic board, if you can't find the reed switch, since I'd guess replacing the logic board involves taking out the switch at some point.
posted by 6550 at 5:56 PM on July 22, 2007

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