replace powerbook display a go go?
December 25, 2007 10:14 PM   Subscribe

my powerbook g4 15" screen is often incapable of displaying the bottom 2/3 of the display. is it at all likely that this is a connection issue or do i probably just need to replace the screen?

i dropped my powerbook g4 15" a while back and the bottom 2/3 of the screen tends to malfunction and turn into a beautiful (but disconcerting) set of colored vertical lines. i'm pretty my screen his having the same problem as described in this thread

I don't have insurance and my warranty is up. is it worth it for me to even bother trying to see if this is a connection problem or should i just go ahead and replace the display? if checking the connection is a worthwhile effort, is it a pretty tangible goal to try and change the LVDS myself (I feel like I'm tech-able enough to be able to replace an LCD myself). Thanks.

p.s. this is screenshot of what my display generally tends to look like when it doesn't feel like cooperating (which is basically everytime i turn it on)
posted by defmute to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The links from above:

Apple discussion

Picture on Flickr
posted by qwip at 1:33 AM on December 26, 2007

I'm going to take a shot in the dark here, and say that you're probably out of luck. I've removed/replaced the LCD on my G3/G4 ibooks numerous times. It's pretty easy. The problem is, the construction of the Powerbook Cases is totally different - they're apparently glued into a single functioning unit, and from what I've heard, taking them apart without wrecking the crap out of your screen casing is damn near impossible.

If someone had a spare display, you could probably attempt to replace the entire LCD (bypassing the issue of how to get the LVDS cable out of the LCD casing), but unless that spare 15" LCD is just hanging out, that'd probably get pretty damn expensive.

If you really feel up to, I'd say that you could open up the case, and check the connection of the LVDS cable to the motherboard - I'm pretty sure you'll have to have the thing close to entirely disassembled, but it's not like you've got a lot to lose.
posted by god hates math at 5:11 AM on December 26, 2007

Second the suggestion to get an non-working iBook on the cheap that has a functioning screen. Would cost much less than having it replaced by Apple.
posted by qwip at 6:47 AM on December 26, 2007

The same thing happened to me and my Powerbook. Things looked sort of hairy for a while, but in the end, Apple fixed it for the set $300 flat fee that such repairs cost. They'll take it for a week or so and fix it up.

FYI, I thought it was because I dropped my Book too, but while dropping it did cause hard drive problems, this is actually a pretty common problem with Powerbooks.

So: get it taken care of ASAP, because the problem will only get worse. I dealt for a while by only using part of my screen (fun with a 12"!) because I was in school and couldn't really be parted from my computer for a week. But the problem got worse and worse until I could only see part of my screen.

Take it to the nearest Apple Store. Hopefully you can get it fixed for the $300.

BTW, the issue that I was describing in that AskMe question wound up being a miscommunication between me and Apple. I did have hard drive problems, but it was unrelated. They did end up fixing my screen for the flat fee.
posted by lunasol at 7:02 AM on December 26, 2007

Even if you could disassemble the case and replace the lcd yourself, you'd be looking at buying a new lcd, which apparently runs $300 or more. (See, e.g., here.) So if Apple will do the whole job for you for $300, that's a good price. On the other hand, why not put the $300 toward a new laptop?
posted by exphysicist345 at 9:18 AM on December 26, 2007

If you decide to have a go yourself, iFixit is a good place to go for detailed, illustrated dis/assembly instructions. I've replaced internals in my G4 PB by following their instructions, and in fact today might try fixing an iBook with a flaky display (which we think is the connector rather than the screen itself.)
posted by anadem at 12:03 PM on December 26, 2007

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