Thorough Powerbook checkup suggestions?
July 17, 2004 5:52 PM   Subscribe

Powerbook Repair In Process: I've taken apart my Powerbook G3/333 Lombard in order to replace the AC/Soundcard (and darned if I can't see cracked solder at the solder points). Now that I've got it pretty thoroughly disassembled, I wonder if there's any other upgrades I should take the trouble to do while I'm here.

Obviously I'm talking about things more troublesome tham RAM/HD upgrades, which can be done pretty routinely. In particular, I'm considering cracking open the display and seeing if there's anything to be done about the fact that it flops over all the time... the joints have just about no resistance anymore, it seems. However, this seems really daunting.

And I wonder what other improvements I may not be aware of.
posted by weston to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
I'm afraid laptops are nearly impossible to upgrade apart from the RAM and the HD. Unfortunately, you can't drop a ZIF-socketed G4 or a Radeon in there.

You may be able to acquire a Lombard logic board with a more powerful G3 on it [I imagine eBay or one of the many used dealers on would have something like that], but I can't guarantee it would work in your case with your particular peripheral configuration, and if it did, you probably wouldn't get enough of a performance boost to make it worth the trouble. If you're not already, you may be able to run OS X on it -- I don't think G3 laptops are officially supported by Apple, but XPostFacto might help you install it.

A while back I was looking into upgrading a 486 laptop, and found that there are grey-market outfitters who will remove the old chip and put a more powerful one on the logic board, but that sounds way risky to me.
posted by britain at 7:40 PM on July 17, 2004

weston - those hinges are cast from what is call "pot metal" (read as "cheap"). They could be crimped. I'm gonna try that soon with my 266 mhz "Wallstreet".

You shouldn't need to open the dsipay for this though

[ To "crimp" is to squeeze with powerful pliers, vice-grips, a vice, etc. ]

As for the AC/Soundcard repair - I've fixed about 6 of these. The repair is routine, but use some flux - it helps. You're right about the problem (my bet).

britain is incorrect - you can do a G4 upgrade. It costs $ - of course, but the chip can be had cheaper on eBay. Still a bit $ .
posted by troutfishing at 9:00 PM on July 17, 2004

Response by poster: trout - how can I crimp the hinges in such a way as to help the display stay up?
posted by weston at 9:38 PM on July 17, 2004

You might have to fully replace the hinges -- mine on my Wallstreet were completely snapped off after four years of constant opening and closing. Luckily, they sell on ebay on a regular basis.

You could add more memory, check the processor to see if it'd overheat (a problem I'm having with another Wallstreet we bought), change the hard drive, and give it a good general cleaning.
posted by Katemonkey at 11:49 PM on July 17, 2004

troutfishing is correct in that there are people out there who are doing it; but I work on PowerBooks often and I wouldn't recommend actually trying to do it yourself.

I maintain, this is not like a desktop Mac where the processor is easily serviceable -- but it would definitely fit the stated definition of "troublesome upgrade." Blah blah blah not officially supported blah blah void your expired warranty blah.
posted by britain at 7:15 AM on July 18, 2004

The G3 laptops with the curvy black case design are incredibly easy to take apart. Fear it not, and that includes the daughtercard that the CPU is on (it's also where the RAM sits).

Here's a detailed guide to the whole schmeer.

As far as part pieces to upgrade replace, etc... Sounds like the only thing you need to work on is the hinges. I've never performed the 'crimping' fix, but the parts do indeed sell all the time on eBay.

Me, I have to figure out what to do with my TWO semi-dead Wallstreets. After many years of service, I dumped a martini into the one with the good screen and shorted the screen's backlight... now, fixing that via part replacement, that's daunting.
posted by mwhybark at 4:20 PM on July 18, 2004

Response by poster: Further developments: heartened by comments here, I took apart the display... and discovered that the hinges are possibly broken. It looks as if there are some metal tubes/half tubes that constitute the female half of the joint, and on both sides, they appear to be cracked into a number of pieces.

Photos here, in case anyone wants to view and comment. Anyone know where to get the hinges themselves cheap? Everwhere I've seen so far seems to want to sell the entire side bracket.
posted by weston at 7:24 PM on July 18, 2004

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