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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

12" PowerBook G4 Trials and Tribulations Memory Hard Drive and Migration Assistant

12" PowerBook G4 Trials and Tribulations Memory Hard Drive and Migration Assistant


In my journey through repairs / refurbishing laptops (desktops are cheap and not much wanted anymore) I have been holding this little wonder of a G4 PowerBook 12" inch model for a while now.

Apple created a very nice line of laptops with this series. The 12 inch laptop is clad in all aluminum so it actually feels like you are carrying a good quality bit of technology. Granted this is old in computer terms



Normally when I receive a dead or broken Apple laptop / notebook I really don't have to do much to refurbish them. The iBooks G3's and G4's usually suffer from the normal

BGA issue and either the graphics chip set needs a quick Re-Flow or the IC chip on the G4 need re-soldering. Or the hard drive is toasted enough to need a new one installed and the operating system migrated.

The older Titanium notebooks usually the CMOS battery dies and lockes up the entire system. Will not even power up at all nothing .. and no amount of opt-cmd-o-f or shift-ctrl-option will help with this issue.

The 15" Powerbook's (Aluminum) either fail from the Hard Drives or .. the BGA issue with the video chips as well. And the second memory slot failure.

But this PowerBook has gotten to me.. not only was the hard drive corrupt, but the combo drive was not working as well. Not a problem in my mind when I picked her up because I tested everything out with my iPod (which has 10.4.11 loaded on it FireWire connect and boot) and all of the rest of the systems functions were fine.

This was about a month ago when I brought her home. This was the first 12" PB that I actually had to disassemble (had probably 4 or 5 of them pass through with different smaller issues) I knew the hard drive had problems due to the apple on boot with a spinning wheel. So first things first .. to get what was salvageable off of the drive. Amazingly enough the drive was readable and with the proper care should be able to salvage everything.

Well that was a mistaken assumption. After normal gyrations of booting to my backup drive and repairing the volume and permissions.

Still no joy!!

So now I need to boot to Disk Warrior to see if can repair it that way. Grabbed my fire-wire cable put my MacBook Pro in target mode loaded up the disk and off we went press option while booting on the little G4 it saw the CD drive and started booting. After a couple of cups of coffee and an errand to the store the PB was booted in to Disk Warrior and all of the tests were run.

Still no joy!!

On reboot to the hard drive still spinning wheel. Fine, Replace the hard drive and start from scratch with a fresh drive and a fresh install. Like I had mentioned before this is the first one I have had to crack open. Looking back it was not that difficult to get to the drive just time consuming and tedious. All of the exterior screws need to be removed including the one under the memory cover. Sorry no Tutorial here no pic's did not have the time nor the inclination at the time this was a flip refurb and sell item.

There are 2 hidden screws under the Function 1 & 2 keys and the Function 11 & 12 keys they need to be removed carefully but should pop right back on after the repairs are finished.

After you have the keyboard off there is a myriad of screws underneath that will need to be removed as well ...******* have a clean space if you are doing this with a map of where all the screws came from if you put a long screw where a short one should be you may never get your CD rom to work again. Just a fair warning**** Check out www.ifixit.com if you are doing this.

Finally got to the drive and though it was a simple swap. Wrong again genius (yeah that's me read ID 10 T)

Put the new drive in ... always test before putting every thing back together. booted to my fire-wire drive.. and it won't recognize the new hard drive. Great, brilliant, just amazing (can you feel the sarcasm??)

Pulled the drive put it back in the test assembly .. works just fine .. put it back in the PB nuthin, nada, zip. Either in my futzing with the board or the cable something went south. So much for my flip refurb and sale.

So she went on the back burner till I could get the parts. Not only that it was 2 a.m. and past time to go to bed....



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