Recycled Computing

The Apple Patient

- 2010.03.15

12 inch PowerBook with 17 inch Apple display
12" PowerBook with 17" Apple display.

I have taken the time to look over the 12" PowerBook G4 that I am attempting to bring back to life. It may not be pretty, and I will have to take it apart, but I don't think that it is impossible to recycle "This Old PowerBook". (Hey, maybe I could a show on PBS!)

As you can see in the above photo, although the PowerBook's internal display is dead, there's nothing wrong with the video card - it can drive one of the old Apple CRT displays I have kicking around without any problem. The solution to this issue will involve a great deal of disassembly.

I was able to discover some things about this particular Mac: It has a DVD burner and an 80 GB hard drive. However, it only has 256 MB of RAM. I am going to have to buy some more if I want to run "Leopard".

one key is missingThe keyboard is missing a single key, the right Option key. I can live with that or find an old keyboard with a good key - or just replace the whole keyboard. We'll see.

Yo-yo AC adapterHappy coincidence: We were throwing out old power adapters last year, and I got handed anything that looked like an old G3 laptop adapter. This one looks like a G3 adapter, but it has a smaller plug that happens to fit G4 'Books! (I think that it fit the first Aluminum 'Book and the first G4 laptops.) Now I don't have to buy a power adapter! (And my wife wanted me to throw out all the various "orphaned" cords and plugs I have lying around!)

broken battery coverThe most abused section of our old 12" PowerBook is the battery cover and the corner where someone somehow dropped it on something. You've heard of the Oscar-winning movie The Hurt Locker? Well, this is the Ouch Corner.

the 'ouch' cornerThis is going to prove to be tough to fix, as I will have to employ the auto body skills that my brother has and I do not. However, I think the corner can be "tapped" out to an approximation of its former contours. After all, aluminum is malleable. Hopefully the battery will stay in the PowerBook when I'm finished.

I came in today, and the old PowerBook wouldn't start. I'll have to see if any tricks (resetting the Power Manager comes to mind) will revive the old girl.

I took out the battery, and it started up. Huh. Well, see you next time when my "Journey Inside a PowerBook" continues. LEM

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