Fixing Your PowerBook G4 15"

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Date: Tuesday, August 26th, 2003, 05:53
Category: PowerBook 15-Inch, User Group

We’ve talked about some of the wear and tear that can occur on the Titanium PowerBook G4 15″ laptops, especially early models. Our friend Troy Kingsbury at Small Dog Electronics has figured out how to repair Titaniums that come unglued, have latch problems, or get scratched so you can finally make your Ti as good as new again. I liked his tips so much I got special permission to reprint it here on the PowerPage.


We’ve talked about some of the wear and tear that can occur on the Titanium PowerBook G4 15″ laptops, especially early models. Our friend Troy Kingsbury at Small Dog Electronics has figured out how to repair Titaniums that come unglued, have latch problems, or get scratched so you can finally make your Ti as good as new again. I liked his tips so much I got special permission to reprint it here on the PowerPage.
Fixing a G4 PowerBook At The Seams
Troy Kingsbury
I’m still working on a pile of used G4 PowerBooks here at Small Dog. I have come into some more issues with the 15 inch model that I thought I would share. It seems that over time and heavy use that the metal titanium that is bonded to the plastic frame can become unglued.
On several Ti-books that I was working on I have seen the top case where you would rest your hands on either side of the track pad show this type of stress failure. To fix this, all that you really need to do is turn over your laptop, remove the bottom plate and the optical drive of your computer and get out a little bottle of super glue (to get some help in taking the bottom case off go to: http://www.info.apple.com/support/cip/index.html).
Rebinding the seams will again stiffen the side that takes the punishment from having your hands type away at those important things that you need to tell people in life.
Another issue that I sometimes see is the latch not catching to keep the lid closed. Sometimes this is caused by having that little button that is located on the top case broken completely off. This is caused by either excessive opening and closing of the lid, trying to force the lid open without engaging the button, or by closing the lid too fast or too slow for the button to engage the metal latch on the display. Apple does not sell just the latch, so to correct this issue you need to replace the whole top case.
It is rather an expensive option that requires several hours in labor to remove the logic board, the display and everything else. However, if you have this problem, I have been able to remove and replace those latches in about 10 minutes from the pile of replacement latches that I have saved from broken top cases.
Lastly, I have often seen PowerBooks with minor scratches and dings.
Usually, the paint is worn off the plastic where your hands rest on the edges of the DVD player and above the battery. To make the paint look a little better, you might want to go to TiPaint and pick yourself up a repair kit to buff up the way that your computer looks.
After that, or if you have not yet worn through your paint, you might want to just take some clear packing tape and some wax paper and design up your own protective “Clear Coat” so that you will not have this issue happen to you. Take the wax paper and lay it out so when you place a piece of clear packing tape on it you can lay it flat on a table. Next take a piece of paper and wrap it around the front of your Ti-book so that you can trace out the slot for the DVD player, the button and hole for the latch of the display and the battery under the computer. Next, you can trace out those landmarks on your piece of tape on the wax paper and center it so that the seam of the tape will line up with the seam where the titanium and the plastic meet on your Ti-book. You might want to trim down the tape so that it meets your expectations.
Taking your time to make sure things look good, will certainly help make the job look better and help to protect your Ti-book from the wears and tears of your busy life. And when you wear through the tape, you can always peel it off and replace it.
Originally printed in The Tech Tails, a weekly newsletter of Mac tech tips and troubleshooting from:
Small Dog Electronics in Vermont.
Reprinted exclusively on the PowerPage by
permission. To subscribe, send your email address to
tech-on@list.smalldog.com.

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