Gruesome PowerBook Injury: Broken TiBook Hinge

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Date: Monday, March 4th, 2002, 00:00
Category: Archive

In 18 years of computers, I’ve never had a machine physically break until last Friday, when my PowerBook G4/400’s hinge broke, severing half my LCD from the machine. The LCD is functioning normally: the blue bundle of cables that connects the screen to the logic board is still securely attached, though it is now exposed. The screen, meanwhile, is balanced on the one remaining hinge, not a pleasant sight to say the least. This might qualify as an ‘Extreme PowerBook’, were it not that the breakage occurred during normal use, not as a result of some catastrophe. Indeed, I hadn’t even noticed the break occurred until I opened my well-padded case and discovered it. Close inspection suggests that stress over time and poor design contributed to a fracture in the hinge around the two metal screws that affix it to the case.

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Click the Read More link for more on this horrible tale.


In 18 years of computers, I’ve never had a machine physically break until last Friday, when my PowerBook G4/400’s hinge broke, severing half my LCD from the machine. The LCD is functioning normally: the blue bundle of cables that connects the screen to the logic board is still securely attached, though it is now exposed. The screen, meanwhile, is balanced on the one remaining hinge, not a pleasant sight to say the least. This might qualify as an ‘Extreme PowerBook’, were it not that the breakage occurred during normal use, not as a result of some catastrophe. Indeed, I hadn’t even noticed the break occurred until I opened my well-padded case and discovered it. Close inspection suggests that stress over time and poor design contributed to a fracture in the hinge around the two metal screws that affix it to the case.

This problem is apparently not atypical among the first manufacturing run of first-generation (400/500) PowerBook G4s. (I preordered this machine in late January 2001 and received it in March.) Because the problem apparently requires replacement of the entire screen assembly, no repair shop in NYC had parts in stock, thanks to part shipment delays from Apple. Turnaround from Apple can evidently take as long as 10 days: a very long time to be without the machine! We’re very anxious to hear if you’ve experienced a hinge-tastrophe like mine: if so, hit that feedback link right away and tell us about it. And if you haven’t, take a deep breath before you look at the pictures below.


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