The (Lombard) Whine Heard Around the World

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Date: Monday, February 1st, 1999, 00:00
Category: Archive


PowerPage reader, Albert Gatto, discovered a miscommunication between Apple USA and Apple Europe regarding the infamous inverter whine (a mechanical vibration of the inverter transformer) in Lombard PowerBook G3 models.

A European reader posted: I recently had to return my 3 week old PowerBook G3 for repairs because the screen had become unacceptably dull, and was emitting a high pitched noise (power inverter whine). The contrast levels seemed to be down to about 80%, and white showed up as about 20% yellow. 2 weeks later it was returned from the Apple European Central Product Repair Centre, with “no faults found”. Although difficult to see in anything other than a darkened room, and completely useless for design because of the color, apparently the screen was “within spec”.

The dealer told me that unofficially his contact at the European Central Product Repair Centre had said, “some of them go like that”, and that the whine was “not a problem”. Not a problem to whom? As I understand it the noise from the faulty power inverter is a problem acknowledged by Apple, and the high pitched noise is driving me crazy.

My experience with Apple Support in the U.S. has been much more optimistic. I, too, heard the inverter whine on my Lombard 400. After calling Apple Support in the U.S., and going through a regimen of tests, the technician patched me to a senior technician. He confirmed that Apple is aware of bad inverter transformers in Bronze Keyboard PowerBook?s, however the parts were on backorder. Apple will place customers on a list until parts arrive, then Apple Dispatch will contact you for delivery of a box to ship your PowerBook.

So it looks like European/Foreign Lombard PowerBook G3 users better watch out for the “whine” on their PowerBooks. And Apple really ought to coordinate its foreign tech support better with its US tech support.

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