My high end Apple service department….

I’ve mentioned cobbling together iBooks a few days ago.

Adam asked me to look at an out of warranty iBook that had a dysfunctional screen, and another one with dead logic board (magic smoke run out). I had an iBook without screen and without power distribution board.

After a long day I had 2 functional and one totally dead iBook.

One might ask what a high end iBook repair facility such as mine looks like.

Well, ask no longer.

Here you see my hightech repair facility (living room’s floor) with one functional iBook and 3 dysfunctional ones. Well, 2 dysfunctional and one mostly functional.

Mostly functional iBook in process of undergoing hardware tests.

3 thoughts to “My high end Apple service department….”

  1. I have an ibook also and the monitor has been removed and is gone. prior to the monitors departure the computer starte up fine. so i was wondering if it was still possible to boot an ibook without a monitor?

    thanks in advance.


  2. Hi, Cory.

    Depends on a couple of factors.

    Specifically, if your problem is just with the screen, and the iBook itself is OK, you might be able to get it to show video by plugging in a video dongle.

    There are a couple of catches with this “solution”, however.

    For starters, by default all of the software you will use will output to the screen. If you don’t have a screen, you won’t see boot time options from either nvram nor openboot (such as the screen you get by holding down option during power on for selection of the boot device). Some software, that doesn’t support any other displays (such as Apple Hardware Test disk that came with the iBook) will just not be usable, as you won’t see what is going on.

    Second problem is that once you connect the video dongle to the video out port of the iBook, video card in the iBook divides the video RAM in half. So if you had a 32 meg video card, you get 16 and 16 on each screen, but it’s a bit more painful with just 8 meg videocards in the early iBook G3s, as then you’ll only get 4 megs of video ram per output device. That will limit your color palette to fewer (“hundreds”?) of colors.

    If you ever used Sun workstations with a 4 meg framebuffer, and experienced color flashing in X, in 8 bit video, this is what I am talking about.

    However, the first problem is surmountable, at least theoretically.
    Normally iBook’s video is divided into two devices, with the first one being the screen, and second being the video out. What you’d need would be to get into openboot, figure out what your curent output-device? is set to (most likely screen), figure out what “screen” is devaliased to, and re-set the output device to the path to the video out.

    Ideally then you’d have to turn off the internal video, most likely by adding to nvramrc something like:
    ” /” select-dev
    00000000 ” graphic-options” get-my-property foo !
    Note that the above is me doing a bunch of things from memory, and is not correct, as I both don’t remember of the top of my head the nvramrc magic, nor have a slightest idea what property might disable on-board video.

    All in all…

    It’s doable, but it’s a fair bit of work.

    And resetting open firmware would basically revert the iBook back to square one.

    On the other hand, most common problem with G3 iBooks is the power distribution board, as people yank on the cable. And iBook G3s 12″, at least 500mhz rev1, 600Mhz rev2 (100Mhz bus) and 700Mhz, all have identical connectors for the screens, so the parts are mutually exchangable.

    So if you end up with another iBook, that doesn’t charge, or something (eBay “for parts” listing), you can probably just swap parts around, and end up with a functional system

    The process is not complicated, however it takes a long time, there is no warranty, and can be hit and miss.

    Any way… Good luck, and follow up if there is something you want me to clarify.

  3. thanks for your input on this matter. 🙂 seems like you know what is going on. i saw the picture of the ibook spread all over the place and said to myself, “hey, I bet this guy knows what he is doing.”


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