My beautiful iBook is working again!


My beautiful iBook back to life!

In January 2002 my dad bought me an Apple G3 iBook. At the time my fastest desktop (due to an unfortunate mishap!) clocked in at 450MHz so suddenly having a portable 800MHz machine was an absolute dream! I can remember when I first opened the box and saw the styrofoam protecting this beautiful white computer folded up inside.

Despite buying many other systems over the years including a new MacBook Pro and a high powered dual core Athlon X2 desktop, I've always had a soft spot for my iBook. I studied for my two major school certificates in year 10 and 12 on it, I did all my work for my first paid computer jobs on it… I could just go on. For almost five years it was my most reliable, dependable computer.

Then one fateful night I lent it to my mum who promptly left it on a soft padded chair covered in blankets overnight, turned on. Let's just say the next morning I got hundreds of brightly coloured lines across the screen, then a bright flash, then nothing. Given it was over four years out of warranty and just out of reach of the iBook Logic Board Repair Extension Program, I figured I had lost this machine for good.

Until now!

Reading a post by Mark Hoekstra on Geek Technique and given the colourful yet gut-wrenching lines the machine had displayed I realised it was probably a problem with the graphics chip.

The problem is, when certain models of the iBook overheat it can break some of the ball soldering on the graphics chip. The more destructive solution devised by Mark is to do what you would expect to do to a failing chip: set it on fire. You can read about it on his post above.

I took the less dangerous approach of wedging something small between the graphics chip and the outer case suggested by people who posted comments on Mark's post. Instead of business cards or sheets of plastic though I bought a sheet of tiny non-slip furniture feet and affixed them to the underside of the inner metal case of the iBook, right above problematic graphics chip, then closed up the case again.

Non-slip furniture feet on case over graphics chip

As unlikely a solution as you would expect, after doing that I turned the iBook on and success! Instantly I was transported back in time to my September 2006 desktop!

My beautiful iBook back to life!

The first thing I did after turning it on was to turn it off and run down to Funan Centre to buy a metal cooling pad with fans. I chose a Cooler Master Notepal so it would match the widescreen version I have for my MacBook Pro sitting next to it. A solid half hour of software updates and a Twitterrific installation later and it was ready to go!

My beautiful iBook back to life!

Isn't it nice to have a family reunion? :)

Author bio and support


Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person in bios. Hi!

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