Fixing a Mac PowerBook G4 which Wouldn't Boot Sometimes (In Surrey)
I traded in this Apple PowerBook G4 on 29Sep2012. According to the owner, this Powerbook wouldn't boot up sometimes. He provided 2 grey installation discs to me.
This was the first Mac that I had chance to try and test. I was eager to take it apart and see inside thinking that the power button should be defective for the boot up problem. The alluminum casing was pretty easy to disassemble. I checked the power button. It does not have problem. If not hardware, the problem must be on the OS 10.5.8 that it was running. I tried the Software Update which could not run.
I decided to run the installation disc to restore the OSX. The installation program rejected with error "Mac OS X cannot be installed on this computer." I checked the label on the disc. It has "MacBook Pro Mac OS X Install Disc 1, Mac OS 10.5.2". It appears that Mac installation disc is hardware specific.
To get a right OS disc, it costs $50 the lowest. I decided to install Ubuntu 10.04 which works on PPC. The installation was successful except wireless was not working. After downloading the wireless driver update, the wireless works. When I tested YouTube video, it had problem on gettng the Flash Player. I had no choice but back to installing OSX 10.5 back to this G4.
Although the gery disc could not install OSX, it allows me to go to Disk Utility. I erased and recreated two partitions inside the 80G hard drives. I named them "Macintosh HD" and "Mac OS X install 10.5".
From Windows PC, I downloaded a Mac OS X 10.5 dmg file to a USD drive which the G4 can reconginse in the Disk Utility. I selected the "Mac OS X install 10.5" and clicked Restore. On the Image icon, I browsed to the dmg image. The restore was successful. I started the G4 again from the "Mac OS X install 10.5" partition. At boot up, the installation was successful. I ran the Software Update. This time, it could be updated to 10.5.8. The boot up does not have problem anymore.
I ran YouTube. Video is working. I installed the lastest version Flash Player 10.1.102.64 and tested again. Both video and sound are good.
The illuminated keyboard with ambient light sensor is working. The LCD screen has a 1 cm bright slanted line started from the lower left corner upwards. I disassembled the screen and found that it has a crack on the plastic panel which the G4 should have been dropped on floor because it has a den on the body at the same corner. From a broken LCD screen, I cut a piece from the film which defuses the light to make it less obvious. The LCD screen has 1 dead pixel and a small bright area.
The battery holds charge for 1 hour 30 minutes. With OSX reinstalled, it is running good again. It was picked up by a young man on 3Dec2012.