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Apple grilled over iBook G4 logicboard deaths

post #1 of 41
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Denmark officials say they've discovered a systemic power flaw with Apple Inc.'s final generation of iBook notebooks that has been causing grief for users, and they're telling the company it's time to fess up.

The Danish Consumer Complaints Board this week decided that Apple is responsible for replacing at least some iBook G4 notebooks in its home territory after publishing the results of an important study, which it said proved that critical failures in the portables were the product of an inherent defect rather than random failures.

Following an abundance of complaints from owners, the oversight agency conducted its own global investigation and found a startup problem that occurred with an almost clockwork precision. In almost every case, the PowerPC-based iBooks would inexplicably fail to boot up after only a year of active use, regardless of the laptop's actual condition.

The flaw had prompted some users to discover jury-rigged solutions that restored life to the ailing computers; some had gone so far as to use a workshop clamp or a cardboard shim to create pressure that would allow the Macs to boot.

The steady deluge of complaints, and a subsequent investigation by the independent lab Delta, led the Board to discover an easily repeatable flaw: a solder joint for a mainboard chip would loosen with each press of the power button, invariably causing a break in an important connection that would effectively kill the system. The improvised tactics used to keep the systems alive were working because they reestablished the link, the report noted.



"It is a bit like a person dying a little bit every time he breathes because the cells break down," observed the CCB's lawyer for the matter, Frederik Boesgaard Navne. "In the same way, the computer dies a little every time you turn it on and off."

For its part , Apple has staunchly refused to deal with the issue as anything but a string of individual cases. Customers who reach technical support have been told by representatives that their problems are isolated, necessitating a case-by-case repair -- a costly option for most users, who in many circumstances have fallen outside of the free one-year warranty.

To date, Apple has only compensated iBook owners one-by-one when confronted with the findings, according to the Danish government organization.



The newly publicized decision now mandates that Apple accept returns of any iBook found to have the problem in Denmark; the CCB, however, commented that its official opinion should serve as a formal warning to Apple about the problem on an international level. Thousands of users had experienced the problem outside of the Scandinavian country, the group said, and it would be hypocritical of the company to acknowledge a defect in one area but ignore the same issue in another.

"The question now is whether Apple is going to go on denying that there is a design fault in the same type of computer in the world outside Denmarks borders," the agency wrote.
post #2 of 41
LOL's I ran my ole iBook like that for a good number of months.

Cycle to work with iBook and clamp. Tighten Clamp and away you go...

Problem is gradually the clamp must get tighter and tighter. ;-/
post #3 of 41
This is disappointing to Apple but i have seen allot of cases on craigslist where people are selling ibooks with broken logic boards... Glad i waited for the MacBook.
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post #4 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeMacosx View Post

This is disappointing to Apple but i have seen allot of cases on craigslist where people are selling ibooks with broken logic boards... Glad i waited for the MacBook.

It's not unusual behaviour from Apple. They gave up on the G3 iBook and extended warrantee for Logic board failure. But somehow they held out on the G4 iBook, hoping the users with the problem would just disappear.

For some reason we forgive them though. ;-).
post #5 of 41
I have a friend who would bend the iBook over his knee to achieve this same effect.
post #6 of 41
Sounds like Apple needs to step up. They've often extended service beyond the warranty for repeated problems like this. (Which is part of why they have the industry's best support rating, when their leading reliability rating falls short of perfection!) Apple doesn't tend to take that kind of expensive action (going beyond case-by-case warranty service) until a problem is undeniably a widespread defect. That now seems clear!

Apple either needs to re-solder these chips for free, or supply C-clamps for $19.95 handling fee.
post #7 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by OfficerDigby View Post

It's not unusual behaviour from Apple. They gave up on the G3 iBook and extended warrantee for Logic board failure. But somehow they held out on the G4 iBook, hoping the users with the problem would just disappear.

For some reason we forgive them though. ;-).

Yet when MS does the same thing everyone jumps all over them.
post #8 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by TekMate View Post

Yet when MS does the same thing everyone jumps all over them.

yeah it's something to with the brand loyalty thing they got going on...

Even when the f**k you, you're like, OK i'll get a core duo then.

Also Hankintosh doesn't appeal. ;-(.
post #9 of 41
Yet when MS does the same thing everyone jumps all over them.

Because they deserve it for being the turds they are across the board. Apple isn't perfect. Who is? But they don't have to be perfect to be better than Microturd.
post #10 of 41
When i read the I thought Apple was involved in the death of people
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Originally Posted by addabox

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Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox

Being an Apple basher means you never, ever have to acknowledge success.
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post #11 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by trevorlsciact View Post

When i read the I thought Apple was involved in the death of people

Me too!

Weird headline.......
post #12 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeMacosx View Post

This is disappointing to Apple but i have seen allot of cases on craigslist where people are selling ibooks with broken logic boards... Glad i waited for the MacBook.

The question is, is the Macbook constructed any different regarding this area that is the problem for G4 iBook users?



Quote:
In almost every case, the PowerPC-based iBooks would inexplicably fail to boot up after only a year of active use, regardless of the laptop's actual condition... ...the steady deluge of complaints, and a subsequent investigation by the independent lab Delta, led the Board to discover an easily repeatable flaw: a solder joint for a mainboard chip would loosen with each press of the power button, invariably causing a break in an important connection that would effectively kill the system.


The Macbook won't be a year old until November 8, 2007 for any users to see any problems starting to crop up regarding a poor solder joint?

Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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post #13 of 41
I found on of these ibooks sitting on top of a cardboard box on the curb waiting for trash collection last year around this time. I picked it up, found a power supply, plugged it in, and no go. I then took a couple snapshots of it with my treo and put it up on eBay, fully disclosing the fact that it would not boot and would not make the start up bong. . . easiest $300 I ever made.
post #14 of 41
This type of problem is not that uncommon. I've seen it in a lot of products. I fixed a friends machine by resoldering the part. First I scraped away more of the varnish on the trace. Then I soldered the connection further up the trace as far as I could go on the board.

The problen hasn't reoccured.

I even had this happen to one of my own designs.
post #15 of 41
It's not so uncommon in any portable electronics. I've an Akai tape player that regularly breaks solder joints because of flex in the case which has to be taken apart occasionally and re-soldered.

One day I'll buy an iPod eh!

It's odd that the power switch over far right is sorted out by a clamp on the hard disk far left though.
post #16 of 41
The clamp should be placed above the GPU chip on the LHS which is the item for which the soldering degrades. The problem? is it's under the keyboard!!. If you can get the clamp on to the edge of the heat sink you are all right though.

The other method of shimming things under the heat sink has met with some success.

http://www.applefritter.com/node/10193.

Impossible to solder also.

Apple know it is a design fault and they will deny it until they are blue in the face... ;-)
post #17 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by trevorlsciact View Post

When i read the headline I thought Apple was involved in the death of people

Me too!

I Love that thread! It's SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO funny...

Well it's funny to me because I never had that problem with a Mac... I had it with some other portable electronics (CD players)...

Loving Apple, greetings
post #18 of 41
Hey, guess what, this is exactly what happened to me, I had an iBook G4 and it couldn't boot all of a sudden so I went to the marvellous genius bar only to be told that the logic board was dead and that the best I could do was to buy a new one! Nice, Apple!
post #19 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by OfficerDigby View Post

The clamp should be placed above the GPU chip on the LHS which is the item for which the soldering degrades. The problem? is it's under the keyboard!!. If you can get the clamp on to the edge of the heat sink you are all right though.

The other method of shimming things under the heat sink has met with some success.

http://www.applefritter.com/node/10193.

Impossible to solder also.

Apple know it is a design fault and they will deny it until they are blue in the face... ;-)

It's far from impossible to solder, because that was exactly what I did.
post #20 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

It's far from impossible to solder, because that was exactly what I did.

I see I've taken the thread slightly off topic. I was talking about GPU soldering, which also degrades and is a common failure pathway of the G4 logic board. If you managed to solder that well done! You must have specialist equipment?
post #21 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by OfficerDigby View Post

Not sure if your talking about soldering the socketed GPU or not... IF so well done. You must have specialist equipment?

Yes, I do. I have Pace desoldering equipment and hot air surface mount rework equipment, as well as a Weller computer controlled soldering station.

But, for anything other than something like that, a small soldering iron will do.

Actually, if you have a steady hand and a lit magnifier stand, you can do it even withoput the equipment. But, you have to be good at it and not add too much new solder.
post #22 of 41
my girlfriend had this problem. apple sent her a new macbook 2 weeks ago, no questions asked.
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post #23 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Yes, I do. I have Pace desoldering equipment and hot air surface mount rework equipment, as well as a Weller computer controlled soldering station.

But, for anything other than something like that, a small soldering iron will do.

Actually, if you have a steady hand and a lit magnifier stand, you can do it even withoput the equipment. But, you have to be good at it and not add too much new solder.


Hi again, ;-). Lets talk about soldering.., ;-).

Surely, not all the pins of the GPU penetrate right though the logic board ? Difficult.!


_ alliance _. We are talking about iBooks out of warranty not MacBooks under warranty!
post #24 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by OfficerDigby View Post

Hi again, ;-). Lets talk about soldering.., ;-).

What do you want to know?

Quote:
Surely, not all the pins of the GPU penetrate right though the logic board ? Difficult.!

I can't answer to every method of packaging, but yes, they normally do. With the proper equipment, you can desolder the entire chip, or socket, from the 8 layer board, and resolder, if required.
post #25 of 41
I have the same picture, different table, same machine. I was able to easily get into target disk mode so all data was saved. I am willing to have ago at soldering, what have I got to lose ;-)
post #26 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by 382 View Post

I have the same picture, different table, same machine. I was able to easily get into target disk mode so all data was saved. I am willing to have ago at soldering, what have I got to lose ;-)

Be very careful. Several things to watch out for, if you really are going to do this.

Use a small iron (NEVER a gun), 15 to 20 watts is plenty, preferably one with a grounded plug. Make sure it has a conical point, not a chisel point. These connections are very small and almost touch.

Don't linger on the joint more than three or four seconds, that is all they are rated for, or you might damage the chip. You might also burn the thin trace.

Don't use too much solder or you will bridge two or more traces!!! Get the finest gauge solder you can find that is rated for electronics use. Radio Shack often has a fine solder. DON'T use solder with silver, as the temp needed is higher.

Another way to try this is to use a very small dab of electronics flux on the connection rather than more solder. I've often found that it is better.

For connections that are stressed, which for some reason this one seems to be, I've scraped (gently) the varnish off the trace if it doesn't disappear somewhere first, and soldered up that trace. That tends to prevent the connection from breaking at the joint.
post #27 of 41
I've had this problem since late 2005. I bought my iBook in late 2004 and didn't think I needed Apple Care. After updating to 10.4.6 (I think) my machine no longer would start up... so I went to Apple SoHo and they wanted to charge I don't remember how much (too much) to repair it. Since the computer would work fine when I applied lots of pressure to the lower left hand corner I figured it'd be okay for a while. Eventually I went to Tekserve in Manhattan for another price quote and they wanted $800 to repair the logic board. Instead I went across the street to Home Depot and bought a clamp for $7 which worked for a while however the laptop wasn't very portable. After a couple months I tightened the clamp too much and destroyed my hard drive losing practically everything. So I've been working on my iBook like this for the past few months waiting for update to the MacBook and MacBook Pro lines (using my iMac 400 DVSE as a startup disk in firewire target disk mode.)

It's not pretty.

post #28 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by OfficerDigby View Post

Hi again, ;-). Lets talk about soldering.., ;-).

Surely, not all the pins of the GPU penetrate right though the logic board ? Difficult.!


_ alliance _. We are talking about iBooks out of warranty not MacBooks under warranty!


yep, an iBook.
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post #29 of 41
This is plain and simple fraud! I do hope that the EU spanks Apple severly and makes them an example. Additionally, I hope that a class action suit will be filed in the USA to encourage Apple to come clean, The taint of the option scandal is souring the integrity of the Board and now new scandal. Absurd and definitely not in the interest of the stockholders.
post #30 of 41
I can confirm an unsually high number of iBook G4 failures in our school district.

The sounds like a manufacturing defect and Apple should take responsibility for the quality of their products.

One thing I learned from these failures is to always buy AppleCare. The iBooks that don't have it eventually end up as paperweights.
post #31 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by WRG View Post

I've had this problem since late 2005. I bought my iBook in late 2004 and didn't think I needed Apple Care. After updating to 10.4.6 (I think) my machine no longer would start up... so I went to Apple SoHo and they wanted to charge I don't remember how much (too much) to repair it. Since the computer would work fine when I applied lots of pressure to the lower left hand corner I figured it'd be okay for a while. Eventually I went to Tekserve in Manhattan for another price quote and they wanted $800 to repair the logic board. Instead I went across the street to Home Depot and bought a clamp for $7 which worked for a while however the laptop wasn't very portable. After a couple months I tightened the clamp too much and destroyed my hard drive losing practically everything. So I've been working on my iBook like this for the past few months waiting for update to the MacBook and MacBook Pro lines (using my iMac 400 DVSE as a startup disk in firewire target disk mode.)

It's not pretty.


WRG, you so deserve the new Santa Rosas after all you have been through! Enjoy every minute of your upcoming new MB or MBP experience!
post #32 of 41
My iPod with firewire also had the losen solder joint problem at firewire port, now it is useless.
post #33 of 41
Does anyone actually know what the failure rate is? 0.1%, 1%, 10 %????? (link please)
post #34 of 41
Does anybody know if this affects the G4 12" Powerbook too, or is it just iBooks?

The only reason that I ask is because I have a dead PB under my desk that I'd love to bring back to life again!
post #35 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by deej View Post

Does anybody know if this affects the G4 12" Powerbook too, or is it just iBooks?

The only reason that I ask is because I have a dead PB under my desk that I'd love to bring back to life again!

From the look of the things, it seems to be an iBook affair. And I don't remember anything about generalized 12' Powerbook failures. Sorry.
post #36 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by PB View Post

From the look of the things, it seems to be an iBook affair. And I don't remember anything about generalized 12' Powerbook failures. Sorry.

Thanks - well it was worth checking
post #37 of 41
This has happened to me this past February. I didn't know about this problem being a fault at the time and just thought it was my bad luck. I was working away from home at the time and went to Manchester twice that day to try to sort it out, I ended up buying a new MacBook Pro as I figured it was better in the long run than paying over £400 for a new logicboard (they told me they don't repair them they replace them) plus I get a discount on purchases due to me being a student with the OU.

After I saw this story I thought I'd see if they'd repair it not that there was evidence this was a manufacturing fault, I contacted applecare who told me they'd heard of this story and sympathised with me but they officially couldn't do anything but they even told me to basically go for it and push Apple into the repair as it does look like it's a manufacturing fault. I contacted Consumer Direct here in the UK which is a government run consumer affairs department they advised me to go to the store I bought it from (the Regent Street store) and ask them to either repair, replace or refund me my money with depreciation taken into consideration for time that I have had it and they told me not to worry about the warranty being expired but that I could claim that it was 'no longer fit for purpose' under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (you have 6 years from the date of purchase to make this claim). I went to the Regent Street store and politely told them my story and what I'd been advised by the governments consumer affairs department and was taken upstairs where I was very quickly told that they are not allowed to comment on my situation as it is considered a legal matter and it needs to be addressed to Apples head office. I have since contacted the BBC's watchdog program to see if they'll push Apple into action as I think something does need to be done here. I am also now writing to the store to inform them that I intend to pursue this matter further and wish them to please sort this out (it has to be the store as that is who you have the sale contract with even if Apple own the store you still need to deal with the store to start with and then after you've gotten no satisfaction there you can take it further up to Apples head office).

Please don't missunderstand me I like Apple and their products but when it's becoming so obvious that this is a manufacturing fault then Apple does have a duty and responsibility to their customers to sort this problem out and not to drag it out in the hope that we'll buy something new or pay to replace the logicboard.

Sorry for the message being so long but just wanted to inform others in the UK that they have this right to claim if this happened to you. Will keep you informed of any developments my end.
post #38 of 41
Apple has a very, very long history of manufacturing bad motherboards, even back in the days when Kodak made their boards for them. I'm not sure if it's simply bad luck, or ridiculously bad quality management.

I think a lot of it is due to cutting corners - for example in the iBooks the video cable going through the hinge, was never really designed to hold up over much wear and tear, and the lower case on most was never made to stand the strain put on it, the motherboards were attached far too tightly allowing for flexing and lots of damage (which,did happen).

When I took my PBG4 apart, I was impressed with the way they put the machine together, except for the wiring, especially by the hinge - it just comes out of the swivel with no guidance at all. Lame.

Then again, I think Apple's laptops are victims of overconfident owners, not unlike myself. They appear to be rather tough, and are built extremely well in a way. Most PC users I see tend to keep their laptops delicately placed away in a nicely padded case, I have a padded case yes but I tend to have my PB sitting around on my table (or on my lap, depending on whether I'm using it or not), and I don't exercise TOO MUCH special care for it.

It's been extremely durable in that sense, it once had a nasty little drop and the only damage was a dent that I managed to pound out of it. LOL.

Then again, the case doesn't come apart easily o_O
post #39 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

This type of problem is not that uncommon. I've seen it in a lot of products. I fixed a friends machine by resoldering the part. First I scraped away more of the varnish on the trace. Then I soldered the connection further up the trace as far as I could go on the board.

The problen hasn't reoccured.

I even had this happen to one of my own designs.

Can you tell me exactly where to solder the bad connection? Don't know if it's been too long. Thank you.
post #40 of 41
It's not hard to find a place that can do surface-mount soldering. A good electronics repair shop, a community college that does electronics repair classes... The cost probably varies, but for not a lot of money, she's better than new.
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