12" heat issues

in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Just wondering if anyone has had the same experience as me with the 12" PowerBook G4. I use mine in closed lid mode most of the time - external monitor, keyboard and mouse. I've been leaving it on processing jobs, while I work on another machine or go out.

A couple of days ago I came back to the machine and noticed it was really hot, so hot that there were parts of it you couldn't hold your hands on (along the left hand side towards the video port). I also noticed that the fan hadn't come on.

I immediately popped the lid up about 20mm, and the fan came on within a few seconds, staying on full for about ten minutes.

Over the next day or so I observed it, and the fan *never* comes on when the lid is closed - as soon as you open the lid (even though the LCD doesn't come on) the fan come on. It seems to have got to the stage now that when the lid is just ajar like that the fan never goes off, *never* - even when the machine is quite cool again.

I called Apple support, they seem to believe it's a hardware problem - they said they couldn't find any references to such an issue.

Anyone seen anything remotely like this?


  • Reply 1 of 13
    othelloothello Posts: 1,053member
    sounds like the pb is getting confused. its thinking lid closed = sleep (and thefore no fan). though how it can get confused is beyond me...

    i'll check on clare's 12" pb when i get home.
  • Reply 2 of 13
    stoostoo Posts: 1,490member
    It's more likely a software problem (aka bug). If they implemented the fan's control behaviour solely in hardware..


    they said they couldn't find any references to such an issue

    A cynic might say it's part of their script, but most PowerBook users probably don't i) use them much in closed mode or ii) regularly perform tasks that should cause the fan to come on.
  • Reply 3 of 13
    cliveclive Posts: 720member
    Othello(!? ), I'd appreciate some additional feedback, if you have any observations.

    Stoo, I don't think I'm doing anything really unusual with it, just making it work for its keep.
  • Reply 4 of 13
    dazzledazzle Posts: 5member
    I have just sent my 12" PowerBook in for repair it has been overheating on the left hand-sie. So much so that the base wobbles when I type! This has also caused the underside of the keyboard where the space bar is to lift. The technicians say that they have replaced the casing and the keyboard. I am not convinced that the problem with over heating will have been sorted.

    Are there any others out there with over heating problems. Mine gets so hot you can't use it on your lap it is too uncomfortable!

  • Reply 5 of 13
    aquaticaquatic Posts: 5,602member
    Clive that sounds like a genuine problem. However why do you have to use it with the lid closed? If you're going to use an external display and want all the VRAM, turn it on and close the lid as soon as you hear the boot chime. Then after it's started up you can open it back up again and it won't see the LCD unless you open Display Prefs. I love this trick. Also if you need the lid closed a way to get heat out is putting the PB on a glass table.

    Some Apple users are ridiculous. It is a subnotebook with a lot in it and it gets hot DEAL WITH IT. Apple is not going to "fix" anything on it if you send it back. Dazzle maybe you're new to computers but in a Rev 1 there will be problems. You can't do anything about it, even Apple isn't perfect. In the next rev I expect they will change this. In fact my hands sweat when I use it for a while (ew!) But when was the last time you bought a first model of something that was perfect?
  • Reply 6 of 13
    dazzledazzle Posts: 5member
    For Aquatic

    I am not talking about alittle heat this is serious! If I were to use it on a varnished surface it would lift the varnish!

    I have never heard a fan come on, is it very noticable when it does on the 12"? What is a Rev 1? Yes I understand that with the first of anything there may be minor production issues, but this is not minor when it causes the base to loose shape!

    I had a new digital camera that wouldn't focus properly, lots of helpful people suggested it was a user problem. As a professional photographer I new it wasn't and the manufacturer replaced it admiting there was a definite issue. If something is fundamentaly wrong with a piece of kit I am not prepared to live with it, you might be able to do so, but I am not!

  • Reply 7 of 13
    aquaticaquatic Posts: 5,602member
    OK sorry to be rash let me explain. Revision 1 means the first of a line of a product. What do you mean your PowerBook's fan doesn't come on? Mine does when it gets hot. It gets VERY hot you are right. But my PowerBook wobbles on a flat surface even when it is off. I don't think the heat warps the case, I think the battery isn't aligned correctly. This is VERY annoying as well as the heat and Apple better fix it, but we're stuck with it for now. I stick a penny and a dime under the feet and I can make it sit still on my desk. You could use a CoolPad in the meantime. What I am saying is that taking your laptop back to Apple and replacing it will not make the heat problem go away, they ALL have this problem. I don't like the wobble but I don't care enough to send it back for that. They might fix that I don't know.
  • Reply 8 of 13
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    Mine heats up from time to time. Gets a tad hot for uncovered skin sometimes. But for the most part it's okay. I don't think it's defective anymore than having a hot drive right under the left palm.
  • Reply 9 of 13
    mpls244mpls244 Posts: 61member
    I have a 12" PB - the heat is OK except when I have the external monitor plugged in -- and that's when the left palm rest gets nearly too hot to touch.

    Odd that a monitor connection would add that much heat. It gets that hot even when I'm just typing in Word.

    I don't use it in closed lid mode - I leave the lid open.
  • Reply 10 of 13
    dazzledazzle Posts: 5member
    Further to my last post I have found this apple advert that has been shown extensively on t.v. http://www.visit4info.com/watchad.cf...ormal&ver=five

    It clearly shows the 12" on the lap of the tall guy. In the instruction manual it says:

    When using your PowerBook or when charging the battery, it is normal for the bottom of the case to get warm. For prolonged use, place your PowerBook on a flat, stable surface. The bottom of the PowerBook case functions as a cooling surface that transfers heat from inside the computer to the cooler air outside. The bottom of the case is raised slightly to allow airflow that keeps the unit within NORMAL operating temperatures.

    I for one think that the whole purpose of having a PowerBook is not to have to use it on a flat stabble surface, but to be able to use it on a train journey or long haul flight as shown in the advert! If I had wanted to use a computer on a flat stable surface all the time I would have bought a PowerMac! I find the heat is unbareable when I use it on my lap.

    What are your thoughts/comments to the above?

  • Reply 11 of 13
    algolalgol Posts: 833member
    Well think about it for a minute. You have a very small computer. The Hard-drive, CD drive, and battery take up at least half the space inside of it. So all the other stuff has to, for the most part, fit under the key board. Your 12" PowerBook has everything in it, almost, as a 867Mhz quicksilver but does not have the room to dissipate the heat.

    I have a 15" 1Ghz PowerBook and it gets very hot when doing CPU intensive tasks. The thing even has two fans and sometimes the bottom will almost burn you. I used to have a 400mhz PowerBook G4 as well and that got just as hot, although it did only have one fan in the back and not one in the side as well.

    Whether or not you are really having heat problems is hard to say for sure. I remember not being able to hear the fan in my 400mhz PowerBook and getting worried, but I could tell it was on by putting my hand in the back. The fans in the 1Ghz are a lot bigger I think, and I have no problem hearing them when they come on. But, whether or not you are having real problems, you must realize that the 12" PowerBook you have is always going to be very hot when doing CPU intensive tasks.
  • Reply 12 of 13
    1337_5l4xx0r1337_5l4xx0r Posts: 1,558member
    After doing the above startup screen off trick, you might even want to prop up the pb on its edges in an "A" shape. I do this to my wallstreet PBG3 linux server, and it stays _very_ cool because of all the extra airflow around the bottom of the laptop.

    Consider it! Keeping the screen shut is a bad call on a laptop that dissipates heat through the keyboard a bit.
  • Reply 13 of 13
    cakecake Posts: 1,010member

    Originally posted by mpls244

    Odd that a monitor connection would add that much heat. It gets that hot even when I'm just typing in Word.

    The hard drive is directly under the left palm rest. That is what makes the 12" so hot.

    Not the processor (although it contributes) and not the monitor connection.

Sign In or Register to comment.