Apple grilled over iBook G4 logicboard deaths

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
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 Denmark?s borders," the agency wrote.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 40
    officerdigbyofficerdigby Posts: 343member
    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. ;-/
  • Reply 2 of 40
    joemacosxjoemacosx Posts: 6member
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 40
    officerdigbyofficerdigby Posts: 343member
    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. ;-).
  • Reply 4 of 40
    matthew yohematthew yohe Posts: 310member
    I have a friend who would bend the iBook over his knee to achieve this same effect.
  • Reply 5 of 40
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 40
    tekmatetekmate Posts: 134member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 40
    officerdigbyofficerdigby Posts: 343member
    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. ;-(.
  • Reply 8 of 40
    alanskyalansky Posts: 235member
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 40
    When i read the I thought Apple was involved in the death of people
  • Reply 10 of 40
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,167member
    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.......
  • Reply 11 of 40
    rot'napplerot'napple Posts: 1,839member
    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?
  • Reply 12 of 40
    phasorncphasornc Posts: 46member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 40
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,707member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 40
    aegisdesignaegisdesign Posts: 2,914member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 40
    officerdigbyofficerdigby Posts: 343member
    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... ;-)
  • Reply 16 of 40
    cedriccedric Posts: 28member
    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
  • Reply 17 of 40
    spyheroespyheroe Posts: 2member
    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!
  • Reply 18 of 40
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,707member
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 40
    officerdigbyofficerdigby Posts: 343member
    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?
  • Reply 20 of 40
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,707member
    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.
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