Monday, February 8, 2010...9:30 am

Major PowerBook surgery: how did it go?

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A: Not well, gentle reader. Not well.
After my PowerBook’s power connecter finally caved in, I decided I had to attempt a resucitation, using the handy guides from and Jason’s Screaming Light site.
Not least this was because of goading comments from readers to “Get soldering”. It’s true I had been putting it off – but that was partly because I suspected the project would require a whole day. Not to take the laptop apart, but to get it back together again with no stray components left worryingly over.
Yesterday was the day. Let’s have a look at the tally of costs and benefits.
On the debit side:

  • £15.46 – for components and a soldering iron. At least Maplin got something out of this.
  • 1 x soldering iron burn (not serious) – in flagrant disregard of proper health and safety procedure.
  • 1 x broken Ikea bowl – used for holding some of the screws and bits that came out of the PowerBook. Fell off the table (no real loss).
  • 1 day of my life – well, what else would you be doing on a Saturday? Watching football?

On the credit side:

  • I now know how to take a laptop apart.
  • Er… that’s it.

Because the result, as you can see from the photo here, is that the surgery failed. No cheerful Apple chime when I tried to start it up. No power going into the battery as far as I can see.  The patient died on the table.
Why? Possibly because my operating theatre failed to meet minimum clean-room standards (it was more M*A*S*H than ER). Or maybe wrestling the components out damaged the logic board, or some other critical system. Or maybe everything in that department was fine, but something’s wrong with my soldered-in power supply cable. I just don’t know.
At least I backed up pretty much everything on the hard drive a month or so ago, so I haven’t lost much data. And I’ve realised I can easily swap out the hard drive and put it into an old hard drive casing so I may be able to pull off any extra data from that (unless taking it out has killed that too).
What have I learned?

  • Never, ever do this at home – it won’t work.
  • When your power connector first starts getting flaky, buy a new machine, or take the old one to be professionally repaired.
  • Don’t buy a Windows machine to replace it, they suck.
  • Just wait a few more weeks and Apple will release the machine you should buy to replace it.


  • I can’t say I’m surprised, despite my ‘goading’ comment for you to get soldering. Still, top marks for effort, not that I’d ever be brave (or crazy) enough to attempt such a feat. I will file your experience in the back of my mind for future reference, should I ever find myself in the same boat. Thanks for sharing.

  • No – thank you for encouraging me. Contributions like yours are the life and soul of this blog…

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