PowerBook G4 Aluminum 15" 1-1.5 GHz Right USB Board Replacement

  • Author: iRobot
  • Difficulty: Difficult

USB on the right side not working? Replace it!

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Edit Step 1 Battery  ¶ 

  • Use a coin to turn the battery locking screw 90 degrees clockwise.

  • Lift the battery out of the computer.

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Edit Step 2 Upper Case  ¶ 

  • Remove the four Phillips screws from the memory door.

  • Slide the memory door away from the memory compartment.

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Edit Step 3  ¶ 

  • Remove the following 8 screws:

    • Two 3 mm Phillips in the battery compartment, on either side of the battery contacts.

    • Two 9 mm Phillips on either side of the memory compartment.

    • Four 16 mm Phillips along the hinge.

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Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • Rotate the computer 90 degrees clockwise, so that the power receptacle faces you.

  • Remove the three 3 mm Phillips screws.

  • When replacing these screws, you must place each screw in the correct order. Begin by installing the screw closest to the display hinge, and go out from there.

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • Turn the computer 90 degrees clockwise so that the hinge faces you.

  • Remove the bottom 5 mm Phillips screw on either side of the hinge (two total).

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Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • Rotate the computer 90 degrees clockwise, so that the ports face you.

  • Remove the three 3 mm Phillips screws.

  • When replacing these screws, you must place each screw in the correct order. Begin by installing the screw closest to the display hinge, and go out from there.

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Turn the computer over and open the display.

  • Remove the 4.2 mm 1/16" H 1.5 hex screws in either corner, next to the display (a T6 Torx driver will also do the job nicely).

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Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • This step covers the hardest part to get inside this computer. Take a deep breath and think happy thoughts.

  • Grasp the back corners of the upper case and pull up, disengaging hidden tabs on the sides. Do not pull the upper case off yet; you still need to free tabs in the front of the case.

  • The seam is beneath the plastic molding on the upper case.

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • There is one latch that stops you from pulling the upper case right off, located on the left side of the optical drive slit. To free the upper case, you will be pulling a thin metal latch toward you, freeing it from the clasp holding it in place.

  • Pry up the left side of the upper case slightly with your hand and wedge a spudger into the seam between the upper case and lower case.

  • Leave the tool in place applying pressure to the upper case for the next step.

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • Place enough pressure on the upper case to allow you to slide a tool just within the seam between upper case and lower case as shown in the picture. A dentist's hook, push pin, or similar tool will work.

  • Do not yank the upper case off as soon as you free the clasp. The case is attached to the logic board via two ribbon cables.

  • Delicately slip the tip of your tool behind the silver metal latch and pull it forward while pulling up on the case. This may take some effort.

  • Alternatively, you can free the clasp with a small flathead screwdriver through the CD slot. The clasp is 1-3/16 in (3cm) from the left side of the slot. Use the screwdriver to lift out (or press back) the felt lining; then use the screwdriver to pull the clasp (shiny metal) forward to free it from the catch behind it (dull metal).

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Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • Lift the back of the case up and work your fingers along the sides, freeing the case as you go. Once you have freed the sides, you may need to rock the case up and down to free the front of the upper case.

  • Rotate the upper case up and toward the screen, so that the upper case rests against it.

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Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • Remove the orange tape securing the trackpad ribbon to the logic board.

  • Disconnect the trackpad ribbon from the logic board.

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Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • This is a diagram of the keyboard ribbon clamp connector you will disconnect in the next step.

  • 1) With your fingernails, grasp the locking bar on either side and pull up a small amount (about 1/16" or 2 mm).

  • 2) After disengaging the locking bar, slide the cable out of the connector.

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Edit Step 14  ¶ 

  • Loosen the keyboard ribbon clamp by pushing the thin black piece toward the screen, using the tips of your fingers.

  • The black piece is very fragile and easily broken. Use care when separating it from the main socket.

  • Slide the grey keyboard ribbon out of the loosened connector.

  • Remove the upper case from the computer.

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Edit Step 15 Optical Drive  ¶ 

  • Use a spudger to pry up the PRAM battery from the optical drive.

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Edit Step 16  ¶ 

  • Do not disconnect the PRAM battery from the logic board, but simply place it aside, allowing access to the optical drive.

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Edit Step 17  ¶ 

  • Remove the two short black Phillips screws from the right side of the optical drive.

  • Remove the two longer silver Phillips screws from the left side of the optical drive.

  • Peel back the orange tape from the optical drive.

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Edit Step 18  ¶ 

  • Disconnect the large black connector from the logic board and get out from under the red and black speaker cable.

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Edit Step 19  ¶ 

  • Lift the optical drive out of the computer from the side with the connector on it (mind the small metal bracket that pops out with the drive, keep this with the optical drive).

  • Don't forget the bracket when reassembling the computer.

  • If you have a CD or any other object jammed in your optical drive, we have an optical drive repair guide.

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Edit Step 20 Logic Board  ¶ 

  • If you have already removed the display or hard drive, you may have already removed some of the cables described in this step. You may also ignore their presence in the following images; they do not further affect the disassembly procedure.

  • Disconnect the indicated 14 cables from the logic board, starting in one place and moving around the board.

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Edit Step 21  ¶ 

  • There should be no cables connected to the top of the logic board at this point.

  • Remove the following 12 Phillips screws from the logic board:

    • Six 4 mm around the edges of the logic board.

    • Two 5 mm securing the right speaker to the logic board (move the speaker off of the logic board).

    • Three 6 mm with wavy washers in the upper, left corner of the logic board.

    • One 4 mm underneath a black bumper in the back right corner of the logic board.

    • One 4 mm screw may not be present on some logic boards.

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Edit Step 22  ¶ 

  • Two cables still connect to the logic board and must be removed before pulling the board entirely out of the computer.

  • Use a spudger to gently (very gently) pry up the left side of the logic board.

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Edit Step 23  ¶ 

  • Disconnect the DC-In connector from the left side of the logic board.

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Edit Step 24  ¶ 

  • Disconnect the battery cable from the front, left corner of the logic board.

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Edit Step 25  ¶ 

  • Grasp the logic board at the left edge with one hand and at the thinnest section with the other hand. Lift the left edge of the board up to approximately a 30 degree angle (if you don't have your protractor handy, just lift until the DVI port clears the right hinge).

  • Once the logic board clears the ports, slide it out to the left.

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Edit Step 26  ¶ 

  • Important: when you reinstall a logic board, you'll need to replace the thermal paste that goes between the processor on the logic board and the heat sink. Failure to remove the old paste and apply a new layer can cause the computer to overheat and sustain damage. The following steps refer to replacing the thermal paste between the processor and heat sink; follow these steps only when you are ready to place the logic board in the computer.

  • Use a firm plastic edge to scrape the thermal material off the processor.

  • For more advanced instructions on this procedure, see our Applying Thermal Paste Guide.

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Edit Step 27  ¶ 

  • Use a firm plastic edge to scrape the thermal material off the heat sink.

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Edit Step 28  ¶ 

  • Apply a new layer of thermal paste to the copper heat conduit.

  • When replacing the logic board, make sure all cables are routed around and above - not under - it, and to connect the two cables that do go beneath before pushing the board into place.

  • Place the logic board back in the computer, trying not to move it around once the processor has come into contact with the newly-applied thermal paste.

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Edit Step 29 Right USB Board  ¶ 

  • Your laptop should look approximately like this.

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Edit Step 30  ¶ 

  • Remove the two Phillips screws from the USB board.

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Edit Step 31  ¶ 

  • Lift the USB board up and disconnect the orange ribbon cable from beneath it.

To reassemble your device, follow these instructions in reverse order.

For more information, check out the PowerBook G4 Aluminum 15" 1-1.5 GHz device page.

Required Tools

Anti-Static Wrist Strap

$7.95 · 50+ In stock

Spudger

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

T6 Torx Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

T6 Torx Screwdriver

$9.95 · 29 In stock

Phillips #00 Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

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Comments Comments are onturn off

Do you actually need to remove any of the screws on the underneath if you're just replacing a PRAM battery, or a hard drive? Aren't those only required if you're taking the whole logic board out?

Tom Anderson, · Reply

The two "bottom" 5mm philips screws here are the ones closest to the display. (as shown in the image)

seos, · Reply

"Bottom" assumes you have the computer upside down. If you can see the Apple on the front, then remove the two "top" screws...

Kevin, · Reply

I found that the T6 was too small but a T7 worked, with a little push downward to make it sit inside the hex head.

dougcabot, · Reply

I've opened the G4 four times. The official Apple way outlined above is vastly superior to the paper clip method. When you lower the screen side of the deck, a little bit of pressure toward you will easily release the clips. Definitely begin with the back (screen side) of the deck where you just remove the two T-6 screws.

wcwirla, · Reply

This could really use a diagram to show exactly how the clip is structured. I didn't realize the clip was between the front of the case and the back support it attaches to, and it needs to be pried off that back support. (Evil Apple design - would it really hurt to have a screw underneath?). Overall these guides are fantastic! I just replaced a hard drive, and it worked great. And I LOVE the screw guide at the back - brilliant idea!

ifixit611, · Reply

Apple official disassembly guide suggests instead to lift the upper case from the back up to 45 degrees. Then while lowering it back gently wiggle the upper case and it does disengage the latches. No tools required, no risk of bending the case.

John, · Reply

I was able to easily release the latch by putting the spudger in the optical drive slot, and gently prying up. You can see the three holes where the upper case clips in above the drive, and the clips are accessible through those holes from the optical drive slot.

ryan64, · Reply

"Forward" (step 10) means toward the front. I was not able to release the latch this way. However, I did eventually release all three latches at once by very slightly lifting the rear of the cover and pressing the cover back toward the screen.

It is not necessary to remove the trackpad and keyboard cables (steps 12, 13, and 14) to replace the hard drive.

Pomo, · Reply

Quote from Pomo:

"Forward" (step 10) means toward the front. I was not able to release the latch this way. However, I did eveIt is not necessary to remove the trackpad and keyboard cables (steps 12, 13, and 14) to replace the hard drive.

I find it useful to use a big rubber band to hold the keyboard up--put it around the keyboard and display.

colleenthompson, · Reply

I've done several of these before, but today it was a bear to accomplish. I finally did it by inserting a dental pick through the optical slot and pulling forward to release the clip. In case it will help someone else, pictures of the clip are at Devil Clip.

colleenthompson, · Reply

The top assembly for the A1138 model (1.67MHZ high res) does not have two ribbon cables to connect to the logic board as pictured.

Mike, · Reply

If you are just replacing a hard drive, you do not need to remove either the trackpad or the keyboard cables! They will not be in the way at all. Save yourself a headache.

dougcabot, · Reply

I agree - removing the cables is not necessary. I didn't even have a keyboard cable on my machine.

macbaen, · Reply

Be very careful! The clasps holding the black strip are extremely fragile and can snap very easily.

ChrisT4, · Reply

Quote from ChrisT4:

Be very careful! The clasps holding the black strip are extremely fragile and can snap very easily.

In fact it is possible to get to your hard drive and replace it without having to detach this ribbon at all and I would advise that if all you are doing is replacing your hard drive then skip this step.

ChrisT4, · Reply

My laptop did not have the big gray keyboard ribbon but a short white one with a blue stripe at the end. Anyone knows if this is just a different setup?

afido, · Reply

my g, 15", 1.5Ghz pbk didn't have this cable at all. It's short white kbd cable attached to the trackpad, and it's orange ribbon cable (only) attached to the logic board as in step 12. lucky me.

gogreens, · Reply

Yes, the note about skipping this step should be up there, front and center. I followed this step and broke the bit of plastic. Now it's re-fastened with a piece of electrical tape, but I am annoyed because it was totally unnecessary to do that. How do we edit the front page to at least say "OPTIONAL" for this step?

Focus Fusion Society, · Reply

There should be a note on this to say this step is OPTIONAL. I followed instructions as written, broke the little plastic piece, and have taped it back together with electrical tape. But after replacing the hard drive, I see it was totally unnecessary to take this step. It's a high risk step, people should be warned.

Focus Fusion Society, · Reply

the diagram is a bit confusing, and the text is a bit confusing for non english speakers. when it said pull up a small amount, i thought you have to try and lift it from the motherboard. all you have to do is move the black plastic bit towards the screen with your fingernails and the broad thing plastic keyboard cable comes off.

Kiureli, · Reply

My machine didn't have a keyboard ribbon.

macbaen, · Reply

Watch this step carefully! The release mechanism pushes back slightly, parallel with the surface of the logic board. You may want to gently use a sparger rather than your thumbs if you have big fingers. This is a very delicate connector. Work one side slightly then the other. The good news is that it does not offer any resistance.

wcwirla,

The silver Phillips screws are the very devil to unscrew! Must have been screwed in much too hard at the factory. Others have had the same hassle.

AlanTheBrit, · Reply

Note that there is a black foam pad near the DVI connector at the right rear corner. This is not fixed in place, and may come loose. Be sure to replace it BEFORE you fasten down the keyboard tray.

Marty Swartz, · Reply

I only found 5 red screws

nic9, · Reply

It really helps to remove the torx that clamps down the display ribbon cable, located on the display hinge. Removing it frees the display ribbon to be moved out of the way a little when you soon pull out the logic board.

stevesontheroad, · Reply

Quote from nic9:

I only found 5 red screws

Same here, only 5, and also no black bumper covering the 4 mm in the upper right hand corner

stevesontheroad, · Reply

I have "professionals" repairing my PowerBook before and i notice missing screws!!

cbeanenyc, · Reply

to get the orange screws out had to take of the small board (one small black screw), plastic support held by green screw.

denistmv, · Reply

step 17 very difficult to pry up. logic board seem to be sticked to the fan module

cbeanenyc, · Reply

I m stuck here. i had the logic board replaced before by "professionals" at a reputable apple authorized service provider in nyc. somehow the board is stuck to the heat sink near the left fan. i wonder if they used something else than thermal paste, like glue?

what to do next?

cbeanenyc, · Reply

Quote from cbeanenyc:

I m stuck here. i had the logic board replaced before by "professionals" at a reputable apple authorized service provider in nyc. somehow the board is stuck to the heat sink near the left fan. i wonder if they used something else than thermal paste, like glue?

what to do next?

Mine was stuck like that too. I ended up getting a flathead screwdriver and carefully prying up on the edge of the logic board in the back and it came off with an awful sounding pop. It looks like the processor was attached to the heat sink with something that is probably thermal paste. It doesn't seem to be damaged, but I haven't been able to test it yet.

revcompgeek, · Reply

please let me know if your logic board is working

cbeanenyc, · Reply

Quote from revcompgeek:

Mine was stuck like that too. I ended up getting a flathead screwdriver and carefully prying up on the edge of the logic board in the back and it came off with an awful sounding pop. It looks like the processor was attached to the heat sink with something that is probably thermal paste. It doesn't seem to be damaged, but I haven't been able to test it yet.

You will have to gently work the area next to the fan housing... the key is to do it gently, small movements at a time. If using a flat head, (which you should probably not) make sure not to damage the PCB

eric, · Reply

you can also use nail polish remover to get the last of the thermal paste off.

gsj4gsj, · Reply

Don't forget to put thermal paste on the graphic chip.

justmacs06, · Reply

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