Why would the sound coming from the iBook be very low (not the volume) for a time and then stop all together?
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Hi! Have you tried Apple-F5 to increase the volume? Do you hear any sound at all, even pops or clicks, out of the speakers? Sometimes the speakers can get blown, although that doesn't really sound like the case. Sometimes the sound cable can come loose, although that's not likely unless you've been working on your machine. I've found machines that had bad sound on the board, so it's possible that the logic board's sound hardware has died. The speaker cabling and the speaker modules themselves can also go bad.
I'm curious if the sound settings show that sound is present and all the way up, or if they show that there is no sound hardware available. Once you've ruled out software and made sure the sounds settings are on high volume, there's really no easy answer other than to remove the topcase, and I'd start with unplugging the sound/speaker cable from the motherboard and reseating it, and I'd try powering it again with the topcase dangling so you'll know if you've fixed the problem before you put it back together.
Also, I forgot to mention -- reset the PMU. With the power off but while connected to AC, hold down the power button for about 15 seconds, and you should see the sleep light flicker and then (hoepfully) hear a tone. If you do hear that tone, your sound is working and it's a software issue. If you do not hear the tone, you've got a hardware problem and should probably proceed with the topcase suggestion.
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