Released in 2003, the iBook G4 replaced the iBook G3 as Apple's portable consumer computer.

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My iBook G4 won't back up?

I have a Time Machine for backing up my Macs. My 8 year old iBook G4 won't back up. I think it might be related to my battery being completely dead? The iBook will work when plugged in, but the dead battery has caused regular problems like my date always reverting back to 1969 (a good year!), whenever I power down. I wonder if the bad battery might also be preventing my iBook from backing up? I guess I'll just purchase a replacement battery and hope for the best.

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There is a small capacitor on the motherboard that holds a charge to keep the date and time correct. It can go bad or simply discharge if the main battery goes dead.

Starting in the mid-1990s, the engineer who designed the controller changed it to reset to his birthday, August 27, 1956. I suspect the chip's firmware has to stuff some number in the register when it reinitializes instead of leaving it as garbage, and it just stuffs in Ray Montagne's birthday instead of zero.

(Ray Montagne also made Control-Command-Power give hard restarts on Macintosh systems - having done great work on the Apple II systems, he brought the equivalent of "Control-Open Apple-Reset" to his ADB keymicro controller for the Apple IIgs, and later Macintosh work, too. Ray has forgotten more about desktop microcontrollers than everyone reading this ever knew, combined.)

In Mac OS X, or perhaps in recent versions of firmware, the reinitialization value is midnight, December 31, 1969, GMT, with a default time zone value of "Cupertino, CA," where Apple is located. I'm guessing again, but I'd bet a nickel that some Unix software recognizes a 1969.12.31 or 1970.01.01 date as "uninitialized" and takes appropriate action, which makes it a more useful default choice than Ray's birthday or 1904.

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