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jc


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And that makes me a sad panda.
frustration, computer problems, oops
jc
The curse of the dreaded Wonky Power Connector Of Doom has returned to haunt my aging laptop.

Since I first bought my G3 PowerBook almost five years ago, I've been wholly dissatisfied with the connector that supplies main power to my computer. About a centimetre and a half of wire connects the main connector to a similar-shaped cylinder, which I can only figure acts as some sort of capacitor. This second section isn't that heavy, but is heavy enough to stress and weigh down the 1.5cm section of wire connecting the two. As a result, the power cord has to be threaded back about two inches to attach to the main connector, to prop up this secondary cylinder.

Added to this, the computer's socket progressively starts to loosen and wobble inside the enclosure. If the power connector sags too much, the computer loses the connection and mains power with it. This wasn't much of a problem in the early days, because I had a battery to fall back on, but I eventually had to take steps to keep the connector propped up at the back. Predictably, this would worsen the socket's wobbliness and eventually the connection would be lost altogether, prompting an urgent servicing.

Twice now, this has resulted in the fraying of that pesky 1.5cm of wire. There's only so much room for it to maneouvre, and eventually cracks begin to appear in the insulating wire and sparks are let off. Because the thinner wire is moulded onto the power "brick" adapter that sits in between the computer and the electrical socket, every time the thin wire breaks I have to replace the whole section, brick and all. This is A Bad Costly Thing, and means that I'm now on my third damned brick. Worse, the battery has since died the death.

In the past few days, my PowerBook has been spontaneously dying on me. I'll be typing an e-mail or chatting in IRC, and suddenly the screen will flicker between full brightness and slightly dimmed for about three or four seconds before the power manager forces a shutdown, accompanied by the power light blinking on for about a second. I could restart as normal, but I'd lose any unsaved work as expected. After about the third or fourth occurrence, I decided to investigate.

I eliminated all possible sources of hardware intervention first. I reset the power manager twice, and then I reset my parameter RAM. I thought the first measure and not the second would solve the problem, to no avail. I even dismantled the thing, taking out the HD and daughtercard and blowing out any dust that might cause a problem; no effect. Finally, my attention turned to the power connector. Despite it being a bit wobbly, I couldn't induce a forced shutdown by manipulating its position. I eventually decided to try propping the connector up with a folded sock, being careful not to push the connector up so much that it stressed the socket. Damn thing's been on all night without incident.

I really, really am lost to a solution that will not leave me hundreds of pounds out of pocket. (Way to go, Apple.) I am convinced that this problem lies in the PowerBook's power socket not being firmly attached to the logic board. If I even knew what my logic board looked like, and if I knew it was simply a matter of using the screwdriver to firmly reaffix the socket, I could easily get at the secluded logic board if I had the required tools to prize open the casing. I really cannot afford to support this computer financially any longer, if all I'll be doing is paying for repairs to what I consider to be a design flaw.

Considering my current situation, thoughts of purchasing a new 17" AlBook become more urgent. It's going to be a massive loan...

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You don't wanna do that!

Get a 15" pb. They're cheap and cheerful, and more compatible with Other Things. If you want the coolness factor, go for a 12".

Re: You don't wanna do that!

Define Other Things?

Re: You don't wanna do that!

Linux, and non-apple-derived BSDs, should the mood ever move you. Also, the Airport Extreme card can't be sent into promiscuous mode, so forget about wardriving unless you get a 15". Not that you'll miss out when 802.11g becomes widespread, 'cos you've still got a PC card slot.

Two months in, I can say that I am totally delighted with my 15" PB. The only problem is a couple of sub-pixel anomalies on the screen. Remember that the 12" and 17" screens come from a different supplier who apparently works to even lower tolerances, so if you plump for one of them you may return to the era of dead pixels.

Having said that, the 17" does have the *drool* fibre-optic keyboard.

Re: You don't wanna do that!

Ah yes, promiscuous mode. Is that a hardware limitation in the Extreme cards, or something that can be fixed by a firmware update?

And you forget, I'm still living in the era of dead pixels. The 13.3" LCD in the Wallstreet has been known to have about three (admittedly) stuck pixels on occasion, but they went back to normal soon enough.

Re: You don't wanna do that!

I think it's a combination of both + software. Basically, they don't want you having excessive control of the device so that you don't go messing around on frequencies you shouldn't touch, so the firmware must be written to prevent this, as well as the software drivers (if the firmware was fairly loose they'd have reverse engineered it long ago, DMCA or nowt).

So, just wait until (a) an ace reverse engineer umm, reverse engineers it, or (b) the company suffer a bout of magnanimitis and release some linux/powerpc drivers or a firmware change... *sees pigs taking off from Edinburgh Airport*

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