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Apple iBook G4 Design Flaw Proven

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the sudden-iBook-death-syndrome dept.

Bug 252

empaler writes "Apple has long denied service on iBook G4s whose screens went black after just over one year of use, denying that there was any error. But now, the Danish National Consumer Agency has released a report proving that the error is due to a design flaw. So far, the only news site picking this up is The Register (unless you understand Danish). The Danish Consumer Complaints Board says that Apple needs to get a grip and acknowledge this error in the rest of the world. The NCA also has some photos from the report (explanations in Danish, but easily comprehensible from context)."

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252 comments

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It's not a bug... (5, Funny)

Hsensei (1055922) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974473)

It is a feature. Next thing you know people will say the Ipod Batteries dying after a year is a design flaw too.

Re:It's not a bug... (0, Troll)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974681)

Yeah, it's a built in Apple mandated reminded that your technology is out of date and you should upgrade...genius! This must be part of Apple's No User Left Behind policy to keep users with the freshest technology!

In all seriousness though, big deal. A few laptops broke and suddenly Apple's to blame? Technology gets old. Technology Breaks. Technology is rarely tested past a year as it's obsolete within a few months. So what if it broke, that's pretty much par for the course. What's more surprising is that Apple managed to go until now without any manufacturing complaints...

Re:It's not a bug... (4, Informative)

brkello (642429) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974941)

Would you be saying the same thing if this was made by Sony or MS? If Apple does something wrong then they should be called out for it. Just because it is currently trendy doesn't mean it can't have faults.

Re:It's not a bug... (1)

jbrandv (96371) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975005)

Umm, wrong. The original Newton had problems that also were never admitted by Apple. The things would power off by themselves. I was always able to get mine to boot but had to make sure that there was nothing running when it was powered down. Just because Apple doesn't admit there is a problem doesn't mean there are no problems.

Re:It's not a bug... (4, Interesting)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975299)

Hey, did you know that when you buy a laptop in Norway, you're by law guaranteed for 5 years?

It won't cover parts that are normally considered to have a somewhat short lifespan, like batteries. But in other regards it is held to the same standard as other household items that are meant to last, like fridges, etc.

Re:It's not a bug... (4, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975495)

Damn socialist countries with their regulations that cause market inefficiencies and lead to poorer-quality and overpriced goods and a lack of innovation...

Oh. Oh wait. This would be good for me.

Hooray Socialist Countries with thier consumer protections!

Re:It's not a bug... (4, Informative)

danheskett (178529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975757)

It's a mixed bad, really.

Why should I be forced to pay extra for a hard drive that will last 5 years if I just need something that will last 18 months?

There is an opportunity (hidden) cost to everything; and spending the money to overbuild something for the job has almost as much or more opportunity cost.

Example: you can build a bridge that lasts 5 years, 15 years, 25 years, or even 100 years. Yes, 100 years. It is feasible. So why not build every bridge to last 100 years?

The answer is because if you build the bridge for 100 years but traffic patterns change after 10 years you've wasted the money. And in 50 years when flying cars are in use (har) you'll be really sorry you wasted all that money on the bridge to nowhere.

So -- moral of the story is that strong consumer protection laws have a specific use, but it isn't always the best possible outcome to employ them heavily.

Re:It's not a bug... (1)

repvik (96666) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975525)

Yup. Batteries are only required to last six months. Recently, it was discusse whether harddrives should be required to last five years too, but I think that was shot down (fortunately).

Re:It's not a bug... (1, Insightful)

flitty (981864) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975327)

Ha! I love /. If this were windows, the tags would be "defectivebydesign, haha", and everyone would be making fun, and parent would NOT be modded "informative". Modding parent informative is silly, because everyone on /. knows "technology breaks when it gets old".

Re:It's not a bug... Planned Obsolescence (1)

Cassini2 (956052) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974917)

The part met the design target of 1 year of survival. This ensures no defects within the warranty period. It did so economically with no extra expense and no extra survival time. These parts meet spec! This is a feature, not a defect!

I have been hanging around the automotive industry to long ... Does it show?

Re:It's not a bug... Planned Obsolescence (1)

Skater (41976) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975433)

Reminds me of the E4OD transmission in my motorhome...it seems like they can be summed up as, "They're a great transmission, until they break."

photos? (1)

ack154 (591432) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974475)

A link to photos? From a main story?

Riiiight. Anyone got a mirror?

Re:photos? (3, Informative)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974577)

I got to the photos before the site got borked.borked.borked - it shows solder traces cracking after repeated flexing - huge surprise.

Re:photos? (1)

weicco (645927) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975871)

So you are saying that normal lifespan of a laptop is one year? My IBM is over 3 years old and I haven't seen any cracking in it even after my dog run over it, normal scratches of course. Note to self: do not buy Apple laptops.

Re:photos? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18974719)

Why not just use the original link? Because you can karmawhore?

Re:photos? (1)

ack154 (591432) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974875)

Ya, so when I had clicked the original link, it didn't work. Hence the post. Followed by your post 13 minutes after I was trying to see them.

Fix (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18974493)

Push that button in the upper right corner of the keyboard, the one with the circle and a vertical line -- then the screen lights up again, and you get the happy Mac face.

Da button.... (5, Funny)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975227)

Push that button in the upper right corner of the keyboard, the one with the circle and a vertical line -- then the screen lights up again, and you get the happy Mac face.
If you stare at that button for a while you will realize that the circle-and-vertical-line symbol looks a bit like a hand that is flipping you a bird. This realization becomes especially irritating right after you have just lost a significant amount of work or to a kernel panic or a crashed window manager.

Re:Da button.... (0, Flamebait)

VWJedi (972839) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975659)

If you stare at that button for a while you will realize that the circle-and-vertical-line symbol looks a bit like a hand that is flipping you a bird. This realization becomes especially irritating right after you have just lost a significant amount of work or to a kernel panic or a crashed window manager.
This begs two questions...
  1. Why do you experience "kernel panics" and "window manager crashes" so frequently when I've never experienced any on the Macs that I run (an old iMac (white G3) running 10.3.9 and an XServe (G4) running OS X Server 10.3.9)?
  2. If you experience so many problems, why do you do "a significant amount of work" without saving?

It's a dry joint. (5, Informative)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974511)

Reflow the solder. Simple.

Incidentally, with the introduction of RoHS-compliant lead-free solder, you will see this more and more. Consumer-grade lead-free is so crappy that it's almost impossible to make a single working board without at least some reflow work. Oddly enough, military- and medical-grade equipment are exempt from needing lead-free solder. Wonder why?

Re:It's a dry joint. (2, Insightful)

tmshort (1097127) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974799)

Exactly... It's NOT a design flaw; low quality solder joints are a manufacturing defect. As systems heat up and cool down, joints expand and contract, and can lead to cracked joints. The lower the quality the solder joint, the sooner it will happen.

Re:It's a dry joint. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18975125)

It's an engineering defect. Whether you look at it as a design problem or a manufacturing problem depends on the constraints (and perhaps also on your point of view). If they are constrained to use particular materials, then the design needs to be such that the system, when made of those materials, doesn't fail prematurely.

Understanding the constraints and setting specific definitions around terms like "prematurely" contribute inputs to the engineering process. In the end, if you release a product that breaks too soon, you messed something up and have a defect.

All of which is fine, if you then respond by revising either the design or the manufacturing process and fixing people's broken computers, which is not what Apple has tried to do.

Re:It's a dry joint. (3, Insightful)

jevvim (826181) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975431)

In the end, if you release a product that breaks too soon, you messed something up and have a defect.

And all Macs come with a one-year warranty against manufacturing defects. Any other measure of "too soon" is just personal opinion. I expect that Apple repaired all iBooks that failed within the warranty period. Apple makes no statements on the useful life of their products beyond their warranty statement, AFAIK.

All of which is fine, if you then respond by revising either the design or the manufacturing process and fixing people's broken computers, which is not what Apple has tried to do.

Got any proof of that wild accusation? Remember, Apple contracts board manufacturing to third parties. I doubt that Apple has sit idly by and done nothing, but that doesn't mean that Apple would have been successful in anything they tried either. Sometimes technique changes (like lead-free solder) give some manufacturers headaches.

Besides, have you heard about this issue on the new MacBook or MacBook Pro systems, which have been in the market over a year now? Seems like Apple had some improvements made, then, if bad solder joints were the root cause of the iBook issues.

Re:It's a dry joint. (1)

Divebus (860563) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975769)

I guess lead in solder gives the joint a little flexibility and tolerates expansion and contraction cycles.

I miss the good old days where you can find a bad part by following the burnt wiring harness right up to it. My current favorite is the chip that overheats, unsolders itself and falls off the board.

Re:It's a dry joint. (4, Informative)

monkbent (856056) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975037)

You don't even need to solder. Just disassemble the iBook (challenging enough!) and put some sort of filler on top of the graphics chip. I used a 3M rubber foot. Close everything up and the bottom of the case will keep the chip in place. I haven't had a problem in the 6 months I did this repair, and have continued to tote my iBook all over on my scooter.

That said, it's clearly a design defect, and should have been fixed by Apple just like the G3 iBook.

Re:It's a dry joint. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18976035)

you sound like the type of person that uses toothpaste to fill nail holes in drywall

A dry joint on thousands of units is a design flaw (5, Insightful)

Morgaine (4316) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975149)

Perhaps people here are not acquainted with the product engineering process.

Engineers take *every* component of a product into account during design, including the types of solder to be used and the methods of soldering to be employed.

Indeed, they may select higher quality solder in order to reduce the requirements and hence the cost of other parts, or they may specify lower quality solder in the knowledge that the rest of the components on their bill of materials can still be assembled to spec and will still work together reliably for the normal lifetime of the product.

In this particular case, either Apple engineers did not consider the effect of their design on the solder joint in question (it should probably have been a far more substantial joint), or they did not specify the right type of solder given the requirements of their design, or else the subcontractors who made the unit used a type of solder different to that specified by Apple. (In the latter case this would be an Apple testing/QA problem, since you *ALWAYS* check what your subcontractors are doing, no exception. If you value your brand name, that is.)

So whichever way you look at it, this is entirely Apple's fault. Design and/or testing engineers get paid for doing a good design and/or testing job, and in this case they haven't. Get the message to them, and they'll fix it --- engineers are always happy to fix problems, on principle.

As for Steve Jobs and Apple Customer Services .. the less said the better.

There's a problem. Get it fixed.

Re:A dry joint on thousands of units is a design f (1)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975921)

Shhhhhuuuussssshhh, keep quiet!

Don't you know your not allowed to criticize Apple here. Next you'll be claiming you've found a bug in the Linux kernel!

Re:It's a dry joint. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18975267)

I tried smoking a dry joint. It was just terrible.
It burned fast, i didn't get much of a buzz, and the taste was terrible.

I thought it was a requirement of entrance at Apple to be able to roll up a good joint. This is just kind of sad.

Re:It's a dry joint. (1)

mrcdeckard (810717) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975485)


i can't tell if you're hinting at a conspiracy theory or not, but the non-conspiracy answer to why lead isn't allowed in consumer grade equipment is that lead is very harmful to humans and the environment. personally, i think that worrying about lead in solder is missing the forest for the trees, but i suppose anything that's more green is better in the long run.

the big problem with lead free solder is tin whiskers [wikipedia.org] . this is why lead solder is most likely allowed in military and medical grade equipment.

mr c

Re:It's a dry joint. (1)

basic0 (182925) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975595)

Ah ha, not so fast mon frere...

I have a G4 iBook with this exact problem. So far I've:

1. Done the "shim" method, taking the case apart and sticking a non-conductive material between the metal shield and the logic board where the IC in question is located. This got the computer booting, but it still freezes randomly.

2. Had a microwave/TV technician reflow the solder points around the IC in question. It still wouldn't boot without the shim. It still freezes randomly even with the shim inserted.

3. Replaced the fan. I thought perhaps the system was overheating. I noticed that I'd never heard the fan come on. I replaced it with a known-working part, the fan still never comes on. The CPU can reach temperatures up to 75 degrees without the fan activating (then it usually freezes).

It's really too bad, because I love the form factor and battery life of the 12" G4 iBook, but as it is, it's unusable for anything even remotely serious (like my job). I've got my fingers crossed that Apple unveils a new Intel based sub-notebook (that isn't seriously flawed) for about oh, maybe $1000 Canadian, then I can wash my hands of the iBook and it's problems once and for all.

P.S. I do realize that if Apple were to release such a sub-notebook, it would probably retail for about the same price as a MacBook Pro ($2700 Canadian) for no apparent reason other than "it's cool". Such is life in our western consumer culture.

Re:It's a dry joint. (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975725)

A lot of ultraportables are in the $2k US range. It's not just for the cool factor, there is always a cost for miniaturization. The ULV chips are the biggest one, they are fabbed & binned for extremely low leakage current. The smaller hard drives cost more per unit of storage. Smaller optical drives are more expensive too. Tighter tolerances and higher strengh materials needed for a more compact case are also a factor.

Re:It's a dry joint. (1)

VWJedi (972839) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975975)

The CPU can reach temperatures up to 75 degrees without the fan activating (then it usually freezes).

Hmmm... my XServe (dual G4's) reports a temperature of 120 at the "Processor Module" and it runs just fine. Maybe your American iBook can't understand those crazy Canadian measurements.

Proving? (-1, Flamebait)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974517)

Call my cynical, but I'm skeptical of a government agency in a socialist country 'proving' a design flaw in a product from an American company. Heck, I'm skeptical of an American government agency 'proving' a design flaw in a product from an American company.

However, this is Slashdot, so despite the support of the Mac fanbois, I'll be modded down by the Gen-Y socialists as a troll.

Re:Proving? (0, Offtopic)

koreaman (835838) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974553)

Apple is based in a socialist country that most of us call California. I fail to see your point.

Re:Proving? (1)

emor8t (1033068) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975049)

In Soviet California, Apple soldiers you!

Re:Proving? (-1, Offtopic)

gen0c1de (977481) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974569)

If i still had mod points, you would be modded up !

Re:Proving? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18975283)

If i still had mod points, you would be modded up !

Which proves slashdot's moderation system workd well. Ignorant and stupid posts should ALWAYS be modded either troll or flamebait, since there's no "-1, retard" mod.

Now please mod this one offtopic.

Re:Proving? (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974765)

Wow, those are some hardcore blinders you've got on. That's really impressive.

the Register article does not make sense (1, Interesting)

microcars (708223) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974523)

"Many iBook G4 customers complained..."

"After regular complaints, the National Consumer Agency in Denmark sent a suspect iMac G4 to Delta, an independent electronics laboratory to have it examined."

So what is it? An iBook or iMac?

Re:the Register article does not make sense (0, Troll)

grape jelly (193168) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974547)

If you would just RTFA, you would clearly see it's an iBook.

Re:the Register article does not make sense (1)

grape jelly (193168) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974597)

You must be new here.

Re:the Register article does not make sense (1)

microcars (708223) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974673)

and if you would read the Register article you would see they claim the Danes sent an iMac G4 out for testing.

My comment was about the REGISTER article.

Re:the Register article does not make sense (1)

grape jelly (193168) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974853)

I was actually trying to set myself up for a private joke of sorts. :P

Getting back to your point, fair enough. However, complaining about some author's clearly accidental typo is something of a pretty stupid point. Especially since the headline, URL and initial reference in the story have it right. It's like me complaining that your first sentence isn't capitalized.

Re:the Register article does not make sense (1)

grape jelly (193168) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975073)

You must be new here. ;)

(yay for burning karma!)

bah (3, Informative)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974527)

My G3 ibook did the exact same thing, and it was also a logic board failure. Apple has had lousy QA for several years now, and as someone who actually LIKES Apple products it's extremely frustrating.

Re:bah (4, Interesting)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974631)

Yep. Same here. Late 2001 G3 iBook developed this problem after about 2 months. Over the next year it went back to Apple 3 times. It was only on the final time that the problem was actually fixed. Had they not taken care of it then, I would have been eligible for a full refund under California's lemon laws. Oh, and the second time it came back to me it had obviously been reassembled by a chimp--one screw was so loose it fell right out, the plastic clips on the case hadn't been snapped back together, and there was a nice scratch on the screen. I love using Macs, but it will be a long time before I buy another one...

Re:bah (1)

mrcdeckard (810717) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975631)


i the g3 ibook screen problem (which was due to a logic board issue) was a known issue [apple.com] . i had a friends ibook g3 in for repair, but the recall period had expired. i spent quite a bit of time on the phone with apple, and got them to halve the price of the repair ($200 instead of $400).

it is getting to the point where it's not worth it, tho. g3's are gettin' pretty long in the moore's law tooth.

it sucks, but you have to remember that apple's market is not super broke people. if you want apple products, you just have to pay more, period. apple believes (as most apple users do) that their products are worth it -- even with the design flaws.

mr c

Re:bah (1)

Gravol (1075273) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975139)

The display on my 1st generation iMac in the 90s did this. Mac replaced it, but when the display on the replacement machine started to go, I sold it and went back to the pc. I haven't bought a Mac product since, but I do like the OS.

Re:bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18975163)

Apple has had lousy QA for several years now, and as someone who actually LIKES Apple products it's extremely frustrating.

I'm sorry if this comes across as flamebait or a troll, it's not. I've always admired Apple products but never could afford them. Now an Apple fan says they have lousy QA. So the question, which I'm sure if I'd post from my own account would get me modded to hell, is this:

If they have lousy QA, their products suck. Period. If thir products suck then why do you buy them? Again, I ask this question out of honest curiosity.

I call bull. (2, Funny)

delire (809063) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974543)

My little iBook has been singing along for over a year with _no problems_. This is clearly just another attempt at spreadi ww W()(())()*** 111||||ww

Re:I call bull. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18974649)

troll? somebody missed the joke!

Re:I call bull. (1)

delire (809063) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974891)

troll? somebody missed the joke!
,Hah. tell me about it. Seems the topic is a wee bit sensitive..

That's not a design fault... (4, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974559)

although it may be a manufacturing fault. It's a solder joint which has broken. Were these computers built with RoHS mandated lead-free solder? There is a lot of concern across the entire electronics industry that the changes required by RoHS will lead to reduced reliability.

This is ONE computer. Is this failure present on others with similar symptoms, or are their other faults modes which can cause the same problem?

Re:That's not a design fault... (3, Insightful)

phasm42 (588479) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974699)

It's a design flaw in that the board was allowed to flex every time the power button was pushed, leading to a broken solder joint.

The article doesn't show... (4, Informative)

msauve (701917) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974887)

where this component is located. Comments here talk about using a C-Clamp (which is also shown in the Danish photos) as a workaround to the problem. A quick bit of searching produces this site, [coreyarnold.org] which shows that the chip is nowhere near the power button, as you claim. In fact, it appears that the power button mounted to a small, completely separate PC board, in accordance with good design practice.

Re:The article doesn't show... (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975081)

Not to mention that the Power button is not all that frequently used on an iBook - most people just open and close the lid to turn the computer on and off (yes, I know it's just going to sleep). If it were caused by the power button, the failure wouldn't be so time-coincident on so many iBooks.

Re:That's not a design fault... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18975019)

By whose definition of a design flaw?

The Danish Consumer Complaints board's lawyer said himself, "It is a bit like a person dying a little bit every time he breathes because the cells break down ... In the same way, the computer dies a little every time you turn it on and off.", does that mean you or I are defective, and ought to be returned to our parents for a full refund?

Things, especially small intricate things, will eventually break if you move them around a lot. This particular iBook model is no exception.
Could it have been made more durable? Of course, what couldn't?
But it's implicit in the complaint that these things were lasting for over a year to begin with (otherwise they'd still be under warranty), so they can't have been *that* fragile.

Re:That's not a design fault... (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974897)

I think the iBook design predates the RoHS requirements.

RoHS compliance... (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975089)

is more a matter of material specification rather than design.

Many component manufacturers have been, over the past several years, replacing existing components with RoHS compliant ones in advance of the actual date on which compliance was required. Manufacturers have similarly been changing over to RoHS compliant components and assembly processes (i.e. lead free solder) in advance of the actual requirement.

In the case at hand, it appears to be an issue with a solder joint failing on a single chip. Might that be a RoHS compliant chip which Apple was forced to use because the vendor had eliminated the non-RoHS version? Might a change from the traditional tin-lead lead ("leed," not "led") plating to achieve RoHS compliance on that chip be the root cause? Was Apple perhaps already using lead-free solder at the time these were being made?

Re:That's not a design fault... (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975243)

What's the point of all these "not a design fault" posts. The customer could care less about what part of Apple's process screwed-up.

Re:That's not a design fault... (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975637)

That _is_ the point. You are blindly blaming Apple, without knowing the cause.

The root cause may be related to a Euro-government mandated change, and not anything Apple did or didn't do. The long term effects of RoHS requirements on the reliability of electronic equipment are largely unknown, but there is a good deal of evidence that reliability will suffer severly. (see here [empf.org] , or here [trafalgar2.com] ) That's one of the reasons WEEE/RoHS exempts military and medical electronics. Might those pictures show Kirkendall voids due to unproven metallurgy forced upon manufacturers?

Expect more "unexpected" electronics failures in the years to come, now that RoHS has taken effect.

I guess (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18974563)

Denmark will be marked -1 FUD by the slashdot apple-fanboy hordes. Because, as we all know, apple is perfection in every way.

I have the same problem (3, Funny)

Whalou (721698) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974567)

I have a problem with my dårlig lodning, I think it's all skruetvinge.

huh (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974605)

I guess my first reaction to this was "iBooks? Who has only had a new iBook for a year? Is that even possible?", but admittedly I dunno...

Re:huh (1)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974771)

Many people bought them 2-3 years ago and they failed after a year, but then Apple refused to cover the failure under the warranty. So they still have the iBooks sitting around on bookshelves, waiting to be ressurected.

Re:huh (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974939)

ah

Re:huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18975571)

My 500 Mhz Ibook, bought in mid 2001, has been in continous use for nearly 6 years, 1 battery and keyboard replacement. Runs 10.4.9 very nice with 384 MB ram.

I expect to get several more years out of it.

Re:huh (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975983)

wasn't really my question, ac

"new ibooks going bad after a year" and the article coming out today implied to me that this was a relatively recent issue, so that was kind of confusing, since I wondered who had been buying new g4 ibooks as recently as a year ago

the other reply to my ponderance was much more useful

you, on the other hand, should have saved the bits it required to do your post

Need a replacement? (2, Funny)

deftcoder (1090261) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974611)

1) E-mail Steve Jobs
2) Get new iBook + all your data hand-transferred
3) ??????
4) Profit!

Repair? (2)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974675)

Can anyone identify where on the logic board the photographed chip/connection is located? Also, can anyone confirm that the connection shown at the center of the photo showing the chip, which would be the bottom right most connection on the chip from that perspective, is the one in need of repair? This doesnt seem completely evident from the zoomed in photos of the joint/trace. My roommates have a number of iBooks that have suffered what is likely this fault, and I would love to get them working again.

Re:Repair? (1)

FerociousFerret (533780) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974809)

Yes, that is the joint in need of repair (bottom right most connection as you said). If you look at the large image of the chip, instead of the thumbnail, it is quite easy to see the crack line in the solder (and it's the only thing that is really in focus in the picture). But I have no idea where this chip is on the logic board.

Video chip becomes unseated (1)

CmdrPorno (115048) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974759)

I recently saw an iBook G3 lose its video for the second time. The first time, it was covered under Apple's silent recall or whatever you want to call it. Now that the "updated, improved, and fixed" logic board has broken (in the same manner), there is no warranty (silent or otherwise) left.

The video chip is a ball-grid-array chip and requires special equipment to properly reseat. The chip in the linked article is one that could be reseated by a hobbyist--I'm not sure if that one is specific to iBook G4s, or if other chips (besides the video chip) frequently become unseated.

How widespread is the problem? (2, Insightful)

rbanzai (596355) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974777)

I support Macs for a living and haven't encountered this one. My own iBook G4 is about three years old now without any failures, but that's just one.

Is there a place where we can see some numbers on how widespread these failures are?

Re:How widespread is the problem? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18974907)

I can't comment on statistics, but I can offer anecdotal evidence: my 2 yo iBook G4 died under symptoms that sound a lot like these. I just had it repaired a week or two ago, costing me almost $300 of my own money. They replaced the logic board and the hard drive (and stole the extra RAM I installed on the old logic board). I'm sort of fed up with them at this point, especially if it turns out that my issue was due to their poor design.

Re:How widespread is the problem? (1)

PetieG (455553) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975051)

pretty widespread... don't pick up you iBook w/ your left hand and the screen open -- it's right where the video card meets the mo'board... google it and you'll find it.

Re:How widespread is the problem? (1)

spwarkell (99109) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975477)

I work in a school district that provides ibooks to all our middle school students. My building alone has 870 ibooks purchased over 3 years (800mhz, 1ghz, and 1.33ghz models). Our failure rate on the whole is about 34%, we send out 15-40 laptops a week, many are returned with replaced logic boards... they may be nice-looking and user-friendly, but from a technical standpoint, they are poorly constructed.

Design flaw now? Try changing the hard drive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18974835)

I have a coworker who was just changing the hard drive in an ibook G4.

I thought he was replacing the motherboard or cpu - he had it totally torn down. So, from a design standpoint - I'd call that a flaw.

http://www.sterpin.net/uk/ddibookg4uk.htm [sterpin.net]

He says tho, they are much better about accessibility now.

E-mail Steve! (1)

rueger (210566) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974841)

Guess the Danes better drop a polite e-mail [slashdot.org] to Steve, and maybe he'll just drop off a new computer.

Just send that note to sjobs@apple.com [mailto]

This is not only happening to Apple (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974973)

With the lead free solder and halogen free IC packaging materials, this kind of faults are happening everywhere, in all brand. Welcome to a brave new not so well tested electronic world.

BTW, anyone knows any regulation of lead for the fishing weight or the bullet? they are everywhere.

Re:This is not only happening to Apple (1)

retrosurf (570180) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975619)

Check http://www.projectgutpile.org/ [projectgutpile.org] for links to lead free
bullets and fishing weights. There is legislation in the works
for lead free bullets in California.

Powerbooks? (3, Informative)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#18974981)

About the same thing happened to my Powerbook, and it still hasn't been fixed. Apple refuses to fix it, because it was dropped about a year ago, and if there is any physical damage at all (so much as a dent), the warranty is void. Since they will only do complete and total repairs, it would cost $1200 to fix.

So, my question: Does this also happen with Powerbooks? And if so, is it something I could easily fix by cracking it open and soldering something? Any step by step instructions on how to do so?

Built-in Expiration Date (1)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975007)

With product cycle getting shorter all the time, is it any surprise that products are no longer designed for durability? How else could companies compelled upgrades required to produce 'record breaking' revenue quarter after quarter?

...upgrading... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18975041)

"On a mac, when it's time to upgrade, just pick it up, throw it away, and go buy another one. Now that's convenience."

Where's the HaHa tag? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18975047)

Where's the HaHa tag we normally see on stories in which a big corporation makes a mistake? Oh, that is only for Microsoft products you say? I see...

OMG!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18975063)

If you put your iBook in a vice clamp it will break! Quick, alert every media outlet!

This happened to my iBook (1)

Richard W.M. Jones (591125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975065)

Screen went black after 14 months (ie. just outside the warranty period). Apple quoted £300 ($500) to fix it, which was almost as much as the thing is worth. For various reasons I didn't pursue this further (work bought me a laptop at the same time, was very busy, etc.) but really I should have gone to the small claims court - any judge would have told Apple where to get off.

The good news is it looks easy to fix. Does anyone know of where this joint is -- the article only shows a very small part of the mobo, and it's in Danish ...

Rich.

RoHS? (1)

CyZooNiC (656901) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975071)

I don't think apple is doing any RoHS stuff yet otherwise greenpeace would not be all over them for trashing the planet.

Re:RoHS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18975535)

Then you don't understand RoHS requirements.

Apple responded to Greenpeace (2, Insightful)

kybred (795293) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975555)

I don't think apple is doing any RoHS stuff yet otherwise greenpeace would not be all over them for trashing the planet.

Perhaps you should read this [slashdot.org] .

Macs Have Problems, Too (4, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975107)

I don't know why this seems so hard to accept. On one hand, there are some die-hard Mac people that seem to refuse to accept that Macs have problems, and refuse to accept that PC's are sometimes actually worth money.

And on the other hand, there are anti-mac people that are excited about this sort of news. That's stupid, too.

But really, the anti-MS and anti-PC and anti-Mac stuff gets really old after a while. Macs have problems, PCs have problems, MS software has problems; I have to say that with this particular instance, Apple supporters seem much more worried about admitting that there is a problem than PC supporters or MS users.

Modding something flamebait for pointing out an inconsistency in how problems with company X are accepted is... hmmm. Silly.

Maybe I am lucky? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18975245)

Earlier this year I bought a iBook G4 (dual usb) for my father and the screen was dead. After going into the Apple Store they fixed for free and had it mailed back within three days. Maybe I am just a special case but I was under the impression that it was a service that they offered for all of that model (dual usb).

Aha! (1)

Archon-X (264195) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975509)

Photos are down, so I can't confirm this is the same item in question, but a few months ago someone with the same problem [video failing due to the solder-ball seating] - had a remarkable fix.. BURN IT WITH FIRE - and it worked again!

http://geektechnique.org/projectlab/726/diy-obsole te-ibook-logic-board-repair [geektechnique.org]

One more (1)

B_tace (802354) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975551)

Count one more iBook G4 here going on 3.5 years without any major issues. :knock: :knock:

Think I just tempted fate and my darling iBook gets the crabs tomorrow :p

Yup. (0, Flamebait)

L4m3rthanyou (1015323) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975629)

I've seen this exact problem with a floormate's ibook. She had had it "repaired" more than once, and it still failed soon afterward. She came to me when the screen died on her while she was writing a paper.

I plugged it into my CRT, allowing her to email the document to herself and work on it elsewhere.

Nice to see reliability from a "premium" company like Apple. I'd like to see how the ifanboys turn this thread into a Mac circle jerk...

Wasnt it the G3? (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975667)

I have a G4 iBook and its been fine, I was under the impression the flaw was only on the G3 dual USB ones, and was corrected on the G4.

I know I myself had 2 G3s fail.

Broke from repeatedly turning it off and on? (0, Offtopic)

DrScotsman (857078) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975885)

The investigation showed solder joints between two components had broken, so a current could no longer pass through them. The breakage was found to occur because the joints loosen slightly every time the computer is turned on and off.

So they burned out the restarting coil [rinkworks.com] ? They should know that's not covered under Apple's warranty.

Damn those are good pictures, (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 7 years ago | (#18975937)

they're just as good if not better than some of the ones used in my NASA-STD-8739.3 class. Of course that was a through hole class.....
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