15" Aluminum G4 "picture frame"?

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Eudimorphodon's picture
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Google is failing me, so...

Does anyone have a link to a disassembly guide that goes so far as opening the LCD frame on a 15" Aluminum G4 Powerbook? The otherwise useful iFixit guides only get as far as unit-level replacement" of the whole LCD-frame-hinge assembly.

I'm pondering the possibility of doing an "iMac Jr."-style mini desktop or "Picture Frame Computer" modification to a very battered G4. The most straightforward way on most machines is of course to disjoint the screen and either rotate it 180 degrees so its back is to the keyboard, or to flip it all the way over so its back is against the bottom of the laptop. In either case, I have two questions, thanks to the Aluminum's unique hinge design.

1: Is there enough display cable in there to make either option (rotation or front-to-back flipping) feasible?

2: Is it possible to retain most of the LCD frame, but remove the blocky part that hinges to the laptop, leaving me with a flat surface on the front of the display housing I can cover with a matting? (With perhaps a little hacking of the back to route the display cable out behind.) For durability reasons that seems preferable to stripping down to a bare panel.

I've seen this done with Titaniums but never an Aluminum. The hinge-LCD frame interface on this unit is already "wobbly" from impact damage, but I don't know if that means they actually are "supposed" to come apart easily or if something cracked. (maybe it's both.) The way Titanium screens are glued together makes me a bit shy of just pulling out screws without knowing what I'm getting into.

Any pointers from an experienced Aluminum gutter would be most helpful. ;^)

--Peace

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protocol6v's picture
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Why not just cut the back of

Why not just cut the back of the display out the size of the sceen and reverse the LCD inside the housing, then just close the PB as if normal?

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iantm's picture
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Having taken apart a 15" PowerBook G4 display ...

it's not easy, but doable. You'll need to remove it from the computer first. Once removed from the computer, you'll need to remove the two little hex screws at the bottom of the front bezel. From there, you'll need an Apple black stick (ask an Apple reseller for one of these), or something relatively small and strong to pry the rear housing from the front display bezel. Everything internal (airport & bt antennas and lcd) are secured to the front display bezel. The inverter is enclosed inside the hinge area.

This is a process that is not for the faint of heart. You will likely hurt your hands doing it and become incredibly frustrated, but it is possible.

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Eudimorphodon's picture
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Woot.

Thanks for the input. I'll have to stare at the thing for a while and think it over from the sounds of it.

I really wish Apple didn't have such a problem with making servicible machines. A Dell Latitude is totally lacking in style, I'd be the first to agree, but you can have one disassembled to teeny little bits in about ten minutes, no prying. Having to take the logic board out to get the display off... grumble.

--Peace

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removing the logic board to remove the lcd ?

I've never removed the logic board in order to remove the display from a 15" Aluminum PowerBook. Just remove the top case, the four screws from the back of the computer and the foure screws holding the hinges to the internal frame. Disconnect the ribbon cables and BAM! - the display assembly is free. (bear in mind that I am assuming that this is a 1.0/1.25 or a 1.33/1.5 ghz 15" pbg4)

As for the ten minutes remark ... with enough practice and skill - you too can have a 15" PowerBook G4 15" to it's bare essentials in 15 minutes or less, iBooks in 5-10 (10 minutes if I take my time). God, I'm glad I don't work that job anymore. My hands thank me everyday.

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Re: Having taken apart a 15" PowerBook G4 display ...

iantm wrote:

... you'll need an Apple black stick (ask an Apple reseller for one of these), or something relatively small and strong to pry the rear housing from the front display bezel ...

Fender Medium and Fender Heavy guitar picks work splendidly, tend to stand up to the task better, and cost considerably less than a $10 Apple Black Stick. And when you're done, you've got something to strum your guitar with.

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re: $10 Apple Black Stick?

Where does one buy one of these pukka Apple $10 black sticks? Mind you, I'm just being a pest, since the guitar pick suggestion is as good as any and better than most. I make my own spudgers (as they are usually called, by me at least) from bits of scrap Lexan I have laying about - I just grind a nice flat bevel on one end with my belt sander.

As for the hinges, why take any of the 'Book apart, just grab the ol' high-speed grinder and whack those hinges off. Err, well, OK, that might be a bit abrupt. Still, you really may not need to unhook anything, you just want to fold the display back under the bottom of the 'Book. I'd start by prying the display back off and take a look at how you could break or cut the hinges to allow such a move, without taking it apart if possible.

Too bad I have zero experience with the 15" AlBooks, unlike iantm, who as the resident AF 'Books wizard probably knows just how much smoke I'm blowing here. Tongue

dan k

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Eudimorphodon's picture
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Re: removing the logic board to remove the lcd ?

iantm wrote:

I've never removed the logic board in order to remove the display from a 15" Aluminum PowerBook. Just remove the top case, the four screws from the back of the computer and the foure screws holding the hinges to the internal frame. Disconnect the ribbon cables and BAM! - the display assembly is free. (bear in mind that I am assuming that this is a 1.0/1.25 or a 1.33/1.5 ghz 15" pbg4)

The critter in question here is one of the 1.5/1.67Ghz models. The ifixit take-apart guide showed the process as requiring essentially a complete and utter gutting of the system. :^b

(Would be my luck I have the hard one.)

Quote:

As for the ten minutes remark ... with enough practice and skill - you too can have a 15" PowerBook G4 15" to it's bare essentials in 15 minutes or less, iBooks in 5-10 (10 minutes if I take my time). God, I'm glad I don't work that job anymore. My hands thank me everyday.

You just sort of miss things like hard disks that come out with one screw, and nice handy "D"s molded into the case next to the two screws you need to remove to take the display off. :^b

(None of this "remove these 20 screws, pry here, here, and here, undo these 13 cables, and yank the motherboard out first" business.)

--Peace

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I've never done a display on a 1.5/1/67 ghz 15" ...

but when I replaced the hard drive on my work issued machine (a jan 05 1.67 ghz), it appeared that replacing the display should be the same as the 1.0/1.25 and 1.33/1.5 ghz models.

I just confirmed with the Apple service manual for the 1.5/1.67 ghz models that the repair process is the same on the 1.5/1.67 as it is for the 1.0/1.25 & 1.33/1.5 ghz models. Just pop the top case off, remove the rear four screws and the four hinge screws. Remove the connections to the logic board and you should be golden.

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Eudimorphodon's picture
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Devil is in the details.

iantm wrote:

I just confirmed with the Apple service manual for the 1.5/1.67 ghz models that the repair process is the same on the 1.5/1.67 as it is for the 1.0/1.25 & 1.33/1.5 ghz models. Just pop the top case off, remove the rear four screws and the four hinge screws. Remove the connections to the logic board and you should be golden.

Feh.

A frustrating hour later I've figured out why the iFixit guide tells you to basically gut the computer to get the display off. For the most part the instructions for the 1.33/1.5 are correct. However, those earlier models have an inline connector in the wire leading to the Airport antennas in the display, which you can disconnect after moving a cable. The bloody 1.5/1.67 is *missing that connector*, which means the only way to get the display off is to disassemble the machine enough to reach the AirPort card and unplug it *there*. And getting to that means removing the motherboard, PCMCIA chassis, etc, etc, etc.

Stupid Apple.

Anyway. The punch line is that after getting the display off I came to the conclusion that getting the back of it off without destroying the entire unit was beyond my capabilities. (That bloody benzel doesn't seem any looser even after *apparently* freeing it along all three edges. Except for the corners, which seem riveted into place, and only produce scary glass-cracking sounds when tampered with.) So it looks like no picture frame for me.

Oh, well. I'll use it as is. Ugly as it is (including the new scratches and dents I've put into the display) the machine is still a vast improvement over my G4-ed B&W as a desktop computer. :^b

--Peace

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so don't disconnect the cable!

Disattach the hinges and see if you can fold the display back under the back/bottom. If it'll go, you won't have to disconnect anything.

just a thought

dan k

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Eudimorphodon's picture
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Re: so don't disconnect the cable!

dankephoto wrote:

Disattach the hinges and see if you can fold the display back under the back/bottom. If it'll go, you won't have to disconnect anything.

I was really hoping I could detatch the hinge, so I wouldn't have it sticking out in front of the display. (It's already loose, but I'd have to get the rear benzel off before knowing if I could finish the job.) The idea being at that point I could put a matting over the front and hide the battered carcass. Having the hinge housing sticking out almost an inch complicates matters substantially.

It's sort of academic anyway since my test fold seemed to indicate that the LCD cable wasn't quite long enough unless you can remove the hinge housing to free up more cable. Otherwise the protrusion means the cable needs to be about an inch longer then it would have to be in, say, a flipped Titanium.

--Peace