My Poor iBook

I am sad/angry to write right now that my iBook which I bought around June 27th has gone flakey on me in the span of a few hours. I left the laptop on overnight as I always do and got up this morning and used the computer a little bit while I got ready for school. I packed everything away in my backpack including my computer (as always).

I then went to lab and when I finished I came to work. I started using my laptop and after about 15-20 minutes I started seeing weird lines and artifacts on the left and right sides of the LCD. Almost immediately afterwards I saw the grey shade of the pretty kernel panic start to decend over my desktop only to stop about 1/8th of the way down as the computer hard locked.

The iBook Catastrophe

So I rebooted and was recieved by no video signal at all. Freaking out I shut down the iBook and waited before starting it back up again. On the second start I got the traditional grey screen but no Apple logo or NSStatusItem (the rotating thingie). Instead I got those weird lines and artifacts for a few seconds until the computer hard locked again.

I waited a bit longer this time and started it up. I got a normal boot screen! Overjoyed I basked in my amazing computer fixing skills. I got to the login screen, logged in and waited for the desktop to appear so I could get back to work. About half way through things loading I noticed the screen jump once, with the graphics phasing. When I say phasing I mean it looked like all of the even lines of pixels on the screen jumped left while all of the odd lines jumped right. The screen phased a few times along with some black lines along the edges before the entire machine hard locking again.

I tried rebooting a few more times only to find myself in the same position, locking up after glitches at the desktop. I gave in, I called 1-800-APL-CARE. The lady I talked to was very nice and helpful and she tried to get me to reset the PRAM and NVRAM but at this point the machine was too far gone. I would get a single chime and then nothing. Three or four clicks of the HD and it was done. Seemingly hard locking the instant the machine was turned on.

With that information she agreed with me that there was a hardware problem and we arranged for Apple to repair my iBook. So tomorrow a nice box will arrive from Airborne Express and I will ship my poor little isabella to her mecca to be repaired by the Apple gods.

They say she’ll only take 7-10 days to fix and that they won’t mess with anything on the HD. Never-the-less I’ve authorized them to charge me $50 for data-saving if they feel the need to trash the hard drive for any reason. There is probably a 1% that they’ll ever need to mess with the HD but my last backup was on Nov 1 and I more-or-less have everything school-wise on my network drive at Purdue and of course I still have my PC so I’m not totally screwed.

In a weird sort of way I’m happy that this happened within Apple’s complementary 1 year of Apple Care and not 2 months after it expires.

In other news it sounds like my problem might not be as complex as the entire motherboard failing. Apparently in some cases the video chip becomes dislodged from the motherboard:

To help reduce the chance of damage caused by customers inadvertently dropping or applying undue stress to certain iBook models, Apple encourages service providers to place a video chip standoff on the main logic board (MLB) if one is not present.

Adding a single video chip standoff (part #922-6210, pkg. of 10) around the video chip will offer additional protection that may prevent damage when the unit is mishandled. Additional compensation for adding a video chip standoff will not be provided, whether during the course of a repair or not.

Apple recommends placing a video chip standoff on the MLB of the following iBook models only if one is not already present:

  • iBook (16 VRAM)
  • iBook (Opaque 16 VRAM)
  • iBook (32 VRAM)
  • iBook (14.1 LCD 16 VRAM)
  • iBook (14.1 LCD 32 VRAM)
  • iBook (32 VRAM, 800MHz)
  • iBook (32 VRAM, 900MHz)
  • iBook (14.1 LCD, 32 VRAM, 900MHz)

The Thumb Drive

So in addition to the iBook, for the past few days (about a week now), my Lexar 256MB USB jumpdrive has been broken. It simply won’t mount in any machines and it’s little drive activity light never lights up. Fourtunately, Lexar warrantees their jumpdrives for 1 year so I’m also well within that time frame. I emailed their support lines and told them about my problem and was instructed to provide them with a bunch of info and they’d fill me in on the RMA process. Thankfully they don’t seem to want to see a receipt to prove that its actually less than a year old. I think that’s probably due to the fact that these things haven’t been out for more than a year yet ;)