August 7th, 2008, 09:49 AM #1
Powerbook g4 1.67 monitor screen burnout?
I'm loosing faith in my trust old PBg4. A thin (1px?) magenta vertical line running from top to bottom of the screen appeared about a month ago. A second (in a lovely blue) appeared to it's left a week or so after that. My monitor is now adorned with 10 lines in various colors and distances apart.
First, ideas about the root of the problem?
Second, if a fix is expensive (especially given that the age of the PB may mean it's wearing out in other ways), could I use an external monitor and keyboard, or do you think the problem will persist on that monitor, as well?
Third, if that's a good solution, recommendations for monitor (it would have to be about 4-6 feet away) and keyboard.
The reason the monitor would have to be so far away is that I have a temporary (I hope) disabling lower back problem. I can't sit up for long in a normal chair, so I use a special recliner. Working with the input on my lap is vital. I am not currently traveling with the lapttop for obvious reasons. I also can't afford a new one (catch-22, not working til I find a remote job) unless I go majorly into hock.
I appreciate any ideas folks may have.
August 7th, 2008, 10:24 AM #2
An external monitor would, more than likely, not display those vertical lines -- more than likely, it's a problem with your PowerBook's LCD itself and not the graphics card in the PowerBook.
The problem is probably located somewhere between the computer and the LCD itself -- it could be as simple as damaged cabling going to the LCD, or it could be as serious as the LCD itself going bad. Tough to tell without opening it up and peeking inside.
If the monitor is going to be 4 to 6 feet away, I would suggest getting a large (19" or larger) CRT monitor -- that way, you can display larger resolutions on the monitor for easier readability. LCD monitors, on the other hand, start looking blurry and muddy when you use a larger resolution that is non-native to the LCD (LCDs have one resolution that they look good at -- all other resolutions are "scaled" and don't look nearly as sharp and crisp).
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August 7th, 2008, 01:27 PM #3
Thanks so much. Actually, I decided to first bring my laptop into a place around here that can diagnose the problem (for a small fee) then decide what to do. If it is repairable for under $300, I'll do it (hopefully it will be). I just bought what looks like a cool reclining chair laptop stand (AirDesk) that I can use from the recliner that has a monitor accessory, should I need one. (Not to mention that it will keep the infamous heat from roasting my legs. I do use a LapLogic pad, but even that doesn't completely do the job. I often used the 12x12 heavy duty icepack I bought for me back under the whole thing: 20 min under my back then an hour under the computer. Works like a charm, especially when it's hot outside and that pack feels great on my thighs.)
But it's really great to understand how the resolution operates differently on CRT vs LCD. I wasn't looking forward to having to lug a large CRT around after all these years.
August 20th, 2008, 09:02 PM #4
Vertical lines are a known defect in certain PowerBook G4
The vertical lines problem is a "well known" hardware manufacturing defect in certain PowerBook G4, one that Apple refuses to acknowledge. Your display will gradually degrade. In some cases, even if you pay to get it fixed, it may go bad again, if the repair isn't done properly. Generally external monitors are not affected. You can post about it in their forums, depending upon what you say, though many posts get edited by the forum managers. Some posts and threads have gotten deleted. Many are trying to pressure Apple into offering a repair program. If you'd like to be part of all this:
Join the notification/uncensored discussion group (& see more advice) at:
Register your PowerBook at
Sign this petition:
Read the exciting (& infuriating) info here:
Post in Apple Discussions. Something non-inflammatory like "I have this problem too, is there any new suggestions on what to do about it?" Here's a relevant thread that's been there for a while:
Call AppleCare, get a case #, and ask them how to file a formal complaint (so Apple has a record of the extent of the problem and is pressured to react).
Leave "Management Comments" here:
Write to high-profile Mac news & blog sites and ask them to cover this story. Sites such as
There are some other suggestions here:
Call and write Apple corporate HQ and Public Relations
Note that when people complain to AppleCare in non-U.S. countries, that info is not forwarded to any central location, so Apple never finds out about worldwide complaint patterns that indicate a defect. Ideally non-U.S. residents should be sure to call U.S. HQ and PR so all the complaints hopefully also get to a central location.
Take some of the steps documented in various pages at this site:
Contact your state Department of Consumer Protection.
Contact the Better Business Bureau
Last edited by jasond22; August 27th, 2008 at 03:14 PM.
Reason: adding info
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