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Battery and LCD panel are failing, can I operate it "headless" safely?


After five years of use and abuse, my old PowerBook is showing its age. The DVD drive, main battery, and the PRAM battery are dead; and the LCD backlight, latch, and hinge are failing.

Because I can't justify the cost of the replacement battery and such, and due to the damaged LCD panel and hinge, I plan to use it as a small desktop Mac, with an external display, keyboard/mouse, and DVD drive attached. To prevent overheating, I would like to remove the LCD panel entirely. This way, I can simply place the "headless PowerBook" upright in a stand, behind an external 17" LCD monitor I have - a sort of "DIY iMac".

However, once I pull the LCD panel assembly out (Via this tutorial) is there anything I need to do to operate it safely without the panel? For example, do I need to make a cover for the back of the computer? What do I do with the monitor data and grounding cable?

Thanks for any tips!

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Great question, one vote up for that. Hoping to hear responses soon, im eager to know the answer to this myself.


Ditto - a second vote up


If one of these answers fixed your problem please hit the "accept" in list that has "History Edit Flag Accept Comment" located to the upper right of your question so we can remove it form the unanswered list. Thanks so much.


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Gewählte Lösung

It should work fine, I attempted somthing similar with an iMac G4 17", and it worked out pretty neat. The computer operated normally, and still thought it was an iMac though. Note: the graphics will not be as powerful, as if they were through the computer's screen, since it is Mirroring video out of the DVI Port(Not a major decrease, but somthing to keep in mind, DVD viewing should be fine) , since it will still think it has the screen installed, and it may or may not show up as a white screen, instead of the Apple with the spinning wheel upon boot, but it will show up after Mac OS X Loads. This only happened the first time i booted the iMac though, after it realized there was no display connected, and changed the preferences. Other than that, it worked fine, and seemed safe. Laptops like this will require a 65W Power Supply to run solely on AC Power.

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Hmm, interesting. I saw similar behavior - with the video only showing up after boot - when I first installed a flashed Radeon 9800 Pro in my Quicksilver G4.

However, the question isn't so much about the OS behavior as it is hardware - I'm glad to hear the video hardware should operate OK, but I'm not sure if having the monitor cables removed from the logic board will cause trouble - the PowerBook has enough glitches as it is.

A side note: the PowerBook in question is using a Radeon 9700 Mobile - quite capable of extended desktop (and operating with external display only) - while the G4 iMacs were mirroring-only. I believe that iMacs didn't get extended desktop until the intel transition, FWIW. On another tangent, the only time I've seen a greater increase in Tiger's speed on my QS G4 was when I maxed out the RAM. It was well worth the $25 Radeon card and headaches flashing it!

My sister has been using the hand-me-down PowerBook for school work after her PC laptop died. Once she gets her MacBook in a month or two, I'll go ahead and remove the display, and let you know what happens!


One more thought - I just recalled the Airport antenna is inside the LCD assembly. Thus, I'll either have to open it up and remove the antenna, buy an antenna here at iFixit, or simply use a USB card...

Are the Airport antennas interchangable? I have an old, non functional Snow airport base station I can salvage the antenna from.


most airport cards at least all of the Original PCMCIA cards, and the AirPort Extreme's (In the last PowerMac G4, and 2nd Gen iMac G4) that aren't computer specific, especially these two

[verlinktes Produkt fehlt oder ist deaktiviert: IF143-001]

[verlinktes Produkt fehlt oder ist deaktiviert: IF143-010]

All use the same antenna connector, I believe the Snow Base Stations use a regular airport card (first Link) that can actually be put in a mac, and removed from the base station. so the antenna conenctor should be the same. If your laptop uses one of the cards i listed, than you should have no problem, and i would reccomend routing the antenna around the keyboard assembly. The first two generations have a standard antenna. and the 3rd revision (1.67Ghz only) has a different connector than that of the PCMCIA, and Original Extreme cards


Do you have the 802.11b Station, or an Airport Extreme Snow Base Station (802.11g)?


Chris - it's a 802.11b Snow. The card's been recycled into my old G4 Quicksilver, but the enclosure is just sitting on my shelf. My PowerBook is the 1.67 Ghz model, but not the very last one (the Hi-res, Dual Layer SD, late 2005 version). In any case, I'm just going to accept your original answer - with the comments attached to it - as this should be fine for when I fix it. It'll take the question off the un-answered list at least! Thanks.


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Absolutely! I had a similar machine, one with a failed display. I chose to remove the display + lid completely - hinges, cables, and all. It worked just fine: If you choose JUST to remove the LCD panel, and leave the frame and cables in place, for better cooling I'd leave off the "lid" and remove the magnet that's associated with the "lid closed" switch. Hope this helps!

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May wird auf ewig dankbar sein.

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