2012-02-06

Fixing and old iBook Keyboard and more

Repairing and upgrading an older 12-inch Apple iBook G4 laptop.


A great friend of mine had a 12-inch iBook laptop from 2005 - with a broken keyboard.  She asked me to help her shop for a new Mac to replace her old tried-but-true laptop.

Whenever anyone asks me for computer advice, I ask them what they want to do with a new computer.

She told me that she used her computer for basic email and surfing the web - she said the old iBook was great for many years, but that now, with a broken (and dirty and gross) keyboard, it was time to move on.

After thinking about it for 15 minutes with her, we concluded that the best approach was to fix her old laptop.  A little upgrade is a LOT easier than going out and buying a new machine, and then migrating 6 years of data and apps.  Also, the price is a lot less than a new machine.

We went on-line and bought two things:


The replacement iBook keyboard (bottom) and 1 GB upgrade (top, in envelope)

The components arrived in a few days.  Here was the basic procedure:

  1. backed up everything
  2. shut down and unplugged the iBook
  3. removed the battery
  4. popped off the keyboard (sliding two levers in the corner is all it takes!)
  5. popped in the new RAM, which is situated under the keyboard
  6. Unplugged the old keyboard, plugged the new one in and snapped it in place
  7. Reinstalled the battery.  Done!

In all, it took less than 10 minutes to upgrade the iBook.

My friend ended up with an incrementally faster computer at a very low cost and with very low stress.  She did not end up with a new, fast-as-lightning computer or a hole in her pocket.

I loved this upgrade because the cost, effort, and result couldn't be beat:
  • A very clean looking laptop with a working keyboard
  • A faster laptop, thanks to the additional memory
  • Her same programs and files, in same location - NO confusion!
And I had:
  • An easy 15 minute upgrade
  • No stress helping her buy a new computer
  • No heavy lifting moving the data to a new computer
  • No additional "support" calls

In short, these old iBooks are still useful little computers.  And with a little effort, you can keep them ticking for several more years to come.

The Repaired and Upgraded iBook: Looking great, running great!

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