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PowerBook 1400 Restoration: Redux


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Earlier this year, I put a lot of time and effort into the recap and restoration of my 1400. Documenting it was part of the fun, for others to be able to learn from steps that I took and things that I found out.

Well, the great crash wiped out my entire thread, and there appear to be no snapshots anywhere. Instead of recreating my thread, I decided to redo the entire project over again! This time, @Rick Dangerous has sent me his 1400 to have its caps replaced and battery rebuilt. I figured it would be a great way to not only recreate my efforts, but also to illustrate and highlight some things I have learned since, such as disassembling the LCD further to more easily access the caps there.

Stay tuned. I disassembled it last night to get the logic board out, and the caps have already arrived. I should have photos up in the evening. Also to come are an IDE to SD adapter, PRAM battery replacement, and main battery rebuild.


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Good luck with the restoration! I’m looking to rebuild my 1400 battery at some point in the future and I’m interested to see how you end up doing it.


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I'm super curious about that battery rebuild! I have three different 1400 battery packs that need new cells but I've never been able to pin down the right ones (17670 IIRC) from a reputable seller.


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Alright, I will get this started. So, our subject here is @Rick Dangerous ' 1400c. The usual cracks, and unfortunately no one has a solution yet to address that. It is in great shape otherwise, physically:


For the sake of saving space, and brevity, I will omit the steps everyone knows of removing the speaker grill and popping up the keyboard. Once those are up and out, the processor heat sink is the next piece to remove. There are six screws, two long and four short, which need to be removed:


Once that is out of the way, the next thing I do is remove the little shield for the display cables. This lays on top of the two standoffs at the rear of the processor. It usually has a little adhesive, so use a small tool to help pop it out and then lay it on its side. You can do this part at any time before taking off the screen, but I usually forget it so I will do it first:


Removal of the hard drive is then a very simple procedure: there are two screws at the right side of the bracket. Once they are removed, you can pry up the drive caddy from the right side. Be careful: the drive is connected via a very short IDE cable that has no slack whatsoever. So, once the drive is up, you have to almost pull the drive away laterally to make sure you don't tear the cable or bend pins.


Next, you'll want to pop off the screen hinge clutch end covers. With how old these machines are, it is virtually impossible to do this without the tiny little tabs underneath them breaking off. Thankfully, this is not an issue because the cover stays in place very well through simple friction with the rest of the body. You can see in the next photo the covers off at the side:


Once those are off, removal of the center hinge cover is next. Make sure the screen is all the way back, but also support it with something underneath so that it is not just hanging free. The technique here is to use a plastic pry tool to lift one end up, freeing the retaining tab on one side:


Then, work the tool in the other side closer to the center, and start to pry up. The piece should pop up and out, and you can remove it. Don't be surprised if it takes a little work, it is stuck in there pretty good. I also have never yet had any of these covers break a clip, so don't worry if you are having to use a little force to finagle it out.


Underneath that cover is a metal shield that protects the display cables. Simply unscrew the middle screw, lift and remove the screw and the shield.


The two cables are pretty tightly pressed into their sockets. Start working them out with a pry tool, one side at a time, and then pull them out.


Lastly, to remove the screen by taking out the four screws from the clutches and the body. Then take off the screen and place it aside:



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For disassembly of the body, start with removal of all cards: video (if so equipped), RAM modules, and the processor. All of these are very easy: they simply pop right out: no need for photos to illustrate. Some are male, some female connectors, so be sure to align them properly when replacing:


Next, pry off the video port slot cover (if equipped) or the blank cover from the port bay on the rear of the machine (Rick's had the video card installed, so that is what is pictured here). If there is a card, once the cover is off, you will see two screws securing the port. Remove and save these for reinstallation later:


Next, locate and remove the speaker wire, which is in the upper-left corner near where the processor was located prior to removal:


After that, removal of the trackpad cable is necessary. Locate it by the ferrite ring that is around the cable inside a little space behind where the trackpad is. Pull that up and out along with the cable:


This one, unlike removal of the keyboard cable, is not just by pulling out. There is a retaining mechanism built into the port. Be sure to lift these tabs prior to pulling the wire. This is difficult due to the plastic around the port; use a pry tool to try and get a good angle on it, and then remove the cable:


The next step is removal of the rear screws. These are covered by blank adhesive circular covers. Some people don't care about these, but I like the original look. The best way to save these I have found involves first getting any kind of smooth adhesive backing from tape, rubber squares, etc (I used the backing from adhesive foam this time). Next, use a brand new Xacto #11 blade, and push in at the extreme edge of the cover. Work the tip under, progressively flattening your angle of insertion out to get the blade underneath the cover progressively. Ince you have brought it up enough, pop it off, and then place it adhesive-down on the backing. This way, you will save the adhesive and can re-stick it when you are done.


To remove the top case cover, you need to remove all the screws in the battery/expansion bay as well. Those are all seen here:


Just a quick plug for neatness: with all this stuff liable to wind up all over the place, buy yourself some little bags and organize everything. It saves a ton of headache later on. Store the removed modules in anti-static bags if you have them:


I also realized that I neglected to mention removal of the rear feet. This is simple: one screw each, take them out.

The Apple Service Guide explains well the next step: removal of the tope half of the case. As I illustrate, put your thumbs on the ADB port housing, and other fingers on the rear of the case. Using your thumbs as a lever, push on the ADB housing and pry up with your fingers, and the case half should just pop off, and you can remove it easily.


Now, we have the logic board laid bare inside the case. You could technically get away with recapping at this point, but I find it too possible to melt the case with the soldering iron by accident. I have pointed out three things - the PC Card Eject Card (which we will remove), the four standoffs and screw that need to be removed to take out the logic board, and, finally, the capacitors that we will be replacing:

IMG_5769 (edited) .jpg

So, first, the removl of the PC Card eject switch: Not complex, just pull up, but it is usually held in place by some Locktite, so expect some resistance:


Here is a closer photo of the four standoffs and screw. If you have a mini-nut driver to remove these, then awesome. I use pliers because I don't have one that small:


Once those are removed, slide out the logic board up and toward you to remove. There may be a little finagling over by the PC card door to do, so just be careful as you remove it:


...and that is it for removal! Next post will be about the recap job.


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Ok, so the recap part is very short: this isn't a recapping tutorial, so I'm not going to get into details there. Essentially, I use the "twist and remove" method, because desoldering each is very tough. There was some dried crud underneath each of them. Thankfully, not too much was there and it was easy to clean. After desoldering the legs and cleaning the pads, it came out pretty well. You can see the crud in these two pictures:


Once they were all cleaned up and old leads taken off, it looked pretty good:


The last thing I do (and this is optional, and only if you are comfortable doing so): the little blob of glue that the factory uses to adhere the caps, it gets in the way of the new ones sitting well. So, my only way of removing it is using a flat Xacto and scraping the bloc off. It is dangerous if you are not experienced and don't have a steady hand:


Then, to make it brief....the recap went well! Tada!:



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Oh boy, they were actually starting to leak. I really don't want to have to recap my 1400c anytime soon. I really need to start getting good at replacing these if I want to keep my PowerBooks working. Great job on the recap, my first attempt ended up working (sort of), but it was a crazy hackjob because I just don't have good enough tools yet. Great write up on this!


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After working on the logic board, the PRAM battery is right there, so it is easy to rebuild it next. The battery is simply two rechargeable lithium cells linked together. Here is the type of cell, already with leads tacked on to make the build simpler:

Now, when I got to @Rick Dangerous PRAM battery, I noticed that two of the three wires were broken off. Not sure how or when this happened, or if it was causing any issues at all previously, but a repair is in order. First, flip the upper half of the bottom case over (the part that contains the trackpad). Below is the location and removal of the battery. It is the oblong, sounded shape below and to the right. Why there is a mirror image slot for a battery on the other side, I have yet to figure out. The first thing to do is to remove the metal shield over the trackpad, as seen in the lower middle. Simply take off the two screws and remove the shield:


As seen here, removal of the shield reveals a multiple connector ribbon cable. The PRAM battery connects to the connector nearest to it, as seen in the center of this photo:


Disconnect the connector underneath, then take out the two screws holding down the PRAM battery case:


As mentioned, Rick's battery had its wires broken off. Was it a defect during manufacturing? Has someone else already been in here previously? Your guess is as good as mine.


The next step (and be careful here) is to finagle the other end of the wires out under the metal shield. The shield is held down by plastic posts, so there is only so much you can bend it, so be careful. Only a little bit of prying will allow you to pull the wire down and out, going around the screw boss for the battery cover:


With the battery removed, you can just pry it out of the cover, and rip the electrical tape off of it. You won't be hurting anything. In the next photo, you can see the original battery is the two cells together, and at the top of the photo are the two replacement cells. We will have to assemble them together to make one battery. With only decent soldering skills, you can pull this off: the important thing is to not keep the iron in contact with the leads for too long, overheating the batteries.


Personally, I would take photos of the battery before disassembly, as it would be easy to get confused. The battery is basically one side attached + of one cell to - of the other, with the common white lead. The other side is the individual wires: red to the positive of the one cell, black to the negative of the other. Rick's needed some repair: I stripped off the insulation from the connectors and resoldered the wires. You can do this many different ways, but I find the metal tabs VERY difficult to cut, so I wind up just ripping them off with pliers. Assembling the other two new cells just requires bending and lining up the tabs together and soldering them together on one side. On the other, I fold the tabs on top of the tabs I took from the other cells and solder them together in a sandwich. Sandwich them together with a generous smount of flux, then load a blob of solder on your iron, and let the solder just wick into the joint where the flux is. This keeps the heat away from the cell and heats for only a short time. See the following photos:


The side where the cells are connected with the white wire (the tab broke off, so I just soldered the rest of the connector directly to the cell tabs)


The other side, with individual leads and repaired wires:


Once this is done, finish this off coating each side with electrical tape. I use the thin, plastic stuff, but the usual rubber stuff will work as well. Just make sure it will fit back into the battery cover. My photo does NOT show the tape, but I was just illustrating how to snake the cable back in under the metal shield:


Here it is finished and reassembled. Remember to put back the metal shield over the underside of the trackpad when you are done:



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While I was working on the main part of the machine, I figured I'd address replacing the HD with an IDE to SD adapter. First thing was copying RIck's stuff over. I cannot say enough good things about NewerTech's universal drive adapter. It is like a Swiss Army Knife for mounting bare drives. The HD mounted on my Mac Mini no problem, and I was able to image it:


After that, it was easy to just copy everything over to the SD card. After placing it in the IDE converter, I stuck some double sided foam mounting tape on the converter to secure it in the HD bay. I would recommend attaching it to the IDE cable first, then attaching it. If you attach it first, you run the risk of overstretching the IDE cable if you mount the drive too far away:


You can see that it fits well, and doesn't take up even 1/4 the room of the HD. Next up will be the replacement of the LCD caps.



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Putting that aside for now, I turned to the screen assembly. It is fairly simple to disassemble. First, make sure that the sliding cover is taken off. Next, remove the screws from underneath the sliding cover on the back side. Removal of the screw covers on the front are the same as those illustrated earlier for the back of the case.


Next is to pry the two halves of the screen case apart from each other. The Apple Repair Guide explains how to do this with text, but it is difficult to visualize. There are many small tabs that can be broken off (I know, I did that to mine!), What you have to do is insert a plastic pry tool into one side of the display, and pry the back of the case out away from the front. The way the plastic is, it would appear to be the opposite way, but it is not, and the guide really doesn't explain which to pry. Once you do, the front panel should just pop away from the rear. Do this on both the left and right sides. For the top, do the same and release these tiny clips. After all three sides are free, the bottom where the hinge covers are will just pull up and away without any prying and the whole thing will come off:


Next, remove the four screws that hold the LCD to the back of its case. Two of those secure what I believe to be grounding wires. The one on the left also holds a copper shield for the wire bundle that runs on that side. Take note in my photos as to what stacks on top of what. Once the screws are out, also remove and set the copper shield aside:


This allows you to lift the LCD up. The cable for the inverter board and backlight is still connected. That has to be pulled up and out to release the LCD to be removed. Lift up the LCD a ways to access the cable for easier removal:


Now, set the LCD panel aside, as we will be working on the inverter board. There are two electrolytic caps hiding underneath the foil wrap. We need to remove that entire package, and it is held in place not only by clips, but also by adhesive underneath by the foil. First thing to do is to remove the small wire that runs to the Reed Switch at the bottom of the cover:


Next, release the two clips ont he left by pushing them out of the way while simultaneously lifting up the PCB a ways:


Once those are free, it will take some prying with a pry tool to loosen the adhesive underneath. Don't be afraid to work on both sides back and forth and slide underneath the foil to break the bond. Once it is free, it will come right out:


Next, carefully unwrap the foil. Be sure to not manhandle the adhesive too much; the stickiness is needed to resecure the board once you are done. Once you unwrap about two sides, you will see the two electrolytic caps on the board:


You will see that there was some leaked cap crud under these as well. Note: there is a blank C1 place on the board; there is NOT a cap here, nothing was missed. I replaced C6 with a tantalum cap only because there was no solic organic polymer available at that size and rating. I usually use original style caps, but in this tight of a space, the size is what counts. Once the pads are cleaned up, the new caps go in well and look great:


Reinstallation is easy: just make sure that you re-fold the foil the same way and that it sticks in the appropriate places. Make sure that the wires are placed in the same position/order in their channel and reconnect the Reed Switch. You can see that at the top and bottom ends of the pCB, there are tiny holes to line up with two tiny plastic posts on the case. Get those lined up, and then press the inverter board back into position, sticking it back to the case. Make sure the two side clips snap back over the top of the board again.


Next time, we get ready for this: removal of the LCD board and replacement of these last two caps. Stay tuned!: