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PowerBook Keyboard Discoloration

Scott Baret

Well-known member
What's the best way to clean a discolored PowerBook keyboard? Some of the keys are more brown than gray, not sure how that happened. I haven't tried my usual keyboard cleaner yet but I figure someone here probably has played around with this!

 

PB145B

Well-known member
I think it’s just yellowing. Your best bet is to probably find a replacement keyboard unfortunately, as I don’t think you can retrobrite gray plastic without it “marbling,” which looks 100% terrible.

 

PB145B

Well-known member
Would a 180c Keyboard work? I have one I’m parting out.
It depends. What kind of PowerBook is it you are wanting to replace the keyboard on? If it’s any of the 100-series excluding the 100 and 190, yes, it should work. The 150 may also use a different keyboard, but I don’t know for sure.

 
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PB145B

Well-known member
It's a 145B in otherwise great shape aside from needing new caps for its screen.

View attachment 34976
Hey, it’s me!  :lol:  Yes, that 180c keyboard should work fine.

If it’s not obvious, I’m a big fan of the 145B. I’ve had one for about 5-years or so, and have put the parts of many different PowerBooks into it to make it as good as it can possibly be. 

 

Scott Baret

Well-known member
Awesome! Have you done the recap for the screen? If so, how tough was it?

Mine just has a blank gray screen but the hard drive works. Playing with brightness and contrast don’t work unless you turn brightness all the way down, then it goes black/off.

 

PB145B

Well-known member
Awesome! Have you done the recap for the screen? If so, how tough was it?

Mine just has a blank gray screen but the hard drive works. Playing with brightness and contrast don’t work unless you turn brightness all the way down, then it goes black/off.
Yes, I recapped my screen with tantalums (you can use whatever type of caps you want as long as they fit). Also just recently did the inverter as well, which has two radials on it. 
 

It wasn’t hard at all to me, but you do have to take care with the LCD panel not to damage it. DO NOT remove the caps with hot air, as you can ruin the screen with all the heat. I recommend using the rocking method while applying some slight downward force to avoid stress to the pads. Worked great for me and I didn’t lift a single pad.  
 

I’m pretty sure there is a video of it being done on YouTube. Might want to check that out if you haven’t already.

 

Scott Baret

Well-known member
How did you remove your caps? I'll have to look that video up.

I did just look up the keyboard replacement procedure and found it; it looks easy and I could do that first. I can always find a display adapter and run it from the extra 13" monitor I have just to test it for functionality.

This is a fairly complete 145B...no system disks (you may recall this model didn't come with them) but it has an Apple logo case and everything.

 

PB145B

Well-known member
How did you remove your caps? I'll have to look that video up.
I removed them by gently applying some downward force on the while rocking back-and-forth until they broke free.

Just be careful while you’re replacing the keyboard. Those standoffs are fragile! The biggest thing is to not over-tighten the screws. I just simply snug then on my two (a 145B and 170).

Cool you have an Apple case. Those aren’t too common I don’t think (as they probably cost more than a contemporary aftermarket case when new). And yes, no system disks were shipped with the 145B.
 

Here’s a little tip: even though the 145B shipped with 7.1, it CAN run 7.0.1. I actually just installed 7.0.1 on mine the other day. It does incorrectly show as a 140 to the System, but otherwise it works great.

These machines definitely have some design quirks, which is slightly compounded by almost 30-year-old ABS plastic, but with some care and maintenance, they are really nice. Some of my favorite 68k machines for sure. They are also quite easy to take apart as well.

I also think they are some of the best-looking laptops Apple ever made. They just have a great, simple look to them.

 

Scott Baret

Well-known member
Did you use a tool to remove them or just bare hands?

I did dig up your old thread where you had new caps on the screen. If you don't mind, do you have the list of caps you ordered? I'd probably use tantalum caps myself; have them in my LC and it's been working great since I put them in.

 

PB145B

Well-known member
Did you use a tool to remove them or just bare hands?

I did dig up your old thread where you had new caps on the screen. If you don't mind, do you have the list of caps you ordered? I'd probably use tantalum caps myself; have them in my LC and it's been working great since I put them in.
Sorry, I should’ve clarified. Yes, I used some needle-nose pliers.

Don’t have the exact part numbers unfortunately, but here are the quantity and values you’ll need:

3.3uf 50V x9

100uf 10V x1

22uf 35v x1

Hope this is of help!

 

Scott Baret

Well-known member
Definitely! Thanks!! I watched the video on the screen recap and saw the difference it made on your screen in the old thread, so I'm confident I can revive this machine. I know it works otherwise...the hard drive spins up, pressing command-O opens whatever was on the desktop, and pressing shift five times gave me the sticky keys sound.

I may hold off on selling the parts 145 I have around just in case. It does have a working screen so I can always swap for a temporary replacement while working on this one.

 

PB145B

Well-known member
Definitely! Thanks!!
No problem! 
 

Yeah, I think you should be able to get the screen working. The caps are definitely why your screen isn’t working more than likely.

Out of curiosity, does it still have the port door on the back? Usually the nicer-condition units tend to have the door. 

I’d definitely keep that parts unit. Extra parts are great to have, especially for these PowerBooks!

 
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Scott Baret

Well-known member
It does indeed have the door! I also have a teardrop ADB mouse for it that's in perfect shape.

The only real wear is on the yellowed keyboard, and the one from my dead 180c will more than likely replace it.

Plus having the other 145 will be good in two other ways...I can sell another unit with a power adapter (I have more PBs than adapters) and I can use it as a tester. It's also good to have another board around I guess, although the B is better since it has 4MB RAM standard. No idea if this unit has 8MB installed just yet.

I do have the proper Torx drivers to open the PowerBook, got them years ago back when Sears was still open in my area and they sold screwdrivers a la carte instead of in one big set (got my T15 there too).

 
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