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raoulduke

PowerBook 3400c Repair Stories

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I'm hoping this can be a repository for specific repair help/information for the Powerbook 3400c.  Macdrone has been doing sort of research/experimentation on repairing some of his logic boards.  I now have two 3400c's and various associated stuff.

 

First off, at least for me, is the power board.  The two I have whine when plugged in.  The one I just got has the caps light come on when plugged in, and a sort of speaker pop that my other one does also.  So I'd bet the 'new' one also has power board issues, although I'm hoping it doesn't.  Based on visual inspection, I had assumed some of my rectangular ceramic (i think?) [C2 and C4, and C27-C29] caps had gone but Macdrone suggested C49 and C15 - the big and little cylindrical ones on the top.

 

I'll report back when I get the new 3400c.  And I'll report back again when I'm able to get a new soldering iron.

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I should have put a question mark on superseding. It's a proposal-topic. It just seems like there's next to nothing on 3400 repairs.

Edited by raoulduke

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I got the second PB 3400c today.  The battery was still in (both, actually).  When plugged in, it'd make the popping (probably speaker) sound and sometimes the screen's charging-light would come on.

 

I promptly disassembled it, removed the PRAM battery (which was not dead).  There was a little bit of very confined corrosion but in general the board is in fantastic condition.  I cleaned the corroded area with scrubbing bubbles for maybe an hour, washed it with distilled water and used a hairdryer on cold.  I put the board back in the case and it chimed.  However, it shut down immediately following the chime.

 

There's still a whine in the power board, and I can smell what I can only assume is my first definitive whiff of dying caps.  At the moment (after debugging for a few hours - with it chiming consistently) it is no longer chiming.  However, subsequent to that I have gotten the screen to flash a bunch of times.  I think these are all power board issues, but I do not yet know.

 

The two cylindrical cap replacements came from Mouser today but I don't have my new soldering iron yet.  I am, however, excited to get an in theory definitively-working power board.  [i'm now also certain the eBay power board did not work.]

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That was a slightly inaccurate description.  It would chime, and I could soft reset, but it would shut down within 5 seconds of chime.  The first time it might have actually restarted itself after shut down.  I attribute these to the power board because over the course of the evening (and the machine was only on for a cumulative probably 5 minutes if that) the board seems to have progressively stopped working.  Hopefully it isn't the logic board breaking.

 

Actually that conclusion is partly also based on the fact that my other power board does nothing.  It whines, sometimes seems to turn the charge light on but it flickers and then dies.  Unfortunately I removed the capacitors on the original power board I had.

Edited by raoulduke

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I promptly disassembled it, removed the PRAM battery (which was not dead).  There was a little bit of very confined corrosion but in general the board is in fantastic condition.  I cleaned the corroded area with scrubbing bubbles for maybe an hour, washed it with distilled water and used a hairdryer on cold.  I put the board back in the case and it chimed.  However, it shut down immediately following the chime.

 

Hi, did you attempt to fire it up straight after putting water on the board?  Even with a hairdryer used I'd put it in a warm dry spot in the house and not touch it for a few days.  I had a 3400c what also had a cracking speaker problem, sound overall wasn't good.  I'd strip it down to basics - no battery, check the DC jack is properly seated, remove the RAM module, HD.  Often a lot of early Mac repair and troubleshooting need not involve replacing the caps and components first thing, contrary to popular belief.

 

The 3400c/Kanga is one of my favourite retro portables - I love the sound quality they put out, and they are solid with enough grunt to run OS 8/9 well.

 

JB

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Thanks for the response.  I didn't fire it up right away but I didn't let it thoroughly dry per se (I really went at it with the hairdryer - very thoroughly - including opening that plastic glued to the PCMCIA enclosure) for probably a half hour or so and then dabbed with paper towels.

 

At the moment it's just the screen, logic board, power board, and fan [which has yet to turn on...].  I had alternated using the battery out of curiosity and because some people have reported issues powering on without even a dead battery but that's not the case here.

 

What do you mean by the DC jack being properly seated?  As in soldered properly?  Or positioned properly?

 

I'll leave it off overnight and look again tomorrow afternoon but I really think the problem (at least at this level of debugging) is situated in the power board.  It whines.  Even more than me.

Edited by raoulduke

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With or without the PRAM battery, actually, it chimes infrequently and only through the speaker panel; but it comes on most of the time - not always.  It's worth noting that my 5300c came with a messed up power board and it would boot most of the time but not always.

 

I can soft reset it with no chime.  There's no pointer.  I can't flash PRAM.

 

The fan still doesn't come on.  I swapped them (I think again) to no effect.  Then I looked at the label, which reads 5v, and I wonder if that's indicative of a voltage problem on the board.  Would the screen come on if that were the case?

 

Anyway I'm not sure what to make of the screen and chime with no pointer.  The manual just says replace logic board...

Edited by raoulduke

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Also the HD spins before the screen powers on.  I get no impression the floppy module does anything - but that may just mean it's not getting to a disk check - which should probably have been obvious since there's no pointer or flashing disk.  The CD module spins and can eject.

 

I've never gone this far into debugging.  I'm going to replace the caps on the power board tomorrow when the soldering iron hopefully arrives, but I'm increasingly concerned this is a logic board issue; any thoughts on what to try if anything?

Edited by raoulduke

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I know this is a totally different ROM, and I know nothing about Macbooks so I don't even know if this info is correct, but there's no way, right... ?  https://www.ifixit.com/Answers/View/70171/%5BSOLVED%5D+Startup+chime,+no+boot,+white+screen+of+death

 

The HD in the machine definitely works.  I read it on my G4; actually my PC also.  It wouldn't boot the G4, but I don't think they boot natively to OS 9 (which is installed), right [without Classic Mode I mean]?  So it's not possible that there's a "white screen of death" simply because the HD was first not in and then possibly not bootable?

 

My understanding of the Old World ROM is that the disk icon should eventually show up - or at least the pointer.  But the symptoms he's described [aside from the power / power board issues] are identical...

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Link you've posted to refers to resetting the SMC (system management controller), which is analogous with Intel Macs - kind of like resetting the PRAM/CUDA on pre-Intel Macs.  Not what you're looking for.

 

How complete are your two 3400c, and why does one have missing caps on the power board?  Without getting the whole gist of what you're trying to do, I'd strip down both machines and choose the best parts from each, to create one machine from two.  You might have luck working out which LCD is "good" as white screens suggest LCD failure.  Bench test away, bare motherboard (insulated underneath to prevent shorts), as soon as you get that flashing disk icon you know you're in business.

 

EDIT: going back to my last post, DC jack = they often become loose and require resoldering. 

 

JB

Edited by Byrd

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Well the thrust of that link has to do with some obscure [or he's wrong because this make little sense to me] issue with a dead HD preventing any booting and the flashing disk.  The symptoms he describes are identical; and although the solution doesn't make sense to me, I figure it can't hurt to try... [can I install a bootable OS 9 through my G4?]

 

I pulled (twisted) the cylindrical (SMD?) caps off one of the three boards I have in prep for recapping it per a suggestion from Macdrone.  The other two have caps.  One works; the other doesn't.  They both whine.

 

I have stripped both machines but I'm not at the real 'rebuilding' stage yet [yes I got the two to mix and match, more or less].  Both screens work fine although the latch is broken on one, and it's more beat up, so I'll be using the other.

 

I'm afraid you're talking to a real amateur.  Bench test?  I have tested the voltage in some places on the other motherboard but not on the 'working' one yet.  Even if I had the schematics I don't know enough about what this problem represents.  I assume it gets to ROM... the keyboard works...  I assume it's doing a memory test.  I don't know...

Edited by raoulduke

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If the 5300c has the same basic boot sequence (which I'm using to mean everything up to and including booting) then this seems to not be the case.  I'm going to install anyway and try, why not [Zoidberg].

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I've gotten the pointer to pop up.  Neither trackpad will move the pointer, but an ADB mouse will [ADB port - check], and the trackpads will move the pointer with the ADB mouse plugged in [wtf...?].  I was able to and did flash the PRAM but that didn't really affect the symptoms.

 

Additionally, the CD and Floppy module both power on.  The CD makes spinning/reading noises but I don't know what the module is supposed to sound like [12x].  Interestingly, when a floppy is inserted at the gray/pointer screen, it sounds like it attempts to read it indefinitely.  When inserted prior to power-on, it just makes a single noise [it's not a click but I can't do better than that description].

 

The manual offers this advice for this symptoms set: Hear startup tones? [it chimes every time now] > Normally? [yes] > Gray screen with pointer? [yes] > Boot to desktop? [no] > Flashing question mark? [no]:

1)  Boot with extension off; 2)  Boot with Disk Tools Update Driver [what driver...??]; 3) Replace HD [variably none or working one; no difference]; 4) Replace logic board...

 

The pointer came up after a very thorough washing with scrubbing bubbles, spraying it with the spray extension on my sink, then pouring distilled water, then dabbing with paper towels, then hairdrying, then leaving it overnight wrapped in a paper towel.  I'm in the process of washing the other board as thoroughly.  My thought was that - particularly based on smell - there may have been a residual alkaloid effect of the scrubbing bubbles.

Edited by raoulduke

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Actually preemptive follow-up: I don't understand Apple's manual advice - how can you boot without extensions with no disk-icon [i.e. without an actual boot process] - same with the disk suggestion.

 

I'd be much obliged if someone could potentially explain what definitively works given this info; and precisely what the 'boot' process is from power on to splash screen, say [because I get everything the disk icon on - at least enough to work through issues that concern that].  The screen-on, which is preceded by what must be hardware tests, takes a while [though I don't know how long it's supposed to take].  The floppy symptom suggests that it may be stuck in some sort of check or test or diagnostic process, but again I don't know enough about the mechanics of the pre-software hardware checks.

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I admire you getting in elbows deep into fixing your Macs, but you just seem to be jumping the gun a little too early and doing all the things I'd consider a "last resort" first and basically digging your own hole.  I've never had to wash a board and only do cap replacements when necessary (I'll see a few and do the lot, but not on every machine if it works without issue). 

 

Why not just get a reliable, working Mac first and play around with the feel of the OS/hardware and its intricacies?  Sounds like you need a functional machine that will answer a lot of your troubleshooting questions asked above.  Something like a Wallstreet, Lombard, Pismo Powerbook would be ideal if you like portable Macs.

 

JB

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Your point is very valid.  I lack patience, and it is a problem, particularly in an electronics-related respect.  In this case, I let the board sit overnight after a brief second washing and much more thorough drying [which I think may have been the problem].  Now we're back to the consistent chime, gray screen and pointer.

 

I'm not sure I can get the answers I need in a working machine, and I don't want to break another machine to do so - I don't even know if I could control that well enough to answer any of my questions that way.

 

In this case I used no heat options in the dishwasher [but it was noticeably hot when I took it out just after the wash cycle] so I assumed it got too hot anyway.  However, it maxes out, according to the manual, at 105 F.  So it must have been residual moisture.  Having said that my goal is a working 3400c, so leaving it with a gray screen/pointer is not an acceptable outcome to me.  [Meaning I basically saw this as a last resort - there's only one cap that I think might be replaceable on the logic board - but me trying to do that might be more risky than the dishwasher so I made a value judgment.]

Edited by raoulduke

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Lol. Disregard.

 

No disk at all with CD module, flashing disk with HD, it booted from floppy [wrong OS, hence message].

At some point it stopped displaying the flashing QM. I let it sit and it then went back to doing it. I suspect either overheating or capacitance issues. Iron was delayed so will recap power board hopefully Monday. Then I'll find out if the machine is too prone to overheating to be useful.

 

It looks like the CD module may be broken, which is too bad. Not sure about the HD, though it wouldn't boot my G4 tower either - and it forced the 5300c to shut down or restart, which was odd.

Edited by raoulduke

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For documentation purposes, the issue with the disk icon not popping u,p when the screen and cursor would, was located in a CMOS chip. Now I'm having problems with the HD port and trackpad. It's possible they are at least partly power related but I think there are issues with a row of two cups in the lower left part of the board.

 

That pic is not of the same board - and the chip intended from that pic is the Sony. I think this board's chip is a Hyundai.

 

The two TI chips may be partly at fault for the HD issues.

Edited by raoulduke

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Check the HD and trackpad ribbon, connector and reseat all.  You need to reseat both cables quite firmly and ensure the latch goes down properly.  The trackpad is just an ADB device so if an external mouse works it's probably just the cable.

 

Try another 2.5" IDE HD (or a PCMCIA to CF adapter card - the 3400 will boot off it)

 

Good to hear you got further with it, and patience grasshopper :)  Anything "washed" needs 5+ days sitting in a sunny spot in your house (or in front of a ducted heater vent) to be considered fully dry.  Hair dryer isn't enough.

Edited by Byrd

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I think you may be right.  [it's worth noting I had removed and replaced (i.e. reseated) everything way prior to this so if there's a connectivity issue it's deeper or more latent.]  One of the HD ribbons partially recognized one drive.  The other didn't recognize either.  I washed one and now it doesn't seem to do anything.  How do I possibly find a compatible cable...?  [is it a semi-standard interface?  http://www.ebay.com/itm/Apple-PowerBook-G4-A1139-IDE-Hard-Drive-Connector-Cable-821-0393-A-632-0358-01-/131269505354/ http://www.ebay.com/itm/Apple-PowerBook-G4-A1010-Hard-Drive-Connector-Cable-632-0178-A-/161632541772]

 

As for the trackpad.  I was expressing astonishment that it sometimes worked with the ADB mouse.  It very infrequently works without but I get the impression there's a disconnect between port connectivity and the controller.  To wit, when I seat it very firmly, it freezes both the external mouse and trackpad.  When it worked intermittently I think it wasn't seated as well.  I've tried this with two trackpads and my 5300's trackpad [i don't know if it worked].  So I think it may be an issue with the port.

 

The CD drive I don't know.  I took it apart fully and found white gunk which I choose to believe was mayonnaise or moisturizer or something.  I cleaned it and reassembled and now it seems to work even less [but this may also be a power issue; I don't know].  There's a great tutorial out there on rebuilding the 1400's modules.  But it also says replacing the 3400 CD module is probably impossible.  So that may just be a bust because I doubt I'll find a cheap one.

 

PCMCIA to CF adapter's in the mail; the Cardbus one I have is only Windows-compatible.  The PCMCIA eject board also broke apart so I'll have to try and resolder it.  But that was one thought - that I could probably get away with using a Cardbus USB card [been in the mail for weeks...] and a PCMCIA>CF SSD (essentially) assuming that my or any USB wifi dongles will work with OS 9 [none work, it turns out].  That also assumes I figure out how to fix the trackpad.

 

(Oh, per the IDE issue.  Those two TI chips are bus transceivers.  My concern over them is little white particulates between the pins.  They likely control the IDE bus, so the cable might be a red herring.)

 

[sorry one last thought.  I used both power boards today also and the effects were a bit different.  The one I use less frequently couldn't even get to the flashing disk with the HD plugged in.  I don't know enough about HDs power usage, but let's just say it seemed clear that some of the symptoms I'm getting may be power-based; so still waiting on the soldering iron.]

Edited by raoulduke

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Do you have any idea how I'd find out where the ADB controller is.  The mouse works better but sometimes it doesn't work at all.  I'll let it sit overnight again but that's not a great solution if I intend to actually use the laptop.

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