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AppleToTheCore.me

I'm a total Apple addict, as you might tell.

PowerBook G4 Unfixable Trackpad

The trackpad on my PowerBook G4 is broken. The seller stated in the auction that it never worked and that he’d been using a Mighty Mouse with it all along. I figured that it was no big deal and that I could get a cheap PowerBook for the cost of fixing the trackpad.

The trackpad and mouse are completely non responsive. I searched online and it seems to be a common problem. Various fixes suggest cleaning underneath it, resetting the PMU as well as the PRAM.

I have tried them all. I figured that it’s not a software problem and that I’ll have to replace the entire trackpad assembly. I hopped on eBay and ordered a new trackpad assembly for $9.99.

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I started to take the PowerBook apart to do the repair. Once I got the keyboard off I noticed that the connector for the trackpad had come loose from the logicboard. Could that have been it all along?

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I reconnected it and powered on the PowerBook. No luck. The trackpad and mouse still do not work. Since I reinstalled Tiger when I first got it, I wondered if the necessary drivers to operate it were omitted, seeing as a trackpad was not detected.

I decided to reinstall Tiger and cross my fingers.

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Errrr! It still doesn’t work. Or, maybe the trackpad is legitimately broken. I’ll try installing the new one I purchased on eBay.

Once I got inside the PowerBook, I removed the adhesive foil from underneath the trackpad assembly and removed the 2 screws that secure the mouse button.

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Once the mouse button was removed, I could insert a spludger underneath the trackpad and pry it off.

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Once the trackpad was liberated, I could do the same with the mouse button.

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It’s pretty dirty under there. I saw several posts online that said the mouse button would stop working if enough gunk got underneath it. Although, I don’t see how that would stop the trackpad from working.

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I took a Q-tip, soaked it in alcohol and gave it a good cleaning. I then installed the new trackpad and mouse.

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Before buttoning the whole thing back up, I figured I’ll try it again. I powered the machine on. Unfortunately, no luck. It still does not work. Again, it comes back to the drivers. Maybe the Tiger install skipped them since no trackpad was detected during the install. Does it even do that? Does it skip over drivers if the hardware is not detected?

I decided to run the Apple Hardware Test from the install DVD and make sure that the logicboard is not defective.

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Everything passes, even the logicboard test. What could the problem be? I decided to install Tiger again now that the new trackpad is installed.

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Still, no luck. I rest the PRAM again. Reset the PMU again. Nothing.

For now, I’ll just have to use a mouse. I can’t for the life of me figure out why it doesn’t work. It also looks like the previous owner tried his hand at fixing it too. When I removed the keyboard, I found that 3 screws were missing.

Looks like I’l be in the market for a new PowerBook soon. If I’m going to add this to my collection, I want it to be in full working order.