back to article Danes 'prove' sudden iBook death syndrome

The Consumer Complaints Board in Denmark claims to have evidence of a original design defect in the iBook G4 that has been hotly denied by Apple. Many iBook G4 customers complained that after about one year's use, the laptop acquired the nasty habit of powering down and greeting the users with a blank screen and a loud …


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  1. Tzvetan Mikov

    Coffee spillage

    Good article ! Though it caused my coffee to spill from laughter when I got to Lars Ulrich :-)

  2. Ben Shurey


    Apple's recalcitrance on this subject is as ludicrous as the Danish police's heavy handed tactics in Christiania.

  3. Daniel Silver badge

    Anthem Surface Area (ASA)

    Quote: "Denmark's national anthem is "Der er et yndigt land" and has a total area of 43,094 square kilometers. "

    Congratulations to The Register for finally after all these years making this scientific breakthrough and discovering a way to measure the unmeasureable, specifically the Surface Area of the National Anthem.

    Of course, we'll be expecting the relevant physics papers to be published in a refereed journal to back up these extravagant claims, but that shouldn't be a problem for the intrepid scientits (sorry, scientists) of El Reg.

    A Nobel prize is in the works.....

  4. Paul Bristow

    I have exactly this fault

    Happened to my iBook G4. I followed the instructions available on the net to apply pressure to one component on the motherboard, and I am typing this response on that iBook G4. But I shouldn't have to perform hairy kludge repairs because of one bad design element.

    Other than this my iBook is faultless.


  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Link to the whole case

    You can find more information about the case here:

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fan boy warning!

    "Other than this my iBook is faultless"

    Which is exactly how Apple get away with this crap.

    "Other than being broken Its brilliant"

    Stand up and fight about the faults, altough fixing them probably voids... well everything.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This has happened 3 times

    I've come across this problem 3 time where the ati graphics chip gets loose and you have to pack it with card, it also happens a lot to g3 600mhz and higher. Apple your component build quality is crap, sort it out. Apple stuff is like a fashion model, on the outside it is pretty but on the inside its like a crack whore ready to rob your granny. btw. I own one the other two I had to fix for some friends, not silly enough to buy inferior crap again.

  8. Adam Bloch

    Mitchell and Webb...

    I'm A PC.

    And I'm A...... (clutches chest and falls to ground).


    It's about time that Apple where given a hard spanking for their bullish approach to fault reporting "If we didn't find it, then you're obviously imagining things."

  9. Daniel Dainty

    Denmark's national anthem

    "Denmark's national anthem is 'Der er et yndigt land' and has a total area of 43,094 square kilometers."

    That's the biggest national anthem I've ever heard of.

  10. Dan

    Lars Ulrich

    Is largely recognised outside Denmark as being one of metal's duffest drummers. But then he does have a big shiny kit.

    Not unlike Macs, which certainly *look* the business...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surface area of Denmark

    Now come on . Everyone in Blighty knows that the surface area of a country is measured in Wales, not square kilometers.

    Yours DT

  12. Nick L


    Just sodding typical. I bought a second hand ibook g4 last week... Now I'm just waiting for it to die... Does seem that the soldering process for one chip in particular is to blame?

    Seems strange that so many are resurrected by applying pressure to just one chip. "Design fault" seems to be the only explanation.

  13. Sarah Balfour

    Not just G4 iBooks

    I know of someone who has a similar issue with her G3 (the USB model, not the Clamshell). It now contains a piece of beer mat to hold the graphics chip in place.

    I take it then, Daniel, that you're a 'doze user. I can tell you that, as a Mac user of many years standing that, despite its flaws (which aren't that many if you're honest) the OS is light years ahead of anything Billy's released in the past 25 years.

    Having said that, I am typing this on a MacBook Pro, booted into 'doze, because my the modem half of my DG834G quit four days ago and I ordered a Belkin N1 as replacement - except I ordered the sodding router without the sodding modem! I'm using the 'flatfish' that was supplied when I was with Freeserve yonks ago. It's quit on me a dozen times this morning, and I can't use it under Tigger, because there are no Tigger drivers! GAH!

    How do you know how shiny his 'kit' is...Are you that well acquainted...? (sorry, I'm bored and am clutching at any double entendre I can find, however dubious...)

  14. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Why are manufacture faults Apple's fault?

    Apple uses the same manufacturing facilities as many other brands.

    It's well knows there's only about 5 companies who manufacture laptops.

    Apple's failure rate is much lower than other brands, that's a well established fact.

  15. Wayne Putterill

    Anthem area is...

    2.075 times the size of Wales.

  16. Mark Crack

    Greatest (Living) Dane

    No mention of Tom Kristensen .... very disappointing. We never complained about having to drop our Atari STs to resit the memory .....

  17. John Browne

    From the viewpoint of an engineer...

    Sounds like a fatigue failure of a solder joint. Soft solder, used in PCB assembly, has low fatigue resistance, and the newly introduced use of environmentally friendly lead-free solder may make it worse.

    Fatigue can be caused by temperature cycling (hot laptops, remember?) or by mechanical flexing of the board in a case that is not sufficiently rigid. Both are more extreme in a laptop than in other PC housings. Advice: keep it cool and treat it gently.

    It can be mitigated by placing large components away from hot areas of the board, providing support and stiffening, and sometimes by changing the orientation of components.

    Trouble is, with speed and compactness as marketing priorities, thermal and mechanical considerations take a back seat and mistakes are made.

    Apple should admit to this one.

    By the way, my old TV set recently suffered the same problem, but then it has seen 15 years of service and cost a lot less than an iBook.

  18. Martin Benson

    Apple's fault....

    To Giles Jones

    1) It's Apple's fault, because they sell the computers and have to take responsibility for the manufacturing fault. Who else should take the blame?

    2) Apple's failure rate may well be lower than other brands - I have no evidence one way or the other. But as it's a "well established fact", I feel sure that you can point me in the direction of the evidence for your statement, can't you?

  19. Paul Bristow

    Re: Fan boy warning!

    The point I was making is that other than the fault highlighted by the Danes, which seems to be a manufacturing fault, as it can in many cases, including mine be fixed by the process documented at:

    my iBook G4 has given me exactly zero problems in the 3.5 years I have had it. Not a few, zero. I am a long time windows and Linux user and this is my first Apple computer I have had in a long time. It will not be the last. My 3.5 year old iBook is still perfectly useable and working for all the tasks I wanted it.

    I have never seen a Windows laptop last like this or give such faultless service.

    To summarise, not a fanboy (far from it!) but a 25 year IT verteran and customer who is very surprised by anything going wrong with his faithful laptop, let alone something that is clearly happening to a considerable number of us around the world.

  20. Tom Hawkins

    "...point me in the direction of the evidence for your statement..."

    will that do? :-)

  21. Martin Benson

    Good enough....

    ...though Apple only came second in that survey....

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anthemic area comparisons

    'Denmark's national anthem is "Der er et yndigt land" and has a total area of 43,094 square kilometers'

    Hmmm very useful, but can you please use the standard measurement of anthems - how many 'Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau's is that?

  23. Paul Findsen

    Re: engineer's views

    John - thank you immensely for that comment! I'm a technician for a small Apple Service Provider, and one question I always hate to hear is "Why did this happen?" Now I have something concrete to answer (not that it'll actually mean anything to the customer).

    Though as an ASP, I have to say that the iBook G4 issues are far less common than the rather ubiquitous iBook G3 issues. In the case of the G3's (700 through 900) it's not a question of if it will fail, but when.

    Of course, the early iMac G5s were plagued with the bad capacitor syndrome, but that really wasn't Apple's fault (see link below for story). It still crops up though, I wonder why there hasn't been more attention payed to it?

    Oh, and as a Dane, gotta say that you forgot to mention our glorious Lego mines.

  24. Tim

    Danish article

    It looks like someone googled Danish facts and history, and put them in a story about iBooks, for a bet I would have to assume. Well played.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Fan boy warning! (more like Steve Jobs' bitch I'd say...)

    "my iBook G4 has given me exactly zero problems in the 3.5 years I have had it. Not a few, zero."

    So, you don't count having to perform surgery in your iBook as a problem then???

    I'd be very interested to know exactly what your definition of a 'problem' is...

  26. Dale

    Re: Anthem surface area

    Conjunction Junction, what's your function?

    Hooking up words and phrases and clauses in complex sentences!

  27. Steve Lhomme

    Same Here

    I happened to my old iBook G3 too. One day it just refused to turn on. After some investigation I concluded it was something like a broken motherboard. Now I understand what was the problem...

  28. Paul Vail

    Surface mount chips all can have issues

    My daughter's clamshell iBook was an ebay purchase. The seller said it was pristine, but within a day or two of receiving it, a six year old girl was frustrated and tearful about the sound that would come and go. Using external speakers through the stereo audio port would sometimes work (or iPod earbuds), but not reliably. Sometimes one could press on the case next to that port and the sound would come back. After a few months of this, I disassembled the iBook, got out the dissecting microscope and saw that many of the leads on the IC next to the audio port had lifted from the board.

    I have a very nice soldering kit, so with it, a coffee-free morning and the scope, we carefully resoldered the chip to the board -- kissing each lead until the solder below melted. Sound was completely restored.

    I've currently got a G4 iBook that will blink off when lifted from a table. I've thought it was a bad battery contact ... now I think I need to walk the boards to look for more loose leads on chips. Many thanks for the article -- Legos and Metallica: never thought there was a connection there.

    What someone else attempted to describe is thermal hysteresis (or thermal fatigue / annularization) of the solder, where the heat/cool cycles will propagate minute imperfections of a solder joint into cracks that eventually lead to intermittant open contacts -- and a faulty circuit. Used to be the most common failure of the power Caps in the 128K/512/Plus series of Macs -- and Pina's 'Lost Mac Scrolls' helped us salvage many a goner Mac. Looks like this problem will never go away completely so long as we have solder and heat. Maybe once we go to solid state 'hard drives' and LED displays, a lot of that heat will be managed better -- but ANY electronic device will always have some risk of this aging phenomenon. The old tin/lead is stronger than tin/silver/copper now in production -- we'll have to see if going green means filling landfills faster...

  29. kain preacher

    IBM t40

    I saw alot of video issues on an IBM T40 do to flexing. It was do to a bad design of a different kind, and what I mean is they didnt design it from the stand point of how the user would inter act with the unit. What cause the board flexing was how users picked up the T40. They would pick it up by the palm rest, thus causing the board to flex. The later models had a re enforced frame so not to alow board flexing when picked up by the palm rest.

    Some times you do have to design stuf as what would happen if no one who used a laptop before touches it, or when people do stupid things. I know you cant plan for certian things, but board flexing should be one, since laptops are often moved aroundwhile on.

  30. Mark

    Area of Denmark

    Didn't you forget Greenland??

  31. Andy Bright

    How much do

    iBricks sell for these days?

  32. Ishkandar

    Nobel prize

    No Nobel prize for those damn Danes; especially after they kicked our collective arses in 1613 !!

    Salad Swede

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