Posted by: fullandbye | December 16, 2006

mac help

My 2003 Powerbook G4 is acting up.

Running on battery, it runs fine.

Running on a charger is not working. Moments after inserting the charger cable, it orders an immediate restart.
The charger works when the computer is shut down, but will only charge to about 70% of the battery capacity.

This leads me to suspect that the charger is running into too much resistance on the computer end of things. I have tried multiple chargers in multiple outlets, so I know that this is not a supply problem.


1) Has anyone ever run into this sort of thing?
2) If so, was it possible to repair?
3) If so, how much was the cost of the repair? I would like to avoid needing to buy a new computer, but if the repair (plus the cost of a new battery, this one it total shit) is above some benchmark I have yet to determine, it might make more sense to just get a macbook and forego the sexy sleekness of aluminum.


  1. Does it work if you remove the battery and try to run on wall power alone? A battery from 2003 will have seen far better days by now. I’ve never heard of this particular problem, but I can picture it possibly being an issue.

  2. Tried this too. Compy would go through startup, and then promptly order a restart.

  3. I guess I’d recommend heading to an Apple store and getting an estimate from them. The time is free, even though the eventual parts may not be. Your best bet is making a reservation, since the waits can be pretty long sometimes. Unfortunately, you can only make same-day reservations, but on the plus side you can do it online. The site for the U Village store is:
    and I believe you can make a reservation any time that they are open.

  4. Sounds like your power management unit (PMU) is fucked. There’s something you can try before replacing it. Try resetting the PMU:
    Also, make sure your firmware is up to date.. it probably is if you run software update regularly, and I doubt this is a /bug/, but it’s free to check.

  5. The charging to 70% thing is pretty normal on an older powerbook battery (it means that 30% of the power cells in it have died.)
    I think I’m with Peter on this, it’s either a bad PMU or bad PRAM (which stores the power management settings.) You can try resetting either of those (I’m too lazy to link the articles) and maybe that will work (and resetting the PMU will have the added bonus of recalculating your battery’s life, so it’ll display 100% when it’s charged).
    If you do need to get it repaired, it will probably be a logic board replacement, which when I last checked was in the $350 range. (Go go Apple Store.)

  6. Don’t go to U-Village if you can get to Alderwood, Southcenter or Bellevue. The U-Village store has the busiest genius bar in the country — so it’ll probably be faster to go to the others.

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