Introduction: Fixing a Broken IBook G4 With Airport Kernel Panic Issues

Hello everyone!

Finally I accomplished something that is worth to make an Instructable about :-)

You are probably here because your good'ol iBook started acting weird after the update from Mac OS 10.4.8 to 10.4.9. In the manner that you allways get kernel panics (KPs) when you try to work with activated Airport-WIFI. For some people only when working on battery, for others all the Time.

In my case the notebook even sometimes refused to reboot after a KP and I had to leave it for about 15 minutes to cool down. But it definitively KP'd as soon as I switched Airport on.

I tried the widely distributed "paper-patch" where a folded piece of paper is put on top of the airport card, under its plastic holder to tighten its seating even more - with little effect. It only accomplished that I now could work for about half an hour before it KP'd again.

So hence the reason seemed to be a loose connection between the card and the mainboard (which the driver before the 10.4.9 handled flawless) and the connection between card and socket was tightened as it could be - more drastic measures had to be taken:

Once again I took the whole frickin' thing apart completely and this time removed also the mainboard to have total access to it from all sides. Since the socket is made of plastic, a hot-air reflow was out of question.
So - I manually resoldered all those tiny (ca. 0.3mm each) pins with the smallest tip in my soldering iron which i acuminated even more with sandpaper. And what can I say - after putting it back together, I started it up and loaded several ISO-images over the Airport-connection for hours and put it in standby once in a while.

It works perfectly now :-). No KP whatsoever since the repair. Not the tiniest hickup - the problem is completely gone!

Step 1: Preparation

Since this Instructable is aimed more at experienced people who are aware of what they are doing I'll not be listing every single micro step. This is not a cooking recipe! Before you start make a mental inventory if you know the following things:

- How to work inside computers and what has to be taken in account when doing so.
- What electrostatic charges are - and how to avoid the damage they can do.
- How to solder and if you have a steady enough hand for this.
- How much heat can be inflicted on circuit boards and small electronic components.
- And last but not least if you are able to take this thing apart and put it back together.

When you can answer all of those with a yes, go ahead :-) - If not - you should better retreat until you can - before you have a completely broken unit afterwards.

Step 2: Taking It Apart

OK - as said before - this is not going to be step-by-step. So this step is described very well in several easy-to-find youtube-videos and on For example here: iFixIt: replacing the IO-Bezel. Be aware that this is a little bit different for the 1.33 and 1.42 GHz Models - but only slightly :-).

After you followed those steps, your notebook will look like on the 2nd picture - now you need to go on and remove the HDD (what is pretty easy) and the optical drive (its held by 4 screws - one at each corner).

Now remove every extension card you can find - RAM, modem, Airport (remove the antenna cables and keep their order in mind for later). Remove also every cable connection carefully - not breaking the sometimes pretty small sockets.

Now your notebook looks a bit more stripped as on the third picture.

To get the mainboard out of the frame remove all screws on the bottom side and remember their positions! I do this by putting them head-down on the table in a scaled-down orientation of how they were positioned on the board.
Now remove the last screws from the top side and from the heat spreader. You'll also need to remove the two main fixing-screws besides the CPU - they are 4mm hex heads.

By now you should be able to remove the board completely (best way is IMHO to set the notebook on the back of the display - 90� opened - and carefully wiggle the board out. Afterwards you have your notebook-carcass separated as on picture 4.

Step 3: Making the Actual Repair

Take a look at your board - probably you are aware that the target of your re-soldering is positioned near to the IO-Ports on the lower left side of the GPU (with the ATI-Logo on it).

There will be no possibility to check if your resoldering worked before you put everything back together - so be sure to do your best :-).

Take your smallest tip in your soldering iron, clean it well and put a thin coat of tin-solder on it (and wipe it clean afterwards!). I'm sorry for the bad quality of the pictures - my cellphone is the only camera which was able to get 'macro' enough for the job.

Since the pins/legs of the socket are so tiny I didn't solder them one by one. I put the iron sideways horizontaly over the rows, heating two or three legs at once. Everytime for a period of 3-4 seconds (until my feeling told me that the connection must have been liquefied). In this manner I went on until I had resoldered all connections on both sides. Take a sharp look at the connections afterwards if you bonded two or more together - if so: fix it :-).

You probably'll touch the foam cuboid aside the socket from time to time, but I think removing it would likely result in its destruction.

So ... thats it! All you have to do now is to put it all back together without having any surplus screws or cards afterwards ;-).

Step 4: Put It Back Together

This is gonna be a nice puzzle. Especially if this has been the first time you took an Mac Notebook apart. But aside from the huuuge load of screws which were somewhat annoying - its not so bad.

Don't forget any cables! Really!

And hopefully - if everything went well - your iBook is fixed by now.

Hope this instructable will be of help to you in getting back what apple took from you. (Allthough they don't admit that this problem was (made by Apple) ™)

And if tehre where anny fanny mistackes - I'm german and this is only my school english :-).