Hi John--Just stumbled across your website after doing a Youtube search.
I have a G4 aluminum powerbook that I bought used from a friend about seven years ago. It’s absolutely bulging with expensive software so I don’t want to get rid of it; I do desktop publishing using PageMaker which mandates the use of OS9, so I’m determined to keep this old machine running.
A couple of years ago it started developing problems charging. The original A/C adapter failed (I thought) so I bought a replacement on Amazon, which showed as having the illuminated ring, but sadly it doesn’t. Still, it seemed to work fine for a couple of years (even though I just discovered it’s only 45 watts).
Last year, the battery seemed to fail; I would regularly run it up and down from fully charged down to 15 percent or less, and it would always recover, but then it only recovered to 50 percent, then 25, and finally it only went up to about 4 percent. I presumed it was a bad battery. Bought a replacement (again on Amazon) and it worked for a few weeks, then exhibited the same symptoms. Battery level is very low, battery icon shows plugged in but NOT charging.
One day, the machine refused to reboot and I dragged it around on a two-week vacation without using it. I learned the trick of removing the battery, unplugging the power and holding the power button for 5 seconds to reset it, and that worked--it allowed the machine to boot up once everything was plugged in, and the battery charged up to about 14% (with a ‘battery charging’ icon), then it stopped charging. It has stayed at 14% for the past month or so.
I now keep it as a home-computer only, plugged in all the time, and while I occasionally reboot it, mostly I just put it to sleep.
Today I came home from work to find the machine totally dead even though the battery was at 14% when I left this morning. After sweating bullets, I stumbled across the technique of reset the power manager with Shift-CTRL-OPT-Power / wait 5 seconds / Power, the system comes on. But the clock is back to 1970 (until it automatically resets). The battery icon shows 0% charge, power adapter plugged in, and not charging.
Searching the internet, I’ve seen several different theories as to a possible cause. I don’t think the problem lies with the power input (although could the fact that I have a 45-watt power adapter be significant?). Could it simply be that my PRAM battery is dead and needs replacing? Or do you think the problem is more serious?
While I could always buy another Powerbook G4 and transfer my hard drive over, there’s no reason to believe that one that somebody is selling would be any better than mine.
Care to hazard a guess as to what the problem might be, and what you might charge to fix it for me? I drive 30-40 year old cars to work every day, and plan to keep using this Powerbook as my only computer until…well, forever if I can!
Thanks in advance for your help!