iBook G3 unable to sleep properly

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    Posted: 18 March 2009 04:52 PM

    Using 10.4.11 (recently installed using combo update) on an iBook G3 12”.

    After the combo update, the iBook does not go to sleep properly when its lid is closed. The screen light is turned off, but the sleep light flashes at longer intervals than normal, an occasional brief hard drive activity can be heard, as well as activity from the CD tray—again, this is very brief. These activities occur about twice every minute. Opening the lid will then put the iBook into correct sleep (light flashes at normal regular intervals, no activity from HD or CD-drive).

    I verified the disk and repaired permissions after the combo update (in safe mode). I have reset the PRAM, the PMU and NVRAM.

    The problem only occurs when the iBook is connected to the mains power supply; unplug the power adaptor and it sleeps like a dream?

    When I select Sleep from the menu, it’s just the same situation: with the lid left open it sleeps correctly, but when the lid is closed, the occasional HD and CD activity resume.

    (problem also posted in Apple support discussions, but no joy there)

  • Posted: 03 May 2009 10:21 AM #1

    There isn’t a great deal to the sleep mechanism of a G3. There is a small switch under the top case or in the display assembly (depending on the exact model) which reacts to a corresponding magnet. If this switch is damaged then with the lid pressing on it, or near enough to vibrate it in any way it could cause a momentary flick of that switch.

    I would look at replacing that part. It’s going to take a while if you haven’t taken an iBook apart before (which gets harder as the machine ages and connectors stick to boards) but the part is very cheap. It might be worth trying an AASP if you want someone else to do it.


    -Matt Cox / Mac Technician / Matt on Twitter

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    Posted: 03 May 2009 03:19 PM #2

    Thanks, holtmac. I am now back in Spain and the iBook is with my mother (an enthusiastic 89-years old user), so taking it apart just at the moment is out of the question. Perhaps in October, when I visit again. However, I know I checked the clip mechanism and it seemed to work fine, though, of course, the switch itself could be damaged. However, the symptoms seem strange: screen light out, but occasional and regular activity from HD and CD.

    Also, I have no idea what AASP is! (Sorry.)

  • Posted: 03 May 2009 03:23 PM #3

    Indeed, you wouldn’t think a broken switch would cause such issues, but I’ve seen the sleep switch cause all kinds of pain.

    Oh, and an AASP is an Apple Authorised Service Provider (viz. repair shop)


    -Matt Cox / Mac Technician / Matt on Twitter

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    Posted: 03 May 2009 03:28 PM #4

    Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re right about the switch. Although she’s 89, my mother isn’t the lightest-fingered person in the world, and when I am with her, I am always telling her not to press so hard on the lid of the iBook when she closes it. But she’s Welsh with a stubborn streak, so it’s rather like talking to a brick wall!

    Anyway, thanks for clearing up the AASP. I don’t recall ever having heard the term either in Belgium or in Spain.