I recently repaired an old yet excellent powerbook G4 12″ so that i can have a mac at disposal to test my websites.

The LCD screen was completely smashed so i bought the spare part at the excellent powerbookmedic . Since i got the computer for free (thanks sis’ !) it represented the only investment (300 USD, about 250 EUR and decreasing…). So the price was good, and the service was excellent: I ordered the screen on a friday and received it the next wednesday.

Replacing parts in a laptop is a tricky business, and on a mac laptop, it’s a near-death experience. Fortunately, powerbookmedic provides step-by-step manuals very well organized and freely accessible as downloadable pdf files.

I had one previous experience replacing my Acer Travelmate 8204 LCD screen with a new one. It took basically one hour and the screen was replaced. Nice and easy.

But on a mac, it’s a whole different story: the machine is beautifully designed, and its weight is optimized down to the smallest screw. The cost for this is quite radical: to replace the screen you have to dismount… everything. Yup, the keyboard, the main board, the optical drive (DVD/ CD /CD-R combo player). It took me basically 5 hours, and 65 pages in the (dis)mounting manual.

Quite an ordeal, but overall a very nice learning experience: you’ll get to see probably the best mounted laptop ever. Everything smells thorought thinking and smartness.

If you plan to do so, however, let me give you one piece of advise: there are so many steps and screws, that in order to be able to mount it back on, i set up a quite good way to not mix all the screws. I used common paper teabags, each numbered with the manual page describing their dismounting. Everytime i went to a new page, i took a new bag, put the page number on it, dismounted the screws and threw them in the bag, then moved on to the next page / bag. I disposed each teabag in a cardbox, lining them up with the most recent facing me, so that when finished dismounting and about to start remounting the laptop, i would have the last bag available for me. A nice work process.

Don’t be afraid to shoot your questions in the comment box below if you need help, i’ll be happy to assist !