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MacBook and PowerBook G4 screens are distorting-- help!!

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
About three weeks ago, the screen on my 3.5 year old PowerBook G4 (15") started to distort. I've linked a picture at the bottom so you can see what it looks like, but it can kinda be compared to getting really bad TV reception with bunny ears. Given that I've had loads of trouble with my PowerBook ever since I got it even though it's been cared for impeccably, I decided to get a new MacBook this past Sunday because Apple Care has expired on the PowerBook. So I picked up the new MacBook (one of the brand new ones with the 64-bit stuff and whatnot), and now, just two days later, the screen on it has distorted once in a manner very similar to what I saw on the PowerBook. I've linked a picture of this as well so you can see what's going on.

To make a long story short, I'm now wondering if the distortion I'm getting isn't an isolated problem with the PowerBook but is instead being caused by some kind of interference with another gadget on my desk. There's a few reasons for this:
1. Obviously, the fact that two laptops, including one brand new one, have messed up in similar ways.
2. When the PowerBook screen distorts, it doesn't do it constantly. In fact, I'm typing this on the PB now... it kinda comes in and out, and it may not distort for a few days at a time. However, when it does distort, it has lasted from just a few minutes to as long as six hours.
3. I'm almost positive the PowerBook's screen issues are not software related because I booted from the OS X installation disc to go to the OS X setup assistant and it continued to distort when nothing was running off the HD. That would mean the problem is being caused by hardware or some external interference.

A few more details: the PB screen distorts regardless of whether it is plugged in or not. I don't know about the MacBook because it has only happened once so far, and it was not plugged in. I have a few ideas of what might be causing the interference if that is in fact what's going on. First, I use my computer directly between two Denon mini bookshelf speakers. However, I've been doing this for four years, so I don't know why it would start being a problem now. Also, I know that my iPod completely freaks out whenever my cell phone (RAZR) rings nearby because it reduces the volume all the way. However, I've been playing around with these possibilities and haven't been able to replicate the distortion on either computer through my "experiments."

If anyone has any ideas of what might be going on, please help me out! It may just be that both computers are lemons (the PB has made a good argument for that through the years), and I know that the old iBooks had logic board issues that created a similar problem, and that may very well be what's going on with the PB. However, if I can figure out that it's some kind of external interference, then I can return the MacBook and save a grand. I just have a hard time imagining that these problems aren't related in some way because the MacBook is brand freakin' new.

Thanks! And here's the pics:

EDIT: I forgot the major difference between the two cases. When the PB screen distorts, the computer does not freeze, but you just can't tell what you're doing. When it happened to the MacBook, the computer was unresponsive and I had to re-boot.


post #2 of 8
I had this happen to a notebook, and did some searching on the internet. I found it happens when the actual connections to the LCD panel are failing. Next time it happens, try hitting the panel from the side lightly. I also found applying pressure to the top of the panel made it go away, but over time it got worse. Try using an external monitor to isolate the problem. Having the same problem on 2 laptops (if it is the same problem) is just terrible luck I guess.

post #3 of 8
Given that these are laptops and hence portable, does this problem happen in other locations? That could rule in or out interference.
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
You're right, it could, but I just started thinking it could be some kind of interference this morning when the MacBook freaked out and I haven't yet had time to test it by moving them around. Before that, I was just convinced my PowerBook was a POS.
post #5 of 8
I think the statistical likelihood of both machines failing in exactly the same way without some common external cause is rather remote.
post #6 of 8
how are they connected to the internet and what brand router.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
They're connected to the internet via an ethernet cable that plugs directly into the wall. I live in a fraternity house and our router is located in a separate electrical closet; I checked to see what brand it is, and it appears to be made by Cisco (I'm guessing it's the router because it was a big box with a ton of ethernet cables going to and from it).

Thanks, DJ.
post #8 of 8
Had that happen to my powerbook (same age/gen). Now the backlight is gone and the data seems to be working okay (though its harder to tell now) Crack it open and have a go!
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