Sunday, June 01, 2008

Powerbook lower RAM slot failure

PowerbookApple doesn't do it often, but when they piss off their customers--they REALLY piss off their customers. We recently noticed that our Powerbook G4 15" 1.5 GHz (purchased mid-2004) was slowing down. Being dense, it took me a while to open System Profiler and notice that half of our memory was gone (from the original 1 GB down to 512 MB). The memory in the lower slot was listed as "EMPTY."

My problem is that my PB's serial number DOES NOT FALL within the arbitrary range selected by Apple for the PowerBook G4 (15-inch 1.67/1.5GHz) Memory Slot Repair Extension Program. I spent an hour yesterday on the phone with Apple Tech Support, and they want me to take it to the Apple Store here in San Antonio to be checked out. Of course, they will discover (like I did) that the lower slot is bad, and then they will tell me what the person at Apple told me on the phone:


And I'm not the only one. Others with Powerbooks outside of Apple's arbitrarily chosen serial number range are also plagued with this problem:

RAM slot not working after upgrading to Leopard | MacRumors Forums

I was not aware of this problem, however my serial number is outside the range of "affected" machines. It does exactly describe my problem, though. And perhaps it has nothing to do with Leopard but like I said, it happened just after I installed it. I suppose I can live on 1GB of RAM, but 1.5 would definitely help.

Thanks for your replies,

PowerBook G4: Memory Problems | Macintouch

I have a 1.33 Ghz 15" Powerbook and the lower memory slot has died in my machine - twice. Both times Apple (under Applecare) replaced the motherboard, but the problem clearly predates the newer machines, and I'm a little anxious about what happens once my expensive Applecare coverage lapses. I suspect that Apple is being disingenuous about the extent of this issue.

Apple - Support - Discussions - logic board died after being replaced 2 years ago:

My PB's logic board is broken again. It was fixed under warranty two years ago.

I was having problems with it, it was running extremely slow and the battery no longer charges. Turns out I am missing half of my RAM. The lower slot no longer sees the RAM, which is what happened two years ago when my logic board died.

My computer is not under warranty anymore (no AppleCare). What should I do? Has this happened to you?

This is just a small sampling of what's out there. Other key links to check out regarding this considerable problem:

Lower Memory Missing; All Forces

Allegations of 15" PowerBook RAM Slot Defect

G4 Powerbook Aluminum RAM slot repair

(if you're not willing to wait for this to play out legally - $250 repair)

Mac OS X updates disable or damage PowerBooks?

PowerBook Logic Board Failure

Powerbook Ram Slot Failure

PowerBook - PB G4 Memory Slot Failure

My cheaper, temporary solution will be to buy a 1 GB stick (yet more expense to me--thanks Apple) to insert in the one good slot; at least I'll have my original amount of RAM again. If you're one of those who had more than 1 GB RAM, you'll have to wait or pay for the repair above--don't send it to Apple (too expensive and too little warranty).

There's a petition out there to sign (4701 signatures as of June 2008), and you can also sign up here for a potential class action lawsuit. Don't get stuck paying for something that's not your fault!

Shame Apple! Look at me--devoted Apple fanboy since 1986--having to beg Apple to treat me like a loyal customer. Shame, shame, shame!


Gary said...

Does anyone know what the actual repair is? (solder point, reflow board.....)

Shane Hendricks said...

I think they replace the motherboard.

Anonymous said...

jeez, I was wondering why mine was running so slow. I've only got half a gig going because the other 1gig that I bought and installed myself is no longer recognized. this is stupid!!!

Shane Hendricks said...

I still haven't taken mine into the Apple Store yet, but apparently that's how you'll get some help. Bring it in and "prove" to them that this quite common problem is plaguing you.

Feel Better, Naturally! said...

My G4 has this problem. Apple wants $310 to replace the logics board.

Anonymous said...

$310 to replace the logics board. I am so bummed.

Shane Hendricks said...

Well, you may get that back...a class action is pending.

Björn said...

What is the status of the class action suit?

Shane Hendricks said...

Haven't heard the status of the lawsuit. Anyone else?