Another Melted G4 Mac Laptop

So, remember that melted laptop? Yes, the one that the Genius Bar employees and more-than 5,000 Gizmodo readers thought was foul play in an attempt to get a new laptop. Well, another e-mail popped in our box just now, with an almost identical incident happening to someone else many years ago, when the laptops were fresher.

Illustration for article titled Another Melted G4 Mac Laptop

Dustin writes:

I saw your post about a melted PowerBook. I had one too. About five years ago, I placed my Powerbook G4 on my desk, started up SETI (remember that?), and went to bed. I woke up to the smell of burning plastic. The keys in the center, radiating outward, were completely melted. Amazingly, though the screen was damaged, the computer was still turned on. I unplugged it, and even though the battery was still installed, it shut off. It melted the plastic covering on my desk, and the laptop was too hot to touch for almost half an hour.


What a giant, raging clue indeed, Dustin. Dustin's setup is a little more isolated and looks like it could have actually happened. Also, I remember the days of SETI, that thing ran the hell out of a computer and could very easily overheated a G4 laptop. Thoughts? Is the original story a little more believable now that another case has come about? Hit the comments and voice your opinion. If this second case changed your mind, you may want to apologize to the roommate of the first owner, goods, for shitting all in his Cheerios the first time around. (Sorry, Goods.)

Share This Story

Get our newsletter


Same exact thing happened to my tibook. Worse actually. And definitely my fault. I'm lucky I didn't burn the whole house down. I didn't want to tell anyone for a while because I didn't want to pay for all the damages myself. I'll explain how I fixed it for very little money after I explain how it it happened.

I was playing SimCity 4 in my bed late one night, which due to an atrocious mac os port, crashes and freezes the computer quite often. I accidentally fell asleep, it froze at 100% processor usage with the power plugged in preventing the battery from draining and avoiding this whole disaster. In my sleep I then knocked a pillow onto the keyboard, also putting pressure on the screen and the terribly weak hinge. Hours pass.

In the middle of the night, my knee must have touched part of the computer because I woke up with a small third degree burn. I removed the pillow and found my computer: screen bent nearly flat (beyond the normal range of motion), and nearly all the keys had puckered and popped off like pop corn, just like in the picture. Only the lower corner keys were left semi in tact.

Amazingly (except for the keyboard, and the wobbly screen hinge) the computer remained 100% functional.

That's how it happened to me. I have pictures but stored on some other drive I don't want to find right now.

So here's how I fixed what would easily be over $1000 to repair for just a few hundred dollars.

I fixed the keyboard myself with a replacement from ebay (which was easy to do on the old tibooks) under $100. After that I took the powerbook to a third party mac repair shop that was motivated to get my business, and smart enough not to ask too many questions. At this point there was little cosmetic damage to the computer, just the wobbly screen and tiny bit of warping by the battery compartment.

I asked the repair shop to send in whatever the most expensive part to replace was under my warranty. This is hard to believe but it turned out the wobbly screen hinge was a result of the magnesium frame 'softening' from the extreme heat. Replacing that piece alone saved me over $600. This also fixed the loose battery.

Then all I had to pay for was the upper interior casing. The large titanium piece with the speakers and trackpad built into it. I only had to pay for that part (under $200), because I also gave the repair guy some referrals for some used computers he wanted to sell.

In the end, I had repaired probably over $1000 of negligent damage for well under $300. And I had my computer back to normal with no future problems.

No one could tell what ordeal it had gone through... except ironically for a massive scratch that the repair guy did right near the apple logo on the lid (but denied). The computer lives on to this day, I gave it to my sister originally to use just as an ichat computer, but now she uses it more than her newer pc laptop.

That's the story of home my titanium powerbook melted down and was subsequently resurrected. Wow, I'm kind of glad I got that off of my chest.. and got to brag about how a made up for being such an idiot. Maybe even others can learn from this story as well.