More PowerBook woes and hacks

In an earlier post I described how I had to jump through hoops to have a running Powerbook again. Well, that’s just part of the whole story: in the following days I found out that problems weren’t quite over yet.

The very same evening, relieved by having a working computer again, I happily unplugged the power supply from the office socket, ready to go home. While rolling the cable in, I felt a burning smell and realized that the cable was softer than usual, hot and rapidly turning brown. I finally had something to blame: it was clear that the power supply was responsible for the whole sleeve of software issues I had so far, so I planned to flesh some money out and buy a new one (while, of course, cursing Apple and wishing I lived in the USA to start a class action).

Days went by though: a packed week, computer shops closed for after-Christmas break and the fact that the power supply seemed to behave after all, if left untouched in a certain position made me postpone the new gear acquisition. I definitely shouldn’t have been this lazy: this afternoon my powerbook started to hiccup again as the power supply started to overheat and, eventually, blow nice white smoke rings. Now, today is a national holiday over here (which means shops are closed) and tomorrow pollution laws will prohibit every kind of traffic, so the weekend plan, which included quite a bit of work, looked pretty much screwed up.

A bit of web browsing revealed though that I wasn’t the only one been hit by bad luck and fried power supplies. The hacker in me went to the toolbox, got a screwdriver, a hammer and started hacking its way inside the supply unit.

Eventually the soapbox cracked open, and I started mangling with wires with sharp knives and scissors: actually I was planning to do a nice job with my soldering gun, but lately I found out that I didn’t have any solder wire around (and again, may I remember how today it’s holiday and tomorrow we’re stuck by a traffic block?). Luckily I had a plastic connector in my toolbox left from some electrical work, so eventually I was able to get back to something running without bursting my house in flames (oh well, hopefully at least):

Hacked power supply

This isn’t exactly the ideal setup for a road warrior like me, but hopefully it should be able to last until next monday, when I guess I’ll have to spend no less than 80€ for a new, shiny and white soapbox. Oh well, at least if this hacks keeps working I might consider finishing it up with a solder gun and have a second power supply for home or office use, while hoping Intel PowerBooks will a) face up soon and b) be compatible with existing stuff including AC adaptors.

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