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How to make a headless older PowerBook work System 10.4
Tiger only hintBefore I started using Macs, I used to take old, broken, Gateway laptops and turn them into little "Convertibles," as I like to call them. Well, I got a hand-me-down TiPowerBook with such a destroyed screen that I began using it as a portable 60GB FireWire drive. In the end, I couldn't help but make my first Mac Convertible.

The easy part was to image the machine using either Disk Utility or CCC, whichever you prefer (my image had 10.4.3).

When that is finished, boot it as a FireWire drive (if it hasn't been already) and boot another machine from it (preferably one with a monitor!). Set up an account with auto-login. Also, I think that if you hook up an external monitor at this point, then you *should* be able to set up display mirroring. I wasn't able to, because of a restriction I had with my booting machine.

If you don't have the luxury of setting it there, boot the TiPowerBook normally, with an external monitor attached. Wait for it to auto-login, and then put your mouse all the way in the top left-hand corner of the unseen screen (by default the external monitor is positioned to the right of the "primary" display). Click the mouse, hit the down arrow four times, and type mirror (this uses Spotlight searching, so it won't work on pre-Tiger OS), and then hit Return. This will bring the Secondary monitor display options on the screen -- and I believe there is a Gather Display Options button. Hit that, and it will bring you the other display screen. Feel free to set up the mirrored displays and -- ta-da -- you have a headless Tiger TiPowerBook.

I should note, in newer machines, just use the monitor switching function key... that makes this a lot easier!
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How to make a headless older PowerBook work
Authored by: umijin on Nov 17, '05 07:01:35AM

Hmmm... I have a TiBook whose screen works if you flex it a certain way, but not when you let go of it. I've already synched it to an external monitor, and have been thinking abour replacing the screen - or just plain removing it.

Any tips of on removing the screen?

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How to make a headless older PowerBook work
Authored by: mike666 on Nov 17, '05 11:29:31AM
If you care about keeping the display's cables intact, then take it to your local Apple specialist - they should only have to charge you about an hour of labor. If you have some means of protecting the machine against ESD (if you don't know what ESD is then don't go any further - take it to someone who knows what they're doing) some manual dexterity and don't care about the cables, it is possible to remove the display without removing the logic board. You can cut the video connector leads under the left clutch cover and then remove the connector from the logic board. Just don't do the same for the inverter cable or you'll have two bare high-voltage leads hanging either outside or loose inside your machine. I won't go into a step by step but the inverter cable can be unplugged from the top by lifting up the keyboard. If you're savvy enough to try any of this, you should be able find it on the right under the case. Once unplugged, the cable and connector attached to the display will slide out through the hole under the right clutch cover.

One tip about using a headless TiPB: if you can find a small magnet, place it just to the right of the trackpad - may take some expermentation to find the sweet spot - with the machine on the PB will sleep as soon as you find the right spot. Note that spot, shut down and then tape the magnet in place. Now when you power the machine up it will think the display is still attached and closed and will automatically mirror an to an external display (more importantly, you'll get video if you need to get into Open Firmware or need to run Apple Hardware Test).

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How to make a headless older PowerBook work
Authored by: peragrin on Nov 17, '05 02:55:07PM

Yea this works, oh boy does it work. I sometimes use my AI 12" PB with an extra keyboard. The problem my setup put the isight in a bad position, so I have to tilt it down a bit. I was playing around with using the magnet mount above the battery and accidently tripped it into sleeping. my sweet spot looked to be between the enter and left arrow keys about a 1/4 of the way down.

I thought once I was found but it was only a dream

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How to make a headless older PowerBook work
Authored by: AaronAdams on Nov 17, '05 08:43:31AM

I'm a little confused by this hint, but I wanted to comment about another way to create a headless machine. I use this with my old G4 Cube at home. Install the OS in whatever way you can, and in the Sharing preferences enable Apple Remote Desktop. Click the Access Privileges button, and check the box next to "VNC viewers may control screen with password", and create a password. From this point on, you can use a free VNC client like Chicken of the VNC to control your Mac without the need to plug in a monitor, keyboard, or mouse. Your Mac can run by itself on a shelf or desk somewhere as a stand-alone unit.

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How to make a headless older PowerBook work
Authored by: genericuser on Nov 17, '05 03:13:13PM

Be careful while running a laptop with the lid closed. Doing so will restrict airflow and may cause it to overheat.

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How to make a headless older PowerBook work
Authored by: tooki on Nov 18, '05 01:25:11PM

This persistent myth has not been true since the Wallstreet series, which did rely on the lid being open for cooling -- so Apple programmed that model to not operate with the lid closed. All PowerBook models introduced after 1998 (which happens to be all models with USB ports) do NOT need the keyboard area for cooling, and will run fine with the screen shut.

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How to make a headless older PowerBook work
Authored by: piddy on Dec 08, '05 01:19:31PM

not true...I have a TiBook I ran with the lid closed for months while using Remote Desktop...i've lost functionality in about half of the keyboard from overheating

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How to make a headless older PowerBook work
Authored by: billclinton on Nov 17, '05 04:54:33PM

This is probably the best forum I'll find for comments on my TiBook display problem. Periodically, roughly once per day, the display will (1) stop re-drawing and at the same time (2) go berserk by displaying inappropriate images. The "inappropriate images" are of several styes and may appear in different combinations; they may also morph from one to another. First, the displayed image will fade and gain perhaps some narrow vertical or horizontal stripes. Then, typically, it gain wider stripes of various colors, then continue morphing the fade until there are green organic-shaped blobs slowly morphing on a mostly black background. (I'm not kidding.) On some days, the display will suddenly revert to normal functioning for 1-3 seconds, then start over. If left long enough, it might become all black or all white, but then can start up with the organic shapes again. Almost never happens immediately upon waking from sleep if the machine has been asleep for several hours (e.g., overnight), but will almost always re-start if it has already begun and I just do a quick sleep-wake cycle.

To me, this represents some kind of inter-pixel communication on either the display itself or in video RAM. I've tried checking everything that I can think of and have ruled out choice of power supply (AC versus battery), battery state, device temperature, ambient temperature, and phase of the moon.

After an initial sequence of this bad behavior, I thought I solved it by wiggling the thick wires running into the right-hand hinge (when laying upside down), but that "fix" eventually failed. I enjoyed a few months of relatively good behavior, including a three-week trip to Spain (why don't they ground their mains?). But upon returning this summer to the U.S., the problem became untenable.

After several months of this (I normally use an external monitor), I solved the problem by buying a new computer.

Any ideas on what caused this problem?

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How to make a headless older PowerBook work
Authored by: ret on Nov 17, '05 07:34:00PM

I had what sounds like the same problem on first edition TiBook. Vertical white lines would appear on the screen, gradually filling it. If left alone, these would eventually become greyish blobs. This might occur within seconds or possibly hours of opening the lid, but got progressively less, until it became unusable without an external monitor.

It turned out to be the ribbon cable within the hinge had frayed and eventually broken. Had to replace the whole screen-half of the laptop, since the ribbon cable can't be replaced separately. Hooray for Applecare ;-)

The AlBook has a different hinge arrangement which is apparently a lot sturdier.


perl -e 'require; srand; printf STDOUT "%s\n", $Signature[rand @Signature];'

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Much Easier like this
Authored by: Gerk on Nov 18, '05 07:17:58AM

Command (apple key) +F1 .. works at any point from the login screen on. No jumping through hoops required !!

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