ibook sleep problem and some answers

e.mkeene e.mkeene at wap.org
Thu Aug 12 05:26:13 PDT 2004

For all of you who are having sleep problems with your iBooks and 
expecially for those that out of warranty, here is an excert from the 
TechTails (smalldog.com) newsletter this week that may provide answers, 
info or frustrations, YMMV :>D


White G3 iBook Reed Switch Self-Repair
by Justin Granger at smalldog.com

One of the greatest features of Apple laptops is that they 
automatically shift to the low-power sleep mode when you close them and 
then wake up almost instantly when you open them. This is accomplished 
through the magic of a little component called the reed switch.

A reed switch is a tiny glass tube with two metal reeds inside that 
almost touch. Normally, current cannot pass through the switch because 
the metal reeds are separated by a small gap. When a magnet is brought 
near the switch, the reeds are drawn together toward one side of the 
tube. They make contact, and the switch turns on.

This is the mechanism that an iBook uses to sense whether it is open or 
closed. The reed switch is located in the display, on the right edge as 
you are facing it.  To locate it more precisely, take a paperclip and 
slide it around just below your keyboard on the right edge of the 
machine.  You will notice it sticking to the case.

You have just found the magnet that triggers the reed switch. Now 
remove the paperclip, remembering where the magnet is, and close the 
iBook. The reed switch is in the edge of the display directly over that 
magnet.  Remember that location, and try holding a magnet near that 
spot when the computer is on. A normal iBook will sleep when the magnet 
is present, and wake up when you remove it.

Some iBooks have an unfortunate condition in which they sleep and wake 
by themselves. This is caused by a reed switch that triggers itself 
randomly. Worse yet, some iBooks act like the lid is always closed. 
This can result in a complete failure to boot properly.

A reed switch is a very small part, but it is a lot of trouble to 
replace. It requires almost completely disassembling the computer. If 
your machine is out of warranty, you can solve your reed switch 
problems with very little effort by disabling the switch entirely. This 
is also a great test to determine whether a reed switch is the culprit 
in a lack of video situation. Here's how:

You will need a small phillips head screwdriver and a pair of 
needle-nose pliers. You may also need a small flathead screwdriver to 
release the keyboard lock.

Turn off your iBook, unplug it, and remove the battery. Open it facing 
you as if you were going to use it. In the upper corners of the 
keyboard, one key in from either side, you should see two small 
latches. Pull them toward you to free the far edge of the keyboard. If 
it sticks in the middle, you may need to find a small flathead 
screwdriver and release the keyboard lock located between the F5 and F6 
keys. Fold the keyboard toward you, gently resting it flat across the 
trackpad, being careful not to strain the flat keyboard cable.

If you have an AirPort card, you will see it on the left. Remove it by 
releasing the wire clip that holds it in place and carefully sliding it 
to the right. Loosen it, then remove the AirPort antenna cable from the 
card. Set the card aside.

You now need to remove the RAM shield. There are two tiny phillips head 
screws on the shield.  You should see a diagram on the bottom of the 
keyboard that will help to guide you. Remove these screws, being 
careful not to lose them inside the computer. (If you do, get help. 
Don't use your machine until you can recover the screw, since you risk 
shorting out your motherboard.) Lift the RAM shield out, and get ready 
for surgery.

You will see three connectors on the right part of the logic board 
revealed by the removal of the RAM shield. The one closest to you is 
for the orange trackpad cable. The next is the large black keyboard 
connector. Farthest from you, there is a grayish connector to a small 
cable that disappears into the case with the AirPort antenna cable. 
This cable may be wrapped tightly with heat-shrink tubing. If so, peel 
it back gently to reveal the wires themselves.

The two wires closest to you are connected to the reed switch. You are 
going to remove them. These wires may be black and red, or yellow and 
green. Do not go by color; go by position. Grasp the wires firmly with 
the pliers, one at a time, and pull them straight up out of the 
connector while holding the connector down. They should come free with 
the sockets attached. Move them aside and secure them with a piece of 
tape where they won't accidently short anything. These wires carry no 
voltage when both are disconnected. Incidentally, you can press those 
sockets back into the connector and reverse this procedure if you are 

Reassemble your iBook. Make sure to seat the front edge of the keyboard 
properly. Now give it a shot!

If you have done everything correctly, your computer should no longer 
be plagued by your reed switch. You have tricked your computer into 
thinking that it is open all the time. This does mean that you'll need 
to manually put the computer to sleep before you close it, and touch a 
key in order to wake it, but it will no longer fall asleep while you 
are using it and it may even boot if it did not before.

Remember that this will void your warranty. And let me know of your 

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