Apple Powerbook 5300 disassembly and power connector repair


Looks like we're into dodgy design territory again. I always found my pb5300cs somewhat flakey and packed in using it altogether about four years ago after I lost the battery.

That said, I found myself this year needing a computer for use as a dedicated IRC terminal - something that would take up minimal desk space and would be low on power consumption so this fitted the bill nicely. It worked happily in this role for about five months and then started switching itself off at random times of the day (or night).

It turns out the 5300 has something of a design flaw. The power socket on the rear has no strain relief and is only held in place with small solder connections. The mechanical action of plugging/unplugging the power cable and the strain of the cables weight hanging from the rear of the unit eventually take their toll and the connections dry-joint. Happily this is a fairly easy repair and the joints just require re-soldering once the motherboard has been removed.

The usual disclaimer follows:
Unless you're a dab-hand with a screwdriver, don't attempt any of this. Messing around inside your computer could cause damage and in certain cases can be hazardous to your health. This page is just a guide - you follow these instructions at your own risk. You should be careful handling the internals of a computer and follow antistatic precautions or you may cause damage.

1. For this procedure you will need a Torx (star shaped) screwdriver. If you don't have one the right size you're not gonna get very far. If you do have one then remove the three screws from the underside of the unit. These screws hold the keyboard in place. Also release and remove the floppy drive and remove the torx screw on the rear of the PowerBook (next to the video output port).

2. Lever out the keyboard from the bottom. Do it gently, it's connected by fragile flexi-ribbons.

3. Disconnect the keyboard flexi ribbons by carefully lifting the tag ends of the connectors and pulling each ribbon from its connector.

4. Gently pull out the memory expansion board (if fitted). It's held in place by a connector on its lower side.

5.Disconnect the trackpad ribbon (arrowed below) and remove the trackpad and its surround by pulling it up from the top and releasing the clips at the front. Do it gently (it's a little awkward). You may have to lift the sides of the unit as the trackpad surround has two lugs (one shown below) which fit under the case sides.

6. Unscrew torx screws holding the hard drive and metal chassis in place. Lift out the hard drive and disconnect its ribbon flexi.

7. Unplug and remove the power management unit and PRAM battery.

8. Remove the metal heatsink/shield.

9. Unscrew and remove the video output daughter card.

10. Disconnect (a) The screen ribbon cable, (b) the screen controls ribbon and (c) the floppy drive LED.

11. Carefully lever out the motherboard.

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12. The motherboard removed.

13. Close up of the underside of the motherboard showing the power socket solder connections which break down. These need to be renewed to bring your PowerBook back to life!


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