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ibook g3 heat pipe and heat spreader question

1441 Views 15 Replies Latest reply: Nov 29, 2011 11:43 PM by spudnuty RSS
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Alexander Reeser Level 1 Level 1 (115 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Nov 21, 2011 10:08 PM

Please forgive the repost, but this seemed like a better forum for this question.


This is kind of a shot in the dark, but does anyone out there have any technical information about the heat pipe used in the 2002 ibook g3? I'm doing a "deconstruct" project for a grad school class and any information would be great. ideally i'd like to know the working fluid, and the materials used for the heat pipe and heat spreader as well as measurments such as inner diameter, outer diameter etc.


What do you think my chances of getting this information from apple look like???

  • Ronda Wilson Level 8 Level 8 (40,560 points)

    Alexander Reeser wrote:


    What do you think my chances of getting this information from apple look like???


    Slim to none?


    I don't think there is any liquid coolant in the iBook G3. I've been posting about iBook G3s since February of 2003, and have never seen anyone mention liquid coolant in them. Apple relies on dissipation of heat through the keyboard and case to keep the iBook G3 cool enough to continue operating, along with a small fan which blows past the CPU through the vents at the back of the iBook's case.


    Once you move up to an iBook G4, the case gets hot enough that a laptop desk is necessary between you and the iBook. Even with an iBook G3, that is a good idea in order to facilitate cooling. Apple has never referred to their portable computers as "laptops." First, they referred to them as "portables" and, more recently, as "notebooks."


    I'm going to pass on a link to this discussion to a fella who rehabs old iBooks for use in schools. He's been digging into the guts of them for years, so he may be able to answer your question more definitively.


    As far as deconstructing is concerned, you probably have this link, but here goes, anyway:


  • Ronda Wilson Level 8 Level 8 (40,560 points)

    If you have an extra which you can cut open, working in a well-ventilated area, obtain a semi-closed container and put chlorine bleach in it until you get a good concentration of chlorine vapor. Place the tube in the most concentrated area of vapor and cut it open.


    If you get what looks like white smoke developing around the opening of the tube, it's filled with anhydrous ammonia.


    If you see nothing and the end of the tube appears to have a silver or white compound in it, it's filled with metallic sodium which melts when heated and transfers the heat. If you drop a piece of that in water, it should fizz and produce hydrogen.


    These are two possibilities; there may be more.


    (Metallic sodium is sometimes used in automotive high-performance engine valves.)

  • Ronda Wilson Level 8 Level 8 (40,560 points)

    I'm saying that I just don't know.


    This information on reactions of cooling agents came by way of my husband, who is knowledgeable about such things. As I said, I've never heard anyone speak of cooling agents in an iBook before this.

  • Ronda Wilson Level 8 Level 8 (40,560 points)

    There seem to be quite a few of them up for sale on eBay.



    You could try contacting a seller or sellers and see if they may know more about them.


    Another search which may prove informative is this one.


    It also could be helpful to know exactly which model you're talking about:


  • spudnuty Level 5 Level 5 (5,250 points)

    Hey guys,

    >I don't believe that the working fluid is metallic sodium

    Well if it were that would be awesome but a bit dangerous if there were leaks.

    Never seen leaks in those early iBook G3s or even the G4s.

    So I'm thinking phase change or silicone based fluid. I'm not thinking anything under pressure.

    There were leaking problems in the Power Mac G5s. These were the fastest Dual G5s and ran at 2.7 GHz:

    These seem to work like a conventional auto type coolant system and that makes sense since they were designed by an automotive company.

    The earlier Single/Dual G5s use heat pipes of the same design as those in the laptops.

    In Googling heat pipe this:

    says the fluid was

    " such fluids include water, ethanol, acetone, sodium, or mercury"

    Can't imagine that the latter two would have been used because if that were the case there would have been a warning label on the laptop. Re: the warning label on current high efficiency FLD lamps and the label on the LiIon batteries.

    All of the iBook G3s and G4s seem to have the same type of heat pipe.

    So since you're deconstructing the laptop you should be able to easily tell what the fluid in there was. I would be interested in what you find.


  • Ronda Wilson Level 8 Level 8 (40,560 points)

    Well, those heat sinks on eBay are going really cheap. Might be worth the price to satisfy your curiosity?

  • spudnuty Level 5 Level 5 (5,250 points)

    Hey Alex,

    Thanks for the informative post. That makes total sense to me. There must be a limitation to the amount of heat that can be transfered since the last version of the Power Mac G5 went to that automotive radiator. The earlier design was actually quite massive.

    I've got a few iBooks that are in parts. If you want I can send you a

    heat spreader. Hit me up via my email if you like.


  • spudnuty Level 5 Level 5 (5,250 points)


    No problem. Sent it off today. It looked quite a bit beefier than the iBook G3 heat spreaders that I have. A lot more copper and the pipe is at least twice the diameter. So based on that I think it's from a 12" G4.


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