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touch pad Powerbook g3

380 Views 5 Replies Latest reply: Jun 3, 2013 9:57 AM by Allan Jones RSS
Richard NYC Calculating status...
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May 28, 2013 10:20 AM

The cursor of my PowerBook G3 starts bouncing all over the screen and the only way to stop it is to <esc>.  This problem has gotten worse over about 3 years and now is making it impossible to use the darn thing.  Is this something I can do by cleaning, or is it bigger?

  • Allan Jones Level 7 Level 7 (29,605 points)
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    May 30, 2013 6:29 PM (in response to Richard NYC)

    Do you know which version of the G3 PowerBook this is? Knowing that will make diagnosis easier.


    The most common are:


    <> PowerBook G3 Series (Sept 1998): Has black keys and no ports for USB or FireWire. Usually has Model number M4753 printed on the case bottom. Processors were 233, 266, and 300 mHz. Nickname "Wallstreet"


    <> PowerBook G3 Bronze Keyboard: Has, you guessed it, bronze (brown) keys, and USB ports, but no Firewire ports. Model M5343. Processors were 333 or 400 mHz. Nickname "Lombard"


    <> PowerBook G3 (FireWire): Same brown keyboard as the Lombard but adds FireWire ports. Model M7572. Processors were 400 or 500 mHz. Nickname "Pismo"


    Rarer are the very early G3 Powerbooks, The first had a 250mHz processor and model M3553. A model  between the M3553 and the "(Sept 1998)" also had the M4753 model number but the processors were 233, 250, or 292 mHz.


    The jumping cursor usually has two causes:


    1) Something in the battery or expansion bay areas is pushing on the back side of the track pad assembly. This is more common on the later G4 PowerBooks with the thin case, as there is very little clearance between the battery and the trackpad assembly.


    2) Normal wear: With a  lot of use, trackpads can develop spots that react to touch in a wacky way. However, this is a mechanical failure due to wear and pressing the >esc> key should not change anything.


    If you connect an Apple mouse, does the erratic behavior go away?


    If you remove the battery and anything in the expansion bay, does the erratic behavior go away?


    Awaiting your followup.



    PowerBook G4 1Ghz 17", Mac OS X (10.4.11)
  • Allan Jones Level 7 Level 7 (29,605 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 3, 2013 7:16 AM (in response to Richard NYC)

    Oh, yes indeed--even more so. It applies to the G4s and 2006-2008 MacBook Pros. In those models, the top of the battery is so close to the underside of the trackpad that any swelling of the battery can create havoc with TP function. Remove the battery and check it for any deformation. While the battery is out, see if the TP function is normal.


    If the battery does not appear deformed and seems to be working OK, test by placing a slip of paper between the battery and the TP to see if something is shorting. If it then works normally, leave the paper there.


    Again, this could still be wear. However, the worn TP on my G4 PowerBook only produces odd cursor behavior in one area of the trackpad, one I can avoid. Constant jumping regardless of where you touch the pad is usually the battery issue.

  • Allan Jones Level 7 Level 7 (29,605 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 3, 2013 9:57 AM (in response to Richard NYC)

    Powerbooks run OK without the battery but mine wil not start without the battery; you may encounter the same issue. It's easy enough to have the battery installed at startup and them remove it once the computer has booted. The two downsides to running a PowerBook without the battery or leaving the battery in place are:


    1) if you kick the power adatptor from the wall, you loose all unsaved data

    2) If the battery is swollen, any time it spend in the comptuer increases teh riak of damage from the swelling or leakage.


    If your after-market is warranted and it appears deformed, you should contact the vendor.


    Once you get to Intel notebooks,  the hardware better senses the battery's presence. If no battery is installed, the system clocks back the processor speed. Although Apple has not stated how much the processor speed is reduced, knowledgeable people in the MacBook Pro forums says it's 1/2 the processor speed or 1ghz, whichever is greater.


    If your battery is not swollen, see if leaving the piece of paper in place makes things work.


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