What to do with a broken 5300cs

One ordinary morning at work I received a worried call from a user. Her Powerbook 5300cs had broken, big style. She'd opened it up and the lid had become detached and now it wasn't working. The 5300 was suffering from the Broken Hinge Problem which besets the 5300 and the 190 Powerbooks (looks to me like basically the hinge spring is too strong for the plastic it's screwed into, the result is that over time the plastic stresses and cracks and eventually gives way). Alas, despite Apple offering a 7 year free repair on this problem, this particular little 5300's serial number didn't match those that Apple claims are the only machines affected. So no repair. I eventually managed to get it booting, but as its screen was hanging on only by the rather delicate ribbon cable, it really had no further use as a laptop and the user decided the time had come to purchase a new machine. And if I wanted, I could have it to play with...

Broken hinge Broken hinge from front
Broken hinge
Broken hinge from the front
Broken Hinge close up
Close up of the broken hinge

Now...it just so happened a few weeks later that I was wafting by eBay and I noticed a Focus LapisColor MV16-EN video and ethernet card for the Powerbook 5300 on sale for a mere 10 quid if I "Buy It Now"! So I did, suspecting that it was undoubtedly going to be very useful for rebuilding the 5300.

Focus Card for Sale
Photo copyright Ian Judge http://www.iluvmacs.co.uk/

Consulting the excellent 5300 FAQ which gives clear step-by-step instructions, I set about installing the new card. I also consulted the Apple Service Manual for the 5300 and 190 Powerbooks, these machines have the highest voltages of any Apple Powerbook. So make sure that the PSU and the battery are removed before you do any work on them. You have been warned. First I had to remove the LCD screen completely: unscrew the three Torx screws on the back the turn it over and lift and slide the keyboard towards you, then rest it on the LCD screen.

Sliding off the keyboard

After removing the RAM expansion card, carefully disconnect the LCD connector.

Removing the LCD connector Removing the LCD connector, closeup

Now the whole display panel can be lifted clear. Next, remove the trackpad and palm rest section by tilting the far edge and sliding it towards you.

Removing the trackpad and plam rest

Next unscrew the three Torx screws holding down the hard drive enclosure and then lift it off in its entirety.

Unscrewing the hard drive enclosure Lift off the hard drive enclosure

Lift off the power supply board and the PRAM battery.

Removing the power supply board

Now you can lift off the heatsink.

Lifting off the heatsink

Oh....there's already a PDS card in the slot!

A PDS card is already there!

Here is where the most excellent 5300 FAQ has a slight omission. It tells you to remove the Torx screw connecting the board to the plastic spacer, but completely forgets to mention that there is a second Torx screw holding the board in place. After several frustrating minutes tugging at the PDS card I realised that another screw had to be removed! This is accessed from the back on the machine.

Unscrewing the second screw

Now take your new Focus LapisColor MV16-EN PDS...

Focus LapisColor MV16-EN PDS card

...and gently put it in place. Now you can begin the exciting job of putting everything back together!

New PDS card in place New PDS card from the back

Ever had one of those days when, after everything is back together, you suddenly notice you have one piece left over...


So....repeat from Step 4, this time remembering to replace the RAM expansion card, and with any luck when you power it on it all works!

All working!

Now that the 5300cs is useable, albeit as a rather compact desktop machine, I can't help but wonder if I can't somehow reattach the LCD screen and turn the 5300 into some sort of networked World Domination Controller. (To Be Continued...)

© Alcina 2003