09 July 2019

Power Mac G4 Part 3: Cleaning

After many hours, I have completed the cleaning and rebuilding of the Apple Power Mac G4. This was a much more difficult process than I had expected it to be, but I still enjoyed it.
Using an electric duster, I sprayed air at the electrical components to remove much of the debris. This ended up working really well and I only had to use a small amount of isopropyl alcohol to clean some of the tougher spots.


The plastic cover and the heat sink were scrubbed with soap and water, then blasted with air to dry the heat sink quickly to prevent corrosion. They both ended up looking brand new by the time I was done cleaning them.
The fan was a bit tricky to clean because compressed air wasn't enough to remove all of the sticky gunk inside of it. I ended up dousing it with alcohol, scrubbing it with a cloth, and then blasting it with air again. I think it came out fine.

I removed all of the plastic paneling and exterior of the computer, leaving only a husk of bare aluminum. With no electrical components inside it anymore, I could give this thing a thorough cleaning.
 At first I tried cleaning this in my kitchen sink, but that was way too small and I couldn't get into the tricky corners with the scrub brush I use. Then I remembered I have a bath tub, so into that it went.
The lighting in this picture is fine; the water is just filthy with dirt. I scrubbed and sprayed the crap out of this case until every visible speck of dust was gone. I used an industrial strength degreaser to break up the really nasty stuff, but soap and water were pretty good at removing a majority of the dirt.
This left me with all of the plastic panels to clean. I was pretty worried about the yellowing here and wondered if I'd need to retr0bright it, but that seemed risky with clear components.
Inside the panels was just a lot of dust. Here you can see what a difference just a wipe with a damp cloth could do.
My concerns about the yellowing turned out unnecessary after all. Everything cleaned up beautifully and the clear parts looked especially nice.
After drying off the case, I was amazed by how good it looked.
With everything clean, it was time to put this computer back together.
One of the benefits of working on this website is it gets me to take pictures of everything I do. When it comes time to reassemble things, I'm able to use the pictures as a reference to make sure I'm doing things correctly. This saves a lot of time.
Here's the computer with the paneling reinstalled. I wish I had some better ribbon cables for it because those didn't clean up very well, but otherwise the interior of this computer is pristine.
 A lot of what I thought were scratches on the exterior turned out to be paint or something that was fairly easy to remove with some scrubbing. I'm so happy with how good thing thing looks.
There's a single cover at the very bottom that is missing and that annoys me. I tried using one from one of my older PCs but these are a different size, so that didn't work. I'd like to find some components to install in this computer beyond just the video card.
Here's another glamour shot showing off how nice this computer looks now. Yes, I know there is peeling plastic on the front and it's missing the bezel for the DVD drive, but I've ordered a new one and I'll peel the plastic off when this computer is officially complete. 
And one last interior shot. I forgot to mention I installed a second hard drive so this thing now has a little over 300 GB of storage. I powered it on after reassembling everything and it booted up just fine.

Getting the computer to this point was a lot of work, and I'm very happy with the results, but I'm still not done with it yet. There is still software to be installed, components to understand, and peripherals to complete the look. I still know so little about the Power Mac G4, and I can't wait to discover what it's capable of doing.

Thanks for reading!

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