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PowerBook G4 "IOPCI" Kernel Panic Fix

Published on the 25th of October 2021.

A very annoying and seemingly life-ending issue I've found in the PowerBook G4 15" series (could affect other models too) is that the PCI Wifi/Bluetooth card can go bad and start crashing the system with it. Here are the symptoms:

I, too thought the PowerBook was dead, but this is an easy fix as long as you don't need the built in Airport Extreme chip. Since the chip is causing the issue, disconnecting it completely and putting tape under the connector (for safety) will fix your problems. The lack of keyboard and mouse input might persist, and would need a simple PMU reset; just disconnect the battery on the bottom right and disconnect the main battery and power cable, wait for half a minute or so, and then connect everything back together. You should have a working awesome PowerBook G4!

The reason you might want to disconnect it instead of replacing it is that replacing the Wifi card can be a huge pain, and in the 15" series at least, you need to remove the motherboard and almost all components first to get to it. On the 12" model it is as simple as removing the battery and accessing the card from behind the place where the battery sits; no screwdrivers necessary even.

Here is a picture showing how it can be done on the 15" model, but I doubt you'll need it if you're reading this:

G4 internals, thanks ifixit.com!