You are here

Power Mac G4 (not Quicksilver) won't boot but does have power

For current or would-be users of Apple Mac computers, with answers to many FAQs.

Power Mac G4 (not Quicksilver) won't boot but does have power

Postby Lala » Wed Jan 02, 2019 5:15 pm

Hi,

I have a Power Mac G4 that is 18 years old which was bought for recording / production etc and in that time, apart from me having to swap out the two IBM 'Deathstars' for Seagate Barracudas, it's given me near faultless service.

Just to clarify this is not the Quicksilver model, there are no mirror'd panels on the front, its fitted with a CD-ROM drive only and the whole side opens up by way of a plastic button release on the top edge.

About 6 weeks ago, I press the power button, it lights up as normal and I hear the fan spin up but the attached monitor doesn't wake up and about 30 secs later the Mac switches off. I tried a couple more times, once I actually got the screen to come on but as the desktop is loading, the Mac again switched off, a couple of times I could't even get the power button to light.

I was then working such crazy hours I haven't been able to devote any time to investigating but I now want to try and get to the bottom of this.

I've just tried it again and the power button lights, the fan spins up, screen didn't wake and after 30 secs the mac switches off.

I've done the usual searches online but what seems to crop up is that people have no power whatsoever to the computer, mine clearly has power, it just can't or won't go through the whole boot procedure.

Battery replacement, zapping PRAM, changing power supply and resetting PMU are all mentioned in some of the research I've done, as is starting in safe mode but the mac won't stay on long enough for me to hold down specific buttons to force it down one of those routes.

Does anyone have any experience of a fault like this, where the mac has power but won't complete the boot process ?

Many thanks for any help you can provide.

Nick
Lala
Regular
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu May 15, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Power Mac G4 (not Quicksilver) won't boot but does have power

Postby Wonks » Wed Jan 02, 2019 5:23 pm

It sounds like a failing PSU to me, but it could still be something else.

You could try unplugging the CD_ROM drive and if you've got more than one HDD, try unplugging the non-system drive to reduce the load on the PSU. Also any other slot-in cards that you can live without for a test. It may give you a bit longer before it all shuts off.
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 8238
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Reading, UK
Correcting mistakes on the internet since 1853

Re: Power Mac G4 (not Quicksilver) won't boot but does have power

Postby BigRedX » Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:34 pm

It's a long time since I've owned one of these Macs but IIRC one of mine had a similar problem and replacing the PRAM battery was the solution.

If that doesn't work then as Wonks suggests disconnect all internal and external peripherals that are not absolutely required for the Mac to boot, and try again. While you are doing this check all the fans are clean and working and remove as much dust as you can from around the CPU and the PSU.

If you still don't have any joy, my next suggestion would be to check the RAM. Some Macs require certain modules to be installed in pairs and if one of them has failed it may prevent the boot process.
User avatar
BigRedX
Frequent Poster
Posts: 600
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2004 12:00 am
RockinRollin' VampireMan

Re: Power Mac G4 (not Quicksilver) won't boot but does have power

Postby Jumpeyspyder » Wed Jan 02, 2019 9:08 pm

+1 to suggestions above.

Often worth re-seating memory and any expansion cards

Any beeps during startup ?
User avatar
Jumpeyspyder
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1058
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 1:00 am
Location: Yorkshire

Re: Power Mac G4 (not Quicksilver) won't boot but does have power

Postby Lala » Thu Jan 03, 2019 1:20 pm

Many thanks for the quick replies, it's much appreciated :thumbup:

Thank you also for the suggestions - it's been years since I've been under the bonnet of a computer so I think it makes sense to try the simple things first, dust removal and a battery change.

I'm sure I will be back with more questions once I realise I've forgotten everything I ever knew about macs lol.

Thanks again.

Nick

P. S..... and no, no beeps on start up
Lala
Regular
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu May 15, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Power Mac G4 (not Quicksilver) won't boot but does have power

Postby Lala » Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:54 pm

So after much crawling behind desks and unplugging of cables I've got the mac on the dining room table and have removed a considerable amount of thick dust.

I also removed and cleaned the fan assembly as the blades were caked in dust.

With the mac out of the way I've also had a good hoover around behind where it normally sits and hoovered all associated cables.

It may be nothing but I've noticed that the kettle lead that powers the mac is very discoloured - that may be normal for 18 year old plastic or should I be worried?

https://flic.kr/p/2bd5ibj
Lala
Regular
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu May 15, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Power Mac G4 (not Quicksilver) won't boot but does have power

Postby Wonks » Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:15 pm

That looks more like a general discolouration of what I assume was clear plastic. Any discolouration of the plastic due to heat would be concentrated around the metal pins, whilst the discolouring looks to be very even.

However it it's just a fancy IEC mains connector, then I'd be tempted to use another mains lead just to be sure, as the discolouration may mean the plastic is breaking down over time, and there may be a real issue with insulation in the future.
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 8238
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Reading, UK
Correcting mistakes on the internet since 1853

Re: Power Mac G4 (not Quicksilver) won't boot but does have power

Postby Lala » Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:45 pm

I'm inclined to agree, the plug on the other end which was also a funky kinda clear plastic is also discoloured albeit not as much as the kettle end.

If I can get it working (just ordered a battery) I'll replace the lead :thumbup:
Lala
Regular
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu May 15, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Power Mac G4 (not Quicksilver) won't boot but does have power

Postby Wonks » Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:43 pm

Just read a Windows thread post where it's been recommended to remove the CPU heatsink (and also graphics card one if appropriate) on an old computer and replace the heat transfer paste, as it dries out and becomes less and less effective as time goes by.

Definitely worth doing on a very old computer.
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 8238
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Reading, UK
Correcting mistakes on the internet since 1853

Re: Power Mac G4 (not Quicksilver) won't boot but does have power

Postby Lala » Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:51 pm

OK, thanks for the tip :thumbup:
Lala
Regular
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu May 15, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Power Mac G4 (not Quicksilver) won't boot but does have power

Postby Lala » Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:11 pm

So finally installed new battery and it's kinda worse than it was before.

Pressing power on button, it glows once and goes out and with your head close to the machine you can hear the fan do about one rotation and then nothing.

So I guess next stage is starting to unplug non-system critical stuff ? Would you do it all in one go or selectively, CD-ROM first, try again etc. etc ?

Also, with two HDD's installed, is there an obvious way to determine which is the system drive ? Mine are sort of piggy-backed on top of each other.

I have a PCI-324 card in there, along with some Kingston RAM that I added - would you physically remove these completely from the computer ?
Lala
Regular
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu May 15, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Power Mac G4 (not Quicksilver) won't boot but does have power

Postby BigRedX » Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:28 pm

Take everything out and try. That way you'll know for sure if it's the Mac itself that is poorly or one of the peripherals causing the problem. If it works without the peripherals you can add them back in one at a time until the problem reappears and then you'll know what is causing it.

The lower of the two hard drives should be the system one, especially if it has an Apple logo on it and the other one doesn't. I'd take out both drives and see if you can get the Mac to boot to the point where it is asking for a system drive. Then fit the one most likely to contain a system and try again.

However at this point you need to be asking yourself if it is worth all this time and effort to resurrect this Mac?

5 years ago I sold a load of G4 Macs (which I had acquired a couple of years previously when my workplace went into liquidation) on eBay. They were all Macs in full working order (when they left my house) with all the original packaging, manuals and system disks, and with the most up to date versions of OS9 and OSX that the hardware would support already installed. Most of them were also max'd out for RAM and came with all sorts of extra goodies like additional hard drives, DVD drivers and Zip drives fitted.

Not one of them sold for more than £40.00.
User avatar
BigRedX
Frequent Poster
Posts: 600
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2004 12:00 am
RockinRollin' VampireMan

Re: Power Mac G4 (not Quicksilver) won't boot but does have power

Postby Lala » Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:01 pm

BigRedX wrote:The lower of the two hard drives should be the system one, especially if it has an Apple logo on it and the other one doesn't. I'd take out both drives and see if you can get the Mac to boot to the point where it is asking for a system drive. Then fit the one most likely to contain a system and try again.

I replaced the two original drives with Seagate Barracudas - if I take both drives out, where you say 'asking for a system drive', will I get some kind of error on screen saying it can't find xyz etc ?

BigRedX wrote:However at this point you need to be asking yourself if it is worth all this time and effort to resurrect this Mac?

I totally hear what you're saying - I've spent the last week on eBay looking at the ridiculous prices some of these once fine G4/G5's go for. The problem is though I don't have the money to upgrade large parts of the hardware and software in my studio set up.

I need something that'll work with the PCI-324 (5v) card of a MOTU 2408 mkll (although one guy over on the MOTU forum was able to get his 2408 running on a G5 with the PCI-424 card, there is one currently on eBay) and then I have the problem of what I do about LAG - it works perfectly for my needs, so I need to find something that'll dual boot OS9.

I'd be more than happy to buy a newer (to me anyway) mac for a few hundred quid on eBay that might give me another few years but that creates the knock on problem of integration with old hardware and software.
Lala
Regular
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu May 15, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Power Mac G4 (not Quicksilver) won't boot but does have power

Postby BigRedX » Fri Jan 11, 2019 2:19 pm

It's been more than a while since I last used one of these Macs so I can't remember exactly what you get. I would just try it and report back with the results. The screen for no OS should be fairly obvious.

In my previous post I alluded to the fact that Macs of this age go for very little money at all (especially if you can find one locally and go and collect it as the postage is normally more than the Mac itself). If you want to keep all your existing hardware then AFAIK any of the Power Mac G4 range should do. Since you said your current one is neither a Quicksilver or a MDD version, you really shouldn't be paying more than £20 for an identical model. Personally I'd take the opportunity to upgrade to the fastest MDD version you can find at a sensible price.
User avatar
BigRedX
Frequent Poster
Posts: 600
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2004 12:00 am
RockinRollin' VampireMan

Re: Power Mac G4 (not Quicksilver) won't boot but does have power

Postby Lala » Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:36 pm

OK, so initially I disconnected just the top drive and then removed the additional memory I'd added and the PCI-324 card from the motherboard (I left the graphics card in).

No change - power button glowed, short spin of the fan.

I then disconnected the second drive (in fact I ended up removing the entire caddy with both drives in as I couldn't unplug the lower drive in situ) and also remembered I'd not unplugged the CD-ROM. It soon became apparent that I couldn't unplug the CD-ROM as there is not enough room behind it to pull out the power connector.

No change - power button glowed, short spin of the fan.

With it on the table this second time, I thought I'd leave the side open and video what's happening...

www.youtube.com/watch?v=xh2fz6okNS4
Lala
Regular
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu May 15, 2003 12:00 am


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users