PDA

View Full Version : PowerBook G4 -- what's the problem




NtotheIzoo
Jul 3, 2007, 08:12 AM
Ok...so my PowerBook G4 is having issues...it will not boot sometimes...gets all the way to the bluescreen right before ask to enter password...and it freezes...or sometimes it'll flash and turn black...the keyboard still works as i can push teh caps lock key and the back light is still on...

i've attached a screenshot of my desktop when i actually can log in which takes between 2 ~ 6 reboots...as you can see, there are pixelated vertical lines...not sure what is going on...

so, do you guys thinks its the graphics card, the motherboard, or maybe a clean instal of OS X...or something else?

let me know...thanx



Jestered
Jul 3, 2007, 08:24 AM
Ok...so my PowerBook G4 is having issues...it will not boot sometimes...gets all the way to the bluescreen right before ask to enter password...and it freezes...or sometimes it'll flash and turn black...the keyboard still works as i can push teh caps lock key and the back light is still on...

i've attached a screenshot of my desktop when i actually can log in which takes between 2 ~ 6 reboots...as you can see, there are pixelated vertical lines...not sure what is going on...

so, do you guys thinks its the graphics card, the motherboard, or maybe a clean instal of OS X...or something else?

let me know...thanx

It could be a number of things. Boot to the install disk that came with the computer. If the problem is gone, then it is most likely a software issue and an archive and install should fix it.

If the problem still happens when booting to the install disk, you can try resetting the PMU, PRAM and NVRAM. Run disk utility on your drive (booted to the OS Install disk), repair permissions....

NtotheIzoo
Jul 3, 2007, 08:50 AM
Thank you for the quick reply Jestered.

It could be a number of things. Boot to the install disk that came with the computer. If the problem is gone, then it is most likely a software issue and an archive and install should fix it.

I did this and the problem was there as well.

If the problem still happens when booting to the install disk, you can try resetting the PMU, PRAM and NVRAM. Run disk utility on your drive (booted to the OS Install disk), repair permissions....

I reset the PRAM and the VRAM by Command-Option-P-R...i also booted with Holding R and booted in Safe Mode...

The problems is still here...any more suggestions??

Sin
Jul 3, 2007, 08:52 AM
It could be a number of things. Boot to the install disk that came with the computer. If the problem is gone, then it is most likely a software issue and an archive and install should fix it.

If the problem still happens when booting to the install disk, you can try resetting the PMU, PRAM and NVRAM. Run disk utility on your drive (booted to the OS Install disk), repair permissions....

I'd suspect something more physical here - looking at the image, it's got errors all over the blue-channel, but nothing in red or green - in fact most of the errors seem to be a single bit. If the memory were bad, this would be a slightly strange pattern to see, and I'd also expect worse symptoms, like bad crashes and more visible mistakes.*

I'm more inclined to think this is a loose/dry/cracked connection on the video output. Might be easily fixable, might e pretty fatal - by all means try software diagnostics though, you never know.

*Edit: Woops, I see you are having those symptoms after all! Um yeah, could well be bad memory!

NtotheIzoo
Jul 3, 2007, 09:18 AM
*Edit: Woops, I see you are having those symptoms after all! Um yeah, could well be bad memory!

And at the cost of sounding like a complete idiot...i want to clarify...by bad memory you are talking about graphics card memory, right???

And, if it is my graphics card...how hard would that be for me to replace???

Sin
Jul 3, 2007, 09:30 AM
And at the cost of sounding like a complete idiot...i want to clarify...by bad memory you are talking about graphics card memory, right???

And, if it is my graphics card...how hard would that be for me to replace???

Yes, this problem is almost certainly restricted to the graphics system, and not your normal memory (though it wouldn't hurt to double check that your memory is seated properly - I think it it wasn't your machine wouldn't really boot at all...)

I took a further look at the image you posted. It's definitely only a single "bit" of error creeping in, and it's not on every pixel - in fact it's a fairly nice dither pattern of error over the screen. That kind of problem is fairly typical of bad memory, so scrub what I suggested about it being a loose connection.

Fixing it would be nasty though - laptops don't really have graphics cards as such, the components will be mounted straight on the motherboard. Generally speaking you'd have to swap the whole lot out. I assume that's what an Apple place would do, assuming spares are available.

Otheriwse you'd want someone who knows what they're doing to take the machine apart and look for anything obvious - could be a bad solder joint to a single memory chip (might explain the pattern of errors), which would be fixable. If there's nothing "easy" like that, you're probably out of luck. Replacing the chips themselves is possible but not for the faint-hearted. A hairline crack on the board is probably fatal.

Jestered
Jul 3, 2007, 09:34 AM
Any Apple Authorized Service place will not perform board level repairs (AFAIK). If it is an issue with the graphics card/memory, it would require a logic board replacement. You could possible find another company that performs board level repairs. Soldering on those chips is not something that just anyone can do. A lot of times it requires special equipment that is very expensive.

Jestered
Jul 3, 2007, 09:41 AM
If you have not reset the PMU, you really should try that. It does sound more likely to be a hardware issue, but a corrupt PMU can cause just about anything short of physical damage to the computer. The PMU handles all power flow through the computer, so it could be a corrupt PMU. It wouldn't hurt to try.

If you don't know how to do that... go here:

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=14449

NtotheIzoo
Jul 3, 2007, 10:51 AM
If you have not reset the PMU, you really should try that. It does sound more likely to be a hardware issue, but a corrupt PMU can cause just about anything short of physical damage to the computer. The PMU handles all power flow through the computer, so it could be a corrupt PMU. It wouldn't hurt to try.

If you don't know how to do that... go here:

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=14449

tried it a no help...i think i might send it here (http://laptoprescuer.com/).

thanx for you help...and i hope i can fix it...even though i'm getting a MBP soon, i'd really like to keep the little guy around a while...

NtotheIzoo
Jul 8, 2007, 01:07 PM
Just an update in case this happens to someone else.

I reinstalled OS X. I had tons of problems...the graphics through the whole install spazzed out...but eventually after numerous restarts i finished the install...My computer rebooted and poof...computer fixed...problem solved. As you can see from my new desktop screenshot. Definitely a bizarre thing, but whatever!

NtotheIzoo
Jul 8, 2007, 01:22 PM
this is better screenshot...same background as before

mcsynk
May 5, 2008, 05:30 AM
Hi folks. I came across this old thread looking for a solution to a problem I have at the moment with my G4 PB 1.25GHz. I am getting some funky graphics errors. The colours of certain pixels seem to be getting mixed up in a fairly regular pattern.

If I apply pressure to the casing in certain places I can sometimes get it to work correctly again, leading me to suppose that there's a loose connection somewhere. I have also concluded that the problem can't be in the screen and must be within the graphics system for the following reasons: if I zoom using cmd-alt-f8, the glitch zooms with it (with similar static glitches superposed); If I take screenshots using the Grab utility, the problem doesn't appear in the output, however if I plug in an external monitor or connect to my computer remotely using VNC, the problem is there (the attached screen shot was taken using VNC (chicken of the...) from a remote machine); vector graphics in my sheet music editing program display some very strange anomalies as if the vector data were corrupted before being rendered.

Apart from these visual problems the computer works perfectly normally, despite having slightly bent corners thanks to some basic flight training! In this respect, my problem differs a little from that of the original poster. The problems began one day after carrying the computer in a bag and it may have received shocks or stress on the casing.

I'm new here obviously so sorry if I haven't followed forum protocol in any way. I'd be very grateful for any thoughts or advice that any one may have. It's been a very long time since I reinstalled so that would obviously be worth a shot.

Machine Name: PowerBook G4 15"
Machine Model: PowerBook5,2
CPU Speed: 1.25 GHw
Memory: 1 GB
Bus Speed: 167 MHz
Boot ROM Version: 4.7.1f1

Mac OS 10.4.11

Peace and love
Peter

mcsynk
May 8, 2008, 04:46 AM
Bump :D

firehazrd
Jun 10, 2008, 08:33 PM
Hello all. I just wanted to chime in and say me too!
I have been going crazy trying to figure out this display issue.

It's just like these other ones in this thread (repeating pixelated lines on the laptop monitor and an external monitor). I noticed that the screen will be correct for about .5 seconds during boot up then back to pixelated fuzz.

I cant wait to go home and try the suggestions, although I suspect i will end up trying to see through the fuzz enough to archive data on an external HD and then reinstall panther.


off the subject- i just want to say i am soooo disappointed with panther.
I was running 10.2 forever and had no problems. Ever since i installed panther its been nothing but new errors and crashes, culminating into this persistant problem rendering my beloved useless. oh well, wish me luck...

p.s. its a 15" 1.25 powerbook with the newest panther update...

mcsynk
Jun 11, 2008, 06:06 AM
Hello all. I just wanted to chime in and say me too!
I have been going crazy trying to figure out this display issue.

It's just like these other ones in this thread (repeating pixelated lines on the laptop monitor and an external monitor). I noticed that the screen will be correct for about .5 seconds during boot up then back to pixelated fuzz.

I cant wait to go home and try the suggestions, although I suspect i will end up trying to see through the fuzz enough to archive data on an external HD and then reinstall panther.


off the subject- i just want to say i am soooo disappointed with panther.
I was running 10.2 forever and had no problems. Ever since i installed panther its been nothing but new errors and crashes, culminating into this persistant problem rendering my beloved useless. oh well, wish me luck...

p.s. its a 15" 1.25 powerbook with the newest panther update...

Hi there, me again. I ran the apple hardware test CD that came with my Powerbook. It's the same one as yours by the looks of things. I got an error code for my graphics card and I don't have it to hand I'm afraid. I searched for the error code and found a number of threads that say that the graphics card is basically malfunctioning and only a motherboard replacement will cure it. This is about the most expensive component of the Mac so it's not good news. You should probably prepare yourself psychologically.

Try and find the Apple hardware test CD (and software restore or something like that) that came with your PB and see if you can find that error code on google (I think I remember it having 103, xxx and ati in it).

Slightly off topic, but if anyone knows where to find an Apple hardware test CD for a Titanium 667 MHz Powerbook, hit this thread please.

Pete

firehazrd
Jun 15, 2008, 11:03 AM
so it turns out the display glitch was some sort of panther bug after all.
I tried everything listed above from reseting the nvram, pram, reinstalling os, etc. Nothing worked. I admitted defeat and was ready to pack it up and head to the apple store for a new logic board when on a fluke i decided to try a software update. After a reboot i'm back in business!!:D
good luck everyone!

ivnj
Jul 27, 2008, 01:30 AM
Just saw this thread.

My dad had a 1ghz pb g4 ti with dvi and the screen was all messed up. So many lines and fuzzy screen. After running the diagnostic discs it said bad vram. Since video card is not replacable it means the whole board would have to go. Too expensive to replace. We paid 2800 brand new at cdw and not ebay.

So it looks like g4's have issues.

So was looking at a used pb g4 667 for my self with similar problems but I think I'll skip it now.

CaptainChunk
Jul 27, 2008, 07:41 AM
There's a few places around that sell refurbished replacement logic boards - this would definitely be a cheaper way to go than straight from Apple. However, logic board replacements are VERY difficult on the 12" PBG4 because you have to take apart everything, LITERALLY. I did it once on my 12" 1.5GHz. It wasn't fun at all.

DoFoT9
Jul 27, 2008, 08:14 AM
There's a few places around that sell refurbished replacement logic boards - this would definitely be a cheaper way to go than straight from Apple. However, logic board replacements are VERY difficult on the 12" PBG4 because you have to take apart everything, LITERALLY. I did it once on my 12" 1.5GHz. It wasn't fun at all.

i bet it was worth it though :p