View Full Version : Faulty iMac G5 With A History...

Jan 19, 2008, 08:06 AM

A friend of mine has an iMac G5 with iSight which has been something of a lemon for a long time now.

It exhibited the typical 'dodgy capacitors' symptoms, as covered by the iMac Extended Repair programme. Namely, there were random freezes preceded be screen corruption, weird coloured lines, etc. Unfortunately my friend didn't have AppleCare and the machine's serial number falls just outside the range covered by the extended warranty. After a few emotional visits to the Apple Store (she was trying to finish here MA thesis on the machine and lost quite a lit of work), they offered to repair it for free, which was good.

However, after just a day of the machine being repaired, it froze. More screen corruption (usually translucent areas of the screen - menus, etc.) would suddenly turn opaque or completely transparent and then the machine would lock up. I've got the machine here so I could run a few tests and try to isolate some test-cases that'll trigger the fault. Here's the results:

- Machine passes all TechTool tests
- Gets a clean bill of health from the Apple Hardware Test
- Reformatted the machine and reinstalled Tiger from the system restore DVDs.
- Applied all system updates

In this 'clean' state, the problem can be triggered really easily. Just boot up, open 2 Safari windows and invoke Expose repeatedly. After just 2 or 3 Expose uses, the thing will lock. The entire screen is unresponsive - nothing can be clicked and, usually, windows will lose their drop-shadows. Strangely, the mouse pointer still moves around the screen and the capslock indicator on the keyboard still toggles.

Now, I need to advise my friend on what to do next. Since the Apple Store agreed to repair the machine for free even though strictly speaking it wasn't covered by warranty, I'm wondering how they'll react when it's shown that their repair wasn't successful. Would their offer to repair imply that they believed the machine had the same manufacturing flaw as that covered by the extended warranty and as such is worthy of another repair attempt?

Has anyone else been in a similar position? What was the outcome? My friend's currently saving for a MacBook and is all but ready to write this iMac G5 off, which is such a shame considering that over the past 18 months or so of its life, it's actually only been functional for about 5 months. Strikes me as quite a waste...

Thanks all.

Jan 19, 2008, 08:11 AM
The machine may have been broken by the repair, complain to Apple.

Feb 10, 2008, 04:16 PM
Quick follow-up...

I took the machine into the Apple Store and spoke to Nikki the Genius who was absolutely fantastic. Because my friend (the owner of the G5) has such difficulty getting to the store, the machine was technically past the 90-day warranty on the previous repair. But Nikki chatted with the Lead Genius and, seeing that the machine had been broken or in the store for most of its life, they agreed to look at it again for free. So, I left very pleased indeed.

Got the machine back under a week later. All seemed fine - I used it lightly for a couple of days, but then it started locking up with display corruption once more! Took it straight back to the store and talked with the Genius. Turned out the guy was the one who'd done the last repair! He was very, very apologetic. The machine fortunately played up at the store, but just in case, I'd taken my camera in which had photos of the errors on it. Thus ensued a good chat about cameras -- he'd bought the same one (a Canon PowerShop A710is). We were both kinda stumped over how the Mac kept failing. It had gone through 3 logic boards by now. He thought perhaps they'd got a bad batch in, but didn't seem to think that was particularly likely. Still, he pointed out that on an iMac, there's very little to replace - everything's on the logic board!

So, he said he'd look at at 'as a priority' - and I got a call today to say it was ready. I'm presuming it's now on its 4th logic board. I'll pick it up tomorrow and give it a work-out (both in-store and at home). Hopefully, 4th time's a charm...