PDA

View Full Version : Powerbook G4 Problem




dragonmantek
Sep 13, 2009, 06:42 PM
I've recently come into possession of a powerbook g4, and I don't have much of an idea of what to do.

It's one of those "you fix it, you can have it". I really need this, because I'm at college, and I need a laptop, and I can't really afford one.

The thing that happens is, after I hit the power button, it turns on, and a question mark / sad finder flashes in the middle constantly.

I was going to try putting in the Snow Leopard, but I realize it's wasteful because it won't install on PPC machines. So I put in the Leopard DVD, but it's an upgrade DVD, and it can't detect an older version. Past that, I put in the Tiger DVD, and whenever I load from DVD, it just crashes, and says to restart.

Any suggestions, or anyone know what that flashing icon means?

Thanks in advance.



iBookG4user
Sep 13, 2009, 06:44 PM
Well, the flashing question mark means that it cannot find a hard drive. So it sounds like the hard drive is dead, for the PowerBooks you'll need a PATA hard drive, which can be had for pretty cheap.

TEG
Sep 13, 2009, 06:47 PM
The PBG4 may have a bad HD or bad RAM. I would try removing and reseating the RAM just to make sure. You could also try to reset the PMU, which solves a large number of problems.

TEG

dragonmantek
Sep 13, 2009, 06:47 PM
So how do I change the hard drive?

Thank you so much by the way.

shoulin333
Sep 13, 2009, 06:51 PM
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do it.

http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Browse/PowerBook

Just need to pick the model you have, take your time you have to take the entire top case off (keyboard, trackpad etc...) to get to the hard drive.

TEG
Sep 13, 2009, 06:53 PM
It depends on if it is an Aluminum or Titanium G4. A search at EveryMac.com will give yo the option of a teardown to show you how to replace the HD.

TEG

dragonmantek
Sep 13, 2009, 06:58 PM
I have no idea what model this powerbook is. How can I find out? They all look the same to me.

iBookG4user
Sep 13, 2009, 07:05 PM
Titanium is the one with black keys, aluminum has silver keys.

dragonmantek
Sep 13, 2009, 07:11 PM
I looked at how to install a harddrive, and I don't want to do anything near what that guide wants me to do.

If I take it to an apple store, would they do it for me? If so, how much would they do it for?

TEG
Sep 13, 2009, 07:16 PM
The Apple Store will NOT open a machine more than 5 years old (liability). But many Authorized Repair centers will. The Titanium's HD replacement takes about 20 minues. The Aluminum, takes about 75, mainly due to latches above the optical drive. I did it last week, for the first time, and it was a lot easier in practice (you twist the top case, instead of trying to pry the latches free) than in the guide.

TEG

dragonmantek
Sep 13, 2009, 07:18 PM
It's 3-4 years old. I'll be at college tomorrow, which is close to an Apple store, so I'll try to visit and see what happens.

First I'm going to try to get a different DVD and install Tiger, or even Panther, I just want to get the thing working.

dragonmantek
Sep 14, 2009, 08:12 AM
Alright, I managed to install Leopard onto it, after a long morning.

I found the exact model and serial number and all, and found out all the specs. Where can I get some more RAM for this, anywhere that can be found for cheap? I went on a site and it said it was $60 for just 1 GB. I'd also like to get a new battery. The battery lasts for 20 minutes when unplugged.

iBookG4user
Sep 14, 2009, 08:18 AM
Alright, I managed to install Leopard onto it, after a long morning.

I found the exact model and serial number and all, and found out all the specs. Where can I get some more RAM for this, anywhere that can be found for cheap? I went on a site and it said it was $60 for just 1 GB. I'd also like to get a new battery. The battery lasts for 20 minutes when unplugged.

For the RAM I'd suggest getting it from here (http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/memory/iBooks-PowerBooks/). As for the battery, it's pretty expensive to get it new, so I'd get one from a reputable seller on ebay.

NC MacGuy
Sep 14, 2009, 08:40 AM
I haven't seen exactly what kind of PB you have in your posts.

Assuming it's a 15", there was an Apple battery recall program that's still active for the later gen. 15"ers. I just had one replaced on a 15/1.67 about a month ago for free.

Again, I haven't seen if this is a 12-15 or 17 PB reference in your posts and there is a pretty large disparity in usefulness between the Ti PB's and the last PB's produced. If it's a Ti - forget it, the others maybe worth putting a few bucks into.

dragonmantek
Sep 15, 2009, 05:33 AM
According to ifixit, I have the 1.5 GHz (BT 2.0) Aluminum 15"

Pretty much this

http://www.discount-laptopbattery.com/images/apple-powerbook-G4.jpg

Except mine doesn't look like trash ;P

Anyway, so I got all the software fine, but sometimes the powerbook will just completely freeze. It's frozen a bunch of times, and a couple times when I was updating. It always worries me when something is frozen while updating.

Is it a heating problem and can i use a cooling pad or is the whole laptop just not worth trying to fix

clyde2801
Sep 15, 2009, 06:09 AM
Make an appointment at the apple store and have the genius diagnose it for you.

RKO
Sep 15, 2009, 06:16 AM
Just run repair disk permissions first and see if that helps before you do anything. BTW how much RAM is installed?

dragonmantek
Sep 15, 2009, 06:23 AM
stock ram and hard drive.

512 MB RAM, and 80 GB HD.

I can't really afford to put in more RAM, that type of RAM is so expensive. PC-2700 DDR333

RKO
Sep 15, 2009, 06:27 AM
That model should not be overheating. It should not be freezing while updating. It can handle Leopard. First things first and that is a "repair disc permissions".

SkyBell
Sep 15, 2009, 09:06 PM
stock ram and hard drive.

512 MB RAM, and 80 GB HD.

I can't really afford to put in more RAM, that type of RAM is so expensive. PC-2700 DDR333

I wouldn't worry about it too much, I run Leopard on an eMac with nearly the exact same specs (1.4 instead of 1.5 GHz) for my main machine, and it works well. You may be used to something a little nicer though, so it might be more of an issue.

dragonmantek
Sep 16, 2009, 09:10 AM
Alright, well, now the computer runs fine, until you get around into 15 minutes of using the laptop. then it just freezes, and I have to restart.

RKO
Sep 16, 2009, 09:19 AM
Do you have the original install discs for that model PowerBook? If so run the Apple Hardware Test and see if any issues show up with the RAM, HD, Logic Board etc.

dragonmantek
Sep 16, 2009, 08:13 PM
I don't have original anything. All I got was the powerbook and the charger cable with adapter. is there any other way I can run the apple hardware test?

TEG
Sep 16, 2009, 08:16 PM
stock ram and hard drive.

512 MB RAM, and 80 GB HD.

I can't really afford to put in more RAM, that type of RAM is so expensive. PC-2700 DDR333

The RAM is cheap at about $33 for 1GB. I just bought a stick for mine, and vastly improved the machine. As for the issues, it may be the hard drive is wearing out, or the software just needs to be refreshed.

TEG

dragonmantek
Sep 18, 2009, 12:23 PM
i've decided to take the powerbook to an apple store, but before i do that, i'd like to know if there is an apple hardware test software that i could download. i tried googling, but i haven't found anything i could download.

just things that say put your restore dvd into the drive, which i don't have.

NC MacGuy
Sep 18, 2009, 12:40 PM
Do you hear the fans running?
Have you tried reseating the RAM or changing slots?
Go here and check your serial #:
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2164

The HDD will need to be replaced at some time. I don't have any that vintage that have been used still working.

dragonmantek
Sep 20, 2009, 08:38 AM
i'm pretty sure it's not the RAM, i don't think RAM would even let the computer start up if it weren't working properly, and i also don't think it causes computers to freeze. i can read the RAM anyway, so i can access the banks.

it might be the harddrive, but i don't have the money to get a new hard drive.

California
Sep 20, 2009, 06:18 PM
i'm pretty sure it's not the RAM, i don't think RAM would even let the computer start up if it weren't working properly, and i also don't think it causes computers to freeze. i can read the RAM anyway, so i can access the banks.

it might be the harddrive, but i don't have the money to get a new hard drive.

I'm pretty sure it is the ram, but it is the ram slot.

These models had dead or dying ram slots. First, try putting your ram in the other slot.

There is a fix for these for about fifty bucks from the elusive team in Arizona that reflows iBooks' infamous bad video chips.

They also reflow 15" Powerbook memory slots to get them working again. It is the tiny broken connectors inside the slot that pull off. This company reflows them. Google arizona reflow ibook.

But if you just want the machine to work now as best as it can,swap the ram into the other slot and then upgrade to one gig later. You may find yourself having to upgrade to a new hard drive soon enough. Hard drives just fail after a certain number of years, they are full of moving parts, you understand.

dragonmantek
Sep 21, 2009, 07:55 AM
I tried re-seatting the RAM into the other slot, and my father had some old RAM that we tried putting in, it was DDR, but it wasn't the specific one we needed I guess, because it didn't work.

For some reason if I put the RAM into the second slot it won't work, but I cleared up some dust, and hopefully that might have been the problem.

Honestly, I think it might be a heating issue. Why would the laptop freeze in 15 minutes? I think because it's working and it gets too hot?

NC MacGuy
Sep 21, 2009, 08:32 AM
I tried re-seatting the RAM into the other slot, and my father had some old RAM that we tried putting in, it was DDR, but it wasn't the specific one we needed I guess, because it didn't work.

For some reason if I put the RAM into the second slot it won't work, but I cleared up some dust, and hopefully that might have been the problem.

Honestly, I think it might be a heating issue. Why would the laptop freeze in 15 minutes? I think because it's working and it gets too hot?

That's why I asked if the fans were coming on at all.

dragonmantek
Sep 21, 2009, 08:54 AM
i'm not sure, what program can i get to check the fans? i know there is one.

cluthz
Sep 21, 2009, 09:01 AM
Install iStat or similar app to see what temperatures the machine reaches and how fast the fans are spinning.

I would also consider replacing the thermal paste on the CPU, since those will get worse over time. Thermal paste is almost free, but it's a bit tricky to apply it if you aren't comfortable messing around inside the computer

leighonigar
Sep 21, 2009, 09:23 AM
Test the RAM with memtest http://www.command-tab.com/2008/01/11/how-to-test-ram-under-mac-os-x/

yes, a RAM problem can seem intermittent.

NC MacGuy
Sep 21, 2009, 09:31 AM
I'm not sure if iStat will work. I think it's only Intel. If it's a powerbook, you should hear the fans by just using it or put your ear near the rear and you can hear them.
This used to work on PB's but I don't know if it still does.
http://www.bresink.de/osx/TemperatureMonitor.html