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cnladd
Jul 22, 2004, 01:42 PM
I recently purchased a PowerMac Dual G4/500 from someone. It came with a fresh install of Panther. Right now, it constantly freezes (with the grey "You need to reboot your computer..." message -- all of the crashes I describe are like this) and is completely unusable.

It came with an ATI Rage 128 card, a 20GB HDD, a DVD-RAM drive, a SCSI card, and 1GB of RAM (in what appear to be four 256MB chips). At least half of the RAM is third-party, after-market. The rest of the components appear to be stock.

I apologize in advance for the length of this, but I think it would be helpful to know what I've tried/done.

Here's the progression of events:

1. Brought PowerMac home. Immediately added a 60GB HDD as a slave, as well as my Airport card from my iBook. Without realizing it, the original 20GB HDD was still set to Cable Select.

2. Turned on system. It had a fresh install of Panther, and booted immediately into the OS without problems. Much faster that my B&W G3/350. OS saw the two partitions on my 60GB secondary drive just fine.

3. Inserted Panther disk (I wanted to redo the install). Prompted to reboot, entered admin password. Immediate crash before the OS even shut down.

4. Powered off and back on, immediate crash.

5. Powered off and back on, holding the "C" command. Booted into the Panther install without a problem. Everything proceeded as usual until the very end of the first disc, at which point the machine crashed.

Break: At this point, I tried several different configurations. I tried:

a. Setting the original HDD to Master.
b. Setting both HDDs to Cable Select.
c. Removing the second HDD, with the original set to CS (as it originally came).
d. Removing the second HDD, with the original set to Master.
e. All of the above, without the Airport card.
f. All of the above, with and without the Airport card, but without the SCSI card.
g. All of the above, with and without the Airport card, without the SCSI card (I don't need it and won't use it, so it's pointless to have), trying different combinations of RAM chips in different banks.

With one RAM chip, only the original HDD set to CS, and without the Airport card, I am able to get Panther to install successfully. However, I still have regular crashes. Sometimes, the crashes occur immediately on power-on. Sometimes, I can boot into the OS just fine and it will crash five minutes to 10 minutes later. I've never seen the OS run for more than 10 minutes (which doesn't mean much, as I've only seen the OS running four times, total, including the very first power-on I did.)

I'm at a loss. I really do think the system worked fine before being sold to me (though I'm not certain.) A co-worker of mine (the Mac tech at the office) says he's heard of stability problems installing and running Panther on some older, slower PowerMac G4 systems (and, in fact, was never able to get it working on his Sawtooth at the office.) I'm also not sure whether the system ran Panther or Jaguar before the person wiped it with Panther to sell to me. I haven't yet tried Jaguar: I'm hesitant to waste the time to when I'd much prefer to be running on Panther.

Again, sorry for the length, but since I'm asking for help I figured people should know what's going on and what I've tried doing. Does anyone have any insight into this? Has anyone seen similar problems -- and been able to solve them? Please, any help that anyone could give would be much appreciated.

Thank you,

Nathan Ladd

parrothead
Jul 22, 2004, 02:11 PM
Panther ran fine on my 500mhz Tibook. So it probably isnt the fact that your machine is too old. Sorry to hear about your trouble that sounds like a major pain. :(

Mr. G4
Jul 22, 2004, 02:28 PM
I have Panther on my PM Dual 500 and it works great.
You might want to check your RAM.
Random crash usually causes by bad ram.

Jo-Kun
Jul 22, 2004, 02:44 PM
I think its defenitly a ram issue... but still not 100% sure...

a friend has the G4/350 "Yikes" (and since he has it we know why it's called that way)

First of all this machine 'ate' like 3 or for HDD in 4months... they all got the click of death...

then he wanted to install Jaguar... neverending bootloop: we saw the grey apple ant the spinning thingie... and it stayed there for 2 days in a row (yes we got curious after a while if it would end... but then we gave up...

than around came panther... and the 5th HDD :-S yes it ate another one...
so installing went fine... but instead of 1GB he only had 256MB ram?? so all the others had to leave and be replaced, now they all are recognised... but he reinstalls his system more frequent then I used to do on my PC (each 6months... Format C:)

it allso appears that on his machine he needs a partition of NO MORE than 10GB as bootpartition :-S its somewhere in the README BEFORE INSTALLING part...

so it can be you need a small bootpartition... or need new ram... or need to partition the drive anyway...

so far his G4 is worth of its name Yikes... I had a B&W G3/300 running Jaguar/Panther without a glitch (ok maybe speed... but thats obvious) my Ti-Book G4/400 allso ran Panther without any issue...

but both had good ram... and in the B&W I allso had more than one HDD... only when I installed my old SCSI CD-RW inside... it freaked out... but then I got a 52x cd-rw instead... (don't like too much boxes around my computer ;-) ) and all worked fine...

so its up to trail & error... and a lot of patience and good luck... try it bit by bit... install it with minor add-ons... so it works... and then piece by piece... try to build everything in... and when one piece doesn't work -> eBay it and get a working one...

GOOD LUCK!!

J

Fukui
Jul 22, 2004, 03:10 PM
Firmware update available?

jeremy.king
Jul 22, 2004, 03:51 PM
What type of install did you do?

You may want to check your hard drive for problems

Hold Command+S while the Mac restarts. The forces the computer to boot into single-user mode.

After the reboot, you will see command-line interface rather than the Mac's GUI. You will now be in single-user mode.

Type "fsck -f" without the quotes.

Allow it to run to completion.

When you get back the command-line prompt, type "exit" without the quotes.

Sweetfeld28
Jul 22, 2004, 04:42 PM
1. i think that your main HD should be set to be the "Master", and the second shouldn't be "cable select" but "Slave" instead. This is if they are on the same IDE ribbon. I could be wrong on this but, this is how mine is setup. I don't remember exactly what my boss told me, but i think that he told me once that cable select is for use in PC's. ?

2. you could also try to reset your board back to the "normal state". Someone from OWC told once that to do this you have to:

A. Shutdown computer, and unplug everything from it.
B. take out the PRAM Battery
C. Press the power button on the tower five times, this uses any juice up that maybe still on or in the motherboard, then let it sit for 15 mins. at least.
D. now, put the battery back in, and hit the CUDA button — hold that for 5 sec. then plug everything back in, and start your computer up.

—this might seem like it won't work, but my G3 has worked perfect ever since i had to do this.


Good Luck

cnladd
Jul 23, 2004, 11:49 AM
One thing I forgot to mention: I've been using both the Apple Wireless Keyboard and Mouse the entire time while trying to get this system to work. I don't remember the model number of the Bluetooth dongle, but it's the one that Apple recommends (and the dongle has the proper firmware updates--it worked successfully on my B&W G3/350.)

When I removed the Bluetooth dongle and plugged in a standard Apple mouse and keyboard, stability improved... but I still crashed quite often on bootup. So, I started playing with the RAM.

I'd found two 512MB chips from an old PC -- RAM that I suspected was at least partially bad. I also played more with each of the four 256MB chips.

Some of the 256MB chips caused immediate crashes 100% of the time. Others caused crashes partway through the install 100% of the time. Others would allow me to install, but would not allow the OS to boot afterwards.

One of the 512MB chips would allow me to install, but crashed on booting from CD about 50% of the time. This chip would not allow me to load the OS. The other chip would never allow me to install from CD, but would allow me to boot the OS about 50% of the time.

There was one time where I was enable to install both 512MB chips and two of the 256MB chips after installation. The system booted fine and was stable for hours. It never crashed. After I shut it down and restarted, it refused to boot.

At ALL other times, 100% of the time, having two or more chips would cause an IMMEDIATE crash at boot, whether booting to the OS or from the CD.

Finally, I also have a Logitech keyboard that was made for use with PCs and Apple. I experience more frequent crashes when booting with this keyboard plugged in. However, for the few times I can boot to the OS, if I boot with the Apple keyboard and then switch to the Logitech, the Logitech works just fine.

While this definitely sounds like bad RAM, I'm also worried that there might be other problems (as indicated by the strangeness with the keyboards). I haven't checked to see if the PM's firmware is up-to-date -- that's my next step. Also, since I can't be sure that all of the RAM is good, I'll be buying some more RAM and testing that out.

I'm just hoping that there isn't something more serious going on. I'd really, really hate to have bought a piece of bum equipment. When it runs, I love the speed. I'm just very disappointed with all of the problems I've seen so far.

cnladd
Jul 27, 2004, 11:44 AM
Okay, update: I bought new RAM (512MB, 64x64, PC-133) and plugged it in. Installation and first boot went okay. Software Update crashed when applying the 10.3.4 update and rendered the machine unbootable (even after repairing permissions/disk).

Reinstalled. Software Update ran fine. Machine freezes at the "Checking disks" prompt on the startup screen.

I'm experiencing far fewer "You need to restart your computer...." crashes than before, but they do crop up occassionally. I still have not been able to actually USE the machine.

The original owner claims that everything worked before he sold it to me (via eBay, for $600.) Should I continue to try to get this to work, or should I try to get my money back?

Mr. G4
Jul 27, 2004, 12:31 PM
Did you check for the firmware update?

cnladd
Jul 27, 2004, 12:47 PM
Did you check for the firmware update?

I've never updated the firmware on a Mac before, but I compared the version number listed in Open Firmware (4.2.8f) to the version that's downloadable from Apple (4.2.8), so I'm assuming it's up-to-date.

To date, I've tried a total of 7 RAM chips: 4 256MB and 3 512MB, with one of those 512MB chips being new. I get different responses (crashes at different times or different levels of stability) depending on which RAM chip I use, so I'm still thinking it's a RAM issue.

LeeTom
Jul 27, 2004, 01:05 PM
Here's what I would do if I were you:
If you want to isolate the problem, then you need to get rid of EVERY extra thing and try with the minimum, slowly adding each device one by one.

I would remove the airport, the scsi, the bluetooth, all the ram except the brand new 512 stick (OR one of the others, only if the new 512 doesn't work, and ONLY if it is an Apple branded RAM stick), and use an apple usb mouse and keyboard, or the most basic usb mouse and keyboard you have.

Use only ONE hard drive, and set it to Master. Start up from the cd, and use the disk utility to wipe everything on the drive. check its SMART status to make sure it's not failing.

Check to BE SURE you're using the latest firmware.

Install Panther, and do all the updates, and see if that works.

Lee Tom

Fukui
Jul 27, 2004, 01:40 PM
I've never updated the firmware on a Mac before, but I compared the version number listed in Open Firmware (4.2.8f) to the version that's downloadable from Apple (4.2.8), so I'm assuming it's up-to-date.

To date, I've tried a total of 7 RAM chips: 4 256MB and 3 512MB, with one of those 512MB chips being new. I get different responses (crashes at different times or different levels of stability) depending on which RAM chip I use, so I'm still thinking it's a RAM issue.
Well, if you are using ram that the firmware doesn't like, it shouldn't even be recognized... that was what the last firmware update did; disabled "bad ram." That being said, it is also possible that something else is malfuntioning, have you tried the hardware test CD? It should find something wrong, if there is something. Have you tried OS 9 and see if it crashes as much? It mayjust be OS X, it could even be a PCI Card or the Graphics card that is not totaly connected right...it might have become loose when it was being shipped...

justinshiding
Jul 27, 2004, 02:32 PM
Hmm I don't have a mac [yet]...but my pc did something similar to that. So I have two suggestions...

1) A bad (failing) power supply might cause that type of behaviour. They're only designed to last about three to five years and I'm not quite sure how old that machine is. Once the power supply starts to go things get pretty random [not to mention dangerous for the hardware]. hmm...Have you ever had the computer power up but then give no signs of booting ? Ex : you turn the computer on , you hear the fans/drives spinup but then nothing at all happens...that's one sign the power supply is shot. (or at least it was one of the symptoms my pc demonstrated)

2) A loose processor might also cause random lockups. again on my pc, I accidentally unclipped the processor from the heat sink making it kinda loose...and it would crash seemingly randomly. Make sure they're secure.

Good luck with that though.

Doraemon
Jul 27, 2004, 04:09 PM
Hmm I don't have a mac [yet]...but my pc did something similar to that. So I have two suggestions...

1) A bad (failing) power supply might cause that type of behaviour. They're only designed to last about three to five years and I'm not quite sure how old that machine is. Once the power supply starts to go things get pretty random [not to mention dangerous for the hardware]. hmm...Have you ever had the computer power up but then give no signs of booting ? Ex : you turn the computer on , you hear the fans/drives spinup but then nothing at all happens...that's one sign the power supply is shot. (or at least it was one of the symptoms my pc demonstrated)

2) A loose processor might also cause random lockups. again on my pc, I accidentally unclipped the processor from the heat sink making it kinda loose...and it would crash seemingly randomly. Make sure they're secure.

Good luck with that though.

1) I have lots of Macs that are over 10 years old and still working. Whatever power supplies you‘re using in your PCs have to be different from Apple‘s. Apple‘s are definitely not only designed for 3 to 5 years.
Still, cnladd might have the bad luck of having a faulty power supply.

2) As a Mac user, you don't accidentally unclip your CPU. In only very rare cases you need to touch the CPU. It's not like in the PC world where people constantly upgrade their CPUs. It's not possible since Apple doesn't sell hardware parts separately.

----

As for firmware upgrades, neither Jaguar nor Panther should install without the correct firmware version. Hence, it should be up-to-date.

----

As for a solution, I'd go with LeeTom's approach.

Good Luck!

Sweetfeld28
Jul 27, 2004, 04:14 PM
in your experiments did you try my approach, if so what happened?

Also, is your RAM PC100 or PC133? I think i read in the manuel some where that our G4 450's take PC100. You probably already did this but, did you check and see if all your ram is backwards compatable; or is it all PC100? I was just wondering since you said that you have just bought a stick of PC133 RAM.

cnladd
Jul 27, 2004, 04:22 PM
in your experiments did you try my approach, if so what happened?

Also, is your RAM PC100 or PC133? I think i read in the manuel some where that our G4 450's take PC100. You probably already did this but, did you check and see if all your ram is backwards compatable; or is it all PC100? I was just wondering since you said that you have just bought a stick of PC133 RAM.

I tried your approach last night (I was out of town over the weekend, so couldn't do it any earlier.) The 1st drive Master/2nd CS was only an oversight on my part. You are right, of course: it should be Master/Slave.

Resetting the PMU (via the switch on the motherboard) seems to have given me a bit more stability... but not a great deal. Something I noticed is that at startup, the grey Apple graphic tended to vary between 1024x768 and 1600x1200. Once I did the reset, it started out at 800x600 until after I installed Panther. Once I switched my resolution to 1280x1024, the opening graphic changed likewise--and has stayed stable ever since, not fluctuating with each reboot like before.

You're right, the bus is 100MHz, but 133MHz RAM is compatible with the 100MHz bus--it just runs slower. All of the RAM that was installed before, both the "newer" stuff the previous owner added and what he claimed was originally there was PC133 as well. However, I'm going to return my "good" stick this evening and get a new stick of PC100--just to be safe.

cnladd
Jul 27, 2004, 04:25 PM
2) As a Mac user, you don't accidentally unclip your CPU. In only very rare cases you need to touch the CPU. It's not like in the PC world where people constantly upgrade their CPUs. It's not possible since Apple doesn't sell hardware parts separately.

As for firmware upgrades, neither Jaguar nor Panther should install without the correct firmware version. Hence, it should be up-to-date.

As for a solution, I'd go with LeeTom's approach.


At one of my last startups (earlier this morning), I went into verbose mode. I noticed that CPU 1 hanging and generating a kernel panic. I'm going to try reseating the CPU, but this problem (at least on the PA-RISC and SPARC platforms) is usually a good indication of a RAM error.

I'll be getting yet another new stick of RAM today and trying LeeTom's approach. I feel I'm getting closer and closer to the solution.

Sweetfeld28
Jul 27, 2004, 04:33 PM
Out of curiosity, does anyone know of a program that can test the RAM on a computer? I know i herd about a program that does this for PCs but is there one for OS X?

here is what i am talking about on for the PCs:
Microsoft Memory Tester (http://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag.asp)

Also cnladd, how much would you sell that stick of 512 for?

cnladd
Jul 27, 2004, 04:43 PM
Out of curiosity, does anyone know of a program that can test the RAM on a computer? I know i herd about a program that does this for PCs but is there one for OS X?

here is what i am talking about on for the PCs:
Microsoft Memory Tester (http://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag.asp)

Also cnladd, how much would you sell that stick of 512 for?

Thanks for the link. I've got a PC at work that the RAM will work in. I'll test it there. :-)

If you're talking about the new stick of 512, I just bought it, so I can still return it. Fry's has a 15-day return policy on RAM. Blasted thing cost $100. :(

I've got two more sticks of PC133 512MB, but can't be 100% sure that they're good. I would be very hesitant to sell them to anyone unless I could be positive that they're not the culprit.

Sun Baked
Jul 27, 2004, 04:44 PM
You're right, the bus is 100MHz, but 133MHz RAM is compatible with the 100MHz bus--it just runs slower. All of the RAM that was installed before, both the "newer" stuff the previous owner added and what he claimed was originally there was PC133 as well. However, I'm going to return my "good" stick this evening and get a new stick of PC100--just to be safe.The PC100 memory in a 100MHz bus machine was the RAM most people had problems with on the switch to OS X, to the point that Apple recommended using PC133.

Was a timing issue with some of the PC100 memory being too slow for the machine, thus the need for PC133.

As long as it is non-(ECC, parity, buffer, etc.) then PC133 should work.

Sweetfeld28
Jul 27, 2004, 04:49 PM
cnladd-

man that ram is expensive. I think that i will look on pricewatch.com for some ram then.

I never even thought about you testing your RAM in a PC, but its a good idea anyway. Good Luck

cnladd
Jul 27, 2004, 04:55 PM
man that ram is expensive. I think that i will look on pricewatch.com for some ram then.


I've found RAM on Pricewatch for about half the price. I'm only willing to pay this much because I'm really curious as to what the exact problem is, and I like the convenience of being able to test it immediately.

justinshiding
Jul 27, 2004, 04:58 PM
1) I have lots of Macs that are over 10 years old and still working. Whatever power supplies you‘re using in your PCs have to be different from Apple‘s. Apple‘s are definitely not only designed for 3 to 5 years.
Still, cnladd might have the bad luck of having a faulty power supply.

2) As a Mac user, you don't accidentally unclip your CPU. In only very rare cases you need to touch the CPU. It's not like in the PC world where people constantly upgrade their CPUs. It's not possible since Apple doesn't sell hardware parts separately.


It all depends on how the machine was used, even a high quality power supply that was beat on would become unstable eventually. Computer goes on . Computer goes off. Repeat a few thousand times and you might have a problem.

I was just suggesting that the cpu might be loose, the anecdote was just there to give an example (the fans on the cpu had become noisy and dust filled). It was purchased off of ebay...So I would assume it got shipped. Wouldn't be the first time something was damaged in shipping.

DCKiwi
Jul 27, 2004, 05:41 PM
I don't know if this will help, but I've got a dual G4/500 like yours at work.

When doing a clean install of panther on it I had enormous troubles with kernel panics. I could install panther fine and get it to run but after applying all the software updates to get it to 10.3.4 it would kernel panic on rebooting. It did that three times.

On the fourth try I updated to 10.3.1, then 10.3.2, then 10.3.3 and then 10.3.4. It worked fine from there. I;ve done that again one more time since and it was OK again.

That may or may not work for you, but either way, good luck -- it's a really sweet machine.

cnladd
Jul 27, 2004, 08:20 PM
I've been using the system for more than an hour, including through three reboots and a power off.

I got home from the office and turned the system on. I got the usual (for me) "You need to reboot your computer..." message. But the "spinner" was still spinning. A few minutes later, my desktop popped up over the "crash" message. I proceeded with the software updates accordingly.

I had a few problems with the reboots, and verbose mode showed it having to do with CPU1. Each time that happened, however, I was able to boot just fine--the system was just a bit slower, though (as if it lost half it's power--or a full CPU) and my Bluetooth dongle wasn't detected.

I removed Bluetooth and plugged in the Pro keyboard and mouse. I've been through a few reboots without problems.

Hopefully, this is it!

Mord
Jul 28, 2004, 05:44 AM
a small thing that is worth checking but check what speed is marked on the g4 die's it's marked in gold text because the person that sold it to you may have overclocked it.

FelixDerKater
Jul 28, 2004, 11:01 AM
Sounds like bad RAM. If you have more than one RAM chip in there, try booting with each individually. I had a very similar problem with my PowerBook.