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Old Jun 17, 2011, 07:24 PM   #1
Starfighter
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iMac G5 living a life of its own!

Hello everyone, long time lurker, first time poster here! I've been experiencing some very strange things so I figured I'd share it with you. This might become almost like a infamous "wall of text" but.. bear with me.

A year ago my iMac (the one in my signature) said goodbye and gave me nothing but a questionmark-folder at startup. I learnt that it meant my poor little friend couldn't find the startup disk. I went ahead and put in my OS installation disc and checked the volume with Disk Utility. Sure enough the errors were more than plenty. After thousands upon thousands of "b-tree error" and "keys out of order" it finally reached a conclusion; the volume needed repair beyond what the Disk Utility was prepared to offer. I wanted to let DiskWarrior take a look but I never got a hold of a working disc of that application. Slowly my hope of regaining access to my personal files was shrinking into a sad little raisin and after a few days I decided to go for a fresh start. A few tweaks, apps and other stuff could be sacrificed. I erased the harddrive completely (I also tried the "write to zeroes"-option) and installed the OS again. Ladies and gentlemen we had LIFE! It was amazing to once again see the desktop I once learned to love.

But I soon realized that everything wasn't what it should. Some of the ducklings were not in line so to speak. During one of the updates (as the system was set back a year or two due to the old OS-cd) the computer froze and then there was... darkness. I tried to boot it up again but the questionmark-folder was back. Disk Utility said the same thing again. I raised my arms towards heaven, fell on my knees and gave up.

One year later, namely last week, it occured to me that I wasn't completely happy with my Windows-laptop that I used as a substitute. I missed my iMac and decided to go for another shot. I purchased a brand new harddrive, this time 500GB, made sure it was compatible, downloaded a PDF with instructions and went to business. A minute or two later my iMac was ready for a new OS-installation. Everything went smooth and no errors were to be found. And here's were the worrying things yet again starts to happen. Everytime I choose to reboot the computer, the questionmark-folder appears. It can not find the startup disk at all, and the Disk Utility says the volume (neatly named Coraline after the amazing book/film) needs repair beyond what it can repair. But - and be warned, now it's getting really strange - if I always choose to completely shut down everytime it needs to reboot, it works fine. It starts in a few seconds and shows no signs of trouble what so ever.

My questions are as follows:
  • Is there any known causes of this behaviour?
  • Could the whole system crash at any time due to the mysterious errors that I'm currently successfully ignoring through avoiding the reboot-option?
  • If yes on the previous question: How could I ever gain confidence enough to start poking around in my already fragile system?

Finally I would like to say thank you for reading all the way through (if you just skipped here directly from the top I would just like to say: Hi! I'm Starfighter! 'zup?) and thank you all for so many hours of interesting reading and for all the countless good advices I've assimilated browsing the threads and... Yeah. I'll leave it at that.
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Old Jun 17, 2011, 08:33 PM   #2
bizzle
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When you partitioned the drive are you sure you selected "Apple Partition Map"?
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Old Jun 17, 2011, 09:18 PM   #3
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I would check the PSU
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Old Jun 17, 2011, 09:42 PM   #4
Tucom
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Sounds like it could possibly be bad memory, but then again for any bad RAM I've experienced (just one time w/ a Mac Mini), it produced the very helpful 3 beeps and would not boot up, letting the user know right away it's memory at fault.


Given the previous HDD was giving errors and now what I assume is a brand new one, I think the HDD is not the problem, so by process of elimination we can rule out the HDD.

Suggestions that could just simple be the culprit -

Bad memory

Bad PSU ?maybe?

Any kind of 3rd party data handling software it's being used with or any kind of external HDD or RAID setup? Xsan?

If not, then it could very well be the logic board, or more specifically, the SATA controller.

I think it is memory though.


Is the new (is/was is purchased new?) HDD of the same brand as the one it replaced?
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Old Jun 18, 2011, 09:13 AM   #5
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I upgraded from 1GB of RAM to 2GB with.. wiiiith.. I don't really remember, but if Kingston produces Mac-compatible memory I think I got it from them! They gave me some trouble in the beginning but they calmed down and have been working fine for all I know - how do I check if there is a problem with the RAM or PSU? I'm sure I'll find the answer with a forum search.

The new errors is not the same as on the old HDD, it has the same effect though (no startup disk). The new HDD (which indeed was purchased new) is not the same brand!
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Old Jun 18, 2011, 12:40 PM   #6
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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Just to add

Afaik, RAM is RAM, its the same for Mac or PC
Any "Mac compatible RAM" is identical to PC ram.
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Old Jun 18, 2011, 12:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adcx64 View Post
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Just to add

Afaik, RAM is RAM, its the same for Mac or PC
Any "Mac compatible RAM" is identical to PC ram.
You are correct, I meant RAM compatible with my specific iMac!
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Old Feb 8, 2012, 01:09 PM   #8
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Hello again!
Well, I just don't know anymore. My G5 went completely bananas a few days after my last post in this thread. I figured it was time to let it go and use it for spare parts. So today, over six months later, I stumbled upon it in the cellar and figured I'd have another go with it. It's kind of fun to try and repair computers..

So I plugged it in and booted it up to be reminded of what problems I was having (I remember half the screen froze in like.. green...ish, eveytime I tried to start the computer, and it never went past the gray apple) - but now it started just fine again. What in the world is going on here? If it feels better by just standing alone in a cellar for six months - I'd guess my problem is heat-related? Right? But I remember trying to have it unplugged for a few days before and then it didn't help at all. I really really don't know where to take it from here, I don't know what to google and I am not any kind of professional, I'm a "haha, look at the funny picture"-user.
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Old Feb 8, 2012, 01:31 PM   #9
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G5 iMacs are notorious for having issues with the capacitors. I can't quite remember the symptoms, but my sister's G5 iMac was having issues a few years ago. I was in charge of diagnosing and fixing it.

I tried everything and we could get it to boot successfully about 35% of the time. I almost gave up, but then I stumbled onto a MR post about the capacitors. Apple had a recall program to address this issue.

The iMac was within the recall SN range and the recall program was still running at the time. They replace the logic board and it's been running fine since.

I'm pretty sure the recall program is over, but I've read where others have successfully swapped out the capacitors themselves.

ft
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Old Feb 8, 2012, 01:35 PM   #10
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I have also read about those capacitors but I haven't really felt that the symptoms are the same as mine - but maybe they don't have to be exactly the same.

If there's anyone here that have bought a new capacitor and put it in a G5 I'd sure like to know in what price range that project ended up!
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