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Old Jan 20, 2008, 03:26 PM   #1
jywv8
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Power Mac G5 startup issue

I've been having problems booting my a Dual 2 GHz Power Mac G5 (rev A) running 10.4.11. I press the power button (either on the computer itself or on my cinema display). I hear the normal rev-ing startup noise, feel/hear the fans blowing at a normal rate, and then nothing. No lights (either on the computer or monitor), video activity, startup chime, etc. If I hold down the power button to force it to shutdown and then restart, it always starts up fine. This only happens on a cold start, when I turn on my computer in the morning, after it has been turned off for more than a couple hours.

This started happening in December. I reset the VRAM and PRAM. Repaired my startup disk. Ran the Apple Hardware Test. Removed an extra PCI-X card. Nothing helped. Finally, I reset the Cuda/PMU (http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=86760), and it started behaving normally again for about a month. And then, this week, it started happening again.

Anybody have any ideas on what the problem might be? Is my computer dying a slow death?
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Old Jan 20, 2008, 03:51 PM   #2
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It might be worth checking your backup battery. It's located just in front of the upper PCIX slots. Pop it out and stick a voltmeter across it. A good one should show just over 3.6 V. If you've not got a voltmeter, replace it as a matter of course. They can die in a matter of 4-5 years, so yours sounds about ready to go!
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Old Jan 21, 2008, 12:36 PM   #3
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Crossing my fingers

On a cold start this morning, I got the rev-ing noise, the light on the computer turned on (steady, white), the light on the cinema display turned on, and then nothing.

After holding down the power button to shutdown and restart, I got all of the above plus the startup chime and a thin white stripe across the top of an otherwise black screen.

After the second restart, things started up normally.

I don't have a voltmeter, but I ordered a new battery. Hopefully, that will fix it. But if the information above offers any further ideas/clues, please let me know!
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Old Jan 21, 2008, 03:51 PM   #4
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Another thing I'd try would be to open up the machine (after disconnecting everything, of course) and removing and re-seating the RAM, graphics card and any other PCI cards that are in there. Do this a few times for each component to ensure that there is no build-up of tarnish on the connectors and slots. I have personally seen seemingly incurable kernel panics vanish by application of this treatment to the RAM. Make sure you only handle the components by the edges.
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Old Jan 23, 2008, 04:41 AM   #5
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I re-seated everything (graphics card and RAM). It didn't help.

(I'm still waiting for the battery to arrive.)
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Old Jan 23, 2008, 04:55 AM   #6
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could it be the front panel board or the logic board... i had similar problem with my mac pro once and after months of troubleshooting... replacing the front panel board + logic board helped
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Old Jan 23, 2008, 02:24 PM   #7
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Yikes. How much did that cost?
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Old Jan 23, 2008, 05:44 PM   #8
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I think I have the same problem

Hi jywv8,

I think I'm having the same thing happen to my Dual 2 GHz Power Mac G5 (rev A) running 10.4.10. I press the power button on the computer walk away and notice that the power led is on and sounds like everything is running correctly but no video. Each time this has happened (about 4-5) I was not listening to hear if the normal rev/startup noise was there. This started about a month ago. I hold down the power button to force it to shutdown and it restarts fine. This only happens on a cold start, when I turn on my computer as you indicated yours does. (BTW, what keyboard command can shut down at the login screen? I think this is where it is at when I have no video. I just resort to holding in the power button).

I googled around and some folks think it may be a weak video card as the one in the original G5 has a history. I too will try replacing the battery and re-seating cards/ram.

Man I hope it is something simple as I am not ready to get a MacPro just yet and it will be hard to spend $700 plus labor on a logic board for a 4 1/2 year old computer! (Thats what one cost for a G5 repair at work.)
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Old Jan 23, 2008, 05:53 PM   #9
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Yeah, I suspect the video card, too. But I want to try the battery first, since it is a lot cheaper.

I don't know about the keyboard command, since I'm the only one who uses this computer and have it set so that I never have to login.

If you figure anything out, post back. I'll do the same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoosker View Post
Hi jywv8,

I think I'm having the same thing happen to my Dual 2 GHz Power Mac G5 (rev A) running 10.4.10. I press the power button on the computer walk away and notice that the power led is on and sounds like everything is running correctly but no video. Each time this has happened (about 4-5) I was not listening to hear if the normal rev/startup noise was there. This started about a month ago. I hold down the power button to force it to shutdown and it restarts fine. This only happens on a cold start, when I turn on my computer as you indicated yours does. (BTW, what keyboard command can shut down at the login screen? I think this is where it is at when I have no video. I just resort to holding in the power button).

I googled around and some folks think it may be a weak video card as the one in the original G5 has a history. I too will try replacing the battery and re-seating cards/ram.

Man I hope it is something simple as I am not ready to get a MacPro just yet and it will be hard to spend $700 plus labor on a logic board for a 4 1/2 year old computer! (Thats what one cost for a G5 repair at work.)
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Old Jan 24, 2008, 10:14 AM   #10
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Last night on a hunch, I flipped on my UPS which my computer and monitor is plugged into and waited abt 3-4 min. then hit the power button and it started up normally. Seems like my issue is hit or miss and not every time. I was wondering if waiting a little bit after UPS had a min. to warm up or do what ever it does before putting a load on it... I have no idea if this has anything to do with it or not.

Did you read this Apple Doc?

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=32473

Sounds like this may be a known problem with our video card. Think Apple will stand behind it "no charge" even though we are out of warranty? I know-- I'm dreaming.

I definitely want to know what you find out. I will post any new developments
on my end. Good luck!
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Old Jan 24, 2008, 02:12 PM   #11
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It's not the battery

I replaced the battery this morning before I started up my computer. No luck, same problem. (As a side note, I also managed to break one of the tabs on the battery holder clean off. Grrr. Me and my lead fingers.)

I've seen that Apple Doc, but, since sometimes I don't even get the startup chime, I thought it was something else. Then again, I occasionally do get the startup chime. So maybe it is the video card.

I've never had to repair my computer before, so I have no idea what Apple would say. I'm guessing they won't cover such an old model.
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Old Jan 24, 2008, 02:21 PM   #12
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Have you reset the PRAM?
http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=2238

You also should try resetting the
PMU
http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=86760
or SMU
http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=300341
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Old Jan 24, 2008, 02:31 PM   #13
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I reset the PRAM several times before. As noted in my original post, I reset the Cuda/PMU last month (don't have an SMU like the later models), and that solved the problem... for about a month.

Would doing either of these things after installing a new battery make any difference (as opposed to having done them with the old battery)?
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Old Jan 24, 2008, 03:05 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jywv8 View Post
I reset the PRAM several times before. As noted in my original post, I reset the Cuda/PMU last month (don't have an SMU like the later models), and that solved the problem... for about a month.

Would doing either of these things after installing a new battery make any difference (as opposed to having done them with the old battery)?
No need to do it after getting new battery. How about not shut down, just put it to sleep? You don't need to shut down a mac anyway.
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Old Jan 24, 2008, 03:10 PM   #15
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Heh. Yeah, I've thought about that, but I want to fix the problem.
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Old Jan 24, 2008, 03:56 PM   #16
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I called Apple. I spent about 45 minutes on the phone (most of that on hold). I made sure to reference this support document with each of the two people I talked to:

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=32473

and to emphasize the blurb at the bottom:

"If your video card model is identified as 'ATY,RV350'..."

The first guy transferred my to a specialist, who agreed to send me a new video card for free (need to send the old one back, or they will charge me). So hopefully this will work. I'll post back after installing the new card (3-5 business days).
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Old Jan 25, 2008, 02:57 PM   #17
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Well, the new video card came this morning, much sooner than expected. I popped it in and started up the computer. The problem persists.

I just went ahead and reset the pram, open firmware, and Cuda/PMU anyway. Based on my last experience, resetting the Cuda/PMU should fix it for a while.

The most annoying part of this whole saga is that the problem only happens when I start up in the morning. So I never know if I've fixed something until 24 hours later... which makes troubleshooting difficult.

If it starts happening again, I think I'm just going to buy a new machine. Unless someone else has a bright, inexpensive idea. Bah.
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Old Jan 25, 2008, 03:37 PM   #18
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Hey I feel for you. Just does not seem right. These original G5s are still no slouches and should hold their own for another year or so. I am hoping to hold on to mine a while longer. At least until programs all go intel only. I was really hoping the card replacement was the solution.

Mine has not acted up since I have been leaving the power on my UPS on for several min. before hitting the power button on the Mac. I know it sounds like voodoo but maybe in my case it is related to the power source. Are you using a UPS and if so are you turning it off after shut down? Ever try plugging into a different AC circuit?

The fact that it happens when cold in the morn. makes me think it has something to do with the temp. of the computer/boards/UPS maybe. Seems I remember reading about someone with a similar experience and found that if he took off the cover and blew hot air from a hair dryer into it to warm it up it would start up normally. Crazy huh?

I am out of ideas...
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Old Jan 25, 2008, 03:50 PM   #19
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I'm not using a UPS, just a power strip plugged into the wall outlet. I think I will try a different outlet tomorrow morning.

A friend of mine thought that perhaps some solder is loose in the power supply or elsewhere, and when it heats up it expands enough to complete the circuit and act normally. I don't really know much about this stuff, but it seems logical. It also kind of jives with the hair dryer story.
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 02:07 PM   #20
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For anyone who still gives a hoot...

I pulled out all my extra RAM last night, leaving only the original 512 MB. The computer started normally this morning. But it was only off for less than 4 hours (as opposed to the usual 8+).

So I am hopeful that this is just a case of bad RAM. Although, given the characteristics of my problem, I am somewhat skeptical. Time will tell, I guess.
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Old Feb 1, 2008, 03:27 PM   #21
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I feel your pains--I have been having the same problem. I have an early version of the G5 Dual 2.0GHz machines, and my video card is the one listed in the tech report (ATY,RV350). I haven't tried reseating it yet (it is kind of a pain to get to the innards). When I power up, I often have to go through several iterations of force power off, restart before the video will come up. It used to come up after one or two tries (a couple of winters ago). Lately it has taken half a dozen. I'm concerned about the wear&tear I am inflicting on the machine with all these force power-offs.

The sidenote in my case is that I am certain it is affected by temperature. I only have problems in the winter; in the summer months it starts up right off the bat. The colder it is in my office when I go to start up, the more power recycles it requires. (And it's not like I live in the frigid midwest--I'm in the San Francisco area. House gets down to the low 60s at night.) Also, if I hit the power button, get no video image, and leave it for a minute, the fans start to rev up (and will keep going until I swear it is going to lift off into the air).

I got on here and saw someone suggesting blowing a hair drier on the inside. That gave me an idea, and I just started the hair drier and let it blow warm air on the front panel and then hit the power button. The machine seems to start right up with normal video! Warm air in, and it works. Cold air in, and no video. I would just say "heck, I'll just buy a hair drier for the G5", but I am concerned that the thermal shock of warm air over components that have cold-soaked all night might cause damage.

I guess I could try moving to Panama, where the temperature is more humid and warm!
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Old Feb 1, 2008, 03:48 PM   #22
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Yeah, it definitely appears to be a warm computer vs. cold computer issue. I live in the frigid midwest, but it never gets colder than, say, 65 in my office.

My latest "pull out all the extra RAM" test had no effect.

At this point, I'm resigned to taking it to an Apple Store for diagnosis and possible repair. Unfortunately, this is my primary computer that I need for work. So I've been putting it off... don't know when I'll finally bite the bullet.
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Old Feb 11, 2008, 07:46 PM   #23
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Still having the problem

Splinesmith, as I mentioned above I was thinking it was related to temperature too. Now I am sure of it. Your description is exactly what I have found to be the case. I actually did not try the hair dryer myself. I have not reseated the video card yet either but I think I will so I can comply with Apples list of what to check before I call them and see about a new card.

The only difference from your experience is I have not heard the fans speeding up beyond normal. The computer sounds/acts normal --just no video signal to the monitor. The worst case has been 3 restarts but this morning is was warmer and it started the first time.

I wish there was a keyboard shutdown I could use to avoid having to hold in the power button every time. Let us know if you talk to Apple.
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Old Jul 18, 2008, 12:48 AM   #24
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This is an old thread, but I figured I'd post an update in case anyone is interested.

I ended up buying one of the new iMacs in May. Shortly thereafter, the G5 stopped starting up at all. A click, the slight hum of disk activity, and then the little light above the power button would go out. It seemed... well... all but completely dead. I tried five different outlets, with/without monitor and/or keyboard plugged in. No dice.

I hauled it to my local Apple store for repairs. The next day, I got a call from an Apple technician saying my computer is working perfectly. I asked them to test the power cord, and they say that is fine, too. I was stunned. Completely speechless.

I picked it up from Apple, brought it home, plugged it in, and it worked fine. For the next two weeks, I kept turning it on once a day, expecting it to stop working again, but it kept on starting up just fine. Eventually, a couple of weeks ago, I sold it on craigslist. As of yesterday, it was working fine for the new owner, as well.

I still have no idea what the problem was. Maybe just the laying of Official Apple Hands upon the computer cured it. Maybe I was living in a parallel universe for 6 months. Who knows. It's a mystery.
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Old Jul 18, 2008, 01:10 AM   #25
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Good news all around, then! Well, aside from having to buy the imac, but then you said you eventually wanted to upgrade anyway, right?

Mine does that on rare occasion (the boot to nothing thing). Good note on the graphics card, if it does it more often (it hasn't done it in a while), might be worth putting in a call.
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