Dead Powerbook? ...tell me the inevitable

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by iSaint, Apr 6, 2009.

  1. macrumors 603

    iSaint

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Location:
    South Mississippi y'all, near the water!
    #1
    I have a G4 1.67 Powerbook running Leopard 10.5.6. In October of last year, I had a 250g hard drive installed. It's been running like a dream. AppleCare ran out in early February, of course.

    It froze during normal use on Sunday, the 5th, yesterday.

    It finally booted up later that night. I used it for an hour with no problems, so I backed up some important data.

    This morning it froze again.

    Here are the results of other boot attempts, in no particular order:

    1. It sometimes won't even get to the gray screen.
    2. It sometimes gets to the gray screen, then the circle with a line through it appears.
    3. It sometimes gets to the user login, but the neither the keyboard nor trackpad will not respond so I can't attempt to type in the password.
    4. I found my Leopard DVD tonight (finally), but it won't get to the gray screen.
    5. It made it to the language selection screen of the DVD Install, but, again, neither the keyboard nor trackpad would respond so I could make a selection.

    Is this more apt to be the logic board than the hard drive?

    I think I just need to hear it from someone - she's a goner... :(

    p.s. I have a G4 iBook running Leopard. If there's a way to try to access the PB disc for maintenance, please let me know.
     
  2. macrumors 6502a

    ddeadserious

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Location:
    Plymouth, MI
    #2
    There's two things I'd try

    1. I'd boot the PB into Target Disk Mode, immediately after pressing the power button, hold "T" and once you see a firewire logo go bouncing around, it's there. Then use a 6-pin to 6-pin firewire cable to plug your iBook into your Powerbook and the Powerbook will mount on the iBook as an external drive. Then you can open Disk Utility and repair permissions and the disk.

    2. To see whether it's the hard drive or logic board that has gone out in the PB, I'd boot the iBook into Target Disk Mode, plug it into the Powerbook, boot the Powerbook and hold Option immediately after pressing the power button, then wait for the iBook's Macintosh HD to show up as a boot option and try and boot to it.

    If it will boot to the iBook HD, then it's obviously not the logic board in the Powerbook that's bad. If you can't even get the PB into the Target Disk Mode and stuff, then I'd definitely say the logic board is bad.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 603

    iSaint

    Joined:
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    #3
    Great info - something I didn't know and haven't tried. Thanks!
     
  4. macrumors 68040

    Eric S.

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2008
    Location:
    Santa Cruz Mountains, California
    #4
    One thing - if the filesystem on your PB's hard drive is in an inconsistent state, it won't mount as an external drive in target disk mode on another system.

    If you can't boot from your install DVD I don't see how it could be a hard drive problem. You should be able to boot the DVD and run Disk Utility on the hard drive directly from the DVD. It sounds like a logic board problem to me.
     
  5. macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
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    Location Location
    #5
    That's what I was thinking. If you can't boot off the install DVD, then the problem is probably your logic board.
     
  6. thread starter macrumors 603

    iSaint

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Location:
    South Mississippi y'all, near the water!
    #6
    Thanks for the replies. I was able to mount the Powerbook via Fireware and run a Repair Disk from the iBook's Disk Utilities program. It ran a couple of times and indicated some errors were found. I restarted Repair Disk a couple of times and let it run as I went to sleep. It says the hard drive on the Powerbook was fine.

    I wanted to reinstall OSX on the Powerbook from the iBook. However, it says it's not possible, and that I need to partition the drive on the Powerbook.

    I restarted the Powerbook, held the "C" down, and for the first time in a day it booted to the Leopard install DVD AND the mouse and keyboard responded, allowing me to attempt to reinstall OSX on the Powerbook. HOWEVER, there was an error message saying it was not possible. When I quit Installer, the Powerbook drive does not appear as a boot option. I was going to type the exact wording of the error message, but I quit the installer too hurriedly.

    As I type, I'm waiting to see if it will reboot to install disk, which it seems to be doing.

    OK, here's the error message I get when attempting to reinstall OS X:

    "You cannot install Mac OS X on this volume. To enable installation on this volume, open Disk Utility from the Utilities menu and repartition this disk as 'Apple Partition Map'. Note: You will lose all data on this disk by repartitioning it."

    I'm amazed that I can even get to it to boot to a workable menu this morning. It's a step further than I was yesterday.

    EDIT: I'm repairing permissions from the Disk Utilities on the install disk.

    EDIT: Repair Permissions complete with A LOT of repairs!

    EDIT Three: able to boot to Open Firmware, then successfully booted up Powerbook. Put Install DVD back in to attempt reinstall, and the same error message asking to partition disk appears.

    Any more ideas?
     
  7. macrumors 68040

    Eric S.

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2008
    Location:
    Santa Cruz Mountains, California
    #7
    I'm a little confused. Did you install OS X on this disk originally, or did it come already installed? If it isn't already partitioned as Apple Partition Map, does Disk Utility tell you what it is partitioned as?
     
  8. thread starter macrumors 603

    iSaint

    Joined:
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    #8
    This is an upgraded, 250g hard drive. It was installed last October with the same OS (Leopard) that was on the original hard drive.

    There is no partition on the current drive that I can tell.

    I'm now able to boot my computer to regular use. This has been consistent over the past couple of hours. However, it still won't allow a reinstall of Leopard. If I want to restart the computer while it's working off the Leopard DVD, the hard drive won't appear as a boot option. I have to boot to Open Firmware to eject the disc, then it will boot to the hard drive successfully.
     
  9. macrumors 68040

    Eric S.

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2008
    Location:
    Santa Cruz Mountains, California
    #9
    And you installed it on this system, using this same install DVD?

    But you said you mounted it using target disk mode and repaired the filesystem. If that's the case there must be a partition that the filesystem is in.

    Have you tried partitioning it with Disk Utility from the DVD? If you want to reinstall, you don't care if you erase anything that's on it now, right?
     
  10. thread starter macrumors 603

    iSaint

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Location:
    South Mississippi y'all, near the water!
    #10
    I want to avoid erasing the hard drive, but was going to try an archive and install first. I did find the original DVD that came with the computer and am trying that. However, it's still giving me an error message that won't allow me to choose the hard drive.

    I'm now talking to the company that did the hard drive upgrade. It's still under warranty, thank goodness, so they're helping me out.

    Thanks to everyone for getting me this far. I'll keep you updated.
     
  11. macrumors 601

    clyde2801

    Joined:
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    Location:
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    #11
    What kind of hard drive did you have installed in your powerbook?

    Oh, have you tried putting your original hard drive in an external firewire enclosure and booting off of that?
     
  12. thread starter macrumors 603

    iSaint

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Location:
    South Mississippi y'all, near the water!
    #12
    250g Western Digital. It was done by Macservice.com

    Update: I sent the PB to Macservice to check the hard drive since it's still under warranty. The kernel panics are coming from the logic board. Another $550 or so for a PB that's two months out of AppleCare. *sigh* Just spent $300 on the hard drive, which (as stated) is still under warranty. I'll probably go with the repair instead of buying a new Mac. I wish they made a 15" MacBook!

    Thanks to everyone for your help!!
     
  13. macrumors 68040

    California

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    #13
    Why would you have spent 300 on the 250gb WD hd for the Powerbook?

    I think they are under a hundred bucks now.

    I doubt very much if it is your logic board for some reason.

    Are you paying someone to diagnose this and install your hard drive or are you doing the very easy job of installing it yourself?
     
  14. macrumors regular

    brent0saurus

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2006
    #14
    i would definitely try some other stuff before spending another few hundred bucks on it. have you tried running the apple hardware test? should be on one of the discs that came with your computer. I forget the key that you hold to get into it but it should say which key on the disc.
    From there you should be able to run the test and that'll tell you if it's the logic board or something else. If it's the hard drive then you can easily install a new hard drive yourself for really cheap. like california mentioned, probably under 100 bucks.

    Also, did you notice your hard drive making any abnormal sounds before it failed or while it tries to boot currently?
     
  15. thread starter macrumors 603

    iSaint

    Joined:
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    #15
    The hard drive has been running normally, no sounds or any other issues. I believe it's the logic board. I pay people for things I am not able to do myself. Plus, I get a warranty on their work and the piece of machinery in question. They are trained professionals, and I gladly pay for their work.

    Thanks again.
     
  16. macrumors 6502

    treehorn

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    #16
    Have you used Apple Care with this computer? My partner's screen died right after Apple Care expired and since no service had ever been done during the warranty they offered to take care of it anyway (I'm sure they don't have this as a default, but maybe if you ask nicely...you never know!)
     
  17. macrumors 601

    clyde2801

    Joined:
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    #17
    That's funny...I just found out today that a friend's logic board on his g5 imac died recently, 10 days out of applecare. They're giving him a brand new 20" model.
     
  18. thread starter macrumors 603

    iSaint

    Joined:
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    #18
    I seriously considered calling Apple. It happened when AppleCare was not quite two months out of warranty.
     
  19. macrumors 68040

    California

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    #19
    Yes I used to do that too until I found out that certain Mac "certified" work was not quite as warrantied as promised or implied and that a little know how on my end could save me thousands of dollars and did.

    That said, if you kept your original hard drive, I know there was a mac program for powerbooks that I used once... three hundred dollars and they will repair replace anything outside of accidental damage to bring your PB back to new. I did it on a then top of the line 1 ghz Titanium Powerbook.

    This program was in force a couple of years ago don't know about it now.

    I would call Apple and I would mention the Apple Certified Technician's shop that did the hard drive replacement and when it was done.

    The only thing I know about those later PB logic boards is that there is a weakness in the soldering on the ram boards. Try to play around with the ram before you call Apple.
     
  20. thread starter macrumors 603

    iSaint

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Location:
    South Mississippi y'all, near the water!
    #20
    Thanks for the info. I'm taking it to the Apple Genius Bar in Metairie LA this week sometime. I declined the $550 price MacService wanted to repair the logic board.
     
  21. thread starter macrumors 603

    iSaint

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
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    South Mississippi y'all, near the water!
    #21
    You were right, California! I took the PB to the Genius Bar in Metairie LA today. After a few diagnostics, the G agreed it was the logic board. He quoted over $600 for a new board. However, he then said since the Powerbook was so well taken care of, they had a program that would fix anything to get it working for $310. He even mentioned how good it looked before he started working on it. It pays to baby your stuff!
     
  22. thread starter macrumors 603

    iSaint

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Location:
    South Mississippi y'all, near the water!
    #22
    I'm now on the phone with Apple Repair. They want $900 to replace the non-Apple hard drive, stating that it won't mount. The company that installed the hard drive checked it out, as it was under warranty, and indicated that it was fine. They said the logic board is in need of repair. The Apple Genius also stated it was the logic board. Now the repair division indicates differently.


    I'm calmly disagreeing with their diagnoses, saying I've been mislead.

    I continue to be on hold.

    :(

    EDIT: now talking to supervisor. Very nice. He says there are situations where certain hard drives shouldn't be used with Powerbooks. It may work for awhile, but may also quit working down the road. He has me on hold again to verify information.

    EDIT TWO: Apple won't repair under the quoted $310 program saying they can't diagnose properly with the third party hard drive. This despite: 1) Apple originally saying they would not upgrade a hard drive, but using an Apple Certified tech to do so would not void warranty. 2) Apple Genius and MacService (who installed hd upgrade) both diagnosing current issue as logic board.

    I was told two different stories about the upgrade. One supervisor said the upgrade was incompatible and would wear down quicker. Another said you can't install an upgrade over 120g. Again, this despite manufacturers selling and advertising 250g hd's all over the web. And despite MacService's techs being Apple certified. I hardly believe these companies would be in business if their hard drives were breaking with every installation into an Apple machine.

    I finally got a supervisor to tell me that the techs did attempt to diagnose the machine. It sounds as though they wouldn't go beyond diagnostics once they saw the third party hd.

    this sucksdasdoroooorzzzzz!!!1111!
     
  23. thread starter macrumors 603

    iSaint

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Location:
    South Mississippi y'all, near the water!
    #23
    Update: Finally had the computer returned to me unrepaired. The manager at the Apple Store listened to my story and gave me a ten percent off coupon for in store use. I'm not sure what I'm going to do at this point.

    I can reinstall the 80g hard drive, and return it to Apple to take advantage of the $310 repair option. This would seem the sensible thing to do.
     
  24. thread starter macrumors 603

    iSaint

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Location:
    South Mississippi y'all, near the water!
    #24
    Reinstalled original 80g hard drive, called AppleCare and a repair order has been initiated. Installation was much easier than I thought.

    I may sell it when it's returned. It should be like new!
     
  25. thread starter macrumors 603

    iSaint

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Location:
    South Mississippi y'all, near the water!
    #25
    Apple didn't charge me for the repair. I guess there was a note in there about my dissatisfaction. They replaced the logic board, a mem stick, and the battery.

    I'm selling her to buy a newer model.
     

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