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G4 constant crashes...Hardware issue?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by rt30000, Nov 21, 2005.

  1. macrumors member

    I am not sure where to go/how to fix my problem. I have done a TON of searching the net, and tried every test/solution I could. Its GOT to be a hardware issue I woudl think. Heres the details, ask me if you need to know any further info! TIA!!!

    G4 Dual 450mhz Gigabit running OS X v10.3.9

    Computer WILL freeze up. This is not a matter of *if* it will, but *when*. Sometimes it lasts 2hrs, usually it lasts 15 minutes. The computer just simply freezes. Once it does, you have to wait a while before restarting or it won't work. Its really a gamble.

    I am leaning towards hardware problem, such as PS, Mobo, or Processor? becuase I have tried the following which have had NO effect on the freezes:

    Fresh/Clean OS X (Panther 10.3.9) installs. New hard drive, clean formats. Removed all extra pci cards, placed factory video card back in. Tried different RAM to check for bad Ram. Ran all Norton and TechTools hardware tests successfully. Verify Disk and also Repair'd permissions from Panther Install disk. Zapped P-RAM, tested battery, followed MANY procedures described on Apple's site (I have been working on this problem for nearly a year so its hard to remember exactly everything I have done off the top of my head). I have ran the computer with a dehumdifier in the room, temperature ranges between 60-85, etc. It definatley seems to run better when its colder, but that may very well just be a perception.

    Any ideas PLEEEEASE let me know. I can describe in further details anything you may need to know, or I can look into it. TIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Get rid of Norton anything would be my first suggestion. That POS is the cause of far more troubles than anything it might "fix". As for the freezes, what do the logs say about it?
  3. macrumors member

    Well, I just used Norton to help fix the problem. I dont use it on a regular basis to optimize drive or anything like that. I'm just trying every option I have the capability to try, and I was hoping their diagnostic tools would have helped. (And becuase I have reinstalled the OS several times, on multple freshly-formatted hard drives to try to figure this out, I don't think Norton is causing THIS problem)

    The Log files are gibberish to me. I can read them to a point, but knowing what it means and what to do about it is beyond me. If its safe to post it (no personal info or anything) I can do that if you know which log file to grab. I have to do it in the evening, of course, because I'm at work right now. Thanks for the quick reply.
  4. macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Once again, we see the utter pointlessness of clean OSX installs. (I don't mean to make an example of you, but this is something people are doing far too often for no payoff.) Otherwise, you've apparently taken all the right diagnostic steps.

    Given that you report a variability based on temperature and humidity, I would agree with your assessment. It could be a bad trace on the motherboard, a poorly-seated processor, or similar issue. Possibly even a failing power supply? Since this is such an old machine, I would think you could pick up a replacement motherboard for not a lot of money. Might be worth a try, and possibly be no more expensive than bringing it in for service. (If it fixes the problem, of course.)
  5. macrumors member

    Not a problem, but there were other reasons (unrelated to this freezing issue) for the clean install. The networking and sharing preference panes would not load and this was the only solution that worked. I had tried removing preferences, using another user account to verify it wasn't at the user-level, etc. I needed to connect to a windows machine, so a clean install in order to get the networking functioning was necessary. Like I mentioned, I don't THINK its a software issue but i'd rather have tried and failed vs. leaving it sit here useless, y'know?

    As far as picking up a replacement mobo (or PS, etc), thats an option. Im trying to narrow it down or figure this out as much as possible before buying parts I may not need, as I don't have a lot of money to throw at things that may (and may not) fix it. I'd rather have the opinions of more knowledgable users than myself, so I know I'm moving in the right direction ;)
  6. Moderator


    Staff Member

    I'd wait for the next "freeze" (which is odd that it eventually clears up) and then post the console and system log entries that buffer it by 10-15 minutes on both sides.
  7. macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Echo. Several people around here seem to be able to make sense of error logs. I'm not one of them. ;)
  8. macrumors member

    Okay. I'll turn her on tonite till she crashes, then post the log files. Thx.
  9. Moderator


    Staff Member

    I'd suggest clearing any 'personal' info (usernames, computer names) first..

    And please post them as attachments.
  10. macrumors member

    So, I generated a log report from System Profiler. What information should I remove? Sorry if it sounds ignorant, but I dont want to post any personal info I shouldn't. I have a rich text file (edited in pc, cuz my mac froze...of course. Thats 4 times so far, in the little time i've been home). One time it froze when I plugged in a USB card reader, but that was a first, it has never frozen before when plugging in the device. I just wanted to pulloff a few photos before it crashed...to no avail.
  11. macrumors member

    Now it won't restart. Sometimes you have to wait a while after it crashes before it will start back up. If you try right away, the front light (on the power button) will light up but it only makes it to the grey apple screen. Sometimes it lights up, but stops at that. The monitor never flicks on, and you haveto hold the button to shut it down). Thats kind of what makes me wonder if its the power supply. Would it make sense if it dropped below the minimum voltage (or whatever) that it would freeze up? Or perhaps it overheats or cannot generate enough power until it rests a bit? The monitor stays on (displaying the frozen screen), but thats not running off the computer's power supply. I'm clueless...

    I'll add these crashes to the log report I've already generated as soon as I get the Mac back up and I know it's safe to post. (I'm on the windows machine I built this past weekend at the moment)
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Are the fans running? :confused:
  13. macrumors member

    Yes, the fan runs. Is there more than one? Its been a while since I looked, but I hear it and the HD start up, and the light on the logic borad comes on.

    I have a rich text file generated from my system profiler that has system specs and Logs that I can post/attach, but I don't know how much of this info is okay to post??? Can anyone help?
  14. macrumors G4

    Lord Blackadder

    Assuming nobody comes up with a brighter idea....

    DV Warehouse is currently selling a Dual 450 with 256MB RAM, 30GB HD and a DVD-ROM for $400 + shipping. Not super cheap, but it's a fair market price for a working G4 with a guarantee. And a logic board might cost nearly as much from a reseller.

    I suggest you consider getting another similar Mac and keeping yours for spare parts. You can probably get a dual 450 or 500 cheapish on ebay as well.

    And there's always the Mac Mini...

    Fixing your machine might not be worth the time and money if it is indeed a motherboard failure.
  15. macrumors member

    Well, when I find out the problem, then I'll figure out which way I will go. I'd rather spend $100 or $200 (used parts) fixing this one than simply buying a replacement for twice that (I don't have the money). Logic boards go on eBay frequently for ~$100, and I can surf other sites for them as well if the source doesnt seem trustworthy. I just want to know what the problem is before giving up on it. Its a great computer, and its got plenty of life left in it assuming I can solve this issue.
  16. macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Do you hear the startup chime? Can you boot into Single User Mode?
  17. macrumors member

    Startup chime - Yes (When the computer starts, if it has recently frozen up recently sometimes it wont even get that far into starting up)

    I am not familar with 'Single User Mode'

    Thx for the replies/help. Im gonna grab my log file to post.
  18. macrumors member

    HERE IS MY SYS. PROFILE/LOG FILE. If you see info I should remove for security/personal reasons, please let me know ASAP Thank you again for any help! This log file covers at least 3 "freezes" that occured last night. The first of which is when I plugged in a compact flash reader, which has never crashed the computer before. the others are just random freezes. Sometimes its when I'm using the computer, but even when I am not doing anything on it it will freeze up. There were failed attempts to restart it after freezing, but I doubt those got logged becuase the system didn't start up.

    Attached Files:

  19. Moderator


    Staff Member

    I'm afraid you've made this far more complicated than it needs to be..

    What we need is a crash. And then you restart and open the system.log from the Console.app and copy and paste the contents of the logs from the 15 minutes before and everything after (up to 15 minutes) the crash. Then paste all that into a regular text file and post that.
  20. macrumors 6502a


    1. Start up your computer in single-user mode to reach the command line.?Note: If necessary, perform a forced restart as described in the Emergency Troubleshooting Handbook that came with your computer. On desktop computers, you can do this by pressing the reset/interrupt button (if there is one) or holding down the power button for several seconds. On portable computers, simultaneously press the Command-Control-power keys. If your portable computer doesn't restart with this method, you may need to reset the Power Manager.
    2. At the command-line prompt, type /sbin/fsck -fy
    3. Press Return. fsck will go through five "phases" and then return information about your disk's use and fragmentation. Once it finishes, it'll display this message if no issue is found:
    4. ** The volume (name_of_volume) appears to be OK
    5. If fsck found issues and has altered, repaired, or fixed anything, it will display this message:
    6. ***** FILE SYSTEM WAS MODIFIED *****
    7. Important: If this message appears, repeat the fsck command you typed in step 2 until fsck tells you that your volume appears to be OK (first-pass repairs may uncover additional issues, so this is a normal thing to do).
    8. When fsck reports that your volume is OK, type reboot at the prompt and then press Return.

    Also: What memory sticks are you using in this machine. Can you give us the specs? :confused:
  21. macrumors member

    I do not have a user manual/handbook, etc with this computer. I am not the original owner, I bought it 3 years ago or so used. I've done the fsck thing before, but that was quite some time ago when I first started trying to figure out this problem. I'll do it again this evening. Theres no chance of hurting my my files that are kept in a separate partition is there?

    I can get details on the ram. I have like 4 different sticks of RAM, I have tried using different ones to be certain it wasn't an issue with them, but alas I have no clue. I'll found out more this evening when I can look at them and post up what I find. Thx
  22. Moderator


    Staff Member

    So.. the flash reader complains about the lack of power to power the device.

    Nov 21 18:45:49 localhost kernel: USB Notification:  The device "ImageMate CF Reader/Writer" cannot operate because there is not enough power available 
    Nov 21 18:45:49 localhost kernel: USB Low Power Notice:  The device "ImageMate CF Reader/Writer" cannot be used because there is not enough power to configure it 
    Nov 21 18:45:49 localhost kernel: USBF:	1165. 79	AppleUSBComposite[0x1005200](ImageMate CF Reader/Writer) SetConfiguration (1) returned 0xe000405d 
    Nov 21 18:46:12 localhost kernel: USBF:	1187. 96	AppleUSBHubPort: Error 0xe00002ed: getting port status (5) 
    Your second crash has to do with USB devices as well..

    Nov 21 18:47:37 localhost kernel: USBF:	50.228	+AppleUSBOHCI[0x1054800]::ReturnOneTransaction(0x6f490a0, 0x1066edc, e0004051) 
    Nov 21 18:47:37 localhost kernel: USBF:	50.229	IOUSBDevice[0x1076400]: Error (0xe0004051) getting device device descriptor 
    Nov 21 18:47:43 localhost kernel: USBF:	56.228	+AppleUSBOHCI[0x1054800]::ReturnOneTransaction(0x6f49034, 0x1066edc, e0004051) 
    Nov 21 18:47:43 localhost kernel: USBF:	56.229	IOUSBDevice[0x1076400]: Error (0xe0004051) getting device device descriptor 
    Nov 21 18:47:50 localhost kernel: USBF:	63.228	+AppleUSBOHCI[0x1054800]::ReturnOneTransaction(0x6f48fc8, 0x1066edc, e0004051) 
    Nov 21 18:47:50 localhost kernel: USBF:	63.230	IOUSBDevice[0x1076400]: Error (0xe0004051) getting device device descriptor 
    Nov 21 18:47:56 localhost kernel: USBF:	69.228	+AppleUSBOHCI[0x1054800]::ReturnOneTransaction(0x6f48f5c, 0x1066edc, e0004051) 
    Nov 21 18:47:56 localhost kernel: USBF:	69.230	IOUSBDevice[0x1076400]: Error (0xe0004051) getting device device descriptor 
    Personally, I'd be wondering what on your USB bus is causing that. Unplug ANYTHING that isn't vital. E.G., leave only the keyboard and mouse. If possible, borrow from someone else and swap them out, just to make sure they aren't part of the issue. If it's still crqashing with stuff like this in the system log, well it could be your USB port(s) on your Mac are flaky. Which is OK, you can get a 3rd party USB PCI card for cheap and use that instead.
  23. macrumors 6502


    Sounds to me like your CPU might be overheating. Thats one of the classic signs of a computer freezing up. You might also have a dying hard drive, although that might cause things to freeze up temporarily, not permanently. Try the following:

    Open up your case and check the CPU heatsink. Is it covered with dust? Try cleaning it. Is the CPU fan working? It might have gotten clogged with dust and slowed down over the years.

    One of the simplest ways to check if its your CPU is to run a processor intensive task and see if that causes the computer to lock up faster. Try ripping a CD into iTunes, converting a DVD into a divx, or some other CPU intensive task. Something I always use is Chess - I set the computer to go against itself, and I set the difficulty to the hardest skill level. This usually heats things up quickly. If the computer locks up right away during these intensive tasks, then you can be pretty sure that something is overheating.
  24. macrumors member

    Okay, here is a txt file with just the crash log. You requested 15 mins BEFORE and 15 minutes AFTER the freeze up. Fact is, I dont know where to start/end, becuase this log is less than an hour and covers at least 3 or 4 freezes. I hope this is more help than the previous files?

    Attached Files:

  25. macrumors member

    Thanks. I notivced it crashed the first time when I plugged in the USB card reader. I have ran the computer with just a mouse + keyboard, and even went as far as to steal the keyboard from the wife's iMac. It would still freeze up.

    Whe you see the low power warning, that was when i plugged the card reader into the keyboard I then plugged it into the back of the computer and it froze. BUT, I usually dont have the card reader plugged in. In fact, it was removed after that freeze, so the next 3 are all without that USB device connected.

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