pismo question: a quiet burial or roll away the stone and revive it?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by HowEver, Oct 22, 2005.

  1. HowEver macrumors 6502a

    HowEver

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto
    #1
    I have been trying to revive a Pismo PowerBook G3 400 Mhz for secondary uses. When received, the Pismo had only 64MB in its bottom RAM slot, and no RAM in the top slot. It would only boot with the alternating folder icon/question mark, but it would boot.

    I sought out and obtained an Airport Card, and two Pismo RAM sticks, 256MB and 512MB.

    A few days ago I obtained the Pismo 256MB RAM chip, and put it in the top slot on this Pismo with the original 64MB on the bottom. The Pismo ran okay with the 256MB + 64MB, except I had to boot from an external firewire drive, running Tiger 10.4.2. I figure the old 10GB internal can't handle the Tiger system I put on it (or Panther, which I also tried), or more likely it's just had it's day.

    Then yesterday, the 512MB chip arrived, and I've installed it.

    I was going to replace the hard drive but couldn't (I don't have the right Torx screwdriver yet for the hard drive black screws) so I put the computer back together, 512MB chip on the bottom and 256MB on top.

    It stopped working *totally.* Black screen, so startup sound, no sounds at all, nothing spinning, nothing at all. A reseat of the processor card brought a little noise, but nothing starting up, no chime, no display.

    I tried the reset button, retraced all my steps taking it apart and back together 10 times, reseated the RAM carefully in different combinations, put back the original 64MB chip on the bottom and the 256MB on top, and other combinations. Now nothing works. Nada. Zip. No combination of the RAM works either, nor any of the RAM by itself.

    Any idea what I've done to this poor machine? Everything looks fine, and it sure was working, although without the internal hard drive, only an external firewire drive, before I tried adding the additional RAM yesterday. What have I done?

    I used the pbfixit.com instructions for changing RAM in a Pismo, so I went through these steps:

    Computer off, unplugged, grounded, removed the battery, removed the keyboard, removed the heat shield, removed the airport card, removed the PRAM battery, removed the heat sink, removed the processor card that has the RAM slots on it, replaced or switched the RAM, had a look at the hard drive, replaced it carefully without having disconnected it, and then all of that in reverse.

    I have removed the PRAM battery again. I have checked the mmc2 slot for bent pins. I have made sure I heard the 'click' when reseating the processor board. I have reset the machine with the power management button on the back.

    The power on button did not power anything at first. I hear a very small noise now when the power is pressed, but there is nothing on the display, and there is no startup chime.

    Thanks for any advice you might have, I hope I'm just missing something easy. And no, a search online provided only what I followed above.
     
  2. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus

    Mitthrawnuruodo

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    Location:
    Bergen, Norway
    #2
    Sorry, I don't think I have any solutions, but a couple of tips:

    You have to use quite a lot of force when reattaching the processor card (and be absolutely sure it's aligned correctly). Much more force then I really felt comfortable with. :eek:

    I've tinkered much on two pismos and when one of them apparently died it was the processor card that wasn't pushed all the way down. I though it was the RAM and also changed RAM configuration multiple times before taking a closer look at other options... ;)

    Also, see if you have (accidently) detached some wires, there are a few that may be snagged inadvertently, especially round the HD. And is the HD itself connected? You might get problems if that is disconnected or, even worse, partially connected...

    Good luck. The pismos are awesome and well worth the trouble, if you get it up and running again... :)
     
  3. mjstew33 macrumors 601

    mjstew33

    Joined:
    May 29, 2005
    Location:
    Illinois
    #3
    hmmmmm... i think it has to be that processor card.

    i really have no idea.

    I've had 2 G3 PBs ..they are the best PBs ever known to man. I hope you get it fixed....FAST!
     
  4. typewriterchimp macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2005
    #4
    when you are starting up the pismo, do you have the external drive attached? I have experienced similar problems with my pismo using/booting from certain external drives on startup. you might try using a different external drive, or maybe even trying to mount the pismo as a firewire volume on a different mac (on startup, hold "t" key down to go into target disk mode). at least that will let you see if some of the hardware still works.

    let me know how this works out

    cs
     
  5. HowEver thread starter macrumors 6502a

    HowEver

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto
    #5
    twc, it doesn't start up. There is no chime, I now hear a noise, perhaps a drive spinning or a fan, but the power is not flowing through, the power light doesn't light up.

    Previously, it could be started as a firewire target drive. And it could run off the external firewire boot drive. Now nothing.
     
  6. typewriterchimp macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2005
    #6
    oh no

    sorry I couldn't help. if the fan blows but no power light comes on, then I am stumped. it sounds like something has given up the ghost. my only guess is RAM (the other thing I've messed up and gotten similar symptoms). If you've checked that (and I think you have), then I am out of advice.

    let us know if you solve the riddle. otherwise, give it a worthy burial.

    cs
     
  7. wide macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 17, 2004
    Location:
    NYC
    #7
    grind it up and test for the presence of macromolecules
     
  8. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #8
    My two guesses would be either that something isn't seated correctly, as others guessed (you sound like you've been very thorough, but it can take a ridiculous amount of force to get those chips and/or the card into place), or that the internal hard drive finished dying and took the rest of the machine down with it.

    Assuming the latter, since you've already goofed with the RAM so much, it would make some sense--you said it wouldn't work properly off the internal drive, which it should've--Tiger or Panther should install on a 10GB HD just fine (in fact, I've installed 10.3 on a 6GB drive in a Pismo, specifically). So, it was probably malfunctioning to begin with, and if it died in some particularly unplesant way, maybe that's why the computer won't start up now. If that's the case, pulling the old drive (and, of course, eventually replacing it) should get it working again. If not, that obviously won't help.

    The other possibility is that you fried something replacing the RAM, which is exceedingly rare despite all the warnings, and I've replaced RAM in dozens of computers without being as careful as you and never had an issue, including on a Pismo.

    Also, have you tried running it with no battery? (Is that even possible? If the battery isn't working, that might keep it from starting up--do the indicator lights go on when you push the button or when it's plugged in?)

    Last thing to consider, though it sounds like you've tried close to this: Pull the battery, unplug it, push the power button to disappate charge, let it sit for several hours to be sure, then put it back together and sart up with the "reset PRAM" keys held down. If that works (or doesn't), try holding down the open firmware keys and see if you get anything.

    I'd be hesitant to just give up on the thing, as it's a very nice computer--I just decked one out at work with extra RAM, a new drive, a Sonnet high-speed wireless card, and 10.3, and it's now a completely functional laptop again.
     
  9. HowEver thread starter macrumors 6502a

    HowEver

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto
    #9
    REVIVED! still a few problems but it's a working computer again

    Update:

    It turns out that the person who sold me a reasonable stick of 256MB PC133 RAM was able to help me figure out that it wasn't so much that the processor card was re-set incorrectly, it was busted. It looks like something on the card, and that the actual processor is fine, but I had to replace the whole processor card.

    I replaced the processor card, et voila! Working Pismo.

    I am going to replace the original 10GB hard drive. The Pismo runs *very* fast off an external 5400rpm drive in a firewire case, though.

    And now I have a battery problem which didn't exist when I first got the computer: the battery isn't charging properly. I know there is a trick where you use Apple's Battery Reset but it can't be done in the Pismo. You put the battery in a Wallstreet or Lombard and run the app, and it resets the battery. I have to check since right now it's not charging past 35% or so.

    Any other ideas about the battery? I realize it's old but when I first looked at this computer last month the battery was good for 3.5 hours! Now it just says "Calculating..until full."
     
  10. James Philp macrumors 65816

    James Philp

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2005
    Location:
    Oxford/London
    #10
    I own a pismo G3 500, have 128 (bottom) and 256 (top) RAM and an internal 12GB HD - all original apart from the extra RAM, and Tiger runs fine from the internal drive on mine.
    I would suggest the use the tiger install DVD on it (I hope you have the DVD drive - the Pismo G3 400 I had before it was replaced did) and do a clean install. - Bear in mind that the installer runs differently on different machines to install specific components.
    I wouldn't say tiger runs fast, but fast enough to browse the web, get mail, play itunes 6, do a bit of DVD watching and all the other regular tasks (incl. wireless and USB 2 via cheapo PCMCIA cards).
    When I have the money I'll probably get a newer HD (you may need to look up the max. capacity - I think it's 80GB but it could be less) and more ram (up to 768 probably - 1GB is the limit), but that's gonna be a while. It should last maybe a year more running "recent" software. As it is now iPhoto 4 chugs along etc.
    The Pismos could possibly be the best PBs ever. I have a friend with a newer Albook who wishes his old G3 500 pismo hadn't died, despite the fact his newer machine is more than twice as good.

    In response to your other problem I would have suggested swapping the RAM modules, but glad to see you got that fixed.
    As a vulcan once said to his beloved Pismo - "Live long, and prosper" - geek alert!
     
  11. James Philp macrumors 65816

    James Philp

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2005
    Location:
    Oxford/London
    #11
    Oh, about the battery, since Tiger, the calculating... thing has never worked.
    Do a real life test and tell us how long you get out of it before it sleeps doing normal tasks. Mine goes no longer than 1.5 hours at best and never tells me how long i have left (it just says calculating...remaining the whole time!).
    Bear in mind that the airport card will drain the battery faster as (obviously) will the DVD/CD drive and attached devices (It stuns me that even running from battery the Pismo will try to charge the iPod via firewire!) like bluetooth dongles etc etc.
    Even running an external monitor will impact battery life, as the graphics processor (which I must warn you is now by far the most outdated thing in the Pismo) and CPU will have to work harder.

    Good luck!
     
  12. HowEver thread starter macrumors 6502a

    HowEver

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto
    #12
    Here's an update.

    I've added more RAM. Instead of 256 + 512 MB, I now have 512 + 512 MB, the maximum (the Apple maximum is less, but rest assured that 1GB works fine).

    The battery is still an issue. As is common, it doesn't show actual time remaining, and only goes for 1.5 hours when I'm pretty sure that before this it had 3.5 hours of life in it. I've read about an Apple Battery Reset 2 piece of software but can't find it now; in any case it is only supposed to work on the battery when it's in a Lombard, which I don't have access to.

    I replaced the original hard drive, since it wasn't working with Tiger. A new 40GB 5400rpm Fujitsu drive makes the whole deal really snappy.

    So, with the new processor card, the maxed RAM, the fast hard drive, things are great.

    There are replacement Pismo batteries available for ungodly amounts, $175 US or so, and used batteries in various states of claimed charge hours, for anywhere from $75 to $110 U.S. There are also allegedly new-in-box Pismo batteries out there, never used, for around $100 U.S. For those one would have to guess at shelf life and usability considering they could be 4 or 5 years old.

    Any thoughts on those "new, never-used" Apple PowerBook batteries?
     
  13. GraphicUmp macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2002
    Location:
    Mid Atlantic
    #13
    I'd have to wonder about the capacity of a battery that's been sitting on a shelf for 4-5 years, personally.

    My bf has my old Pismo 400 for work, and I have my eye on a replacement battery for it here:
    http://www.dealexpress.com/
    Click on Apple>All Apple products, and it's a couple items down. Xtend Li-On battery for Apple PowerBook G3 Lombard (but of course it's the same as the Pismo battery - and listed that way in the atual item). $99. High-capacity.
     
  14. HowEver thread starter macrumors 6502a

    HowEver

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto
    #14
    Interesting. That one is only 4800 mAh. Newer Technology also higher capacity versions, 7200 mAh or so, but for the aforementioned $175.

    But you're right: a new battery for $100 is *far* better than the one off the shelf for $100, whatever the capacity.

    And the new one may come with a warranty.

    Thanks.

     
  15. HowEver thread starter macrumors 6502a

    HowEver

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto
    #15
    btw all, I'm still using this amazing Pismo.

    Since the casing, screen, keys, bottom, ports, everything are flawless, once the batteries were updated (I got 2 2+ hour batteries) and the daughterboard was replaced, and the RAM upgraded to 1 full GB (2 x 512 MB chips), this computer has been incredible.

    If anyone is interested, these machines really fly. Of course there are limitations, but for surfing, wordprocessing, and even Adobe Creative Suite applications (InDesign, Photoshop, in particular), this is a great computer.
     

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