Urgent eMac Help Please!!!!

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by R.Youden, Apr 29, 2005.

  1. R.Youden macrumors 68020

    R.Youden

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    #1
    Hi everyone. OK this is the rather complex situation.

    My girlfriend has had an eMac now for alomst 2 years and it is a great computer. I think eMacs are one of the best things out at the moment. About 3 months ago it failed to boot. The machine "bonged" and the light came on but nothing happened. After a couple of manual restarts it was OK. Eventually it stopped working all together, it still bonged and the light came on but on screen. I connected an external monitor but that remained blank too. I could mount its hard drive using target disk mode but I could not find anything wrong. I imagined that it was a logic board failure. She had taken out Apple care so all was not lost. Took it to the local Apple centre and they agreed it was probably a logic board fault. It took them 7 weeks to even look at it and they turned round and said that there was nothing wrong with it and charged her £70 + VAT (even though she has Apple care, can they do that?).

    Anyway she got it home and it did not work! After a couple of manual restarts it just about works. She has not turned it off for 14 days untill today. I installed Tiger for her and it works great. I put the computer to sleep and there was a bright flash from the middle of the screen and it does this every time she puts the machine to sleep. I am starting to think that there is something wrong with the monitor. Can anyne help. She does not want to take it back to Apple as she can not be without the machine for another 7 weeks and she does not want to pay another £70+ when they say there is nothing wrong with it again.

    If anyone can help please do thanks.
     
  2. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #2
    A simple thing to try would be replacing the PRAM battery on the motherboard, it should cost you about £5. I havent run into this on an eMac but on earlier models the "bong but no screen" ans "Starts only on the second or third try" are two symptoms of a dead PRAM battery. It is I think a 1/2 AA 3.6V Lithium.

    If that solves the problem I would be going back for a refund from the Apple centre

    One thing: AppleCare does not cover software problems, so before taking a machine in for service, see if it boots from the OS CD or DVD. If it does not show a problem booted from a CD, then there is a chance it is software and you'll get dinged service charges when you thought it was under warranty. It's generally worth backing up all your data and trying an Archive and Install on a machine, before taking it in for service. The exception would be if you are pretty certain that the hard drive is at fault, and/or you cannot get data backed up -- in those cases reinstalling OS may make it worse.
     
  3. R.Youden thread starter macrumors 68020

    R.Youden

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    #3
    Thanks. I will try it. The problem is that the Apple service centre say that there was not a fault so I cant say I have fixed it! I think they are out of order. Apple care costs what £150 or so, and then you have to pay £70 and be accused of lying! Thats not on if you ask me.
     
  4. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #4
    Could be that they couldn't reproduce the fault, or that they were too lazy to do more than turn it on once and run diagnostics. On an intermittant failure, you may have to go there in person and hook the machine up, then restart it until you can demonstrate the failure.
     
  5. R.Youden thread starter macrumors 68020

    R.Youden

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    #5
    They said that they restarted it 10 times and then left it running for so many days. Before we took it away they booted it up to show it to us working and asked for the money otherwise they would start paying storage charges!
     
  6. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #6
    You know, it's an off chance, but based on the comment about the screen flashing at sleep, and the fact that it doesn't work at your g/f's house, is it possible that this is a bad power line issue? Have they tried either relocating it to another room and testing it there (in the same house, but on another main), or else in another building? Or else with a good power strip that has a filter on it so that you know the power coming in is clean?
     
  7. R.Youden thread starter macrumors 68020

    R.Youden

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    #7
    they did suggest that at the shop. I am an electonic engineer and I have had a good poke around and cant find anything too out of place. I am thinking of getting a safety expert in to have a proper test of it. Also the lights have started to flicker in the communial hall-way so it could be something to do with that. If that is the case do you think she will be able to get the money back off the landlord? Thanks

    EDIT: I suppose that this could be caused by the tube not properly discharging down to ground when the monitor is switched off....
     
  8. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #8
    Now, that is exactly the wrong thing to do to diagnose a dead PRAM battery. Of course it will keep running once it is on - that is not the issue. Restarting it 10 times in a row will also not show the problem.

    The PRAM battery keeps the machine settings alive by pushing a trickle of juice through them when the machine is off. As long as the machine is on or sleeping, the battery is not called upon. But if you unplug it, or turn off the powerbar the machine is attached to, then the PRAM battery is being drawn on. So the more time your machine spends off or unplugged, the faster the battery wears down.

    The motherboard circuits take a few moments to totally discharge -- which is why you can sometimes get it to start by restarting again once or twice immediately after the first failed attempt -- there is enough residual charge to allow it to boot. This is also why standing there and restarting 10 times in a row is useless.

    If the Apple center had half a brain, with your symptoms they should have replaced the battery as a matter of course. The batteries are generally good for 3 - 5 years, so 2 years is a bit early, but if the machine is habitually left off and unplugged or powerbar off, then it is a reasonable possibility.

    This goes for any model Mac.

    Now of course I could be totally wrong and your machine may be the victim of bad AC power, but battery vs AC power as the cause runs about 100:1 around here...
     
  9. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #9
    Your electrical utility should be able to give you the load of a recording voltmeter, which will track the variations in power level over a few days or a week.
     
  10. R.Youden thread starter macrumors 68020

    R.Youden

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    #10
    I had to replace the battery on my OLD iMac last year. That was only becasue the date and time kept being reset. I would have thought that Apple would have set the threshold so that date and time went first, then the monitor not booting.

    I asked this Apple store if they needed any help as part time work and they said that there was not the demand! What would you call a 7 - week wait, an inconvenice!
     
  11. R.Youden thread starter macrumors 68020

    R.Youden

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    #11
    The Apple centre said that they did not touch the eMac for 7 weeks. If it was going to go, I thought it would have gone by then!
     
  12. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #12
    CanadaRAM, so...I've never had a Mac with a dead backup battery, so pardon the question. On Windows computers, if this battery dies, they will typically either boot to default factory settings (and some crazy time, like noon on 1/1/1901) or they will boot to an error message, and then ask you to press a key, and then boot to default settings. Are you saying that, for instance, if you took this battery completely out of a Mac, it would fail to boot at all? Wow....
     
  13. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #13
    Yup. Although the behaviour model-to-model will differ.

    Some models won't boot at all, more typically it will bong but the video won't come on. USUALLY but not always, you get some pre-warning with the Date and Time going wonky, or the Ethernet settings being lost every time you shut off.
     
  14. alexprice macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2005
    #14
    Bring it to AT Computers in Cardiff, we dont charge for "no fault found" and you'll wait up to two weeks for completion of the repair.

    02920 620839
    alex@atcardiff.co.uk
     

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