17" PowerBook G4 NVRAM Battery Question

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by pl1984, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. pl1984 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2017
    #1
    In the "Club 17" thread I posted my acquisition of a 1.5GHz 17" PowerBook G4 system. Upon booting up it displayed a message that the date and time were incorrect and needed to be set. This is typically the result of a dead NVRAM battery so I ordered a new one. The part I ordered is supposed to be new and not a pull from a system.

    I installed it this morning, started the system, set the date and time, and then restarted the system. To which I was greeted with an incorrect date and time message. I am leaving the system on for a little while to see if there is any "conditioning" that can be done for this situation but I feel this is a futile effort.

    My question is: Can there be another issue which is causing the loss of date and time? Aside from having to reset the SMC upon restart (which I believe is related to the NVRAM battery) everything is working fine. USB drives into the right hand USB port appear on the desktop so it's unlikely I did not secure the connector correctly.

    My guess is that this new NVRAM assembly isn't actually new. To lend credence to this theory there was a spot on the black, outer cover which suggested it may have been used. I wrote it off as maybe something from being in storage all these years but now I'm thinking it may be an indication of a used part.

    I've learned that just because something is new doesn't mean it cannot be the problem. Since this was an Ebay purchase I'm thinking of reaching out to the seller about the issue. However I cannot be certain the part I received is either used or in non-operating condition. Is there anything else I can check?
     
  2. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    #2
    Try resetting PRAM.

    Also, for PowerPC Macs it's a PMU reset, not SMC. SMC reset would indicate an Intel Mac and the process may be different.

    I will lay out the process here for a PMU reset on a 17" PB G4, just for the sake of anyone who may be looking for this sort of thing.

    1. Power down.
    2. Remove battery.
    3. Remove power cable.
    4. Press and hold power button for no less than 5 seconds.
    5. Replace battery.
    6. Plug in power cable.
    7. Press power.

    You can check that an actual PMU reset occured if you hold down the V key (for Verbose) when the Mac bongs. Somewhere before the login screen it will say something to the effect of Power Management reset, reason 'X'.

    Hope some of that helps.
     
  3. pl1984, Jan 3, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018

    pl1984 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2017
    #3
    Thank you for the information Eric. Unfortunately neither seems to have resolved the issue. Everything is as it was before.

    Regarding calling it an SMC I was advised, in the Club 17 thread, to hold down shift+control+option+power button. When I looked up this key combination I came across an Apple article which stated holding down this key sequence resets the SMC. Since the system would then start up after performing this sequence I assumed I was resetting the SMC. However your instructions also work. At least to get the system restarted again.

    I am unable to see the verbose text on the screen as holding down the v key upon start doesn't do anything differently. Something else I need to look into (I did verify the v key works in the OS). I do not have the main battery for the system, could that be a factor? I am holding off buying one until I can get the date / time issue resolved. I figured replacing the NVRAM battery would do that but here I am.

    Any other suggestions?

    Edit: I see it's command-v
     
  4. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #4
    Try OPTN+V or CMD+V.

    I usually get this confused on the key combination so I just set my Macs to boot verbose natively.

    Other than a PRAM reset that's all I can suggest.

    I saw the statement about the reset in the 17 thread, but didn't comment simply because I'm not all knowing (wish I were).

    But my understanding is that the process I described above is the correct one for a 17" PowerBook. But of course, I may be wrong. Wouldn't be the first time!
     
  5. benwild_33 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2016
    #5
    Is your main battery functional? I just make sure to fully charge that before I unplug my Powerbook and that usually ensures it remembers the time for a few weeks of being powered down. I've looked for replacements too but have never had any luck.
     
  6. DouglasCarroll macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2016
    #6
    Have you checked the pram battery with a multimeter to see if it’s got voltage?
     
  7. pl1984 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2017
    #7
    That was something I had considered but didn't know how to do. Then I decided to take a look at the old NVRAM battery to see how I could do it. In one of those head slap moments it's very easy. The plastic covering is very easy to remove and it reveals two batteries wired in parallel. The voltage specification for them is 3.7 volts and I measured 2.7 volts on the one I removed. It looks as if I'll now have to pull the laptop apart to measure the voltage of the one I just installed.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 3, 2018 ---
    I do not have a main battery for it. If I can resolve the booting and clock issue I'll buy one. Until then I am holding off in the event I never solve that problem.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 3, 2018 ---
    From my observation you're a wealth of information so I appreciate your input.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 3, 2018 ---
    Well, I have my answer. Voltage reading of the "new" (recall this is supposed to be a brand new) NVRAM battery is a whopping 120 mV. It's almost entirely dead. Off to contact the seller.
     
  8. DouglasCarroll macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2016
    #8
    Good deal. I check batteries all the time with my multimeter to diagnose problems. This is an easy fix!
     
  9. CooperBox macrumors 6502a

    CooperBox

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    France - between Ricard & Absinthe
    #9
    An interesting post.
    I had a 15" Alu 1.67GHz PBook open today to troubleshoot a minor issue with the lid open/close magnetic latch, and having just previously read this thread thought I'd check the PRAM battery whilst it was still open.
    Unlike your 17" which has two Panasonic CGL2430 cells linked together, mine has the single LP302030-PCB-LD Lithium Polymer battery.
    PBook-Pram1.jpg

    The PRAM assy is attached to the top r/h side of the optical drive with double-sided adhesive tape. (A useful tip is to draw around the edges with a pencil to ensure that on re-assembly it is attached to the same profile). I found out the hard way when I first attempted this a year ago, placing it 'approximately' which makes refitment of the keyboard difficult as there is an exact profile on the keyboard underside which must line up.

    Unwrapping the tin foil reveals the PRAM board assy 820-1819-A

    PBook-Pram2.jpg

    Here the single, flat, nominal 3.7v LP302030-PCM-LD Lithium Polymer battery was disconnected, tested and found with a very healthy 3.8v.

    PBook-Pram3.jpg

    For info, HERE is an interesting link for info on both 15" & 17" Alu PBook batteries. I have once ordered TIBook PRAM batteries from this source with no problems. Had I needed one of these (or LP302030-PCB-LD replacement?) I note that there is currently nil stock - maybe not surprising, as after some research I see they are available from one manufacturer with min order of 500. Another internet seller appears to have these available without the 2-pin connector.

    Fwiw, this Powerbook5,8 is ex 'Lastic' - who will be pleased to hear that it still gets t.l.c. and since purchase has had an SSD installed, and stills performs perfectly.
     
  10. pl1984 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2017
    #10
    The battery I purchased, and the one removed from the system, specifically states it's for a 1.5GHz, 17" PowerBook. I wonder if the 1.67GHz, 17" PowerBook uses a different NVRAM battery.

    Good news is the seller is sending me another battery.
     
  11. CooperBox macrumors 6502a

    CooperBox

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    France - between Ricard & Absinthe
    #11
    From what I see the battery is the same on all 17" Powerbooks irrespective of GHz specs. And I note that it's hidden below the optical drive - unlike the 15" model I described above.
    Glad to hear you're getting a replacement from the seller. If and when confirmed ok, would you mind sharing the link to that seller, as these PRAM batteries are getting difficult to find, and could ultimately assist other similar PBook owners.
     

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