2006 12" PowerBook G4 Issues

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Justin122, Mar 16, 2018.

  1. Justin122 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    #1
    Hello all, I have some issues with my PowerBook that I was wondering if people could diagnose. I'm worried that the machine is on the way out and that the logic board is dying, but I'm unsure.

    First of all, I can't put the PB to sleep. After shutting off for about a second, it reboots and turns back on, before putting itself to sleep for another second and rebooting. It's a recurring cycle. This happens when I shut the lid to make it sleep. When I use the sleep function with the PB open, it sleeps for a second, reboots then stays booted until I click sleep again.

    Another strange issue is that I can't get iTunes to open. It's the only app which can't open; it tries, then I get the spinning beach ball and a "quit unexpectedly" error show up.

    Another issue is relating to my USB WiFi card. Whenever I open the app for it, in order to connect to the internet, it says "Connected" for a few seconds before it kernel panics. I had a similar issue with the AirPort Express slot causing recurring kernel panics upon booting, and had to remove it entirely for it to stop.

    I also can't boot the PB into safe mode. When I do it gets stuck on the Apple logo when booting, with the grey spinning circle underneath it.

    Everything else on this machine is working fine. Is my PB on its way out, or are these problems fixable? I've ran memtest, repaired disk permissions, reset PRAM etc and I'm not getting any errors. The only thing I haven't done is run the Apple Hardware Test because I don't have the boot CDs. All of the ports still work fine.

    Any help would be appreciated, thank you.
     
  2. wicknix macrumors 6502

    wicknix

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    #2
    I'm no expert in this department, but sounds to me like the OS is partially hosed. Have you tried backing up, and wiping the drive clean and doing a fresh install?

    Cheers
     
  3. Project Alice macrumors 6502a

    Project Alice

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    Post Falls, ID
    #3
    This is hard to say without actually experiencing it first hand. First off, what OS is on it in the first place?
    I wouldn't exactly rule out the ram, I've had ram crap out on me and still pass memtest.(caused me a week long head ache in my mac mini) But take it as later resort. If you have another hard drive that you can put it in, or connect with firewire since those things are not fun to open, boot off it and see how it works. Hard drives can cause lots of weird random problems that appear to be unexplainable.
    First thing I would do if you can is reinstall mac os to see if the problems persist. If they do, I'd point it at the ram or hard drive.

    Also because I have to say, you've got a 2005 powerbook. 2006 would be an Intel MacBook Pro :)
     
  4. CooperBox, Mar 17, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2018

    CooperBox macrumors 65816

    CooperBox

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    Location:
    France - between Ricard & Absinthe
    #4
    Some good advise here. I too would start with a clean install of Tiger or Leopard, and if that didn't fix it then try another hard drive.
    Regarding the Powerbook/Intel MBPro comment, the 12" PowerBook6,8 was introduced in 2005 and discontinued in May 2006, therefore if the Mac in question was manufactured between Jan & May 2006, imho it could still be classed as a G4 12" PowerBook model. Put another way, if I was selling a similar 12" G4 with the S/No showing that it was manufactured in, say April 2006, I wouldn't advertise it as a 2005 model PowerBook. ;)
    During production runs of a given model, minor changes may be introduced, i.e. to enhance quality issues, ease production processes etc, so logically a later production date of a similar model may be an improvement.
     
  5. Justin122 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    #5
    The PB I own was manufactured in 2006, a few months before the model was discontinued yes. I have a bad feeling that it may be the hard drive, but I'll try doing a clean install because I remember it being rather troublesome before so maybe it didn't install correctly. Will post back with my findings, thanks everyone.
     
  6. AphoticD macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    Feb 17, 2017
    Location:
    Australia
    #6
    This is what I was thinking. It sounds like hard drive failure.

    You can check the hard drive S.M.A.R.T status in either Disk Utility for a brief "passed or failed" report, or a comprehensive report by installing smartmontools via the command line. I found the MacPorts version fails to install on Leopard, but the brew version works (Tigerbrew install instructions here, then "brew install smartmontools"). Once smartmontools is installed, you can run "smartctl -a disk0 | less" to view the full report. Any errors will be reported and you can see other stats (possibly even bad block reports).

    Otherwise TechTool Pro or Intech SpeedTools can report the same information.

    You may also see Disk I/O errors being reported by the kernel in the Console (/Applications/Utilities/Console.app) under system.log. My PB G4 17" had HDD failure last year which began with sporadic "Disk I/O" errors on the system log and within a couple of months, it refused to boot entirely.
     
  7. pl1984 macrumors 68020

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    Oct 31, 2017
    #7
    General question to the forum: Has anyone ever seen the SMART feature actually reveal an issue with the drive prior to observing behavior associated with a failing drive? I can't for the life of me recall a time when SMART provided and useful information.
     
  8. AphoticD macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    #8
    I don't recall SMART providing any feedback when I was getting I/O errors on the PB 17" I mentioned, but I have had two cases where the SMART report was somewhat useful. Once on a PB G4 12", SMART indicated there were thousands of bad blocks which were marked. I knew the drive had been thrashed in a previous life, so I decided to take action and replace the HDD with an SSD before it fell over completely.

    A second time on a 21.5" iMac C2D late 2009 which came to me as "dead". The WD 500GB 7200rpm 3.5" HDD was on constant SMART "failure" mode in Disk Utility when I booted up from my High Sierra installation USB. The installer even picked up on it and said something along the lines of "Your iMac requires repair. Contact your local Apple Service agent". To which I replied "**** you", pulled out my torx drivers and got to work installing a 256GB mSATA SSD on a "custom" 3.5" mounting plate :)
     
  9. Project Alice macrumors 6502a

    Project Alice

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    Location:
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    #9
    Interesting about the PB being made in 2006. You learn something new everyday i guess lol.

    And yes a couple people mentioned SMART isn't particularly reliable. Sometimes it detects a failing drive and other times it doesn't. I think I have more bad hard drives sitting in a drawer that SMART can't find any problems with than I do drives that actually have a failed SMART status.
     
  10. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

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    #10
    In my case, I have more good drives stored that are marked as failing by SMART.

    I swapped out my last "good" 128GB IDE drive for a 160GB one that went above my G3's large drive limit because SMART told me it was failing.
     
  11. Project Alice macrumors 6502a

    Project Alice

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    #11
    I've had SMART tell me a drive is failing but then work for another year or so.. But I wouldn't trust it with anything important.
     
  12. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

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    #12
    Yeah, which is why I swapped it out.

    But that drive reported as failing is still good. I just don't have any other Macs using an IDE drive anymore so it's not being used now.
     
  13. Justin122, Mar 17, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2018

    Justin122 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #13
    I'll see what happens when running smartmontools and report back. Any under the hood work on a 12" PB is cumbersome but it's worth it as I love the design of this thing and use it for my creative writing.

    Although I repaired the permissions of the HDD in Disk Utility, when doing the check afterwards it came up with the same permissions errors. These permission differences I believe were to do with Front Row strangely enough. Could this mean anything?

    What's the best way of reinstalling the OS if I don't have the boot discs? I burned an image to a blank DVD to install Leopard last time, but I'm a bit worried that the image is corrupt or damaged, and that reinstalling using such image would be pointless.

    EDIT: Can't access the internet on the PB therefore can't install the software apparently.
     
  14. Justin122 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #14
    Just to follow up on this, reinstalling the OS fixed everything - including the kernel panics I've been getting for years when inserting an AirPort card/using a USB WiFi card! I used a Leopard install DVD and did a full Erase and Install. Nice to have this thing in full working order again. The beat goes on. Thanks everyone for your help.
     
  15. mmphosis macrumors member

    mmphosis

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2017
    #15
    Glad to hear that the 12" PowerBook G4 is working. A while ago, I had similar problems with a 12" PowerBook G4, and the full Erase and Install seems to have resolved all the problems I had been having.
     
  16. CooperBox macrumors 65816

    CooperBox

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    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    France - between Ricard & Absinthe
    #16
    That's excellent now having fixed the issue. So often a reinstall of the OS works wonders.

    A few weeks ago (after taking off my straight-jacket) and obviously in a near state of madness, I started to totally disassemble another of my recently purchased 12" G4 PowerBooks, a 1.33GHz model.
    I say "near state of madness", because who else would want to perform this on a 12" PBook that was performing beautifully - with the exception of the speaker, which from the sound obviously had a blown cone.
    With all the internal components removed, including the optical drive - located underneath the motherboard for God's sake!!.....), I then had to lay off re-assembly for a few weeks as I was booked in for a planned cataract op. on both eyes. That's now completed and I can now at least again see the ominous task I have ahead of me for the re-assembly. What a nightmare of cable management within the 12". If ever there was a case of over-engineering it's on these PowerBook6.4, 6.8 models.
    Like 'The Who', "I can now see for miles and miles", but still require a good strong magnifier to complete this 12" re-assembly!
    I'll keep you all informed on how things go.
     
  17. Justin122 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Sep 14, 2008
    #17
    They're a nightmare to work on... Good luck with the re-assembly. Speaking of motherboards, a strange question but is there any way to deodorise them in the PowerBook without taking off more than the keyboard? Mine smells really bad - it has done since I bought it, but would like to get it resolved now. It's not coming from the keyboard as I've switched it out and the smell remains.
     
  18. CooperBox macrumors 65816

    CooperBox

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    France - between Ricard & Absinthe
    #18
    With my 1.5GHz first PBook 12" the previous owner was obviously a smoker, 2 keys heavily stained and the whole thing smelled of stale cigarette smoke. Prior to re-assembly, after cleaning the motherboard, internals and keyboard with isopropyl alcohol swabs, I dabbed a few drops of the wife's French perfume in several areas, then rapidly cleaned again with another iso-alcohol swab. It certainly improved things.
    This latest 1.33GHz model doesn't have that problem. Smoke-free home......?
     

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17 March 16, 2018