Apple TV first gen with no video. Worth trying to save?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Nessdufrat, Apr 3, 2017.

  1. Nessdufrat macrumors member

    Nessdufrat

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2015
    Location:
    Between France and Switzerland
    #1
    I got an apple TV first generation (found it in the trash a few days ago, again), with no hard drive inside, and I thought I'd give it a try since I had a 80GB IDE 2.5 HD lying around. I prepared the drive for installation (formated it on my macbook) and followed a tutorial to be able to boot from an USB stick and restore the system on a new HD.

    I plugged the ATV in, did the install, but didn't get any video to show up. At that point, I had hooked it up with an HDMI cable. So I figured, maybe the HDMI output it dead. I switched and went with the component cables (I think that's the name? The red blue green cables), but no luck either, my TV was telling me that it wasn't getting any signal.

    I'm guessing the video chip is on the motherboard, so it's probably fried, and that's it. But could it be something else, and is it worth giving it a try?

    The hard drive I put inside is working fine, it was running, and from the light status on the ATV, it seemed like it was indeed installing its OS correctly. No problem with the power supply, obviously.

    It's more for the fun of it, since I already own 2 ATV 160GB (I found both of them in the trash last summer on the same day, obviously somebody got the new one and didn't bother selling them), but I figured, why not, it could be a fun project, maybe I could install Kodi on this one.

    Thanks a lot for all suggestions!
     
  2. atvusr, Apr 3, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2017

    atvusr macrumors 6502

    atvusr

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2010
    #2
    You could try OSMC (Open Source Media Center) on the AppleTV 1st Gen. On https://osmc.tv/download/ there're Images for USB-Sticks available. Just restore the Image via dd in Terminal and boot/run the AppleTV directly from the Stick. If there's still no Video (neither HDMI nor YUV-Component) then the AppleTV is probably defective. The repair of the Logic Board is probably not worth it, because a Raspberry Pi 3 can run Kodi too in Full-HD (1080p, 60fps), is much smaller, inexpensive and has less power consumption.

    If there's in the AppleTV no HDD installed, it takes approx. 30 seconds for a timeout until the AppleTV boots from the USB-Stick.


    Some troubleshooting tips from https://www.iFixit.com/Teardown/Apple+TV+1st+Generation+Teardown/439 :

    Flashing question mark: As most Mac owners are aware, a flashing question mark means the Mac can't find the OS - signifying a bad hard drive or corrupted OS. The same can happen with the Apple TV, but Apple's suggested remedy is taking it in to an Apple Store.

    No video: The Apple TV defaults to HDMI, so make sure you don't have HDMI plugged in if you want to use component video.

    No video via component cables: Apple says to "Hold down the Menu and Menu up/scroll (+) buttons simultaneously on the Apple Remote for 6 seconds." This forces it to cycle through every resolution. Press play when it reaches the resolution you want.

    No video via component cables: Apple says to "Hold down the Menu and Menu up/scroll (+) buttons simultaneously on the Apple Remote for 6 seconds." This forces it to cycle through every resolution. Press play when it reaches the resolution you want.

    Unpair your remote: To set the Apple TV to work with any remote, hold the "Menu and the Previous/Rewind (<<) button for 6 seconds."

    Networking: The Apple TV uses UDP port 5353 (Bonjour) and TCP ports 3689 (iTunes Library Sharing), 80 (iTunes store), and 443 (iTunes store).

    Factory restore: According to Apple, "Press and hold both Menu and Menu down/scroll (-) on the Apple Remote for 6 seconds or until the status light blinks amber." Then select your language, and factory restore.

    Networking: The Apple TV uses UDP port 5353 (Bonjour) and TCP ports 3689 (iTunes Library Sharing), 80 (iTunes store), and 443 (iTunes store).

    LEDs - the status light can be white or amber. From https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT200154 (or the Apple TV Setup Guide, page 33) :

    Apple TV is on - LED status light glows solid white

    Apple TV is off or in Standby - LED status light is off

    Apple TV is starting up - LED status light blinks amber

    Apple TV is accepting a command from the remote - LED status light flashes white once

    Apple TV is rejecting a command from the remote - LED status light flashes amber once (Remote pairing problem)

    Apple TV has Hardware issues - LED status light alternates between white and amber


    How to run Diagnostics - https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT1560 :

    To access the Apple TV (1st generation) Recovery screen:
    Hold down the Menu and Menu down/scroll (-) buttons on the remote for approximately 3 to 5 seconds, until the LED on Apple TV (1st generation) flashes yellow. After Apple TV (1st generation) restarts, a screen appears asking you to pick a language. Select the language you wish to use.

    The Apple TV (1st generation) Recovery screen appears with 3 selections:
    - Restart
    - Run Diagnostics
    - Factory Restore
    If the Apple TV (1st generation) intro movie plays instead, repeat the first step.

    Select Run Diagnostics. The screen displays "Running diagnostics" and a spinning disc cursor appears. These tests can take several minutes to complete. If you receive an error message, take your Apple TV (1st generation) to the nearest Apple Service Provider to have it evaluated. Upon successful completion of the diagnostics, the screen displays "Your Apple TV is working correctly." Select Done to return to the Apple TV (1st generation) Recovery screen and then select Restart to return your Apple TV (1st generation) to normal operation.

    If the Apple TV (1st generation) Recovery screen reappears, unplug the power cable from your Apple TV (1st generation) and plug it back in. Your Apple TV (1st generation) should restart normally. If you select Factory Restore, do not unplug the power cable from your Apple TV (1st generation) during the restore process. Your Apple TV (1st generation) will automatically restart when the restore process is complete.

    Note: Using the Factory Restore will erase the network settings and any video, music, and photos stored on your Apple TV (1st generation). You will need to set up a network connection and resync with iTunes to restore your content after the Factory Restore has completed.
     
  3. Nessdufrat thread starter macrumors member

    Nessdufrat

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2015
    Location:
    Between France and Switzerland
    #3
    Thanks so much for the very informative reply.
    Sadly, the screen stayed dark after my attempt at the USB boot, both via HDMI and component (even with the cycling through resolution option. Although I'm not sure at that point it was even working yet).
    I plugged in an ethernet cable and was able to see that my router recognizes it, so it has an IP address. Not sure if I can do something with that, maybe access settings externally?

    What I was wondering about is whether there might be something wrong with the GPU (in that case, trashbin) or that maybe the whole piece that hosts all the sockets (ethernet, hdmi, component, audio) was connected to the motherboard in some way, and that piece could have dislodged itself. So, quick fix.
    I guess it's soldered to the motherboard, though.
    I now the powerboard is something else entirely, and this one is working fine.
    It's too bad, I can't really make myself threw this nice piece of electronics away... Still trying to find some use for it. I'll probably keep it, at least so that I have a spare power board if (when) one of mine dies.
     

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