Constant Kernel Panics - solved!

macguymike

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 28, 2003
385
0
California
I have a first generation 12" PowerBook (see stats in sig) running OS X 10.4 and recently it's been giving me kernel panics. Now, this laptop's been through a lot. It's been dropped (has a couple dents on the corners as a result) and carried and jostled and bumped.

It's survived all of that relatively unscathed. Now, though, whenever I grip the case surrounding the hard drive (left front next to the touchpad) it tends to give me kernel panics. Last night it started giving me panics on start up. Occasionally I can get to the desktop before the error message pops up but more often it panics during the gray Apple logo screen or the spinning wheel just stops spinning.

Is my beloved 12" finally due to be replaced? Is my system kaput? Is my hard drive bad?

Most importantly: is there any way to recover my files??


All suggestions and advice appreciated.
 

im_to_hyper

macrumors 65816
Aug 25, 2004
1,097
206
Pasadena, California, USA
My unprofessional guess would be that your hard drive is going out... probably because the casing near it is a little loose, so when you grab the casing, it would press down on the HD and cause some problems.

Do you have another Mac around with FireWire? If so, you could boot into "target disk mode" by pressing "T" after the chime. This pretty much turns your PowerBook into an external HD, and you can then connect it to a different computer to copy off what you need.

After that, try reformatting... there are lots of factors that could be involved. Do you have the Hardware Test CD/DVD that came with it? Running that would help understand better what's going on.
 

macguymike

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 28, 2003
385
0
California
Ran Disk Utility from the OS X DVD and so far things seem okay. I have all my stuff backed up so I'm ready to do a re-install if the problem returns.

Will be sure to update in a day or so either way.
 

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
17,892
1,466
Palookaville
Reinstalling to cure what is clearly a mechanical problem? Now I've heard everything.

The clues to solving your problem are in your description. You've dropped the Mac and the panics can be induced by squeezing the case. Something is broken inside. It might be the hard drive as suggested but more likely you've got an intermittent connection or short, or a cracked circuit board.
 
Reinstalling to cure what is clearly a mechanical problem? Now I've heard everything.

The clues to solving your problem are in your description. You've dropped the Mac and the panics can be induced by squeezing the case. Something is broken inside. It might be the hard drive as suggested but more likely you've got an intermittent connection or short, or a cracked circuit board.
I agree with IJ, sadly I think your 12 incher is on it's way to the humoungaloid scrap heap in China......

I would think about advertising it as a *working* parts machine before it totally craps out:(
 

im_to_hyper

macrumors 65816
Aug 25, 2004
1,097
206
Pasadena, California, USA
Reinstalling to cure what is clearly a mechanical problem? Now I've heard everything.

The clues to solving your problem are in your description. You've dropped the Mac and the panics can be induced by squeezing the case. Something is broken inside. It might be the hard drive as suggested but more likely you've got an intermittent connection or short, or a cracked circuit board.
Hey: I had the same problem after lugging my PowerBook with me all throughout Europe, and the case is a tad dinged down... I had kernel panics everyother day... I reformatted for the heck of it, and its been fine since, so some "out there methods" may just work. No one had responded to the guy's post with anything different, so I gave my ideas from personal experience.
 

macguymike

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 28, 2003
385
0
California
The kernel panics continue, especially whenever the laptop is bumped or not handled lightly. It also panics/freezes when waking from sleep (the screen does not come back on).

Guess it's time to find a local Apple tech and take it in.

Right now, although I love the PowerBook's size and the feel of the keyboard (and really just everything about it), I'm wondering if it's smart to put money into fixing the case and maybe replacing the hard drive (and whatever other problems need fixing) or if it would be smarter to invest in a MacBook.
 

macguymike

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 28, 2003
385
0
California
Okay. I re-seated the RAM and so far so good. Haven't tried giving it any rough bumps yet because I don't want to tempt Fate, but it's booting just fine and not randomly panicking.
 

Joshua8o8

macrumors 6502
Jul 2, 2007
372
0
Honolulu, Hawai'i
i always thought macs dont have these kind of problems. I guess i was wrong, i got a kernel panic the other day. I took it to my local apple store and the genius took care of my problem for me. The apple care tech could not help me and she said i need to reinstall my HD. Luckily i really didn't need to do that. Sorry i cant tell you what the genius did because i dont know what he did. Hope you get your problem sorted out.
 

macguymike

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 28, 2003
385
0
California
Reports of my success were apparently very premature. While transferring the laptop from one surface to another this morning, with one hand under it and another lightly holding the edge (moving it very gently), it panicked.

It also panicked last night as I was laying on my couch with my legs bent, the laptop resting against my legs. I shifted one leg a bit and that apparently was enough to prompt a kernel panic.
 

macguymike

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 28, 2003
385
0
California
Interesting development. After reseating the Airport card, my laptop will not turn on. The battery is connected and charging and the adapter is plugged in and glowing orange.

Edit 1: The computer boots if I remove the battery. Will try tinkering around with it some more and see if I just didn't have the battery insterted correctly or something.

Edit 2: Okay. It's fine. Back to panic-testing.
 

macguymike

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 28, 2003
385
0
California
So far, so good. Looks like the Airport card may have been the culprit.

Thanks, guys, especially bartelby and IJ Reilly!
 

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
17,892
1,466
Palookaville
Great, I appreciate the update. Maybe we should make a sticky out of this thread so we can point to it next time somebody suggests reinstalling OSX. :)