Deactivate PowerBook sudden motion sensor in 10.5

Discussion in 'macOS' started by LaRate, Nov 11, 2008.

  1. LaRate macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2008

    I think this post would fit in the Hardware/Notebook-section as well but since I am looking for a OSX workaround, I will post it here:

    I have a problem with the sudden motion function in my PowerBook. When switched on, the SMS causes to switch off the internal hard-drive at random, even if the Laptop stands on a perfectly still and flat surface. This results in interruptions that make it impossible to work with the computer.

    I already had this problem when I was running Panther (10.3.9), and deactivated the SMS with the "pmset"-command using the Terminal at the time. As long as I was running Panther, this workaround worked perfectly for me, I had no more hard-drive-interruptions.

    Later, however, I made the Upgrade to Leopard (I skipped Tiger), making a clean install after formatting the PowerBooks hard-drive. Now the SMS was active again (and displayed "active" in the System Profiler) and the HD-interruptions were back.

    So I tried to deactivate the SMS with the "pmset"-command - this time without result. I can set the value of "sms" to 0 and back to 1 all right - the Terminal shows the corresponding value when prompting "pmset -g".

    Unfortunately this has no effect to either the hardware (the interruptions are still there) or the System Profiler (is displays "active" for the sms, regardless of the value that is shown when using "pmset -g"). I am aware that the variable was altered from "ams" to "sms" from Panther to Tiger (and subsequently Leopard), but neither "pmset -a ams 0" nor "pmset -a sms 0" would work.

    To exclude the possibility of a real hard-drive-malfunction, I bootet the Powerbook from an external Firewire-Drive an with my an Panther-backup. After making some testing with accessing the internal HD (it worked fine), I looked into Panther's System Profiler and saw that the SMS was deactivated as expected.

    I then experienced something strange - when rebooting Leopard, the sms-Status in the Profiler still was "inactive" and the PowerBook worked perfectly again. I was quite happy and made some updates. However, somehow the status was set to "active" again after some reboots, along with the malfunctions experienced before.

    I wanted to find out, whether this "reactivation" had something to do with one of the updates (I brought the system up to 10.5.5 at the time) and booted the old Panther again. The sms was inactive again, again remainded inactive after reboot with Leopard.

    I tried to reboot with and without power plug, I even made a PMU reset - the SMS remained inactive (which was good and made me hopeful again). However, after I switched of the Notebook and bootet again a few hours later, the sms-Setting in the Profiler was "active" and the Notebook was again not working properly.

    Is there any possibility to access the sms-setting apart from "pmset" in the Terminal? Where does the system profiler derive the status from?

    I want to deactivate the sms for good and at the moment this apparently works only in Panther (and I really don't want to downgrade to 10.3 again). I don't want to have it repaired since I think this would mean to replace the Logic Board which is a much too expensive investment for a 4.5-year-old Notebook. Can anyone help?
  2. LaRate thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2008

    Ok I solved the problem with a somewhat brutal method:

    I erased all SMS drivers from System/Library/Extensions - namely "IOI2CMotionSensor.kext", "PMUMotionSensor.kext" and "SMCMotionSensor.kext"

    Now the PowerBook acts as if there is no Sudden Motion Sensor at all (it doesn't show up in the System Profiler and my HD runs smoothly).

    I found it both ironic and annoying that a component actually caused a failure that it was built to prevent. Anyway - I'm happy now.
  3. doug in albq Suspended

    doug in albq

    Oct 12, 2007
    This is an interesting thread to me. I wonder if this potentially glitchy motion sensor in os X is the reason so many folks have reported randomly "soft clicking" (sounds like a ping pong ball being dropped) HDD and the relationship between this and HDD excessive "head parking." My HDD, a 250 gig Fujitsu makes a particularly loud noise when it parks its heads, and sometimes this parking activity seems to go beserk, parking itself every few seconds, over and over. In searching for a solution I DL'ed MacPilot, which allows one to access a control to turn off the sudden motions sensor in a friendly GUI. Since I have turned off the SMS the random clicking (head parking?) seems to have gone away. Just did this today, so time will tell if it continues to work.

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