Resolved EMC 2133 MA876LL mid-2007 iMac won't boot

Discussion in 'iMac' started by pgreenwood, Apr 11, 2016.

  1. pgreenwood, Apr 11, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2016

    pgreenwood macrumors newbie

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    #1
    Hello! My wife's iMac won't boot. OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard. It began by chiming then displaying a folder with question mark. Now it chimes and displays an apple with the spinning flower-thingy but doesn't go any further. I can option-boot to a Linux live-CD then ssh in to invoke ddrescue on the 250GB on-board HDD (/dev/sda) to a 1TB Toshiba HDD (/dev/sdb). After running the three level recommended ddrescue routine ddrescue log shows 100 errors totaling 60kb. The cloned disk is recognized without complaint on my Dell laptop. I used the Plugable Lay-Flat dock.

    [edit]For anyone working on these vintage machines, here's an awesome resource.[/edit]

    Reading the threads I'm concerned that the CPU fan isn't working and overheating may be another problem I have, so I'll be looking at that once I open the case.

    Before I do that, what other operations or diagnostics would you recommend I perform on /dev/sda before I remove it?

    Should I happen to get it to boot, what further should I do before removing it and replacing the HDD? My concern is that while it appears I got a pretty good clone, If the problem bits are in the boot sector, it may not be quite good enough. I'd like to take the case apart and reassemble it (only) once. (How) can I compare the contents of the respective booting info before I make the swap? I have another new 1TB HDD available I can use if you have other suggestions.

    My plan is to install the OWC 6GB RAM and 1TB HDD; verify that the fan is working correctly and upgrade to Mountain Lion. Do you see problems with that plan? If I get a bootable system I would plan to use parted to move the partition backup table to the end of the HDD so the whole 1TB would be recognized.

    I don't think I ever got an installer disk (Tiger 10.4) with the machine. Do you disagree? I've looked but didn't find it, but I just thought of another possible location. I'll look again. I upgraded to Leopard and Snow Leopard online as I recall.

    There's an Apple Store nearby which is an AASP. Another option is I could stop everything right now where it is and take it over there. I can always use the HDDs elsewhere. I might even be able to return the RAM.

    Thanks for taking a look and for any suggestions you have!

    [edit 4/12/16]

    Since writing this I opened the case and replaced the original disk /dev/sda with the ddrescue cloned disk /dev/sdb.

    Attempting to boot.

    It chimes. All four LEDs light.

    The apple logo appears, the spinner spins for about 3 minutes then the machine halts and the screen goes black.

    Holding Shift does not appear to trigger Safe Mode. After about 3 minutes then the machine halts and the screen goes black.

    This is Snow Leopard. I don't think it includes Command+R, at least I didn't try that.

    Reset PRAM Ctrl+Option+P+R appeared to run as expected; chimed twice; but after about 3 minutes then the machine halts and the screen goes black.

    I then tried booting in verbose mode (Cmd+V). I will try to post that output here so you can see it.

    [edit 4/12/17] It occurs to me it may be the PRAM battery. I'll change that and see what happens.
     
  2. pgreenwood thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #2
    Here's the output of verbose mode followed by the machine halts and the screen goes black. verbose_02.jpg
     
  3. dyt1983 macrumors 65816

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    #3
    You could do a fresh install of the OS onto the replacement drive; however you'd need discs as you've surmised. Assuming you can work out a way to obtain OS CDs (you certainly sound up to that challenge), I would do a fresh install and then using something like Migration Assistant or some other 3rd party application, or even copying, move the user data to the replacement drive. The reason I recommend that is even if you get the machine to boot now, previous corruption in the OS might manifest itself at a later time. Also installing a fresh OS onto a new drive will let you ensure there are no other hardware issues, as the Live CD doesn't require as much from the hardware as OS X.
     
  4. pgreenwood thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #4
    Thanks, dyt! I'll give that a try tonight.
     
  5. pgreenwood, Apr 12, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2016

    pgreenwood thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
    Apparently I could have had El Capitan but the Genius talked me down to 10.8. Any thoughts about performance to be expected between 10.8 vs 10.11 with this machine, 6gb ram and a spinning hdd?
     
  6. garirry macrumors 68000

    garirry

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    #6
    They're both similar, but it doesn't matter really because you can upgrade for free straight from the App Store.
     
  7. pgreenwood thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #7
    I don't have a Time Machine backup. I hitch up to the internet and boot the machine. When I see this screen,

    startup.JPG

    what do I do next? Select "Disk Utility"? I have the old disk I replaced. There will be some kind of file manager available, right? Can I then just drag and drop files onto the file manager? I'll need to adduser, right? I can use a Linux LiveCD to add data files to the new volume but somehow sense that is not the way to do it.
     
  8. FNH15 macrumors member

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    Apr 19, 2011
    #8
    The new drive is in the machine, right?

    Here's what you do if that is the case:

    1. Open Disk Utility, and format the drive as HFS+ Extended, Journaled. Name the drive.
    2. Select Reinstall OS X.

    I'd suggest installing 10.11. Mountain Lion is no longer supported, and 10.11 is just as fast, if not a little faster.

    Alternatively, you can hook the new drive up to a Mac via USB, Thunderbolt or FireWire, download the ElCapitan installer, and install ElCapitan, with the external as the target drive.

    Hope that helps!
     
  9. pgreenwood thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #9
    The new drive is not in the computer yet. The computer did appear to boot from the new drive via external Plugable USB Lay-Flat dock. That got me to the startup screen displayed above.The drive in the machine is apparently no good, so I plan to install the new drive into the machine then follow your directions as above then load the data, DL applications etc.

    When the Genius hooked up the machine in the store, his "presence" test showed all the hardware systems were present and operating, but he was unable to install the OS software onto the drive (which I had dropped during installation but let's not talk about that).

    On a tangentially-related issue, I had thoroughly cleaned the CPU and ODD fans which were quite dusty. I did not dig into the HDD fan to clean it out. That looks like a pretty involved exercise. I could spend the time doing that now or not. Trying to gauge whether its likely to be worth the effort. Let me know if you have any thoughts about that, or if there's another way to suck dust out from the back side of the case somehow.
     
  10. dyt1983 macrumors 65816

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    #10
    I would probably do it myself, I like it clean in there. Whether it's necessary depends on the environment it lives (ambient temperature) and how much heat is generated by your replacement drive (7200 vs 5400 rpm, etc). Once the new drive is in and you get the OS loaded, does the old drive read at all in your dock? You could just use Migration Assistant to automatically move data over at that point, as long as the major damage was on the OS portions of the old drive.
     
  11. pgreenwood thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #11
    I think it will. Your prompt responses are very helpful and much appreciated. I'll keep you posted.
     
  12. Fishrrman macrumors G3

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #12
    OP wrote:
    "My plan is to install the OWC 6GB RAM and 1TB HDD; verify that the fan is working correctly and upgrade to Mountain Lion. Do you see problems with that plan?"

    If you're going to open it up, why not install an SSD inside?
    It will GREATLY increase the overall performance. Almost "night v. day".

    The advice to run 10.8.5 (Mountain Lion) instead of 10.11 (El Capitan) was GOOD advice for a Mac that old. I'd heed it.

    Final thought:
    Unless you're not in position to afford it, I'd suggest that you start shopping around for something new (or at least "newer") for your wife. A 2007-vintage Mac is getting a little long-in-the-tooth these days (and I say that owning a 2006 iMac myself!).

    If an iMac is too much, you might consider a Mac Mini and an external display.
    Or an iMac from the Apple refurb online store...
     
  13. pgreenwood, Apr 14, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2016

    pgreenwood thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #13
    I considered the SSD but dismissed it on price. Missus uses it exclusively for browsing and email. The OSX installer is on a new Toshiba 1TB. I think the original 250GB drive is unreliable. I have to open the case to install the new Toshiba drive. What size/make/model SSD would you select? You have to remove the ODD, correct? I guess I won't really miss that but it does seem to come in handy from time to time.

    I see the thread at http://forums.macrumors.com/threads/best-ssd-for-mid-2007-imac.1395521/ Does that pretty well still reflect the current state of affairs? Use a 120GB SSD for the OS and large spinner for the data?

    Reports seem conflicting about 10.8 vs 10.11 performance on older machines, but reports probably do not properly recognize the limitations of EMC 2133. It is a 2.0GHZ processor, not a 2.4.

    Can you fire the EMC 2133 Display with an external box, like the Mac Mini?

    Thank you for your thoughtful suggestions!
     
  14. dyt1983 macrumors 65816

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    #14
    I'll throw in my 2 cents too. ;)

    If it REALLY is only for browsing and e-mail, a 120GB SSD would work fine and can be had for under $50. Leave the ODD, replace the HDD with the SSD and be done. I can't imagine requiring a large HDD if one is only browsing/mailing. On one machine I upgraded the 120GB SSD to 250GB SSD and it's still mostly empty, so the performance should stay good probably forever. I know you already have the 1TB drive, but it can be used as external storage for your separate machines or to do backups.

    (I don't want to contradict directly what anyone's said because everyone's experience is different, but in my 2008-2010 era machines I still run Snow Leopard and Lion for performance reasons... I only went to Lion on some because of a couple features and some bug fixes that Apple refused to roll into SL. If the features aren't important, I think those perform better primarily because they have fewer features, so are less taxing on the processor and memory in the background.)

    As much money as I spend on stuff, I still don't like to waste it. So if I can repurpose a machine for $50, that's a great deal. My GF's 2008 machine runs fine, it got replaced with a 5K iMac, so the 250GB came out and the aforementioned 120GB SSD went in, and now her sister uses it. She was only using her iPhone for everything and backing up to iCloud, now she can do everything quicker and easier.

    Sorry for going off on a tangent!
     
  15. pgreenwood thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #15
    Thank you for weighing in. OWC (MacSales) and Crucial both offer solutions. OWC's bracket looks more elegant. Any thoughts as between these two? Thanks.
     
  16. dyt1983 macrumors 65816

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    #16
    If the cables don't reach using a generic bracket, then I just find a suitable sled from my PC box and drill some holes. Weird I know, I'll pay $45 for an Apple Watch band but I won't pay $45 for a custom bracket (assuming a $30 SSD). I think it's because spending too much on an older computer can eventually get me a new one.
     
  17. Fishrrman macrumors G3

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    #17
    OP:

    For an SSD, go to amazon.com and get either a basic Crucial or a Sandisk Plus.

    You DO NOT NEED the "top of the line" SSDs -- your computer can't make use of the speed. Any basic SSD will do fine and run about the same as any other.

    You should be able to find a Sandisk Plus in 120gb size for around $40...?
     
  18. pgreenwood thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #18
    Thanks, Fishrrman...and thanks to everyone who helped me on this project! Your prompt, responsive answers were invaluable. I earned my first iMac belt-notch this weekend. Finished upgrade from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion on this machine which I believe is more accurately described as MA876LL. In the process I successfully removed and replaced the logic board so I could get to the HDD fan for a thorough cleaning. For now I have a 1TB Toshiba 7200 with OWC's 6GB RAM, all recognized by the Mac. I'm still tempted to install an SSD but as my wife became more vocal about the empty space where her computer is supposed to reside, I went ahead and finished the job with the traditional HDD for now. As I don't have the accepted tools to migrate files from the old drive to the new drive, I'll just grab them as necessary via SSHFS over the network. A couple of gotcha's -- be sure to remove the memory cover before attempting to remove the bezel or you will damage the frame around the memory slots (or worse). Before finalizing the logic board installation check to see all necessary cables are out from underneath. Finally, something happened so that I can't install one of the long bezel screws--the second one from the left. possibly I stripped it or something fell into the hole, but the screw won't seat all the way so I just left it out.
     

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