G4 Powermac 466mhz 'Digital Audio' M7627LL/A

thetcutkid

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Original poster
Jan 13, 2019
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Hi,

Great forum! I've dipped in here many times over the years but never joined, however, I now need a bit of advice (or perhaps reassurance that my findings/intended course of action, aren't crazy !)

My 466mhz G4 Powermac 'Digital Audio' has given me 18 years of near faultless service in a small recording studio I have at home. I run eMagic's Logic Audio Gold 4.8.x under OS9.2.2 for all my recording, editing, production needs and OSX 10.3.9 Panther for everything else (although, to be fair, the early version of Firefox I had on there didn't really like the modern internet so a PC I was given a year ago covers internet and email).

Over the years, both original 30gb IBM Deskstars have been replaced wih 80gb Seagate Barracudas, the RAM has been increased to just under 1gb and I replaced the original graphics card to an ATI Radeon (the exact model escapes me at the moment).

Despite being an old system, under OS9 it was as solid as a rock and along with Logic, allowed me to do everything I needed in terms of recording etc.

Shortly before Christmas 2018, for the first time ever, it failed to boot - there was power, the power button glowed white, the fan span up but the longest it would stay on was about 30 secs and the monitor never woke - this was probably the first time I'd turned it on in about two months.

I was working so crazy in the lead up to Christmas, the New Year was the earliest chance I had to investigate. I was advised that the first thing I should do was to hoover it out and change the battery - now at this point I should point out that back in my dim, darkest, past I briefly worked in IT so I am aware of the dangers of static etc and whenever I worked on the mac, I always used to leave the power lead attached at both ends, with it turned off at the wall socket, earthing myself against a blank PCI plate. I was concerned about sticking the hoover nozzle inside the mac but I did my usual earthing procedure (for what good it was?) and took great care around the components and never touched the motherboard or cards.

I also ended up removing the main fan assembly as the blades were caked in dust and cleaned it thoroughly and then, finally, replaced the battery.

No change.

I then disconnected both internal hard drives, removed the additional memory I'd added, removed the PCI-324 card that my audio interface uses and tried again (I left the graphics card and I couldn't physically get round the back of the CD-ROM drive to pull the power chord out).

No change.

Doing some research online, I found out about the PMU reset button and tried one quick press of that.

No Change.

After those various stages, there's still power but it won't even turn on for 30 secs - with a short press on the power button, it glows white and there's a brief spin of the fan that's all.

Should I admit defeat ?

Looking at my options now, I'm considering buying secondhand, however, with very little budget, I need another mac that will essentially slot into place in my studio without the need for upgrades to outboard gear and software.

I absolutely need a true dual boot machine (not OS9 within OSX classic environment) and ideally 5v PCI slots since the PCI-324 card is a 5v card and there's a grey area over whether my aged MOTU 2408 mkll will be happy with a PCI-424 card.

There are, of course, large numbers of macs for sale on eBay etc. etc. and I've been advised to look for a MDD model, the last that dual booted (I found a helpful thread on here about the best machines to run OS9) which makes sense but one thing I'm unsure about is getting data from my old machine onto the replacement.

My old machine had Ultra ATA/66 drives in it, as far as I'm aware, all the MDD models have Ultra ATA/100 drives - is it worth me looking for a non MDD model first so I can boot up with my original HDD's and then find a MDD machine that I could hook up to it and transfer data across ?

Or is there a better way to do it that won't involve buying two machines ?

I do have a backup of my old machine on an external Firewire drive but it's about two years old. I must be honest and say I haven't done huge amounts of recording in that time, mainly stuff I use for guitar lessons I give, so if it was the last resort, I could potentially use that plugged into a MDD machine to get my data.

I must apologise for writing War and Peace on my first post and many thanks if you're still reading.

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts and opinions on my situation.

Many thanks for your time.

Nick
 
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tdbmoss

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Dec 4, 2011
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Could be that the power supply unit in it has failed if replacing the motherboard battery with a known-good one hasn't made a difference - the old G4 Macs are very cheap these days and usually plentiful enough on eBay, you could get another "graphite" one or one of the newer Quicksilver or MDD versions which are a bit faster. Or if you got another Digital Audio you could just switch the power supply over to see if that is the issue, if you want to leave everything else as it is.

The hard drives from your existing one will work fine if installed in a newer G4 so should be a case of just switching them over (might need to reinstall graphics drivers if you have a different graphics card in the replacement, etc), all G4s use ATA rather than SATA which was introduced with the G5 (which are a lot faster but can't boot OS 9 natively).
 

Dronecatcher

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Not being that well versed in hardware issues, I'd say it's a failing power supply - might be worth looking for a replacement or even a whole unit?
They're generally £30-£40 in the UK for a Powermac G4 - do you have a budget in mind?
 
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Raging Dufus

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it failed to boot - there was power, the power button glowed white, the fan span up but the longest it would stay on was about 30 secs and the monitor never woke
It might be the power supply, but in my experience when they go, they're just gone. They may cause failure of other components beforehand, and cause the Mac to exhibit weird behavior - kernel panics and such - on their way out, but that's not what you've described here. When a PSU becomes unusable, it won't just power the Mac a little bit; it either turns on or it doesn't. Yours turns on and then turns off; and the way you've described it, it sounds like this is the first sign of trouble you've had; so I don't think the PSU is the immediate problem.

It sounds like some other component has failed, and I'm betting it's the graphics card. I've had that happen before, it's very similar to what you've described. What's more, in an ADC-capable Mac like the Digital Audio, a bad graphics card will absolutely prevent the Mac from booting. Try taking the graphics card out and booting the Mac headless as described here. You should also remove all peripherals other than the keyboard/mouse, and remove the expansion cards as you described. If that at least gets the machine to remain powered up, boot chime and all, then you've probably found the culprit.

You didn't mention whether or not you're using an Apple ADC display with your Power Mac, but that affects how you proceed, whether the problem is the graphics card or the PSU.
 

thetcutkid

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 13, 2019
46
22
UK
Hi,

Many thanks for your quick replies, it's much appreciated.

I had been thinking about PSU - there were only a couple on eBay listed as from G4's but going on picture evidence they weren't from my model as they had both the male and female 3 pin sockets on the back, mine only has male.

I guess I could buy a G4 listed as 'for parts only' assuming the PSU works of course but then I start to think if I'm gonna do that, I may as well find a working G4 that I can just put my hard drives in - if it gives me a few more years I'll be happy ?

Just on the subject of MDD models - I think I've found someone who seems to have the UK's stock of used MDD's lol, albeit he's a 5hr round trip away from me but I wonder whether, being slightly more recent, they may give me a bit longer service ? Could I put Ultra ATA/66 drives into a mac whose spec's say it uses Ultra ATA/100 ?

RD - just to answer your question, no, I'm not using an Apple ADC display, it's a 19" Formac monitor connected via VGA.

I'll try removing the graphics card as you mention and report back shortly.

Nick
 

Dronecatcher

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Just on the subject of MDD models - I think I've found someone who seems to have the UK's stock of used MDD's lol, albeit he's a 5hr round trip away from me but I wonder whether, being slightly more recent, they may give me a bit longer service ?
MDD models are the least reliable and noisey too - although I've had 4 and only one went kaput...
 
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tdbmoss

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Yes you can put your hard drives into a newer G4, they are backwards-compatible. The power supplies are different for the different models so if getting just a power supply to try you'd need to make sure it was from a Digital Audio - probably better to get a complete system as then you have a full set of parts in case it's something else like the graphics card and to keep the rest for any future failures of other parts, and they are not at all expensive nowadays

The MDD does seem prone to failure yes, so a graphite or Quicksilver model is more likely to last longer. Also note there are some MDDs that weren't supported for native OS 9 booting (the later version that had a FireWire 800 port).
 
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thetcutkid

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Thanks tdbmoss :)
[doublepost=1547395759][/doublepost]OK, so I've just removed the graphics card and the PCI card for the audio interface and tried again.

First press of the power button, much the same, could hear a small movement in the fan then nothing.

I came and sat down at the PC to write this update, thought before I post I'll give it one more go, short press on the power button fan starts, think I hear the drives spin up and I get the start up chime, then off again, probably about 15 secs in total.
 

Raging Dufus

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Yes you can put your hard drives into a newer G4, they are backwards-compatible. The power supplies are different for the different models so if getting just a power supply to try you'd need to make sure it was from a Digital Audio - probably better to get a complete system as then you have a full set of parts in case it's something else like the graphics card and to keep the rest for any future failures of other parts, and they are not at all expensive nowadays

The MDD does seem prone to failure yes, so a graphite or Quicksilver model is more likely to last longer. Also note there are some MDDs that weren't supported for native OS 9 booting (the later version that had a FireWire 800 port).
I agree completely. I just wanted to point out to the OP, though, that if you're going to go the salvage route, Gigabit Ethernet/Mystic PSU's will also work in a Digital Audio - those two models share the same pinout and specs for PSU's, so that expands your possibilities a little.

Only the PSU and graphics card will be interchangeable though (and the DA's graphics card is quite a bit better than the GigE's). The CPU is interchangeable provided you're able to fit the appropriate heatsink (single vs dual CPU's, and different heatsink configurations between the two Power Mac models).

At this point though, if you're going to replace the PSU (and aren't using an ADC display), it doesn't make much sense to go with another OEM PSU that will be just as old and likely just as used as the one you're replacing. A brand new PC-standard ATX PSU can be fit into your Digital Audio with minimal effort, and near the same cost as buying a used Power Mac. For more on that, see here.
[doublepost=1547396807][/doublepost]
Thanks tdbmoss :)
[doublepost=1547395759][/doublepost]OK, so I've just removed the graphics card and the PCI card for the audio interface and tried again.

First press of the power button, much the same, could hear a small movement in the fan then nothing.

I came and sat down at the PC to write this update, thought before I post I'll give it one more go, short press on the power button fan starts, think I hear the drives spin up and I get the start up chime, then off again, probably about 15 secs in total.
I want to make sure I understand here - are you saying that it stayed powered up longer with the graphics card out?
 
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thetcutkid

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 13, 2019
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UK
Hi RD,

Many thanks for the clarification on Gigabit Ethernet/Mystic PSU's compatibility and also the link re the PC ATX PSU.

I want to make sure I understand here - are you saying that it stayed powered up longer with the graphics card out?
No, with the removal of the graphics card, the first time I pressed the power button, there was just a hint of the fan moving and nothing else. Five minutes later, still with the graphics card out, I tried again and it lasted for about 15 secs before powering off again.
 

bunnspecial

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Having dealt with a few myself, I'd say it sounds like a classic failing/failed PSU.

I'll also mention that when I'm dealing with a system-critical application that requires a G4, I've had better luck with Sawtooths(Sawteeth?) than just about anything. Everything you have now should directly transplant(as long as you're not using an ADC monitor), including the RAM. A bit of hunting will find a 500mhz one, which should give similar performance to what you have now.

One big benefits, to me, is that if the PSU does die, it's relatively straightforward to install an ATX PSU in these systems. It's not a direct transplant, but only requires changing two wires.
 

Raging Dufus

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Having dealt with a few myself, I'd say it sounds like a classic failing/failed PSU.

I'll also mention that when I'm dealing with a system-critical application that requires a G4, I've had better luck with Sawtooths(Sawteeth?) than just about anything. Everything you have now should directly transplant(as long as you're not using an ADC monitor), including the RAM. A bit of hunting will find a 500mhz one, which should give similar performance to what you have now.

One big benefits, to me, is that if the PSU does die, it's relatively straightforward to install an ATX PSU in these systems. It's not a direct transplant, but only requires changing two wires.
I've never had a PSU fail quite like this, but that's just my experience. At this point though, the most likely culprits are either the PSU or the logic board.

EDIT: On second thought, OP mentioned getting the startup chime, so that probably rules out the logic board as a problem. Seems we're down to the PSU.

I also agree with you about the Sawtooth, but my only reservation would be about the voltage on the PCI slots. OP mentioned needing 5V slots. I'd think the PCI standard would dictate the voltage, and it would be uniform across all systems - but I don't know that. Any thoughts there?
 

thetcutkid

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bunnspecial

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The Sawtooth is the first generation PowerMac G4 with AGP graphics.

The case looks the same as your digital audio, although the back panel looks a bit different and yes, the logic board is different. The first that you linked is a Sawtooth, while the second is not-it's the successor Gigabit Ethernet model. Aside from the fact that the GigE has on-board gigabit ethernet, it also fully supports ADC monitors(with an appropriate video card) as it has the AGP power tab forward of the AGP slot and the power on and USB pass-through contacts in the AGP slot. Also, all GigE board can support dual processors(most models shipped with them), while only late Sawtooths can.

Among other things, on the Sawtooth as compared to your DA:

1. There's no output for the "eyeball" speakers

2. The computer has 4 RAM slots for a maximum of 2gb(only 1.5gb usable in OS 9) while the DA has 3 RAM slots for a max of 1.5gb.

3. The DA has 4 PCI slots, plus the AGP slot-the Sawtooth(and GigE) only has three.

4. In a still unexplained quirk, the Sawtooth has a Firewire port on the logic board.
[doublepost=1547401943][/doublepost]
I also agree with you about the Sawtooth, but my only reservation would be about the voltage on the PCI slots. OP mentioned needing 5V slots. I'd think the PCI standard would dictate the voltage, and it would be uniform across all systems - but I don't know that. Any thoughts there?
5V doesn't become an issue until you get into G5s. All G4s can supply both 5V and 3.3V.
 

thetcutkid

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bunnspecial, many thanks for your detailed reply.

I've just located a 500mhz 'sawtooth' model about an hour away from me, so that may be the way to go, thanks for the heads up regarding that model.

Just indulging me for a moment, paying GBP20.00 more and driving another hour, potentially gets me a G4 800mhz (Quicksilver 2002), M8705LL/A.

Given that I'd be quite happy to be where I was six months ago, with a stable, dual boot system, running my production software well, is it pointless paying more and driving further or is an 800mhz Quicksilver gonna be like night and day in terms of performance vs a 500mhz sawtooth model ?

Is all that extra processing power pointless when booted into OS9, with a little bit of photo manipulation under OSX Panther in Photoshop elements ?
 

bunnspecial

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Just indulging me for a moment, paying GBP20.00 more and driving another hour, potentially gets me a G4 800mhz (Quicksilver 2002), M8705LL/A.

Given that I'd be quite happy to be where I was six months ago, with a stable, dual boot system, running my production software well, is it pointless paying more and driving further or is an 800mhz Quicksilver gonna be like night and day in terms of performance vs a 500mhz sawtooth model ?
The Quicksilver is architecturally very similar to the DA.

With that said, if you're happy with your current set up, the Sawtooth I think would do an exemplary job.

Am I correct in assuming you're referring to PCI-X here?
AFAIK, PCI-X doesn't have anything to do with it. PCI G5s, whether or not they support PCI-X(the low-end models didn't) just aren't keyed/don't support 5V PCI cards.
 

Dronecatcher

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Given that I'd be quite happy to be where I was six months ago, with a stable, dual boot system, running my production software well, is it pointless paying more and driving further or is an 800mhz Quicksilver gonna be like night and day in terms of performance vs a 500mhz sawtooth model ?
Bear in mind the Quicksilver lacks the 1Mb L2 cache the Sawtooth has - don't know about OS 9 but that cache makes a difference in OSX.
 
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thetcutkid

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Bear in mind the Quicksilver lacks the 1Mb L2 cache the Sawtooth has - don't know about OS 9 but that cache makes a difference in OSX.
So is that a performance hit under OSX ?

Also, I think I may have found a deal breaker with the sawtooth model I've just found - it appears it has a DVD-RAM drive, all my install discs are CD-ROM and I have a software sampler that uses it's CD-ROM as a security authentication every month or so.
 

Dronecatcher

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So is that a performance hit under OSX ?

Also, I think I may have found a deal breaker with the sawtooth model I've just found - it appears it has a DVD-RAM drive, all my install discs are CD-ROM and I have a software sampler that uses it's CD-ROM as a security authentication every month or so.
The larger cache gives a real performance boost in OSX.

Re the DVD-RAM - I'm sure it's backwards compatible.
 

Raging Dufus

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I think I may have found a deal breaker with the sawtooth model I've just found - it appears it has a DVD-RAM drive, all my install discs are CD-ROM and I have a software sampler that uses it's CD-ROM as a security authentication every month or so.
IIRC, DVD-RAM refers to the type of media it can write. It should still be able to read CD-ROM's just fine.

That being said, if the optical drive on either the Sawtooth or the Quicksilver should present a problem, you could just swap it out with the one from your DA (provided that it works, of course).