Help with G4 mini random beach ball

Zlobnick

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 6, 2016
48
18
Croatia
Hi guys!
I have this very weird problem with my G4 1.25 GHz MacMini.

It gives spinning beach ball randomly. Sometimes after just a few minutes, sometimes after hours. It even "freezes" in OS X installation.

It's totally random, one app at the time freezes with spinning beach ball and eventually everything locks up, except you can still move the mouse, so it's not totally frozen.

Here is what I've tried:
  • New hard drive
  • New memory
  • New OS X installation (Tiger, Leopard)
  • Changing thermal paste under the heatsink - now it spins it's fan on maximum speed 20 seconds after powering on
  • PRAM reset (Command, Option, P, and R keys)
  • Openfirmware mode with the following commands:
Code:
reset-nvram
set-defaults
reset-all

What could be the problem?
Thanks :)
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
21,289
13,127
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
Hi guys!
I have this very weird problem with my G4 1.25 GHz MacMini.

It gives spinning beach ball randomly. Sometimes after just a few minutes, sometimes after hours. It even "freezes" in OS X installation.

It's totally random, one app at the time freezes with spinning beach ball and eventually everything locks up, except you can still move the mouse, so it's not totally frozen.

Here is what I've tried:
  • New hard drive
  • New memory
  • New OS X installation (Tiger, Leopard)
  • Changing thermal paste under the heatsink - now it spins it's fan on maximum speed 20 seconds after powering on
  • PRAM reset (Command, Option, P, and R keys)
  • Openfirmware mode with the following commands:
Code:
reset-nvram
set-defaults
reset-all

What could be the problem?
Thanks :)
Hard drive going bad perhaps?

Have you checked it?

Disk Utility should show you the SMART status. A little bit more intensive would be using Disk Warrior to check the drive, but that is a paid app.
 

Zlobnick

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 6, 2016
48
18
Croatia
That was my first thought. However, the same symptoms remain with a new hard drive :(
 

RhianB

macrumors 6502a
Sep 3, 2016
875
988
505 USA
Seems like you've hit most of the hard ware bases (failing ram, hdd etc). Have you looked at software? Bring up activity monitor and look for anything hogging CPU usage and end it - delete from your app folder and see if performance improves upon reboot. FYI: If the listed user is "root", then leave it alone as it is a system function. I had something similar happen when I had installed the incorrect version of istat on a PMG5 where it would absolutely eat up cpu cycles - cpu usage at over 90% iirc and man I had beachballs of death all over the place. Deleting it and using a newer build corrected the issue.

The new paste + ramped up fans on boot up got me wondering if G4 minis need to calibrate their fans like a PMG5 does? I am unsure but if you can get a copy of it, Apple Service Diagnostic cd 2.5.8 (early 2005 ppc mini) or 2.6.3 (late 2005 ppc mini) could shed some light with it's OSX & EFI diagnostic tools. If it turns out you do need to recalibrate your mini to stop the fan spin up, that feature is on the ASD cd as well.

Best of luck to you.
 
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Amethyst1

macrumors 6502a
Oct 28, 2015
558
764
If the freezes happen even while installing OS X (from a known-good disc/image) I'd rule out additional software as the culprit.

This might be just a wild guess, but could these issues arise from the power supply going bad and intermittently not providing enough juice?
 

RhianB

macrumors 6502a
Sep 3, 2016
875
988
505 USA
Hmm, that's an interesting thought. Anytime I had an issue with PSUs, the intermittent nature of the failure manifested itself through boot failure (mostly PMG5s and 1st gen imacs) but I did a quick consultation with the great google and found similar PSU causing BBOD issue & MBPs so it's not unheard of.

I also wondered if there was potentially something wrong with the version of OSX op is using or if there is such a thing? I know in my adventures with classic OS9, I had a heck of a time finding a version of 9.2.1 that would play nice with my QS for example. I've never experienced that with an OSX build but who knows. Pretty much just energetically grasping at straws here :D
 

Amethyst1

macrumors 6502a
Oct 28, 2015
558
764
@Zlobnick: How are you installing Tiger or Leopard? Using a retail DVD or something else (burned disc, image etc.)?

Two other things worth trying:

1. Open "Console" and view system.log (you need admin rights to do this). Keep the window visible and use the machine until it freezes. What do the last entries appearing in system.log say? This might help pinpointing what happens when the freeze occurs.

2. Do you have an external FireWire hard drive or another PowerPC Mac capable of running Tiger or Leopard you can put in Target Disk Mode? If so, you could try booting the Mac mini from the external drive or other Mac and checking if the problems also occur. Perhaps there's something wrong with the hard drive's connection to the logic board or the IDE controller itself.
[doublepost=1549732834][/doublepost]
I also wondered if there was potentially something wrong with the version of OSX op is using or if there is such a thing?
The 1.25 GHz mini shipped with 10.3.7 so will run any retail Tiger or Leopard version.