iBook G4 freezes after boot

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by skywalkerjedi95, Jul 13, 2012.

  1. skywalkerjedi95, Jul 13, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2012

    skywalkerjedi95 macrumors member

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    #1


    Hello Everyone! This is my first post here:D

    I'm hoping that some of you might be able to help me out with diagnosing what might be the trouble with my iBook G4. Its an 800Mhz model with 1.12GB of RAM. I got my hands on this iBook from a person on Ebay who was selling it for parts. She said she had sent it to a repair place to have the hard drive replaced and that ever since it had returned it would not recognize the hard drive. Since I'm accustomed to opening up computers I figured it might be a good deal if it were an easy fix. Before I purchased it I roamed around the forums here and found out many people had trouble with iBook G4's and bad hard drive cables. Since it was a brand new drive inside the iBook I figured that I would replace the hard drive cable and that it would be an easy fix. Not quite what happened though. After disassembling the iBook I found a few missing screws which wasn't really any big trouble at all. When I got to the hard drive cable I found that it wasn't plugged in! So I reconnected it with the tape and hoped that it would be a lose connection. After reassembly I discovered it didn't work so I ordered a replacement hard drive cable from iFixit. After I received the part I opened up the iBook again and installed the new hard drive cable. The tape had lost all of its adhesive and fell off. I succeeded in installing the cable regardless. When I booted into the Tiger installer I was happy to see it recognized the hard drive so I started the OS installation. The installation failed to my surprise and when I rebooted the iBook I found that it no longer recognized the hard drive. Accepting defeat I went to sleep and before I did any drastic I would try again the next morning.

    The next morning I tried it again and the installation succeeded and it recognized the hard drive. When it attempted to reboot into the fresh Tiger install it froze. I tried to boot the iBook up again after a few hours and it successfully booted to the desktop. I figured everything was working now and left Software Update to bring Tiger up to 10.4.11. When I came back to the computer though I found out that it froze up yet again.


    Ever since it seems I can boot into the OS for only a few minutes at a time before it starts automatically closing programs, locking up with the spinning beachball of death, or freezing solid. I cant immediately attempt to reboot after lockup because it will bring me to the boot screen and freeze or bring me to the question mark screen like I have no hard drive. I always have to give it an hour or so. Also Airport seems to have stopped working though the card is all connected.

    So what do you think is causing the freeze ups and intermittent kernel panics? I keep thinking that its either the hard drive cable is loose or that the logic board is totally shot. Any ideas on what it may be?
     
  2. Davy.Shalom macrumors 6502

    Davy.Shalom

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    #2
    I think I know exactly what this problem is. I believe you have a bad GPU. A lot of the iBook G4s did not have well-soldered GPUs, and as they aged problems like freezing arise. The freezing happens when the computer starts to heat up, huh?

    I re-soldered my GPU back on, and my 12" iBook G4 1.2 GHz works fine now. However, you have to be very skilled with the soldering iron, and use a fine tip.

    Check this out:

    http://macintoshhowto.com/hardware/how-do-i-get-my-broken-g4-ibook-fixed.html
     
  3. Cox Orange macrumors 68000

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    #3
    I second that. You can test, if it is the GPU, if you put your palm on the left side very near to the keyboard and the touchpad. press the palm down, if you see something it is the GPU (at least that testing method works in most cases).

    go to ifixit to find a description on how to get the ibook open.

    If you can not solder, just use a piece of aluminium foil (like you use in the kitchen or like it is wrapped around chocolate - at least it is that way in Europe). Fold it some times and put it beetween the cooler and the Graphics Card Chip (GPU). Be sure to make the piece of foil not to thin, otherwise you will have to open the ibook again, eventually. Also make the Piece just as bick as the chip is (like 10x7mm or something).
     
  4. skywalkerjedi95 thread starter macrumors member

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    #4
    Thanks for all the help! I'll try to go pick up a soldering iron and attempt to fix the GPU. You really would think Apple would have noticed something like that before they mass produced a popular portable Mac. Any ideas about the Airport card though? Its was working before and sudden it seems to not function now. I plugged it into it's wire and slid the Airport card into its slot but it seemed like it goes in too easily.
     
  5. Cox Orange macrumors 68000

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    #5
    maybe the airport wire is slightly broken where the angles of the display are. That would not explain why it does go in too easy, though. I had a broken microphone cable once, that made it work only at certain angles.
     
  6. skywalkerjedi95, Aug 16, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2012

    skywalkerjedi95 thread starter macrumors member

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    #6
    Well I just tried to do the GPU resoldering job. I was pretty sure I did it right but when I power it on all it does is blast the fans at full speed :(

    Am I doomed? Should I start figuring out how much it will get me in parts?
     
  7. Daedalus256 macrumors 6502

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    #7
    It sickens me that not one of these people suggested that you rum a memory test. I know it's too late because you're already probably broken the GPU by attempting a resolder but seriously. STOP WITH THIS OVERDRAMATIC ADVICE.

    Jesus people.

    There is a simple memory program called memtest, it will run tests on your memory and it will tell you if there are any failures. Often times, freezing is caused by bad RAM, not by bad ****ing graphics cards.

    Here's a link if you get around to reviving the iBook:

    http://osxdaily.com/2011/05/03/memtest-mac-ram-test/
     
  8. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #8
    Freezing can be and sometimes is caused by a bad GPU. I've have freezing problems with my Cube, turned out it was the ATI Rage 128. Even my 7,1 iMac has freezing indirectly caused by the GPU. Then there's all those Macbook Pros with the Nvidia 8X00 series GPUs that freeze when the GPU starts detaching from the logicboard.

    Bad ram rarely causes freezing. Bad ram usually causes kernel panics and data corruption. Freezing can also be caused by corrupted data, a bad hard drive, overheating, or a faulty logicboard. But rarely bad ram.
     
  9. Daedalus256 macrumors 6502

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    #9
    This is a load of bogus dude. I know you are typically good at this, but honestly, I've been working with PCs and Macs for over 10 years. Bad RAM will almost ALWAYS cause freezing of some variety. A simple way to check is to just simply run memtest.

    All I'm saying is that I think maybe people here should start offering the simple solutions before "Herp Derp, GPU, Derp Derp" comes about.
     
  10. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #10
    Bad ram rarely causes freezing. I've never had a Mac freeze on me out of bad ram out of the thousands I've worked on. The most common problem is a bad hard drive. Second is a bad logicboard or GPU. Never yet had bad ram as the problem.

    I do ask, what caused all the freezing on the Macbook Pros equipped with NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GPUs? Wasn't bad ram. It was the bad GPU. iBooks have been known to have bad GPUs as a manufacturing defect that was acknowledged by Apple. What about when the iMac7,1 first came out? Many people had freezing on their new iMacs. Wasn't caused by bad ram either. It was caused by the GPU and was fixed with a GPU firmware upgrade.

    In the many machines I've worked on that have had bad ram they've had BSoD's and kernel panics. Never once abnormal freezing. Never.

    All I'm saying is that I think people here should start thinking before "Herp Derp, Bad RAM, Derp Derp" is fingered out to being the cause.
     
  11. Daedalus256 macrumors 6502

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    #11
    You are completely wrong. Before you start telling people it's something ridiculously drastic such as a bad GPU, why not start with something simple like a memory test?!

    And bad RAM not causing freezing is the biggest load I've heard. My recently acquired G4 was continuously freezing and I ran a memory test and what do you know? It was the frickin' RAM in slot 1! How about that!

    It isn't hard to run a memory test (In windows you boot to a memtest disc and let it run and in OSX you open terminal and type a command).
     
  12. skywalkerjedi95 thread starter macrumors member

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    #12
    I think a facepalm for myself is appropriate right about now lol. I really should've thought of checking for bad RAM for the few mins or so that I could try to keep the iBook running. Just before I soldered I tried to boot it up a number of times and it would simply send me into kernel panics at the apple logo. So what do you think should be my next step? Should I start seeing how much I'll be able to get for everything thats functional? I had a feeling if I didnt fix the GPU that maybe the Logic Board itself might have failed from age. I'm not sure.
     
  13. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #13
    Note that I did not say that bad ram never causes freezing. It rarely does. Rarely is not never. Before you start telling people to try tests that can take hours with no definitive answer, why not take into account the model's history of problems. If it's an eMac or G5 iMac, the freezing could likely be caused by bad capacitors. If it's mid 2007 Macbook Pro, the freezing is likely caused by a bad GPU, namely the NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT. If it's a 7/8/900Mhz iBook G3, it's likely a GPU problem. If it's a slot-loading G3 iMac, it's likely overheating.

    Congratulations, one case of a freezing Mac out of a few million caused by bad ram happened to your machine. Still far less than the number caused by a bad GPU or a bad hard drive. If I recall correctly, your Quicksilver also had a bad GPU. The GeForce 2 MX was it?

    Even to run a memory test in Mac OS X simply by opening the Terminal, you can't test all of the ram because the system uses a large portion for itself and Mac OS X doesn't even come with a memory test program. It has to be manually downloaded and installed.
     
  14. skywalkerjedi95 thread starter macrumors member

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    #14
    Thanks for giving me the common dangerous models to watch out for! Maybe I should've tried my hand at repairing a Powerbook G4...
     
  15. Daedalus256 macrumors 6502

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    #15
    Indeed my QS did have a bad Geforce that was quickly sorted out by using verbose mode and messing with peripherals.

    And as I stated before, memory test may sometimes take hours (Or, you know, one hour) but often times bad memory will show up almost immediately. It's pretty common sense from normal technicians that one of the first things you check for regarding freezing issues is bad memory. You must not have received that memo.
     
  16. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #16
    Some of the later ones have a faulty ram slot or sleep problems and some of the earlier Ti ones apparently had overheating problems. But I've never experienced that with mine. Also the one about slot loading G3 iMacs overheating, it's rare but it can happen. If you're using one in a hot environment, it's best to have the front leg out to increase airflow.

    I wrote that memo to weed out people. You must have taken it to heart. Once again, freezing on Macs is rarely caused by bad ram. Bad ram in 98% of the cases causes a kernal panic. Good thing I'm mostly a Mac technician then.
     
  17. skywalkerjedi95 thread starter macrumors member

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    #17
     
  18. Daedalus256 macrumors 6502

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    #18
    You DO know why it's called RAM, right? It stands for Random Access Memory. Do you know what this means?

    It means that the computer will access the RAM and it does, almost constantly, in a random fashion. That's the different between ROM and RAM. It also means that because it accesses memory in a random fashion that the time between random freezing issues can occur without any sort of notice and can occur anywhere from immediately to "who knows when". You do know this, right?

    While it is true that a lot of Macs use ECC (Error Checking) memory, often times anything that is second hand probably doesn't have that which means that the memory is just "average" (And by average I mean normal because ECC is typically used in server environments due to it's cost) which while unlikely OOB may certainly still cause problems. You've never had a computer direct from factory that has given you issues? I certainly have. Many times while working everything from retail to corporate IT positions. It's not an unheard of thing that memory is bad. You certainly seem to take it that way.

    So maybe you should study up your on CS a little more before attempting to debate what I obviously have as facts.
     
  19. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #19
    When a binary file in Mac OS X comes across some bad bits it does some peculiar things. First it sends out a SIGERR message right before it kills itself. The SIGERR message is picked up by the kernel. The kernel, being programmed being programmed to do so, panics. The only way bad ram would cause freezing is if the bad ram addresses were being used by WindowServer, Mac OS X's UI server. Otherwise, it'd cause a kernel panic. Even the WindowServer exception presents a kernel panic. But it can't be displayed because the screen isn't being refreshed anymore.

    Very few Macs have ever used ECC memory. Only the Mac Pro and Intell based Xserves have. While some other Macs can use it, they don't take advantage of the ECC ability.

    I've never had a personal computer bad from the factory. But where I work there was two Lenovos out of 500 that had bad ram. How did we know it was bad. Windows told us via the BSoD screen. A ram test confirmed it and the bad ram was replaced.

    I suggest learning how Mac OS X works within its UNIX base before continuing this debate. For you seem unprepared.
     
  20. Daedalus256 macrumors 6502

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    #20
    Thanks for the copypasta.

    None of what you said really has **** all to do with a real world environment so I'm going to disregard it.
     
  21. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #21
    Copypasta? Is that something new down at Lidia's? I'll have to look for it.

    What you wrote:

    What I read:

    A shame really. Because I took classes on this stuff and am well versed in it. Truly fascinating and a must for any and all Apple admins to know how it works. The real world environment is full of UNIX signals and slight panics. Every second they happen in each UNIX based machine.

    Refusing to understand or know how the kernel or Mac OS X's UNIX base works in a real world environment could be the change from getting a promotion to being fired. Macs using ECC ram in a real world environment could be the difference of ordering $2,000 of ram to upgrade iMacs or $750 worth to upgrade them. For knowing if they have and can use ECC ram is crucial. Because most Intell iMacs won't boot with ECC ram installed in them.
     
  22. max¥¥ macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    Ok, did you resolder the chip pointed to in the second post? because that's not the gpu. Yes it can cause the problem, but it's not the gpu (the gpu is one of the large BGA chips) before scrapping the board check your soldering.

    As for ram causing freezing, yes, in my experience it does, and before Intell says i don't know what i'm talking about and that it only ever causes kp's, i have had macs with bad ram that freeze on one boot and kp on another.
    I am not proclaiming to be a expert, just someone with quite a bit of experience, and from that i have had some freeze, some kp, and some do both.
     
  23. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #23
    If you've had Macs freeze with bad ram, that would fall under the WindowServer exception I posted about above. While very rare it can happen and with more ram you increase the chances that your machine will not freeze due to bad ram because you increase the other good addresses the WindowServer memory location would be at.

    But freezing on boot is a whole other complex scenario. The kernel's traps aren't fully loaded and WindowServer isn't started. The screen lives within the framebuffer and is refreshed by the kernel. If the kernel panics due to bad bits before its traps are fully loaded, it will crash causing the screen to freeze with no kernel panic message.
     
  24. skywalkerjedi95 thread starter macrumors member

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    #24
    Great no wonder it didn't work. I was wondering how a GPU could have been so small but I figured to myself they do some interesting feats of engineering at Apple so might as well just go along with the guide. So do you think there is anything to reverse what I did or should I list all the parts I can sell on Ebay?
     
  25. max¥¥ macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    i would take a look at your soldering, check for shorts etc. Depending on how good your soldering is you could also try and replace that chip altogether (if you can find a source of them). Failing that either sell it as parts or look for another logicboard
     

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