iBook G4 hanging at startup

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by 92WardSenatorFE, Aug 29, 2013.

  1. 92WardSenatorFE macrumors regular

    92WardSenatorFE

    Joined:
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    #1
    Hi all,

    I have an iBook G4 (14", 1.33GHz) that is having some problems starting up. It used to have Tiger on it and worked fine, but ever since I've upgraded it to Leopard it has been giving me sporadic problems with booting up. The problems are more common now than they used to be.

    Recently, it has just been booting to a blank (white) screen. You can hear the hard drive spinning and all, but the computer is non responsive. When it does this, if you boot to Start Up Manager (holding down option) the Macintosh HD icon never appears, and after a while the system will freeze. In the past, it has booted to a flashing question mark as well (can't find OS/ HDD).

    What puzzles me is that if I work with it long enough, it will eventually start up. Like today, it started to boot to the white screen. I restarted it into target disk mode and it worked, and another Mac was able to detect the HDD and browse the files. After I restarted the iBook, it booted up just fine.

    Has anyone else had this kind of a problem with an iBook? I'm aware of the logic board issues with the G3's but this seems like some sort of OS or hard drive issue. I've tried repairing permissions as well, that didn't help. The only thing I haven't tried yet is reinstalling Leopard.

    (The hard drive is the original 60GB drive, and the SMART status is verified as well).

    Thanks in advance for any help/ advice.
     
  2. RedCroissant Suspended

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2011
    #2
    I have the same exact iBook and I had similar problems to that when I cloned the OS from another machine onto that one.

    I was actually running into similar problems with my iMac G5 and 12" iBook G4 and came to realize that cloning an OS onto multiple and different devices is a bad idea. For the record, I bought the 12" iBook G4 and 17" iMac G5 from a lace that purported themselves as Apple certified resellers when they were not.

    I went and bought a family pack Leopard DVD and all my machines now work perfectly. And more importantly, all of them are running legitimate versions of the OS now as opposed to a few months ago.

    If you didn't clone the OS from another machine, then I would advise you to reinstall the OS first. If you got a Leopard upgrade disk, then find a full install disc.

    How much RAM do you have in it?
     
  3. 92WardSenatorFE thread starter macrumors regular

    92WardSenatorFE

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    #3
    Thanks for the response.

    I used a retail Leopard DVD to install the OS (full install). It was about a year ago. I'll reinstall it later this weekend and see if it makes a difference.

    It currently has 768MB RAM. It's not the fastest, but it works for what I need it to do (note taking, viewing PPTs, light browsing, etc.)
     
  4. RedCroissant Suspended

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    #4
    Well then if it's an install from a retail dvd, have you tried repairing the permissions in TDM with another machine? And I would also recommend getting the RAM up to the max, if not the max then to at least 1GB. You might be surprised(or not) how much difference each 256 MB makes in the iBooks.
     
  5. 92WardSenatorFE thread starter macrumors regular

    92WardSenatorFE

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    #5
    I haven't tried repairing the permissions with another machine. Right now, the iBook is the only Mac I have running Leopard. The rest are either Tiger or Snow Leopard.

    Would permissions cause the iBook to behave like this? I was just concerned that this might be symptoms of the HDD going out.
     
  6. RedCroissant Suspended

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    #6
    Then I would definitely try checking the permissions first before re-installing the OS.

    I guess it could be the HDD, but with the computer kind of "forgetting" where the start-up volume is from tie to time, that seems more like a permissions issue or something that can be easily reset.
     
  7. Bug-Creator macrumors 6502

    Bug-Creator

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    Germany
    #7
    The 1.33GHz 14" has 256MB soldered on the mobo plus 1 slot.
    So all he could do is replacing his 512MB module with a 1GB one giving him 1.25GB (which he should do anyways).

    Another possible explanation for his probs might be a dying HD, those weren't top-notch quality when they were new 9 years ago.
    For me it sounds as if the HD need to warm up before functioning reliable.

    Possible test:
    - get a FireWire HD (iBook should be able to boot these ?)
    - clone internal to FW HD
    - test if boot problem persist
    yes -> reinstall OS
    - no, clone back to internal

    If it still doesn't boot, you might want to exchange that HD (not for the faint hearted).
     
  8. RedCroissant Suspended

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2011
    #8
    Yes, you're right and I don't know why I didn't see that and it turns out that I was wrong and don't have the same iBook model; I have the 1.42GHz version.

    I suppose it could be a dying HDD, but a dying HD would show other signs as well that would have happened before this. This would be true in my opinion of a 9 year old HDD.

    If there were instances of the HDD making strange noises, or normal processes taking considerably longer than usual(or even not being completed), or that the machine will crash when some errors occur; then I would say that this could signify a failing/dying HDD. OP, is that the case?

    It's true that some HDDs will crash suddenly, but the OP is having a problem with his machine [consistently] recognizing the startup disk(while being booted in TDM works normally). For this reason, I think it's an issue other than the HDD and I would still advise to boot into TDM and repair permissions/check the health of the drive with another machine.

    1. Firewire HDD- yes, an iBook should be able to boot from these, but you'd be surprised how many FW HDDs out there cannot boot a PPC Mac. If the OP doesn't have one that can, then I don't think this is a viable option. I have 3 WD HDDs with FW 400, 800, and even 400 AND 800 and not a single one of them can boot a PPC machine. Yes, they can be properly formatted into APM format and serve as a clone(although not bootable).

    2. I would NOT advise cloning the current HDD until a permissions check has been completed and the health of the drive assessed. Because what good would it do if there is a permissions issue that is simply re-cloned onto the HDD?

    3. The problem is that the boot issue that the OP is having is related to the installed HDD, so testing its ability to boot an external wouldn't reveal anything about the current issue.

    OP,

    1. What's the ratio of used/free space on the HDD?
    2. How many applications do you have running on startup(if any)?
    3. How many user accounts do you have on there?
    4. Do you have any external devices attached on a regular basis(especially during startup)?
    5. Which applications do you regularly use? WebKit, TenFourFox, Skype, AIM?
    6. Have you actually selected the internal HDD as the startup disk in System Preferences and locked it to prevent it being changed?
    7. How's the health of your battery?(this one is very important because if you have a dead battery or one with very little life in it, then the PRAM would begin to fail recognizing the startup disk that you selected) <---This could even be possibly corrected by resetting the PRAM

    NVRAM and PRAM resetting!!!!


    I would still advise starting the iBook in TDM connected to any of your other machines since they do have FW(as far as I can remember). If not that, then insert the Leopard disc and boot from that and run Disk Utility there to check the HDD(This is actually the easier solution). I would still recommend the first one though because if you do decide to reinstall the OS, I would copy the home folder to the other machine and then just copy it back once the OS is reinstalled.
     
  9. havokalien macrumors 6502a

    havokalien

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    #9
    Suggestion

    iBook G4's have notorious issues. If it ever boots shut off airport. Solder connections cause kernel panic and a host of other issues. As for the hard drive they can just die without warning.

    Repair permissions but the fact it does not remember startup disk, there is also a pram issue. If I remember correctly its pull the main battery then hold power button for ten seconds (or more) to clear it, not zap.

    Good luck and I hope I gave some useful tips.
     
  10. RedCroissant Suspended

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    #10
    The iBooks don't have a separate PRAM battery.
     
  11. havokalien macrumors 6502a

    havokalien

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    #11
    You are correct

    You are correct about the extra battery, except the motherboard holds a charge for it and can become corrupted..... Hence clearing it. That's what capacitors are for. I'm not taking ny jabs. Just speaking from experience. If you look up clearing pram, not zap you'll find apple articles on specific models.
     
  12. RedCroissant Suspended

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2011
    #12
    I understand that but I don't understand how the ability to hold a charge on the motherboard can become corrupt to the point where it would cause these issues.

    If you're talking about the PMU, then I understand that but I wouldn't call that a charge. Resetting the PMU was going to be my next piece of advice if the other stuff I mentioned didn't work.

    And don't worry(if you were) about me interpreting this as a jab, because I don't. I have just had Intell correct me about the PRAM situation once(he also corrects others and I think he can even smell PRAM knowledge abusers), and that was enough for me.
     
  13. havokalien macrumors 6502a

    havokalien

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    #13
    Pram and PMU

    Yes for me as an ancient Mac user the Pram and PMU are the same. They get corrupt by unstable voltage due to dead or dying main batteries. I have resurrected hundreds of old power PC computers just by resetting PMUs / Pram. Zapping used to work well but laptops need a clear state when they become corrupted.

    Even the earliest PowerBooks need to PMU / Pram cleared to boot correctly according to Apple articles.
     
  14. RedCroissant Suspended

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2011
    #14
    "Ancient Mac User"? That's hilarious to think of someone as an ancient user especially in the context of computer technology. Well I didn't even consider that as a possibility when seeing ads for machines that are free or close to it! Now when I see something that I can probably work with, I'm going to jump on it.

    What's the most memorable computer resurrection of yours?
     
  15. havokalien macrumors 6502a

    havokalien

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    #15
    PowerBook G4

    Well the best one was a PowerBook G4 that some lady just wanted to give to a new home that wouldn't power on. It had been in her closet for two years. She was sure it was stone dead. No nothing when power button was pressed. I show up and it was in ok shape. A dent on an edge with some normal other wear. She was worried about her data, so I said I would pull the drive and wipe it. We'll just for giggles I plugged it it and nothing. I then unplugged it, pulled the battery held the power button for a while. Plugged it back in and ahhhhhhhhhh it it booted when I pressed the button. I got on it all on a thumb drive, copied all her stuff to it. She was so happy she was in tears. It's a 1.67 ghz G4. I collect and repair Macs, and since I am older than the first Apple by a few years in geek terms I figured I was ancient.
     
  16. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #16
    There's nothing bad about cross cloning a Mac OS X installation. Just as long at the target machine is able to run the source machine's version of OS X. There are special exemptions though, like custom machine builds. Examples of those include 10.7.4 on the retina Macbook Pro. Those can't boot from a 10.7.4 device unless it's sourced from another retina Macbook Pro.

    Lastly, iBooks, just like most other USB equipped PowerPC Macs, can boot from a USB drive. If you don't happen to have a FireWire drive, clone and boot from a USB drive.

    They do have a niffty little PRAM capacitor that is designed to hold a charge to keep the PRAM settings and clock running for about 30-60 seconds. The 12" Powerbook also has one of these, as it lacks a PRAM battery as well. These capacitors can fail and leak all over the logicboard. To replace them is a pain, they're soldered to the board. They can cost anywhere from $6 to $18 per capacitor.

    I hath been summoned by thy name and a smell of blue electrical smoke.
     
  17. RedCroissant Suspended

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    #17
    The reason I thought it was bad to cross clone an OS X Installation was my experience with cloning the OS from my iMac G5, to my 12" iBook G4, and then to my 14" iBook G4. It turns out that the OS on the iMac was also a clone(thanks to an Apple reseller in my area), so my 14" iBook G4 was basically running a clone of a clone of a clone of a clone(at a minimum). Once I got a copy of Leopard though, everything was good again on all the machines.

    And I know that they can boot from USB, but doesn't that require first booting into Open Firmware and then changing a few settings first before each attempt to do so? Or is there a better way to permanently change the settings so that a USB device is always recognized?

    Well then if I ever run into that problem, I will give someone my iBook(unless of course I have the tools and ability to fix the issue).

    I thought that you had to have your name uttered 5 times before arriving? :)
     
  18. widerstand macrumors newbie

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    Budapest, Hungary
    #18
    Once I had a powerbook g4 12" with the same problem.
    solution was to remove the optical drive cable from the logic board.
    turned out that the superdrive was dirty(mechanically), and was pulling so much current from the board, that it kept blocking the whole ATA bus...
    with an other superdrive it worked like charm.
     
  19. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #19
    A clone of a clone isn't a bad thing. I have a standard Leopard clone that I've been using for years and I can trace it's linage across all my Macs running it. No problems at all with it. I think the latest clone is about 14 clones away from the original source machine. Then there's the Snow Leopard clone army where I work, that's a whole other beast.

    For Macs with USB 1.1, there is no need to enter OpenFirmware before booting to a USB drive. That requirement only exists for some USB 2 PowerPC Macs. Also, when booting from a USB drive, only the built in USB ports work. Not those on a PCI/expansion card.

    My name generally only needs to be said once, but for maximum effect thrice may work as well.
     
  20. 4JNA, Aug 31, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2013

    4JNA macrumors 68000

    4JNA

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    #20
    Multiplicity - it's all good Steve.

    that's my experience as well, to include one that went from G4, to G5, to Mac Pro with a bunch of work to manually remove conflicts after which it worked just fine for several more years. as long as the original is good, the clones work just fine.

    what happens then if someone where to type 'beatlejuice-Intell' three times i wonder? :confused::eek::D
     
  21. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #21
    I show up behind you, scream "UNICORN FARTS", put a cheese hat on you, then disappear.
     
  22. 4JNA macrumors 68000

    4JNA

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    #22
    ok then, good to know. could come in useful at holiday parties... :)
     

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