Mac G4: trouble mounting drives

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by peck2000, Oct 5, 2007.

  1. peck2000 macrumors newbie

    Sep 22, 2006
    Here's a weird one ... the original optical drive in my G4 had been dying for a while - it would only respond to "eject" commands if there was a disc in the drive. If I inadvertently closed the drive without a disc, it would refuse to eject. It tried. It made a little motor sound, like it was trying to eject, then it gave up with an even smaller motor sound. Only jockeying with a spoon handle in the mouth of the drive while hitting the ejct button could (after some time) convince the tray to eject. Inconvenient, you'll agree.

    In all of this, the drive read an inserted CD or DVD just fine. I was pretty sure it was just a mechanical problem.

    So, I thought I'd upgrade to a superdrive and bought an NEC AD-5170A and installed it in the lower bay, keeping the ailing Combo-Drive in the upper bay. I reset the jumpers of both drives to cable-select, and off I went.

    Both drive functioned just fine (as long as I remembered to leave a disc in the combo-drive).

    But after a few weeks, I got a bit fed up with having to have a disc in the combo drive and, reasoning that as the NEC was working just fine, I'd buy another and replace the sick combo-crive, again setting the jumper to cable-select.

    That's when the problems started.

    After importing a CD to iTunes, i found that I coundn't eject the CD, either via the iTunes eject button, the keyboard eject button, the top menu eject menu or dragging the disc to the trash. In fact, dragging the disc to the trash would make the disc disappear from the desktop (but not eject).

    Then trying to start up Disk Utility would cause DU to hang. Equally, starting Toast would cause Toast to hang. Neither could be quit as the programs were unresponsive and the Force Quit utility couldn't force them to quit either.

    Finally, the only solution was to force a restart.

    The disc could then be ejected. Maybe. But even if the disc did eject, the whole thing would start again next time I put a disk in, did soemthing with it and tried to eject it.

    Thinking it was perhaps a Finder (or System software) problem, I reinstalled the OS in place. Didn't fix it.

    Now I'm looking at a whole clean system install, but that kills a whole day of my weekend, and I rather not have to do that.

    Now I've noticed that if I switch on either on my external hard drives, they're not recognised by the system, whether the machine is running or if they're switched on before booting up (one's a USB2 hard drive, one's a Firewire).

    Has anyone come across a problem like this, and are there any recommended fixes (short of a complete scorched earth reinstall?


    G4 Dual 1.25Gb Mirror Door, 1Gb RAM, 2x120Gb HD, 1x300Gb HD
  2. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Did it have the same problem with only one NEC AD-5170A drive in the machine set to master?

    And this means leaving the old combo drive out of the machine.
  3. peck2000 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 22, 2006
    Mac G4: trouble mounting drives

    I don't know the answer to that ... I guess I can try it this evening. But even if it does work, what does that tell us? That I can't have two same-branded drives in my G4? I sure hope it doesn't mean that.

    (One of my main reasons for having two drives is so I can watch region 1 and region 2 DVDs without having to switch regions on my drive, then run out of "lives")

  4. peck2000 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 22, 2006
    Mac G4: trouble mounting drives

    I've had a bit of a play around, and tried a few combinations to see if the problem of the non-ejecting drive goes away.

    First I tried setting the drives to Master/Slave instead of Cable Select. No goo, After a while (half an hour or less) the drives both refused to eject. Only restarting would temporarily restore the ejecting ability.

    Then I disconnected the lower drive, so the machine thought there was only one drive. Same problem. I even tried disconnecting the upper one, setting the lower to Master. Same problem.

    So nothing seems to work. Finally, in desperation, I did a clean install of the system over the weekend. Didn't help.

    Then, while looking for a substitute DVD drive to swap for one of the NECs (figuring it just might be that it's not possible to have two of the same make drives on the same bus - a long shot, I'll admit), I came across an item on another message board. Someone was having a similar problem to me, and one of the gurus suggested opening Energy Saver in the System Prefs file, and unchecking the box that same "Put Hard drives to sleep where possible" (or something similar).

    I know this doesn't prevent the drives going to sleep forever, but it certainly made me think that the DVD drive was behaving like it had gone to sleep after several minutes.

    Is there a way to stop the DVD drives going to sleep at all? Is Cable Select better than Master/Slave?

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