My iMac G5 adventure has come to an end?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Dicere, Mar 6, 2017.

  1. Dicere macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2017
    #1
    New ram arrived today from OWC. I excitedly opened up my beautiful and new to me iMac, put in the ram and noticed a dot of electrolyte leaking from one of the capacitors. Just a dot... but the capacitor is definitely bulging. I put the new ram in, system recognises it, but after a minute of use the system hangs indefinitely and I have to power off manually. It worked reliably with 1.5 gb of ram; I don't know whether 2 gb is just too much for a compromised system to handle, or if the act of opening it up somehow burst the capacitor. I've fixed up loads of laptops with new hard drives and ram and airport cards et al, but I don't know how the electricals works to that extent.

    Feeling rather tragic and very disappointed. It's absolutely perfect in every possible way except for one tiny component that renders it unusable.

    Questions for the forum:
    (a) Is it possible to get capacitors fixed?
    (b) Does anyone do electrical work like that anymore for consumer equipment?
    (c) How insane is the price likely to be for a $50 computer on which I have spent another $40 already? Keeping in mind I'm a full time student living off my dwindling savings?
    (d) Should I keep an eye out for a motherboard on eBay, keeping in mind they're less likely to be available in the Australian market and I've never replaced a motherboard before?
    (e) Should I just go and hug my remaining iBooks (one G3, several G4s, and a Powerbook G4 1ghz with a dead PRAM battery; waiting for a 'new' one to arrive from Poland) and the eMac 1.42 ghz that is too heavy for my desk and be glad I have some PowerPC goodness still in my life (while I do the rest of my masters on my occasionally unreliable i7 MacMini that never makes me feel as happy as when I'm using a PowerPC)?

    If no one has answers, I'm grateful for any sympathy you can loan. There was something deeply enjoyable about seeing it on the desk and getting the software all fixed up. (TenFourFox has a brilliant Zotero plugin that meant I could write in Bean and it would populate the bibliography from an scan. It's a workflow I'm going to see if I can use from here on in, because inserting citations in Pages breaks my concentration. It's much easier to just type {Montgomery, 2015, p. 43} and have the bibliography populated at the end than it is to hit Command Shift E, type in the first few letters of the authors name, select the author, select the page input field, put in the pages, hit Ok, and then try to remember what on earth you were typing. And I've fallen in love with Bean. I've got 16 gb of ram in this mini, and Pages will still freeze on occasion.) I was having such fun and my fun seems to be over. :( I feel a bit better typing this out, though, even if it is a bit of a screed, because I think some of you will know how I feel. My sister just rang, I spilled my woes out to her, and she couldn't understand my sadness. "I can loan you my laptop if you need it!" Which is gorgeous of her but it's not about a need for computing; it's about having something that was beautiful and useful and satisfying just go spang.
     
  2. CooperBox macrumors 6502a

    CooperBox

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    France - between Ricard & Absinthe
    #2
    Well you certainly have my sympathy for a start.
    I can't begin to think that the addition of a RAM or opening up the iMac has caused this. Some of the early iMac G5's were plagued with bad batches of capacitors. Yes there's a relatively easy fix, to change ALL the capacitors, and kits available for this. Although the bag of parts is small, postage to Australia may make you think twice. Plus I'd read that they are difficult to remove due to the thickness of the motherboard necessitating a de-soldering heat gun. After having removed the MB I outsourced the repair task to a little guy downtown, cost 30dollars. Check out my earlier post.
    https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/imac-g5-brought-back-to-life.1957007/
     
  3. Dicere thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2017
    #3
    You've given me hope :) I really don't want to give up on it - everything else was working! I can't blame the ebay seller - I took photos of the inside shortly after buying it, and the capacitor which is now busted (2nd from the right closest to the G5 box) was perfect then.
    Could you please point me in the direction of the bag of parts? I doubt I'd find a tradie here who will do it for $30, (more likely $300!) but if I have the parts and ask for a desoldering gun for Christmas, I might take a stab at it. Right now it won't work, so I've nothing to lose.
    I assume if one capacitor goes, the others are likely to?
     

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  4. Dronecatcher macrumors 68020

    Dronecatcher

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2014
    Location:
    Lincolnshire, UK
    #4
    I bought my 2.1 iSight iMac G5 last year for £20...I'd say wait for another (or other PPC) to turn up, particularly if you are cost conscious and not one for the thrill of DIY and restoration.
    I've always been unlucky when looking for a particular Mac - when I haven't been looking, that's when the bargains appear.
    My attitude to these machines is that I expect something to go wrong, that's why I have a few that can immediately be pushed to the the frontline - anything major goes wrong that'll be it, onto another. That's why I have no concerns about my Quad with it's water cooling - it cost me £35 - no major loss if/when it dies.
    I've been lucky so far that no favourite Mac has died but I fully sympathise!
    I would say if you wait for another iMac G5, wait for an iSight series - they were the top of the line and most reliable.
     
  5. havokalien macrumors 6502a

    havokalien

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2006
    Location:
    Kelso, Wa
    #5
    you can get replacement capacitors from just about anywhere, but mouser or digikey have pretty simple search tools to find the ones you need.
     
  6. Dicere thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2017
    #6
    But, you see, that would be a sensible option. I am the person who kept her first car on the road until it was twenty one years old and only running on one cylinder. I am the person who will spend hours on eBay finding old computers. I am the person who would wake my (wonderful) husband up at 1am so he could hold up the top half of a laptop so I could get at an awkward part of a computer so old most people would have binned it without much thought. In short, I am not, nor have I ever been, sensible. I am obsessive, opinionated, and ridiculously attached. (I'm very good at buying chocolates or cheesecakes as apologies for 1am wakings, though. Secret to a happy marriage is apologising in style.)

    In a more practical sense, there are less opportunities to buy G5 Macs on Australian eBay and most of them are based in Melbourne and don't offer post (because Australia Post is, shall we say, not exactly cheap). Melbourne is over one thousand kilometres away from me right now. I did just do some poking on eBay, but the only one in Sydney (which is still a couple of hundred kilometres away) is busted. It would cost over one hundred AUD to get one shipped from the US (which is maybe forty dollars more than it would to get one shipped from Melbourne, assuming I could find a seller willing to post it). So there are price and availability issues. And given the absolutely perfect nick this iMac was in, I think the chances would be horribly good that any other iMac of its vintage would have or would develop a similar issue.

    So I've splurged $5.32 on a pack of 6 capacitors from China specifically listed as being for this model, and now I just have to inform Santa (aka nieces and nephews) that their mad auntie wants a desoldering gun for Christmas. Thank you so much for responding - I felt really downcast over it, and having kind people empathise and offer possible solutions really helped :).
     
  7. Dronecatcher macrumors 68020

    Dronecatcher

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2014
    Location:
    Lincolnshire, UK
    #7
    Hey, don't get me wrong, I'm far from being a sensible person :) I kept my Mitsubishi convertible jeep on the road far longer than I should have because it was a part of me.....
    But, with computers and on a budget, I have to weigh up if a possible fix might not work but lead to another possible fix and another....
    but that's from personal experience.
    You've got the caps so you're halfway there - you'll be all smiles once that desolder kit appears :)
     
  8. KawaiiAurora macrumors 6502

    KawaiiAurora

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2016
    Location:
    Europa
    #8
    Good luck with those capicators! I understand the need to fix old stuff up! I feel you with not finding old stuff near you, it's virtually nonexistent here. About fixing old stuff, keep at it and good luck! Nothing better than using something ya fixed up ;)
     
  9. havokalien macrumors 6502a

    havokalien

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2006
    Location:
    Kelso, Wa
    #9
    Dont need a desoldering gun really, but a hot air station with soldering gun for about 100 US is right on for doing that job.
     
  10. CooperBox macrumors 6502a

    CooperBox

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    France - between Ricard & Absinthe
    #10
    You say you bought a pack of 6 capacitors. This will certainly help especially if you start with the replacement of the leaking or bulged units. But one has to be careful and start by knowing exactly the model of iMac G5 and order the number of capacitors for that particular model.
    Total of 25 capacitors for the early iMac G5 motherboards in the 17" & 20" models, comprising (20) 1800uF 6.3V and (5) 1000uF 16V.
    The later model iMac 20" takes a total of (29) capacitors, comprising (24) 1800uf 6.3v and (5) of the 1000uf 16v.
    The problem with just changing six, is that there is a high chance of others failing in the short/medium term, which requires an additional, annoying major tear-down of your iMac.
    The above info comes from data I scribbled in my diary at the time of the repair. I don't immediately have the link to the site I ordered the kit from, but will dig that out too and re-post, as it was a mine of excellent information, not only on the G5 iMac but on replacing capacitors in general.
     
  11. dustinschings macrumors 6502

    dustinschings

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2015
    #11
    I have brought back over 2 dozen dead iMac G5s. I am NO PRO or anything, and I was able to do them fine. You will need a soldering iron, a needle/thumb tack, and some solder. Also will need the replacement capacitors and something to clip the long ends off when done soldering.

    First of all, I always read to replace ALL CAPs, but I have done a few several years ago and I only replace the ones that I can see are bad. The repairs are still kicking and no signs of more caps leaking, so its up to you, but replacing all of them will take much longer.

    Get the measurement of the CAP you need off the bad one and source them locally if online shipping is expensive where you live.

    Then remove the board and to remove the cap I just warm up the pad on one side while with my other hand I grip the cap underneath the board and rock it in the opposite direction of the pad I am heating up, GENTLY. This will cause the capacitor to slip out of the hole as soon as the pad is warm enough to melt. Then do the other side. You will have to go back and forth 2-3 times before the cap is free. Be gentle, you don't want to pull the cap off the board leaving its "prongs" still in the board. Once the cap is removed, you can put in the new one. If the hole is full of solder, I usually heat it up a bit and use a thumb tack or something similar to press a hole thru a bit. Only the solder, don't widen the hold any larger than it was supposed to be. Be sure you put the cap on in the SAME DIRECTION as the one you remove. There is a positive and negative side. (A quick Google will show you what to look for if you are unsure).

    Don't forget to peek inside the PSU as well, there are sometimes bad caps in there as well.

    Good luck!
     
  12. CooperBox macrumors 6502a

    CooperBox

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    France - between Ricard & Absinthe
    #12
    Here is some interesting reading matter pertaining to capacitor change on the iMac G5.
    http://jimwarholic.com/2008/07/how-to-repair-apple-imac-g5.php

    http://jimwarholic.com/2009/08/apple-imac-g5-take-apart-procedure-1st.php

    It's well worth while checking out the PSU too. I found 'breaking' into it was a little tedious, due to the presence of security torx fasteners (described below). Fortunately all was fine within mine.

    http://jimwarholic.com/2008/11/apple-imac-g5-power-supply-issues-and.php

    Have fun, and let us know eventually of your experience.
     
  13. G4fanboy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2013
    Location:
    Andalucia Spain
    #13
    To desolder components you only need some copper cable (and a solder machine). Check iBook guy:

     

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