My Power Mac tried to kill me... now what?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Bimmi, Sep 23, 2010.

  1. Bimmi macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2002
    So, a couple of weeks ago I noticed this stench in my living quarters. A harsh, metallic choking odor, like car exhaust. When it failed to dissipate after a couple of days, I could only conclude that it was coming from one of my Macs.

    I'd been there before. My G5 tower briefly played host to a similarly stinktastic video card last year, but reverted to its docile and odorless ways when given back its original card. Strangely, though the stench was pervasive, I could never smell it on or inside the machine itself, even when it was running.

    So here we are some time later. The tower has been replaced by a newer iMac, but still pulls server/backup duty and a little WoW dual-boxing. :cool: I was deep into the latter activity, in fact, when the current situation arose.

    At first I thought it WAS the iMac, which I promptly trucked over to the nearest Genius Bar. I still don't know if there is, in fact, a problem with it, since Apple's still got it. The Power Mac, however, definitely has a problem. A very, very bad problem.

    I wasn't sure for the first couple of days; as with the video card episode, I could detect no odd odors inside the G5 or emanating from it. Somehow, though, it managed to fill my entire dwelling with the aroma of burning catalytic convertors, blasting me gently in the face with choking, eye-watering fumes whose source I could not determine. By the time I realized how bad it was and how sick it was making me, there was not much to do about it but puke a lot and lie in bed and suffer the acrid reek of metal and exhaust everywhere.

    I'm feeling much better, thank you, as I finally felt able enough yesterday to haul the stinking hulk out of my quarters. The smell still permeates the corner where it sat, but at least hot death gas is not being actively pumped straight up my nostrils anymore.

    Toxic emissions aside, the machine was and is working just fine – no hiccups, surprises, or weirdness for a whole week after this problem developed, nor when I restored it to factory install yesterday. Regardless, there's clearly some bad $#!@ happening somewhere in there. Not just annoying or inconvenient or expensive $#!@, either, but genuinely dangerous $#!@.

    So, uhm, now what?

    The olde beast is pretty obsolete, I guess, and 5 years of daily use does seem to be my mean interval between computer retirements. I've priced replacement PSUs, and they're pretty darn 'spensive (also a pain in the ass to install, by the looks of it). And who's to say that's even the culprit, besides some dude who'll likely charge me upwards of $70 per hour?

    See, that's the other thing; I'm broke right now, and replacing a computer on short notice was not exactly in the budget. Having the iMac (still) in the shop has put me in a double bind, since my fallback machine is now unusable (I'm posting this from my last available Mac, a 5-year-old iBook I like to call "Beachball Bob"). I also have two very big, very full hard drives that are now knocking around loose and need a safe place to live before they get wrecked. The whole situation has to be remedied, pronto.

    So, I reach the point of this entirely too-long post: what should I do with this thing? I contacted (seller's name redacted) for a trade-in quote, which came in a good 80% lower than one they gave me for the same machine 16 months ago – and that's for a properly functioning unit, I'd assume. So they're not an option.

    Nor do I have any desire to sell it privately when it poses a clear risk to the user. No lie, this Mac literally poisoned me, and I'm only just now shaking it off. I don't want someone's grandma or kid to end up with this thing.

    What to do, then? Should I:

    - get it repaired and then sell it?

    - get it repaired and keep it until something else breaks?

    - if I opt for repair, should I have Apple do it or should I shop around?

    - if I choose to sell it, then to whom? For how much? Cosmetics are excellent for almost 6 years old, it passes every hardware test I can throw at it, and it works fine [for now], but it belches forth farts from the devil's own bunghole and is thus completely unsuitable for normal use. Who, specifically, might want something like this?

    - on that note, should I just resign myself to selling it for parts? And how much should I ask in that case, even?

    Congratulations if you've made it all the way through this post. If you have any pertinent advice I'll think even more highly of you. I'm at a loss here, please help me solve this thang!
  2. MacHamster68 macrumors 68040


    Sep 17, 2009
    getting the g5 repaired is a funny idea ,getting it repaired by apple will likely cost you nearly as much as a new iMac , and your other guy is charging 70 the hour too , so i would try to get the stinking parts of ebay and repair it myself , or if i would not feel like i was able too i would empty the case if thats in good nick as here in the uk they case alone brings nearly as much as a working powerMac g5 1.6 , because the hackintosh community seems to be after these cases and for the money you get put towards a refurbished iMac g5 1.6 or 1.8 (capacitors replaced) or a top spec eMac 1.42 2gb ram , ati 9600 64mb vram , both make certainly great backups ,or you could simply buy a powermac again as single 1.6ghz model doesn't cost a lot on top of what you would get for the case or you could buy a powerMac in a war battered state , means dents and scratches and cracks in the case as long as its working fine then put everything in your case ,but you could max out the little "beachball bob" he does the best he can so it seems he needs a bit more ram ;)
  3. Giuly macrumors 68040


    Fume is visible, right?
    Figure out where it comes from by running the machine outdoors.
    In case you already did that and it's indeed the PSU, grab yourself a Torx-10 and a Philips #0 screwdriver (as well as thermal grease for the CPUs (I prefer Arctic Cooling MX-3 as it's not conductive, don't use Arctic Silver V or LiquidMetal, as it's conductive and you don't want to shorten anything. If you can't get your hands on MX-3, the Noctua is fine as well), canned air to clean the PowerMac while at it and of course a new PSU) and replace it yourself.
  4. MacHamster68 macrumors 68040


    Sep 17, 2009
    or prevent to be poisoned there is a really good solution, dont let the G5 kill you or others

    3M™Full Facepiece Respirators 7000 Series are designed to accommodate a wide variety of cartridges, filters and combinations. The 7276 Cartridge will filter certain organic vapors, chlorine, hydrogen chloride, chlorine dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide (escape only) ammonia/methylamine, formaldehyde 2 or hydrogen fluoride. This cartridge in combination with the 7090 P100 filter in a 7287 retainer should give protection equal to or beyond what the military specifications call for.

    sorry could not resist , my iMac told me so
  5. drewdle macrumors regular

    Apr 26, 2010
    Nanaimo, BC
    You could always get some dryer ducting and route it out an open window. Not that I'm sure it will help much. Toxic fumes aside, the only cost effective fix will be to replace whatever is wrong with it yourself.

    Could be the power supply. You might also want to make a real close inspection of the capacitors on your logic board to make sure they're not oozing; some of them give off terrific odors. If you've got a water-cooled unit, make a very thorough inspection of the system to see if it's leaking (technically this shouldn't make it stink, but corrosion could potentially smell if it's been going long enough).

    Sorry to hear of your misfortune. Hope you get it up and running soon. On an aside, I would recommend seeing a doctor just to make sure you did no harm to yourself. Puking usually means you were mildly poisoned.
  6. AlphaDogg macrumors 68040


    May 20, 2010
    Boulder, CO
    In my opinion, it may just be time to get rid of it. It seems to be causing you health problems, and probably is not worth it. Just (if you can afford it) get a Mac Mini to take the G5's job. It will be significantly quieter, and will do the job much faster and better.

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