NVRAM reset on every reboot

Fl0r!an

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 14, 2007
906
526
I'm almost going crazy. My MacPro is loosing it's NVRAM on every reboot since yesterday. Symptoms:
  • Forgets boot drive, defaulting to my recovery partition -> super annoying
  • Startup chime with maximum sound level
  • Forgets every boot argument (e.g. for Nvidia Web Drivers)
In terminal, nvram -p shows this after each reboot:
Code:
fmm-computer-name    My Mac Pro
bluetoothActiveControllerInfo    %06%82%ac%05%00%00%00%00 ]%00%1eR%e8[%a3
SystemAudioVolumeDB    %f8
SystemAudioVolume    8
bluetoothInternalControllerInfo    %06%82%ac%05%00%00 ]%00%1eR%e8[%a3
When I set my boot drive, an efi-boot-device entry comes up boot vanishes after the next reboot. Same for boot arguments. Doing a sudo nvram -c to clear everything brings that defaults back at reboot.

What I've done so far:
  • cleared PRAM multiple times
  • replaced PRAM battery
  • SMC reset
  • Repaired file permissions, checked volume, installed latest combo update over my system
  • Tried other OS X installations (e.g. El Cap from my MBP's SSD or Yosemite from my hackintosh), swapping out the whole disk
So, it's obviously not a problem with my OS X installation.
Any more ideas? Google isn't very helpful, gets my 98465983523 different tutorials on resetting pram :rolleyes:
 

hockeyamd

macrumors member
Jun 22, 2006
76
18
Sounds like the battery is dead.

I'm almost going crazy. My MacPro is loosing it's NVRAM on every reboot since yesterday. Symptoms:
  • Forgets boot drive, defaulting to my recovery partition -> super annoying
  • Startup chime with maximum sound level
  • Forgets every boot argument (e.g. for Nvidia Web Drivers)
In terminal, nvram -p shows this after each reboot:
Code:
fmm-computer-name    My Mac Pro
bluetoothActiveControllerInfo    %06%82%ac%05%00%00%00%00 ]%00%1eR%e8[%a3
SystemAudioVolumeDB    %f8
SystemAudioVolume    8
bluetoothInternalControllerInfo    %06%82%ac%05%00%00 ]%00%1eR%e8[%a3
When I set my boot drive, an efi-boot-device entry comes up boot vanishes after the next reboot. Same for boot arguments. Doing a sudo nvram -c to clear everything brings that defaults back at reboot.

What I've done so far:
  • cleared PRAM multiple times
  • replaced PRAM battery
  • SMC reset
  • Repaired file permissions, checked volume, installed latest combo update over my system
  • Tried other OS X installations (e.g. El Cap from my MBP's SSD or Yosemite from my hackintosh), swapping out the whole disk
So, it's obviously not a problem with my OS X installation.
Any more ideas? Google isn't very helpful, gets my 98465983523 different tutorials on resetting pram :rolleyes:
 

Fl0r!an

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 14, 2007
906
526
Yep, replacing the battery was the 2nd thing I did, right after some PRAM resets. Didn't help...

Yesterday I've removed the battery, unplugged all cables and left it that way overnight. I put everything back together today, but the problem remains...
 

haralds

macrumors 65816
Jan 3, 2014
1,203
360
Silicon Valley, CA
Yep, replacing the battery was the 2nd thing I did, right after some PRAM resets. Didn't help...

Yesterday I've removed the battery, unplugged all cables and left it that way overnight. I put everything back together today, but the problem remains...
Might sound dumb, but have you tested the battery?
 

Fl0r!an

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 14, 2007
906
526
Yes, the old batterie looked fine to me (around 3V), but I still replaced it to be sure.

I'm really curious what the problem could be, google doesn't show me a single person who had a similar problem, in 100% of cases this is solved with pram reset or a fresh battery.
I'll do a AHT soon (don't have the dvd at hand at the moment), maybe this'll reveal anything...
 

mikeboss

macrumors 65816
Aug 13, 2009
1,295
478
switzerland
florian, did you pull all PCIe cards? unplug all unnecessary peripherals (USB; Firewire and so on). pull all but one harddrive. use the graphics card delivered with the machine (or at least some Apple OEM card). with the help of Google you should be able to find Apple Service Diagnostics (the one the AASPs are using). what kind of Mac Pro is it? a 4,1 or 5,1? look our for ASD 3S149. oh, and it won't start if there's a non-Apple mouse connected to the system ;-)
 

Fl0r!an

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 14, 2007
906
526
I've tried everything from your list except the original GPU (I had some different GPUs in, some flashed some unflashed, but not the GT120 so far). It's a MP3,1 btw, forgot to mention this, sorry.
I'll also try ASD :)

AHT avail at here
Many thanks!! I'll try that later :)
 

DPUser

macrumors 6502a
Jan 17, 2012
928
228
Rancho Bohemia, California
Yep, replacing the battery was the 2nd thing I did, right after some PRAM resets. Didn't help...

Yesterday I've removed the battery, unplugged all cables and left it that way overnight. I put everything back together today, but the problem remains...
Did you carefully inspect the battery holder for corrosion? Also, could be a bad connector somewhere; perhaps exercising connections may help. Caig DeOxit Gold is a great product for ensuring good contact at connectors.
 

Fl0r!an

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 14, 2007
906
526
Connector looks perfectly fine, AHT also didn't find any errors but ASD did:

Code:
ERROR - MLB Boot ROM FFFE0000 checksum failed
Oh well... Is it possible to re-flash the firmware? Maybe that'd help...
 

macgeek88

Suspended
Jan 16, 2013
141
142
Illinois
I did some reading...sounds like your firmware chip is malfunctioning.

What year Mac Pro is this?

I'd check for an EFI Firmware Update is available for your specific Mac Pro. I know there was a similar issue with Early '08 Mac Pros that was fixed with a firmware update.
 

Fl0r!an

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 14, 2007
906
526
It's a 3,1 (2008).

Already looked for an EFI update some days ago, Mac said latest was already installed. I'll look into this tomorrow, maybe it can be force-installed again.
 

phybron

macrumors newbie
Jan 29, 2014
24
17
AHT avail at here
Any idea how to install it in 10.11 with the System Integrity Protection removing permissions to make a diagnostic folder in System/Library/CoreServices? I was only able to try and run it by installing on a 10.10 backup that was only still 10.10 because SIP seems to have broken SuperDuper.
 

Fl0r!an

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 14, 2007
906
526
Oh well... The firmware updater is run by blessing the firmware EFI file, which technically means writing "boot from firmware.efi" into the nvram. Since my nvram is non-functional, this won't work either I guess... :confused:

Any idea how to install it in 10.11 with the System Integrity Protection removing permissions to make a diagnostic folder in System/Library/CoreServices? I was only able to try and run it by installing on a 10.10 backup that was only still 10.10 because SIP seems to have broken SuperDuper.
You'll have to deactivate SIP for copying it over.
 

pastrychef

macrumors 601
Sep 15, 2006
4,520
1,027
New York City, NY
Any idea how to install it in 10.11 with the System Integrity Protection removing permissions to make a diagnostic folder in System/Library/CoreServices? I was only able to try and run it by installing on a 10.10 backup that was only still 10.10 because SIP seems to have broken SuperDuper.
1. Shut down computer.
2. Hold the R key while you boot up.
3. Launch Terminal.
4. Enter:
Code:
csrutil disable
5. Enter:
Code:
reboot
6. When you booted back in to OS X, launch Terminal.
7. Enter:
Code:
defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles YES
8. Hold Option+Command and press Escape.
9. Select Finder and click Relaunch.
10. Mount the AHT disk image you downloaded and copy /System/Library/CoreServices/.diagnostics to your OS X drive in /System/Library/CoreServices/
11. Go to Terminal window.
12. Enter:
Code:
defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles NO
13. Restart your computer.

14. Hold R key during reboot.
15. Launch Terminal.
16. Enter:
Code:
csrutil enable
17. Enter:
Code:
reboot
Your diagnostic test should now be working. To access it, hold the D key while booting up.

Btw, it was very cool to see the OS 9-esque windows of the diagnostic test on a computer running El Capitan on a 4K monitor. :)
 
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Fl0r!an

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 14, 2007
906
526
So, as expected there's no documented way to initiate an EFI update with non-functional NVRAM :(
Using bless with the unofficial -firmware flag will create an nvram entry, which'll be lost on the next restart, so the firmware update will never be started.

I'll install rEFIt later and see if the EFI updater binary can be manually started from the EFI shell.

Btw, it was very cool to see the OS 9-esque windows of the diagnostic test on a computer running El Capitan on a 4K monitor. :)
Yeah pretty funny this GUI has survived porting to / rewrite for the EFI platform :)
 

Fl0r!an

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 14, 2007
906
526
I tried a few more things: The Apple Firmware Restoration CD doesn't work, I guess it only is used when the firmware is really messed up. The MacPro doesn't behave as described in that document. It doesn't open the tray nor starts the flashing procedure, it'll just beep and directly reboot.

Looking in the firmware updater application reveals a firmware file (.fd extensions) and an EfiUpdaterApp2.efi. I tried to execute the latter in an EFI shell (using rEFIt), but it'll instantly crash the machine.
I tried the same with the SMC updater app.efi from an SMC update, this is executed perfectly fine (I didn't flash anything since there was never a MacPro3,1 SMC update, so no file to flash).

Another very interesting thing: This guy describes how to update both firmware and SMC without OS X. He does the firmware update just by replacing the firmware.scap file on the EFI partition of the boot drive. Wtf? Does this really work like that?
My firmware updater doesn't contain that firmware.scap file though, just the updater and that .fd file. A quite large firmware.scap is stored on the EFI partition.
 
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