Power Mac G4 AGP booted once then dead ...

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by nudoru, Mar 31, 2017.

  1. nudoru macrumors regular

    Feb 27, 2012
    Good morning!

    I was given a Powermac G4 tower recently and was pretty excited - I hadn't used one of these since college! Good times. It came with no guarantees of working, but I was hopeful.

    Connected it up, and it booted (heard the hard drive grinding away) but no video. There were a few expansion cards of unknown function in there, so I yanked those and tried again. It booted! Os 9.0.1. It did make a "quack" alert that one of the cards needed by and extension was missing. It was a video capture card. I played with it for 30 mins and powered it down to have dinner.

    Looks like it was a pretty high end video workstation for a time - one of the cards turned out to be a ~$3k Media 100 ICE Aftereffects decoder. Most of the 20gb drive is taken up by video projects. Looks like they're from the early 00's but the last folder created was from 2006. The owner said he'd just been carrying it around from house to house for a while and needed to unload it now.

    Next day, I tried turning it on - froze on the booting screen - right before the extensions. So I booted without extensions. Got to the desktop but quickly locked up. Tried again, the "bong" had some static in it - like it was distorted - there was no video but I know it booted because I heard the "quack" again. Tried again and nothing - the bong then nada. I've tried a few more time with various key combos - zap pram, option for boot device, removing RAM (has 3 sticks) but no change.

    I have ordered a new stick of RAM and a new pram battery from OWC (based on the one night it worked before it went belly up).

    I *think* these issues *could* be caused by bad RAM - that suddenly died after coming back to life after 10 years.

    Anything else to check? OWC sells video cards for $25 - and I thought about it. Not expensive but I'd rather not throw money at a useless cause.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts all!
  2. KawaiiAurora macrumors 6502


    Dec 16, 2016
    Did you try booting up from a DVD? The GPU might have died too.. Remove the PRAM battery if it's defective. About GPUs, 4 MX cards aren't too expensive and you don't need a Radeon 9700 like mine has. If you have an older PC and an AGP card lying around, try flashing it. Locking up could indicate HDD problems but who knows :/
  3. nudoru thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 27, 2012
    Didn't come with any DVDs or materials - I need to download an ISO and burn it, will do that this weekend. But with no video .. :/

    The new battery and RAM (and harddrive) will be here Monday.
  4. KawaiiAurora macrumors 6502


    Dec 16, 2016
    RAM rarely goes bad ya know. Did ya reseat the GPU well? My Mac is a tad mad and with Linux, it only works after leaving it unplugged for a bit.
  5. nudoru thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 27, 2012
    Yeah, I've never had RAM go bad like that either. It has 128mb and I bought 512 to speed it up a bit. So cheap now days! I did reseat the card and checked for any physical damage.
  6. havokalien macrumors 6502a


    Apr 27, 2006
    Kelso, Wa
    Press the cuda switch, should be close to the battery. It will reset the pram settings that may be giving it issues. Take out the battery also, it may leak and destroy the board.
  7. flyrod macrumors 6502


    Jan 12, 2015
    Does the fan on the power supply spin up? It could be a power supply going bad, or overheating with no fan. Does the hard drive and other fans spin up? You could try re-seating all the connectors, blowing out dust, etc.

    Good luck with it, and let us know how it goes!
  8. nudoru thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 27, 2012
    Following up - turns out it WAS the ram. Before the new ram came, I was playing around with what I had, and found a 64mb stick that would allow it to boot and keep going. Swapped it out with the new 512mb when it came and it still worked. No issues with the machine since then!
  9. QSDP-User macrumors regular


    Jan 13, 2015
    California, USA
    Glad to hear of the good turn of events.
    Duck quacks & a 64 MB RAM boot...like you said, good times ;)
    I bet the original owner had a very precise use of "Extensions Manager" (or Conflict Catcher) for the video crunching.
  10. iModFrenzy macrumors 6502a


    Jan 15, 2015
    Our actions define our legacy
    Awesome to hear that it works! I've had ram go bad on me before, while it's rare- it's possible.

    Would you mind taking pictures of the decoder? Trying to find it online is not easy, thanks!
  11. benwild_33 macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2016
    I had a Yikes! G4 that did exactly the same thing, worked fine at first but then refused to reboot during the OSX install, took me ages to figure out it was one of the ram sticks that had gone bad. They must be reaching an age where the chances of having bad ram are far higher.

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