Powerbook G4 PowerPC won't boot up - diagnostics/advice please?

sibby

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 2, 2017
14
2
Hampshire, UK
Hi guys,

I have a friend with a PowerBook G4 15" / PowerBook5,8, PowerPC G4 (1.5), 1.67Ghz.

It's obviously old, but was refurbed 3 years ago and has functioned well for their needs, but I understand the battery has been terrible for a year - holding only seconds of charge and requiring the AC charger all the time. If at any point it was disconnected it powered down pretty much straight away and when they booted it back up it always started up in 1970 so they had to constantly reset the date and time. It's been used frequently (a couple of times a week) for photoshopping over the past few years, but after a month of not using it...it wouldn't boot up at all. They have some really important data on it and I'm desperate to do some diagnostics so that I can work out the issue and hopefully fix it for them, even if it's only temporally so they can get their data etc. I'm hoping you might be able to help?

Things I've tried:
- Letting it charge (no luck)
- Long holding the power button (no luck)
- Changing the fuse! (am I an idiot?! no luck)
- Removing the battery and using the AC charger - yes this worked! We quickly plugged in a USB stick and started frantically copying data. Only I accidentally unplugged the power by moving the machine and pooooof! It's gone again. I've just tried powering it back up with and without the battery and it isn't doing anything. This is baffling to me because I assumed the faulty battery was the issue, but now it's not even powering up without it, despite doing it minutes before.

Do you have any suggestions for further diagnostics or any ideas for what it could be?

I don't want to rush and order a new AC charger / battery / PRAM etc if it's unlikely to fix it, based on what I've described. But if you advise that I do try that, I will!

If nothing works and you don't think it's the cable/battery/PRAM/XYZ then could they buy the same model online, perhaps dirt cheap without a hard drive, and put this hard drive into that? Is that a tricky job for a novice?
Unless the fault is the hard drive...but I'm assuming the laptop would still power up if it were?

Thank you so much in advance for any help you might be able to give.

Sibby
 

Dronecatcher

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Jun 17, 2014
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Also try this. Whilst off and disconnected, press Shift, ctrl, alt and the power button. After 5 seconds press power again, if it boots, hold down alt, apple key, o and f to get you into Open Firmware.
From there type:

reset-nvram (then hit return)
set-defaults (then hit return)
reset-all (then hit return)

Worth a shot but it doesn't work might be hardware issue around the power connector.
[doublepost=1521104595][/doublepost]If all else fails and you can get another machine, one of these saves you from tearing down the new machine to swap hard drives:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SATA-PAT...260603?hash=item3ab258b2fb:g:i8MAAOSwsB9WAXEj
 
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sibby

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 2, 2017
14
2
Hampshire, UK
Hi, thanks for your advice. I'm going to try this later. Q: you say to do it whilst it's off and disconnected - well it's always off and has only powered up with the battery removed using the AC charger since the issue started (and that was only once) so can I do this with the battery out and charger connected? Thanks
 

Dronecatcher

macrumors 68040
Jun 17, 2014
3,712
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Lincolnshire, UK
Hi, thanks for your advice. I'm going to try this later. Q: you say to do it whilst it's off and disconnected - well it's always off and has only powered up with the battery removed using the AC charger since the issue started (and that was only once) so can I do this with the battery out and charger connected? Thanks
I'd try it all ways..you never know. We've all had strange behaviour from Powerbooks/iBooks that kick the accepted normal operation.
Worst case scenario you might be looking at £60 for another Powerbook + IDE hard drive adapter off ebay..unless you fancy diy, opening it up and doing some fault finding...which can be money down the drain.
 
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eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
22,087
14,804
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
@sibby

If all else fails, two options I see - the data on the drive is important right?

1. Open PowerBook and extract hard drive. Many guides online, not difficult to do, won't destroy the PB. Buy a 2.5 inch PATA hard drive enclosure or dock. Connect that to another computer and copy off the data.

2. If replacing the computer as you suggest in your OP, that would involve a simple drive swap.

If time is the issue and the data is critical, I'd go with a drive enclosure and then replace the computer when time permits.
 
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sibby

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 2, 2017
14
2
Hampshire, UK
Silly question, is the power adapter 65 watt? With a bad battery, these will not power up with a 45w iBook charger.
Hi, it's got a replacement adapter, model M4328, input 100-240V-12A-0.6A
50/60Hz
Output 24.5V 2.65A

Just copied the info from the AC adapter!
 

sibby

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 2, 2017
14
2
Hampshire, UK
Hi,

So, I have an update:

Thanks to Dronecatcher for the advice about the buttons - I didn't manage as far as the Open Firmware part, but it powered up, which was very exciting! I started doing some data transferring, and all seemed well.

Then it got knocked and made a "pweeew!" sound and went dead again. (It likes to make dying sounds).

I tried your advice with the buttons to reset the nvram, but at every stage of pressing the button combo it just beeped and powered down. It was non responsive and made no beeps at all until I disconnected the AC and tried again. Just beeped and powered down (failed to boot).

However, it was very encouraging to see some lights and power going into the thing.
The battery is pretty much dead though - when I had it up and running for the data transfer for several hours, it only hit 2%.

So.

I then did the following:

1.Tried to zap the PRAM (rebooting whilst holding down command, apple key, P +R - found on a forum, hope this was right) but there were no "3 chimes" to listen to. It made a long "beeeep" then did nothing.

2. I followed instructions found on an Apple Support forum to "reset the Power Management Unit"

I disconnected the AC Adapter and removed the battery.
Then I pressed down the power button for (a very slow, just to be sure) 5 seconds.
I then reconnected the battery and AC adapter.
I then pressed the power button.
Only things haven't exactly gone to plan. It's whirred away and it powered up - but I have a completely black screen! Current status, 15 minutes later having not touched it since because I'm petrified - fans going, whirring away, charging light on, black screen! :eek:

Argh!!! Have I really messed this up? What do you advise that I do? Turn it off again? Press power? Wait?

I'll do nowt until I've heard back from you!! Thanks again for your help - and I'm really so appreciative of the posts and links you've all posted giving me solutions for if I can't get it to power up again ever.
 

sibby

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 2, 2017
14
2
Hampshire, UK
All I can add is that I had that with an iBook (black screen) and a PRAM zap brought it back.

I think there's a loose connection around the power area.
Ok so I'll try another PRAM zap (hope I was doing it right? holding down command, apple key, P +R ? Am I to keep hold of the power button the whole time?)

Loose connection. Hmm. If all else fails with button combos - I'm going in!
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
22,087
14,804
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
Hi,

So, I have an update:

Thanks to Dronecatcher for the advice about the buttons - I didn't manage as far as the Open Firmware part, but it powered up, which was very exciting! I started doing some data transferring, and all seemed well.

Then it got knocked and made a "pweeew!" sound and went dead again. (It likes to make dying sounds).

I tried your advice with the buttons to reset the nvram, but at every stage of pressing the button combo it just beeped and powered down. It was non responsive and made no beeps at all until I disconnected the AC and tried again. Just beeped and powered down (failed to boot).

However, it was very encouraging to see some lights and power going into the thing.
The battery is pretty much dead though - when I had it up and running for the data transfer for several hours, it only hit 2%.

So.

I then did the following:

1.Tried to zap the PRAM (rebooting whilst holding down command, apple key, P +R - found on a forum, hope this was right) but there were no "3 chimes" to listen to. It made a long "beeeep" then did nothing.

2. I followed instructions found on an Apple Support forum to "reset the Power Management Unit"

I disconnected the AC Adapter and removed the battery.
Then I pressed down the power button for (a very slow, just to be sure) 5 seconds.
I then reconnected the battery and AC adapter.
I then pressed the power button.
Only things haven't exactly gone to plan. It's whirred away and it powered up - but I have a completely black screen! Current status, 15 minutes later having not touched it since because I'm petrified - fans going, whirring away, charging light on, black screen! :eek:

Argh!!! Have I really messed this up? What do you advise that I do? Turn it off again? Press power? Wait?

I'll do nowt until I've heard back from you!! Thanks again for your help - and I'm really so appreciative of the posts and links you've all posted giving me solutions for if I can't get it to power up again ever.
On the Mac's keyboard should be a key for screen brightness. You reset PRAM, which probably lowered the screen brightness all the way down.

Press the key that brings up screen brightness. If it works then keep pressing it so the screen comes back up.

Had that happen to me a few times where the screen was dark because the brightness was all the way down.
 

Dronecatcher

macrumors 68040
Jun 17, 2014
3,712
3,575
Lincolnshire, UK
Ok so I'll try another PRAM zap (hope I was doing it right? holding down command, apple key, P +R ? Am I to keep hold of the power button the whole time?)

Loose connection. Hmm. If all else fails with button combos - I'm going in!
Yes, that's the key combo - hold until 3 bongs.

Good luck on cracking it open :)
 

sibby

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 2, 2017
14
2
Hampshire, UK
Tha
On the Mac's keyboard should be a key for screen brightness. You reset PRAM, which probably lowered the screen brightness all the way down.

Press the key that brings up screen brightness. If it works then keep pressing it so the screen comes back up.

Had that happen to me a few times where the screen was dark because the brightness was all the way down.
Thanks - I'll try this now
[doublepost=1521146136][/doublepost]YOU GUYS ARE MY HEROS OF THE DAY! :)

I just did another PRAM zap and it's powered up again! Whoop!

Do you think this has solved the issue though, or do my problems sound like hardware? I will do some more data transfer now and will try and keep it completely still and won't disconnect it at all, just in case!

But thank you thank you thank you for all of your help!
 
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sibby

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 2, 2017
14
2
Hampshire, UK
Ah, bloody hell. I'm now unable to drag and drop files over because of "insufficient privileges".
I've got the password and have set the folders to read and write access.
Should I post this on another thread, or is the solution glaringly obvious?
[doublepost=1521148966][/doublepost]
Yes, that's the key combo - hold until 3 bongs.

Good luck on cracking it open :)
Thank you again so much - it powered up
 

AphoticD

macrumors 68000
Feb 17, 2017
1,959
2,579
Australia
Here's an excerpt from the Service Manual for the PowerBook G4 DLSD series
( http://www.tim.id.au/laptops/apple/powerbook/pbg4_17_dl_167_15_133ghz.pdf )

Screen Shot 2018-03-16 at 12.40.56 PM.png

It sounds like it could also be RAM failure. This might be resolved by simply re-seating the SO-DIMMs. Try taking the RAM out and give the connectors on the modules a clean with some rubbing alcohol (IPA) on a cotton bud, or you could even just rub the connectors lightly with a pencil eraser. There may be some light build up / oxidization from long term storage.

I had this issue with my G5 which was in storage for 5+ years in a generally wet weather climate. Ultimately it required replacement RAM and two out of the eight RAM slots are now troublesome.

It would also be worth your time to assess the PRAM battery by following the steps to remove the keyboard assembly and checking if the PRAM battery has leaked. - Can anyone confirm if the DLSD models can boot with a removed PRAM battery?

While you've got it open, remove the hard drive as @eyoungren has suggested and plug it into a different Mac (or adapter) to safely save all of the data.

I would recommend something like the Newertech Universal USB Drive Adapter ( https://eshop.macsales.com/item/NewerTech/U2NV2SPATA/ ) or similar. There are similar looking no-name products for a fraction of the price on eBay, but your mileage may vary. I've only had to use this device a few times since buying it in '16, but it has been incredibly convenient. You may even be able to take the hard drive into a Mac or PC shop and just ask them to copy the data to a USB thumb drive for you.

The alternative as you've mentioned is to get a replacement model PowerBook. You don't need to match it exactly for your existing hard drive to just work. Any Aluminum model G4 will accept the drive and boot into Leopard, so it's just a matter of installing the drive and switching it on in order to get back to work.
 
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