Save my G5

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by thedoor1, Aug 29, 2009.

  1. thedoor1 macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2009
    I'm trying to hold out for one more version of the iMac, but my G5 has taken a turn for the worse. any suggestions for a self repair would be appreciated.

    Symptoms (all are sporadic):
    -Shut down when trying to wake from sleep
    -Failure to boot, makes it to the gray screen with the apple icon and spinner
    -poor performance (partially alleviated at this point)
    -issues started after a move (could have been jostled)
    -failure to boot off TechTool Deluxe DVD
    -Popping sound on shut down.
    -Starts up eventually, by the 5th attempt.

    Mac Details:
    Nov 2004 iMac G5, non-iSight, PowerMac8,1, 1.8ghz, 2GB RAM, 600mhz bus, Leopard 10.5.8, Western Digital 500gb NEW Green HD.

    On Nov 2005 Logic Board and Power Supply failed and were replaced under Apple Care. thank you AppleCare.

    Attempted Repairs:
    1. Ran TechTool Deluxe and Apple Hardware tests, both came up clean.
    2. Repaired Permissions via disk utility and off original OS CD w/ Apple Tests
    3. Downloaded "SMART Utility" from apple downloads. Diagnosis was that about 11 sectors were 'caution, near failure'
    4. Replaced Hard Drive with new WD 500g (performance issue improved)
    5. Reset SMU by plugging in while holding Power Button
    6. Reset PRAM on boot up
    7. Checked logicboard LED's per Apple's checklist for diagnosing failure to power up. All LEDs checked out fine (LED 1 on, LED 2 stays on),and starting the computer off the onboard button worked everytime.
    8. Reset SMU with the small button
    9. Visual Check of Capacitors - appear OK. I have not disassembled the Power Supply to check the Caps there. The serial number of both the new and the old Logic Board fall within the numbers that received the bad Caps; however the current logic board is at the high end of those, and therefore may not be effected per the documentation.

    My next step is to take it in, but if this is for another large replacement, I'll probably just buy the current iMac instead of waiting. However... as long as I don't power down or sleep its not much of an issue.

  2. thedoor1 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2009
  3. rtrt macrumors 6502a

    Jan 19, 2008
    this seems like it could be an indication of a psu problem. startup (and wake from sleep?) normally draws more power than steady state.
  4. matteusclement macrumors 65816


    Jan 26, 2008
    This sounds all too familiar to when my HDD was on it's way out.
    All the symptoms match except the power up from sleep issue.
    How old is the HDD?
  5. thedoor1 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2009
    I replaced the Hard Drive as part of my attempt to solve the issue, so it is brand new. Built from a Time Machine backup.
  6. Shake 'n' Bake macrumors 68020

    Shake 'n' Bake

    Mar 2, 2009
    iMac G5s were notorious for PSU problems. Take it to an Apple Store. See what they can do.
  7. zmttoxics macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2008
    Apparently they have capacitor issues too. :(

    You should take it in to get diagnosed, but it will probably cost an arm and a leg to have them fix any of it.
  8. Shake 'n' Bake macrumors 68020

    Shake 'n' Bake

    Mar 2, 2009
    Didn't Apple acknowledge the PSU and capacitor issues? If so, that could mean new Mac mini or refurb iMac.
  9. zmttoxics macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2008
    I have no idea. One would have to check the Apple support page (or phone Apple). I do know there are DIY kits for replacing the bad caps in the g5s.
  10. MTI macrumors 65816

    Feb 17, 2009
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Apple extended the warranty period, however that time extension has already expired as well.

    Having Apple or an Authorized Reseller do the repair is costly because their only repair method is "Remove & Replace."

    If the issue can be isolated to the generic "capacitor" issues of the logic board or PSU, then it is a relatively easy repair via a few dollars in parts and labor. Knowledge and the tools to solder simple electronic components is necessary. Any good tv/radio repair shop (dying breed) can do the job pretty easily if you provide the disassembly instructions, or do the disassembly yourself.
  11. Mugwumper macrumors regular

    Jan 19, 2008
    Temecula, CA
    Sounds familiar . . . :^(

    I had a 20" 2GHz G5 until earlier this year. What you describe sounds like
    what I went through. I had the HD fail about 2 months before the end of
    AppleCare and Apple replaced it, so got lucky there.

    However, I did experience the capacitor problem about a year later, and had
    it repaired at a local Mac-oriented shop. It was about $150, so not totally
    out of control. Note that I bought this G5 as a refurb, so hopefully they had
    replaced some of the earlier known component problems before I got it.

    Admittedly a bit biased, an Apple Genius thought that trying to run Leopard
    on a G5 was not recommended - "you're trying to run a 64-bit OS on a
    32-bit machine." I did run Leopard on my G5, and had a lot of fan noise as
    it tried to keep up with things (like TimeMachine). I have a friend who has
    an identical G5, but I advised him to keep Tiger on it (more than a year ago,
    partly due to needing some VPN s/w), and he has none of the slowness you
    describe. It performs very well, and no fan noise.

    My $0.02 . . .

    And for what it's worth, the new C2D iMacs are so much better than the G5,
    which is to be expected. So if you indeed have to say goodbye to the G5,
    its replacement is well worth it. You could save a few bucks by buying a
    2008 3.06GHz 24" as a refurb - only $1599 vs $2199 for a new one. It's
    got the nVidia 8800GS with 512MB, which is fully supported in Snow
    Leopard. I love mine . . . ;^)

  12. thedoor1 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2009
    Thanks all. Sounds like I've tried everything but taking it in. I'll give that a shot now.

    I agree on the slow down upon migration to Leopard. I think it actually took a few follow on updates until it really started to hang up a bit, but I agree it used to be faster on Tiger.
  13. OrangeSVTguy macrumors 601


    Sep 16, 2007
    Northeastern Ohio
    G5 cap replacement kits are available on ebay for <$20. Are you any good with a soldering iron? :D
  14. bumzo1 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 31, 2009
    Dallas, TX
    try reinstalling stalling leopard as it did wonders for my intel white imac speed wise but idk what to say about the other problems other than to take it into apple
  15. thedoor1 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2009
    I went to the Apple Store. Our Genius turned it on, the G5 crashed at the gray screen (interestingly it booted fine 5 times today when I was just checking it out). Started on the second attempt. Video stuttered a bit during both the successful and failed start ups.

    Our Genius concludes it is the video card and I need a new logic board, Apple cost about $400 (seems not so bad, except for an old G5). Our Genius surmises that if it was the PSU it wouldn't start at all.

    Genius recommends I take it to a Apple licensed repair center around the corner b/c a full diagnostic would be $85 at Apple and they'd tell me to replace the logic board, but the repair center might be cheaper.

    I think the conclusion is BS, but may as well try the licensed repair shop for a full diagnostic review.
  16. thedoor1 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2009
    I did do that at one point on the old hard drive, I could give that another shot. When I installed it on the new Hard Drive, that is done of the leopard install disk with a Time Machine Install, so I thought I'd have that covered.
  17. thedoor1 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2009
    The Caps on the Logic board all look brand new and super clean. That was replaced in late '05 so I think the board replacement took care of that issue.

    I have not checked the PSU caps. That could be a next step.. sounds like a 'be very careful' step.

    Our Genius said it couldn't be the PSU Caps, as they are big & strong to protect from power surges; implied a little that since the Logic Board caps are fine, the PSU Caps are necessarily fine.

    I'm Ok with a soldering iron, though I've never tried to have a surgeons accuracy on a circuit board. There actually is a small electronics repair shop nearby I could presumably hand a bad PSU to with the Caps in hand and instruct them to do some soldering.

    Next Step choices:
    1- Carefully check PSU Caps, or,
    2- Take to Apple Licensed Repair shop
  18. MTI macrumors 65816

    Feb 17, 2009
    Scottsdale, AZ
    The PSU unclips and unscrews from the chassis, easy as cake. Opening the PSU requires the security torx bit (hollow torx). That's all you need to do the visual inspection of the the unit.
  19. thedoor1 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2009
    I'm eating my words a bit here. I decided to do the archive and install; as stated I figured the rebuild on a new HD from a Time Machine backup probably took care of a reinstall, and I believe I had done it at some point. Clearly I'm wrong.

    Reinstall #1 - starts up, no shut down issues, but Finder won't launch and I'm stuck with a beachball. Other programs sort of work (mail, safari - partially) but Finder locks up with the beachball, the menubar isn't showing and it won't successfully relaunch, no matter what user I chose.

    Reinstall #2 - before reinstalling I re-ran Disk Utility from the Leopard disk, but I ended up with the same result. However, given the new symptoms I researched the Finder lock up issue on Macforums and notice a post about an app named FontNuke that empties Font caches and addresses Finder lockups. It took some work to get it to download and install given Finder wasn't working (I had to change my default browser to safari from firefox, wiat for spotlight to index so I could point to the app, etc). I ran Font Nuke including the spotlight reset & repair permissions options and downloaded the OS updates.

    upon reboot, it has worked fine. No shutdown after sleep, and it has started on the first try every time! Fingers crossed the repair sticks. :)

    It is still pokey with youtube stuttering, webpage loading, etc, but that has been the case since a few versions ago of Leopard.

    The G5 is getting left behind, but I think this will get me to the next iMac.

    Thanks to all for the pointers. Saves me about $450 on a new logic board (current quoted price at the Apple Store).
  20. thedoor1 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2009
    Well that lasted awhile, but it didn't stick.

    Still runs faster than before the FontNuke, but the sporadic crash from sleep or fail to start on boot is back.

    Shoulda known that was too good to be true.
  21. scmavl macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2009
    I had many of those symptoms and had to replace the power supply.
  22. mrsir2009 macrumors 604


    Sep 17, 2009
    Melbourne, Australia
    Looks like your HDD is dying...:( Take it into the Apple store and get them to check it out, to know for sure what it is. But looks like its on its way out...
  23. Village macrumors member

    Feb 3, 2003
    Austin, Tejas
    Yes, do check the PSU caps if you haven't yet. The bulging can detected just by peaking into the vent holes. My iMag G5 has had some of the start-up issues you mentioned so I finally inspected the caps after ruling out the power switch. All the logic board capacitors look great, but 6 out of 9 low-power caps in the PSU were bulging or had burst! A replacement cap kit is in the mail - hopefully I'll resolve this next week.
  24. rtrt macrumors 6502a

    Jan 19, 2008
    i'd really like to hear how this goes for you
  25. thedoor1 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2009
    Bingo. PSU Replaced by Techsuperpowers, the local Authorized dealer the Apple Store referred me to. Cost $200. Probably could have done this repair myself and saved a little, or a lot if it was just the Caps. I failed to ask whether or not the Caps appeared damaged.

    What keyed them into the PSU was the Pop sound it would make upon crash (not consistent but sometimes) and they could hear a very faint buzz while it started up. I hadn't noticed or had just become accustom to it.

    So far so good.

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