The things that make a PPC geek giddy

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by ziggy29, Aug 21, 2016.

  1. ziggy29 macrumors 6502

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    #1
    So Ive spent part of the afternoon playing with a few old, mostly dead Pismos (my favorite Mac ever) in the garage to see if I could cobble together a good, working machine. I think that mission was accomplished, at least mostly -- one now boots up and usually works well but occasionally gets cranky at startup.

    But that's not what made me giddy.

    I also discovered that the G4/550 card I thought I killed a few months ago is still mostly alive -- it seems cranky about being socketed, but once it is, it works (I'm using it now). Alas, the L2 cache is dead, but other than that the card works when I thought it was toast. (I also found a Pismo carcass with a working fan, which is needed badly by the G4.)

    But even all *that* isn't what made me giddy.

    In my spare parts and mostly dead Pismos box I had two dead batteries -- one a 6600 mAh OWC aftermarket battery (its death was largely my fault); the other an original Apple Pismo battery. I messed with them just for the heck of it. Both looked dead, inserted into the resurrected Pismo with the mostly resurrected G4 upgrade. Tiger showed 0% on both batteries, neither charging. Yep, dead.

    But suddenly, after maybe 10 minutes of use, the Apple battery icon changed to charging, and the 0% turned to 1%. I launched Coconut battery. It said the battery was charging (still is, up to 56%) and had a full capacity of 2344 mAh. That's a little more than half the original capacity and maybe 90 minutes of use, but still... given how hard is to find Pismo batteries working AT ALL, especially original Apple branded ones, well, it made my day. I've never seen a battery do that before, and I'm really glad it happened to a Pismo battery.

    This battery will henceforth be known as Lazarus.
     
  2. Dronecatcher, Aug 21, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2016

    Dronecatcher macrumors 68000

    Dronecatcher

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    #2
    I had exactly the same experience last week with a 2008 Asus netbook. The battery was dismissed as dead for years (though it had largely been used plugged in) but after installing a new OS, out of curiosity, I unplugged it to see how many seconds the battery would last. I was shocked to see the meter stay stable at 100%...it kept running with wireless on and peripherals attached for nearly 3 hours!
    I'm not going to question it - I'm just glad as new batteries for it cost more than it's actually worth.
     
  3. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    Kentucky
    #3
    I'm glad that you got it working!

    I don't want to be a wet blanket, but just be aware that you really can't assess a battery's condition until you've actually tun it through a full use cycle(I have at least one that's only good for about 10 minutes even though it reports better than new health when fully charged) although "exercise" can sometimes coax some extra life out of a battery.

    BTW, I have recently procured some new old stock Lombard/Pismo batteries. They came in Apple packaging and had 0 cycles when I unwrapped them. All charge all the way up and give several hours of run time, and I've used them very little in the past month or two. I did manage to actually hit about 9 hours using two batteries in OS 9.

    If you were seriously interested in a good battery, I might be interested in doing some "horse trading" on a G4 upgrade :)
     
  4. ziggy29, Aug 21, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2016

    ziggy29 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #4
    I know. But I did just test the battery by unplugging for about five minutes. It dropped from 64% to 55% in an orderly manner, but it was supplying the power, for sure. I plan to charge it up all the way and check its run time, and see if I get those bad battery "spikes" where it goes from (say) 45% to 5% immediately.

    So it's definitely not 100% dead, which I thought it was. Anything I get is a bonus.

    I actually do have one very good Pismo battery and a second with about 2/3 of its original charge. I remember your interest in this G4 card, broken L2 and all -- still trying to decide if I want to part with it, and if I do I'll give you the first haggling rights. I hadn't pursued it since I thought it was totally fried.
     
  5. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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  6. ziggy29, Aug 22, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2016

    ziggy29 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #6
    Even more weirdness to report!

    The first time I ran "Lazarus" down from reported full charge, it went from 100% slowly down to 85%, then down to 2%. That was last night. I recharged it and ran it again -- the max charge dropped from 2344 mAh to 2088 -- but the next time I ran it down it went slowly from 100% to almost zero in an orderly manner, and lasted almost 90 minutes. Part of the reason for all this is because I'm trying to figure out how crippled my G4/550 card may be. But that said, yeah, I went from seemingly totally dead to 90 minutes of life.

    So maybe -- maybe -- that's its new baseline. But that's not the weird thing.

    While I was recharging that battery, I also had the dead OWC battery in the other bay the whole time. For a couple hours it didn't do anything, but eventually instead of just showing a "charged" icon I saw a short red bar (as in more than zero charge but almost dead). Then it suddenly started to show the "charging" icon even with Lazarus detached. I had never been able to get any sign of life when plugged in for the last several years -- nothing more than 0%, no lights blinking when I pressed the button. But now, I saw 1%, 2%... now up to 11%, and the green light on the battery blinks when pressed now. I doubt it's right but Coconut Battery still reports a nearly 5400 mAh current capacity in it. I'm pretty sure I won't get close to that when all is said and done. (For what it's worth that utility was always reporting 10,000 mAh when it was dead. When it started chargins again it changed to 5382.)

    And again, to confirm it had *any* charge, I unplugged the Pismo so the only power source would be that battery.... and at least for the 30 seconds or so I did that, it remained powered.

    This is kind of surreal. I've never seen long-dead batteries come at least partially to life like this before. I doubt this particular Pismo is special, but wow. Two long-dead batteries suddenly jolted back to at least a little life? Odd.
     
  7. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #7
    FWIW, I know you said the battery hadn't shown signs of life before but it's worth noting that the computer will only charge one battery at a time. I haven't figured out any particular rhyme or reason as to which is charges first, but indeed you will only get one at a time.
     
  8. ziggy29 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #8
    Yep, I know that. There were plenty of times in the past when these were the only batteries installed. This is truly bizarre. I've tried getting these to work for years with no success, and somehow they both now show some life?
     
  9. ziggy29 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Texas
    #9
    Power patient updates:

    1. I am happy to report that Patient A (the first battery in the thread) has stabilized to the point of sticking with about a 90-120 minute lifespan over three charge cycles.

    2. The second one, Patient B, is still wonky. Sometimes it charges up a bit, powers the Pismo for over 2 hours. Sometimes it refuses to charge again for a while and then suddenly starts charging again.

    And to @bunnspecial -- I recently acquired another good G4/550 (with good L2) which I have repurposed in my best "keeper" Pismo, the one that is my Cadillac among the others. I'm prepared to offer up my old G4 Pismo card with the broken L2 cache. I've been running tests on it so I can disclose all potential weirdness with it (didn't want to make a deal on it until I can disclose everything), but it generally boots up and runs fine with occasional "quirks." Will PM you when I've figured it all out, and we can work on a deal for cash or trade.
     
  10. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
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    Kentucky
    #10
    Glad to hear that you've found two good, working batteries. And yes, please let me know-we can discuss privately.
     

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