Unique hardware failure Intel mac mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by discosoap, Jan 17, 2009.

  1. discosoap macrumors regular

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    The Netherlands
    #1
    hi, and thanks in advance for any help.

    I have a serious hardware issue;

    I have an Intel Mac Mini 1.66ghz (2nd gen, 2006), Leopard (latest updates). In the last few days an error occured and I was unable to boot the machine, so I decided to reinstall OSX. I zeroed out the data on my hard drive 7 times, and try to reinstall. This process went well, with no errors occuring.

    When I rebooted afterwards, my Mac wouldn't start, again. I retried the whole reinstall procedure 3 times (incuding zeroing out data on my drive), with no luck. I did a smc and p-ram reset, but nothing. I ran an extended hardware test twice, nothing. I called Apple, but the tech support guy is puzzled by my problem, but helps me to a trick to run hardware test in loop modus (hold ctrl-L when starting the (extended) hardware test (next to the safe mode trick (hold down shift while booting up) he learned me but that didn't work either). I tried this loop mode hardware test and after half an hour or so, there was an error reported.

    Now here is my problem; the error code has 3 google hits and they lead nowhere. I can't find anything on Mac forums, and the Mac tech support is puzzled. Has anyone got any idea where to start on this issue (apart from the obvious and potentialy costly solution of returning the machine to Apple off course).

    The unique error code is ; 4VDC/2/40000004: Motor
     
  2. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

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  3. discosoap thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    No waranty = High cost

    Well no, it's a 2006 model, and I was refering to the obvious and potentially costly solution of returning it to Apple ;) I was hoping to avoid this, as there might be several options like ifixit.com, which enables people to repair most of their Mac themselves. I was hoping I could do that because of financial reasons, but for that I first need to establish the problem. (Even a certain Euro 49,- contract (sort of quick diagnotics I guess) the Apple tech guy suggested me wouldn't guarantee me a solid answer on what's wrong with my Mini, so any help is really appreciated)
     
  4. bizzle macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 29, 2008
    #4
    Do you have a bootable firewire or USB installation of OSX or a way to install OSX on one of those forms of media? If you can, do so and run SMART Utility and just see if the drive is failing. Through all your testing you have failed to check the status of the component most likely to fail.

    Also, if you are able to install OSX on a USB flash drive or firewire hard drive from the machine, that should rule out almost all hardware issues.

    If you have another Intel Mac try booting the unit from that. Use a firewire cable and put the known good Intel Mac in target disk mode and hold option while booting the bad unit, select the firewire hard drive (the known good Intel Mac).

    If you reset the NVRAM and the hard drive is definitely good and the issue persists, your main logic board is bad. Believe me.
     
  5. discosoap thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    It just got better (or worse, I don't know)

    Hi and thanks for your reply.

    I will definately try to boot from firewire ipod (later today), and I'll try booting in target disc mode from my healthy Macbook (as soon as I get an firewire to firewire cable).

    Last night I tried once again to get it working, and it magically did. I installed Leopard from a firewire ipod and it worked (appart from sluggish performance), but then a new problem occured. I downloaded the latetst combo update 10.5.6 from Apple and installed it overnight, to be shure that wouldn't be causing the problem. When the update was installed, I rebooted the machine and (continualy) got this crashscreen error while booting;
    Does anyone speak code by any chance, because I can't understand most of it.
    :eek::mad::confused:
     

    Attached Files:

  6. bizzle macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    It's likely the hard drive in your iPod is failing, a successful install followed by a massive rewrite the disk causing corruption or unreadable sectors is possible. Make sure your test equipment is 100% known good. Try the second Mac after you've confirmed it's hard drive is healthy.

    Second, the kernel panic is crashing on power management, which along with the AHT error code, seems likely something on the main logic board has failed.

    The recommendation for the known good hard drive is just to isolate everything that is known good from the possible failure. You want to proof each components health eventually leading you to the failure.
     
  7. discosoap thread starter macrumors regular

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    #7
    Ok, now what ;-)

    Hi again.

    Sorry Bizzle, I am affraid some of your helpfull notes are too fast for me to understand. So please have a bit of patience as I run through the tests (we will get there).
    To be clear, the screenshot of the bootup error message was with Leopard installed on the internal drive (which was booting fine before, although with sluggish performace) after updating to 10.5.6.
    I took your advice and installed OSX (a Tiger disc i had lying around) on my firewire iPod, and it booted with no problems. I am now looking at a fresh install of Tiger, but all the hassle makes me feel like it could crash any second again (as I have no clue why it is working/not working/working/not working).
    I ran Smart utility (from the booted iPod with Tiger installed) and it gave me the following screenshots. (note that there is only one drive visible (my internal Fujitsu Mac Mini drive) but there should be two I guess (one internal Mac Mini drive, and the healthy firewire iPod I am booting from). Please, do the screen shot messages (apart from the failing drive) tell us anything ??

    Moreover, your strategy on isolating the problem sounds very much like the way to go in order to find the problem. Although I am reasonably handy with computers, I must admit that I don't know where to start with this isolation proces. Again, any help is greatly appreciated.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. bizzle macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 29, 2008
    #8
    SMART readings are typically not available from firewire or USB devices. What that is showing is your internal hard drive, in your mini, is failing. This is likely the cause of all the issues. Replace the internal hard drive and you should be fine.

    The previous kernel panic at boot posted was likely just from the inability to properly read the module related to power management. If you can boot from a firewire device and the machine functions normally, regardless of any updates, the fact that it ran, and ran stable, should prove all components but the internal drive are good.
     
  9. discosoap thread starter macrumors regular

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    #9
    Feeling a bit better now...

    Hi,

    Bizzle, you're the man. Thanks for parts of your sunday afternoon (hope it wasn't as rainy as it was here in the Netherlands ;-)
    Anyway, sounds true, as disc utility says about iPod Smart status; not supported (I think this is what you meant, and this is the reason my iPod doens't show up in Smart utility report, right?)
    You say; "the inability to properly read the module related to power management". Does this point to an additional problem apart from my failing hard drive, or is it related to it ?
    Is there a conclusive way to deduct/isolate the problem to the hard drive, to be 100% sure that buying a new one would solve the problem (as it was still possible to run OSX from it a few days ago ?)

    Thanks man !!
     
  10. bizzle macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    #10
    There shouldn't be any other issues. This is assuming running from the iPod before the updates resulted in stability. I am not there so I can not be 100% sure, and really the only way is to check. Let's put it this way, at the very minimum, you need a replacement hard drive, because IT IS failing.
     
  11. discosoap thread starter macrumors regular

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    #11
    Up and running for now

    Fair enough ;-)

    I am now typing this response from the Mac Mini, running Tiger booted from a firewire iPod. Things look fine again, so it does appear to be a hard drive issue. I really hope it is, as a logic board replacement would be at least 10 times the cost of a new hard drive, and would basically have made the machine worthless. I will try to put a new hard drive in the machine, and see what it does.

    You mentioned that the kernel panic is crashing on power management, which along with the AHT error code might mean more trouble. Is this still relevant, or have we established that's not the problem? Oh, and we still don't know what the initial error meant (4VDC/2/40000004: Motor)......
     

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