USB Port Problem with PowerBook G4

n0cus

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 16, 2012
340
1
Hey Everyone,

I just got my PowerBook G4, and she is a beauty. It is a 1.25 GHz 15 inch if anyone is wondering. I am having a strange problem with my left USB port. If I plug something in, the computer does not recognize the device. I plugged in a USB hub to see if it gets any power, and the LED on the hub turns on. I plugged in a dead iPod to see if it would charge, and the device would turn on, but the charge icon won't appear, and the computer still doesn't recognize it. Does anyone know of such a problem. There is some damage around the port, so I though the port was broken, but the power situation is weird.

Thanks for the help!
 

poiihy

macrumors 68020
Aug 22, 2014
2,285
53
Probably the data connections are broken while the power connections aren't.
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,171
479
Elkton, Maryland
Hey Everyone,

I just got my PowerBook G4, and she is a beauty. It is a 1.25 GHz 15 inch if anyone is wondering. I am having a strange problem with my left USB port. If I plug something in, the computer does not recognize the device. I plugged in a USB hub to see if it gets any power, and the LED on the hub turns on. I plugged in a dead iPod to see if it would charge, and the device would turn on, but the charge icon won't appear, and the computer still doesn't recognize it. Does anyone know of such a problem. There is some damage around the port, so I though the port was broken, but the power situation is weird.

Thanks for the help!
I would begin by checking the port for physical damage. Take a LED flashlight and see if the contact points or the internal plastic part appears to be damaged. Does the DC port and sound ports work fine? If so it may have just been worn out by years of (forceful) plugging and unplugging USB devices. Fortunately, the PowerBooks have the USB ports on separate boards so if the port is damaged you can replace just the DC-In Board and not the whole Logic Board. Did you buy this used off of like eBay and if so for how much? Perhaps there is a warranty through the seller?
 

n0cus

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 16, 2012
340
1
I would begin by checking the port for physical damage. Take a LED flashlight and see if the contact points or the internal plastic part appears to be damaged. Does the DC port and sound ports work fine? If so it may have just been worn out by years of (forceful) plugging and unplugging USB devices. Fortunately, the PowerBooks have the USB ports on separate boards so if the port is damaged you can replace just the DC-In Board and not the whole Logic Board. Did you buy this used off of like eBay and if so for how much? Perhaps there is a warranty through the seller?
The DC and headphone ports work great! I bought this PowerBook on eBay for $46.55 with shipping. I doubt there would be any warranty. The left USB port works great, so it is not a big deal. If I ever did need more USB ports, I could just get a PC card for USB. I just though it was odd that power was coming from it. I checked the port out, and there doesn't appear to be anything wrong with the port. The plastic piece is still intact, and the contacts look fairly clean. I don't know what could be the problem, it is charging my iPod even thought the iPod doesn't acknowledge it is being charged.

----------

Probably the data connections are broken while the power connections aren't.
There is a good chance of that. We will just call that my charge port.:D
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,171
479
Elkton, Maryland
The DC and headphone ports work great! I bought this PowerBook on eBay for $46.55 with shipping. I doubt there would be any warranty. The left USB port works great, so it is not a big deal. If I ever did need more USB ports, I could just get a PC card for USB. I just though it was odd that power was coming from it. I checked the port out, and there doesn't appear to be anything wrong with the port. The plastic piece is still intact, and the contacts look fairly clean. I don't know what could be the problem, it is charging my iPod even thought the iPod doesn't acknowledge it is being charged.

----------



There is a good chance of that. We will just call that my charge port.:D
Could you take pics of your new PowerBook? I like seeing the new toys people get for cheap! I would imagine the part would be under $15.00 if you ever wanted to repair it.
 

n0cus

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 16, 2012
340
1
Could you take pics of your new PowerBook? I like seeing the new toys people get for cheap! I would imagine the part would be under $15.00 if you ever wanted to repair it.
I bet I could replace it, but it is just not worth the risk to me. You might remember I broke my iBook G4 while fixing its optical drive, despite all the precautions I took. I am just going to leave it. Now, if my right USB port ever bites the dust, then me will have some issues. :D I would love to post it. Look for it at the PPC setups thread. Thanks for all the help Altemose. I joined the PPC community 2 months ago with my iMac G3, and you have helped me with every issue I have had. Kudos to you my friend!

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New update, the iPod is now acknowledging it is charging now, for some reason. My Mac still doesn't recognize it.
 
Last edited:

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,171
479
Elkton, Maryland
I bet I could replace it, but it is just not worth the risk to me. You might remember I broke my iBook G4 while fixing its optical drive, despite all the precautions I took. I am just going to leave it. Now, if my right USB port ever bites the dust, then me will have some issues. :D I would love to post it. Look for it at the PPC setups thread. Thanks for all the help Altemose. I joined the PPC community 2 months ago with my iMac G3, and you have helped me with every issue I have had. Kudos to you my friend!

----------

New update, the iPod is now acknowledging it is charging now, for some reason. My Mac still doesn't recognize it.
No problem at all! That is what MacRumors is here for. Just so you know, PowerBook G4s (at least I know the 15" do) have USB on separate boards. The left port is on the DC in board and the right port is on a separate USB board.
 

n0cus

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 16, 2012
340
1
No problem at all! That is what MacRumors is here for. Just so you know, PowerBook G4s (at least I know the 15" do) have USB on separate boards. The left port is on the DC in board and the right port is on a separate USB board.
Thanks mate!
 

n0cus

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 16, 2012
340
1
Are you happy with this PowerBook? What kind of shape is it in? I actually have two PowerBook G4s shockingly.
I adore this thing. You guys were right to say that PPC computer have a character that Intel Macs don't have. The performance is killer as well. It boots and shuts down faster than my 2012 mini. I guess that means i need to clean install my mini. I installed Tiger on the PowerBook, which I find to have absolutely awesome performance, and good enough support. The battery is virtually new with only 11 charge cycles. The shape is okay. There are several dents and scratches. The metal around the optical drive was blocking the drive. I had to pry some of the metal up to get it working again, but it is not perfect. The left USB doesn't work like I said, also I am going to guess one of the RAM slots doesn't work as the former owner only put a single stick in, and this is a common issue on these machines. Overall, I am pretty happy with it, especially for only $46.55.
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,171
479
Elkton, Maryland
I adore this thing. You guys were right to say that PPC computer have a character that Intel Macs don't have. The performance is killer as well. It boots and shuts down faster than my 2012 mini. I guess that means i need to clean install my mini. I installed Tiger on the PowerBook, which I find to have absolutely awesome performance, and good enough support. The battery is virtually new with only 11 charge cycles. The shape is okay. There are several dents and scratches. The metal around the optical drive was blocking the drive. I had to pry some of the metal up to get it working again, but it is not perfect. The left USB doesn't work like I said, also I am going to guess one of the RAM slots doesn't work as the former owner only put a single stick in, and this is a common issue on these machines. Overall, I am pretty happy with it, especially for only $46.55.

I got my 1.67 for free and my 1.5 for $23.50+shipping.
 

n0cus

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 16, 2012
340
1
The replacement drive is a Hitachi TravelStar I believe. However, I think it's the logic board that's giving up the ghost.
Hopefully it is just the hard drive. Tell me the result, I am very curious.
 

n0cus

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 16, 2012
340
1
Three sticks in progression of bad RAM was the root cause of the issue and it showed hard drive failure symptoms.
That is good to hear. A logic board failure would have really sucked. Do both of your RAM slots still work?
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,171
479
Elkton, Maryland
That is good to hear. A logic board failure would have really sucked. Do both of your RAM slots still work?
Yes. Turns out that this RAM is cursed. It worked fine in the other PowerBook but not in this one. I threw in a 256 MB stick so I am down to 1.25 GB of RAM.
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,171
479
Elkton, Maryland
What were the symptoms?
Wouldn't finish installs from various media, wouldn't run updates, occasionally would not start and hang, etc. I ran ASD and all passed but I reran it after I swapped the HD and it did the same thing. Turns out the RAM came back with an error this time. I put my 80 GB original in again (replacement was a 40 GB) and removed the lower stick of RAM. Worked like a charm. It really scared me though since I thought the whole RAM slot was shot since it was the lower.
 

n0cus

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 16, 2012
340
1
Wouldn't finish installs from various media, wouldn't run updates, occasionally would not start and hang, etc. I ran ASD and all passed but I reran it after I swapped the HD and it did the same thing. Turns out the RAM came back with an error this time. I put my 80 GB original in again (replacement was a 40 GB) and removed the lower stick of RAM. Worked like a charm. It really scared me though since I thought the whole RAM slot was shot since it was the lower.
Good to hear that everything is working great!
 
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