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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > PowerBook G4 17" Boots, No Screen

PowerBook G4 17" Boots, No Screen
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thanser
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Jul 24, 2011, 01:30 AM
 
I hope this isn't the end of road for my beloved PowerBook 17".

I'm running OS 10.5.8 on a G4 17" 1.67Ghz Powerbook, 2Gb RAM. It was working fine, then I received a couple of OS error messages I've never seen before. "The OS Quit" or something to that effect, and after several restarts I can get a startup chime but no screen display.

I can hold the power button down for five seconds and get the BEEP sound, but nothing will appear on the screen. I can only assume the system is booting correctly. Or it it?

I've tried removing the battery and re-inserting it, also. No luck.

Booting into a command line (Option + CMD +O + F keys) doesn't work, I only get a black screen. (I was hoping to eject the CD this way by command line.)

Booting from the Superdrive (hold down the C key) will not get the installer to spin and launch the installer. Only a blank screen.

It will power down from the power button. And it will power up (startup chime sounds) from the power button. I can here it try to read the installer CD, but nothing happens.

I also can't eject my OS installer CD - how do I get this disk out? I thought I might boot from the OS installer and see if I could fix the problem or re-install the OS, to no avail. I regret having to tear the thing apart just to retrieve a disk.

Did the HDD fail? The video card fail? If it's the mainboard or the CPU, I might as well pitch it.

Sure, I could take it in to the Mac Store and drop some more money into it, but it might not be worth it. If I can't resurrect it myself (within reason) I may have to give up.

Thank you in advance.
     
reader50
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Jul 24, 2011, 02:22 AM
 
After letting it boot up invisibly, hold a small flashlight to the screen, see if the image is present. This would indicate the backlight has failed.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Jul 24, 2011, 06:06 AM
 
Also see if the caps light comes on when pressed. (After giving it a minute to boot)

Did you try holding the trackpad button to get the disc out?

Can you test with external display?
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
thanser  (op)
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Jul 24, 2011, 11:27 AM
 
Thanks for that suggestion.

Holding a flashlight up to the black screen show absolutely nothing.
     
thanser  (op)
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Jul 24, 2011, 11:35 AM
 
Thanks for your suggestions.

Caps lock light does not respond.

Testing with external display (monitor) is negative - no screen at all. Nothing.

Holding the trackpad button down results in nothing. Holding the EJECT button down results in nothing happening. (Holding the trackpad button down forces an eject? Really?)

I also tried swapping the RAM sticks from one slot to another. No luck. Should I try booting with only one stick of RAM? Maybe one of the sticks went bad?

So...this proves the OS is not even loading? Did the CPU quit? The mainboard? Or the HDD?

I repair permissions regularly and verify the drive, also. No problems before this.

I could take it in to the Mac Store, sure, but at $90.00/hr for an estimate...

Thanks again.
     
reader50
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Jul 24, 2011, 11:49 AM
 
Holding down the mouse button (or trackpad button) during boot will eject a disc during boot. Assuming the system is healthy of course.

Press the test button on the battery, see how many LEDs light up. At least one must light solid. If the battery is drained, then your power brick is probably bad. The system crashed after the battery went flat.

Alternatively, try booting up from the power adapter with the battery removed. Success would indicate a defective battery.
( Last edited by reader50; Jul 24, 2011 at 11:55 AM. )
     
thanser  (op)
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Jul 24, 2011, 12:02 PM
 
Thank you!

Holding down the trackpad/mouse button during boot does not result in a disk eject. (But I learned something new.)

Booting from the power adapter results in nothing - no change. No screen, no response from key commands.

Power adapter is two weeks old! Battery is in good shape, too. I'm currently topping off the battery and I have four solid green lights, fifth one is blinking. Should be done charging momentarily.

So...back to the drawing board.

The CPU? Can it be changed independent from the mainboard?

Change the entire mainboard (of is it called a logic board?)

What else could have failed? I recall two sudden system error message (a dialog box appeared) before all of this started.

Can I try booting from an external drive somehow?

Thanks again.
     
reader50
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Jul 24, 2011, 12:38 PM
 
Is everything disconnected from your powerbook? If not, pull all USB devices, FireWire and ethernet etc, and remove any PC card. A bad peripheral can hang bootup.

If still no boot, reset the power manager: Remove the battery and power adapter, then hold the power button down for 5 seconds. Put the battery and adapter back and try to boot.

Watch the sleep indicator light during "boot". It should come on solid during boot, then go out.

Edit: forgot to ask. Besides the boot chime, do you get any beeps at startup? If so, how many? They're the POST errors, and usually indicate one or another memory problem.
( Last edited by reader50; Jul 24, 2011 at 12:50 PM. )
     
thanser  (op)
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Jul 24, 2011, 02:14 PM
 
Everything is disconnected, yes. No peripherals or drives cabled up.

I've removed the battery, held down the power button for five seconds and replaced the battery. Nothing - same thing happens.

No beeps at startup, only a chime. Fans are turning - I can hear them.

The sleep indicator light on the latch switch comes on when I power up, and stays on full.

I wish I could get that DVD disk out of the there - I can hear the Superdrive head searching the disk soon after I power it up. I believe I can hear the HDD spin up, also, a few seconds after power up.

A logic board costs $499.00 online. Ouch!

Anything else before I post it on Craigslist for parts?

Thanks again.
     
reader50
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Jul 24, 2011, 05:33 PM
 
The boot cycle is not completing. Disconnect the keyboard, I think you can do this without opening the case. Also remove the AirPort Extreme card, which I think is under the keyboard. Then hit the power button, try to boot without those items connected. Recall, both are built-in peripherals. If one is defective, it can hang the boot.

If the system boots without those, you can determine which it is by trial and error. If it still doesn't boot, the next step is to inspect and reseat all the internal cables. Then replace the DC-in board. Then logic board.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Jul 24, 2011, 06:40 PM
 
If you don't mind taking it to bits, disconnect the optical and HDD and then boot it, see if the screen comes on. If it does, reconnect them one at a time see which breaks it again.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
chipchen
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Jul 24, 2011, 09:11 PM
 
Is there ALWAYS a beep? Could be indication of bad memory. Any LED flashing pattern. Try replacing the RAM, reseating them, etc...
     
thanser  (op)
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Jul 25, 2011, 12:02 AM
 
Thanks, everyone. Let me address each of your suggestions one by one and get back to you tomorrow.

I just tried removing each RAM stick individually, with no improvement. Same thing - it's not booting and the screen is still black.

Curious to know what it means when you boot with NO RAM installed - a short beep is heard and the sleep indicator light flashes twice, then stays on. It repeats this two-flash cycle repeatedly.

You CAN boot this machine with no RAM installed, correct?

Let me get back to your suggestions tomorrow.

Thanks!
     
reader50
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Jul 25, 2011, 12:45 AM
 
Originally Posted by thanser View Post
Curious to know what it means when you boot with NO RAM installed - a short beep is heard and the sleep indicator light flashes twice, then stays on. It repeats this two-flash cycle repeatedly.
You're describing the expected result. The machine fails POST (Power On Self Test) and is giving the signal for "No RAM installed". Some of the motherboard hardware is OK, and the CPU may be OK too. I'm not certain how low the POST code runs.
     
thanser  (op)
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Jul 25, 2011, 01:43 AM
 
Quick question: removing the keyboard ribbon cable (located under the RAM stick closest to the battery compartment) results in NO power on cycle? No startup chime is heard, nothing happens.

Doesn't this defeat the elimination of these internal peripherals? Did I miss something?
     
Waragainstsleep
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Jul 25, 2011, 06:13 AM
 
The power button is on the keyboard. If you disconnect the keyboard you have to find another way to power it on. I'm not sure there is one on the 17" PB.

Take the lid off and disconnect the drives as I suggested. Disconnect them at the logic board end of their cables. Then plug the lid back in (a bit of a pain on these units) and test.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
thanser  (op)
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Jul 26, 2011, 07:46 PM
 
OK, both drives are out, after removing the top (and keyboard/trackpad.)

I've located the two jumper pads on the mainboard, but jumping them does not result in a startup. I tried with the batter in place and also the power adapter plugged in.

Should the unit start with the top lid off? According to page 11 of the PDF Manual I downloaded (linked above) it should.

And while I have the Optical drive out, is there a way to release and eject the disk? Without damaging the drive?

Thanks!
     
thanser  (op)
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Jul 26, 2011, 09:08 PM
 
OK, had to put the top cover back on and install at least one stick of RAM to get it to startup.

Still no video, with both drives removed.

What's next?

Should I be able to get SOME video displayed without a HDD installed?

(I was able to remove the disk from the Superdrive by removing the top cover.)

Thanks!
     
Waragainstsleep
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Jul 27, 2011, 04:45 AM
 
You should still get a grey screen with no drives installed.

Its not looking too good I'm afraid.
Testing an external display would confirm 100% but if you get no video at all, the unit didn't appear to be booting with the drives in place it looks like the board has died.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
thanser  (op)
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Jul 27, 2011, 09:53 AM
 
Thank you - well, this confirms my suspicions.

I've had the item posted on Craigslist for two days now, selling it as is for parts. No responses yet. The HDD, RAM, battery and power adapter are all good.

Thanks again.
     
chipchen
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Jul 27, 2011, 01:13 PM
 
You'd get the most for this off Ebay most likey... but don't expect much. Honestly, might be worth putting it back together, seeing if someone you know might wanna buy it and send it in to apple under their flat rate repair fee.
     
reader50
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Jul 27, 2011, 01:31 PM
 
With both drives out, you could reset the power manager again, then try to boot. It's a long shot, but a Mac sometimes will do nothing after a hardware change until it gets reset.

The video should come on without drives attached. It should show the no-boot-drives icon.
     
   
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