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 Post subject: Reviving an elderly Mac....
PostPosted: Jan Sun 14, 2018 9:05 pm 
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Location: Santa Cruz mountains
About 7 years ago my brother-in-law gave me a 2002 Imac G4. I upgraded the memory and gave it to my kids. They used it for a month and decided they didn't want it anymore ("Daddy, it won't run the latest version of Flash Player!"). :x

I then stored it in my basement for years, almost discarding it a few times along the way. It was so cool looking that I couldn't bring myself to part with it.

Recently, I cleaned out my basement and created a second workbench area. The Mac would seem to be a good thing to use for downloading schematics and such, so I decided to revive it.

The Imac works, but the geriatric nature of its version of OSX is what condemned it to the basement. It is Panther, OSX 10.3, an OS that was produced while Apple was still getting its house in order. To put things in perspective, this OS was released a little over a year after the first Ipod came out, and nearly four years before the first IPhone was introduced. Panther does not recognize most of the methods used to install downloaded software on OSX today. Thus, It was impossible to install most currently available G4-capable software on the Imac with Panther. At the time, I didn't have much recourse to fix it, as newer OS disks that would work were expensive and unavailable at retail.

Over the years this situation has improved. There are sites that have downloadable versions of Tiger, the OSX version that allows more of the applications to be installed on it. At the same time there are a few ports of contemporary web browsers that will run under the G4 version of Tiger. With some coaxing it is even possible to run Leopard on this Imac, which is the last version of OSX that will run on non-Intel Macs. It seems like the time is right to put this to use as a utility machine in my basement shop.

I booted the machine for the first time in ages a few days ago to confirm it still works. Indeed it does, with some anomalies. I had trouble getting the machine to turn on when I had it plugged into one of the power strips on my bench. I plugged it into another power strip and it booted up just fine.

I noticed that the machine's performance was a little pokey, and I could hear what sounded like disk drive heads clunking. The system seemed to work fine without any crashes, so I initially chalked this up as normal behavior. One other thing I noticed was the year on the clock was shown as 1969. This would become important later on.

This system shipped with a Seagate 80GB IDE drive that was only 5400 RPM. I had an old 180GB 7200 RPM Hitachi drive that I hadn't used in years, so I decided to use that to upgrade the hard drive in this machine.

First things first-getting machine apart:

There are four tiny captive phillips screws holding the cover for the "user installable" options on the bottom of the machine. I removed those to reveal four Torx screws holding the bottom of the case to the rest of the base. I removed those, which allowed me to crack the case open:

Image

If you've ever disassembled a spherically-shaped novelty radio to repair it, this is kinda like that. The round shape is an odd thing to work on.

There are quite a few cables connecting the top and bottom halves-IDE, Video, Ground, Power, Wireless, and speaker. One has to disconnect those to separate the halves, and reveal the disk drives:

Image

Four more Torx screws hold the DVD drive and the Hard drive in a bracket:

Image

Since I wasn't sure that the installation of the new OS would be 100% successful, I decided to back up the contents of the existing hard drive:

Image

This revealed that there was definitely something wrong with the original hard drive:

Image

92 errors totalling 133 MB, and the copying process isn't even done yet. fortunately most of those errors are on blank areas of the hard drive. 10+ hours to copy an 80GB hard drive is insane.
Clearly, this disk was on its way out, so the decision to upgrade was a particularly good one.

Compare that to the time it took to copy to my replacement drive:

Image

58 minutes and 23 seconds.... That's more like it!

Here is the new, copied drive installed in the bracket:

Image

Upon reassembly, I fired 'er up and everything worked perfectly. I did everything right, or so it seems.

Image

There is still the problem of that pesky, antiquated OSX version:

Image

These are the Tiger disks that I made from downloaded images from a user-supported vintage Mac site. I confirmed that all of them read perfectly in this Imac's optical drive.

Image

Image

The installer for Tiger worked perfectly. It took about an hour to load all four disk into the machine and load a fresh Install of Tiger:

Image

I finished Tiger Installation and Everything works fine. I then installed all the updates without any problems. TenFourFox, A port of Firefox for G4 processors also installed and ran fine. Unfortunately, I have no network connectivity in the basement, and this Mac wasn't picking up my wireless router upstairs. It did pick up my neighbor's router across the street so I know the wireless was working. To actually test the machine on the net I would have to bring it up to my living room.

It was here that things started going a little south. I plugged the machine in, pressed the power button, and........nothing. It wasn't powering up! No amount of coaxing would get it to come up. At this time, I had a bit of Deja Vu. A long time ago, I was a technician working on early 1990s Macs that had 68000-series processors in them. A common problem back then was a removable Lithium battery made in Israel by Tadiran. It would go dead and leave the Mac completely powerless. I replaced a lot of those batteries back in the day. I then remembered the "1969" year shown on the clock of this Mac. Could a battery be the problem on these newer Macs?

Why, of course it could....Looking on the various Mac forums described the exact problem I was having, and it was usually a battery. I took the Imac apart again, and not only was there a battery there, it was the exact same type that I had replaced hundreds of times on other Macs!

Image

I removed this battery and measured it on my DMM. It's supposed to put out 3.6V but actually measures 60mv, essentially open circuit. I verified this on a second meter, with exactly the same results.

This is not a battery that one can find in just any hardware store. Fortunately there is a Batteries Plus store about 10 miles down the street that should have it. I'll pick one up when I go grocery shopping today, and then try it. That should fix the problem (I hope).

Next on the agenda after that is testing this on the net. Once I confirm that is successful, I will then try to upgrade to Leopard (OSX 10.5). I've got an image of a Leopard install DVD that someone gave me years ago. it is HUGE (7GB) and getting it on this Mac long enough to install it is going to be a challenge. I've figured out that I can probably FTP it from my PC to the Mac once I get network connectivity on both machines. Stay tuned.....


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 Post subject: Re: Reviving an elderly Mac....
PostPosted: Jan Sun 14, 2018 9:38 pm 
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I too have an old G4 iMac. Over time I upgraded it to 2 gb of memory, installed an airport card and installed OS X Leopard.
It is a 17 inch version with USB 2.0

It works, but Leopard is actually too much for it. I may just downgrade it to Tiger.
It sits at a friend's place in a spare bedroom where i often spend the night. I soon found out a Raspberry Pi is much faster! Really? :shock:

Anyhow, I also have a G4 Powerbook which has almost the same specs. It has Tiger and works fairly well.

They are useful, but not for watching YouTube videos.

-Steve

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 Post subject: Re: Reviving an elderly Mac....
PostPosted: Jan Sun 14, 2018 9:57 pm 
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Location: Mountains of Mourne. Ireland.
After you replace the 3.6V PRAM battery there should be a small micro switch nearby.
Press it only once.

Greg.


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 Post subject: Re: Reviving an elderly Mac....
PostPosted: Jan Sun 14, 2018 10:29 pm 
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egg wrote:
After you replace the 3.6V PRAM battery there should be a small micro switch nearby.
Press it only once.

Greg.


+1 on what Greg says. I had a G4 with a separate flat panel display that I used for about ten years at work before I retired. The most dependable computer I've ever seen and maybe the most beautiful one too, and I've seen a lot of computers working on them for 28 years at a school system. I actually wore out the keyboard, but the mouse still worked as new. If I ever had to remove the battery, one press on the reset switch was always necessary after the new one was installed, before it would boot.

You should be able to transfer that 8GB image with a thumb drive (USB drive) but first insert it in the Mac to make sure it can be read and that it has the space required. You may have to reformat it on the Mac with a PC format before it will work on both platforms. I never had any problems going between Mac and PC with thumb drives or external hard drives doing it that way.

Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Reviving an elderly Mac....
PostPosted: Jan Sun 14, 2018 10:33 pm 
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When you said "elderly Mac" I thought you meant the old Compact Mac. A 2002-vintage Mac is still "current tech" to me! :lol:

I stick with 10.4.11 since it's the last OS to support Classic 9.22. I have three Macs running this OS and I borrow my wife's Macbook Pro for anything that needs something current. That's happening more often but I still rely on several Classic apps that I refuse to find new replacements to go Intel. My main system has four drives, three of them have a different OS installed from 10.39 to 10.5.8 plus 9.22 for direct boot into the old pre-osX system.

Macintosh Garden is the site to browse for tons of the older apps. Low-End Mac for the model roster and info. If you have another Mac, Firewire Target Disk Mode works well for transfers. There's also USB HD adapters pretty cheap to allow directly connecting a second HD via USB. Even a thumbdrive will work, but it'll be slow. CD/DVD is probably slower still.

Youtube works as well as it can if allowed to fully load before viewing. Biggest pain for me is no really current Javascript support.

In a pinch I've used a pair of 1.5v batteries to sub for the PRAM batt.
-Ed


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 Post subject: Re: Reviving an elderly Mac....
PostPosted: Jan Mon 15, 2018 7:32 am 
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I got the battery, put it in, and still........nothing.

Tried every hail-mary technique suggested in at least a dozen Mac forums to get this IMac to power up but still no workie.

Tried going back in there, reseating connectors, the whole bit. Uh-uh.

It appears that this thing has turned into pig in a poke in the blink of an eye. Most unfortunate, especially considering the time already spent, and the fact that it waited until I had practically everything dialed in before it decided to die.

It's probably a bad power supply, but I'm not spending any more time on this. What made this cool was the notion that it was functional, and I could swivel it out of the way when I wasn't using it.
When it started getting wonky like this, my interest waned fast. It could be the power supply, or it could be something else. Not going there for a 15 year old machine.

Back when this was still current, the guys at the genius bar could simply replace parts until the unit powered up. All the spares they needed were right there. I don't have that luxury, so out this goes. It doesn't help that this is a BITCH to work on.

I have an old ACER Windows XP machine and a 19 inch Sony monitor that works fine. I'll use that instead.

Those who may stumble onto this thread in the future should consider this a cautionary tale, as my experience here showcases the major Achilles heel of Apple products: A older Mac that is working is a wonderful and useful thing; an older Mac that isn't is a complete albatross, since every single part is UNIQUE.

Before I totally give up on this, I will do something that was suggested in one of the forums: leave the system plugged into AC power untouched for a few days. Maybe whatever is hosing the power-up capability will correct itself, which at least one poster claimed fixed his problem. I'm not holding my breath but stranger things have happened.


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 Post subject: Re: Reviving an elderly Mac....
PostPosted: Jan Mon 15, 2018 12:53 pm 
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I had this exact same scenario happen with an old G3 PowerMac.

It was working fine, no problem, then after doing something with it…..dead.
I was rather unhappy as it has a bunch of interesting software on it!

Maybe I'll try leaving it plugged in as well?

Very strange as things were working fine for a few days, then suddenly dead…

-Steve


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g3powermac.jpg
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 Post subject: Re: Reviving an elderly Mac....
PostPosted: Jan Mon 15, 2018 3:39 pm 
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azenithnut wrote:
I had this exact same scenario happen with an old G3 PowerMac.

It was working fine, no problem, then after doing something with it…..dead.
I was rather unhappy as it has a bunch of interesting software on it!

Maybe I'll try leaving it plugged in as well?

Very strange as things were working fine for a few days, then suddenly dead…

-Steve


The power supplies on that era Mac were notoriously unreliable. Try pulling the plug, then plug it back, then power it up.

Brett


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 Post subject: Re: Reviving an elderly Mac....
PostPosted: Jan Mon 15, 2018 4:16 pm 
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Pulling the plug and plugging it back in was one of the first things I tried.

-Steve

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 Post subject: Re: Reviving an elderly Mac....
PostPosted: Jan Mon 15, 2018 7:00 pm 
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Replacing all the electrolytic capacitors on both the motherboard and power supply is the first thing I do.

Adding lead solder to a lead-free soldered joint speeds up the removal process.
Many modern day circuit boards are multi-layered with Vias that can be damaged by waiting for your iron to melt the solder.
You want to get in-and-out as quickly as possible.

Plated through-hole Via.
Image

My daily driver is a 13 year old Mac with a M̶a̶c̶r̶o̶m̶e̶d̶i̶a̶ Adobe Flash workaround.
Copes flawlessly with anything that the 2018 web can throw at it.

Greg.


Edit: image updated.


Last edited by egg on Mar Mon 19, 2018 5:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Reviving an elderly Mac....
PostPosted: Jan Mon 15, 2018 9:52 pm 
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The best way I've found is to carefully destroy the old cap so you can remove each lead individually.

-Steve

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 Post subject: Re: Reviving an elderly Mac....
PostPosted: Jan Tue 16, 2018 6:17 am 
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Grab the cap with a pair of pliers and wiggle it back and forth so that the cap pivots on its leads. Eventually, it break loose and come off. Then, solder suck what's on the pads and install a new cap..


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 Post subject: Re: Reviving an elderly Mac....
PostPosted: Jan Tue 16, 2018 11:12 am 
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Stuff a Raspberry Pi in the base and find a way to output it to the existing Mac screen.


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 Post subject: Re: Reviving an elderly Mac....
PostPosted: Jan Tue 16, 2018 1:54 pm 
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I thought about replacing the motherboard of my G4 iMac with that of a Mac Mini.
It should fit, but figuring out the display wiring would be the difficult part.

It works fine, so I'll probably let it be.

-Steve

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Last edited by azenithnut on Jan Tue 16, 2018 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Reviving an elderly Mac....
PostPosted: Jan Tue 16, 2018 5:58 pm 
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Does it make the startup sound? Maybe try Command/Shift/Power to restart, might take a couple three tries. No startup sound, then it could be a hardware issue. Can you hear the hard drive spin up or any fan noise?

I have a couple G4 Mirror Door Macs. Both had a failed power supply. I repaired one supply and just keep the other MDD as a backup unit.

I was given an iMac G5. After a new hard drive, it was still flaky. I replaced about 10 bulging caps and had a real problem with the solder vias. I'd get it working awhile and soon another solder joint would fail. It got to where I could have the motherboard out in mere minutes. I eventually gave up and trashed the thing after a bunch of lines showed up on the display, another common problem with this model. Too bad, I liked the machine, it was prettyy zippy compared to my G4s.

iFixit is a good site for all sorts of repair walkthroughs, not just computers. Here's the Mac Desktop page: https://www.ifixit.com/Device/Mac_Desktop

-Ed


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 Post subject: Re: Reviving an elderly Mac....
PostPosted: Jan Tue 16, 2018 8:20 pm 
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My G3 tower is dead dead dead.
No startup "bong" no hard drive spin up, I haven't pulled the power supply yet.
But it was working just fine for days, then I power cycled it a couple times while trying a couple different memory configurations then... nothing.

-Steve

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 Post subject: Re: Reviving an elderly Mac....
PostPosted: Jan Wed 17, 2018 1:05 am 
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Nice iMac G4. I have one myself, an early 15" 700MHz machine. It ran the last time I used it, which was several months ago. Did you try pressing the PMU button on the logic board? Info about that here, here and here. Good luck!

I've been keeping PPC Macs going for several years now. My first was an original beige Power Macintosh G3, which was more than a bit of a dog. Of course, Macs of its type weren't originally designed to run Mac OS X, so it shouldn't be entirely surprising. Soon afterwards, I found a lime iMac G3, which was a pain in the butt to get working thanks to scrambled firmware, but I managed to pull it off. Since then, I've bought a number of used PowerMacs, iMacs and PowerBooks, mostly from vendors at the famed MIT Swapfest. I'm currently using a modified PowerMac G5 as my main desktop, though it and the OS X 10.5 Leopard OS are showing their age. I'm planning to switch it out for an Intel-based Mac Pro in the near-ish future, as the PMG5 is showing its age in various ways (its 14th birthday isn't far off).

Of course, I have quite a few Macs which predate PPC. The first Macs I owned was a trio of compact Macs which I rescued from the Mac Lab at my high school: a Mac SE, a Mac Classic, and a Mac Classic II. I also rescued various spare parts, which came in very handy when the PRAM battery in my Classic leaked its guts all over the logic board. I swapped in my spare board, and it came back to life (though it may need the SMD electrolytic caps on the board replaced, a common problems with machines from this era). I also have several other compact Macs, including an original 128K Macintosh, a 512Ke, and a couple of Pluses. The coolest of the lot, however, is not truly a Mac, but rather its predecessor, the Apple Lisa. It's been converted to work as the equivalent of a large-screen Mac Plus, and though it's not currently working due to a bad HD, it will hopefully be repairable.
-Adam
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 Post subject: Re: Reviving an elderly Mac....
PostPosted: Jan Wed 17, 2018 8:12 am 
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Steve, disconnect everything from the logic board, all cables, cards from slots, RAM, battery, EVERYTHING, and let it sit for 24 hours. Then plug it all back in and see if it will fire up.

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 Post subject: Re: Reviving an elderly Mac....
PostPosted: Jan Wed 17, 2018 8:39 am 
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Saw a T-shirt today that reminded me of this thread.

If I'm ever on life support, pull the plug
Then plug me back in
See if that helps

:lol: Has about an equal chance!

If a ram swap was the last thing done, I'd check there first. But a li'l stray static could upset the Apple cart. Years ago I fried a working SE mb that way.

-Ed


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 Post subject: Re: Reviving an elderly Mac....
PostPosted: Jan Mon 22, 2018 7:00 am 
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I left it plugged in for seven more days. in the vain hope that it would right itself. Still nothing.

Here is what I did instead:

Image

Image

That's an old ACER Windows XP Pentiuim 4 PC with 1.5 GB RAM and an 80GB hard drive. It once belonged to the Attorney of our Radio Club. He didn't want it anymore so he donated it to the club. The club didn't have a use for it so they gave it to me. The 19" Sony LCD monitor was one that I used as a daily driver for years until I got a 22 inch Dell monitor last year. The Buffalo wireless adaptor was one that I bought NIB at a flea market for a buck.

The Canon Printer/Scanner/Copier I found sitting in a parking lot with a FREE sign on it. It works perfectly and even has a viable toner cartridge in it.

For the casual lookup and printing of schematics and other documentation, this setup will work fine and the price was right.

At some point I may try to fix the power supply on the iMac, but I'm not terribly motivated.


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