View Full Version : Flashing "?" at startup

Urinal Puck
08-24-2001, 03:43 PM
My PCP 210 crashed earlier today and I've been unable to startup since. Each time it stops when trying to find the system software and I get the flashing ?

What I've done no necessarily in this order:
- restart with extensions off
- removed all peripherals
- boot from OS 8.5 CD, Norton CD, and original PPC CD while holding down "c"
- boot from OS 8.5 CD, Norton CD, and original PPC CD while holding down "command, option, shift, delete"
- held cuda reset for several seconds

When trying to boot from the CDs, it spits each of them out,. Reinserting them doesn't do anything.

What else should I try?

Power Center Pro 210
xlr8 G3 400 (clocked to 480)


08-24-2001, 05:19 PM
Disconnect all external SCSI devices and try booting the CD again. Failing that, you may have a corrupted driver in your hard disk. If you can remember what the drive was formated with (PowerComputing used FWB HD Toolkit on the PC disk included with your machine), you will need the CD that contains the hard disk driver software. Open the computer and disconnect the power connector from the drive. Boot the CD and after the boot is complete, reconnect the Drives power. Proceed to run the hard disk driver software and update the driver on the unmounted drive.

This should cure your problem if this was the cause.

Urinal Puck
08-24-2001, 06:26 PM
Thanks. I'll give it a try and check back. I formatted those disks using Intech. I don't think I have that on a CD anywhere.


Urinal Puck
08-24-2001, 07:17 PM
Okay. No luck. Here' s what I've done.

-Disconnected hard drives and tried to boot from CD
-Attached CDROM to other scsi bus and tried to boot
-Disconnected everything. PCI cards...everything. Tried to boot from CD on internal bus.
-Removed xlr8 processor and put in original processor.

Everything still ends in the blinking ?

I've grasped my last straw...

Thanks for the help.


08-24-2001, 10:38 PM
Hmmm - from what I recollect of the old PowerWatch stuff, you need to have a CD w/ the right driver for that non-Apple CD-ROM before you can boot from the CD on a OEM drive Power Computing machine.

any possibility that you might be able to find an old Apple CD-ROM drive that you can put in that machine?. Then you should be able to boot and try to fix your corrupted hard drive.

Or perhaps someone can burn you a CD w/ the FWB driver on it and a bare minimum system... (I can check to see if we have it in the lab and try to get you a CD...)


Urinal Puck
08-24-2001, 11:03 PM
I have tried several times using the original CD that came with the PCP210 with the many different configurations. It has FWB on it. System 7.6, but it still spits it out. Thanks for the offer though.

I've removed the motherboard battery and plan to leave it out all night.

Other than that all I can figure on trying is:
- trying to boot from a zip disk
- trying to boot from a floppy
- taking the hard drives to school to run norton on them, maybe back up a couple files

I'm feeling pretty screwed, although not too much data loss which is good. My gut is, however, that the data is probably fine.


[This message has been edited by Urinal Puck (edited 24 August 2001).]

08-25-2001, 12:16 AM
You can make a boot floppy from the OS8.5 CD. I have used that floppy on several machines. k

Urinal Puck
08-25-2001, 12:39 AM
Thanks. I'll make one tomorrow...I've got to do some preparing at school before the kids show up next week anyway...


Urinal Puck
08-25-2001, 12:23 PM
Popped in a new battery...flashing "?"

I'll make a floppy boot disk and see if that will work.


08-26-2001, 03:49 AM
Have you tried Zapping your NvRAM? This is done in the same fashion as Zapping the PRAM except from a cold boot (not restart). Hold down Command-Option-Shift-Delete just as the chime starts.

Urinal Puck
08-26-2001, 11:00 AM
I have zapped NvRAM. Tried the floppy boot disk. Still no go. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif


08-26-2001, 11:16 AM

Next possibility is RAM. I would pull half of it and try the floppy again as well as your other methods to startup. If no go, reinstall it and pull the other half. Try your startup again. k

[This message has been edited by kaye (edited 26 August 2001).]

Urinal Puck
08-26-2001, 11:31 AM
Thanks Kaye,

I'll try that next. I did try booting once with just my Gurus RAM in, but not off of a floppy.


08-27-2001, 03:17 AM
I just solved this problem with a client over the phone today! Turned out she had just installed a new battery in her PowerTowerPro (9500 equiv.) and put it in backward! After correcting the problem and pressing the CUDA switch, she still got the question mark and spitting out the CDs. I had her disconnect the power from both of her internal hard drives and it booted the CD fine. I then had her reconnect the power on the drives, run Drive Setup from the CD's Utilities folder and mount the drives. They mounted fine. A reboot proved that her system was back to normal.

Urinal Puck
08-27-2001, 02:31 PM
Thanks for staying with me guys...

LV, you're starting to keep magician hours!

I took yesterday off from troubleshooting to get my mind off of it. I ran home during lunch to check the battery. It flew out of the case, so I have no idea if it was in the right way or not. I'll be checking the RAM tonight.

The battery is in correctly for sure now, and I tried it in backwards as well, both ways as you described. Holding Cuda, disconnecting the hard drives trying to boot from the CD. Still no luck. I didn't have time to try a floppy or zip disk boot. I'll play with it more tonight.

In the meantime, I managed to break a pin off of the back of the stock TEAC CDROM. That was some nice work. The Yamaha CDRW I have takes forever to mount a CD...

Thanks again everyone. I stiill have faith, but must confess to checking out ebay and the new G4 desktops (not quite in the budget, but you gotta do what you gotta do.)


[This message has been edited by Urinal Puck (edited 27 August 2001).]

Urinal Puck
08-27-2001, 08:49 PM
SUCCESS!!! http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/dance.gif http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/dance.gif http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/dance.gif http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/dance.gif http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/dance.gif

Bought a can of compressed air on my way home from work. Took the computer completely apart. Unscrewed every screw and unseated every card and gave every area a good blast of air. (I remembered Kaye giving that advice to someone).

I put only the essentials back together. No PCI cards, hard drives, CD drives. Just the daughtercard, ROM, Processor, one stick of ram, battery (double checked the battery direction), and floppy drive. Held CUDA for a minute. Dropped it (by accident). Popped in the floppy disk and crossed my fingers.

http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif It booted, but blacked out after the http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif, presumably because there wasn't enough RAM. I slowly put it all back together, booting between each new addition. Scanned the hard drives with Norton...no problems.

Whew!...my PCP lives to see another day!

Now to replace the CDROM and maybe grab one of those PCI fans I've been wanting to get.

Thanks, everyone. I don't know what did it, but I certainly appreciate the help everyone so selflessly gives.


[This message has been edited by Urinal Puck (edited 27 August 2001).]

08-27-2001, 10:29 PM
UP, I'm betting it was the dropping that fixed it.


(btw, i have been sleeping like a baby since i got this device called a BIPAP--I've even been watching the sun rise lately, and not because I pulled an involuntary all-nighter. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif The next step is to get back into the gym. Next month. As in, next week. )


Urinal Puck
08-27-2001, 11:05 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
UP, I'm betting it was the dropping that fixed it.

http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif That's my guess too! Actually, it's this service that you provide that fixed it. That and the time and wonderful advice that your volunteers provide.

Besides, fixing this thing allowed me to buy some stuff from you...I'm such a kiss ass http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Glad to hear about the sleep....


08-28-2001, 05:20 AM
I don't stay up quite as late as it looks. It's 2:20am right now. I'm watching Howard Stern as I peruse the Gurus! I'd have done it earlier, but other than a service call (4 hours! I made money today!), I've been working on enhancing OS X in my PTP today.

08-29-2001, 02:14 PM
Hi guys!
I am still alive and still having problems, so here it is!
I have the flashing "?" at start up on a 7200/75.
It has been sitting shut off all summer. It was used and worked fine on Monday, Wednesday on start up I get the "?". Any ideas???

08-29-2001, 06:52 PM
Have you tried replacing the battery? A no-load voltage check is not sufficient. Radio Shack has them, #23-026, Lithium, 3.6V, 850mAh, $10. k