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Thread: bg3 blinking ?

  1. #1
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    Howdy folks
    The problem: from a "cold" start, I get the disk icon with blinking "?" that continues as long as I have waited (5-10minutes), but then when I hit CONTROL-COMMAND-POWER, it reboots perfectly with a happy mac and runs fine thereafter. The machine also reboots perfectly from the "Restart" selection in the top menu bar. Only by starting with the power key on keyboard does it not find the OS. This is very consistent.

    The machine: beige g3 266 MT, 256 MB RAM, 20 GB West Dig HDD (2 partitions: 6GB "boot", and one other with the remaining space), OS 9.0.4 (fresh install, no other apps), no PCI cards, 24x OEM CD ROM, internal 100MB Zip.

    What I've tried: checked IDE cable connections, reset CUDA for 30+ seconds, reset PRAM (3 bongs), tried system picker, tried Startup Disk 9.2.1 CP, and probably a few other things. These attempts were the result of looking over old threads here.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated...
    geo


    [This message has been edited by geotime (edited 26 December 2001).]

  2. #2
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    Will the computer boot a OS CD normally via the 'C' key or the command+option+control+delete keys?

    Also, check that the ROM chip is completly seated. Wierd ills have been attributed to that.

    For some reason disabling the hardware check portion of the startup sequence allows your boot to find the system folder. Very interesting.......mmmm

    Try the CD startup, let me know what happens.
    Rick

  3. #3
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    Hey Rick
    Yes the machine will boot from a CD using the "C" key. In fact, I did a recent reinstall of OS to a full 20G partition. Following this, it would continue to boot from the CD even when the C was not pressed (I had to push the button on the drive during a restart to get it out). After reading an old thread, I decided to repartition the drive with a boot volume under 8G, so I just reinstalled the OS again. This time, it would restart into the installed OS with the CD in the drive. But the problem persists with a Power key start.

    I'm suspicious of a ROM problem, and the ROM chip seems very well seated. For instance after the most recent OS install, I used just a base set of extensions for trouble shooting purposes. At some point (after trying System Picker and Startup Disk 9.2.1) the desktop pattern reverted from the Mac OS pattern to a color I had used on a previous iteration of the OS (the French Dark Blue solid color) without my changing it! I don't know enough about the innards of the ROM and/or startup scripts to know how this setting could reemerge, but this suggests that there is some problem in this area.

    How does one disable the hardware check of the startup sequence? On another thread lasvegas suggested turning off the startup memory check in the memory CP (pressing OPT-COM while opening the CP), but this unfortunately did not solve the problem. Maybe disabling hardware check would? Other than this boot glich, the machine runs fine (0 errors in the Power Frax/Power Control torture test). Thanks for your response.



    [This message has been edited by geotime (edited 26 December 2001).]

  4. #4
    tachyon Guest

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    Considering the number of hard drives I replace on a weekly basis... I'd say go for the hard drive. If you tried resetting the Open Firmware already (worth a shot)

    The desktop pattern setting you were wondering about is definitely saved in a Preference File- which one I can't remember right now.

    Is the ZIP an ATA or SCSI model? Try unplugging it to see if it's causing your symptom.

  5. #5
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    hey tach
    Yep, tried resetting Open Firmware to defaults (again thanks to lasvegas from another thread!)

    I didn't really want to replace the hard drive. I was getting this thing ready to sell--like I said it works great except for this cold boot oddity.

    The desktop preference resurgence surprised me because I reinitialized the drive before each successive reinstall. Thought that it would've been wiped out.

    The Zip is ATA. I'll try pulling it off the line and see. Thanks for the thoughts.

  6. #6
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    First, the hardware test is disabled when you do a forced reboot command-control-pwr. And that worked everytime you tried it. My first thought was a disk corruption. I would try Disk Warrior on the drive if a out and out replacement isn't easiest. DiskWarrior can be found at; http://www.alsoft.com/DiskWarrior/index.html

    Disk Warriors a downloadable disk utility that will repair the index if possible. Good to run on your disks once in a while anyway, so worth owning in its own right.

    If you figure the ROM chip is the problem then you should be able to purchase a replacement fairly easy. Maybe icni.com would have them.

    I would first suspect the drive.

    Rick

  7. #7
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    OK, OK, OK!! I've seen so many testimonials attesting to the "utility" of DiskWarrior, and have put off for so long my purchase of it--I finally ordered a copy. If it fixes this problematic bg3, so much the better. Longer term, it can only help keep up the health of my trusty 8600 (xlr8 carrier 466 which is eerily stable): pretty easily justifiable purchase, in fact.

    I've referred to other threads more than once here, and similar syndromes have not been reported resolved by the various posters (at least as far as I have searched--ex.: Booting problem in G3 beige). I continue to suspect some strangeness in bg3 ROM which is beyond me...

    Is there some way to disable the hardware check aside from the CONTROL-COMMAND-POWER restart?

    [This message has been edited by geotime (edited 26 December 2001).]

    [This message has been edited by geotime (edited 26 December 2001).]

  8. #8
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    well, Disk Warrior has arrived and been applied with no solution. The symptoms are the same: blinking "?" from a Power key start, and perfect boot from either CONTROL-COMMAND-POWER restart (while "?" is blinking) or from any other restart with the OS up and running.

    One odd thing, after rebuilding the boot disk directory with DW, the original Mac OS desktop pattern returned (see below). Anyone have any other ideas?

    Thanks, geo

  9. #9
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    Now that you have tried Disk Warrior which I would have tried, I suspect something about your RAM is failing the test during cold startup, and does not get checked on a restart. The Gurus ftp site has two programs for checking RAM, the Newer GaugePro and xlr8 PowerControl and PowerFrax. Run either test all night. With PowerControl and PowerFrax, you want PowerFrax running in the background with PowerControl's memory test running in the foreground. Note that much of PowerControl is broken with later OS versions but the memory test works fine.

    Also note that you want to set Energy Saver CP to Never for all three settings or PowerControl will stall. It is not sufficient for Energy Saver to be disabled because the setttings are maintained in NVRAM and go back to default 30 minutes with a Cuda Reset or Zap PRAM.

    If you find any errors, then you will have to pull RAM sticks to see which is bad because no utility will tell you which stick is failing the tests.

    You can play with the tests but a full overnite test is necessary to see whether the RAM is OK or not before pulling sticks. k

  10. #10
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    Thanks kaye. I've tried shorter duration Power Frax/Power Control tests but not a full overnighter--will do.

    And I've already set the Energy Saver to never after having some sleep nightmares.



    [This message has been edited by geotime (edited 28 December 2001).]

  11. #11
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    OK. The RAM is fine. It's a single 256MB PC133 stick (of unknown origin). I ran Power Control Memory Test (extended) with Power Frax cycling in the background for 15 hours with 0 errors. No change in startup behavior.

    I'm using Startup Disk 9.2.1 in a freshly installed 9.0.4 running base extensions. This OS is installed in a 6GB partition. Also, the ROM version is $77D.45F2.

    What's next to try? Thanks, geo.

  12. #12
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    Okay¨÷ Your memory tested okay overnight. Your only problem is the Startup Memory Test bug (I have the same problem on my 9500 clone with 1GB Ram and a G3 upgrade. This is actually very simple to fix!

    Once you get started, hold the Command and Option keys as you open the Memory control panel. This will make available an additional control to turn off the Startup Memory Test. Just turn it off. This will solve your problem until the next CUDA reset or PRAM Zap.

  13. #13
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    hey lv--no joy here with that Memory CP setting for this problem. Same symptoms persist.

    My sense is that there is something in the startup sequence (whether hardware, software or some combination of the two which prevents a "view" of the OS at the appropriate time) which renders the boot sequence on this machine "moot." These beige G3s are transitional beasts, aren't they?

  14. #14
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    Problem Solved!! The problem was that my Western Digital HD was set as master. WD IDE drives have three settings: master, slave and single drive. Since my drive was the only device on the bus, it needed to be set as single (for this setting the jumper is set to "neutral strorage"--that is, set horizontally across pins 2-4 or 4-6). I found this out by poking around xlr8yourmac and being dircted to WD's site.

    The guy I bought this computer from was "supposed" to know what he was doing. Not being an IDE guy myself (and because the computer worked well other than this boot problem), I figured the settings were OK. Whew! Well at least I have the satisfaction of completing a successful troubleshoot.

    And since others have had similar problems with bg3s, I thought I would pass this along for the gurus troubleshooting checklist.

    Thanks to one and all,
    geo

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