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Thread: Strange video problem after installing new RAM

  1. #41
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    Last May I attached a friend's full-height (17 lbs!) drive to a 2930 on my B&W to set it up, format, install etc. and had one of those "POP!" sounds and there was a distinct smell. But I never saw anything look funny.

    Now I have to add that every time I open up the computer, even though it offers easy access, it's another opportunity for mischief. Really.

    The 2930 was shot. A video card next to it was shot. But... I didn't realize until this week, that the PCI slot was/is now shot too. (That seems new).

    This explains some of the trouble with other scsi controllers not working. I put a 2940U2B in that slot, use to be safe, and the card actually felt WARM. Tried it in my 7300 - no go, dead. Ouch. and boo-hoo. May have been caused in this case by being careless, touching something, or moisture on my hands. I use to actually get so nervous and sweat opening it up and going inside afraid to damage something (self-fulfilling prophecy).

    So now I have a B&W that scares me. It has at least one bad PCI slot that "kills" anything I put in it.

    And of course once there is a problem and you're installing, removing, changing PCI slots for cards, trying different stuff, it seems nearly inevitable.

    If I could get OS X to boot and run on my 7300, I'd be happy to limp along until I can get a new or ref'd G4 next fall.

    Vicki, those are really great parenting tidbits! Good luck with your G4. I'll post some ideas on your other thread.

    Gregory

  2. #42
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    I don't know if this is related, but a fellow on the SuperMacs email list just mentioned that Quicktime JPEG Update was related to a problem with slow redraws and his desktop picture getting "eaten". Might relate to your problem, Vicki.

  3. #43
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    Thanks for the info, Trag. But if that was the case, why did the problem manifest itself only when the new RAM was physically installed in the computer? As soon as I removed the RAM and put my old RAM back in, the problems disappeared. The version of Quicktime I was running remained the same while using the new RAM as well as my old RAM.

    Best I can tell, the G3 needed PC100, not PC133, and using PC133 was the cause of the problems. When I ran a search on the internet about popping capacitors, I ran into many references saying the capacitors popped due to overclocking and overheating. I believe this is what tha RAM did to my G3. I know I could be wrong, but the events of the video problems, the computer errors and then the capacitors popping is more than I can pass off as mere coincidence.

    I talked with Deb on the phone twice, and she said a guru tech would call me. I need to return the RAM and ask the difficult question of whether the gurus should be responsible for repairs on my G3. I've been waiting 8 days for a return phone call. I called Deb again last Monday. She apologized that no one had called me, and then promised to have a tech call me back. Here it is on Thursday, and I'm still waiting. It looks like I'm on my own with this.

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  4. #44
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    Apple has an article on how some SDRAM was/is sensitive to voltage on startup AND where USB self-powered devices (that have their own A/C adapter) are causing problems. But most RAM, and especially top quality, I doubt.

    SDRAM Problems With Self-Powered USB Devices - Size: 13k
    ... there is a specific condition where a USB device plugged into a G4 causes certain
    SDRAM to freeze and crash. Could you tell me how to identify or avoid this ...
    http://developer.apple.com/qa/hw/hw82.html

    So maybe it isn't exactly the RAM,

  5. #45
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    The speed of the memory has nothing to do with the speed of the computer. PC133 memory in a machine with a 100MHz bus will run at 100MHz. Since it's designed to run as fast as 133MHz would result in the memory actually running cooler and with less power demand than that same memory running on a 133MHz bus. Your bus jumper selections (under the "Do Not Remove" tape) and perhaps the processor ZIF are the only things that would have an effect on the bus speed. There are many things that could cause a capacitor to explode, including heat, reverse current (If somehow a 5v line were shorted with a 3v line, or 12v line shorted with a 5v line, etc), overvoltage, age (the electrolitic liquid in the can drys allowing the capacitor to short out) or even a surge on the ground line going into the computer. A very common cause of exploding capacitors on personal computers (Macs and PCs) is improper application of power to a USB or Firewire device.

    If the memory worked at all, you can rule it out as the cause of exploding capacitors. If the memory were shorted, it wouldn't have worked in the first place. Until we can determine exactly what specific capacitor(s) blew, we couldn't possibly determine the cause.

  6. #46
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    Lasvegas, can you just jump down the cable lines and take a look at this computer? I swear, ever since I installed in those RAM chips, I have wanted to throw the G3 out the window. My poor, beloved G3 that I would not part with for so long is now sitting deader than a doorknob, and frustrating me to no end. If only I had left the poor thing alone and not tried to upgrade its RAM. It was always such a happy computer before now.

    If I sound like I'm going crazy, then you're right.

    Deb called today saying basically what you said. The RAM is not at fault. I don't know what to believe.

    So I post a message on the Apple forums. A guy tells me that I couldn't have blown capacitors in the power supply and still have the computer boot up. I can't find anything wrong with the motherboard. Surely, I shouldn't need a magnifying glass to find blown capacitors on a motherboard. Should I remove the motherboard and look on the back? Could the pops I heard be something other than capacitors exploding?

    I'm posting messages everywhere I can find. I'm even allowing myself to become spambait by posting to newsgroups. I MUST know what the hell those loud pops were, where they came from, and what damage, if any, was caused at the time. I can't boot it and let it run 24/7 without knowing what happened! If something is damaged, I have to fix it!

    Please, please, is there ANYTHING else that could have caused two very loud pops and still leave the computer running? ANYTHING??

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  7. #47
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    I've been receiving considerable help through several newsgroups. People are so helpful and nice everywhere you go (I even have some hardcore PC guys helping without making the typical Mac wisecracks!). Unfortunately, between all of your suggestions, I'm still at square one.

    I have looked all through my computer, the motherboard, all PCI cards, hard drives, other drives, card reader, all connections, all wires - everything! - and I cannot find what blew. I'm even using a magnifying glass, and I still can't find anything.

    It is time I open the power supply. I have never opened one before and have no idea where to start. Is there anyone here who can help me with this? I simply must find what blew. I can't fix what I can't find.

    I will not hold against you or the gurus any subsequent damages that may result from your assistance. I'm at the point I don't care what happens. I either have to find it myself or take it to gawdknowswhere to have it fixed. Given those choices, I'd rather break it with my own two hands.

    HELP!

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  8. #48
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    Vickie - We want you to figure out so we won't !! And actually, I think someone could travel down the fiberoptic to look -- I'm sure you have a webcam or something, even a camera (you were talking about using one?). I found a lot of detail in a FW webcam still shot (1024x768) gave amazing detail - more than yes, a magnifying glass ! something I've done myself (trifocals, too). I was able to look INSIDE a scsi connector with the webcam.

    You bought PC133? Have you run and posted the output from DIMM First Aid and/or TattleTech? Both work best on G4's but also provide info on B&W. Haven't tried to use in on Beige (but will next week).

    I know it wasn't USB related, but I thought it 'interesting' that RAM and voltage can interact in 'strange' ways. And people who have bought PC133 have had (more) trouble - fine for B&W's as there is only a small difference: 8 ns versus 7.0-7.5 ns (even though OWC and others were/use to selling 10 ns RAM as PC100 and compatible (only up to G3/300-350 maybe). Good PC100 is 125 mhz. I don't know if PC133 is 133 or even 150 mhz.

    Could it be totally contained inside a part then that wouldn't be visible except maybe look "fatter" possibly?

    Gregory

  9. #49
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    Vicki,

    Is it possible that the pops were audio artifacts? I have heard many a wild pop and bam from my monsoon speakers. My son loves to turn the ceiling fans on and off, 2 year old can find fun ways to control their world, each time he decides to do this my G4 makes a nice loud pop over the sound system. (by not making a big deal the phase went away quickly, thank god for a smart wife who knows when to let it ride)

    These audio artifacts are really scary. Loud unlikely pops from my computer is not approved of by me, I know from whence you come from.

    If the computer starts up and runs I can't imagine major damage having been done. There are many a sensitive circuit that with sufficient abuse will up and die. That should make your computer not run.

    Your plight is something all of us fear and wouldn't wish on anyone. Wish I had an idea of how to solve it. I absolutely can assure you that PC133 ram is down-rated compatible with slower ram buses of PC100 or PC66. I run Gurus PC133 ram in my G3 B&W. I also sent the PC133 128MB modules I took out of my B&W to my sister to run in her Beige G3. I can see where ANY ram could by circumstance not work in any given computer. Have had a few 'un-diagnosed failures to operate' ram installations in my checkered past. But I can't imagine anything except a failure to boot or corruption issues, never would I in my wildest imagining expect to see any lingering hardware issues from a ram upgrade.

    It sure would be nice if an audio artifact caused the popping sound, if you rule out the mobo having issues then just maybe.....

    Rick

  10. #50
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    Rick, just about everyone has asked me this same question. I don't know. I don't know anything anymore. I have never been stumped like this before. I don't make a good hardware tech - much too impatient. But everything I've done before WORKED before. Do I sound frustrated enough?

    BTW, I don't blame you. And from what I'm learning, I can't blame the gurus or the RAM. Even if there was a slight chance (and there are a few possible suggestions I've received), the possibility would be so remote that it could not have been predicted by anyone. But the more I learn about this, the more I think it may have just been very bad timing for a coincidence to occur. Although, I'm still highly confused by the video problems I had with that RAM. But that's not important right now.

    Audio pops. I've heard audio pops before. I honestly don't think that's what happened, but since I can't find anything else, I must entertain the thought. Audio pops have an "electronic" sound to them, as opposed to and "electric" sound. Hard to describe.

    But maybe you guys can tell me what the odds are of the sound being an audio pop under these circumstances. I have Bose Accustamass speakers. There is a HUGE box on the top of my desk with two smaller speakers on either side. The speakers are about 7 feet away from the actual computer which was sitting on the floor between my desk and the wall. At the time I heard the pops, I had the sound turned all the way down (off). I leave it this way most of the time thanks to websites that think you want to hear heavy metal at 3:00 AM.

    If the pops were indeed audio pops, wouldn't the sound originate from the speakers and not the computer itself? There is absolutely NO doubt that the sound came from the computer. There is nothing else electrical close to the computer.

    The dumbest thing I did was to clean out my computer when I removed the new RAM. Kaye had questioned whether the video problems were due to dust or hair or something getting inside the connections. So to be sure, I removed all RAM, the daughterboard and all PCI cards and blew the heck out of the computer. It's clean as a whistle now! I was surprised by the amount of dust I found because I had just cleaned the computer about a month earlier (with all cards, etc. removed then too). But I figured that I must have missed the dust underneath the motherboard as that's where the dust seemed to be. Unfortunately, doing this also means that if there were any fragments from a blown capacitor in the computer, I blew them out.

    I have not vacumed since doing this and I've been frustrated enough to crawl around the room on my hands and knees looking for anything that might be a fragment of a capacitor. I did fine one piece of yellow plastic that looks like a piece from a very thick balloon that had popped. The plastic appears slightly melted. Unless I'm so despirate that I'll think ANYTHING is a clue to what happened, I think this indeed may be a fragment from a tantalum capacitor (hey, I am learning about capacitors because of this!).

    Is it difficult to look inside a power supply? Someone said that I could get an electrical shock from the power supply even with it unplugged. I'm in the process of gutting the G3 leaving only the parts necessary for it to boot so if I do manage to screw something up, I won't kill everything. I've made more changed to this computer than I have ever made to a computer all at once, and so now I have no idea if it will even boot again. I don' t know of anyone in this area that works on Macintoshes (except places like CompUSA - gag me!) so I don't know where I could take it in for expert repairs. This is one reason why I want to look inside the power supply myself. If it turns out to be the power supply, then I can get a new one installed fairly easily. That should be a simple enough repair for even the mass market repair places to handle.

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    [This message has been edited by vickishome (edited 19 April 2002).]

  11. #51
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    I come with good news! Deb arranged a conference call with one of the guru techs, an XLR8 tech and myself. We discussed what had happened in my G3, and this is what they came up with:

    The video problem indicates that one of the DIMMS was defective, probably the first one in the lineup. As I continued to use the RAM, it eventually began shorting which was the loud pops I heard. They believe the short did not damage my G3 since it booted and ran for several hours after I removed the new RAM.

    I must admit that I did not smell anything when I heard the computer pop, and I have been all over the inside of that computer (now that's an understatement!), and I cannot find ANYTHING that indicates any damage. I can't see inside the power supply, but from what I've been told by the MANY wonderful people who have been helping me with this (several forums and newsgroups), it is highly unlikely that two capacitors could blow in the power supply and the computer still boots and runs without problems. So...

    The techs told me to put my computer back together and boot it. I just did that, and it booted right up without a hitch on the first try. Yes! I'll turn it off when I leave the house until I've had a chance to let it run for awhile, but it looks like I might be okay.

    I'll be returning the RAM to the gurus. They'll test it and let me know what they find.

    The best part is I should be able to put everything back in order (this room is a disaster now), and then I can concentrate on getting some new goodies for my G4.

    Thank you ALL for being so helpful! And thank you to the gurus for standing behind their product enough to take the time to call me so I could understand more fully what was going on with my computer. Your help and attention has been very greatly appreciated!

    Yippee! My G3 may be a-okay! And I have a new G4 too!

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  12. #52
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    Great news ! The Universe gave a nudge or you'd have put off the G4?

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    (my favorite smiley) yeah!!!

    It's a good thing that the way people learn best is through trials and tribulations or this would have been a total loss

    Great to hear it runs, I was hopin'.

    Rick

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    Well, looks like we've celebrated a bit prematurely. I have received emails from techs who are telling me there is not enough voltage in the DIMMS to create the loud pops I have described.

    I have discussed this with my father. Turns out he has a voltmeter and can test the motherboard and open up the power supply for me! He's not very close, but he's still within driving distance, and I'll be able to see the test results with my own two eyes which will put this issue to rest once and for all. I'll bring my camera to take pictures if we find anything. There's a number of people who are wanting to know how this turns out!

    So tomorrow we will finally know the full details of how my G3 is doing. Be it good news or bad news, I will be much happier knowing for certain what's happened so I can move on to make repairs or to celebrate without any further worries, whichever the case may be.

    Tomorrow.

    PS... Gregory, I have to admit, no matter how this turns out, I needed the nudge to bring me out of the dark ages and into today's technology. I hadn't planned on getting my G4 right now, but I'm not complaining.

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    [This message has been edited by vickishome (edited 19 April 2002).]

  15. #55
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    How do guys and gal(s?),

    Vicki, it's great your dad is willing to come over and put a tester to your machine. Have him test the power supply........

    .......I would leave well enough alone with the motherboard. If you must use a multitester on the mobo, be extraordinarily cautious about static discharge to the Mobo.

    Other techies likely know more than I about things Mac, but if you talked to the tech in Wilmington via Deb, my money is on him. He's forgotten more than most of us here will ever know.

    It is entirely possible that even with your speakers turned down, if their was an electrical "event", even with the RAM, it could still be picked up by the speakers. If there is stray RF, there can be audio interference.

    A digital cellular phone ringing near a speaker at 0 volume will demonstrate this nicely. (It's also really annoying, as well as makes me wonder what the damn phone is doing to my head when I use it!)

    First thing, protect your data. If there is data there you can't afford to loose, back it up. If you don't have the facility to back it up,. can you pull the drive and boot the g3 from another drive?

    How good is your nose? (I am talking about olfactory ability, not whether you have an aesthetically lovely nose ) If you smell nothing at all funny, odds are things are alright. Have you sniffed around the inside of the case?

    The scenario the Gurus and Xlr8 tech laid out makes more sense than some of the other straws we've been pulling on. It could be, as LV and others have suggested a blown non-critical can......

    Protect data
    Run machine while holding proverbial breath
    If it gets that far, than pound on the sucker and see if it holds up.

    After a while being suspicious of your g3's reliablility will become more of a burden than it crapping out on you. Beat on it, from a use standpoint, and see if it handles it.

    My peculiar 2



    8's

  16. #56
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    Okay, we opened up the power supply and took a good, long look at what was inside. And we also tested the voltage coming out of it. And here are the results...

    LET'S PARTY!!!

    Everything is running perfectly! The only thing we found was a lot of dust. No popped capacitors. I have NO idea what the pops came from. Maybe the memory arcing? The jury is still debating that one (some say yes and others say no). Who knows. But it looks like whatever it was, it did not do any damage to my computer! You guys know how thrilled this makes me!



    This has been one heck of a trip! I've learned many new things. I now know how to get into my power supply (it's not scary at all!). I took advantage of the opportunity to get the power supply fan cleaned out (I've always wanted to do that). I now know how to get to that fan whenever I want. I have always been a little timid making too many changes to the hardware on my computers, but I've removed and reinstalled so many things this time around only to have the G3 boot right on up each time that I feel much more comfortable working with hardware now.

    I must say that the gurus really went out of their way to give me the kind of customer service that you rarely find. I had to wait a little bit, but I very much appreciated being able to speak directly with the guru techs. They were great! How many places let you talk to the guys behind the scenes when you're really having a problem? You can here!

    I'm also so thankful that you guys were here for me. You know I was pulling my hair out worried sick over what may have happened to my G3. This was the craziest thing I've ever gone through in the 15+ years I've had computers. You've all been here with great ideas and suggestions and making sure I wasn't doing this alone. Just having you guys here has been a wonderful help!

    And the best part is that I can FINALLY rest easy. It's time to start having some FUN!

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  17. #57
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    Number one, I don't agree with those "techie" types that stated there isn't enough voltage in a memory DIMM to POP the chips or capacitors. I have been a Tech for over 23 years. When I first got started, the computer system I worked on used only +5 and -5 volts for the logic (All TTL). A misplaced and microscopic sliver of wire in the wrong place could easily blow numerous component and produce quite a bit of smoke, mind you! We'll only know for sure once they've actually checked out the memory.

    One other thought occurred to me about your popping noise though. I'm not sure where you're located, but in many parts of the country, the air is very dry at this time of year. This could cause the high voltage of your monitor's picture tube (Somewhere around 20,000 volts!) to arc to ground through nearby dust until the dust is burned away. This is rarely destructive and would produce a loud PACK! type sound. A large enough arc would also produce enough ozone to create a metallic odor. If your monitor was nearby and on at the time, this could be your culprit!

  18. #58
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    Many people have suggested that the sound came from the monitor, but I know it did not. I live close to Houston, Tx which is a VERY humid environment. But even with our humidity, I've had my monitor pop before. Those pops are nothing compared to what I heard. Also, when a monitor pops, there is usually some momentary distortion on the video. I was sitting at the computer when the first pop went off, and the video wasn't affected. The monitor sits in front of me while the computer is on the floor to my right. There was no question that the pops came from the direction of the computer, not the monitor. They are just too far apart to confuse the location of the sound.

    The other popular theory people have suggested is that my speakers popped. But I have the same reply as with my monitor. I know what it sounds like when speakers pop. It is loud, but not at all what I would call a firecracker sound. And, as with the monitor, the speakers are in front of me (on a shelf higher up), and the sound came from the direction of the computer, not the speakers. Plus, the speaker volume was turned off at the time.

    *I* can't say that it was the RAM arcing because *I* personally don't know it for myself. I cannot dispute it either. I haven't a clue as to whether RAM is capable of making that loud of a sound! So all I can do is listen to others (who contradict each other - I've received emails now that say yes and no!) and know that it is the ONLY theory that has been offered that I cannot dispute. I'm just hoping that the gurus can give us more info when they get the RAM and test it out.

    The best part, for me, is that I can now run my G3 without having to worry about it. I really needed to have the power supply tested. I wish I had known that I could have had it tested so easily in the very beginning. But now that I have finally seen the capacitors and have seen the voltage test results with my own two eyes, I can TRUST that power supply to be okay.

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    Vicki

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    [This message has been edited by vickishome (edited 21 April 2002).]

  19. #59
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    Actually, I know what the problem really is.............

    .................I've just felt some concern about just blurting it right out in this public forum. But what the heck, we're all friends here, right?

    it's true...... it's Space Monkeys..! There is some minor reference on this site about them. They are similar to Wall Rats and Mountain Spiders, except they're from space and, well, they're monkeys.

    There are a lot of places in Texas where they hide too. I'm not sure what to do about them. Some of the guys here put garlands of Garlic inside their Macs with pretty good result.

    It sounds like they've moved on........

    .....glad your beige is up and running Vicki...

    Warm regards,

    8's



    [This message has been edited by crazyeights (edited 22 April 2002).]

  20. #60
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    Mmmmm! Roasted Garlic! You get results quicker in a Pentium system, I hear...

    Space Monkeys huh? And I always blamed the poor Gremlins! (Like what could a AMC car have to do with computer problems! Huh!)

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