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Thread: pismo problems

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2003


    Ok, I bought a G3 500 pismo april 2001. In october 2001, I bought 512mb ram upgrade.
    the computer has never really worked very well and has overall been a huge disappointment. I've sent it into apple twice and apple-certified technicians more times then I can remember. the specific problems that I'm having now are this: dvd-rom drive won't load cds or dvds. this has been a problem since about the time I bought the ram. I sent the whole comp back to apple, and they replaced the drive. it still didn't work. I called them and they said that all they could do was the same again and recommended me to a local apple repair tech. they replaced the drive and the problem remained. I've tried all of the factory resets and apple recommended fixes with absolutely no luck. Tried the comp w/o the ram and nothing changed. I'm really frusterated about this. just before my 3 yr apple care plan ran out in april (I bought the laptop used from a friend who had never had any problems with it), I had the drive looked at one last time. I'd resigned myself to the non-functioning drive, but thought that I mine as well try one last time before the warrenty expired. The apple technician I brought the laptop into returned the unit with the same drive, reporting that the drive was fine (no big surprise, except it still doesn't work). I'm at my wits end and sooo frusterated. the other main problem is that the computer is incredibly unstable, freezing several times a day during routine operations. This has been a problem for about as long as the drive. I've tried everything possible. Apple's response has been a general "things like that can't happen on your model". I would love to believe that, except these problems are an everyday reality. As a die-hard apple fan, I find myself with a shaken faith in the quality of what I had considered a rock solid company. Until ?тр January 2002, I was running 9.0.4, then I switched to 9.1. I've tried OSX with the hopes that it would solve the problems, but it just runs like a snail (can't do more than listen to MP3s OR surf the net... quicktime won't play movies at speed) and keeps the same old problems. I really really hope somebody can give me some help. I really want to love my computer, but I find myself angry, resentful, and endlessly frusterated. On top of that, I haven't been able to find anyone else online with my problem (only seem to find people talking about how rock solid their pismo is and how satisfied they are).
    please help!
    PS: thinking about the G3 900 upgrade... will it help? also, is there any way to improve the 8 meg graphics card? I find it limiting.
    PPS: could this be a Logic board problem or a processor problem

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Ellicott City, MD USA


    As the many people before me have said, MY Psimos are rock solid. That being said if I was in your shoes, I would hock the flaky machine on ebay and let it be someone else's puzzle. The Pismo's are good machines, but showing their age. Our 400mhz model is getting a little flaky. Their parts are not cheap. My 500 is good, but not great. I cannot see putting $300-$400 into a G3 upgrade for them. There is no way to upgrade the video memory. I would sell your unit, and buy a late model iBook or 12"PB. You found the needle in the haystack dud from Apple. Every company makes a few products that just don't work right and nobody can figure out why. My company had a G4 Cube. It never seemed to work right. After several months and multiple repairs, we demanded our reseller swap it for something reliable because we were tired of fooling with it. That is how we got our Pismo 500.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Milan - Italy


    Dear friend,

    Well.... it sure seems you have been unlucky with that Pismo of yours!

    O.k., let's see if all that could be done about it has really been carried out, shall we?

    <UL TYPE=SQUARE><LI>Were you aware that there is a serious compatability issue with the PowerBook Security Control Panel?
    <LI>Also, on a side note, it is advisable to turn Virtual Memory off (especially if you've added 512MB of RAM recently) and increase the memory allocation to DVD Palyer application, for delay free DVD playback.
    <LI>Have you tried to reset the PRAM? Resetting the PRAM forces the firmware to scan all internal busses for hardware devices, during booting sequence; that, sometimes, works as it forces the machine to "see" all disks/devices.[/list]

    Other than that, you may well have ended up with a corrupted I/O board.

    There are places on the Web where to find G3 Pismo replacable logic boards, such as this one here, although it ain't cheap repair at all....
    Should you like to go through that route, here's a complete take-a-part instruction for Powerbook G3 Pismo, even on slide show, if so you wish.

    On the other hand, the G3 Pismo comes with a full size Media Bay. This bay is also a PCI slot, for which third party companies have developed PCI expansion chassis giving the PowerBook 3 or 7 PCI slots in an external case.
    You could then connect, through standard PCI expansion cards, all the periferals you want.
    However, such solution would defy the "portability" of the PB's devices.

    Reguarding your video problem, I am afraid that Tom is right. You cannot upgrade the video chip on your machine.

    Good luck!


    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> thinking about the G3 900 upgrade... will it help? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    I don't think that such upgrade will solve your DVD drive problem, but, if you wish to squeeze some extra speed from your ol' Pismo, you might want to check this CPU upgrade Data Base.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    on the landline, Mr. Smith


    If it is in a fact a hardware problem, it sure sucks that the techs gave you the run around. They should have repaired or replaced it.

    If the machine were running well with the exception of DVD problems, and the drive had not already been replaced at least once, I would suggest you try and find a different DVD or even CDROM to throw in the bay, but I am afraid Costa might be right. If you have any I/O or board problems then swapping drives is pointeless. Was it always unstable, or is that a new development? You said it won't load CDs or DVDs; does that mean you can't boot to a CD and reinstall the OS, or say run DiscWarrior etc? If so, hard to troubleshoot/reinstall the OS to deal with the crashing issues...

    I am confused: unless it is a intermittent problem, why did the techs give the PB back to you as AOK? Did it work for a while and then get wonky again, or did they just miss it, or blow you off?

    I wonder if it is worth attemping to try Apple again... Even though the warranty is up, they have been known to fix stuff out of warranty that was obviously not right from the start. Certainly not likely, but it happens.

    At work we bought a rev 1 xserve that we could not use (long story - an application problem, not an Apple problem), and even though it was "custom built" at the Apple store and not returnable, we just kept asking for supervisors until we got a guy who authorized a return after we explained our predicament. The local Apple certified shop has acknowledged to me that he has seen Apple fix machines out of warranty several times for specific known issues or certain circumstances....

    A long shot for sure, but worth a try? I wonder if any/all of your attempts to repair are available to Apple service guys to show that this was never really fixed?

    Also, on an ibook we had repaired, the repair itself was warrantied for 1 year. When a similar problem popped up, we were told could have taken it back if it was less than one year from the repair date (alas, it was more than one year). When was the last time it was "repaired"? If they won't bite on It was never really fixed, maybe you can get it looked at again based on the time from the last repair attempt...

    If you do decide to pay to get it repaired, I would not pay until it was right! Take your DVDs to the store and sit down and test it for a good long while before you hand over the $$$.

    If it were me, I would not spend a dime to update it until it was rock solid.


    Charlie Don't Surf!

    [This message was edited by unclemac on Wed September 17, 2003 PT at 17:08.]

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2003


    You say your Pismo is slow under Mac OS X, as my brother's was under Mac OS X 10.0. It was so bad that he refused to use it, and reverted to Mac OS 9. What version are you running? Mac OS X 10.0 never should have been sold; it was really only barely an extension of the public beta, making every Mac run impossibly slowly, especially Macs without the latest video cards, the only ones supported. On your Pismo, your main G3 processor processed what your video card could not, dragging everything to a painfully slow crawl. Mac OS X 10.1 was the first viable version; it was noticably slow, but insanely stable. 10.2.6 is nearly as fast as Mac OS 9. Just for fun, install the latest, fastest version of Mac OS X, to see how great your Pismo can be.

    About its age: Any computer that does what you need it to do is not dated. I'm writing to you on an iBook 366 (the funny clamshell blue one with the handle), and in my office I have an LC-475 as a word processor and a Quadra 610 as a word processor and file server. If you haven't heard of the LC or Quadra, it's because they are nearly a decade old, but they do their important, simple jobs as well as any newer computer.

    Upgraded processors can be good investments after you have installed fast software, to confirm that you really need a faster processor, and after the price has dropped way down. I have a beige G3 266 tower that became a viable amateur's Mac OS X Photoshop machine with the addition of a $300 G4 500MHz upgrade purchased from MacGurus. In general, think of processor upgrades like this: Because you are running a fast processor on an older architecture, the gains are only incremental. If you bill big bucks per hour as a graphic designer, the incremental increase in speed may pay for itself, because you can be working for a few valuable minutes each hour when you used to be waiting for your computer to compute. If you're anyone else, there is no clear reason why the Pismo's stock processor would not be adequate.

    As for needing the DVD drive to work, your problem sounds maybe sufficiently similar to one I've had help with in the FireWire forum. The drive probably does work, just as the technicians say, but the software can't quite see it. One thing I was told to do that may or may not help in your case was an open firmware reset. Reboot your computer, and immediately after you hear the startup chime, hold down four keys: Apple-Option-O-F. This will quickly dump you into the command line interface that most people wrongly think the Mac does not have. Don't panic; instructions for continuing to boot into Mac OS will be on the screen. (They're cute. You type "BYE" and hit "Return." Eat that, Bill Gates!) You don't want to go into Mac OS yet. Instead, type:


    and hit "Return." If the computer tells you it doesn't know what that means, type:


    and hit "Return." The necessary command varies with the model of computer. Anyway, after the computer has understood one of those commands, type:


    and hit "Return." Then, type:


    and hit "Return." At this point, one thing will happen for sure, and up to two of three things may happen. The computer will continue to boot into Mac OS. You may have wasted your time, I may have made a fool of myself, or your device chain may get rebuilt so that your DVD drive will behave itself.

    Good luck. Thanks for reading. In thanks to the fine army of Gurus who helped me (including unclemac who also posted for you), I promised that I'd find someone to try to help on these forums. Tag. You're it.

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