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Thread: Mini Knows Morse Code???

  1. #1
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    Default Mini Knows Morse Code???

    Hey all:

    Now this is very strange. Yet another friend has given me a dead mac. This one--seemingly like all the others I get--wouldn't do anything: no boot, no fans, no light. It seemed as though it was getting no power, I was told.

    So, I received the machine this morning after it had been sitting on a shelf for a few months (not plugged in). The first thing I did was to plug it in and hit the power button myself, to ensure that nothing happened. To my surprise, it powered up, but sans chime. I wasn't expecting this, given what I'd been told. I slipped my Tiger installation disk in (this is now a problem for reasons that'll become clear presently), and listened. The happy sound of spinning/reading and a bit of HDD crunching. I (rather rudely, I confess) shut it down via the power button.

    It's a mini and I have a MDD, so can't hook up a monitor. Thus, the above was a matter of flying blind. I figured that, since I got power, I'd try the mini in target mode. I plugged in a FW cable (leading to my MDD) and a keyboard, held down the T-key, and hit the power again. This is where it gets weird. No chime, no DVD spinning, but . . . the power light (I swear!) was flashing an SOS! At first it took me a minute . . . seemed just like solid flashing, until the short flashes. I left it on and watched. Sure enough, it cycled through an SOS (... _ _ _ ...). I thought, "huh."

    Rudely shut it down again, opened it up--quite a trial, that--and started searching for the PMU reset. Nada. Researched to discover that for this model, one must plug in the power cord, while holding the power button to reset the PMU. No joy.

    I have since removed the RAM, the battery, and let it sit for an hour or so. Tried for a chime, before restoring the battery and RAM. Nope. Put the battery and RAM back in, reset the PMU (if one believes Apple about this spooky PMU reset action) . . . nothing.

    Any ideas? What about that strange (lighted) call for help??? I'm a Morse geek, fluent in the language of dits and dahs . . . I was not imagining this.

    I should say that, unlike my other requests for help with my altruistic antics, this one is IMPORTANT: I get to keep the mini. So, if I can get it to boot, I've got a 1.25GHz PPC mini, free of charge! In short: ... _ _ _ ...

    Thanks guys,
    em

    PS Any way to manually retrieve my Tiger DVD? (Doh.)

  2. #2
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    Default

    The only Guru I can think of off the top of my head that has experience with Minis is unclemac. Hopefully he'll have some ideas.

    That SOS thing is quite bizarre, but not suprising knowing Apple.

    Perhaps it's a serious hardware issue?

  3. #3
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    Howdy,

    Got maybe 20 PPC minis at work, and never seen this.

    Does remind of some of the G3 imacs....they would have the power button flash out a different sequences/speeds when there was a hardware problem, during a firmware update, etc.

    No time right now. Let me ponder and dig on this for a bit.....stay tuned.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  4. #4
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    Default hey unc please ponder this

    THe G3 imac that sent me the speakers for is acting similar to the mini. This machine had run fine several months ago minus speakers but the other night I install the speaker powered it up no boot chime no error beeps everthing powers up harddrive spins sounds like its reading data, steady green LED but no boot chime or screen. Power checks out at the normal pin locations, if I pull the ram I get 1 error beep for no ram installed, I can power up with the keyoard, but have to power down with the main button, I have reset the PMU, no luck, tried to boot of an install disk, no luck,

    Any thoughts before I pull the top cover off, and is there a way to force the video to te VGA out just to confirm if the CRT has crapped out

    Bob

  5. #5
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    Mini:

    Been pondering this, and doing a bit of digging too. Sorry for the delay, not enough free time these days.

    To review, you did a PMU reset, and pulled the battery, which mean you cracked it open, correct?

    Just in case, and for those playing at home here's how to do a mini PMU reset.

    The flashing light makes me think of firmware updates, and is most certainly related to firmware. Here is some evidence for minis....

    Firmware updates

    From time to time, Apple has provided firmware updates to address certain issues that cannot be addressed in updates to software. On earlier computers, the programmer's switch was used to install a firmware update.

    Follow these steps in the event that a firmware update is needed for these computers with no programmer's switch:

    1. After downloading and running the firmware update, shut down the computer.
    2. Wait until the computer is shut down and the power light is off.
    3. Press and hold the power button for several seconds.
    4. The computer will signal that a firmware update is ready to be installed by making a steady tone and the power button light will quickly flash several times for several seconds.
    Is it possible that somebody was hacking around trying to flash the firmware on this mini? Not sure where to go from here even if we assume that is the cause.

    Assuming the firmware updater file is trying to run, it is running from the HD. I wonder if it might be worthwhile to pull the drive, and try a second HD, or maybe try to boot to target mode with no internal drive?

    The only other time we usually see a flashing light is when a startup hardware test fails, but that is usually associated with a series of beeps too.....like this. You reported no beeps, so assuming the speaker is working, this is probably not the right path to pursue.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  6. #6
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    Oh, forgot to ask... So why can't you hook up a monitor? Minis are std. DVI and come with a VGA converter. Maybe you didn't get the converter.

    Oh, maybe you have an Apple monitor with ADC only......yes? Can you scrounge a DVI unit for testing, or take the mini to a DVI monitor?

    Still pondering the SOS lights in target mode. Never seen that. Use target mode almost daily to image all sorts of machines, including PPC minis, and never any trouble.

    If it was firmware related, I would expect to see the light show regardless of target mode, though target mode is certainly a function controlled by the firmware.

    Hmmmm.....
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  7. #7
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    Default its alive

    Any Ideas on what the differences are between PC100-222-620R and PC100-222-620 RAM, the 620R will not let the iMac boot but cause no error beeps.

    BTW - Unc the speakers sound fine, 3 imac complete 1 to go.
    Bob

  8. #8
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    Hi Bob,

    both should be OK....the CAS speed (222) is low, which is good, but even if it was slow (333) would still work fine. The other spec that can give Macs fits is some older RAM is 10ns, and needs to be 8ns.

    So, either it is likely not quite right, or bad/damaged.

    Did you get the imac with the flashing light to boot OK, or am I mixing them up?

    Glad the speakers are OK....was sweating over that one.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  9. #9
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    Default both is not Ok

    the 620R ram was the stuuf that caused the problem. It would not let the iMac boot. The iMac sat there powered up steady green led but no boot chime or error codes and just a gray screen. the 620R ram works fine in the G3 beige tower. The biggest confusion is that it the ram was not compatable why would I not have gotten the error beeps?? Switching to the the 620 ram worked fine. Of course this was after I pulled the upper cover, re-seated all the connections, which did not help.

    explain the CAS number, you say that 222 is low, does that mean its a faster chip than the 333?

    The blinking iMac is that last one left, I am hoping the down converter you supplied will fix the problem. This one is actually cycling power, it trys to start up light on, then a faint click, power down light off, another click power up light on then repeat.

    I did have one that the ture flashing power light in amber, I think it just turned out as a PRAM reset firmware issue as I recall.

    Thanks Bob

  10. #10
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    Hmmmm... have not seen that problem - cycling through boot up attemps. As for RAM, I am no expert. But we do have a couple RAM gurus 'round here....

    You might read this, and here is more than you ever wanted to know about SDRAM. Check post #5.

    Costa is very good.


    Oh, by the way, I am rounding up some more surplus G3 slot-load imac parts....hope to have a few logic boards (FW ports plus VGA out), plus all the fixin's: PAV boards, optical drives, etc. Yell if you need some parts. Hate to see this stuff go to the land fill if someon can use it.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  11. #11
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    Default You still there Em?

    Don't know if I helped, but curious to see if you made progress on the mini. Don't leave us hanging in suspense....please!
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  12. #12
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    Feb 2003
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    Default Sorry Unclemac

    I set the forum to notify me of activity regarding my question but did not get any. Didn't mean to leave you hanging . . . just now giving it another go and found your posts.

    A few points of clarification: (1) I don't believe that I ever successfully achieved target mode. The SOS occurred when--but just prior to--attempting to boot into target. (2) I have an old 17" studio (ADC) monitor, and I'm not really interested in purchasing the adapter, which I think runs for about $100. (3) I can't swear that there wasn't a botched firmware update, but I sincerely doubt it--its original owner is a very low-key user. (4) I suspect mobo failure; there is what appears to be a very small, very faint "dusty" bit on the board, i.e., possible burn. Unfortunately, I don't know my way around the logic board well enough to tell exactly what it is that might be fried . . . I'd have to give a visual description, which seems beyond the scope of this posting.

    What is somewhat mysterious to me is the initial boot, which seemed successful--it was alive enough to eat my Tiger DVD! [BTW, any word on manually retrieving that?] So, the original owner was unable to boot after many attempts . . . no sounds, lights, nothing. Then, my first attempt looked like a fairly health bootup. Now, we're back to nothing, no response of any sort.

    As an aside, I wonder if there is some mini mobo issue. I notice a wealth of "broken" minis available on ebay--said brokenness is virtually always "unit doesn't power up," and there are NO functional mobos available. A shortage of healthy mobos on ebay in the past has (it seems) been due to bad boards--e.g., iBook G3 boards and that video issue. Just a suspicion.

    I'll try pulling the HD and booting into target mode. How/why might that work? Doesn't target mode simply mount the startup volume as a nonstartup volume on the desktop of another machine? What, then, would be going on were I to attempt a target mode without a HD targeted? Moreover, aren't there usually signs of life before the HD spins, e.g., the chime, fans, etc.? And, in that case, there seems to be some problem prior to the role played by the HD, yes? Is it reasonable to suppose that a machine unable (unwilling?) to boot from a Tiger installation DVD could nonetheless boot into target mode, with no internal HD, no less? Just curious . . . I'll give it a try anyway . . .

    Is there some way that I can access the contents of the HD via another machine? I have a MDD and a clamshell here . . . could I slap the HD and optical drive into the clam (at least for the purposes of retrieving the data/dvd)? [I should note that the clam is operable, but de-clammed. That is, I have it in parts, not in the case . . . however, the parts are connected such that it will boot and operate. So, if size, shape, location, etc. issues preclude the clam driving these components, we needn't worry about that. I am asking whether the technical specs of the HD and optical are such that the clam mobo can drive them with out damaging either.]

    Okay, I'm off to remove the HD.

    Thanks again,
    em

    PS Anyone know where I might get a used mini 1.25 logic board?

  13. #13
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    Default Nope, didn't work

    I removed the HD and tried to boot into target mode--no luck. It really doesn't even seem as though it's getting power.

    Anyone have any idea whether I can put a 1.42 mobo/cpu into a 1.25 box?

    cheers,
    em

  14. #14
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    Default Adding to the intrigue

    I've found a mini mobo (a 1.42 that I'm hoping would work in a 1.25 case) for sale "as is," which usually means that it's believed to be dead. I contacted the seller who reports (after my lengthy quizzing) that there are "firmware issues" with the board. I've asked him to explain in greater detail what he means by this but have yet to hear back.

    Assuming that he botched the flashing process, is there anyway to fix it? He reports that his last attempt to boot yielded a startup chime only (so, there is that). I would be using a different HD for what it's worth. Do you think a PMU reset would fix things or at least get the system stable enough for a proper firmware update?

    Cheers

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