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Thread: Troubleshooting a G4 MDD problem...

  1. #1
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    Confused G4 Dual 1 GHz Suddenly crashed

    I was working as usual when the 'Fatal Errors - Must restart Occured'! Has happened twice in last 9 months, but was able to run a utility, then reformat a drive and get back to running. Not this time!!!
    I ran the Hardware test CD. Short test came up clean. Longer test says 'Error Logic Board'. Then Error Code: fire/5/10.

    Most of the time now, it will start up then revert to the 'Must restart mode'. I can use a CD, it will start up with an install disk then 'fail again'.

    I have disconnected all externals. Still no change.
    I have disconnected each of the internal drives - 1 or 2 at a time, then all. There are 4. I tried to just start up with a utility with OP SYSTEM.

    I have operating systems on 2 drives - will not start up on either one.
    When I start while holding option and select OS install. It starts up with the icon rotating, then a white band goes across screen in middle. Icon just keeps rotating.

    I did get it to start with the OS9 operating system in TechTool Pro. But it freezes after opening.
    I don't know what else to do!!!

  2. #2
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    Default G4 MDD - start up lag

    For the first time, my Dual 1GB MDD did a strange thing this morning. When I pressed the power button to turn it on, the button illuminated normally, but after about a second, it went off. I was able to turn it on successfully on a second attempt, but this sort of scares me.. It's never ever done that before.

    Is this perhaps a signal of some impending problem issue that I need to address, or was it just a strange thing that doesn't mean a thing?

    Thanks.
    jb
    Professional Mixing Services

    Dual 1GB G4 MDD / 1GB RAM / OS 10.4.11 / UAD-1 / MOTU 1296 + 2408MKii on PCI-424 / MTP-AV / Acard RAID / LogicPro 7.2.3 / LogicControl / DSP-Quattro 2 / ProTools LE 6.9.2 / TriToneDigital's HydraTone, ValveTone, PhaseTone, ColorTonePro, AngelTone / ElementalAudio's complete line / U-he's Zebra2, Filterscape, MfM2

  3. #3
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    I combined both of these questions into one thread to make it easier and avoid duplicating some of the same questions and recommendations.

    MDD References
    Resolving K/Ps
    General Troubleshooting
    OS X Kernel Panic FAQ

    Usually I would recommend booting into Open Firmware and resetting nvram with most systems first. Move on to running FSCK from Single User Mode and then Applejack to clean out cache folders and swap files, check for corrupt plist files, and then reboot with SHIFT KEY down (SAFE BOOT).
    http://www.apple.com/support/mac101/help/

    Fix for a Mac that won't power up
    Mirrored Doors G4. When you pressed the power button, the button would light up, but the computer would not turn on. The fans on the power supply wouldn't turn on.

    FIX: unplug the machine, pull the clock battery, hit the power button to discharge. Then plug it in without the clock battery. The machine should boot perfectly. Shut down, reinstall the clock battery, and now the system is fully functional. Macosxhints.

    A corrupt directory can prevent booting from even a CD/DVD.

    For memory, if you can boot into Single User Mode and have Memtest already installed, run that to check for memory.

    If you suspect a disk drive problem, ZERO the drive, or better yet, do a 7-WAY WRITE to map out bad blocks (and do a zero all even on new drives before using).

    I assume there is a backup or two, maybe on FW, and a bootable system, but if even an off line emergency boot drive won't work, and AHT fails... out of ideas except shop for LB or replacement ($1600 for G5 ref'd from Apple).

    And of course having a UPS to help prevent from summer storms, brown outs and outages, always helps - even if a system is shutoff as long as it is connected to the mains, it can take a hit.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Thanks, TZ (even though it took me a while to find my post). I'm not really clear on the issues brought up in the first post, but if they are related to mine then fine.

    I came back to post an update to my situation.. After my successful boot, I worked for several hours, saving as I went along. Then I stepped out for a smoke, came back after 10 minutes, and my machine was totally frozen. ?? Had to do a hard shut down. It booted again without problem, but I'm really starting to become concerned now.

    This just came from out of the blue.. the machine has been performing exceptionally well lately. I'm running cron scripts and repairing permissions at the moment, and will run DiskWarrior on all volumes after that.. I'm not really sure where this problem might be coming from.. one of my hard disks? System issues? The clock battery you mentioned? The machine and all paripherals are on a good protective UPS, so that probably minimizes some of the power related possibilities. Any more specific suggestions or directions would be greatly appreciated.
    Professional Mixing Services

    Dual 1GB G4 MDD / 1GB RAM / OS 10.4.11 / UAD-1 / MOTU 1296 + 2408MKii on PCI-424 / MTP-AV / Acard RAID / LogicPro 7.2.3 / LogicControl / DSP-Quattro 2 / ProTools LE 6.9.2 / TriToneDigital's HydraTone, ValveTone, PhaseTone, ColorTonePro, AngelTone / ElementalAudio's complete line / U-he's Zebra2, Filterscape, MfM2

  5. #5
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    Thumbs up G4 is alive again. Thanks to Open Firmware reset.

    Thanks TZ. After OF reset my G4 MDD still has some issues but is working. I will follow the other suggestions to weed out culprits that caused the problem - may be in files or aps. Is there a Mac trojan or virus that could cause this kind of wreck?
    I'm installing system on a fresh drive, then will - one by one - reformat - zero each drive. This site is a Godsend! thought I would have to replace the logic board. Thanks so much. PW

  6. #6
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    Most threats to Macs are javascript web-based and don't require downloading.

    A corrupt nvram can cause all kinds of havoc, and every time you modify the hardware configuration is an opportunity for nvram to become out of sync or "invalid" (ie, the device tree is incorrect).

    There is really too much on this site to weed through. I am trying all the time to expand and at the same time make it more accessible and easy to sort through (you never know if clicking on "security" will take you, or that RAID or Storage will branch to 100s of pages and articles).

    The MDD is pretty rugged as long as it is well cared for. I think not having a UPS puts it more at risk, and the PSU under more stress.

    For every 5ºC you shorten the life of a disk drive. I'm sure CPU must have a similar story. Heat "kills" systems, and with warm weather of summer, well, I don't have any drives in the ATA/100 bracket which allows the cpu to run cooler (I use an external drive, you can add SCSI or SATA.)

    Dust bunnies. Can keep air from flowing freely and cost you 5ºC also.

  7. #7
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    jb,

    In the General Troubleshooting, and my personal advise, boot and run FSCK before anything else. Personally, I find DW to be iffy anymore. Has needed but not been upgraded in a year.

    I prefer applejack and to run that along with fsck - a lot of problems are in cache folders and swap files.

    Monitor the temperature of your drives and cpu with Hardware Monitor and/or Temperature Monitor.

    Some USB devices can cause problems. Even a faulty USB cable to a device like k/b or mouse.

    When a system freezes it is highly likely that the disk is now corrupt.

    While a utility may seem to fix a volume, there may be problems with files.

    Most problems occur to the system. We love to have the OS/Apps on its own drive partition, and put /Users and media or data on 2nd disk drive. Which also helps improve performance.

    Main use as I see it is to repair a drive before it gets worse, not when you begin to notice problems, and to complete and update your backups. And to keep a known good OS on another off line drive that you can quickly (30 minutes?) restore. In fact, you can backup to .DMG and restore while booted from Tiger DVD.

  8. #8
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    Default

    We still have about a half dozen MDDs chugging away at work, and although in many ways they were a big leap from previous G4 towers, they (at least some of them) see to be the most touchy G4s.

    We have one in particular that will run without a reboot for something like 6 months at a clip, but about half the time I power it down, it won't restart without a PMU reset, or other coaxing and hand holding... Then it is flawless for the next few months.

    FWIW, I think that the PMU itself or the relationship between it and the logic board is less solid than other Macs. Just a hunch.

    The other thing is that there were several revisions of logic boards and power supplies, some obvious, but some not obvious, which make it hard for folks to tell which MDD they have, which further complicates troubleshooting.

    The price of progress I guess.
    "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 Troubleshooting a G4 MDD problem...

    Thought I'd post this here to see if anyone has any advice for me.

    I have a DP 867 MDD. About a year and a half ago I upgraded the processor with the GigaDesign MDD upgrade to 1.42 ghz.

    After a few initial problems I got it sorted out working with folks here and at Gigadesign and the machine has been absolutely rock solid up until a few weeks ago. I haven't had a kernal panic in about 18 months.

    Anyway I first suspected I had a problem about two weeks ago when I started running into problems ripping DVD's (making back-up copies of DVD's I made using iDVD). The system would crash or hang up.

    Hoping it was just an software problem due to the recent OSX update I wasn't too concerned.

    Then I Apple'd DVD player began crashing when I tried viewing DVD's on my primary LCD (I have two monitors hooked up with two video cards).

    Over the past two weeks I've had the computer freeze perhaps a half dozen times. You an still move the cursor but you can't pull down the menu on the finder to pull up Force Quit and switch programs.

    To date not a single kernal panic. Just an occasional freeze and software crashes mostly relating to DVD/video.

    I've also noticed Photoshop and Quark 6 suddenly crash for no reason.Not all that unusal perhaps -- but I think they've been doing it more than usual.

    I've ran memtest numerous times in single user mode. It hasn't shown any memory failures. I know finding bad memory is tricky but I haven't started swapping dimms yet.

    I thought I'd post here first to see if anyone had advice on how to best track down the problem. Or if the above problems would seem to make anyting in particular suspect that I could check first.

    In the past when I struggled with bad memory there were always kernal panics.

  10. #10
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    The system would crash or hang up. Hoping it was just an software problem due to the recent OSX update I wasn't too concerned.

    I've also noticed Photoshop and Quark 6 suddenly crash for no reason...
    That is when I would at least be taking steps to resolve why, or to at least run Disk Utility from another drive running 10.4.6, using fsck, freeing up disk space, dumping cache folders.

    Never apply an update without a backup; without running fsck and checking the disk - and that the backup is bootable and works. Then, use the Combo Update. In some cases reapplying the update may be needed. (I have had the same update on the same machine act differently lately, where I needed to boot into Safe Mode, apply an update, run fsck, and clear cache folders).

    But I would never continue on and shrug it off.

    iDVD likes/requires ample free unfragmented space, something like 24-32GB preferably. Good reason to have the OS on its own drive partition and keep /users etc on another drive.

    Anything else? PCI? seems like Radeon PCI 9200 (why not AGP 9600 or 9800 or...?)

    Three MDD questions in one day? So I put them into one thread.

  11. #11
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    Good advice.

    I should have clarified.

    I ran a suite of utilities. Tiger cache cleaner, Disk Drive Rapiar, Disk Warrior, Applejack. I have four drives in the box. OSX is on one. My scratch drive/document drives have approx 50 gigs of dree space each last I checked. The Boot driver has around 80 gigs free.

    I have the ATI 9800 Mac Special edition. About a year old and I've had no problems to date with it. The other video card is a Radeon. I forget which one off hand but it's a stock card taken from an older Mac irrc. A 7200? (something that starts with a '7' anyway. My G4 is currently running memtest again in single user mode so I can't check at the moment.

    Only 3rd party card I have installed is a USB2 card. I pulled it for several days to see if it solved the problem. It didn't

    I do back-up my boot drive about twice a month. I clone it actually to one of the other drives I have in the box.

    One thing I have noticed recently. Things seem to run fine (in general) until I launch iTunes or Vidi (watching tv in a small window through my fire wire Formac Studio TVR). I've been keeping a log as far as each freeze to determine if there are any patterns. itunes or vidi have been running 70% of the time. So they've probably been taxing the processor/video card.

    But I tend to run one of those programs while working 95% of the time so I'm not sure if it's related.

    I have 2 gigs installed (four 500 meg sticks). I think that's about it as far as what's in the box. I have an Airport base station hooked up via ethernet cable. An HP scanner and an HP deskjet.

    Thanks for bouncing back ideas.
    Last edited by TZ; 06-10-2006 at 04:19 PM.

  12. #12
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    BTW I've seen several references to resetting nvram and fsck.

    I poked about on the forums and didn't see an explanation as to what this is or what they do.

    I've used single user mode to run applejack and memtest.

    is there a link that explains the above? Any risks/danger I should be aware of being executing them?

    Thanks. I know just enough to be dangerous.

    UPDATE: Never mind. (slap) I followed your links.

  13. #13
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    The place to find things is in the FAQ, best linked to from my sig which has articles on those items. iTunes - we had some threads and discussion a year ago? and I hear it is a good test of memory, too.

    and anytime you have a cpu upgrade, that makes things more interesting.

    I wonder if anyone uses either of these:
    http://www.apple.com/support/
    http://search.info.apple.com/
    Search on NVRAM

    Evidence is that an OF reset of nvram is better than zapping pram or maybe PMU reset (still might need PMU reset if your system won't boot at all though).

    I would pull the Radeon 7000. The 9800 SE is a G5 only card. The G4 version was called "ME".

    while you may not be RAIDing your scratch disks (can't w/o a PCI controller) it is also true that the boot drive bus does better if it doesn't have to do much if any sharing of that bus with another drive - good reason to use ATA or SATA controller for two drives.

    Disk Drive Repair. Hopefully that means Disk Utility.

    I would be inclined to backup and zero/7-way erase and then restore you system.

    I can't see why there is a problem.

  14. #14
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    THanks.

    I went ahead and did a 7 pass erase and resinstalled OSX and did a combo update. THen reinstalled ALL my apps from scratch and put my docs and so forth on a second HD where I can at them.

    Then I repaired permissions/pre-binded ran applejack to make sure everything was fresh and cloned the drive.

    You mentioned pulling the Radeon 7000 video card. ANy reason in particular? I run my second monitor off of it. Is the 7000 quirky with OSX.

    What would you recommend for a good reliable second video card? I don't do anything graphic intensive on the second monitor -- mainly it's jut where I put menus and windows to get them off my work area when working in Quark or photoshop.

    One more thing since you're being so helpful.

    I did discover the USB 2 PCI card I put in the box about a year ago was causing a sleep problem. This was causing occasional freezes which I suppose only compounded my problem as far as corrupt files.

    I pulled it. I poked about online trying to find replacement card that doesn't cause sleep issues. Is there a card known to work with OSX you'd feel comfortable recommending?

    THanks again.

  15. #15
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    The 9800 should be more than capable of driving two monitors unless you play games. Try it w/o the 7K.

    You can almost always find an article or report AYM PCI FW/USB "sleep support"

    I tend to choose Sonnet first if they have what I need, even if it is slightly more than generic. And sometimes vendors change what chip they use.

    10.4.x has fixed sleep issue for some cards. Update your user profile to include your Macs and what system etc so we can always see at a glance what you use.

    I like to have two clones of the system: one as 'working copy' backup, the other as a "pristine" copy only for emergency or repairing other drives.

    Your system should feel snappy now that it has had a fresh install and update.

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