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Thread: How can I check if ethernet port is bad

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default How can I check if ethernet port is bad

    I have a G4 sawtooth with OSX 10.3.9. The other day I started it up like I always do and couldn't get on the internet. After poking around I saw the network preferences said my ethernet was not pluged in. I checked the crossover cable by using my laptop and the cable is good. So I am assuming I have a bad port or something. I don't know exactly how ethernet works, is it a separate card or is it connected directly to the mother board? Is there any way to check if it is definately the port or some setting that got screwed up? If I need a new board is that relatively simple to snap in and out or is it more complicated? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    BernieW

  2. #2
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    Hi Bernie,

    Ethernet is integrated on the logic board on all Modern Macs. If you are sure the port is bad, you can find and add a PCI ethernet NIC to replace it. You do need to find one that has OS 10 support....most cheap PC cards won't work because there are no Mac drivers for them.

    As for being sure the port is not functioning....

    If you are sure the cable is good, and the connection at the other end is good (sounds like you are), don't be afraid to get a flash light and take a peek at the actual port on the back of your G4. Sometimes the prongs in the port that must make contact with the RJ45 on the end of the cable can get bent down a bit. They should stick out at an angle in a straight line. Compare the G4 to any other computer with ethernet and see if anything is amiss.

    I have seen a couple NICs over the years that had at least a few of the contacts bent a little out of shape so that they are not making contact. If that is the case, you can ever-so-carefully try to straighten them. Be gentle....if you break or kink them, you are SOL.

    If all the contact look good, you could have a dead port. Lightning strikes are known to send spikes down phone and network lines, which can kill tel/network ports too.
    "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

  3. #3
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    I recently had to do a pin re-tensioning on my Pismo's ethernet port. It would only connect if I held tension on the plug.

    It would be very easy to bend the little pins too far, and/or break em. There's not much room to work in there, and it took some real finesse even with my smallest right-angle pick to fix 'em.

  4. #4
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    Default I will check that out

    Thanks guys, I will check the port tonight when I get home.
    BernieW

  5. #5
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    I checked my ethernet port and the prongs look good, I think Unclemac's lightning strike scenerio is a definate likelyhood since I live in Florida and we have been having many storms lately. I don't have any idea what else it could be. I am not sure what a PCI ethernet NIC is. Is it a replacement port or a whole new card with a port separate from the mother board? I was also thinking I could just install an Airport card and access the internet that way since I already have a base station set up for my laptop. I am concerned though that if the port got fried maybe something else did too and I just haven't stumbled upon it yet. Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    BernieW

  6. #6
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    sure what a PCI ethernet NIC i
    Just a PCI card that you can input the ethernet into. I think it's faster too. Uncle or another network guy can verify that. Something like http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...=Google+Search

  7. #7
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    I have seen a few machines with fried Ethernet ports, with nothing else damaged, so I would say the odds are good that is the extent of the damage unless you have seen any other symptoms...crashes, or any other instability might signal logic board damage. In my experience, if the damage goes beyond the Ethernet port itself, you would likely have a dead Mac.

    Airport may work just fine, but the airport card for your G4 is not in production and too expensive. You can find them used for about $60 - 70. Or you might try a faster and cheaper aftermarket PCI wireless card. Outside of that, there are a few Mac compatible PCI ethernet cards that you can plug in....we have a link somewhere to a $5 unit that is reported to work great in Macs. Will have to dig that up.

    Oh, and you should get a UPS that protects both the power and data lines for your Macs, so you don't have to worry about this again.
    "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

  8. #8
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    Thank you for your advice. I ordered a Startech ST100S ethernet card ($13.00 w/SH) from CompUSA to put into my G4. I haven't got it yet but I read some reviews and they seem to do the job without too much trouble, just plug and play. I appreciate all your help.
    BernieW

  9. #9
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    Good luck.

    Usually the generic PC jobs (not specifically made to support OS X) are either plug and play.....or not. Some luck is involved.
    "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

  10. #10
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    Default That Fixed it

    Just wanted to update this post in case anyone else had the same problem. I installed the Startech card and all I had to do was go to the network preferences and acknowledge that a new ethernet card was installed. It worked fine without having to install any drivers off the floppy disk that came with it.
    Thanks again for your advice

  11. #11
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    Thumbs up

    Thanks for the update. Good to to see you're back in business.

  12. #12
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    We love a happy ending! Thanks.
    "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

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