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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Posts
    104

    Default Powerbook shuts off within seconds

    Many thanks for any thoughts you may have on this!

    My G4 Powerbook started suddenly having the screen go black randomly. I could restart and it would be ok for a little while. I was assuming maybe it was something wrong with the screen, but now I see that's not the case at all. The latest is that when I have it hooked up to an external monitor, it will boot to the point of the apple screen and then suddenly shut off. It does the exact same behavior in Target Disc Mode---I get the firewire symbol for a few seconds, and then it shuts off.

    Except when it doesn't. And by that I mean, it also will often not start up at all, though it doesn't shut itself all the way off either. I often have to take out the battery and the A/C power before the power really dies. Then when I push the button to start it up again, it will sometimes just make a kind of defeated little sound (definitely not a chime) and not come on. Though, again, I usually have to undo battery and power to get it to shut down.

    The fan sometimes comes on, sometimes not.

    Interestingly, when it did come on in Target Disk Mode briefly before it shut itself down again, I did see all the volumes from the laptop showing up on other computer's desktop as they should, with correct icons and everything. This makes me hopeful that it's not the hard drive. Then again, maybe it's all the rest of the laptop innards!

    I've got a call out to borrow a power cord to make sure it's not part of the problem. Also, I've tried resetting the PMU a number of times.

    I'm really perplexed. It's just so very, very random, and increasingly, it's very hard to get it to start up at all, which makes troubleshooting difficult (trying to start up from the CD was a total fail).

    Definitely a problem for a guru and not a mere mortal like me.
    Thoughts?
    Many thanks!

    MJ

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Grangeville, ID USA
    Posts
    9,125

    Default

    Just to cover all bases, do a Open Firmware reset.

    Hold the Command+Option+O+F keys during startup. At the '<' prompt type:

    >reset-nvram
    Hit Return
    >set-defaults
    Hit Return
    >reset-all
    Hit Return and your computer will restart. This resets a bunch of things on the motherboard. Maybe it will catch the problem?

    R
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Posts
    104

    Default

    I would love to try that. At the moment, I'm afraid it's in the no chime-no fan-no screen mode. When I press the power button, I just get a sort of soft, brief "spin-down" whine and then nothing. Though it still thinks it's "on" b/c I have to unplug it and take out the battery to make it shut off to try again.

    Not sure if I'm explaining this well. It does make normal troubleshooting really difficult.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Posts
    104

    Default

    Stop the presses!!!

    I just did another PMU reset and was then able to get into OF and give it those commands. And now it's completely back!!!!!

    So that was the explanation, do you think, for the weird computer screen going black but not really off randomly, etc., etc.

    Thank you so much!!!!
    MJ

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Grangeville, ID USA
    Posts
    9,125

    Default

    Possibly the reason.

    Just one step in the diagnosis and repair of problems that are are strange and of unknown cause. Proof that it got it is in the puddin. Does it keep running, or not.

    Best of luck, I will keep my fingers crossed.

    R
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Posts
    104

    Default

    Well, you are indeed a wise man. It stayed on for only a few minutes acting completely normal before it again went completely black. I reset the PMU again and restarted in Target Disk Mode to see how it would behave in that. It went into TDM ok and the correct volumes show up on my desktop. I just successfully copied something from the laptop to my desktop. It has stayed in TDM for 5 minutes so far, which is about 4 minutes and 50 seconds longer than it stayed in TDM when I tried it before.

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