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G4 Tower (Quicksilver) video issue: anyone recognize this symptom?
Posted by: guitarist
Date: January 26, 2008 06:56PM
The Good News:

I just had a Quicksilver G4 given to me!

...by a Systems Admin friend who occasionally inherits computers from his workplace. I plan to turn it into a server. It had been in storage at his house for a while. When he dropped it off he asked me to boot it to make sure everything runs okay. It probably hasn't been used in a while, and hasn't been booted in a while either.

The background/history of the machine is unclear. But it appears to have been taken care of reasonably well. It's got 512 RAM, a 40 GB Barracuda HD, and (what I imagine is the stock) ATI Raedon 7500 Video card. No unusual features, customizations, or modifications. It's a straight G4 Tower. I'm interested in seeing which processor it has in it, and what OS it has installed.

The Bad News:

I got it home, attached a keyboard, mouse, and my Apple DV monitor. When I boot the G4, the gray Apple appears on the screen, and it begins the startup sequence. After about 10-15 seconds, the screen goes blank.

At first I thought the computer didn't make it through the boot process, but now I realize it's just the video that's failing.

After testing a few times, the machine itself appears to have booted up, but there's no picture. It responds to blind keyboard input, like open/close disc tray, volume up/down, etc. And when the image is visible, I see a clear, normal image on the screen (so we know that a connection is valid) of the Apple logo, but it's only visible for a short time. Then poof. It goes blank. Image gone.

I tried booting again in verbose mode, to see what it's saying right before the screen goes blank, but no error messages were displayed (by the time I lost visibility)

My Question: Anyone recognize this symptom?

Bad video card? Doesn't like my Apple DV display? I checked to confirm the card is seated fully, and the cabling is good. I ruled out the elementary things, connection issues, etc.

Unfortunately, I don't have a spare video card to plug in to test.

I see I can get an OEM GeForce 4 MX for 10-20 bucks on eBay, but don't want to take that step until I've confirmed what the problem is.

Any ideas?
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Re: G4 Tower (Quicksilver) video issue: anyone recognize this symptom?
Posted by: PeterB
Date: January 26, 2008 06:58PM
Try a PRAM reset ... make sure monitor connections are good. If that doesn't work, try a PMU reset.




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)
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Re: G4 Tower (Quicksilver) video issue: anyone recognize this symptom?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: January 26, 2008 07:20PM
Also, if it has been sitting around for a while, pull the PRAM battery and replace with a new one. Some Mac models will boot okay with no battery at all, but a poor or dead battery will keep a bad setting for resolution or another PRAM setting. Some will not come up properly without a good battery at all, but it has been too long to for me to remember which group the QS G4's fell into.



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Re: G4 Tower (Quicksilver) video issue: anyone recognize this symptom?
Posted by: guitarist
Date: January 26, 2008 07:52PM
Tried the PRAM reset, no luck. Then tried PMU (manually, via cuda reset button, following the instructions in the Apple docs) and still no luck.

Sometimes the display will hold a picture for only 10 seconds, the longest it's held is 20 seconds.

Next step might be to replace the PRAM battery, I suppose. I'll order one from OWC, or see if I can get one locally, so I don't have to wait for shipping.

This is discouraging. I hope it's nothing serious, and it responds soon to minor rather than major troubleshooting.
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Re: G4 Tower (Quicksilver) video issue: anyone recognize this symptom?
Posted by: PeterB
Date: January 26, 2008 08:07PM
guitarist, just to be clear -- when you do PMU reset on that machine, do it for at least 45 seconds to a full minute. I have found with mine that doing it less than 45 seconds does not do it right...

You might also try reinstalling the OS, if you weren't the one who installed it. Could be some problem with a corrupted file or such...




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)
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Re: G4 Tower (Quicksilver) video issue: anyone recognize this symptom?
Posted by: MacMagus
Date: January 26, 2008 08:33PM
Sounds like the video settings are out of spec for your monitor.

Start up with the shift key held down. If you can get to the Finder that way, go into System Pref's and set your display pref's to something that it likes.
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Re: G4 Tower (Quicksilver) video issue: anyone recognize this symptom?
Posted by: guitarist
Date: January 26, 2008 08:47PM
Quote
PeterB
guitarist, just to be clear -- when you do PMU reset on that machine, do it for at least 45 seconds to a full minute. I have found with mine that doing it less than 45 seconds does not do it right...

You might also try reinstalling the OS, if you weren't the one who installed it. Could be some problem with a corrupted file or such...

Re: PMU reset--I was just reading about that. Conflicting reports on how long to hold the button down. I've done it for as long as about 25 seconds. I'll do it one more time, this time at 45 seconds.

Re: reinstall OS--can't very well do that blind. I need to see a display image and respond to prompts in order to get into doing OS installation or updates. I'm unable to boot from a disc, even, not being able to see anything, it's not really possible to interact using the keyboard for all but the most basic of things.

Re: out of spec for my display. I wondered about that. If I had an old VGA monitor around (likely what it was attached to last) I'd like to try booting to that. But I don't have one on hand, and after all these resets, it's likely confused anyway.

Again, it does appear to be booting up okay. I wish I could see, but from the sound and behavior of it, it seems to have fully booted.

I'll try shift key. Doesn't that do a "safe boot"? No startup items loaded?
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Re: G4 Tower (Quicksilver) video issue: anyone recognize this symptom?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: January 26, 2008 08:55PM
Have to be careful doing a PMU reset and holding it down for any length of time. If you slip and accidentally cause it to be seen as two presses before reattaching to power, the PMU chip can be corrupted and never work right. More than a few logic boards of the early G4's were incapacitated by this being done by people treating the PMU reset button as if it was the older CUDA reset. Safest might be to remove the PRAM /clock battery and leave the QS disconnected from AC power for an hour or two before putting in a known good battery and then powering up.



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Re: G4 Tower (Quicksilver) video issue: anyone recognize this symptom?
Posted by: MacMagus
Date: January 26, 2008 09:13PM
> I'll try shift key. Doesn't that do a "safe boot"? No startup items loaded?

Yes. It also starts up with a "safe" screen resolution. smiling smiley
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Re: G4 Tower (Quicksilver) video issue: anyone recognize this symptom?
Posted by: guitarist
Date: January 26, 2008 10:24PM
Held the Shift key down. The Apple logo held for two full minutes this time, before going blank again. Scratching my head....
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Re: G4 Tower (Quicksilver) video issue: anyone recognize this symptom?
Posted by: PeterB
Date: January 26, 2008 10:36PM
guitarist, I'm still thinking fouled system install. If you can't boot with a CD, how about booting into target disk mode, then installing the OS from another machine? (Or for that matter, using DiskWarrior on it?)




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)
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Re: G4 Tower (Quicksilver) video issue: anyone recognize this symptom?
Posted by: MacMagus
Date: January 26, 2008 10:59PM
> Held the Shift key down. The Apple logo held for two full minutes this time, before going
> blank again. Scratching my head....

Hmm... 'didn't even make it into the Finder when safe-booting... weird.

As PeterB suggested, try booting from a CD or DVD. If the image goes blank during startup then at that point, I'd suspect a bad video card.
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Re: G4 Tower (Quicksilver) video issue: anyone recognize this symptom?
Posted by: guitarist
Date: January 26, 2008 11:14PM
Quote
PeterB
guitarist, I'm still thinking fouled system install. If you can't boot with a CD, how about booting into target disk mode, then installing the OS from another machine? (Or for that matter, using DiskWarrior on it?)

As it turns out, I have no PowerPC Mac to use for troubleshooting. Can Intel Macs and PowerPC macs work as a pair for Target Disk Mode? The only Macs I have now are Intel Macs. A MacBook Pro, and an iMac, both from early 2007. I'd assumed you can only do TDMode from Macs with a common processor type.
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Re: G4 Tower (Quicksilver) video issue: anyone recognize this symptom?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: January 26, 2008 11:15PM
One other thing, if you do not have an Apple Hardware Test CD that works for a QS, you can download a disk image from here: [www.info.apple.com]. Someone posted the site sometime back, and I had looked it up earlier today for another thread. See if you can boot from that burned to a CD, may help you isolate whether you are dealing with a hardware or OS install problem.



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Re: G4 Tower (Quicksilver) video issue: anyone recognize this symptom?
Posted by: PeterB
Date: January 26, 2008 11:16PM
Quote
guitarist
Quote
PeterB
guitarist, I'm still thinking fouled system install. If you can't boot with a CD, how about booting into target disk mode, then installing the OS from another machine? (Or for that matter, using DiskWarrior on it?)

As it turns out, I have no PowerPC Mac to use for troubleshooting. Can Intel Macs and PowerPC macs work as a pair for Target Disk Mode? The only Macs I have now are Intel Macs. A MacBook Pro, and an iMac, both from early 2007. I'd assumed you can only do TDMode from Macs with a common processor type.

Yes, you should be able to do this no problem ... mostly I've only ever put my MacBook into TDM and worked on it from the Quicksilver, but I don't see why the other way around wouldn't work, since TDM is essentially just making it into an external HD.

Edit: JoeH is correct, you can check it with the AHT CD. Of course, if it won't boot from a CD, then this doesn't help...




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/26/2008 11:17PM by PeterB.
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Re: G4 Tower (Quicksilver) video issue: anyone recognize this symptom?
Posted by: guitarist
Date: January 27, 2008 12:31AM
It just booted from the Hardware Test CD, and passed all tests. That's a relief.

Frustrating though, that it displays just fine booted from the Hardware Test CD. Crystal clear. Now, when I boot from the internal system again, I expect I'll lose the display again.

I don't have a generic Tiger disc. Just the System discs that came with my MacBook Pro. I tried using a duplicated System disc, but am not surprised it wouldn't boot, it's a copy, and it was made on an Intel mac.

UPDATE: I talked to the friend who gave it to me. Tomorrow we're going to lend me an older VGA display, and find an OS disc to lend me. He's fairly certain it's not adjusting its settings to display correctly on my DVI monitor, it's an issue he's had with G4 Towers before. We'll troubleshoot and get it to recognize my display.

From within HWTest CD, I was able to see: It's an 800 MHz single processor 2002 Quicksilver, with an ATI Rage 128 Pro, and two 356 MB RAM modules.
I was hoping it might have just a tad more juice in the processor department, it falls just a wee notch below the official minimum requirement for Leopard. (867 MHz, according to the Apple site) Anyone here installed Leopard on older G4 Towers? With acceptable results?
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Re: G4 Tower (Quicksilver) video issue: anyone recognize this symptom?
Posted by: Harbourmaster
Date: January 27, 2008 01:21AM
If it really has a RagePro 128 card that is likely the problem here. it's not setting the video to the proper resolution for your display.

A good solid PRAM Zap should get you to a working default resolution of 800x600.

Startup the Mac and hold down the Command>Option>P>R keys together until you hear the boot chime 10 times, yes TEN TIMES then release the keys and see if you startup normally.



Aloha, Ken


“I have developed significant attachments to several members even though I wouldn't recognize them if I sat next to one on a park bench. I'm often tempted when in an airport to walk around, hollering "The Løpe", to see if anyone other than the Homeland Security people will acknowledge me. ” - The Løpe
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Re: G4 Tower (Quicksilver) video issue: anyone recognize this symptom?
Posted by: MacMagus
Date: January 27, 2008 01:37AM
> A good solid PRAM Zap should get you to a working default resolution of 800x600.

Jeeeeeeeze!

If that was good for anything, it would have done the trick with 3 chimes.


> I don't have a generic Tiger disc. Just the System discs that
> came with my MacBook Pro.

Ah hah! 'Nother Mac in da house.

Okay, easy fix.

Boot the G4 into FW target mode, mount it on the Mac Pro and delete these files from the G4:

/Library/Preferences/com.apple.windowserver.plist

/Users/[username]/Library/Preferences/ByHost/
com.apple.windowserver.[some number].plist
(There may be several of these files.)

Power it down. Reboot and zap PRAM *ONCE* on startup.

'Should fix it.
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Re: G4 Tower (Quicksilver) video issue: anyone recognize this symptom?
Posted by: guitarist
Date: January 27, 2008 02:15AM
Ahhh...Ya know...I was thinking of posting a question about which preference items I might be able to access via Target Disk Mode.

I'd successfully booted via TDMode about an hour ago, and looked around in Library/Preferences, but wasn't confident enough to alter any of them.

I DID look at a few log files, and saw that the date is something screwy like 1967, so I can tell my PRAM abuse had some effect.

That Rage card is stubborn.

Okay...I'll try deleting the suggested preferences, hopefully I'll get good results, and report back. It's after midnight here, I might do it with a cup of coffee in the morning. Thanks for the tip, it could be just the answer I was looking for.
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Re: G4 Tower (Quicksilver) video issue: anyone recognize this symptom?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: January 27, 2008 02:25AM
Quote
guitarist
It just booted from the Hardware Test CD, and passed all tests. That's a relief.

...

From within HWTest CD, I was able to see: It's an 800 MHz single processor 2002 Quicksilver, with an ATI Rage 128 Pro, and two 356 MB RAM modules.
I was hoping it might have just a tad more juice in the processor department, it falls just a wee notch below the official minimum requirement for Leopard. (867 MHz, according to the Apple site) Anyone here installed Leopard on older G4 Towers? With acceptable results?

Glad the AHT download site helped. As for the speed, since that is the 2002 single processor at 800 MHz, you don't have any L3 cache. That leaves it not much faster than a single 533 DA, so Leopard might run, but be a bit short of CPU power. Probably be better off using 10.4 if you do end up setting it up as a server.



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Re: G4 Tower (Quicksilver) video issue: anyone recognize this symptom?
Posted by: guitarist
Date: January 27, 2008 03:22AM
Quote
JoeH
Quote
guitarist
It just booted from the Hardware Test CD, and passed all tests. That's a relief.

From within HWTest CD, I was able to see: It's an 800 MHz single processor 2002 Quicksilver........... Anyone here installed Leopard on older G4 Towers? With acceptable results?

Glad the AHT download site helped. As for the speed, since that is the 2002 single processor at 800 MHz, you don't have any L3 cache. That leaves it not much faster than a single 533 DA, so Leopard might run, but be a bit short of CPU power. Probably be better off using 10.4 if you do end up setting it up as a server.

I plan to never plug a display into it once it's performing as a network server. Leopard's screen sharing is how I plan to manage it remotely. In any case, being stuck at 10.4 permanently is not an option. Processor upgrade cards have L3 cache, I'd likely opt for that if needed. Since the G4 Tower, and four SATA drives are free of charge, I don't mind investing a little (RAID card, memory, etc.) to give it a gainfully employed future.
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