3 Replies Latest reply: Aug 12, 2012 11:31 AM by Cookie
Cookie Level 2 Level 2 (355 points)

I got this 'Book with the understanding that it has problems but I don't know the full history. This is my first venture with a laptop older than a G3 Lombard


What it does on startup:  chime, take the right amount of time to run the memory check, and present a lighted blank display with just the cursor arrow in the upper left corner. The hard drive and/or CD drive with a CD in place both spin up. Just before or as the HDD starts to spin there are two (occasionally one) very faint beeps.


What it doesn't do: on the display no happy Mac, sad Mac, flashing question mark-on-a-folder. There's no sound of either the HDD or the CD being read.


The PRAM battery is dead and disconnected. There is a live main battery in place.


I've zapped the PRAM many, many times with no change. I've started up successfully into Open Firmware. The "reset-nvram" command brings the response "reset-nvram unknown word". I understand the command I used may not be the right one for a 60x-based machine but I have no clue what the proper command &/or procedure might be.


As a measure of my skill level with anything but the standard Apple GUI I've had OS X since Jaguar was a cub and never,  ever have opened a Terminal session. The OF activity above is the furthest I've ever gone.


From this litany of woe can the 'Book's problem(s) be diagnosed and is there a solution to be had?





  • 1. Re: PowerBook 3400c No Boot
    dalstott Level 4 Level 4 (2,530 points)

    I had to go to my 2000 copy of "Sad Macs BOMBS and Other Disasters" to find the info. An Apple Service Provider would definitely not be of help. A mac user group could be a way to find someone with experience with the older stuff. There is a forum/group on LowEndMac that might be worthwhile browsing.




    From the Sad Macs book.


    1 beep = no RAM installed

    2 beeps = incompatible RAM

    3 beeps = no RAM passed memory testing

    4 beeps = no good boot images in the boot ROM

    5 beeps = Bbad ROM boot block or processor not usable.


    1,2,and 3 indicate replacing RAM may fix problem. Otherwise you are advised to take it to an Apple service provider

  • 2. Re: PowerBook 3400c No Boot
    dalstott Level 4 Level 4 (2,530 points)

    PS here are two sources for 3400 RAM if in stock. These places are getting hard to find currently.





  • 3. Re: PowerBook 3400c No Boot
    Cookie Level 2 Level 2 (355 points)

    Thanks dalstott


    Pulled the RAM expansion module and still get the (mostly) two beeps. This seems to indicate a motherboard RAM issue. Is there a key combo to bypass the startup RAM check to see if there are other problems?


    My BF doesn't appreciate that I seldom get rid of old computer software and docs. I'd show her this thread but it wouldn't make a bit of difference!


    Found (from this forum back two years ago) the proper nvram reset commands for the 3400c (and other 60x-based machines as well?)





    The computer gave oks to the first two lines and restarted on the third. This didn't help either.