12 Replies Latest reply: Sep 7, 2008 10:21 AM by James Franke
borgy44 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Hello,
I have a 15" flat panel iMac G4. Recently it started not booting. No sound during boot and it goes straight to gray/blue window with flashing question mark folder. I read some posts and decided to go for a hard drive upgrade to see if this helps. Found all the help online, swapped HD no problem.

Once the new HD was in and I tried to start the process of trying to boot from disk I realized a bigger problem. I can not open the CD drive. I tried all the tricks- hold mouse button on boot, hold eject button on boot, use open firmware commands (says eject cd ok...but drive doesn't open). Also it looked like there was a physical block to the drawer opening which I fixed but that didn't help either.

Any idea on how to use the optical drive and get this computer booting from disk?? I am starting to worry that it is a logic board issue now.

iMac G4 15", Mac OS X (10.3.x)
  • K Shaffer Level 6 Level 6 (11,635 points)
    Hi there:

    In the process of reading about how to do the task of replacing the
    defective drive, did you find anything about how to configure the
    replacement drive so as to not interfere with the natural boot order
    of the optical drive?

    I don't recall the exact phrase, but there is a priority in having the
    optical drive be a master device and the hard disk drive, second.
    This is so you can use the optical drive to boot the computer;
    using the system installer discs or any proper bootable utility.

    This may be what is wrong in how the optical drive works; or
    doesn't. Given this possibility, I am not sure if such a drive,
    not seen correctly by the system bus, would know you were
    trying to "...open the drive bay doors, Hal." - It may be unwilling
    or it may really not know what you are talking about anymore.

    {There may be some other ideas on this, but I should be sleeping!}

    Good luck & happy computing!
  • spudnuty Level 5 Level 5 (7,045 points)
    Hi Borgy,
    What kind of HD was it that you installed?
    I can not open the CD drive... Also it looked like there was a physical block to the drawer opening which I fixed but that didn't help either.

    I'm on the road right now and won't be back to my desktop and tech shop until Monday but as I recakk there's a black plastic shield that can be problematic if the iMac is not assembled correctly.

    Also Apple recommends that you replace the thermal goop on the two heat pipes when you reassemble the computer. I don't do it since I try not to disturb it on disassembly. Also there's a torque spec on the screws but if you don't overtighten them you'll be OK.
    Richad
  • borgy44 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks for the reply. I will look into that information regarding the boot order. I am not sure that I recall seeing that but maybe if I change the optical to being a master it will help. The only wierd thing is that the computer behaves the exact same since replacing the HD. It didn't let me open the drive before I opened up the case and swapped HDs either.

    I am going to make further attempts later this week and in a few weeks after vacation so I'll post the results and possibly seek more help. Thanks!
  • borgy44 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi spudnuty, thanks for the reponse.

    I installed a Western Digital Caviar 80gb ATA-100 drive. It is almost identical to the 80gb seagate drive I swapped with.

    I know the plastic shield you are talking about. This is what the deal was. Before I even opened the case I pulled down the white CD door and noticed that the CD tray looked funny, like it was jammed or something. So, when I took out the drive holder to swap the HD I took a look at the optical drive. The black rectangular piece that is fixed to the very front of the CD tray had come loose and was not fixed properly to the front. Luckily this thing popped right off and I placed it back correctly aligned. It was stuck on with what seemed to be sticky double sided tape almost. Very strange, but nonetheless on correctly and aligned so the drive can open easily. However, in so doing the plastic shield had to be removed and I didn't get it put back on. So, the shield is not there to cause problems with the drive opening upon reassembly.

    I took care of the thermal paste as recommended and did everything else by the book. I guess I need to check the screws...maybe too tight.

    Again it goes back to the problem that the computer is behaving the same as before I opened it up and swapped HDs. Boots right to flashing question mark. I can boot to openfirmware but it doesn't eject cd command. No other response with the mac once the question mark appears.

    I'll try these things and see what happens. I appreciate your response and will seek further help over the next few weeks as I get this sorted out.

    Thanks!
  • spudnuty Level 5 Level 5 (7,045 points)
    Hey borgy44,
    Well the reason I asked about what type of hard drive it was is that these Western Digitals require no jumpers to work as Master (single). If you place a jumper at the Master position it thinks there should be a slave present and won't boot ( looking for and not finding a slave! ).
    Richard
  • borgy44 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thats good info. So it sounds like I should just remove the jumper from WD and put the optical on slave? Or should I make the optical master to try and wake it up and put the WD on slave? When I am making all of these changes inside the computer, is it necessary for me to close the case up completely every time before testing it or can I leave it partially disassembled. I know apple says that you must completely reassemble and have case closed....thought that might be a legal disclaimer or something.
  • spudnuty Level 5 Level 5 (7,045 points)
    Hey borgy44,
    So it sounds like I should just remove the jumper from WD and put the optical on slave?

    Yes I've never messed around with the jumpers on the optical drive. That the WDs need no jumper is a definite "Gottcha!" when you're/I'm used to placing a jumper. I had exactly this same problem in upgrading a bunch of CRT iMacs and we worked it out a while ago on that forum.
    Or should I make the optical master to try and wake it up and put the WD on slave?

    Dunno I've never messed with that but for sure putting the WD on "slave" will mean it won't boot.
    When I am making all of these changes inside the computer, is it necessary for me to close the case up completely every time before testing it or can I leave it partially disassembled. I know apple says that you must completely reassemble and have case closed....thought that might be a legal disclaimer or something.

    Yes, probably. If these iMacs are not put together the heat spreader is not totally connected. These G4s are pretty rugged and I run them with out putting them all the way together but only for short periods.

    Richard
  • borgy44 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi Richard,

    So I got back to work trying to figure out if the jumper settings/boot order made any difference. I did all combinations for the WD HD- mainly without jumper though, as well as for the optical drive. No changes occurring though. Still boots to question mark folder, lets me enter open firmware to try and eject cd, it says cd eject is ok but it really doesn't occur. Also interesting this time was the fact that I kept the case open and all pieces properly connected while I tried all boot combinations. I would boot for less than 30 sec to test. When I did this I found out that the HD wasn't even starting to spin. No response from optical drive either.

    Any other suggestions?? Sound like logic board?

    Also- what are the very small cables coming from the logic board with the label "HH" on them. Seems like they just snap together. I almost severed off the cable coming from underneath the logic board when putting the case screw back in...must have been rubbing.

    Thanks,
    Mark
  • borgy44 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Could it be a RAM issue? I highly doubt it though. I have a new 512MB SODIMM chip that I was going to install but right now I want to return it!
  • spudnuty Level 5 Level 5 (7,045 points)
    Hey borgy44,
    When I did this I found out that the HD wasn't even starting to spin. No response from optical drive either.

    Well that's got to tell you that the power cable is bad/disconnected. There are 4 wires: the two black ones are ground the yellow should read 12 Volts and the Red one should read 5 volts when the computer is on.
    It could have been damaged when you switched out the drive. Could be unplugged.
    Also- what are the very small cables coming from the logic board with the label "HH" on them. Seems like they just snap together. I almost severed off the cable coming from underneath the logic board when putting the case screw back in...must have been rubbing.

    Not sure what that is. Can you put up a picture?
    Putting that bottom case on is very tricky. All the cables & wires need to be properly routed and placed so that the bottom goes snugly into place with no hindrances or damaged cables.
    Richard

    Message was edited by: spudnuty
  • Hamza El-Falah Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi, I've been having a similar problem that I have yet to find any answer to. I was trying to fix a friend's iBook G4, which was displaying a question mark folder, and ended up replacing the hard drive, and re-installing 10.5 on it. Booted fine, and ran all the updates.

    Now, it gives the question mark folder again. It is not consistent, though. If you keep rebooting, it will eventually boot into the OS, but only after 15-20 tries.

    Any ideas?
  • James Franke Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    And can I add my similar problem : replaced hard drive and can't "see" it? Can logic boards fail for just a drive operation?

    I have a 20" 1.25GHZ G4 iMac that had a hard drive failure. It could be seen by Disk Warrior, Drive Genius but wouldn't respond to repairs. After taking it out I was able to confirm that it's bad.

    I installed a new drive but that can't be seen by install discs(original and 10.5) or DW and DG. I replaced the cable to the logic board and confirmed continuity on the power wire to the drive. (And the DVD drive runs so it has power). I tried jumper settings of "cable Select" and "master". I confirmed off line that the new drive is good. New board battery. Reset PMU.

    Does it make any sense that the problem is the logic board? Everything else seems okay - display, DVD drive, etc. What confuses me about the logic board is that it worked enough to see the bad drive. Anything else to check/change?