Previous 1 2 Next 19 Replies Latest reply: Jan 8, 2009 5:00 PM by oldmills
Paul Siegferth Jr.1 Level 1 (40 points)
Greetings, my kids slept the eMac last night and this morning it was shut down. Holding down the power button on the side does nothing. There is no life in this machine Any ideas on how to revive the patient or is it DOA. Help! We haven't installed any new software or upgrades lately. This came out of nowhere. Thanks!

eMac and iBook G4, Mac OS X (10.5)
  • Király Level 6 (9,635 points)
    Some eMac users have remedied this by disconnecting the power cord and leaving it that way for about four hours. After that the unit has powered up normally.

    If that doesn't work for you, It might be a dead PRAM battery. See this document on how to replace it. I'd try just step 6 first (reset the PMU) to see if that revives it without having to replace the battery.
  • Paul Siegferth Jr.1 Level 1 (40 points)
    Thanks for the quick response. I hit the reset with no luck so I'll try a new battery this afternoon. Thanks for your help!
  • Paul Siegferth Jr.1 Level 1 (40 points)
    Another question....when I'm replacing this battery should I reset again or skip that this time?
  • JMVP Level 6 (16,840 points)
    Did you try the trick about disconnecting the power cord? The idea is that a power crash can latch the switching power supply; removing the power cord removes the trickle current drawn by most electronics even when nominally off, allowing the power supply to reset. It's nominally recommended to leave the power cord off for at least 15 minutes, although in extreme cases it may be necessary to leave it unplugged for several hours, as already mentioned.

    Resetting the PMU isn't essential in replacing the PRAm battery, and latter instructions (eMac - Do-It-Yourself) eliminated that step from the instructions.
  • Paul Siegferth Jr.1 Level 1 (40 points)
    Well, I unplugged it from the wall for about five hours yesterday. I plugged it back in and still no power. I found one PRAM battery at Radio Shack and paid way too much and this didn't work either. My desperate hope is that the Radio Shack battery was dead on the shelf so I've ordered another replacement battery and I'm crossing my fingers. I have no other ideas so please fire away any ideas that you may have. Thank you!
  • Paul Siegferth Jr.1 Level 1 (40 points)
    Ok, just realized that the power cord will unplug from the machine too. She's completely unplugged now and I'll try it again in the morning.
  • Michael Lafferty Level 6 (16,080 points)
    3.6 volt 1/2 AA lithium cells are typically guaranteed to hold a 90% charge level after ten years on the shelf. Initially at 3.6 volts, that leaves them them at roughly 3.2 or more volts, ten years later.

    The chances that you received an discharged battery are almost nil.
  • Paul Siegferth Jr.1 Level 1 (40 points)
    Great...she spent all night with no power cord. Plugged her back together this morning and still no power. I think she's gone.
  • JMVP Level 6 (16,840 points)
    Something that's surprisingly easy to overlook: have you checked for power at the outlet into which the eMac's surge protector is plugged? And checked for power from the surge protector, including the specific outlet the eMac is normally plugged into?
  • Paul Siegferth Jr.1 Level 1 (40 points)
    Yes, the strip and outlet are fine. Everything else on the strip is running well. I've tried numerous plugs throughout the house with no luck.
  • JMVP Level 6 (16,840 points)
    Rats; a defective power outlet or surge protector would be easy to replace; a defective eMac power supply is not. Or more accurately, it can be replaced, but it's questionable whether it's worth doing so. It could also be something other than the power supply proper, including a dead PMU (which is why Apple took the PMU reset step out of routine PRAM battery replacement --- pressing the reset button too long or too many times can kill the computer entirely).

    Given that there were no advance symptoms of any problems, that the computer had been left in sleep mode and was found shut down, and that there's no fan or anything else on attempted start-up, something in the power supply supply chain from wall outlet to the eMac's guts is indicated. Could there have been an unnoticed power surge the night the eMac failed? Common low-end surge protectors actually lose effectiveness over time, and they can pass damaging power spikes through while continuing to show a green status LED. The best case would be if a power spike hit the sleeping eMac and blew out the internal fuse that, if I recall correctly, is inside the power supply. A replacement fuse is cheap (the labor cost of getting at it and testing if that's indeed the cause of the problem, however, isn't).

    Complete and inexplicable power failure such as yours is pretty rare, not that that's any comfort (I know firsthand what it feels like to discover that your kids computer is suddenly completely unresponsive --- and on Christmas morning, too). You may want to look over the first item under "Assorted Links" at Apple eMac Upgrade Guide, which together with that link will give you an idea of what's involved taking an eMac apart. You can check with any local Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider (AASP) to ask about getting an estimate, but unless it's just an internal power supply fuse, it's almost certain it will cost more to fix than it's worth. Taking the hard drive out of the eMac will at least let you put it in an external enclosure so the data and applications can be used with a replacement computer.

    Whether you can get the eMac back or end up with any kind of replacement, one thing you can do is pick up an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). Compared to common consumer outlet strips, that will serve as both a better quality surge protector and as protection against power dropouts and brownouts. Even a low-end UPS provides that protection. Higher end ones give you more run time on battery, but even the low-end ones can be connected to the computer and Energy Saver set to gracefully shut down the Mac is power is out for more than a minute. A basic APC BackUPS 350 UPS can be bought for around US$40 on sale, which is cheaper than a good quality surge protector (e.g., Tripp Lite Isobar line).
  • benlaney Level 1 (0 points)
    i also woke up today and the emac won't turn on. quiet start up sound and then black screen, no sound, no fan. is the hard drive burned out? how do i tell since there is nothing happening? ANY info would be helpful. and if i get a new computer, how do i transfer my files and data?? thanks and happy holidays.
  • Paul Siegferth Jr.1 Level 1 (40 points)
    I've received some great advice from viewers, but my eMac isn't responding to anything. I see a new iMac in my future. Not sure how to retrieve info off of the eMac. A bunch of our stuff is backed up on an external drive. Most of my iTunes library is backed up too and I'm hoping the transfer will go smoothly. Good luck with your eMac!
  • benlaney Level 1 (0 points)
    i want to complement some of the posters on this thread, you guys are really know your stuff and we appreciate your sharing of the insights and experience you have. as for whether my problem is due to power strip/surge, it wasn't, as my laptop and other electronics were unaffected that shared the strip.

    last question: if i remove the hard drive and buy a new Mac, how do i transfer the files, particularly Documents, Email (Entourage), itunes and iphoto??

    thanks again, happy holidays
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