eMacs do sometimes experience this problem. The start button is connected to a relay to throw the main power on, but it fails. It is an electrical hardware problem that has not been documented. Essentially a capacitor has lost its charge and can't bridge to the mains. Sometimes letting it rest and trying again hours later can result in it working, but more often this unreliablity tends to increase as months go by.
If your biggest objective is to regain the files on the HD, physical intervention is probably the simplest. Dismantle the eMac, to remove the HD and then put the extracted HD in an enclosure to be read as an external drive on the other iMac.
The original eMac disks, Tiger, would be worth some money as secondhand disks, more than the eMac itself, so be mindful of those. Another poster on here bagel77, just bought an eMac with Tiger but no disks. He has the 1.25 GHz. Is yours the 1.42 GHz, perhaps?
USB 2.0 eMacs had a known hardware fault that is, today, essential fatal due to the expiration of an Apple program to fix it at no cost. The cost of repair without the program is equal to the value of a half-dozen used eMacs assuming a tech can find the parts. So we should decide up front if your eMac is among the affected models.
First use this article to locate your serial number and model variant:
then use the serial number to find your eMac variant in the chart in that article. The hardware fault ONLY affects those with the variant name "eMac (USB 2.0)"
If yours is a "USB 2.0" please see if the serial number falls in these ranges:
YM412xxxxxx - YM520xxxxxx
VM440xxxxxx - VM516xxxxxx
If it does, consider Roam's advice to pull the HD and not worry about breaking something. The rest of the computer may have some resellable parts but the logic board cannot be economically repaired today.
Thank you both for your input. I hoped for better news, but didn't really expect it. We had tried resetting the PRAM but nothing seemed to happen. I happen to have an old printout of the system profiler which shows the following:
Machine speed: 800 MHz
Bus speed: 133 MHz
Machine model: eMac (version = 3.3)
Customer serial number YM3310QQ-PDL=ff12
I don't know, but I think this one is older than the eMac USB 2.0.
There are so many places to buy computer stuff. Any reccommendations? Places to find instructions?
Thanks for the tip about the system disks, too, roam. Certainly something to consider.
I found this in the manual BDAqua suppled:
The battery on the logic board controls the stored system settings, such as date and time. It is only necessary to test the battery when you can’t power on the computer, or the date and time are reset every time the AC power is removed.
The battery is also used to power the PMU chip (because the PMU chip keeps time and must always be running) when the computer is unplugged from the wall (AC power). The PMU is very sensitive and touching any circuitry that is connected to the PMU can cause it to crash. If the PMU crashes, the battery life goes from about five years to about two days if the PMU is not reset. Once the battery goes dead, the PMU will reset the time and date every time the AC power is removed. To fix this situation, replace the battery and reset the PMU (refer to “Resetting the PMU on the Logic Board” mentioned earlier in this chapter).
You can try that if you like, but I've found replacing the battery and resetting the PMU does not reinvigorate an eMac that goes 'click'.
It is older than I thought. So you have the grey 10.2 original disks, (not worth much) and retail 10.4 Tiger disks, that you could sell easily.
eMacs now are not expensive. You could always buy the last model 1.42hz eMac which is quite fast and has USB 2. Load it with Tiger and it would be really lively compared to your existing one.
We bought the eMac for my father-in-law, who decided he wanted a computer as he was about to turn 83. It was touted as 'the easiest to use computer on the planet" - just what he needed. He enjoyed it very much except when 'it' did things . My husband inherited it when his dad passed away. My husband isn't big on backups, and it doesn't have much on it, but there are a few files we were hoping to pull out of it. OWC suggested a 'NewerTech SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Universal Drive Adapter' but not sure if it's worth the $38 price tag. We're going to try a battery, not much loss if it doesn't work. It's the same as in his old blue iMac, anyway.
As far as buying another eMac, they're cute, but I'll stick with my Intel iMac until I decide to buy a new one, and my husband can have mine. Thanks, for the suggestion, though.
If we have any luck, I'll post back.