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Powerbook G4, A1095 will only boot if I Reset Power Manager every time

edited June 2014 in PowerBook

Powerbook G4, A1095 left unused for 1 year+

I rescued from storage, but had no PSU. I obtained a non-apple PSU that claims to be a model A1021 rated 24.5V/2.65A.
Of course there is no charge in the main battery, even after leaving it connected to PSU.
No lights when I press the button on the battery. I sometimes get a quick flash of one light when inserting the battery while connected to PSU.

Computer wouldn't turn on unless I remove the PRAM battery/board that sits on the DVD drive.
I bought another PRAM board, but no change.

Now, (with PRAM board installed) if I reset the power manager with Shift-CTRL-OPT-Power / wait 5s / Power, the system comes on. But the clock is back to 1970 (until NTP resets it). The battery icon shows 0% charge and not charging.

What are your thoughts on this? What is most likely problem:
- DC Board problem (but why does power the main system OK?)
- Mainboard problem
- PRAM board/battery (have I just got a second duff one?)
- I would expect the main battery of this age to be dead but is there some interaction with the system I don't understand?

Any other tests you can think of to narrow down further?



  • Hi Nick! Thanks for the post!

    I don't have anything of much significance to recommend. From those numbers it looks like it's a 65W AC, which is good, because a lot of people have problems with larger PowerBooks due to only having a 45W AC. I'll assume the AC is good.

    I would download Coconut Battery and see what that tells you about the battery, especially since with a 3rd party AC you don't have a light on the plug to help you. If it reads the proper numbers on the battery and simply states that it's dead or not charging, that's a good thing, even though you have a bad battery. Whereas if it can't detect the battery, or shows odd numbers, that more likely indicates a hardware issue.

    I would let the computer sit overnight disconnected from AC, PRAM battery, and battery. Sometimes laptops get a "bad charge" (for a lack of a better term), and once it dissipates they sometimes act differently.

    You can always reset the PMU by turning the computer off and then holding in the power button until you hear a tone. I don't expect it would fix the problem. The fact that the computer won't start unless you remove the PRAM battery (I assume the battery is removed) strikes me as a hardware problem, and usually power-related PowerBook problems are in the DC-in board ("DC-in/sound board", I think they called them). It's not definite, but that's probably the place I'd start. I don't think I've ever fixed a laptop by replacing the PRAM battery. Removing it in order to jump-start it can work, especially in the older Titanium PowerBooks, but it doesn't sound like the "jump" took permanently, which to me points back to the DC-in. Or an underpowered AC, but it sounds like you have 65W.

    Anyway, I hope that sort of helps. Sometimes there's really not much to do but replace parts in order to rule things out, and sometimes the parts are more expensive than it's worth bothering with. I would be curious to try a known-good battery and a known-good 65W OEM AC adapter....

    Let me know how it goes!



  • Thanks for your comment!

    I don't really care about the main battery working or not, and was really just wondering if from the symptoms there was any chance it might be just the DC board and not the mainboard, The latter is probably too expensive to bother to replace. I'll look out for a cheap DC board on Ebay - it might be worth me getting one to try.

    As an aside - was surprised how well it performed: 1.5 GHz/1.25 GB RAM/MacOS 10.5.8

    As another aside - I thought the screen was very bad (dim and only readable in dark room). But once I had blown away 10.4 and installed 10.5, I was able to use the backlight keys to turn it up. OK, it's still aged (yellow tinge) and a bad pixel or two, but more usable now.

  • Could definitely be the DC-in board, although it's somewhat of a coin toss. But it's the place to start.

    Yeah, these old machines are still amazingly functional, especially with 1+GB RAM. People always think they need a new laptop, but for lots of people even something from 2005 has the horsepower to do 98% of what they'd ever need. The problem ends up being old software -- limitations of browsers, and old versions of iTunes.

    Strange about the screen brightness...I don't know why 10.4 wouldn't allow you to adjust brightness. When I see a slightly dim screen, the first thing I do is reset the PRAM, because that puts the default screen brightness back in place, if it's been turned down.

    Anyway, thanks, and good luck!

  • Just to close this off - after a long time, I bought another DC board off eBay. And then, after another delay, I fitted it yesterday. Problem Solved!
  • Awesome, great to hear! Like I mentioned it's often a coin toss between the DC-in board and the logic board, but fortunately you won the coin toss. :-)
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