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Powerbook G4 Problem

edited December 2011 in General
Hey John,

Just so you know what he has, a PowerBook G4 15" aluminum 1.67 GHZ

This time it is my brothers laptop haha. He took it to the genius bar and they said it was his hard drive. I personally have no idea what it is because I don't see a ? at bootup.

So when I boot it up, I get a consistent beeps every 2-3 seconds...just long annoying beeps every 2-3 seconds. I get a blank white screen as well (no apple logo). I have done some research and to be honest, I have no idea what it could be.

Do you have any thoughts or is there anything you want me to test out?

Thanks as always...



  • UPDATE: After letting it sit for 5-7 minutes, I get a white/gray screen with a flashing question mark and mac it just the hard drive or could it be the ram?

    Any testing I could do...??
  • edited December 2011
    Strange. I would test option and target mode to see if those function normally. Hold down the option key while powering on, and see if it takes you to the option menu. Also, hold down "t" while powering on to see if it shows the target mode symbol on the screen. Let me know what the results of those modes are.

    Also, reset the PRAM and PMU. When a machine powers up, it is sometimes confused about what boot device address to boot from, and doing the resets on the machine puts it back in line about what order to go in, so it may help the machine get to the blinking folder faster.

    Definitely, always check the RAM slots on aluminum G4 PowerBooks, because so often one of them is bad, causing beeps. Usually you wouldn't see a white screen if it was RAM, but I'd test the slots anyway. Basically, you want to try booting with one RAM slot empty, and then if that doesn't help, switch the slot that is empty, and try booting with RAM in the other slot. If a slot is bad, the machine will not boot when that slot has RAM in it, so if you succeed in booting with one slot empty, the empty slot is the bad one.

    It could be a bad hard drive, but a bad drive shouldn't cause the machine to beep. If you try all of the above and it doesn't help, I'd remove the hard drive and see if the machine behaves as it should (chime sound, then immediately a blinking folder). You don't need a hard drive in a machine for it to function on a basic level, so removing it entirely is a good test.

    If you have restore media, you can always boot from that and see if it will let you format the drive. Or, format the drive on another machine in an external enclosure, and then put it back in the PowerBook.

    Let me know how it goes!
  • Alright, so I did both the option test and the "t" test. For the "t" I got a black screen for awhile and the beeps continued. Then I got a screen with a weird looking icon flashing around the screen with a battery icon on the bottom. No more beeps when it was at that screen. When I did the option test, I got the beeps and a white screen. Then I got a blue screen with a refresh looking icon and a right arrow icon.

    When I pushed either it didn't do anything.

    I already tried to reset PRAM &PMU, and got nothing from it.

    I haven't opened her up yet, I will do the rest of the tests with hard drive out and do the ram test..any thoughts??
  • edited December 2011
    Looks like both tests worked! Target mode will show the target icon that you saw. The battery icon at the bottom means you are on battery power. Option mode shows the bootable devices available, and since it didn't show any hard drive icons, it means the hard drive is there, but not bootable (it doesn't mean it's bad -- just that it can't boot to it, and the OS might be corrupted, etc.)

    So it seems the computer is basically functional. Have you tried re-installing the OS from DVD? That will go a long way in telling you whether or not the drive is bad.

    As far as the beeps, how many does it make in a row? It will generally make beeps then pause, make beeps then pause, etc. If you tell me how many beeps it makes each sequence, I can look up what it means, since it beeps a certain number of times to indicate various problems. Actually, you can Google "PowerBook G4 3 beeps", etc., and you'll see what it means in the first few links.

    Try the RAM test first, and then if that doesn't resolve anything, take out the hard drive. But before all of that, I'd try reinstalling the OS if you have the DVD.

    Do you mean you reset the PRAM and PMU, or that you tried and it didn't work?
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