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Install newest firmware prior to 10.2 update System
While I am sure most of you will laugh at this one and figure duh, it is very important!!

Remember to check for (and install) firmware upgrades on your Mac (specifically iMacs) before you install 10.2! The side effects of not doing this can be rather nasty!! Apple finally put out a kbase article today for service providers about it, but for one poor computer I am working on it is too late. The mildest side effect is a color tint, the worst is no video (that they have acknowledged), but I have one that is worse in the shop.

[Editor's note: Article 86117 in the Apple Knowledge Base contains end-user firmware upgrade information...]
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Install newest firmware prior to 10.2 update | 28 comments | Create New Account
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Authored by: tinfoil on Oct 23, '02 11:32:06AM

<i>Important: These firmware updates cannot be installed when the computer is started up from Mac OS X. In order to install them, you must start up the computer from a Mac OS 8 or Mac OS 9 System Folder on the computer's hard disk (not from a CD). See the hardware and software requirements listed for each installer for details.</i>

I find this ironic that while they are pushing to rid themselves of anything prior to OS X, you still need it to upgrade your firmware.

Thankfully my DVI Tibook didn't need an update because I didn't even think to check this. Being a mac newb, I didn't even think of checking something like this.

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Authored by: r0adrage on Oct 23, '02 12:21:21PM

I just noticed that mine is not the latest. I thought the installer might have checked before installing, and since it didn't complain...

So now mine isn't the latest. I just hope my OS9 will boot, since I deleted a bunch of OS9 folders since I never use it... oops.

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Not too late I guess
Authored by: jjones on Oct 23, '02 04:27:06PM

I have been running 10.2 following an upgrade from 9.2.2 for about a month now with pleasant results and no observable deficiencies. I just upgraded the firmware(it needed it) and encountered no problems following the directions. I will wait and see if I see any improvement.

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FIX via TIDBITS: iMac|firmware|OSX v. 10.2
Authored by: mo on Oct 29, '02 04:52:57PM

1) Installing Jaguar on some slot-loading iMacs _can_ render the
machine unusable by blacking out the internal display, even when
trying to start up in Mac OS 9. The bug is apparently in Jaguar,
not the installer.
2) You can avoid the problem altogether by updating your iMac's
firmware _before_ installing Jaguar. The current firmware version
is 4.1.9; it's a 1.2 MB download.(chech install CD for included firmware)

**Seeing Black?** If you've already attempted to install Jaguar
and are looking at a black screen, you can recover, but it's not
simple. Essentially, you must find a way to update your iMac's
firmware from a writable drive without having use of the iMac's
Perhaps the best approach is to open the iMac, remove its hard
drive, and connect the hard drive to a second computer (like a
Power Mac G3 or G4 with an available drive bay). Then copy the
firmware updater to the iMac's drive, install a remote control
program like Timbuktu onto the hard drive and configure it to
allow incoming access, and set the drive to boot in Mac OS 9.
Next, move the hard drive back to your iMac and boot the machine
in Mac OS 9 (the screen will still be black). Then, connect to
the iMac over a network from another Macintosh using the remote
control program and run the firmware updater. Once you've done
that, the iMac's video should be restored. TidBITS#653/28-Oct-02

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Solution?? -may be worth trying
Authored by: Anonymous on Jan 28, '03 12:53:33PM

I have managed to resurrect a dead iMac (Slot Loading 400mhz, No vga monitor output) that was suffering from a black monitor after installing OS 10.2 without first installing the firmware update (Doh!).
Here's what worked for me:
I had 2 memory chips in the machine. One was the original 64Mb one the other was a 128Mb chp I had installed some time ago.
I unplugged the machine and removed the 128Mb chip. I then restarted...Black screen.
I then turned off the power and re-installed the 128Mb chip. When I restarted I had enough of a picture (it was blue and blurred) to be able connect to the network and copy over the Firmware update and set OS 9 as the start up folder.
I then screen again
So i repeated the power off - uninstall memory chip - restart - power off - re-install memory - restart routine and ended up with a blurry OS 9 desktop (green this time!!??) from which I was able to carry out the open firmware upgrade.
Now everything seems fine!

I'm sure this routine may not work for everyone with this incredibly frustrating problem, but it seems to have saved me an expensive trip to the Apple Dealer!

Al Fleming

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Authored by: lebowski on Oct 23, '02 11:40:46AM

I'm just wondering, if you upgrade the firmware, is it permanent?
I remember upgrading my imac's firmware (think it was for the dvd player) way back when i first moved to OS X.1
However, when upgrading to OS X.2 i did a clean install. Would the firmware update have been lost as well in the format? No specific problems here, just curious is all.


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RE: Question
Authored by: eagle_eyes on Oct 23, '02 11:46:10AM

Yes the firmware is permanent to the Logic board (or for PC users Motherboard). It can also only be ungraded, not downgraded.

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Authored by: robarmo on Oct 23, '02 06:59:13PM

I`ve just installed the SuperDrive firmware update for my flat-panel iMac. It went without a hitch, but when I went to check Apple System Profiler (which it suggests) I noticed that Software Update has left the firmware updater in my Applications/Utilities folder. This made me wonder, if firmware updates are permanent, why has the updater been left on my system? Do I need to keep it, or is it safe to remove?


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this is true...
Authored by: holo on Oct 23, '02 12:48:45PM

I can vouch for this as well, i also work for an apple specialist store. we've seen several iMacs (the older traditional imacs, not the flat panels) where the customer has bought 10.2 and come back complaining of video problems.

what we've found is, of course, install the firmware first. but if you have already installed 10.2 and are having issues with the video, you can *try* installing the firmware (you can always try hooking up a monitor to the VGA port on the back). i've personally ressurected a few computers after 10.2 was installed.

luckily this problem only seems to affect iMacs and no other hardware, yet..

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Me too!
Authored by: dave_addey on Mar 19, '03 03:23:00AM

Many, many thanks... my iMac went the same way after installing 10.2,
and I just put it down to a dodgy monitor until a friend had exactly the
same problem. After borrowing a monitor (thank god for that video
mirroring output port - knew it would come in useful some day), and
retrospectively installing the firmware update, we're back in full colour!

And to think I nearly packed it up in a box and spent over £1000 on a
new one. Thank God for :-)

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Authored by: robh on Oct 23, '02 01:56:42PM

Give that man a cigar.

My mother's G3 400Mhz iMac has been green for the last week since I put 10.2 on it. I thought it was an old hardware problem.. the screen used to misbehave under 10.1 around once in 20 reboots, but it had been okay for a few weeks before installing 10.2. After installing 10.2 the screen would be green and less bright most of the time and distorted beyond recognition other times.

I just did the firmware upgrade via 9.2 and it booted back into glorious technicolor, even after a second reboot.


And yes it's ironic and disgusting that firmware updates have to be run from OS9. I hate OS9. The bloody thing took 20 minutes to "rebuild the desktop" - whatever that means (rhetoric - I don't care what it means).

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Me too...
Authored by: stevetech on Oct 23, '02 02:08:08PM

I've had two iMacs in my shop since last week. I guess Apple tech support wasn't aware of this issue until recently. One tech I spoke to at Apple recommended replacing the CRT (which is on back order until 11/15). The other computer I already replaced the power/analog/video board.

The first computer I was able to boot in to 9 and do the firmware upgrade. When I started the computer this morning I was back to the red screen and now the computer shuts itself off after a few seconds. The second computer is just blank (no video) when it starts and does not have a video out so I can't even get the firmware update on this computer . I'm really stuck and not sure if calling Apple will help. I just feel bad for these customers.

In the past didn't the OS installer warn you about firmware???

Thanks for any help you can provide!


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Even more ironic...
Authored by: gordonGekko on Oct 24, '02 06:44:21AM

...that people have not installed it.

That firmware update for iMac's has been out for a year. There were posts all over Apple's support pages shortly after 10.1 came out - putting 10.1 on an iMac is enough to make the screen go funny colours and horribly distorted at boot time.

HOWEVER - at the rear of the CRT iMacs is a plastic cover with normal video out socket inside. Plug any external monitor into this and you will have perfect video on that.

Also I found a few quick reboots should (though not always) make the screen come back to something resembling normal, at least long enough to install the update.

And yes it is a permanent fix.

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wait until sleep
Authored by: sanfordmac on Oct 24, '02 11:50:32AM

Yes, I tried to install jag on a slot loading imac and everything went downhill after that. Thanks to this post I was able to bring the computer back to life. My tip is if your screen is black when it starts, just wait until the computer goes to sleep. Waking it from sleep should bring up the monitor with a hue missing. But you can actually see what you are doing to upgrade the firmware.


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Algorithm to resurect iMac please?
Authored by: lepape on Oct 24, '02 03:56:25PM

I have 3 dead iMac 400 G3 on my hands due to these nasty Jaguar installs.

Could someone clearly explain how to proceed to resurect those iMacs?

I don't see how installing a new hard drive with Mac OS 9
installed on it will allow you to reboot in 0S 9 since
the firmware is the problem in the first place.

Thank you very much for your help.

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Algorithm to resurect iMac please?
Authored by: eagle_eyes on Oct 24, '02 10:15:48PM

If you are lucky enough to have a video port on the back you can plug in an external monitor. Otherwise the tech article says to pull out the logic board and put it into another machine to do the upgrade. You could also try booting off a cd to switch it back to OS using the CDs startup-disk control panel.

The machine I have with the problem is way past that, it has gone down hill since day one. It has gotten to where I have been given the direct line to a Specialist and I am having to trade out both the logic board and the PAV (video) board at the same time. It is not looking very good for this poor iMac!!

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Algorithm to resurect iMac please?
Authored by: wyclef on Jun 17, '03 09:58:13AM

I have an iMac DV Slot Loading 400 MHZ 512 MB Ram comp and i'm thinking about installing OS X. Should I avoid doing this? My imac now runs 9.2.2 and it's super slow.

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2 questions - newbie
Authored by: tlfeet on Oct 26, '02 04:57:19AM

OX 10.2 CD has firmware update on it.
Install directions say to get the firmware from website.

Did not find any on website (for my machine)-how do I find them on website?

Is a firmware update permanent? I plan on reinitializing HD prior to Jag install. So should I do firmware update after reinit?

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2 questions - newbie
Authored by: tlfeet on Oct 26, '02 05:05:00AM

Never mind - found answers- duh.

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wait until sleep
Authored by: schiller on Oct 27, '02 05:19:45AM

hi sanford,
thanks, thanks, thanks!
After sleeping the colors were very ugly, but I was able to do the firnware-update.
Very good hint!


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Check Firmware First??
Authored by: FACEMILK on Oct 27, '02 05:09:50AM

Is there any way to check the current firmware version?
Requiring OS 9 is bad enough, but having to run the update just to see if you need the update? wtf?

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Check Firmware First??
Authored by: wal9000 on Oct 28, '02 09:41:56AM

I *believe* the version listed next to "Boot ROM Version" in Apple System Profiler gives you the firmware version... but I could be wrong.

Anyone know for sure if this is the same as the firmware update version?

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Yes This is the firmware version.
Authored by: eagle_eyes on Oct 28, '02 03:06:19PM

Yes This is the firmware version.

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Authored by: zeph on Feb 17, '03 05:40:16PM

Fallen into the trap of installing Jaguar on a December 99 Slot Loading DV iMac without first
installing Firmware update.
Switched back to 9.2.2 as startup disk.
Monitor black, though rest still worked, despite not seeing anything. Tried installing firmware
update, it spent an hour making a ticking sound, I then plugged out to cancel and now the
computer won't start up. It starts normally, makes the chime, cpas lock flashes and then
when it begins to read the hard disk, there is a sound like it was turned off and then it makes
a low ticking noise until it's plugged out. What can be done?

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Authored by: wyclef on Jun 17, '03 09:55:41AM

I just upgraded to 9.2.2 on my 400mhz iMac DV Slot-Loading computer and i've noticed that the monitor has stopped responding to my settings in the monitor control panel and kind of has a mind of it's own now. Do you think it would be necessary for me to update the firmware?

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Install newest firmware prior to 10.2 6, anyhow....update
Authored by: ankh on Jun 17, '03 06:30:45PM

Pismo 400; had X 10.2.6 on the internal and 9.2.2 on an external firewire. Was firmware-up-to-date as of a week ago.

Bought and swapped in a 500 mhz processor.

Firmware suddenly needed updating again, and couldn't be done from the external (never could shut down and restart command-option and get it to run, it'd make the long tone indicating it recognized the key command then fail).

Had to install 9.2.2 on the internal drive AND remove 10.2.6 and reinstall back to 10.2.0, then it ran the firmware update fine.

Then had to cmd-opt-p-r; cmd-opt-O-F, reset-all, reset-nvram (three times) and run preferences and bindings first from the CD-installer, then from the internal X drive, then from another external firewire drive, before it would boot and be stable again.

So, with the Pismo, I"m guessing the firmware is on the processor board, not the motherboard? Or, whatever.

The more I learn about computers, the more I miss CP/M-86.

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Install newest firmware prior to 10.2 update
Authored by: loucks on Jan 13, '04 10:27:59PM

IMac firmware fix:

So you tried to install os X 10.2 without updating your firmware to 4.1.9 and now you don't have any video…. and to top it off you have a 350 with no DB15 vga connector. Well here's what I did to fix my iMac.

First I removed the hard drive from the iMac and plugged it into my G3 B&W tower.

I loaded a clean install of OS 9.1 and downloaded VNC (chromatix) and the updated firmware (4.1.9)

I installed a VNC Server(chromatix) and copied it to the startup folder so it would start everytime I booted the iMac.

I put the hard drive back in the iMac and booted it up.

I VNC'd into the iMac with my powerbook and ran the firmware update.

I shutdown the iMac and turned it back on with the programmers button held. Released when the long tone sounds. The iMac did the firmware update and made the startup sound a couple times. I then powered off the iMac and Zapped the PRAM (hold command option P R and I held it for 3 cycles). Let go of the keys after the third cycle and WOO HOO I got video again and the computer boots and tells me that the firmware update was successful.

Shane Loucks
Network Admin
White Pass School District

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Install newest firmware prior to 10.2 update
Authored by: xtramac on Aug 27, '04 08:04:23PM

I realize this is an old topic, but in the course of looking for info about how to upgrade my friend's iMac from OS9 to Panther, I've discovered that I don't have the updated firmware on my PowerMac DP450 that I just installed Panther on. The boot rom version says it's 3.3.4f1.

As far as I know there have been no video problems or other problems with this machine and Jaguar seemed to run great and I absolutely love Panther. But now I'm worried. I have had two kernel panics in 10 months of running Jaguar on it. I have no explanation for those since I don't have the expertise to interpret the log files.

Does anyone think that I should install the firmware update, in case there could be a big problem for me lurking out there or am I better off leaving well enough alone?

A firmware update seems like a pretty major operation to me and I'd rather not if it's not necessary.

Oh yes, one more thing, when I installed Panther, during the installation there appeared to be some sort of check to see if I needed to update the firmware and the determination appeared to be that I did not. Confusing.

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