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Troubleshooting a hardware issue on a Ti/800 System
I'm not sure how much of a hint this is but given the fact that some people might run into this serious problem and then start looking for solutions on macosxhints, makes it worth submitting.

Some time ago, right after upgrading to 10.2 (after a reformat), my PowerBook started acting up; the computer would all of a sudden freeze up in the middle of whatever i was doing. I naturally ran all of the required software tests such as Norton, Techtool, fsck and so on and they always seemed to find problems, but after having these apps'fix them, my PowerBook would still freeze up.

After a while, the problem got worse. After force-quitting my PowerBook, it wouldn't boot anymore; instead of the well-known sound, it would give me between three and four ring tones. After some research on Apple's support site, it appeared that these ring tones indicated a RAM problem. Strangely enough, the Apple hardware test CD did NOT find any problems.

Read the rest of the article for futher diagnosis and the eventual hardware-related fix...

I then decided to bring my PowerBook to My Apple Service Center where they performed several extended hardware and memory tests ... BUT didn't find any problems whatsoever. Nevertheless, since I'm a good customer there, I convinced them to put in two new RAM sticks. Coming home and reinstalling all my software and data, it took no longer than 30 minutes for my PowerBook to freeze up again. You'll believe me when I say that I was about to break down. I ran all of the tests again and again, but the computer kept freezing. Of course I thought about having it send off to Apple Europe, but I was afraid that they wouldn't find anything either and just send it back.

After a lot of conversations and discussions with my Apple service center, they decided to replace the entire logic board since it was clear it was a hardware problem. This whole procedure took about 15 minutes and my PowerBook has been running without a problem or glitch ever since, which is almost a month ago.

So, if someone stumbles upon this hint and recognizes the symptoms, just get the logic board replaced. Trust me, I was working around this problem trying to find a solution for a couple of weeks. The silly thing is that I still don't know what went wrong exactly with the logic board, my Apple Center didn't either, but Apple was 'kind' enough to give me a new logic board for free so I suspect it must be an issue they're aware of.

[Editor's note: Although this isn't directly an OS X hint, there are quite a few troubleshooting articles here, and I thought this might be useful to have in the archives just in case someone else runs into the same thing.]
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Re: Troubleshooting a hardware issue on a Ti/800
Authored by: macboyrules on Dec 20, '02 10:36:40AM

The Power-on self-test (POST) is a test in the BootROM Firmware that checks the Mac's hardware and RAM when the computer is first turned on and before any OS information is loaded. This test is only performed on a clean start-up, ie after a shutdown, not after a reboot. If there are problems detected, it will ring out "tones" to let technicians know what it has found. One ring means there is no RAM installed/detected. Two beeps means there is incompatible RAM installed. Three beeps means that there was RAM detected, but errors were found testing the RAM. Four beeps means a bad checksum for the BootROM (checksum refers to a value given to the correct orientation of data, and is a numerical expression "correct" data). And five beeps means that the boot block in the ROM is bad.
From the description you gave, and from the tones you heard, I believe that you had corrupt Firmware. It would be interesting to know if you did a Firmware upgrade on your PowerBook (We have a few at work that have been successfully upgraded). I have found that Firmware upgrades are a very tricky thing, and even so much as a slight power spike can cause problems. Of course, because of the nature of the Firmware upgrade, there would be no way for you to know if something went wrong, other than your computer just not booting after the upgrade.

Firmware corruption can cause all kinds of wacky things to happen. And, unfortunately as you discovered, the only "fix" for a corrupt Firmware is to replace your logic board. I'm a bit surprised that your ASP didn't suggest that this might be the cause, but then end result would have been the same anyway.

I hope this shed a little more light on your situation.



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Yes, thank you!
Authored by: Fofer on Dec 20, '02 10:44:06AM

This sort of post actually does help. I had a client 2 weeks ago with the exact same problem. I did a clean reinstall, and it still froze. Took out the RAM. Still froze. Helped the client arrange for warranty repair to Apple, and then had to appease Apple's tech support guy... He had me remove the RAM *again*, wipe the drive, and then do *another* clean install. (He claimed that doing a clean install with bad RAM installed would result in a "dirty System Folder.") I didn't buy it, but had nothing to lose so I backed up the whole system and did it anyway. Guess what?

Still froze.

Finally got authorized to send it to Apple, got it back 3 days later with a replacement part listed on the invoice... I googled the part number to see what the fix was, and it turned out to be a new motherboard. How did I find this out? A weblogger with the exact same problem was recounting his story.

Now reading this, I can't help but feel this is more common than it should be. Faulty motherboards in Apple's flagship PowerBook G4, causing it to freeze randomly. Ouch!



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Yes, thank you!
Authored by: Fofer on Dec 20, '02 10:50:27AM

I should also add the fact that on this particular TiBook, the client was booting into 9.2.2 for various reasons.

Therefore I think this is a hardware issue affecting a small number of unlucky TiBook owners - rather than having anything to do with the poster's upgrade to 10.2.



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Happened to me.
Authored by: HappyPig on Dec 20, '02 11:22:06AM
Happened to me on my TiBook 800/DVI - three tones, diagnosed locally as bad RAM, but it kept happening even after it was replaced. I called Apple and they said right off it was a logic board problem. So I sent it back to them and they replaced the board as well as the top case and hinges. Very quick repair time. The TiBook hasn't frozen up since and it runs much cooler now. And I have no idea how many DVI/800 users are affected by this, but there's a number of folks who have posted their experiences at Apple's Support site. Niles

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I doubt that it's a serious problem.
Authored by: hydraulix on Dec 21, '02 11:42:25PM

Although it is inconvenient for the people that it's happened to, I doubt that it's wide spread. Working at an at a place that does a lot of repair, I haven't seen any Powerbooks come back with this problem. Not that it's not happening, but it may just be isolated (a bad batch of logic boards at the factory).

The thing to be aware of is when you make as many computers as Apple does, something will occasionally go wrong, but that's why there is a warranty.

If you want to talk about serious problems, talk about how many eMacs have to go back and get fixed. Or even the older iMacs. It's just a matter of time before the PAV board goes out on one of those.



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