Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

Another possible fix for dead-screen G3 iMacs Install
I think that most of you know the situation: You want to install OS X on an old iMac G3. If you don't update its firmware before the installation, your iMac won't display anything on the screen any more. I had this issue in the past when I didn't know about that requirement. On some models, you get at least a very(!) dark screen, but most will just stay completeley black. Once I even had one which was dark pink. In the past, I used different tricks to revive the dead iMac:
  • Putting the firmware updater into Startup Items and control it blind
  • Removing the HD and installing a bootable OS 9 with a VNC Server (for remote access) on it
  • Attaching an external VGA display (not all models support that, though)
All of the above just to get to the point of running the Firmware Updater. After the update, the iMac still starts with a blank screen. However, after turning it off and on again, it finally works, and you can begin to install OS X. The biggest annoyance is that after you've booted once with the Installer CD, it's already too late. If you have an older firmware, the installer will not be able to continue at the point where you select the destination drive, and after a reboot, your screen is dead.

Not having installed OS X on such an ancient machine for a long time, I forgot about the firmware update requirement, and booted off the OS X Installer CD. I think you can guess what happened then. Firmware too old, no screen. So I went through the steps above and at the point of creating a bootable system with a VNC Server on it (like I have done succesfully in the past), I learned something even easier.

Start up the screen-dead iMac, let it boot into OS 9, and wait until the Finder has loaded -- you can guess that pretty well by the sound of the HD. Then push the On/Off button to put the iMac to sleep. When the green LED turns to a blinking orange, your iMac is asleep. Then wake it up with a keystroke on your keyboard and (presto!) you have your screen back!

Be aware that the display only will work until your next reboot/shutdown, so now would be a good time to run the Firmware Updater! After the update, the iMac will boot once more with a dead screen (as stated above), but after another shutdown, it will be alive again from then on. You can install OS X without any problems now. I know that the problem should be well known, but I haven't seen this simple solution anywhere on the net, so I decided to share my experience.
  • Currently 2.63 / 5
  You rated: 3 / 5 (8 votes cast)

Another possible fix for dead-screen G3 iMacs | 6 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the 'Another possible fix for dead-screen G3 iMacs' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Another possible fix for dead-screen G3 iMacs
Authored by: simonpie on Feb 24, '05 12:48:41PM

I which I had known that. When it happened to me, I put the drive in another computer and install timbuktu on it before putting it back in the imac. Of course, it took me a few try before I got it right with all the settings.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Another possible fix for dead-screen G3 iMacs
Authored by: fiddler on Feb 25, '05 09:50:11AM
And always remember, if this happens to you, do NOT under any circumstances reset the PRAM! This takes the situation from bad to worst case -- your iMac will be totally unbootable at this point. I made this mistake, and had to perform this rather difficult hardware hack: iMac Resuurected

[ Reply to This | # ]
Another possible fix for dead-screen G3 iMacs
Authored by: buddilla on Feb 25, '05 09:48:45PM

Thats half of the fix for this issue.

When fixing this issue at work. We take another hard drive with os nine installed with the proper Firmware updates on the desktop. We install the drive switch out the ram then boot from that drive. Most of the time the screen shows video. At times when it doesnt ahow video we put the machine to sleep then wake it. Then we install the firmware updates. We then put the origonal drive back. This in most cases usually fixes the video issue. In the rare cases where it doesnt the machine will require a new logic board. Costing about 250 for the slot load or 230 for the tray load.

This "Hack" has been the best method that has saved alot of our customers from having to buy a new logic board. Yet who would want to replace the logic with all new macs out. Yet some buy them.


aim: buddilla
Dual G4 867HZ Panther Client
Radeon 9800
1.5G RAM
Geeklog CMS User

[ Reply to This | # ]
Another possible fix for dead-screen G3 iMacs
Authored by: glatter on Feb 26, '05 02:52:05AM

Yeah I basically resurrected my neighbour's iMac G3 350 slot loader the same way.I had done all the wrong thing's like zapping the pram and after all that it wouldn't do any thing. The only way I could get it to boot again was to move the ram, zap the PRAM 3 time's and then boot into OS9 with the firmware on the desktop. And as you say put it to sleep and then wake etc. Had about 3 week's of heartache nearly two year's ago untill I did it.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Another possible fix for dead-screen G3 iMacs
Authored by: skholla on Feb 27, '05 04:56:03PM

Ive had this problem come up a time or two and Ive found a simple fix...

Basically the machine has a black display, but is totally functional otherwise.

Let the machine boot up, press the power button to put it to sleep, then hit the space bar to wake it up.... Viola!

Your so called dead iMac is now back to life, simple as that. Just dont forget to update that firmware now!

[ Reply to This | # ]
Another possible fix for dead-screen G3 iMacs
Authored by: poenn on Feb 28, '05 06:43:48AM

Did you read my article till the end? :-) That's exactly what it's about.

Have fun

[ Reply to This | # ]