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A possible fix for a highly unstable G3 or G4 Tower
Authored by: sgi_oh_too on Sep 07, '05 10:20:28PM

I believe this to be complete and utter nonsense. A bus controller could fail to operate properly due to defects or improper environmental conditions (e.g. heat, humidity, etc), but I seriously doubt that it could have "worn out". Integrated circuits are generally very robust. I have experience with many many servers and raid units that have withstood ten or more years of near constant use without failure of a bus controller. Hard disks and PSUs are much more likely to go belly up. Also, working in an office with easily 50+ Powermacs over the years (from the G3 on), I have never observed this problem.

A likely cause is perhaps that the software driver for the higher-speed ide bus controller was changed at some point during an update and resulted in these problems. Switching to the slower bus would fix any problems since this uses a different driver. (unlikely due to few, if any, reports)

A more likely cause, since this problem is exhibited on different machines, is that your facility is inappropriate for operating such equipment (humidity, heat, dirty unregulated power, dust that could impede airflow etc.) Perhaps invest in an uninterruptible power supply or an air-conditioner. The dirty power thing could be it since some integrated circuits are more picky about steady power than others, and Apple's PSUs are generally less reliable than those of some other vendors.



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A possible fix for a highly unstable G3 or G4 Tower
Authored by: bdog on Sep 07, '05 10:57:59PM

Please don't call this "nonsense"!!!! I hope this hint can help people have a working computer again...

I don't know if it gets 'worn out' exactly or if it suddenly goes flakey. I would think both are possibilities.

The 3 computers I've seen have been in schools. A lot of dust is the only major unwanted environment variable. What they did have in common was a lot of use (I/O on the bus) since 2 of these towers were servers (MacManager/File Server & NetBoot) and one was a movie editing station. So I concluded that the busses got 'worn out', or so it appears, at least.

A software problem is out of the question, since I tried different HDs (so different CLEAN installed systems) and I even tried different IDE cables, removing the SCSI card, testing and swapping RAM, ect.

Good point about dirty power! That very well be the cause. In the last 3 years, 2 schools have been struck by lightning. ;-) (but none of these 3 computers were in those schools)



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A possible fix for a highly unstable G3 or G4 Tower
Authored by: Big Red on Sep 08, '05 10:42:37AM

Well, I was convinced for 4 months that my Smurf was toast. I could boot up from CD, but could not boot up on a drive attached to the primary IDE bus or a drive connected to an IDE66 PCI card, despite what felt like a dozen reinstalls. I thought it was the PCI card, memory, tried to pull everything. I finally detatched everything from the primary bus and booted with the only hard drives connected to the PCI card. It's been working like a dream ever since.

It was a nice excuse to buy a new machine, and now my girlfriend has a nice functional G3 tower for simple computing tasks.



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A possible fix for a highly unstable G3 or G4 Tower
Authored by: RoyalJimP on Sep 08, '05 04:11:52PM

I bought (on ebay) a sawtooth logic board to put in my Smurf.
I also found the only way to get stable operation was to put the IDE hard drives on the secondary slower optical bus. It would not boot for 9.2 to osX on the primary bus. And did silly things. Since switching busses it is very stable, no problems two years now. I've considered a PCI ATA 100/133 card just for the faster transfer speeds, but just haven't sprung yet cause it's been adequat for the use it's getting



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A possible fix for a highly unstable G3 or G4 Tower
Authored by: obiwan2u on Sep 08, '05 12:55:14AM
Like everybody else, I'm a little unclear on exactly what "worn out" means.

I've noticed weird interactions with firewire and USB devices and my Mac G4 boot process. Remember that USB and firewire are involved with the boot sequence of the machine.

Specifically, I had a situation where my machine woudn't boot until I removed a firewire compact flash-mem card reader.

Could there be some other weird interaction like this causing your problems? It's easy to imagine changed behaviors if you're not actually conducting a controlled experiment.

---
Ben in DC
PublicMailbox at benslade dot.com
(append 030516 to the subj to bypass spam filters)
"It's the mark of an educated mind to be moved by statistics"

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A possible fix for a highly unstable G3 or G4 Tower
Authored by: technomage on Sep 10, '05 06:20:48PM

I'm right with you. IDE controllers can fail, just like any other component, but that is an extremely unlikely event. These may be old machines, but such a failure is much, much less likely than a failing hard disk (servers and video production machines, you say?), mis-configured or buggy disk firmware/jumpers, or bad cables. If this is a school setting and happening on multiple computers of varying models, add to this the possibility that your master image is corrupt. It is well-documented that some older Apple IDE controllers are buggy, and replacing the OEM drives with new-generation ones can expose those issues.



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