Author Topic: OS 9 Booting Fails Occasionally  (Read 161 times)

Offline Canned Brain

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OS 9 Booting Fails Occasionally
« on: December 21, 2017, 06:48:31 AM »
Dear Mac Friends!

At first, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you!

Last September, I bought my father a birthday gift: A Power Macintosh G4 Digital Audio (533 MHz, 1 GB RAM, 64 MB VRAM), which is running Mac OS 9.2.2. I paid it with an Amazon gift card worth 90 euros, and additionally aquired a 17" Studio Display (ADC) for only 20 euros. A good deal, I would assume.

We are almost satisfied with this computer.

Almost.

Occasionally, the Power Mac wouldn't boot completely. If this happens, it loads until the desktop appears, with no icons, and an empty menu bar. Sometimes, it wouldn't load the desktop picture at all, and would stop at the desktop pattern. In both cases no mouse movement.

Surprisingly, this behaviour is totally unpredictable. Sometimes, the computer would start up with no problems at all five times consecutively, sometimes it takes five tries to start correctly.

Disk First Aid and Hardware Test cannot identify any problems. I checked all of the RAM bars; they are supported (and displayed as installed in the System Profiler), it's two bars with 512 MB each, at J21 and J22.

I checked the IDE cable, it's stuck correctly.

I reinstalled Mac OS, no changes.

Today, I made the last try. I deactivated some of the unneeded System Extensions as mentioned elsewhere in this forum. Afterwards, Finder would crash after startup. I needed to boot safely, and reactivate the former Extension set.

I'm stumped

Any help would be hugely welcome!

Merry Christmas,
Canned Brain
"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."
(George Orwell)

Offline macStuff

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Re: OS 9 Booting Fails Occasionally
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2017, 10:18:08 AM »
take out all the ram except one stick, if problems persist change the stick, chances are you have one or two bad ram sticks, keep circulating till u find the one that isnt screwed up, mac os 9 does not need as much ram as u think and in some cases it can actually perform better with less ram on some machines
also ensure that none of them are less than pc133 (ie: pc100) because this machine requires pc133 ram

do u have the original Geforce MX video card?

install os on a brand new unused drive of somekind,
either a 16-32gb compact flash with IDE adapter or even just a brand new sata drive with an adapter

using old computers is cool
using old computers with defective parts is not so cool

is it possible the cpu could be faulty? or perhaps needs to be reseated?

Offline Canned Brain

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Re: OS 9 Booting Fails Occasionally
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2017, 10:51:35 AM »
Dear MacStuff!

Thank you so much for your hints!

Since I observed this faultiness from the first startup on, I immediately contacted the seller. She said she had no explanation for this since it ran (and bootet) flawlessly for a longer period of time before she mailed it. Maybe something had gotten loose during transport  I checked the cables, but I will look for the CPU by the end of today.
 
Of course I obeyed the tip with the RAM sticks. The first thing I did was to check the System Profiler; there were 3 sticks installed, 512 MB each, and only 2 were recognized. I tested every stick on its own, and found out the guilty to be a stick tagged "LB - 0246  SD -- 512MB PC133". When only this was installed, the computer would beep instead of booting, which means what we all know.

The video card is the original nVidia GeForce MX with 64 MBs of RAM.

I will let you know the results of my CPU check.

PS: PRAM reset doesn't solve the problem either.

Have a good weekend,
Canned Brain
"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."
(George Orwell)

Offline macStuff

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Re: OS 9 Booting Fails Occasionally
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2017, 10:55:47 AM »
heres an exerpt from the manual of the digital audio re:ram:
if you install 512MB Dimms, they must have 256 Mbit devices...
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/2080438
 (Ie: a specific required configuration of the actual chips on the memory stick and their orientation/architecture) it says here that 256mb dimms have less of a requirement in that they can be 256Mbit or 128Mbit... and then it directs you to apple.com/guide

if you install 512MB Dimms, they must have 256 Mbit devices... (Ie: a specific required configuration of the actual chips on the memory stick and their orientation/architecture) it says here that 256mb dimms have less of a requirement in that they can be 256Mbit or 128Mbit... and then it directs you to apple.com/guide

can u show an image of the ram sticks u have?

heres a 100% approved memory type: is it visually similar? how many chips are on the ram sticks on yours?
https://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other%20World%20Computing/133SD512328/

on the owc page u notice it gives some specs on the ram:
Quote
Size: 512MB
168-pin DIMM
PC133 Synchronous DRAM
32x8 based memory devices
CAS-3 rated refresh
6 Layer PCB Board Design
3.3 Volt
Meets and/or Exceeds Apple Specifications
Fully compliant with JEDEC specifications
Free Installation Videos & Manuals
Warranty Safe Upgrade.

u want to make sure that they have 8 chips on either side of the chip
if it doesnt have 8 chips then its the wrong type of ram for this particular macintosh
if its only got ram on one side that means its high density ram and its not suited to be used in a g4 macintosh

https://web.archive.org/web/20040702094257/http://developer.apple.com/documentation/Hardware/Developer_Notes/Macintosh_CPUs-G4/PowerMacG4_16Jan01/4Expansion/index.html
« Last Edit: December 21, 2017, 11:20:40 AM by macStuff »

Offline macStuff

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Re: OS 9 Booting Fails Occasionally
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2017, 11:10:52 AM »
go here to this page:
http://macintoshgarden.org/apps/mac-os-91-91-update

http://postimg.org/image/mxzz10a8r

**ok wait this isnt in english let me find a better link
or perhaps u speak swedish? lol

Quote
PMG4DA91CD_Inst.ZIP: Power Mac G4 Digital Audio installation CD-ROM v1.2 image. (Mac OS 9.1)
MD5 Checksum: 9D9176E02AB99C9FC6BDE484595929FD
PMG4DA91CD_Rest.ZIP: Power Mac G4 Digital Audio restoration CD-ROM v1.2 image. (Mac OS 9.1)
MD5 Checksum: 323F98034AAB0E5A29BDBB9EE35BF422

grab this restore cd and burn it to a cd
fix the ram
put in a new hard drive
boot the restore cd and restore the ORIGINAL hard drive contents

then check the stability of the machine again and report back

Offline Canned Brain

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Re: OS 9 Booting Fails Occasionally
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2017, 11:30:29 AM »
RAM-1 and RAM-2 do work.

RAM-fail makes the beep.
"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."
(George Orwell)

Offline Canned Brain

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Re: OS 9 Booting Fails Occasionally
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2017, 11:34:49 AM »
Verrrry strange  if it's a software error, why does it also occur after a clean reinstall? And if the hardware is the faulty, why does the PM allow being bootet correctly in Safe Mode, which only affects the software?
"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."
(George Orwell)

Offline macStuff

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Re: OS 9 Booting Fails Occasionally
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2017, 11:49:29 AM »
Verrrry strange … if it's a software error, why does it also occur after a clean reinstall? And if the hardware is the faulty, why does the PM allow being bootet correctly in Safe Mode, which only affects the software?

the steps i outlined above are related to both hardware + software;

the software os is just to check to see if the instabiiity is caused by using an install for a different mac that came out later ie: 9.22 was not out yet when this machine was released, so if u installed 9.22 u must have installed a universal install, or do u have the original software restore/install cds that contain os9.1?

its just to check to see wtf is going on with your machine,

asking u to install the original shipped os that came with the machine
is to see if its a software problem.. that would have been the most rigorously
error checked by apple at the time of the release of the digital audio 533mhz model

personally i think its the RAM is not properly compatible.
i think u have ram that has slight hardware differences between the actual sticks themselves
and also incompatibilies with the mac g4 itself
seeing numbers like x16 and 16x16
thats not what the specs said.. it said 32 x 8..
each bank has to equal 256mbit on each side of the ram stick
i think u need to order new ram thats specifically guaranteed to be compatible
it says on the specs it needs to be PC133 3.3v, unbuffered, 8-byte, non-parity 168-pin SDRAM

personally i dont mix + match ram i use identical sticks.. frm the same batch.. purchased together
to avoid problems like this

Offline macStuff

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Re: OS 9 Booting Fails Occasionally
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2017, 11:57:28 AM »
ram-2:
is incompatible
it says its 64x64:
Size & Bit: 64x64/64x4

totally incompatible
do not put that ram back in the machine EVER

ram fail chip:
i think the presence of that extra chip on the ram-fail chip is showing that its a parity ram
or ECC error correcting.. its not compatible either..

of the 3 i think the ram-1 chip is the most compatible or has the most chance or likelyhood of being compatible
but even that one i think might have some issues.. 512x16 is not what u want to see
u want to see 32x8 because 32x8 = 256 per side like it says in the manual specs
theres no way to divide 256 into 16 where u can get any 8s.. because 16 x 16 = 256
its not the make up that is specified in the manual but obviously it works.. but not well.

Offline macStuff

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Re: OS 9 Booting Fails Occasionally
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2017, 12:07:00 PM »
ok i have to retract what i said about ram-1 chip, i think because i just noticed at the far right.. see that ram-1 chip also has that parity chip at the end of it..
so if thats the case and that chip indicates its parity or ECC ram then its also
not compatible.

GET SOME COMPATIBLE RAM!


it says the ram has to have two banks of 256Mbit per side, in a 32x8 configuration


you want ram that is visually similar to this . this is a 32x8 sdram


compare visually with ram-1 chip :its clear to see that they are different types


ram-2 chip


ram-fail chip

this ram stuff can be tricky + confusing
im not even sure what i said is correct but here,
ill show u my ram chips just pulled from my 933 quicksilver (which is similar to a digital audio mac)
you can see they are identical chips at least, and 8 chips per side

honestly i think its true that the 512mb dimms are alot more of a headache with compatibility
it may be less problematic for debugging purposes at least to just use 3 x 256MB modules
i think u are far far far less likely to have compatibility issues if u were installing 256mb modules
i use 256mb modules in most of my g3/g4's, even my mdd has 4 x 256 mb modules
the quicksilver that i took these chips out of just now, is the most stable mac i think i have! fast + rock solid
+ quiet + never crashed once since i got it i dont think i believe its the 2002 933mhz model
i dont think 512mb modules were commonplace in 2001, they were just coming out? brand new?
i wouldnt want to use 512mb modules in anything lower than digital audio.. ive used them in my sawtooth under osx
to get 2gb ram, but theres no point under os 9, i never install more then 1gb because in my own observations i think it does best with 1gb or less ram to be honest. my g3 450mhz is faster with less ram installed i didnt do any specfic measuring but it just feels faster.. hocus pocus :) anyway good luck to you canned brain on debugging your problems with your 533. if i didnt provide the answer i hope i at least helped in working your way through the possibilities.

stability is something you definately want in a computer!
« Last Edit: December 21, 2017, 02:05:05 PM by macStuff »

Offline Canned Brain

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Re: OS 9 Booting Fails Occasionally
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2017, 12:32:46 PM »
Hey MacStuff,

thank you so much for your hints! You're the first one to be of help for me.

I will keep you updated on my progress.

Best,
Canned Brain
"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."
(George Orwell)

Offline macStuff

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Re: OS 9 Booting Fails Occasionally
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2017, 12:42:29 PM »
256MB Dimms must have 128 or 256 megabit tech,
512MB dimms must have 256 Mbit tech

on the 32x8 ram sticks.. each chip adds 32mb of ram,
so 32x8 chips on each side = 256mb * 2 = 512mb

according to this:
https://www.datamemorysystems.com/dm50-556/
it seems that the same peice of ram can be associated with 64x64 as well as 32x8
so i guess those numbers arent describing the same thing
« Last Edit: December 21, 2017, 01:58:51 PM by macStuff »