Author Topic: Blue & White G3 SATA PCI woes  (Read 2627 times)

Offline n0

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Blue & White G3 SATA PCI woes
« on: October 26, 2020, 04:37:24 PM »
I recently acquired a rev 1 B&W G3, and since this model is a bit infamous for its "special" IDE bus, I thought I'd avoid any headaches by using a Mac OS 9 bootable PCI to SATA card I got from eBay.

Well, my SSD is hooked up and boots, but I partitioned my SSD into several volumes so I could run 8.6, 9.0.4, and 9.2.2 from each of them. When I choose a different volume in the Startup Disk control panel and restart, it only occasionally will reboot into the selected OS. Usually, it will instead show the flashing ? floppy disk icon (not the ? folder icon) and never boot. At this point, the only way to get it to boot is resetting the PRAM several times. Then it shows the flashing ? folder icon for a bit until it finds 8.6 (which is on the first of the partitions) and boots that.

Do multiple boot partitions just not work on these machines? I'm stumped.

Offline macarone

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Re: Blue & White G3 SATA PCI woes
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2020, 04:18:24 AM »
When I choose a different volume in the Startup Disk control panel and restart, it only occasionally will reboot into the selected OS. Usually, it will instead show the flashing ? floppy disk icon (not the ? folder icon) and never boot.

Due to Covid-19, I'm not at home and can't test this first myself.

After changing the Volume in the Startup Disk CP, try shutting down, and booting from a "cold start".

Some things that don't work from a re-start , do work from a "cold start".

Offline n0

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Re: Blue & White G3 SATA PCI woes
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2020, 10:53:25 AM »
Yeah, neglected to mention that Iíve tried cold starts and reboots, and cold starts sometimes but not always work.

Offline Protools5LEGuy

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Re: Blue & White G3 SATA PCI woes
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2020, 04:08:07 PM »
I would try with a know working card also.

Consider buying a G4 PCI motherboard if you can loose ADB bus.

I have a G3 B&W Rev.1 and they are a pain in the ass. Only after using good batteries on the motherboard and after making set defaults and some wizardry more on open firmware aside CUDA resets on the motherboard I could get a stable system. From time to time the PRAM corrupts and you have to make the same dance again.

The first G4 zif CPU+ MB is a better alternative if you can find it cheap + you love the blue/green colour instead of the gray G4 colour.
Looking for MacOS 9.2.4

Offline n0

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Re: Blue & White G3 SATA PCI woes
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2020, 10:30:04 PM »
I still have a lot of testing to do, but I think I may just switch to using the startech sata ide adapter since it seems to boot more reliably. I currently have both the startech and the pci sata card installed, each with their own SSD with multiple bootable volumes. So far it seems like just having a drive on the IDE bus, even if itís not the startup drive, might improve reliability, but there are a lot of variables here that I havenít had time to control for yet.

My troubleshooting has included:

  • confirming the PRAM battery I installed is good
  • running DiskWarrior on all the volumes in case an issue with the HFS wrapper volume was causing the boot process to hang at the flashing ? floppy icon (it didnít find any serious errors on any of the volumes, however)
  • repeatedly doing various combos of selecting startup disks and rebooting or doing cold restarts.

In one of my restarts, trying to boot the 9.0.4 volume on the PCI SATA SSD, I did get the question mark again but immediately afterwards I got a monochrome dialog saying the system software was incompatible with this machine, and a restart button. Clicking it, I got the same dialog. Clicking it again, it successfully booted 9.0.4.

Then, I shut down and let the computer sit for 10 minutes. Coming back, I booted and got the ? floppy icon for a few seconds, and then it started booting 9.2.2 off of the IDE connected SSDís first partition. When that had booted, none of the PCI volumes were even mounted. After a cold restart (selecting the IDE SSD 9.2.2 to boot) the PCI volumes were mounted once again.

Iím mostly documenting this for myself, and will update later if I reach any firmer conclusions testing more systematically.

Offline n0

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Re: Blue & White G3 SATA PCI woes
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2020, 12:21:11 PM »
OK, after more rigorous testing Iíve found that the PCI SATA card just isnít terribly reliable in this specific machine. I may test it in my G4 MDD at some point to confirm if itís the card or just the combo of the card and a Power Macintosh G3 B&W. Some things Iíve tried that ultimately didnít fix the unreliability of PCI SATA boot: having a drive connected with IDE, restarts versus cold starts, the CUDA switch, resetting PRAM three times, open firmware reset-nvram set-defaults, removing the unused Grappler SCSI card that was in this G3 when I got it, moving the SATA card from PCI slot 3 to 2, and booting with different startup volumes selected.

There are two states the computer can boot into. In one, the PCI SATA card is recognized at boot, the startup disk (whether IDE or PCI) is booted from successfully, and all IDE and PCI volumes are mounted on the desktop after boot. The second state occurs seemingly at random. In the second state, if the startup disk is IDE, the computer boots normally but the PCI volumes are not mountable at all. SCSIProbe does show the PCI SATA drive, but no volumes are readable. If the startup disk was a PCI volume, the floppy ? icon appears. If there is a bootable IDE drive connected, the first bootable volume on that drive is automatically booted after a few seconds of the flashing floppy icon. If no IDE drive is connected, the flashing floppy icon lasts forever.

So essentially, the PCI card randomly doesnít work on some boot attempts. There is no apparent trigger for this behavior. The only thing that consistently works is shutting down and trying again. It may take one or a dozen attempts, and then it may continue working just fine for one or a dozen boots, but nothing is permanent. I will be using the startech ide to sata adapter because it has worked every boot.

Offline chrisNova777

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Re: Blue & White G3 SATA PCI woes
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2021, 11:32:39 AM »
the B+W g3s are notoriously buggy and have strnage hardware incompatibilities that other machines do not have
seriously just get an AGP powered G4 they are usually easier to find than the B+W or PCI yikes! anywya

 


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