Pismo Needing Repairs: Is it Fairly easy?

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unknown1's picture
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I am looking at getting an upgrade to my good ol 3400c and have been looking at the much loved Pismos. The seem to REALLY hold their value, some even going for more than a low end Aluminum PowerBook!

I really can't afford a perfect one (much less a G4!) but found one that seems to have minor problems. Here is how he describes it:

"This is a used Apple Powerbook G3 14" Pismo Powerbook. 400MHz, 1 MB Cache, I believe it has either 256 or 512 MB, 10 GB Hard Drive, 8MB Video, DVD. Has some general wear on casing including small crack on side running from battery to keyboard (about 1 inch.) This unit has both OS 9 and the original OS X on it. AC Adapter NOT included. Hard drive has been cleaned of all personal documents, however I believe it still holds most of the operating software like Microsoft Office. Why I’m selling? This Powerbook has power problems. It is unidentified, however it is suspected to be either the power adapter port or the power unit itself is defective. There is no AC Adapter included, however, when hooked up, it may receive charge but will not power up. Probably a simple fix, but at this point does not turn on. Maybe replace power unit?"

I believe my 3400 AC adapter will work, I wonder if my Battery will fit (probably not).

Are Pismos known to have certain problems like this?

Are they easy to fix?

I was able to tear apart my 3400 to replace some parts and got it back together without any extra parts left, I can solder and do some basic circuit testing so this one may be within my skills.

Now, how much is it worth? I think about $100-150. In perfect shape I see these selling from $250 to $500 depending on configuration, etc.

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MaxTek's picture
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What your describing is commo

What your describing is common for the pismos. Its either a dead pram battery or a bad "ac sound board"

The ac sound board is the board that has the power connector on it. The solder joints break over time. I personally thought changing the pram battery or ac sound board was pretty easy to replace if you have the service manual for the model of Powerbook your working on.

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Ah, the dreaded failed PRAM b

Ah, the dreaded failed PRAM battery problem! Pismo's tend to "go dead" when the PRAM battery does dead, usually after the power adapter is not attached and the main battery goes dead. To revive, plug into a known good power supply, then rapidly push the power button a couple times (up to ten or so). It may boot. If not, lift the keyboard and unplug the PRAM battery (it's obvious) and it will start right up.

Pismo's are very easy to work on, so if the power in board is bad (usually a loose plug for the power adapter), it won't be hard to fix. I've stripped mine down once to try to repair the power in board before I learned the above trick, it's pretty easy. I've got a new logic board for mine, it's toast (no video, won't complete the boot process) that I'm going to install this weekend.

Peter

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re: Ah, the dreaded failed PRAM battery

Gotta agree, sure looks like a dead PRAM battery. As PF suggests, just unplug the PRAM batt and it'll almost certainly start right up. Looks like something I'd buy (actually, looks like something I've bought many of.) ;D

dan k

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yea, when i got mine, tht was

yea, when i got mine, tht was the problem. just lift the keyboard, disconnect the battery, you cant miss it. then it should start right up. as for your power suppply, it will work fine, the battery wont.

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Here's some helpful laptop si

Here's some helpful laptop sites.

Fix It Guides for Mac Laptops & Mini
http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/
The guides can be viewed on-line or you can download a PDF file.

How to Upgrade, Repair, Disassemble an Apple/Macintosh Laptop or Notebook
http://repair4laptop.org/disassembly_apple.html

PowerBookTech
http://www.powerbooktech.com/
(Note - PowerBookTech has some good info, however, some Mac users in other forums were having difficulty getting delivery on parts from them.)

How to Upgrade, Repair, Disassemble an Apple/Macintosh Laptop or Notebook
http://repair4laptop.org/disassembly_apple.html

Laptop Repair Guides
http://www.applerepairmanuals.com/#portables

MicroDock
http://www.microdocusa.com/

Cheers, Tom

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in my opinion though, the pis

in my opinion though, the pismo is by far the easiest of all of the mac laptops to disassemble

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unknown1's picture
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Pismo is Mine!
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Russell - Unknown1 - Idaho USA
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unknown1's picture
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Re: Here are some helpful laptop sites

Texas Mac Man wrote:

Here's some helpful laptop sites.

Cheers, Tom

Wow, that is a bunch I've never heard of, I haven't had time to check them all out yet but thanks!

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Russell - Unknown1 - Idaho USA
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unknown1's picture
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The Pismo is Here!

Wasn't expecting it until Friday or so, but I got it. I have finally got a computer made in the 21st century!

Will post photos soon.

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Russell - Unknown1 - Idaho USA
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unknown1's picture
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Strange Pismo Problems

Took me a while to get to it as we are moving but I tried to start it up that night I got it and nothing.

Disconnected the PRAM battery and viola! Starts right up! Won't boot from HD so run TechTool Pro to check things out , boots fine to disc (didn't even press C to boot from disc), there is nothing on the hard drive except a couple of empty folders (no system). TechTool checks all out and fine. Didn't take a picture, thought I would when I got the OS running, but here are 'Big Boy' and 'little boy' on my amp shortly after unpacking:

My Pismo 'Big Boy' and my 3400 'Little Boy'

So I reboot to OS 9.1 disc, won't boot. Hear HD spinning for a second, DVD spins and makes a nasty scratching sound! Nice scratch on both discs now (still work on my 3400 though, so nothing major).

EDIT: First couple of times I get the flashing question mark, then screen lights up but no question mark, just shuts off by itself after a couple of minutes. Always get the chimes though.
END EDIT.

Scratched Disc

Try to re-boot several times with OS 9.1 disc and TechTool. Reset PRAM a couple times, press reset button, no go. Got new PRAM battery, still nothing. Let it charge overnight, nothing.

Took MacDan's suggestion and remove top of DVD drive to see if it stops scratching. Now I hear very little activity with HD or DVD.

Tried with the keyboard out and without the top on the DVD I noticed the DVD is not even spinning now.

So. I have no way to boot this thing as I have no firewire drive or anything so this is what I would like to try:

Pull the HD from the Pismo and install it in the 3400. Install OS 9.1 on the drive, copy the 9.22 updater to the desktop (so I don't have to use XPostFacto). I also have OS 10.1 but that would require XPostFacto to install with the 3400 and I figure then the system probably wouldn't work right on the Pismo.

QUESTION:
Is there any way to copy the OS 10.1 disc to the hard drive as a .smi or something so I can install from there without installing it on the 3400? Probably not as you would be modifying the startup drive. Do I need to make separate partitions for OS 9 boot, Classic and OS X? I have a 20gig HD so I was thinking of 3gig OS 9, 3gig Classic, 6gig OS X and the remaining 7 or 8gigs for data. FOUR partitions! If I can do the .smi thing, where should I put it?

Next put the HD back in the Pismo and -hopefully- it works and starts up in 9.1, do the 9.22 update and if I can install 10.1 from the hard drive, do that.

So I hope it is only a bad DVD drive, I worry though as it started up from the DVD at first and now does nothing. I'm concerned it may be an IDE problem and need a new logic board. I've been looking at parts machines on eBay just in case. Most with DVD drives are going for $70 plus, but I can get a DVD burner for about the same price if I don't need any other parts.

Tonight I will go ahead and do the four partition thing and at least install 9.1 for now to see if the Pismo works...

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unknown1's picture
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From Bad to Worse

OK, just spent all night exchanging hard drives, installing OS 9.1 and copying OS 9.2 update, OS 10.0, OS 10.1 update, MS Office and some applications and drivers onto the Pismo's 20gig in the 3400 -I stayed up till 4am, let the 3400 do its business in copying and got up at 7 and set it to do more, by the time I actually got up at 11 it was all done.

Reinstalled the Pismo's hard drive with all this on it. No boot. Nothing, not even the chimes. It is on because I can get the Caps Lock light to come on and after I turn it off (hold power button for 5 seconds till Caps Lock light goes off) the processor is warm.

Disassembled it again to check connections, tried various configurations of ram, batteries, power supply, etc. Nothing working.

Is Big Boy beyond recovery? I just got my 'Mac Bible' from 2001 highlighting all the amazing advances of OS 10.1, maybe there are some troubleshooting guides there.

The only other thing I can think of is replacing one part at a time with known working components. Hmmmm, now all I need is a working Pismo to steal parts from!

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reseat the proc?

I had this happen once on a Lombard after a bit of overclocking. I thought I had botched the job, but it worked after I blew off the processor pins and put it back in.
Check to see if any of the pins on the processor board are bent, perhaps?

unknown1's picture
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I checked that.

I checked the processor as it went back in without any effort, almost like it didn't go into the socket. So I did it several times and it seems to be seated in there properly. I was surprised to see just how small the G3 is...

I will try to blow it off with air though. Those are some tiny pins!

Thanks.

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Is the Apple ROM file on the

Is the Apple ROM file on the HDD? The Pismo is NewWorld and needs it to boot Mac OS, but the 3400c has an onboard ROM.

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Hmm... But I should still get the startup chimes, shouldn't I?

Hmm... But I should still get the startup chimes, shouldn't I?

How do I get the proper ROM images onto the HD from the 3400?

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h3ch4's picture
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kb

I thought open firmware rendered the whole rom issue obsolete?

Anyway, try checking the keyboard cable. I had an experience where a bad keyboard caused something like this on a lombard. They're prone to shorting or something at the point where the cable enters the back of the keyboard, because of the stress from being folded backwards. Reseat the cable into the logic board and try booting with the kb opened (resting on the palmrest). Dunno if this will solve your problem, but I figure it's worth a try.

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bad ram?

The more I read this, the more I keep suspecting bad ram or bad cache. Have you tried swapping in known-good chips, or just swapped around the included modules?

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Re: kb

h3ch4 wrote:

I thought open firmware rendered the whole rom issue obsolete?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_World_ROM

Open Firmware has been in Macs since NuBus was replaced with PCI, long before NewWorld. NewWorld is setup to have the OF read the Mac OS Toolbox ROM from a file on the HDD, by design it is a cleaner setup. That's also why it's much easier to get a NewWorld to run non-Apple OSs.

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Searching the Web for Answers, Found Some, Wish They Worked...

Searching the Web for Answers, Found Some, Wish They Worked... Mainly here:

http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=4592023

Opened it up, pushed on the processor card and 'snap!' it seated! Put him back together and... and...

Still nothing. Tried different RAM configs, with and without PRAM batt, etc, no joy.

Could I have fried something by turning it on with the processor card askew?

The guy in this article replaced his processor card, I guess that is the next step. A G3 400MHz card goes for $15-20, a 500MHz card goes for $60+, 550 G4 for $300+, A G3 900MHz is currently listed for $429 buy it now! Daystar has a listing for a G3 500MHz with 'superfast' (20% faster) 1Meg cache for $189 (85 available)!

Untested parts machines have been going for $80+ (I could use some new plastics as I have two cracks and it generally feels 'squishy') but right now I just want Big Boy running!

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Big Boy Certified Dead - Big Z Boy comes to the rescue!

After moving yet again (don't ask, I'll just say sometimes you can't trust friends, even when you have a contract!) I am coming back to this thread to finish the story:

Broke down and bought another parts Pismo off eBay, this time for $46! Named it 'Pismo Zit Boy' or 'Pismo Z Boy' for short as someone installed too long of a screw in the right palmrest and created a bit of a 'zit' there!

Finally lucked out. Booted from TechTool Pro, success! Put the hard drive in from Big Boy and he boots! Do the 9.2.1 update and it works sort of, crashes a lot. The WaveLAN Silver PC card connects to the network fine once 128 bit encryption is turned off at the access point.

Decide to use Software Update and it actually works! Download 9.2.2, PowerBook Firmware update and a few other things, couple of reboots and he is running stably. Both batteries work excellent so with both installed I get about 9 1/2 hours use!

Next I pull some RAM from Big Boy and put it in Z Boy. No boot. Switch out the one that looks like 256 megs and it boots fine. Switch processors. No boot. So it appears Big Boy now has one stick of bad RAM and a fried processor. I don't know what I did! They worked fine when I got it!

The DVD drive from Big Boy seems to have a problem that has gotten worse too. It would only irregularly mount and usually would work if I pressed (hard!) on just the right spot. Took it apart and find that the latch doesn't quite hold the drive closed far enough to trigger the little micro-switch that indicates that it is closed.

So I (temporarily) glued a little piece of cardboard (actually a piece of a Swiss Cake Rolls box!) to the part that contacts the switch. Still not right. So I glue a little piece of cardboard to the catch for the close latch. It doesn't stay put so I will have to try something else or just break down and replace it.

So Big Z Boy is pretty much working and Big Boy sits in pieces.

I bought another 400MHz processor for Big Boy with my last $25 but am afraid to try it. Is there something in the Logic Board or Power Board that could have fried the processor and RAM? Is there some voltage point I can check? I'd hate to blow another processor!

After two moves in two months we are broke so though I wanted to build up a good Pismo for my 6 year old daughter (who covets mine!), I just want to get Big Boy working so I can sell it as 'tested, working' and get enough to get a DVD or DVD burner and maybe OS 10.3.9 for Z Boy.

So that's the story so far. I have more for another thread (or three!) but if anyone has some answers to the above questions before I plug in the new processor it would be great.

Thanks to your help you have brought my Macintosh experience into the 21st century! Well, almost being as 2000 actually is still in the 20th century....

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