Dead PRAM battery in PB 1400?

15 replies [Last post]
Offline
Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 21

Just got a PB 1400cs/133, G3-upgraded (Sonnet Crescendo) running 8.5, purchased on ebay. Here's what it's doing:

The first couple of times I booted it up, everything was fine. But soon enough, each time it boots up, shortly after it reaches the first "Mac OS" splash screen, the screen gets very dark - so dark you can barely see the rest of the boot-up, icon parade etc. When it gets to the desktop the screen goes completely black, but it *sounds* like the boot-up completed normally.

After being distressed for a few minutes, I tried booting it from a CD - to wit a Norton Utilites CD with a (presumably) cut-down version of 7.6.1 on it. Everything was just fine with no video problems. Then I decided maybe there was some software problem and I should do a clean install of 8.5 & 8.6. But as soon as I booted from the OS 8.5 installer CD the exact same video problem came back! Went to bed frustrated last night.

Woke up this morning having "slept on it" and realized this video problem reminds me of what a dead PRAM battery might do to one of my desktop macs. Maybe I have a dying PRAM battery, but the older smaller OS on the Norton disk just used slightly less juice and was able to boot up??

Can't work on this any more until after work tonight, but in the meantime it would be a real help if somebody with more experience with Powerbook PRAM batteries can either confirm or deny my suspicions about these symptoms.

Thanks in advance for any help!

Bruce - in Orlando
Home of Mackey Mouse

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Offline
Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 21
Yikes! - just spent some time

Yikes! - just spent some time looking over PRAM battery replacement in a 1400 and it doesn't look so easy! Zapping the PRAM looks pretty easy, so I think I'll try that tonight and see what happens ....

Meanwhile, I will wait for a reply from somebody with some experience on the symptoms I've described above - before proceeding further.

Thanks again,

Bruce

DrBunsen's picture
Offline
Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 946
Backlight inverter?

Sounds to me like the backlight inverter. I've got exactly the same problem. Have a Google and see what you find.

__________________

Damn the Torx screws, full speed ahead!
Apple and Wireless FAQ

jt
Offline
Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 447
Reset the Power Manager . . .

. . . I have the same problem with the 5300/190 ocassionally, I thought it was the inverter board, but it wasn't. IIRC, there's some kind of voodoo involved in which you plug in first after the main battery goes completely flat, either the AC adapter or a charged main battery, dunno which.

Try leaving it plugged in a while with the main battery in it and just see if it goes away. Then check the dates after having it completely unpowered overnight.

1400s are easy to work on, just keep the .pdf open on another book next to the one you're working on. Check the LinksProject button in my sig. IIRC, there are some 1400 info sites there.

jt Wink

p.s. Sonnettech.com has a downloadable .pdf of the manual, with photographs illustrating the installation procedures, for that CrescendoPB that knocks the sox off the Apple's Service Manual's take apart section, BTW.

p.p.s. MAKE SURE you use the correct screwdriver! Either exactly what's specified or a really good one that feels like a PERFECT fit. They shifted to flat head philips (metric?) for the i400 and rounding out the screws is not recommended. I haven't done it, but a previous owner of one of mine wasn't very careful. Undecided

__________________

Perpetrator of the 68kMLA's text format impaired: Peripherals Links Project(tm)
. . . and LinksProjectClassic(tm)

Offline
Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 21
Yup, that was it all right ....

Last night I did as I said I would, which was to reset the power manager or "zap the PRAM." There is a button on the back of the 1400, next to the adb plug. Following the instuctions I found yesterday, you slide out the main battery first, then press the button, hold for 30 seconds, let go and - tadaahhhhh - problem solved! Reinsert the main battery.

PS. This button also works to force the 1400 to shut down in the event of a freeze (um, I had a slight extensions conflict there for a minute ....).

Bruce

JetStar's picture
Offline
Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 155
If you get the thing working,

If you get the thing working, don't install 8.6. For some reason, it screws everything up. Use 8.5 or 9.

__________________

It must be user error.

Offline
Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 2
I have two running just fine

I have two running just fine under 8.6. Much snappier than with 9.1 even with a G3/240 installed.

jt
Offline
Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 447
On a CrescendoPB?

That's the one that's 8.6 intolerant, AFAIK. My stock 166 seems to run 9.0 about as fast off the Flash Card as it runs 8.1 off the HDD. Would 8.6 be faster than both?

How many kinds of 1400/G3 cards are there anyway?

jt :?

__________________

Perpetrator of the 68kMLA's text format impaired: Peripherals Links Project(tm)
. . . and LinksProjectClassic(tm)

Offline
Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 21
Now that you mention it ....

Yes the G3 card I have is a Crescendo 333 mhz. It seems to be running fine with 8.6 except for one thing, which is that I can't seem to put the Sonnet Upgrade extension in the system folder - whenever I do, it causes the powerbook to freeze during start-up just before the icon parade, i.e. right when the Sonnet extension is trying to install.

What I've read about this is that without the Sonnet extension the card still functions but you don't get the L2 cache, which of course is a problem.

This powerbook arrived with 8.5 installed - and it was freezing just like this during start-up even then, so it doesn't appear to me that 8.6 is the problem, per se. If someone can tell me how to get the extension to work right, I'd be most appreciative.

Bruce - in Orlando

jt
Offline
Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 447
Go for 9.0 . . .

. . . Runs fine on my 1400c/166 and that's what I want to run on a CrescendoPB 466 as soon as I can treat myself to one. It'll be interesting to see the difference between a NuBus Architecture G3 running that and my Digital Audio's G4/466, or even the CrescendoL2/400/1MB running on the 40 MHz bus in the 6360.

I don't expect the world of it though, I've been running way behind the PowerBook performance wave since the . . .

. . . well . . . dark ages. Undecided

I started with a clearance priced PB100 and only upgraded to a used Duo 230 when Quicken abandoned my beloved 68000 and then another used Duo when I wanted to try a few PPC only graphics apps.

I'm trying not to fall in love with Beater, this 1400c/166 is only supposed to be a stop-gap machine and experimental testbed for my own personal holy grail in hacking, the 2300cG3! THAT's where the 466 will wind up even if PowerDuo and BabyPB (PowerBook100c/PPC Hack) have to wait for the G6 iBooks to blow their lids off.

jt Wink

__________________

Perpetrator of the 68kMLA's text format impaired: Peripherals Links Project(tm)
. . . and LinksProjectClassic(tm)

Offline
Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 21
Okay, but getting back to my question ....

While I was reading up on the Sonnet G3 cards, I saw where they recommended installing the extention file first, then installing the G3 card. Can anybody who has experience with these things tell me if this is the problem ... maybe my seller did the installation backwards and that's what cases the start-up freezes? If so it's kind of a problem because I don't have the original 133 mhz CPU for this puppy ....

Bruce - in Orlando

jt
Offline
Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 447
Re: Now that you mention it ....

Bruce wrote:

Yes the G3 card I have is a Crescendo 333 mhz.

I was asking the 8.6 jockey what brand he was running. The reason you're getting advice NOT to try 8.6 from everyone is that it's the only O.S. specifically NOT supported by the mfr. or recommended by anyone who's posted re CrescendoPBs, AFAIK. The reason you're getting these responses is that's what your initial post specified.

Quote:

It seems to be running fine with 8.6 except for one thing, which is that I can't seem to put the Sonnet Upgrade extension in the system folder - whenever I do . . .

Doesn't sound like it's running fine at all to me. You stated that it booted the first few times just fine under 8.5 as delivered. Unless the 8.6 guy confirms he's running Sonnet cards, you haven't got much expectation of compatability and you've shot yourself in the foot with that 8.6 update. Even IF he's running first/early generation Crescendos, his reported results don't necessarily apply to the 333 MHz model.

Quote:

This powerbook arrived with 8.5 installed - and it was freezing just like this during start-up even then, so it doesn't appear to me that 8.6 is the problem, per se. If someone can tell me how to get the extension to work right, I'd be most appreciative.

Your reasoning is flawed, you're talking about at least two variables and have no established baseline/reference system upon which to base any kind of analysis.

Do yourself a favor, go to tinaja.com and read the guru's classic troubleshooting textbook: degub.pdf. IIRC, it's two or three pages of the most entertaining, not to mention incredibly useful, technical reading that you'll ever do.

jt Wink

__________________

Perpetrator of the 68kMLA's text format impaired: Peripherals Links Project(tm)
. . . and LinksProjectClassic(tm)

Offline
Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 21
Still freezes with 8.5 - any more suggestions?

Sorry about the delay responding to JT's last post, but I went on vacation .... and as it happens, I took the 1400 and an 8.5 installer CD along with me. Did a nice clean install of 8.5 and - you guessed it - the powerbook STILL freezes at start-up, just when it's trying to install the Sonnet upgrade extension, i.e. at the beginning of the icon parade. Boots fine if the Sonnet upgrade extension is removed from the extension folder.

As noted before, this doesn't affect the G3 card itself, but rather prevents the L2 cache from working, which of course is still a problem.

Now that I've done what JT asked, can anyone help me with this problem? Thanks.

Bruce - in Orlando

Offline
Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 21
Still waiting for some help o

Still waiting for some help on this - anyone?

Offline
Joined: Aug 6 2004
Posts: 1
I have a PowerBook 1400 with

I have a PowerBook 1400 with a Sonnet 400Mhz upgrade card. A few months ago, my PB started locking up very badly. After much troubleshooting, I determined that the culprit was the Sonnet Extension. I called Sonnet and they said the only thing the extension does is enable the L2 cache. If the extension is causing crashes, the only possible problem is the L2 cache on the processor is bad.

Unfortunately for me, I was about 2 months out of the 3-year warranty. They said they could do me a favor and fix it at cost, which if they needed to replace the L2 cache, would be about $40.

What really irked me about this was that recalling back, my PB had always acted flaky after purchasing the Sonnet card. However, it was very intermittent and unpredictable. Because of that and since I purchased the upgrade within a few weeks of purchasing the PB 1400 used, I always attributed it to something else, perhaps with my Orinioco drivers or other software. Plus the laptop was not my main computer, so I didn't use it all that often. I never thought it was a problem with the upgrade card. It was only once the laptop became basically unusable due to the lockups (which started happening almost always a few minutes after booting up or during booting), that I did some serious troubleshooting and determined the upgrade was the problem. After removing the Sonnet extension, my laptop was rock-solid. More stable than it had ever been. Of course, because the card was out of the 3-year warranty, Sonnet would not do anything with it, even though the problem had existed the whole time. I can't completely blame them, but they wouldn't budge a bit even though it was only 2 months out of warranty. The best they will do is to repair it at cost, which I will probably take them up on at some point.

tmtomh's picture
Offline
Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 568
Reorder extension? Change version?

I have a Takky Color Classic G3 that has had similar problems with the Sonnet G3 extension.

My understanding is that if the extension is not in the System folder (in the Extensions Folder), the G3 will not be activated at all. Perhaps it's different with the 1400.

But regardless, I found that changing the load order of the Sonnet G3 extension helped. I put it at the end by adding a z to the beginning of the file name (i.e. "zSonnet Crescendo").

This solved my problem.

Also, when I first received the machine it had an earlier version of the extension (1.42 IIRC, whereas the current version is 2.0.3). Reverting back to that version solved the problem as well.

Matt