Home > Mac, Tech Tips > Rev. A iMac 17″ G5 1.6GHz doesn’t sleep or power up consistently

Rev. A iMac 17″ G5 1.6GHz doesn’t sleep or power up consistently


imac-g5I’ve just been given a non functional iMac which wouldn’t switch on from a friend. It’s an iMac G5 17″ 1.6GHz first edition (Rev A) and on the assumption I could get it working, I offered her some free English lessons!

I opened her up and took a cursory look.

For those of you who have never owned a first ed. G5 iMac, they are a feat of user serviceable engineering. The interior design is as beautiful as the exterior, without a wire in sight.

iMac G5 rev. A 17 inch interior

Three screws and the back comes off, revealing a completely modular design. Practically every component is user serviceable and replaceable, which is a good thing since the Rev As were remarkably prone to failure, apparently!

The machine itself looked rather battered and yellowed with smoke (the previous user is a smoker) but was in really good condition considering its age, since she had thoughtfully opened it up once every few months to vacuum inside!

However, it just would not power up unless the power button was pressed repeatedly.

On plugging it in with the back off, the first of four status LEDs was on, showing a trickle current. But shorting out the power button connectors didn’t power it up like it should until a random number of presses.

iMac G5 17inch diagnostic LEDs

Moreover, the machine would shut down the moment it was put to sleep.

After brief research, the main culprit appeared to be power supply, or more precisely a set of blown capacitors which came from a batch of fakes sold under a Japanese brand name to Dell, HP and Apple during 2004.

I pulled out the old soldering iron and replaced them with superior rated ones, one by one, testing in between.

All was hunky dory until I went to replace the final capacitor. In my excitement (!) , I forgot  to discharge the power supply, got a spark when I touched it with the soldering iron, and all was over. The thing was dead.

I decided to give up on the repair and contacted Apple to see if they would sell me a new one. No dice. In Japan, Apple is not obliged to supply user replacement parts since consumer rights are non existent. Instead I would have to ship it to them, looked at, have random parts replaced, all at my expense. They warned me that the cost would be a minimum of 48,000 yen or about 500 dollars.

Pay that? Not on your nellie.

Instead, I ordered one from http://www.macproonline.com for $120+postage on Thursday night at 2am and it arrived at lunchtime on Monday.

A five minute swap later (details available on Aples’s G5 iMac support site) and the thing has worked perfectly since!

A little disappointing, but still cheap.

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