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

October 8, 2009 Leave a comment

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.

Faulty Apple Products on the Rise?!

September 8, 2008 4 comments

Apple Stuff is breaking down all around me!

Although I’m a sucker for their style, one can’t help but wonder if they’ve just lost the plot a little. Sure, I know that other stuff apparently breaks down, too. But well, let me just show you:

It seems to me that their recent drop in prices is made up for by an effectively mandatory Applecare subscription and a lot of extra worry and hassle.

Here’s my personal list of Apple Related Hassle

Mac Mini (PPC)

I recommended my good friend Brendan to move to Apple after having some bad experiences with an imported PC. After showing him my Mac Mini I used a work, he was convinced.

  • We buy the thing, take it home and it fails to boot. Straight back to Apple.

Makes me look like a right chump.

White Macbook 1st Rev (Intel)

My cousin in law sees our Mac and I suggest she buy a MacBook, since they’re easy to use and not outrageously expensive, like the MacBook Pro. She buys one.

  • Two weeks later, the pristine white case is a dirty shade of yellow around the hand rests: Straight back to Apple.
  • The battery then fails to charge and warps slightly, affecting the keyboard: Straight back to Apple.
  • A couple of months later, the thing starts beeping on start up and fails to boot. Memory failure; Straight back to Apple.
  • Now, thirteen months after purchasing it, the DVD is unrecognised: Back to Apple for a quote: $600 replacement logic board: Fuck that for a game of soldiers.

Again, I feel like an idiot recommending stuff that breaks down.

Battery of Powerbook 12″ (PPC)

Tomoko’s PowerBook 12″ Final Revision (Arguably the finest Apple Notebook ever) had a battery recall. OK, so this is a Sony issue rather than an Apple issue, but still…

  • We noticed that the battery lasted only 15 minutes to 30 minutes. Battery goes back to Apple.
  • Replacement battery is broken after less than six months of really light use! Lasts 30 minutes: Cheers for replacing the broken battery with an inferior part!

iMac 24″ (Intel)

Next, my Colleague’s new 24″ iMac had to go back

  • With a bang, smoke billows out the back one evening when he’s playing Flight Sim X on a Windows install. Overheaded, burnt component. Straight back to Apple.

Luckily for Apple, the dude (A complete Debian Linux nut) is in love with OS X and is willing to put up with loud bang and (potentially) toxic smoke cloud.

iMac 24″ (Intel)

My own iMac is so hot one cannot touch the Aluminium frame at the top left of the screen for prolonged periods.

  • Horrific heat build up, to over 80 degrees inside
  • Black circles appearing one by one on the screen in random places: Straight back to Apple.
  • Aluminium keyboard, Left Shift key no longer works reliably, meaning all capitals have to be typed with right Shift key. Currently awaiting replacement.

They did replace the thing over a weekend and a complete replacement was back within 3 days.

Apple TV (intel)

My Apple TV has NOT been a model of reliability, despite being the modern equivalent of a “wireless.”

  • Painful to pick up, it’s so hot. Can’t see it lasting long at that temperature.
  • Leave it on for a week or two and it fails to respond, requiring a reset. Warranty period over: No going straight back to Apple for this one.

Luckily I bought this thing really cheap, so I don’t care. It plays my itunes over my hifi. That’s all I needed.

Everybody else’s iPhone 3G
OK, so the volume of whinging annoys me.
  • Let’s not even start this one!
Apple used to have style, quality and reliability: They were one and the same.

Now they just have style. It quite frankly pisses me off.

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