G4 Powerbook bizarre black screen problem

Discussion in 'Mac OS X System & Mac Software' started by Purple Tentacle, Jan 4, 2005.

  1. Purple Tentacle

    Purple Tentacle Registered

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    Hello everybody. I was wondering if anybody could help.

    I have a 15" 1Ghz Powerbook G4 running OS 10.2.x, with something odd happening to the screen.

    When I turn it on, the Apple logo and spinning clock thing appear on the powerbook's screen just fine, but when it goes into the OSX login screen, the screen goes completely black.

    I have plugged an external (PC) monitor in, and what happens is that it appears to be using the external monitor as the primary display, completely ignoring the powerbook's screen. Even weirder is that when I go into "display properties", the "application unexpectedly quits"!

    To be honest I have no idea if this is a hardware or software error (I hope it's software!), as like I say the grey Apple screen appears just fine, OSX is running OK except when it comes to display properties.

    I have also done that "power reset" thing where you hold down ctrl-alt-shift-power, which has successfully reset the machine to 1969!

    Tonight I am going to transfer all my files, music etc. to my PC and completely wipe the machine and start again, but if this doesn't work, or if anybody has any better ideas, could you let me know?

    Cheers!
     
  2. Darkshadow

    Darkshadow wandering shadow

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    Hmm, you should be doing command-alt-P-R instead. The above command resets the PMU. Though that should wipe out the NVRAM as well (which is what the key press I mentioned does... only).

    Try deleting the file /Library/Preferences/com.apple.windowserver.plist - it seems to have a reference to the display to use. It might solve your problem. You may have to reset your display prefs after deleting that file; just warning you.
     
  3. Zammy-Sam

    Zammy-Sam Desertchild

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    Hi Purple Tentacle,
    I also think it's a software problem you got there. I have two suggestions:
    1. boot into your jaguar installation disk and instead of reinstalling the system run the Disk Utility and repair permissions and disk.
    2. Reset the PRAM
    Hope these things will fix your problem.
     
  4. Zammy-Sam

    Zammy-Sam Desertchild

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    Oops, didn't see Darkshadows post. He actually meant reset PRAM instead of PMU. PMU is the power-management-unit, which only affects the battery.
     
  5. Purple Tentacle

    Purple Tentacle Registered

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    Thanks guys, I'll try the command-alt-p-r as soon as I get back home.

    I already ran a disk check and apparently it was fine, which was a dissapointment for once.

    I'm really not worried about messing with the display settings, especially since I'm preparing to completely wipe the lot and start again!

    I assume that this NVRAM reset doesn't affect documents on the hard drive? No biggie if it does, as like I say I'm backing everything up on my PC, but it's good to know.

    Thanks for not telling me to buy a new Mac or just send it off to Apple!

    Cheers.
     
  6. Viro

    Viro Registered

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    Don't think I ever remember anyone ever saying that. So don't worry. We never brush people off. Not without good reason anyway :)
     
  7. Purple Tentacle

    Purple Tentacle Registered

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    Hello.

    OK. None of the above have worked at all. I have now reinstalled OSX, wiping out the previous installation, and it's still the same problem.

    It even still crashes when I go to display preferences.

    Something even worse has happened.... after I did the PRAM zapping, the Apple grey screen no longer appears, just a weird horizontal bar that slowly turns grey that looks a lot like a monitor error, on the laptop screen. So I'm now worse off than before!

    What do you guys think? To be completely honest, I'm starting to think it IS a hardware error, although the display prefs crashing is still very weird.

    Any more suggestions would be very very welcome, as I may have to give up and pay a ridiculous amount of money to get it repaired. And no, I don't have a protection plan!!

    Cheers!
     
  8. Purple Tentacle

    Purple Tentacle Registered

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    UPDATE:

    I zapped the PRAM again, and now the Apple grey screen is back.... but still no joy with anything else.

    I have formatted the hard drive with zeros, and am reinstalling OSX for something to do.... but I know it won't work.
     
  9. jsnap

    jsnap Bohemian

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    Your problem sounds very similar to the ones associated with the failing motherboards in some Powerbooks and iBooks. There were a large number of them recalled last year. Both my daughter's iBook and my sister's Powerbook had to go back to Apple for the new motherboards. Have you checked Apple's troubleshooting section for this problem? You might want to check and see if your laptop is among the serial numbers and dates of the recall.
     
  10. Purple Tentacle

    Purple Tentacle Registered

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    Hmm, that sounds interesting, you wouldn't happen to have a link handy would you? I've searched "recall" on their website but can only find the lithium battery recall.

    I live in the UK, and it was one of the very first 1ghz 15" Powerbooks with the silver keyboard released over here. Bought in September 2003.

    Maybe it's worth phoning Apple and asking....
     
  11. jsnap

    jsnap Bohemian

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    PT, Sorry, my mistake for calling it a motherboard problem. I meant we had a Logic Board issue, though I'm not sure what the difference is between a Logic Board and a motherboard. I think they are synonomous.

    Anyway here's a link I found about Powerbook G4 dispaly problems that is a recall, but it might not be exactly what you have going on:
    www.apple.com/support/powerbook/displayprogram

    Scroll down and on the far right side, under the Repair & Exchange Programs you will see something about the 15-inch PowerBook G4s. It's a world wide program so you should not have any problem getting it fixed. You will have to be without it though for awhile and they aren't doing any loaners to my knowledge. They say here they are dealing with a white spots problem recall, but my sister was having black screen problems on her's and so did my daughter's iBook. Your PowerBook does fall in the time frame according to what I read here.

    When I called Apple about my daughter's iBook display problem, the first Apple phone tech tried to make it out to be another issue that they wanted to charge me for troubleshooting. However, I had already read about the Logic Board Repair Program, that covered the display problem we were having, on their website and insisted it was related, and I was correct. The 1st level tech just had to go through the scripts to eliminate all other possible problems first, so just be patient with them. I finally insisted she bump me to a 2nd level tech who agreed with my diagnosis. A couple of days later, my sister called me to complain about her Powerbook display acting up and I suggested she check the website and call Apple to see if it too was related, and it was.

    So, yes, I say read about the recall first, then call Apple, and be persistant. Ask for a level 2 tech or higher if you are not getting satisfaction.

    Good Luck.
     
  12. fryke

    fryke Moderator Staff Member Mod

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    Take that Mac to a service shop. A Mac dealer. Anything. Btw.: You _did_ try all that with your PC monitor _not_ attached, too, right?
     
  13. Purple Tentacle

    Purple Tentacle Registered

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    jsnap... I could kiss you. I HAVE been getting horrible white spots all over the monitor, and my serial number IS within the stated range. So, a free new display is in order....

    So do you think they will also fix the current display problem for free? I suppose if they have to replace the display anyway...


    fryke... in the UK, there is ONE Apple store. One. In Regent Street, London, and you can't get to see a tech in there EVER because it's full of teenage girls wittering on about accessories to make their iPods pink. You also can't make an appointment in advance unless you've paid the £200 for full apple support.

    Anyway, here's hoping that they fix the problem for free.....
     
  14. Purple Tentacle

    Purple Tentacle Registered

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    UPDATE:

    This site is the best. Thanks to you guys, I phoned up Apple and told them about the product recall. They feigned ignorance until I read out the URL jsnap gave me, and after 10 minutes on hold (they STILL have christmas music, urgh), agreed to replace the screen for free.

    Taking it into the Apple Store on Saturday, and am very happy!

    Cheers!
     
  15. bobw

    bobw The Late: SuperMacMod

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    Purple

    You didn't answer Fryke's question.

    Have you disconnected the external monitor and tried?

    I would do that before sending to Apple.
     
  16. Purple Tentacle

    Purple Tentacle Registered

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    Yes I certainly did.

    I also tried disconnecting the AC adapter and trying it.

    I also formatted the hard drive with zeros, then zapped the PRAM and tried it.

    The screen is buggered.


    Also, it DID have white splodges on the display, which was the reason for the product recall in the first place.... so it will be a bit of a double whammy if it gets repaired, really.
     

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