MacInTouch Reader Reports

eMac: Failures

Feb. 7, 2009
May. 21, 2009
Aug. 13, 2010
Aug. 17, 2010
Aug. 26, 2010
Aug. 27, 2010
Oct. 5, 2010
Oct. 6, 2010
Oct. 7, 2010
Feb. 7, 2009

item.86799

MacInTouch Reader

My eMac G4 1.25MHz had been freezing more frequently and, being rushed, I used another computer to complete work. But I didn't want to just toss the eMac, so I started upgrading it, thinking it could be RAM or OS issues causing it to freeze. When I checked for an answer, online, I found that this isn't an isolated problem and that Apple used faulty capacitors on their logic boards. Seeing the note, posted late 2008, I called Apple Support, hoping they'd replace the board for me, also. No luck. They said I should use the eMac for a doorstop! If they found out the parts were faulty, they should have done a recall or notified those who purchased the machines. Apple is just like all the other companies who let the consumer track down the answer, putting in hours and hours to figure out what the problem is! Apple's support let me down.

May. 21, 2009

item.92623

Edwy Keith

Well I just got one in my shop with bad caps too and I am thinking if I buy new caps will this work? I am going to give it a whirl and see if I can salvage this eMac. It was a beautiful Mac when it was running, I was told by my client. No luck from Apple here anyway, and they deny that this forum even exists!

Aug. 13, 2010

item.119466

G.P. Waterfall

My used eMac (early 2005 1.42Ghz; 2gb OWC Mac-compatible RAM; combo drive) running Tiger 10.4.11 began to freeze a few months ago so I cleared the hard drive and reinstalled. It worked ok for a while. Now, it is regularly freezing, getting the spinning beach ball and even locking up when it has been running for a while - when it heats up. Twice I have returned to find it with a white power light and a black screen requiring shut down. Until it cools off, on restart or after shutdown, it will sometimes hang at the grey screen or display a flashing folder with an alternating finder icon and a question mark - I assume it can't find the OS. After rebooting, I got the report function with this info - 2 occurrences:

panic(cpu 0 caller 0x00040180): zalloc: "kalloc.64" (8123392 elements) retry fail 3
Latest stack backtrace for cpu 0:
Backtrace:
0x000954F8 0x00095A10 0x00026898 0x00040180 0x0002BDCC 0x002B1B68 0x00442CEC 0x00442DA8
0x004429DC 0x0044CA64 0x00452808 0x0044CA64 0x0044FF6C 0x0044EE98 0x00109608 0x000D6134
0x000FEB68 0x000DC030 0x000DD794 0x000DCBBC 0x0022A7F4 0x000FC674 0x000F59B4 0x0027F7F0
0x0027F52C 0x002ABDB8 0x000ABD30 0x6E3C2F6B
Kernel loadable modules in backtrace (with dependencies):
com.apple.iokit.IOStorageFamily(1.5)@0x43d000
Proceeding back via exception chain:
Exception state (sv=0x42519000)
PC=0x90014BAC; MSR=0x0200F030; DAR=0x22B2F000; DSISR=0x42000000; LR=0x00004BE8; R1=0xBFFFF900; XCP=0x00000030 (0xC00 - System call)

Kernel version:
Darwin Kernel Version 8.11.0: Wed Oct 10 18:26:00 PDT 2007; root:xnu-792.24.17~1/RELEASE_PPCModel: PowerMac6,4, BootROM 4.9.2f1, 1 processors, PowerPC G4 (1.5), 1.42 GHz, 2 GB
Graphics: ATI Radeon 9600, ATY,RV351, AGP, 64 MB
Memory Module: DIMM0/J2, 1 GB, DDR SDRAM, PC3200U-30330
Memory Module: DIMM1/J1, 1 GB, DDR SDRAM, PC3200U-30330
Modem: Jump, V.92, Version 1.0
Network Service: Internal Modem, PPP (PPPSerial), ppp0
Parallel ATA Device: SONY CD-RW CRX315E
Parallel ATA Device: WDC WD800BB-40JHC0, 74.53 GB
USB Device: Generic USB K/B Hub, Up to 12 Mb/sec, 500 mA
USB Device: Macally USB Mini Optical Mouse, Up to 1.5 Mb/sec, 500 mA
USB Device: Generic USB K/B Hub, Up to 12 Mb/sec, 500 mA

2nd report-

panic(cpu 0 caller 0x00040180): zalloc: "kalloc.64" (8123392 elements) retry fail 3
Latest stack backtrace for cpu 0:
Backtrace:
0x000954F8 0x00095A10 0x00026898 0x00040180 0x0002BDCC 0x002B1B68 0x00442CEC 0x00442DA8
0x004429DC 0x0044CA64 0x00452808 0x0044CA64 0x0044FF6C 0x0044EE98 0x00109608 0x000D6134
0x000FEB68 0x000DC030 0x000DD794 0x000DCBBC 0x0022A7F4 0x000FC674 0x000F59B4 0x0027F7F0
0x0027F52C 0x002ABDB8 0x000ABD30 0x6E3C2F6B
Kernel loadable modules in backtrace (with dependencies):
com.apple.iokit.IOStorageFamily(1.5)@0x43d000
Proceeding back via exception chain:
Exception state (sv=0x42519000)
PC=0x90014BAC; MSR=0x0200F030; DAR=0x22B2F000; DSISR=0x42000000; LR=0x00004BE8; R1=0xBFFFF900; XCP=0x00000030 (0xC00 - System call)

Kernel version:
Darwin Kernel Version 8.11.0: Wed Oct 10 18:26:00 PDT 2007; root:xnu-792.24.17~1/RELEASE_PPCModel: PowerMac6,4, BootROM 4.9.2f1, 1 processors, PowerPC G4 (1.5), 1.42 GHz, 2 GB
Graphics: ATI Radeon 9600, ATY,RV351, AGP, 64 MB
Memory Module: DIMM0/J2, 1 GB, DDR SDRAM, PC3200U-30330
Memory Module: DIMM1/J1, 1 GB, DDR SDRAM, PC3200U-30330
Modem: Jump, V.92, Version 1.0
Network Service: Internal Modem, PPP (PPPSerial), ppp0
Parallel ATA Device: SONY CD-RW CRX315E
Parallel ATA Device: WDC WD800BB-40JHC0, 74.53 GB
USB Device: Generic USB K/B Hub, Up to 12 Mb/sec, 500 mA
USB Device: Macally USB Mini Optical Mouse, Up to 1.5 Mb/sec, 500 mA
USB Device: Generic USB K/B Hub, Up to 12 Mb/sec, 500 mA

Plugged the original Apple keyboard and mouse back in with no other peripherals connected - that didn't make any difference. Ran Rember 3.4b test overnight. Next morning, had a power light but a black frozen screen. Don't know if the test finished before the lockup or not - no log. Have to try again. A few months ago, I located an older version of Tech Tool Pro and same RAM checked out fine. I'll have to pull it out and test it on another machine and make sure that bad caps haven't leaked on the RAM and connectors. It's back in the storeroom now. Too many problems to continue using. Have to work on it as I have time. Could need a good cleaning and inside inspection.

This computer was bought used from Powermax who hasn't responded to an inquiry for tech support. Of course, it's out of warranty, no Apple care or other extended warranty. It was supposedly "refurbished" but sold as is. So, I have no idea what condition the parts are inside or what may or may not have been switched out. The fact that a simple email request to tech support with a few questions was ignored is a red flag.

I missed the warning about bad caps and Apple or the reseller never contacted me about it - I have another computer that fell under the list of possibles. The reseller never mentioned the problem - don't ask - don't tell (if the customers don't ask, don't tell them about it.) I know the 1.42 models were not supposed to have bad caps but this is a refurb and the parts could have come from anywhere. Bad, leaky capacitors can wreak havoc if they leak and run across boards when the machine heats up. Depending on where they are and how many are bad, they can cause problems with multiple boards or other internal hardware. I'll need to check for that because I bought a used 1.42 that may have parts that were switched out from a 1.25 eMac or other faulty hardware source. If I find evidence of bad parts, I'll take it up with the reseller.

Sadly, the PPC is a decreasingly interesting topic as users slowly give in to the urge for cheaper, newer hardware and as their trusty old "puters" head for the last roundup.
Apple has discouraged a number of users with the bad cap problem and response, the business model of coming out with 2nd generation upgraded products 6 months to a year after releasing the 1st generation models and being slow to implement dial-up modem support in Tiger and Leopard. Sure, Apple supports the majority of its customer base first which is high connection speeds and goes where the most money is to be made. Constructive criticism won't kill Apple - bad products and poor customer service might. But with cloud computing and shrinking hardware, there's always a new market to be developed.
There was a time when I would have been eager to crack the case and replace parts - even perform a mod. But, a new computer can be had for what it costs to repair many of the old Macs. Now, I'm increasingly moving away from technology, so I just want something that works for the short time I need it. It's really nice to get used to that feeling again of what it's like to live in a non-digital world. The real world is much more interesting and meaningful. End of philosophical meanderings.

Aug. 17, 2010

item.119561

Colleen Thompson

To GP Waterfall:

Your problem is likely either a failed HD or logic board. I had a lot of eMacs with bad caps.

Get SMART Utility and check your drive first; it won't cost anything and takes only a few minutes. If it's ok -- which I rather doubt, given the age of this machine -- then you should consider opening up the case and looking at the caps. If the drive is bad you'll need to open it anyway to replace the drive.

Replacing an eMac drive is a nontrivial job, but there are instructions online. Good luck!

Aug. 26, 2010

item.119959

Bob Sorg

We bought an eMac in 2004, had for about 6 months and had to replace video card.

Now it is messing up again when booting, have to hold power button and slap it upside the case and try restarting again.

Maybe something's come loose in the 6 years we have had it.
All in all though, a great and reliable computer and part of our family :-)
Runs really well with Ubuntu 9.04

Aug. 27, 2010

item.120000

Colleen Thompson

Re:

"Now it is messing up again when booting, have to hold power button and slap it upside the case and try restarting again."

Your eMac might have the bad-capacitor problem. A good many of the eMacs I've interacted with have. Opening it up to look inside is not as easy as a pre-iSight iMac, but there are instructions online.

Oct. 5, 2010

item.122230

Donna Vassell

Hello there,

I am in need of urgent assistance. My eMac has been causing problems for a few days now.

After about ten minutes of switching it on, a vertical flash of light appears in the middle of the screen then the screen goes black. I can still hear music or game that i was listening to or playing at the time.

Your reply I eagerly await.

Oct. 6, 2010

item.122272

Colleen Thompson

Donna Vassell: it's probably bad capacitors on the logic board, which can cause video issues. Unless you can find someone to replace them (even harder than finding someone to fix a G5 iMac with the same problem), I would consider replacing the computer. A new logic board, if you could get one installed, would probably cost more than the computer is worth.

That said, it might be something different, like the graphics card. You should have it looked at by a competent shop. However, I think you'll still find it's not worth fixing. Just my two cents.

item.122283

David Charlap

Donna Vassell wrote:

"After about ten minutes of switching it on, a vertical flash of light appears in the middle of the screen then the screen goes black. I can still hear music or game that i was listening to or playing at the time."

Sounds like the display unit itself is going. Probably one of the high-voltage analog circuits (like the flyback transformer.)

Given the age of all eMacs, it's unlikely Apple will be able to fix it, but you might be able to find a computer/TV repair shop that can fix/replace the part.

Failing that, you've got two choices. You can use an external display (assuming you can still get the mini-VGA adapter cable), or you can get a new Mac.

If you decide to get a new Mac, you have a few options for copying your data out: use an external display, put the computer into FireWire target-disk mode and mount the drive from another computer, or remove the drive and attach it to a USB adapter.

Given the fact that the eMac is a pretty old model with limited capabilities, I would recommend shopping for a new Mac, if you can afford to do so.

Oct. 7, 2010

item.122338

Sterett Prevost

Re: Donna Vassell wrote:

"After about ten minutes of switching it on, a vertical flash of light appears in the middle of the screen then the screen goes black. I can still hear music or game that I was listening to or playing at the time."

I would go with David Charlap's suggestion to put the emac into "target disk" mode, then connect it by firewire cable to a newer Mac, and use the newer Mac's Migration Assistant to transfer everything from the eMac to the new one. Getting the hard drive out of the eMac case is not a task for the "faint of heart". With a flat panel monitor of your choice from Best Buy and a low-cost Mac mini, you might spend quite a bit less than trying to repair the eMac. My $0.02.


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