Imac flatpanel G4 tries to boot but ends with a flashing ? and broken smiley face - ehMac.ca
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Old Jul 10th, 2009, 11:58 PM   #1
 
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Imac flatpanel G4 tries to boot but ends with a flashing ? and broken smiley face

First let me say I've never used a mac before and I don't have a mac keyboard. I do have it plugged in and ready to try anything.

A friend gave this to me and he didn't know anything about it either,I'm trying to get this thing to boot up, it seems to be booting, shows a flashing earth,then shows a flashing ? and broken smiley face.

I can't even figure out how to open the CD tray, I have tried booting while holding down mouse button and booting while holding down the f12 key. I have also tried to start in safe mode by booting and holding down the C key.

I don't know what operating system, I cant get that far.

Thank's for any help you can give !
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Old Jul 11th, 2009, 12:57 AM   #2
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You can't do much without a keyboard and mouse. Any old Windows junk will do in a pinch - a few of the keys are different, but one thing at a time.
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Old Jul 11th, 2009, 03:47 AM   #3
 
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Gerbill,

Hey, I do have a USB keyboard and mouse,just not an apple keyboard so doesn't have the Apple control buttons.
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Old Jul 11th, 2009, 07:25 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by junk250 View Post
First let me say I've never used a mac before and I don't have a mac keyboard. I do have it plugged in and ready to try anything.

A friend gave this to me and he didn't know anything about it either,I'm trying to get this thing to boot up, it seems to be booting, shows a flashing earth,then shows a flashing ? and broken smiley face.
It's a pity you've chosen to start your introduction to the world of Macs with a broken, obsolete model. It's not likely to give you a true impression of what Macs are actually like.

The symbols you mention indicate that the machine was set for (or is at least trying) to "netboot," ie boot off a system on the network since it cannot find a working system on the drive.

Quote:
I can't even figure out how to open the CD tray, I have tried booting while holding down mouse button and booting while holding down the f12 key.
I'm surprised to hear that the "hold down the [left] mouse button" method isn't working. Are you holding it down continuously from the moment of the boot chime until the drive opens?

However, there's another option: if you will use your fingernail to pull open the CD drive cover, you should be able to see a pinhole opening somewhere near the actual drive door (which is behind the cover). A straightened paperclip inserted gently into that hole will cause the drive tray to appear.

Quote:
I have also tried to start in safe mode by booting and holding down the C key.
No, "Safe Mode" is invoked by holding down the SHIFT key, but as you don't seem to have an operating system on this machine, this won't work anyway.

Quote:
I don't know what operating system, I cant get that far.

Thank's for any help you can give !
Step one, you need a RETAIL copy of Tiger -- or Leopard if it's one of the later models of this design, see below -- (10.4 or 10.5) OR you need to get the information about the model number/speed of your model (should be printed on the bottom of the base) and get the *machine-specific* version of the OS from a former owner who is selling their copy on Ebay or some such. Do *not* be fooled into getting some other "gray discs" set; they won't work.

Once that is obtained, you should be able to boot the machine and install the OS onto it. From there you will likely want to buy more RAM for this model; it has two RAM slots but only one is easily accessible. Just max out the one slot you can easily get to (it's under the bottom plate of the base) unless you want to have a tech put more in the "internal" slot (which requires thermal grease and some modicum of skill, you might want to have them upgrade the HD in there while they've got the machine opened up too). These machines can hold a MAXIMUM of 2GB of RAM (1GB in each slot).

Depending on the speed of the processor, you would end up (for a very modest investment) with a beautifully-designed and decent-functioning computer for all your basic needs. Particularly if you have lucked into one of the last models of that design with USB2 ports and an Airport Extreme and Bluetooth card (1GHz or higher processor), you will see that these are still up to par as the low-end of "modern" computers, despite having been made back in 2003.

Obviously, newer ones (brand new or refurb) are much superior choices, being able to run Windows as well as the Mac OS, having dual-core (or more) processors, being able to handle larger hard drives and RAM levels, better graphics etc more/better/faster, but people do love the G4 iMac's "lamp" design and the later versions are definitely still very sporty little machines.
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Old Jul 12th, 2009, 12:23 AM   #5
 
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chaz_m

Thanks for all that !

First it is a 700 Mhz , 128 ram , 40 gig HD, I believe it is the second year of the G4,the first was 600 Mhz I think. Cost 1,299.00 in 2003 !

Yes I did try to "shift" into safe mode and nothing changed. So I think you are right about the lack operating system, but what do I know.

I tried holding the mouse button again after disconnecting and reconnecting the mouse and I GOT THE CD DRAWER OPEN !!! WOOO HOOO !

That's a good start since it was given to me with no power cord so I figured it would be DOA. A friend of mine said he has os X he would put on it IF I could get the drawer open.

So maybe there is hope for it, I was thinking it was going to make a nice super-stylish Apple LCD Flat-screen Boat Anchor .

I believe the max ram on this model is 1 Gig (512x512),but with the user installable 512 that would make it 640(512x128 internal?) so that would be nice for 25.00 or so. So then I'd have 25.00 in a 700Mhz, 640 ram, 40 gig HD Mac machine, not too bad. Might be fun to play with.

And the design of the machine is really awesome, I wish I had the original keyboard, mouse, and external speakers ! I'll be looking for those at the thrift stores I shop at.

Thanks again for the info !

Last edited by junk250; Jul 12th, 2009 at 01:19 AM.
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Old Jul 12th, 2009, 03:17 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by junk250 View Post
chaz_m

Thanks for all that !
No problem.

Quote:
First it is a 700 Mhz , 128 ram , 40 gig HD, I believe it is the second year of the G4,the first was 600 Mhz I think. Cost 1,299.00 in 2003 !
Still a nice machine, though it lacks USB2 and can only do a maximum of 1GB of RAM (the internal RAM is different than the user-accessible RAM, but you can only put a grand total of 1GB altogether in there). It's also limited to Tiger (10.4.11) as the last supported OS for that model, but that's no big deal.

Quote:
I tried holding the mouse button again after disconnecting and reconnecting the mouse and I GOT THE CD DRAWER OPEN !!! WOOO HOOO !
Great!

Quote:
I believe the max ram on this model is 1 Gig (512x512),but with the user installable 512 that would make it 640(512x128 internal?)
Right.

Quote:
And the design of the machine is really awesome, I wish I had the original keyboard, mouse, and external speakers ! I'll be looking for those at the thrift stores I shop at.
They should all be very inexpensive via ebay, craigslist or local sellers. The external "glass" speakers are really very nice.

Have fun with it!
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Old Jul 12th, 2009, 05:13 AM   #7
 
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chas_m ,

I'll post what happens when I find the software.

"Broken & Obsolete" ?

That seems extreme for a Mac man to say.

I've been using a 1998 450 Mhz win 98 machine for 11 years,so I'm easy to please !

Thanks again, Chris

Last edited by junk250; Jul 12th, 2009 at 05:34 AM.
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Old Jul 12th, 2009, 10:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by junk250 View Post
chas_m ,

I'll post what happens when I find the software.

"Broken & Obsolete" ?

That seems extreme for a Mac man to say.
He always says things like that.

BTW, in some cases you might need a keyboard to push the C key, although most of the time the Mac will simply boot into the CD. If it doesn't, you'll need an Apple Keyboard, as the PC keyboards seem to fail on these older Macs. Those cheap Apple Pro keyboards or the original fruit keyboards should work just fine with it, but I would recommend a Pro keyboard just in case.

It's a very nice Mac (assuming it's in good condition,) and it can even run Leopard if the RAM is upgraded to 1GB and you hack the installer. After all, it's a G4!
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Old Jul 12th, 2009, 08:20 PM   #9
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Hey the lampshade iMac is a neat Mac.

Couple of things to keep in mind if you do the memory swap, the bottom slot which is easily accessable takes SODIMMs or the same memory as that era of PowerBook while the upper slot which is tougher to get at requires 168 pin Dimm which is what was used in the B&W G3 and the G4's of that era.

Also if you pull it apart and it isn't that difficult make sure you have a dab of thermal paste which should be reapplied to the heat pipe connection from the top half to the motherboard. This is stuff that can be found at an electronics supply store granted one tube should be a lifetime supply for you...

Here's some info and pix here,

Macintosh iMac G4

FYI there wasn't a 600MHz lampshade the original was the 700.

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Old Jul 12th, 2009, 10:16 PM   #10
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Replying to some of the comments made about my comments ...

1. I use "obsolete" in the correct (dictionary) sense of the term, not what (apparently) is the "perceived" meaning of the term. "Obsolete" does not equal "useless," "without value" or "junk," but (apparently) people seem to be unaware of that.

2. "Broken" again refers only to the fact that the machine was not received in good working order. A big part of the "Mac experience" is "it just works," so when it doesn't it's seen as worse than what PC owners hobble along with all the time!

3. Regarding Niteshooter's comment, I can't recommend someone do the "internal RAM upgrade" unless they are experienced with doing it and a) feel comfortable disassembling the G4 and b) know the RIGHT amount of thermal paste to use. Too much is as bad as too little in terms of this upgrade.
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