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PB charger stops working

Message #1 - Posted 2006/08/28 - Christopher C. Stacy

I leave my G4 PB 17" plugged in most of the time most days. Sometimes I notice (usually from the "low battery" warning) that it had not only stopped charging, but stopped using AC power altogether! The (previously green) light in the connector is turned off, and I've unknowingly been on battery for a while. Plugging and unplugging does nothing. Resetting the external module (by unplugging from the wall, or just disconnecting the block-end connector) works and it goes back into orange charging mode (the battery having been drained by this point). This didn't happen for the first 7 months of the machine's life. Now it happens about once or twice a week.

I have not noticed any battery problems; I run on battery when in meetings and travel several days of the week. Battery life seems almost as good as the day I bought the machine 9 months ago.

There is some flakiness with the PB - from Day 1 - where it will randomly freeze up or hardware panic. Sometimes the clock is ticking but keyboard and mouse stopped working, and sometimes system is dead or panic reboots. Nobody has ever been able to diagnose this. Happens about every other week, sometimes a few times in a row, then returns to normal. Doesn't seem to be heat related or program related or anything obvious.
When freezing, must use POWER button. No logs or anything. Mentioning it here just because it's the only other thing that's wrong with the machine.

(I thought Apple hardware was more reliable than this. Oh, well...)

Maybe the external power supply gets hot from being plugged in all the time and just shuts off or something?

Message #2 - Posted 2006/08/28 - John Johnson

Previously, Christopher C. Stacy wrote:

I leave my G4 PB 17" plugged in most of the time most days. Sometimes I notice (usually from the "low battery" warning) that it had not only stopped charging, but stopped using AC power altogether! The (previously green) light in the connector is turned off, and I've unknowingly been on battery for a while. Plugging and unplugging does nothing. Resetting the external module (by unplugging from the wall, or just disconnecting the block-end connector) works and it goes back into orange charging mode (the battery having been drained by this point). This didn't happen for the first 7 months of the machine's life. Now it happens about once or twice a week.

I have not noticed any battery problems; I run on battery when in meetings and travel several days of the week. Battery life seems almost as good as the day I bought the machine 9 months ago.

There is some flakiness with the PB - from Day 1 - where it will randomly freeze up or hardware panic. Sometimes the clock is ticking but keyboard and mouse stopped working, and sometimes system is dead or panic reboots. Nobody has ever been able to diagnose this. Happens about every other week, sometimes a few times in a row, then returns to normal. Doesn't seem to be heat related or program related or anything obvious.
When freezing, must use POWER button. No logs or anything. Mentioning it here just because it's the only other thing that's wrong with the machine.

(I thought Apple hardware was more reliable than this. Oh, well...)

Maybe the external power supply gets hot from being plugged in all the time and just shuts off or something?

It shouldn't.

Is the machine still under warrantee? Whether or not anyone has been able to diagnose the issue, it's not correct behavior and should be dealt with. Unless you've added aftermarket RAM (in which case, that's the first suspect), it's almost certainly the result of a component that Apple would cover under warrantee.

Later,
John

johajohn@indianahoosiers.edu

'indiana' is a 'nolnn' and 'hoosier' is a 'solkk'. Indiana doesn't solkk.

Message #3 - Posted 2006/08/29 - Christopher C. Stacy

John Johnson <null@invalid.com> writes:

Previously, Christopher C. Stacy wrote:

I leave my G4 PB 17" plugged in most of the time most days. Sometimes I notice (usually from the "low battery" warning) that it had not only stopped charging, but stopped using AC power altogether! The (previously green) light in the connector is turned off, and I've unknowingly been on battery for a while. Plugging and unplugging does nothing. Resetting the external module (by unplugging from the wall, or just disconnecting the block-end connector) works and it goes back into orange charging mode (the battery having been drained by this point). This didn't happen for the first 7 months of the machine's life. Now it happens about once or twice a week.

I have not noticed any battery problems; I run on battery when in meetings and travel several days of the week. Battery life seems almost as good as the day I bought the machine 9 months ago.

There is some flakiness with the PB - from Day 1 - where it will randomly freeze up or hardware panic. Sometimes the clock is ticking but keyboard and mouse stopped working, and sometimes system is dead or panic reboots. Nobody has ever been able to diagnose this. Happens about every other week, sometimes a few times in a row, then returns to normal. Doesn't seem to be heat related or program related or anything obvious.
When freezing, must use POWER button. No logs or anything. Mentioning it here just because it's the only other thing that's wrong with the machine.

(I thought Apple hardware was more reliable than this. Oh, well...)

Maybe the external power supply gets hot from being plugged in all the time and just shuts off or something?

It shouldn't.

Is the machine still under warrantee? Whether or not anyone has been able to diagnose the issue, it's not correct behavior and should be dealt with. Unless you've added aftermarket RAM (in which case, that's the first suspect), it's almost certainly the result of a component that Apple would cover under warrantee.

It's not a reproducible problem, so they say there's nothing wrong.

Message #4 - Posted 2006/08/29 - John Johnson

Previously, Christopher C. Stacy wrote:

John Johnson <null@invalid.com> writes:

Previously, Christopher C. Stacy wrote:

I leave my G4 PB 17" plugged in most of the time most days. Sometimes I notice (usually from the "low battery" warning) that it had not only stopped charging, but stopped using AC power altogether! The (previously green) light in the connector is turned off, and I've unknowingly been on battery for a while. Plugging and unplugging does nothing. Resetting the external module (by unplugging from the wall, or just disconnecting the block-end connector) works and it goes back into orange charging mode (the battery having been drained by this point). This didn't happen for the first 7 months of the machine's life. Now it happens about once or twice a week.

I have not noticed any battery problems; I run on battery when in meetings and travel several days of the week. Battery life seems almost as good as the day I bought the machine 9 months ago.

There is some flakiness with the PB - from Day 1 - where it will randomly freeze up or hardware panic. Sometimes the clock is ticking but keyboard and mouse stopped working, and sometimes system is dead or panic reboots. Nobody has ever been able to diagnose this. Happens about every other week, sometimes a few times in a row, then returns to normal. Doesn't seem to be heat related or program related or anything obvious.
When freezing, must use POWER button. No logs or anything. Mentioning it here just because it's the only other thing that's wrong with the machine.

(I thought Apple hardware was more reliable than this. Oh, well...)

Maybe the external power supply gets hot from being plugged in all the time and just shuts off or something?

It shouldn't.

Is the machine still under warrantee? Whether or not anyone has been able to diagnose the issue, it's not correct behavior and should be dealt with. Unless you've added aftermarket RAM (in which case, that's the first suspect), it's almost certainly the result of a component that Apple would cover under warrantee.

It's not a reproducible problem, so they say there's nothing wrong.

Well, presumably, the ticking clock/keyboard/mouse freeze can be brought in while frozen. It's not necessarily reproducible, but there's clearly a problem there. Depending on what applications you run, and what hardware you've added/changed, it's easier or harder to isolate, but a methodical approach will probably isolate it to some hardware component or other. You wouldn't even have to do all the work yourself, so long as you can rule out software interactions (which may not be trivial, but there you are).

Again, swapping RAM is probably the first thing to try, since RAM problems are often difficult to reproduce, can give symptoms similar to yours, and cannot be reliably detected by common scanning software. I've heard of the occasional machine that has bad RAM from Apple, but that's not very common at all. Bad/finicky RAM from 3rd-party vendors is much more common, particularly if you don't buy the (often rather more expensive) RAM sold particularly for Apple computers. Apple's hardware is known to be intolerant of RAM that doesn't _quite_ match the specs, even if it works fine in other machines (even other Macs!).

Providing us a list of 3rd-party software/hardware might also be worthwhile, since it's possible that someone else has had a software interaction.

As for the charger issue, yeah. Since it goes away when you unplug it you're in a pretty tough spot there. I honestly don't know what to tell you, other than "that's not normal." Have you tried swapping to a different AC adapter? I doubt the problem is tied to the brick, but it's easy to check if someone else you know uses a similar-enough machine.

Or see if you can convince the boss to let you work from the Apple store for a week so that when it happens you can simply call the service tech over. ;-)

Sorry I can't be more helpful.

Later,
John

johajohn@indianahoosiers.edu

'indiana' is a 'nolnn' and 'hoosier' is a 'solkk'. Indiana doesn't solkk.

Message #5 - Posted 2006/08/28 - TaliesinSoft

On Mon, 28 Aug 2006 20:18:50 -0500, Christopher C. Stacy wrote (in a previous article):

It's not a reproducible problem, so they say there's nothing wrong.

About a year ago my then several months old PowerBook G4 started showing an intermittent problem where the screen would suddenly have a large number of bright green spots that would change as the image on the screen changed. On the first visit to the Apple store it was suggested that the spots were the result of a software problem. A complete reinstall of the operating system was undertaken, but this didn't help. On the second visit to the Apple store a different genius suggested that it might be a hardware problem. The PowerBook was sent off for repair and was returned after almost the entire innards were replaced. The spots never reappeared.

James Leo Ryan ..... Austin, Texas ..... taliesinsoft@mac.com

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