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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

HELP wierd iMac startup problem

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Hi, I'm new to the forum, and I have an extremely wierd problem with an iMac rev. E (early slot-load). Let me explain the problem and then give the details:

Problem: The only way the computer will startup from the hard drive (main boot disk) is by staying on the gray/white apple logo screen until it falls asleep. After being awoken from sleep it will boot like normal. This wasn't a problem (just an inconvenience) until the user (little sister) turned off the automatic sleep setting (System prefs / energy saver). Now I can't get the computer to turn on from the HD, and I can't access the file. I tried to modify it by booting into single user mode (doesn't get far enough into the startup process when booting from the HD), but the volume doesn't show up when booting from any CD (Volumes folder at the root level is empty).

I'm currently reinstalling the system, hoping that the setting will be different (energy saver default) than it is so that it will start up. If that doesn't work I'll take it apart, throw the drive in my tower, change the settings, and send it back to my sister.

What I really would like to do is fix the problem so that the computer doesn't have to fall asleep before booting. If anyone has ANY suggestions short of buying a new board or computer, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Info: iMac rev. E
OS 10.3
replaced logic board (always had extremely slow startup time, now has to fall asleep before booting) (warantee on board is up)
3rd party hard drive (same problem using first, upgraded for space)
OS 9 doesn't boot ever (freeze)

Thanks so much for any help.
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To me that sounds more like the hard drive....(Although I'm really not qualified to make that suggestion)

Did it have this problem what you had the first HD in?
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I was thinking the hard drive controller (can't just buy a new IDE card on the iMacs...). Yes, had the same problem with the previous hard drive.
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Sounds really wired. :confused:
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There is a chip on the logic board that controls the hard drive. If it is defective, it will kill your hard drive. I had 3 dead hard drives in one month because of it.
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I'm wondering if it's really minor, because once the computer falls asleep, it starts up very quickly, but there is no noise from the hard drive until that point.

2 different drives with the same problem usually doesn't mean bad drives, or system for that matter.

Thanks for the posts.
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This is a shot in the dark, but I had a problem where the computer wouldn't start up if it were cold. If I unplugged the hard drive (not an easy thing to do), started the machine and left it on for a while to heat up, then plugged the hard drive back in and immediately restarted it would work. There were also some video problems too. Turns out it was something called the PAV board. I sent it to MicroDoc in Eugene, Oregon and they replaced it the same day for a reasonable price. You might want to give them a call at 800-203-5337.
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hmmm, that's a good shot. I just had the board replaced by microDoc. The video problem it has is that the screen will flitter (kindof like how a dog shakes itself dry).

I think i got it too long ago to mess with it, but that sounds like it could be the reason. I think I remember restarting it and still having to sleep it first... I'll look into it.

Thanks for the post
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I talked to John from MicroDoc. He told me to check the firmware version which came out to be the version he told me I should be running. He also said I could ship the board out there to get inspected again. I don't really want to do that since it's not my computer, but that would be much easier than shipping the video analog board like I did when this all started.

BTW, the PAV board is the analog video board that controls the power and video. When he tested that board twice he said it was fine.
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