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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

PowerBook - Light sensor causes PowerBook G4 to sleep


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bartvh

 
Member Since: Jun 02, 2008
Posts: 6
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Like quite a few other Powerbook users, I have been suffering from the PB narcolepsy problem. Judging from experiences I read online, my PB might fall asleep more persistently as well as less often than many.

After eliminating a faulty temperature sensor or battery to be the problem, resetting the power circuit, using memtestosx (I use non-Apple RAM) etc. I finally discovered, after a period of 6 months, at least one culprit:

When I cover or otherwise dim the light sensor underneath the left speaker grill, my Powerbook goes to sleep. This is one cause I have not come across online (and there's a bunch of 'em). It explains, ofcourse, why the notebook would bail on me when handling the power cord (it's located on the left), or the entire machine. Why there did not seem to be any logic to when the screen would go black and the pilot light up, or when put on a desk and left for hours the notebook might keep working. Or not. I had to wait for a dark, rainy day and a flash of insight to properly diagnose the problem.

Naturally, I would now like to know how to disable the light sensors using software/OSX (I don't care much about the automatically backlit keyboard). If that doesn't work or is incredibly involved (disabling a faulty temperature sensor sometimes is), there might be clues in the system.log and especially panic.log.

Hopefully this thread might serve others suffering from a similar issue, many thanks to everyone helping out!

Specifications:
  • Alu Powerbook G4 15" (FW800)
  • Tiger 10.4.11
  • 40 months old
  • non-apple RAM
  • recently replaced battery (old one had lost too much capacity as was to be expected after almost 3 years)

The problem started about 6 months ago, several months after I got the new battery (re-installing the old one didn't change a thing).

Logs

A typical entry in system.log after the Powerbook has gone down:

AppleUSBOHCI[0x2793000] Processing WDH before suspending
Jun 2 16:57:34 Powerbook kernel[0]: IOUSBWorkLoop::closeGate - interrupt Thread being held off
Jun 2 16:57:40 Powerbook kernel[0]: System Sleep
Jun 2 16:57:40 Powerbook kernel[0]: IOBluetoothHCIController::restartShutdownWL this is a wake from sleep
Jun 2 16:57:40 Powerbook kernel[0]: System Wake
Jun 2 16:57:40 Powerbook kernel[0]: Wake event 0020
Jun 2 16:57:41 Powerbook kernel[0]: UniNEnet::monitorLinkStatus - Link is up at 100 Mbps - Full Duplex
Jun 2 16:57:42 Powerbook mDNSResponder: Repeated transitions for interface en0 (192.168.1.3); delaying packets by 5 seconds

Sometimes I would be unable to wake my Powerbook at all, I recently discovered loads of kernel errors that have occurred in the past months. Today, for the first time, I also got an explicit one ("please restart your mac" message):

Kernel version:
Darwin Kernel Version 8.11.0: Wed Oct 10 18:26:00 PDT 2007; root:xnu-792.24.17~1/RELEASE_PPC
*********

Sat May 10 20:50:35 2008
panic(cpu 0 caller 0x000A8C00): Uncorrectable machine check: pc = 000000000049E4D8, msr = 0000000000149030, dsisr = 40000000, dar = 000000002C259040
AsyncSrc = 0000000000000000, CoreFIR = 0000000000000000
L2FIR = 0000000000000000, BusFir = 0000000000000000

Latest stack backtrace for cpu 0:
Backtrace:
0x000954F8 0x00095A10 0x00026898 0x000A8C00 0x000A7E90 0x000ABB80
Proceeding back via exception chain:
Exception state (sv=0x439EE280)
PC=0x0049E4D8; MSR=0x00149030; DAR=0x2C259040; DSISR=0x40000000; LR=0x0049E42C; R1=0x21F33CB0; XCP=0x00000008 (0x200 - Machine check)
Backtrace:
0x002D4B80 0x004A0948 0x002D43D0 0x0003CA1C 0x000A9714
Kernel loadable modules in backtrace (with dependencies):
com.apple.driver.AppleUSBOHCI(2.5.5)@0x497000
dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOUSBFamily(2.8.1)@0x463000
dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOPCIFamily(1.7)@0x48d000
Exception state (sv=0x00DA5500)
PC=0x00000000; MSR=0x0000D030; DAR=0x00000000; DSISR=0x00000000; LR=0x00000000; R1=0x00000000; XCP=0x00000000 (Unknown)

Kernel version:
Darwin Kernel Version 8.11.0: Wed Oct 10 18:26:00 PDT 2007; root:xnu-792.24.17~1/RELEASE_PPC
*********

Sun May 18 22:15:57 2008
panic(cpu 0 caller 0x000A8C00): Uncorrectable machine check: pc = 000000000049E4D8, msr = 0000000000149030, dsisr = 40000000, dar = 000000002C259040
AsyncSrc = 0000000000000000, CoreFIR = 0000000000000000
L2FIR = 0000000000000000, BusFir = 0000000000000000

Latest stack backtrace for cpu 0:
Backtrace:
0x000954F8 0x00095A10 0x00026898 0x000A8C00 0x000A7E90 0x000ABB80
Proceeding back via exception chain:
Exception state (sv=0x439EE280)
PC=0x0049E4D8; MSR=0x00149030; DAR=0x2C259040; DSISR=0x40000000; LR=0x0049E42C; R1=0x21F33CB0; XCP=0x00000008 (0x200 - Machine check)
Backtrace:
0x002D4B80 0x004A0948 0x002D43D0 0x0003CA1C 0x000A9714
Kernel loadable modules in backtrace (with dependencies):
com.apple.driver.AppleUSBOHCI(2.5.5)@0x497000
dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOUSBFamily(2.8.1)@0x463000
dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOPCIFamily(1.7)@0x48d000
Exception state (sv=0x00DA5500)
PC=0x00000000; MSR=0x0000D030; DAR=0x00000000; DSISR=0x00000000; LR=0x00000000; R1=0x00000000; XCP=0x00000000 (Unknown)

Kernel version:
Darwin Kernel Version 8.11.0: Wed Oct 10 18:26:00 PDT 2007; root:xnu-792.24.17~1/RELEASE_PPC
*********

Fri May 23 17:26:23 2008
panic(cpu 0 caller 0x000A8C00): Uncorrectable machine check: pc = 000000000049E4D8, msr = 0000000000149030, dsisr = 40000000, dar = 000000002C259040
AsyncSrc = 0000000000000000, CoreFIR = 0000000000000000
L2FIR = 0000000000000000, BusFir = 0000000000000000

Latest stack backtrace for cpu 0:
Backtrace:
0x000954F8 0x00095A10 0x00026898 0x000A8C00 0x000A7E90 0x000ABB80
Proceeding back via exception chain:
Exception state (sv=0x439EE280)
PC=0x0049E4D8; MSR=0x00149030; DAR=0x2C259040; DSISR=0x40000000; LR=0x0049E42C; R1=0x21F33CB0; XCP=0x00000008 (0x200 - Machine check)
Backtrace:
0x002D4B80 0x004A0948 0x002D43D0 0x0003CA1C 0x000A9714
Kernel loadable modules in backtrace (with dependencies):
com.apple.driver.AppleUSBOHCI(2.5.5)@0x497000
dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOUSBFamily(2.8.1)@0x463000
dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOPCIFamily(1.7)@0x48d000
Exception state (sv=0x00DA5500)
PC=0x00000000; MSR=0x0000D030; DAR=0x00000000; DSISR=0x00000000; LR=0x00000000; R1=0x00000000; XCP=0x00000000 (Unknown)

Kernel version:
Darwin Kernel Version 8.11.0: Wed Oct 10 18:26:00 PDT 2007; root:xnu-792.24.17~1/RELEASE_PPC
*********

Wed May 28 16:16:43 2008
panic(cpu 0 caller 0x000A8C00): Uncorrectable machine check: pc = 000000000049E4D8, msr = 0000000000149030, dsisr = 40000000, dar = 000000002C259040
AsyncSrc = 0000000000000000, CoreFIR = 0000000000000000
L2FIR = 0000000000000000, BusFir = 0000000000000000

Latest stack backtrace for cpu 0:
Backtrace:
0x000954F8 0x00095A10 0x00026898 0x000A8C00 0x000A7E90 0x000ABB80
Proceeding back via exception chain:
Exception state (sv=0x439EE280)
PC=0x0049E4D8; MSR=0x00149030; DAR=0x2C259040; DSISR=0x40000000; LR=0x0049E42C; R1=0x21F33CB0; XCP=0x00000008 (0x200 - Machine check)
Backtrace:
0x002D4B80 0x004A0948 0x002D43D0 0x0003CA1C 0x000A9714
Kernel loadable modules in backtrace (with dependencies):
com.apple.driver.AppleUSBOHCI(2.5.5)@0x497000
dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOUSBFamily(2.8.1)@0x463000
dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOPCIFamily(1.7)@0x48d000
Exception state (sv=0x00DA5500)
PC=0x00000000; MSR=0x0000D030; DAR=0x00000000; DSISR=0x00000000; LR=0x00000000; R1=0x00000000; XCP=0x00000000 (Unknown)

Kernel version:
Darwin Kernel Version 8.11.0: Wed Oct 10 18:26:00 PDT 2007; root:xnu-792.24.17~1/RELEASE_PPC
*********

Mon Jun 2 10:39:34 2008
panic(cpu 0 caller 0x000A8C00): Uncorrectable machine check: pc = 000000000049E4D8, msr = 0000000000149030, dsisr = 42000000, dar = 0000000002353000
AsyncSrc = 0000000000000000, CoreFIR = 0000000000000000
L2FIR = 0000000000000000, BusFir = 00000000fff00000

Latest stack backtrace for cpu 0:
Backtrace:
0x000954F8 0x00095A10 0x00026898 0x000A8C00 0x000A7E90 0x000ABB80
Proceeding back via exception chain:
Exception state (sv=0x38239000)
PC=0x0049E4D8; MSR=0x00149030; DAR=0x02353000; DSISR=0x42000000; LR=0x0049E42C; R1=0x21F23CB0; XCP=0x00000008 (0x200 - Machine check)
Backtrace:
0x002D4B80 0x004A0948 0x002D43D0 0x0003CA1C 0x000A9714
Kernel loadable modules in backtrace (with dependencies):
com.apple.driver.AppleUSBOHCI(2.5.5)@0x497000
dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOUSBFamily(2.8.1)@0x463000
dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOPCIFamily(1.7)@0x48d000
Exception state (sv=0x3841DA00)
PC=0x00000000; MSR=0x0000D030; DAR=0x00000000; DSISR=0x00000000; LR=0x00000000; R1=0x00000000; XCP=0x00000000 (Unknown)

Kernel version:
Darwin Kernel Version 8.11.0: Wed Oct 10 18:26:00 PDT 2007; root:xnu-792.24.17~1/RELEASE_PPC
*********

Note that all of them mention a "Uncorrectable machine check", and all but the last one (that differed by manifeseting itself explicity on-screen) list "Exception state (sv=0x00DA5500)".
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bartvh

 
Member Since: Jun 02, 2008
Posts: 6
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bartvh is offline
I should also mention that the option "Illuminate keyboard in low light conditions." in the Keyboard & Mouse options, as mentioned in the Apple help, has apparantly vanished.
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bartvh

 
Member Since: Jun 02, 2008
Posts: 6
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I have physically removed both light sensors from the powerbook, and so far (half an hour) it has behaved perfectly! Hopefully I'll be able to confirm the success of the fix in a few days...
QUOTE Thanks
bartvh

 
Member Since: Jun 02, 2008
Posts: 6
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After a few days I can confirm that removing both light sensors cured my Powerbook from narcolepsy completely!

It has shut down once when I woke it from a (normal) sleep session after which it failed to boot. I believe that is an unrelated issue having to do with the battery (last time it did that I immediately tested the battery in another PB and got a similar result). Leaving it for a few minutes seems to 'cure' the battery. Oh well, glad I can get on using what is still a great machine.
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taneli

 
Member Since: Jun 11, 2008
Posts: 1
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Iam writting you from france. You have masterly described the same problems Ill been having with my G4 1.5Ghz.
I was thinking in shortcircuiting the sensor`s wires in order to get a strait electrical flow instead of goig thru the cell sensor.have you ever heard of this possibility or any other that might work°
Thank you in advance
QUOTE Thanks
sholmes

 
Member Since: Aug 22, 2008
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 1
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Mac Specs: Powerbook G4, 15" 1.67 GHz, 2GB

sholmes is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by bartvh View Post
Like quite a few other Powerbook users, I have been suffering from the PB narcolepsy problem. Judging from experiences I read online, my PB might fall asleep more persistently as well as less often than many.

After eliminating a faulty temperature sensor or battery to be the problem, resetting the power circuit, using memtestosx (I use non-Apple RAM) etc. I finally discovered, after a period of 6 months, at least one culprit:

When I cover or otherwise dim the light sensor underneath the left speaker grill, my Powerbook goes to sleep. This is one cause I have not come across online (and there's a bunch of 'em). It explains, of course, why the notebook would bail on me when handling the power cord (it's located on the left), or the entire machine. Why there did not seem to be any logic to when the screen would go black and the pilot light up, or when put on a desk and left for hours the notebook might keep working. Or not. I had to wait for a dark, rainy day and a flash of insight to properly diagnose the problem.
I have found the cure for this problem. After reading about this problem in a few placea and reading about the ambient light sensors (there are two), I did an inspection of the parts. The left hand ALS is rather small compared to the right hand side ALS. I came to the conclusion that it was the RIGHT side ALS which was having an issue. My thought being that with a logic board attached, it probably does all the logic. So with only the left hand ALS giving information, the computer was overreacting to low/no light.

I bought a replacement right side ALS <a href="http://www.macrecycling.com/right-ambient-light-sensor-pb-aluminum-15-15167-p-100772.html">from this place</a> for $15 and it cured the problem.

It was also mentioned in the thread that the options for controlling the automatic dimming had disappeared. This also cured that which leads credence to the theory that the logic is all in the right side ALS.

I hope this helps. Your post got me to the conclusion I was seeking.

-- Seth
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sinsun

 
Member Since: Oct 14, 2008
Location: Oslo, Norway
Posts: 3
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Mac Specs: PowerPC G4, 1.67 GHz, 1.5 GB RAM

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I have hardly ever felt more able to identify myself (or my mac's state...) to a problem description than this! Right to the last detail. I have for the last 6 months or so experienced the same problems: my PowerBook G4 from 2005 would suddenly go to sleep for no particular reason.
After reading the postings here, I tried first to remove left sensor, but that made my computer go to sleep whenever i restarted it and in all other situations i could not see anything on the screen - it turned black but still running.

When removing RIGHT sensor, it all worked perfectly well again: covering LEFT sensor does not make it go to sleep anymore. I don't have automatic dimming anymore, but I'll try to get myself a new RIGHT sensor and see if that solves that issue.

THANKS for helping out to solve the problem!
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jem914

 
Member Since: Sep 08, 2011
Posts: 1
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I have the same problem with my mac. How do I remove the light sensors?
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