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Author Topic: Is my computer about to blow up? *EXCITING new development*  (Read 11299 times)

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bittersweet

« on: August 20, 2009, 20:46 »
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Over the past few days my monitor has started to act crazy. It will jerk horizontally, suddenly widening and then narrowing the screen and then going back to normal. The frequency seems to be increasing today. Needless to say, it's kinda difficult to work.

The monitor is a probably 5 year old piece of crap NEC, and it's attached to a Mac G5 which is probably around the same age. I'm hoping that if one of them is going, it's the monitor. In a pinch I could still work on my laptop across the network. I'm on a hot deadline right now though, and I'm freaking out more than a little bit. I've been dragging an entire huge folder of my work over to my external HD several times a day but if the computer dies I will probably still lose a good chunk of work at the worst possible time.

Has anyone had an experience like this, and if so, what did it turn out to be? I've done some web searches but couldn't find anything more than a whole lot of diverse speculation.

Thanks in advance!
« Last Edit: August 24, 2009, 22:31 by whatalife »


wilddingo

    This user is banned.
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2009, 21:00 »
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I'm hoping that if one of them is going, it's the monitor.

Connect your monitor to your laptop and find out.

« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2009, 21:00 »
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I'd guess the video card but don't know for sure. I have a older G5 as well which drives my 30". I get a funny patterned screen once every couple of weeks. Only way out is to reboot. Then good again for a couple of weeks. I'd like to make due for another year until this economy turns a bit.

bittersweet

« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2009, 21:21 »
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I'm hoping that if one of them is going, it's the monitor.

Connect your monitor to your laptop and find out.

I was trying to avoid that because it involved crawling under my desk, but I finally did it and am attached now. So far it's only the light flickering from having the laptop so close to the other monitor... which suggests that it's the computer and not the monitor. ... which is not what I wanted to discover.

I'll keep working for a while though, just in case. :)

thanks

« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2009, 23:26 »
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my monitor used to do that last year.

the rest of the computer is still working (but i had to buy a new monitor).


bittersweet

« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2009, 00:05 »
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I worked for several hours with the monitor attached to the laptop and it never happened once. I gotta conclude that it is the G5. :( Is it possible that I'm missing something?

« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2009, 00:14 »
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Have you got a crash helmet? I should wear one when working, just to be safe.    ;D

« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2009, 02:29 »
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Not sure what the G5 is but does the G5 have on board or plug-in graphics card, if it is a plug-in card that would be one thing, just to check it is seated right in the socket.

Have you got a crash helmet? I should wear one when working, just to be safe.    ;D

It is a G5 not a Sinclair C5  ;D

David

« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2009, 03:46 »
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double post
« Last Edit: August 21, 2009, 03:49 by Clivia »

« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2009, 03:47 »
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It doesn't matter what it is, G5,  MI5 or whatever,if it blows up!
« Last Edit: August 21, 2009, 03:49 by Clivia »

« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2009, 03:56 »
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If you attached monitor to your laptop and it worked without problems than probably is your graphic card. Also, it could be just bad contact between your monitor and graphic card. Attach it again to the PC and see if it works properly now. I guess you have LCD monitor? I mean, if you have old type monitor with cathode ray tube, than those symptoms look like it's monitor problem.

bittersweet

« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2009, 05:06 »
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The monitor is a probably 5 year old piece of crap NEC, and it's attached to a Mac G5 which is probably around the same age.

Note explanation of "G5" in my first post. There will be no attaching the monitor to any PC around here. ;)

The monitor is a CRT, but if it was a monitor problem, would it not appear also when connected to the laptop (MacBook Pro)? Don't get me wrong, I'd love it if this was just a good excuse to upgrade my monitor, but it's not making sense to me at this point that it could be anything but a problem with the tower computer. The video card is the same one that came with it and as far as I can remember, I've increased RAM a couple of times, installed a Firewire card and an Airport card, but haven't ever installed a new graphics card.

Thanks very much to those trying to help. :)

« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2009, 05:25 »
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I had something similar a couple of years ago. It was the power supply to the monitor. The monitor would act oddly for a while, then turn itself off randomly. Have you ruled that out?

« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2009, 06:26 »
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If the problem disappears when you attach the monitor to the laptop, that means the problem is not in the monitor. The problem is most likely in your graphic card, or in the graphic card's connector. Did you try reinstalling graphic card's drivers? Uninstall those drivers and reinstall drivers again. Did you update your drivers lately? If you did it, than try to find some older driver that worked fine, and install it. Sometimes new drivers make problems. Check the output connector of your graphic card. Does it make some cracking noises when you try to move it by force? (don't use too much force). Try to attach the monitor to your MAC and while working try to move the cable of the monitor in every direction to see if cable is OK. If all I said doesn't make a difference, than maybe you should replace your graphic card :( ....which I hate to do because they are pretty expensive here.

« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2009, 06:54 »
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Oh, I see now you have CRT monitor, so it's with cathode ray tube...I asked it before because symptoms your monitor have looked like symptoms of a CRT monitor. When you are checking the cable between your MAC and the monitor, chack also the power cable for your monitor. The problem could be there. Try using another cable. Tell me if the problem persists.

« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2009, 07:35 »
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Go ahead and but a new monitor you may have to upgrade your video card anyway to match the resolution of your new monitor. ;D

bittersweet

« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2009, 09:51 »
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Go ahead and but a new monitor you may have to upgrade your video card anyway to match the resolution of your new monitor. ;D

As explained above, the problem does not appear to be with the monitor. ;)

I took the case off, blew out all the dust, reset the SMU, and zapped the PRAM. It is still doing it, but not as frequently. No idea what that means.

Assuming the monitor itself is fine, can anyone think of something else other than the video card that would cause this to occur? I'd like to narrow down the possibilities as much as possible. I really don't have time to deal with the geniuses right now if I can help it, but I don't want to waste money either.

« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2009, 10:14 »
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Well, chances are small that something other in your computer cause this problem. I think you will be sure only if try it with another graphic card. Can you buy one, and turn it back to the store if you are not satisfied?

bittersweet

« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2009, 10:34 »
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I will try to explore that option. Thanks, Whitechild!

« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2009, 10:47 »
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just by chance, does the graphic card have a little fan? is it working?

« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2009, 10:51 »
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You're welcome. I'd like to tell you that there is some magically fast method to solve this, but...
We are always in hurry when this things happen.

« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2009, 10:55 »
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just by chance, does the graphic card have a little fan? is it working?

It probably has a fan, but in case of overheating, symptoms would most likely be frozen image, or something like that...or system couldn't succeed to load.

wilddingo

    This user is banned.
« Reply #22 on: August 21, 2009, 11:33 »
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As explained above, the problem does not appear to be with the monitor. ;)

If it's not the monitor, then it must be the computer.

Dingo has found that the best way to determine whether a computer will blow up is to check if the computer is being carried by a suicide bomber. 

Have you verified this?

« Reply #23 on: August 21, 2009, 11:50 »
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Usually 5 years is about all youre going to get with out problems its all down hill now
My old computer and monitor is 7 years old.  I built a new computer and bought a new monitor for 500.00 bucks.


« Reply #24 on: August 21, 2009, 12:13 »
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I had a very similar issue with a CRT monitor about 3 years ago. It was only a month or so after I had had a new PC built so I suspected a problem with the graphics card and took it back to where I bought it. To my surprise (and considerable embarrassment) it turned out to be the lead between the PC and the monitor, specifically I think it was a dodgy connector. I'd suggest replacing the lead before anything else (hopefully you'll have a couple of spares somewhere).

There can't be many of us left still using CRT monitors! As it happens my LaCie 22blue died on me a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to get it repaired but the TV repair man wouldn't touch monitors and my computer man reckoned that no-one else would touch CRT monitors either. Fortunately I found another 22blue on eBay which I got for just $30 (it looks almost brand new) although it did mean a 400 mile round trip to collect it. When this one dies I guess it will be time to go LCD.

« Reply #25 on: August 21, 2009, 12:41 »
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have you done the Apple hardware test? Find the disc(s) that originally came with your computer, insert the disc (it will have something like AHT version 2.3 on it) and restart while holding down the C key to boot from the disc. If you have lots of RAM this test can take a while, maybe 45 min/gig of RAM, your fans will run really loud during this test.


Video cards for old G5s are hard to come by and expensive, often it is easier and better to get a new computer than to find a new card. You can find modded cards on ebay but they ain't cheap.

I would also replace the little internal battery that saves date and time info, often they can be found at Radioshack for 2 or 3 bucks.

Good luck!

« Reply #26 on: August 21, 2009, 15:30 »
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If you used the same cable to connect to your laptop as well, then it might be the output connector of the G5. You might want to check the pins on the connector to see if there is a loose or dirty one. Of course, as Whitechild said, it could be the cable from the graphics card to the output connector or the card itself. Cleaning all the contacts from the graphics card to the monitor might help.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #27 on: August 22, 2009, 03:59 »
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Over the past few days my monitor has started to act crazy. It will jerk horizontally, suddenly widening and then narrowing the screen and then going back to normal. The frequency seems to be increasing today. Needless to say, it's kinda difficult to work.

I had exactly that with an Iiyama monitor. I took it to the repairer who said it was a loose wire, but two repairs didn't seem to fix the trouble and I gave up on the monitor. Mind you, the computer more-or-less packed up not long afterwards, so I guess the jury is out. :-(

bittersweet

« Reply #28 on: August 24, 2009, 22:35 »
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Okay so here's the deal... I took the majority's advice and went ahead an ordered a new graphics card. It's nothing fancy, but I got a good deal on it at Other World Computing, and for $99 I figured what the heck. It's supposed to be here tomorrow morning. The monitor issues continued the same as what I described until about an hour ago.

The computer just shut down. The came back on. Then before it could fully power up, shut down again. Needless to say I was running full sprint across my office to kill the power strip because this is not a good thing for a computer to be doing.

So... now I'm hooked up to my laptop and coming to ask you tech geniuses... do you still think it is a video/graphics card problem?  :-[

« Reply #29 on: August 25, 2009, 04:52 »
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The computer just shut down. The came back on. Then before it could fully power up, shut down again

Sounds like power supply over heating  problem, shuts off when hot turns on when cool. Make sure your fan in the power supply is turning
if not that's you problem

lisafx

« Reply #30 on: August 25, 2009, 08:15 »
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Wow, this saga just keeps getting better (worse!).  You have my sympathies.  Computer problems drive me absolutely NUTS! 

Might be time to call in a pro.  Do you have any good computer repair shops in your area?  I know there aren't many around these days, with computers being considered disposable now, but a good "geek" is worth having on call.  :)

bittersweet

« Reply #31 on: August 25, 2009, 09:52 »
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The computer just shut down. The came back on. Then before it could fully power up, shut down again

Sounds like power supply over heating  problem, shuts off when hot turns on when cool. Make sure your fan in the power supply is turning
if not that's you problem


When I was initially trying to diagnose the problem, I installed a temperature monitor to rule out overheating. It wasn't.

So ... after I posted last night I disconnected my external Firewire drive and hooked it up to my laptop so that I can work and then went and dug out the Apple Hardware Test disk (as suggested above, and which was not an easy task since I haven't seen it in five years). I plugged the power cord back into the computer, ready to jerk it back out if it started going crazy... but it didn't. It started up fine and stayed that way. I was able to pull the remaining items off my computer that I needed for the job I'm working on (thank goodness!) and then restarted from the AHT disk. After a one hour and seven minute scan, it came back with the results that everything is fine.  ???

Actually, the AHT does not diagnose non-Apple hardware ... so I started thinking, what was different between when the computer was shutting down and when it started  up fine again? My new theory is that it is not the video card at all, but the PCI card that I installed 3 or 4 years ago for my Firewire drive. When the drive was connected, it was wreaking havoc and caused the shutdown, but once it was disconnected, the problems only manifested in the original issue of monitor weirdness. Is this even a possibility??

I could be completely off base of course, but that is my next project, to take out the PCI card and see if the monitor problems go away. But I can't do it for a couple of days because of my crazy deadline that I'm now behind on. I'm just grateful that I have a backup computer!!

And Lisa... there aren't too many Mac doctors around. Luckily this is the first time in my entire Mac life of 20+ years that I've ever felt the need to have one. I've always been able to troubleshoot and fix it on my own, though admittedly this is by far the worst thing I've ever dealt with. I'll do a bit more tinkering on my own before hauling it up to the geniuses. ;)

Thanks again to everyone who has been brainstorming trying to figure this out!! I really appreciate it.

« Reply #32 on: August 25, 2009, 16:28 »
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Now I think the problem is in power supply of your computer. Can you turn back the new graphic card you just bought? This kind of image disturbances are often connected with power supply (mostly the power supply of the monitor) but the fact that your computer turned off automatically tells me the problem is in power supply of the computer.)
« Last Edit: August 25, 2009, 16:43 by Whitechild »

« Reply #33 on: August 26, 2009, 11:59 »
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Have you checked on Apple's support forum? Some of the older G5 towers were shipped with crap power supplys, I think there is a recall for some.

Unplugging your comp when it is starting up probably isn't a good idea, try holding down the power button till it shuts down, neither option is a good one :-\

USB connections are tricky for the G5 as well, if you are running something kind of exotic(other than a mouse and keyboard) it could be causing problems, doubly so if the hardware comes with software.

you can also try unseating your pci cards, basically unplug them and put em back in. Make sure you ground yourself before messing around too much in there or you could fry some of your components, just touch the outside of the metal case.

Also replace the small battery that saves date and time, on the older model i think it is near the pci cards, the newer ones have it by the RAM.

Fun! ;)


 

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