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Why does my iBook power off mid-boot?

The device: 14" iBook G4

The immediate issue: As soon as the device starts to boot, it immediatedly powers off.

Exactly what happens:

  1. I plug it in and hit the power button. The fan comes on, it makes a noise and in a few seconds a grey screen with the sproket (?) comes up.
  2. The screen goes black again for a few seconds.
  3. The screen turns blue, these is a mouse cursor and then the Apple OS X logo comes up with a loading bar.
  4. The bar loads for approximately 1-3 seconds (roughly the 2-5% though it does not display numbers) and then the whole system powers off abruptly.

First startup: It did this once the first time I started it up, but has not done it since. The first time I powered up the computer something that looked like a Mac Command Line Interface ran for a few minutes. It was a black screen with lines of white text. I should have taken down exactly what it said, but didn't. I remember it had 'mDNS responder' 'will retry if fails in 60 seconds' and it tried to run something several times, which failed repeatedly. After 3-4 fails, it stopped. When I hit enter it asked me for a login.

Background: The device was given to me as not functioning by a friend. It had not been powered on in several years when I received it. He is notoriously quite rough on his possessions (it took me 20 minutes just to clean the grime off the outside of the device with alcohol and Q-tips). My friend is not a 'technology person' so his information about what was actually wrong with it was a little spotty. He mentioned the hard drive 'might' be bad and that he was having issues with the power cord and/or DC in plug. I bought a brand new power adapter/cord for it but the laptop does not seem to want to power up sometimes unless I fiddle with the cord a little. It also feels loose. In short, I'm expecting to possibly replace the DC in board and harddrive with the tutorials I found here.

Thanks in advance for any and all help. Please let me know if any additional information or pictures might help.

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Sounds like he may have set a master password (which you don't want to do). Try this: change the RAM configuration, take out one chip. Then boot the machine and zap the PRAM by holding down the p & R and option and command keys (apple). Hold till you hear it tone three times. Now see if it will boot. Did you get the original system installation disk?

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I do not have any software. I got the computer and the battery. That's it. I had to buy a power adapter.

I opened the machine. There was no RAM in the open slot. Ummm... Was there supposed to be some there? What looked like a couple pieces of RAM are soldered into the board below the empty slot.

I booted and held down the P R and Option keys as you suggested. The boot sequence was exactly the same, but when it got to the OS loading screen (where it usually dies) the bar appeared and then disappeared, displaying a blue screen with the sprocket/pinwheel. That disappeared and the screen I mentioned before appears. I have copied down most of the nonsense (to me) that it displayed.

What do you think?

Dec 31 19:01:12 launchd: exited with exit code 255

Dec 31 19:01:12 launchd: respawning too quickly! throttling

Dec 31 19:01:12 launchd: 5 more failures without living at least 60 seconds will cause job removal


Dec 31 19:01:12 launchd: 5 more failures without living at least 60 seconds will cause job removal

Dec 31 19:01:12 launchd: will restart in 10 seconds

Dec 31 19:01:22 mDNSResponder: ERROR: blind(listenfd, (struct sockaddr *) &laddr, sizeof(laddr)); failed Input/output error

Dec 31 19:01:22 mDNSResponder: ERROR udsserver_init: Bad file descriptor

Dec 31 19:01:22 mDNSResponder: Deamon start: udsserver_init failed

Darwin/BSD (william-woods-Computer.local) (console)



I typed a guess just to see what would happen and nothing in the 'password' prompt that came up after it. The black screen disappeared, replaced by the blue one with the sprocket/pinwheel for a second.

Then back to the black with Darwin/BSD (william-woods-Computer.local) (console) login:


Oh yes, and thanks for the speedy reply. I am home now so I will 'around' the rest of tonight.


The logic board only has 256 megs of RAM built in, with no RAM chip, you probably don't have enough to boot your system. I need the last three letters of your serial number to identify your exact machine and recommend the chip to get.


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