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Old 10-29-2009, 03:01 PM   #1
Tullstone
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How to test for a failed logic board?

My computer cannot power an external firewire drive, will not boot from an internal drive, and delays an equal amount of time (20 minutes of gray screen) to boot from a cd or a usb external hard drive.

Before I have to buy a new laptop, how can I test that my logic board has failed?
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Old 10-29-2009, 04:23 PM   #2
trevor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tullstone
My computer cannot power an external firewire drive,

Cannot power it? Is this a FireWire drive that relies on bus power? Is it a 3.5" or a 2.5" drive? What brand and model? How do you know that power is the problem? Does the drive offer the option of an external power supply?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tullstone
will not boot from an internal drive

Exactly what bootable system is on this internal drive? What version of OS X? Exactly, precisely, and in great detail what computer are you trying to boot? From where did you install it? Are you sure that this installation could EVER boot this computer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tullstone
and delays an equal amount of time (20 minutes of gray screen) to boot from a cd or a usb external hard drive.

What appears in your logs when this happens?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tullstone
how can I test that my logic board has failed?

Possibly with the Apple Hardware Test disc. But it's difficult, because the logic board (what I prefer to call the motherboard) needs to work to a certain extent just to boot from the disc and run anything. To test for this, the problem needs to be pretty minor.

Trevor
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Old 10-29-2009, 05:20 PM   #3
DeltaMac
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Your Apple store has Apple's hardware diagnostics (known as Apple Service Diagnostics), which does a reasonable job of testing the logic board. Take back to the store, and have them run that test. You'll find that they can't just give (or sell) you that diagnostics software.
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Old 10-30-2009, 03:34 PM   #4
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Sorry I didnt provide enough details. This post is an extension of my last thread about volume structure damage. I am runnig a 10.4 black macbook from 2006.

Iam not sure which size of firewire drive the Genius used, but he told me that when plugged into a normal, healthy computer, the computer would add power to that external drive and attempt to boot from it. My computer was not supplying the drive with power through firewire.

This installation of the operating system on my hard drive has been running perfectly for three years. When the hard drive was removed however, it made no difference... my computer would not boot from an external firewire drive either, and did not boot from an external usbdrive until after sitting on a gray screen for 20 minutes. This gray screen would also stay for 20 minutes when trying to boot from any disk, or set the computer in target mode. I dont know how to see the logs on a computer that likely wont even respond to fsk commands.

I wonder how much a hardware diagnostics from a genius bar would cost. Ill have to look into that.

Bottom line, the comoputer behaves the same with or without my hard drive in my computer: Same period of time to boot from a disk, set in target mode, or usb external hard drive.


Are Apple Hardware Test Disks included in the software that came with the computer?
Thank you for your help.

Al
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Old 10-30-2009, 04:43 PM   #5
trevor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tullstone
Iam not sure which size of firewire drive the Genius used, but he told me that when plugged into a normal, healthy computer, the computer would add power to that external drive and attempt to boot from it. My computer was not supplying the drive with power through firewire.

It's quite true that the FireWire port supplies power to the FireWire bus. This is substantially more power than is supplied to the USB bus, so bus-powered FireWire drives have a higher chance of working than bus-powered USB drives. That said, it is still very common for bus-powered FireWire 3.5" drives to not have adequate power (usually but not always bus-powered 2.5" drives have adequate power), and I personally would never purchase any bus-powered drive of any type. Bus-powered drives are far more likely to blow your FireWire PHY than externally powered drives when hot-plugged, for example, and the reports are common of problems with bus-powered drives where the bus cannot adequately power the drive, or the drive becomes flaky on bus power.

Given the lack of substantiating information, I think that we can largely ignore what this genius told you about your FireWire port. On the other hand, if you find that you are having FireWire problems yourself, firsthand, feel free to reopen this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tullstone
This installation of the operating system on my hard drive has been running perfectly for three years. When the hard drive was removed however, it made no difference... my computer would not boot from an external firewire drive either, and did not boot from an external usbdrive until after sitting on a gray screen for 20 minutes. This gray screen would also stay for 20 minutes when trying to boot from any disk, or set the computer in target mode. I dont know how to see the logs on a computer that likely wont even respond to fsk commands.

With both computers switched off, connect your computer to another Mac using a FireWire cable. Turn on the other computer first and allow it to boot normally. Turn on your computer and immediately press and hold the 'T' key on your keyboard until you see a dancing FireWire logo. At this point, the hard drive on your computer should mount on the other computer's Desktop, and you will be able to navigate it from the other computer.

Now, using the Finder on the other computer, select "Go" > "Go to Folder" > type in
/Volumes/NameOfYourHardDrive/private/var/log
...where NameOfYourHardDrive is the name of the hard drive of YOUR computer (not the other computer). If you typed the entire path in correctly, you will have the Finder open up a folder with all of your logs in it.

I'd recommend looking at
system.log
first, although there are other logs that also might be interesting. You should be able to directly open those that are not gziped in any text editor, for example TextEdit. The ones that are gziped are older, and will have a .gz file extension on them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tullstone
I wonder how much a hardware diagnostics from a genius bar would cost. Ill have to look into that.

As far as I know, anything that the genius can do him-or-herself is free. If they have to send it to Apple, then there is a charge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tullstone
Bottom line, the comoputer behaves the same with or without my hard drive in my computer: Same period of time to boot from a disk, set in target mode, or usb external hard drive.

You haven't told us anything about FireWire Target Disk Mode yet, or at least if you have I've completely missed it. What happens there?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tullstone
Are Apple Hardware Test Disks included in the software that came with the computer?

The Apple Hardware Test is included ON the disc that came with your computer. Read the face of the disc for the special instructions on how to boot to AHT.

Trevor

Last edited by trevor; 10-30-2009 at 04:45 PM.
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Old 11-01-2009, 02:15 PM   #6
Tullstone
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I think its important that you know setting my computer in target disk mode takes the same amount of time, about 20 minutes of holding down the t key, as it does to boot from a disk or boot from a usb external hard drive. When set in taget disk mode, my computerls hard drive does not display in the finder, just as it doesn't display in the drive genius repair column, or the data rescue program. In fact, when using target disk mode to scan my hard drive's files from the other computer, the drive isn't visible.

I wonder if the other computer could detect a us hard drive used to boot my computer. Because this all started after my power adapter shorted out my computer, that's why I think its the logic board.
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Old 11-01-2009, 02:35 PM   #7
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OK, that's very odd. Can you either wait the 20 minutes to boot to FireWire Target Disk Mode to look at your logs, or else take your computer to an Apple Authorized Repair location, and ask them to run Apple Service Diagnostics?

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Old 11-01-2009, 03:55 PM   #8
Tullstone
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I woulnt doscount what he said about the forewire drive. I know that under normal conditions, a firewire dirve with no external power would still be receiving enough power.I witnessed the computer failing to supply enough power.
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Old 11-01-2009, 03:59 PM   #9
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I'll try and do the diagnostics. Because that same effect occurs regardless of thebooting method, without an internal hard drive, I hope that my data was spared and my hard drive is healthy. I want to convert my internal drive to an external drive and see if the other laptop can see it. That's my next step, because I need my data.
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Old 11-02-2009, 11:55 AM   #10
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I suggest just that. Replace your internal drive with a new one. Install OS X on that drive. You can pick up a universal PATA/SATA to USB bridge adapter for $15-25 that will allow you to attach your old drive via USB.

I've have the best results using DiskWarrior for recovering files. If the drive is severely damaged, DiskWarrior will take hours, but will likely succeed building a new directory, but won't be able to repair it. What it does do is let you mount the drive with the new directory and extract as much as you need from the problem drive.
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Old 11-08-2009, 09:40 AM   #11
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I converted my internal drive to an external drive and plugged it into another computer... no results. I tried to use drive genius to repair the volume from another computer with healthy hard ware... didnt show up. I guess ill have to try disk warrior.

I also tried to use the drive to boot my notebook, just like the genius was able to do with a healthy drive, and i got the folder with the question mark.

ugh!
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Old 11-08-2009, 09:42 AM   #12
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And trevor, i tried the target disk mode and my hard drive doesnt show up on the other computer if it is mounted in mine, or as an external hard drive. I mean, no computer sees that this drive has a vlume. What the hell?

Its not as if the drive is displaying but cant be opened or that i get a warning when i try to open some files. the drive doesnt even show up as a drive. I plug the external hard drive into the computer and literally nothing happens but spinning.

Is it even possible to look at logs if my hard drive doesnt display on the other computer?

Last edited by Tullstone; 11-08-2009 at 09:51 AM.
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Old 11-08-2009, 10:24 AM   #13
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If the hard drive has had a complete hardware failure, then software solutions like DiskWarrior and Drive Genius are not going to be able to help much. Software solutions are for when the data on the drive is corrupted, but everything still works fine.

Another possibility is that some other component in your computer, such as the cable that attaches to the hard drive, has failed. But since you've removed the hard drive from the computer and put it into an external case still to have failure to boot, that seems unlikely.

Have you tried a brand new hard drive inside the computer?

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Old 11-08-2009, 10:29 AM   #14
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No i havent yet. Im still trying to get the data off of this drive. It doesnt seem to have any hardware problems... I think the drive name has changed, tbut the capacity of the drive is correctly displayed, the make, model, and frequency are correctly displayed in disk genius. I just dont get it. The genius told me there didnt seem to be any hardware problems when he first looked at the drive. Im stumped.
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Old 11-08-2009, 10:38 AM   #15
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Despite what the genius said, at this point the evidence points strongly towards a hardware failure of the internal hard drive, and the fix is to replace it with a new one.

If you don't have a current backup, then the method to retrieve data off of the drive is to take it to a hard drive recovery house, for example DriveSavers: http://www.drivesaversdatarecovery.com/ . Recovery usually costs a significant amount of money.

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