bibilit, thanks for your thoughts.
I was hoping that someone might have an easy answer without my having to put in the hard slog of working out what the problem is!
Initially, the keyboard would not respond to any keyboard input. Eg, it will not reject the CD by holding down the eject button, or holding down the F12 key or holding down the trackpad click button. It will not boot from CD/DVD by holding down the C key, nor will it enter target disk mode by holding down the T key nor will it enter verbose by holding down the shift key.
It was only after classic suggested entering open firmware that I was able to achieve this.
I've reset the NVRAM from open firmware - makes no difference, it still comes up with a flashing question mark. I've checked if it's seeing the HD by entering <devalias hd> and it returned the correct line - hd /pci@f4000000/@d/mac-io@7/ata-4@1f000/disk@0 so it's seeing the hard disk.
So it sees the HD but it won't boot from it, neither will it boot from DVD.
Holding down the alt key brings up two icons a roundish one and an arrow, but all I get is the old watch with the hands going round and it just stays like that.
I've checked and re-seated the RAM, I've tried with only one stick of RAM in the main slot, none of it makes any difference I still get the flashing question mark.
I'm now out of ideas apart from basically dismantling the laptop and checking all the connections.
Any more thoughts?
e2a I cant even get it to eject the System DVD from within open firmware by typing > eject cd, it just says cant OPEN the EJECT device!
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication...Steve Jobs