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Caps weak somewhere in my 5300ce

3lectr1cPPC

Well-known member
So, I went to fire up my PowerBook 5300ce today and it wouldn't start. I took it apart and reseated the DC in board, RAM expansion card, and the hard drive but no dice. Totally dead without any speaker pops or sound of any kind. I left it plugged in for a while while I went to do something and then came back and tried to turn it on again, suspecting a weak cap somewhere. Sure enough, I heard a little pop when I pressed the power button. Then I hit CMD-CTRL-PWR to reset the machine and it chimed and instantly sprang to life. No instabilities, no issues after that. Strangely enough, after it started up the system folder quit booting on my drive, and I had to rescue it with a CF card in a PCMCIA adapter. Luckily I did have a backup on that card, but my boot folder of OS 8.1 wouldn't even mount my partition! I was able to initialize the drive and then it worked fine again... So, I left it unplugged for a while again after that and tried to start it again. During this time I also left the adapter unplugged as a test, and sure enough it wouldn't start. So I left it plugged in again and around 2-3 minutes later it automatically started up (both main and PRAM batteries are removed). This time things only got stranger. It starting booting off of my CF card again and it froze while getting to the desktop. So I reset with the key combo again and pulled the card out. Sad Mac. Full on chimes of death. I figured it was because I pulled the card out while it was accessing something on it so I reset again. Sad Mac. I pulled the plug and starting again, still sad mac! So, I put my card reader back in the PCMCIA slot and it started booting again but froze on the "Welcome to Mac OS" screen. Another reboot... Now it starts to boot again and freezes while loading extensions. I then tried to start with extensions off and got a bus error. Yikes.

So, in summary, something keeps corrupting any boot drive I have hooked up to the laptop. (The first time this happened I didn't have the CF drive attached), and my formerly stable PowerBook now has issues starting up. The obvious thing to look for is a bad cap somewhere on the DC board, or the power supply, so to check which is at fault I'm going to unplug the laptop for a while but leave the PSU plugged in to hopefully narrow down what component is causing the problem.

Also, what the heck keeps corrupting my boot drives? I was able to restart the thing multiple times after reformatting the HDD without any issues. It was only after losing power that this issue occurs.

Update: It appears to be the power supply. I still don't know what keeps corrupting my drives though.
 

3lectr1cPPC

Well-known member
Update 2: I have managed to get the PowerBook to start up again off of the CF card given enough time. It's running extremely slowly though, and I tried to format the HDD which once again came up as uninitialized, but it failed. It failed last time too, but I was able to restart it and then it worked the second time. This was a totally healthy 3.2GB Toshiba drive out of a Clamshell iBook, and it's only got around 6k hours on it. No bad sectors.

Update: I can't get the drive to format. I'll test it in another machine later.
 
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3lectr1cPPC

Well-known member
Just a final update: It was the Power Adapter! I've got a new one and all the issues have gone away. It boots right away now and my hard drive is once again working at expected. Now that I have two of these supplies I might bust the dead one open and try to recap it sometime next year. It's only a matter of time before the new one I just bought also kicks the bucket, these things are getting pretty darn unreliable these days. At least the laptop itself is still good. I'm praying I don't have to recap the DC board anytime soon...
 

badCaps

Well-known member
Thanks for the write up on this. I have a few 5300ce's and while I haven't had any power issues like these (yet) it's nice to know what to look out for. Glad you were able to get all the issues fixed!
 

3lectr1cPPC

Well-known member
No problem! I just like to get these issues documented for anyone is the future who has the same problem - that's why I do what I do.
 
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