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Power Computing PowerBase & PowerCenter Boot issues

macinbot

Well-known member
I've got a few Power Computing machines I need help troubleshooting.

None of them seem to want to boot. I get no start up chime or video output from any of the machines.

I have two PowerBase 180 machines and a PowerCenter 120. The PowerCenter has booted without issue in the past, but has been sitting for a couple years unused (climate controlled). The PowerBase machines I acquired without knowing their boot status. This is first time I've tried to revive them.

They all power on. All do a cursory power-on poll of the CD-ROM. On power up, PowerCenter will poll the hard drive. The PowerBase machines don't seem to do that, but that may be an IDE thing?

Things I have tried:
  • Reseating all the cards including processor card, PCI riser, cache, and ram
  • Pulling all ram and using known working ram from PowerMac 5400 (is there a preferred single ram slot?)
  • New 3.6v battery installed
  • Reset CUDA switch
  • Used both Apple Performa Plus 640x480 DB-15 display and VGA monitors
  • Cursory examination doesn't show any obvious signs of capacitor failure
What next?
 

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MJ313

Well-known member
These machines can have cache modules that go bad for whatever reason. Try removing the cache and booting without it; it's a relatively easy thing to rule out.
 

macinbot

Well-known member
The PowerCenter and one of the PowerBase machines had a cache module, the other PowerBase did not. Pulling the cache on the two machines made no change in starting up. I also swapped the cache into the other PowerBase just to rule that out, and it also made no difference.
 

macinbot

Well-known member
Tried using an replacement ATX power supply to see if that made any difference. It did not.

Very open to suggestions.
 

macinbot

Well-known member
Well hmmmmmm. These machines are outside of my interest vs investment ratio. I think its time to move them on to someone who has more drive to restore them.

Appreciate the reply.
 

_AP

Member
I'm having the same problem. I've tried a power computing monitor, and older dell LCD.

I've tried:
VGA/DB15->VGA
New PRAM battery.
Re-seating/cleaning contacts of cards, cpu, memory.
CUDA resets.
Original CPU and newer tech upgrade.
Removing cache card and trying different memory configs.
PRAM reset with keyboard.

I have tried these same things on:
2 PowerCenter Pro minitowers
1 PowerCenter Pro desktop
1 PowerTower Pro
1 PowerBase 180

No visible problems with capacitors. No corrosion anywhere. None of them have hard drives in them, but when I picked them up and tested them beforehand, most of them had drives in them had same results.
 

Unbounded_Villain

Active member
I'm having the same problem. I've tried a power computing monitor, and older dell LCD.

I've tried:
VGA/DB15->VGA
New PRAM battery.
Re-seating/cleaning contacts of cards, cpu, memory.
CUDA resets.
Original CPU and newer tech upgrade.
Removing cache card and trying different memory configs.
PRAM reset with keyboard.

I have tried these same things on:
2 PowerCenter Pro minitowers
1 PowerCenter Pro desktop
1 PowerTower Pro
1 PowerBase 180

No visible problems with capacitors. No corrosion anywhere. None of them have hard drives in them, but when I picked them up and tested them beforehand, most of them had drives in them had same results.

I had a PowerBase 180 back in the day and the PCI riser is early unseated.
 

_AP

Member
I finally got a couple working so far. The PRAM battery I was using was seemingly no good. I happened to see some reviews stating the EBL batteries had the correct voltage, but dropped to 0v when under load. Using a Saft battery I was able to get it to boot.
 

chikorita157

Well-known member
Seem to have boot issues with the PowerCenter I just got yesterday. It will make some noise, but not the chime when it powers on. It did the same when I turned on the machine that had no battery and when I insterted it.

After putting a new PRAM battery, I still don't get any chime or video and I'm running out of steps. I reseated the RAM, used a different PSU, installed a different processor card, but nothing seem to work. There is no cache card installed.

It was booting before the system got shipped to me, is it because of the PRAM battery I'm using, which is the Saft one? I have reset the PMU and it doesn't do anything. I haven't cleaned the contacts yet, but I can't think of anything else.

This is a Powercenter 150.
 

chikorita157

Well-known member
Never mind, I finally got it to boot, with the original Cpu. I need to reseat it, but it did boot afterward, but not with the G3. May be something with compatibility or the card not working (need to test it on a 9600 when I get that).

I probably will test the Buffalo G3 accelerator if those work when I get that from Japan.
 

_AP

Member
Never mind, I finally got it to boot, with the original Cpu. I need to reseat it, but it did boot afterward, but not with the G3. May be something with compatibility or the card not working (need to test it on a 9600 when I get that).

I probably will test the Buffalo G3 accelerator if those work when I get that from Japan.
What model upgrade card did you try?

I would clean contacts with isopropyl alcohol. I see you already got it working though. I noticed with mine that they all chime even with no PRAM.

Yours is just the regular PowerCenter? Yours might even work with G4. I have a newertech 400Mhz G4, but apparently G4 doesn't work with catalyst architecture.

Edit: I see you also have a catalyst model.
 

chikorita157

Well-known member
Also, depending on your budget and current vram, Here.

Regular ram I have been unable to find easily.
I’m running off a Ati Rage 128 from a Power Mac G3 B&W so I don’t need vram

I bought a stick of RAM, but it was expensive. Might need to find some at swap meets
 

chikorita157

Well-known member
What model upgrade card did you try?

I would clean contacts with isopropyl alcohol. I see you already got it working though. I noticed with mine that they all chime even with no PRAM.

Yours is just the regular PowerCenter? Yours might even work with G4. I have a newertech 400Mhz G4, but apparently G4 doesn't work with catalyst architecture.

Edit: I see you also have a catalyst model.
Interware Booster G3 333 Mhz, probably known as VImage VPower G3 333 MHz.

You think it’s worth cleaning the processor slot with Deoxit?
 

macuserman

Well-known member
Interware Booster G3 333 Mhz, probably known as VImage VPower G3 333 MHz.

You think it’s worth cleaning the processor slot with Deoxit?
These cards are real finicky a lot of bad ones out there. I've had some success scrubbing the pins with an eraser where they go into the processor slot. You may just have a bum card though, I've had quite a few esp the lower end interware cards. Other brands are a lot more likely to not be a bum, the buffalo card you mentioned also unless it was known to be working when you bought it is hit or miss.
 

_AP

Member
Interware Booster G3 333 Mhz, probably known as VImage VPower G3 333 MHz.

You think it’s worth cleaning the processor slot with Deoxit?
Well if this card ends up working, you should try BeOS. And let us know if it works. Their webpage only stated NewerTech and Railgun cards being compatible but who knows.

Also it would be good to know if your ATI card works with BeOS.
 

chikorita157

Well-known member
These cards are real finicky a lot of bad ones out there. I've had some success scrubbing the pins with an eraser where they go into the processor slot. You may just have a bum card though, I've had quite a few esp the lower end interware cards. Other brands are a lot more likely to not be a bum, the buffalo card you mentioned also unless it was known to be working when you bought it is hit or miss.
The Buffalo one I have, but not yet shipped (it’s sitting in storage in a proxy), which is a 366 MHz says that it’s working in the listing, so I may have better luck with that one.

I won’t be surprised if the Interware one doesn’t work, but I’ll try the eraser method as alcohol isn’t enough. I do have a 9600 i won from Goodwill to try it on, but that will need a bit more work to get running and I don’t know what the specs of it yet.
 

chikorita157

Well-known member
Also worth noting that Buffalo, who is a subsidiary of Melco, is still around. They also apparently made G4 accelerators for the Japanese market as well, but I haven’t seen any come up on Yahoo Auctions. So, there might be more of those sold compared to the Interware ones, maybe better built? The Buffalo G3 accelerator board seems to have way more going on than the Interware ones.

 
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