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Ask Max: G5 Shutting Down

Asked on 05/26/2006:

Jacob, I have a question maybe you can answer. My daughter has a G5 (1.8 ghz single processor). She has had it about 2 years. In the past few months it has been blacking out on the screen. It flickers a little then goes black. First I took in the Monitor (an Apple LCD) and the tech said it had a bad "card" -- he said there were two different cards in the screen, a smaller one for about $35 and a larger one for $200. He tested both a said it was the $200 card. It was replaced. Everything OK for about a week. Same problem starting happening. Then he said it's the video card. Even though these cards are expensive, he replaced it at no cost... still didn't solve the problem. Then he loaned me the Apple CD diagnostics tool for that specific G5 and I ran all the tests on it, including the fan tests where it activated all five zones and made sure the fans were working... it didn't find anything.

My daughter found, then, that when she would unplug the monitor from the back of the CPU and then plug it back in after a minute or two... problem solved. The screen wouldn't black out for a couple of hours. Every time the screen blacked out she would simply unplug it... wait and then plug it back in. I suggested she put a small fan in front of the G5 to help if it was not getting enough air flow... (there is plenty of air space in back of the computer)... this actually made the problem worse.

Now, I have been talking to the tech guy at the high school I teach at (I have a graphics lab with thirteen eMacs and do lots of digital work with my students) and he said he just fixed a neighbor's G5 with the exact same problem... He said it was a bad FAN on the Power Supply. Cost: $40.

He suggested to check the fan's operation. If it doesn't work... can I buy the correct replacement fan for the G5 Power Supply from you?

Also, he said it might be the Power Supply itself. Can I purchase one of those from you and how much?

Thanks for your time... my daughter is in her fifth year in college as a graphics and video major and can't afford to have her machine not working so we have hesitated to take it in anymore.


Before replace any more parts, have you run the Firmware update for your 1.8 G5?

It is found here.

You did not say if you had run this yet but this sounds like it could be related to the problems you are having with that G5. Firmware updates often will not be recommended through "Software Update" because if they fail it will break your computer. Unfortunately, due to this, a firmware update will be almost a hidden fix for big computer problems. A good troubleshooting tip is to search for Firmware updated in the download section when you are having these kinds of problems.

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