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Mac Thread, PowerPC G5 with dodgy USB ports in Technical; My PowerPC G5, which I have loved for about five years now, is not behaving properly. When I plug in ...
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    PowerPC G5 with dodgy USB ports

    My PowerPC G5, which I have loved for about five years now, is not behaving properly.

    When I plug in a FAT32 formatted USB memory stick (that works fine in Windows and Linux) it will not mount and show it on the desktop so I can access it. The stick shows up in the USB part of the System Profiler but not anywhere in Finder and not in Disk Utility.

    I've tried rebooting with the stick in and it still doesn't come up. I've tried resetting PRAM and SMU and PMU and SMT and BLT and anything else I've found reference to.

    I've noticed that after a restart the KB and mouse work fine but if I unplug the KB and plug it back in the devices will not be recognised. I've also noticed that if I plug an old stick in to the KB and restart, it is recognised. Another anomaly is that I can connect my camera via USB to download pictures. Even if I unmount it, it is recognised again upon reconnection.

    I've done lots of searching but to no avail so any help would be gratefully received.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Can you boot it with a OS install disk and then try the USB keys, the OS install environment with disk doctor etc should have USB support and if it behaves fine in that environment then it points to it being the OS rather than the hardware. In that case the easiest fix it to backup the documents and reinstall it fresh.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    Can you boot it with a OS install disk and then try the USB keys, the OS install environment with disk doctor etc
    Thanks for the quick reply.

    I dug out the original OS install disk but I couldn't work out how to access Finder to test mounting a USB stick. I've also had a search around for a live distro to boot from and can't seem to find something that does what I think I should be doing (i.e. like a live 'buntu distro on a PC but customised for the PowerPC architecture). I downloaded a demo disk doctor but that wanted to be installed on my HD as opposed to being burnt to a bootable medium.

    Can you give me a few more clues?

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    Quote Originally Posted by stickyfoot View Post
    like a live 'buntu distro on a PC but customised for the PowerPC architecture
    The following live CDs will work on PowerPC-based Mac's....

    Fedora v8.0: http://archive.fedoraproject.org/pub...es/8/Live/ppc/
    Ubuntu v9.10: http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ports/rele...op-powerpc.iso

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    The following live CDs will work on PowerPC-based Mac's....

    Fedora v8.0: Index of /pub/archive/fedora/linux/releases/8/Live/ppc
    Ubuntu v9.10: http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ports/rele...op-powerpc.iso
    Thanks for the links. I downloaded both in turn and could get neither to work which probably means I'm doing something wrong. The Ubuntu failed to burn a couple of times before I realised it was 715MB and therefore over the CD limit and requiring burning to a DVD. I popped the disc in and rebooted while holding down 'option' until I got the screen for choosing a boot drive. The CD came up but when I tried to boot from it the screen just reloaded for each disc.

    I also tried rebooting and holding down 'C'. The Fedora disc thought about it for a few seconds then rebooted to the primary drive. For the Ubuntu disc I got a grey screen and the fans gradually came on. The fans kept getting louder and louder until I thought it was going to explode so I turned it off.

    Any other ideas gratefully received.

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    Boot off the Original restore CD and then at the top go to the utilities menu and choose Disk utility.

    This should show all drives available on the system. But more importantly should give you the ability to check your OS start up disk for errors/failures. Whilst booted form your disc, verify and repair the permissions on the OS disk.

    Also, you could try creating a new user, in case there is a corrupt preference file that is causing the issue.

    Finally, you could try finding a USB PCI card that you could pop into your G5 to check if these are working as they should. This should tell you if there is a hardware issue with the original ports. You could buy one from PC World for this and then return it after your checks. It's what I would do. About the only thing they're good for

    PS they're great machine aren't they

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    HodgeHi has this right. The fact that the ports work with some devices hints that there's nothing physically wrong with them. If you boot from the original restore DVD and open Disk Utility from the menu, see if you can Mount the data stick in there. If you can't then the stick might be in a format the Mac can't handle, or be otherwise a bit iffy. If you can, then you should Verify and/or Repair the boot drive from within that Disk Utility. Repair Disk Permissions for it every couple of months as well. Creating a new user account is a great suggestion too. The keyboard should auto-mount so I reckon it's a permissions/preferences issue. You're not using a usb hub I take it? They can sometimes cause keyboards to fail to mount.

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    Thanks for all the advice - I appreciate the time you're taking to help me troubleshoot this annoying issue.

    see if you can Mount the data stick in there
    When booted from the primary drive I can see the USB stick in the system profiler but it doesn't show up in the Disk Utility. When booted from the original restore DVD it doesn't show up in Disk Utility either.

    the stick might be in a format the Mac can't handle
    It's just in FAT32 because I use it on Mac/Linux/Windows machines and I can't reformat it because it doesn't show up in Disk Utility (although it works perfectly on Linux/Windows machines).

    You're not using a usb hub I take it?
    I'm not using a hub.

    The keyboard should auto-mount so I reckon it's a permissions/preferences issue
    The KB does auto-mount on boot but if I unplug it then plug it back in it will not be recognised and I have to pull the plug to restart. I've also noticed that if I leave the USB stick in the back of the machine, it sometimes mounts on the desktop after a reboot but won't remount if it is pulled out.

    I tried using a USB stick I bought about four years ago. I plugged it in to the KB and it mounted fine. I then unplugged it and plugged it back in again with no issues. Unfortunately it's only 512KB instead of the shine new Kingston 4GB stick I'm having issues with. Is it possible that the old one is USB 1.1 or more backwardly compatible than the new one which is USB 2.0?

    Creating a new user account is a great suggestion too
    I'll try this although I have tried it on the administrator account instead of my own to no avail.

    check your OS start up disk for errors/failures
    I did that but it came up with no issues.

    try finding a USB PCI card that you could pop into your G5 to check if these are working as they should
    This is looking like my next option.
    Last edited by stickyfoot; 7th September 2010 at 08:48 PM.

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    I get this problem with various usb pen drives on my Intel Mac as well. It seems to be a particular problem with some of the newer Kingston 4GB drives, in particular, those coloured blue that "fold out". Doesn't happen on any other types. Can't mount it on the Mac which replies with a message that the drive is not readable, but it mounts fine on windows systems. You may not have an OS problem but rather its just the usb pen.

    Back up the pen data and try reformatting it - it's worked for me.

    Also, some pens using a compression utility which starts on insertion, this is windows based software and has the same effect that you have been noticing on the Mac.

    Hope that helps

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    Quote Originally Posted by stickyfoot View Post
    Thanks for all the advice - I appreciate the time you're taking to help me troubleshoot this annoying issue.



    When booted from the primary drive I can see the USB stick in the system profiler but it doesn't show up in the Disk Utility. When booted from the original restore DVD it doesn't show up in Disk Utility either.



    It's just in FAT32 because I use it on Mac/Linux/Windows machines and I can't reformat it because it doesn't show up in Disk Utility (although it works perfectly on Linux/Windows machines).



    I'm not using a hub.



    The KB does auto-mount on boot but if I unplug it then plug it back in it will not be recognised and I have to pull the plug to restart. I've also noticed that if I leave the USB stick in the back of the machine, it sometimes mounts on the desktop after a reboot but won't remount if it is pulled out.

    I tried using a USB stick I bought about four years ago. I plugged it in to the KB and it mounted fine. I then unplugged it and plugged it back in again with no issues. Unfortunately it's only 512KB instead of the shine new Kingston 4GB stick I'm having issues with. Is it possible that the old one is USB 1.1 or more backwardly compatible than the new one which is USB 2.0?



    I'll try this although I have tried it on the administrator account instead of my own to no avail.



    I did that but it came up with no issues.



    This is looking like my next option.
    Was the USB stick originally formatted using an Intel Mac or a PowerPC Mac..?

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    maybe it only can run intel based mac .not power pc mac.

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    It's very odd that the datastick appears in System Profiler but will not mount, and that does indicate a formatting problem. Formats on datasticks generally work on anything, but it could be buggy. System Profiler is a good way of telling whether the hardware is powering up properly and giving a connection. If Profiler correctly identifies the stick then it appears to be working. However, if the format is wrong or dodgy then the Mac cannot mount it. I think it's worth trying to reformat the stick on a different PC just in case, but the problem with the keyboard is making me suspect the usb bus in the Mac. So: see if you can format the stick on a different computer, as FAT32. Also see if a different keyboard works ok - Mac or Windows will do. If those things fail a USB card may be your best course of action.

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