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#1 2016-02-22 05:34:58

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Registered: 2015-12-09
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9150/120 weirdness

Tonight I set to work trying to get a 9150/120 fired up so I can build a Pro Tools DAW with it.  This system had been working years ago for another purpose but ended up raided for parts and put in storage.

  When I first hooked it up it would turn on via the key-switch or the keyboard power button, but there would be no chime and no video.  I stripped it down to the bare essentials - fresh PRAM battery, ROM SIMM, PDS terminator, no cache SIMM, no floppy, no SCSI and no extra RAM.  Still the same result, even after triple PRAM reset.  In desperation I went digging around and found a box with a bunch of Mac RAM, cache SIMMS, and for no reason I can remember a whole bunch of loose Power Mac ROM SIMMs.  I put in one of the other ROMs and now the system would make the chime, but still no video.  I tried all the other ROMs (except the one that was marked "Power Computing") and saw no difference to this new behavior.  Next I put back the ROM I started with and, MAGIC! - got video and the flashing disk icon!

  I don't know what the hell had been wrong but at least this was progress.  Next I tried an OS 9.1 boot drive.  It goes ahead and shows the 'happy mac' for a few seconds and then bombs with a 'sad mac'.  An 8.6 and an 8.1 drive did exactly the same thing.  Even connected to a Jackhammer card the result is the same, so at least I know it's not the SCSI bus or termination.  I'm fairly certain at least two of these drives previously booted this machine years ago (or its 9150/80 brother) and that they were universal installations.

  Now I'm afraid that somehow the ROM SIMM is not the correct original one and got mixed up with another computer.  I'm not sure how I'm supposed to tell them apart because they all have the same Apple part number.  At least trial and error showed that the one in it now is probably right, but I can't be sure.  The sad mac error code is 0F, 69 - Does anyone know what that means?

  Next I'm going to move on to trying to boot an installer CD.  If that works then I know I have to do a fresh install natively on this machine.

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#2 2016-02-22 06:01:20

volvo242gt
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From: Duvall, WA
Registered: 2014-05-22
Posts: 406
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Re: 9150/120 weirdness

Probably the System 7.5.3 disc would work best...  That said, it might even boot off of the 7.5 floppy set...

Interesting.  Seems the 9150 uses the original PowerMac ROMs, the ones for the 6100/60, 7100/66, and 8100/80.  Everymac seems to be reporting that it'll run 7.1.2, whereas its contemporaries, the 6100/66, 7100/80, 8100/100, etc, all have to run 7.5.  Are there any electrolytic caps on the motherboard?  Might be worth cleaning the area around the caps, and see if it works better.  If it does, then it's time to send the board to Charles.

-J


68K: Q650 48/1.2G/CD
modern: Mac Pro 2.8GHz 8-core 6GB/500G/DVD-RW, A1150 MBP 2GHz CD, 2GB/80G/DVD-RW
Pre-Mac: ][+, //e
other: iPhone 6s 128GB Space Gray

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#3 2016-02-22 16:49:49

ClassicHasClass
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From: Electron Alley
Registered: 2014-05-26
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Re: 9150/120 weirdness

All of the 601-based NuBus Power Macs can boot 7.1.2. But it should boot fine from any subsequent OS CD. My 9150 runs 7.6.

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#4 2016-02-22 23:09:25

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Re: 9150/120 weirdness

The 9150/80 I also have happily ran 8.6 in an everyday work environment for over a year, and also had another drive with 9.1 on it for maintenance and for any software that required it.  The 9150/120 I'm sorting out right now was acquired later and didn't do much before being stored, but it should be just as happy with 7.5 through 9.1, or even 9.2.2 with the nubus support hack.  The board is super-clean and everything looks to be in order.  I'm going to throw some CDs at it and see if I can at least complete a boot.  If that works then I'll attempt a fresh install.  My preferred OS for it from experience would be 8.6.

  Going back to one of my earlier questions - How are you supposed to distinguish Power Mac ROM SIMMs from each other?  All of the substitute ROMs I tried have the same Apple part number but don't appear to have any other identifying marks.  While they did SOMETHING to restore the PRAM, they otherwise would not get as far as video.  I still don't know why I have all these loose ROM SIMMs.  There's no way they all came from 9150s.

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#5 2016-02-23 00:46:14

ClassicHasClass
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From: Electron Alley
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Posts: 1,085
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Re: 9150/120 weirdness

I think you'd have to do it by PN#. I don't have my 9150 handy at the moment, but I'll try to get the number off it when I get into it next if someone doesn't beat me to it.

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#6 2016-02-23 02:15:49

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Re: 9150/120 weirdness

I found the original invoice for the box of SIMMs, so that collection is somewhat explained.  It was a completely random mix of similar-vintage stuff from eBay, mostly 72-pin and 30-pin RAM, plus the ROMs.

  Okay, so I had a forehead-slapping moment - I guess everyone's allowed at least one.  The fact I was trying to boot OS versions later than 7.5 ran directly into conflict with the fact I'd pulled the expansion RAM - the minimum requirement was no-longer met by the 8MB permanently on-board.  Re-installing the additional RAM I'd pulled solved the boot problem.  Now its booting everything including a 9.1 drive.  I've filled-out the RAM complement to 264MB, just because I can, and the Newertech G3/300/1MB is working along with an HPV PDS video card.  It is also booting from the Jackhammer SCSI card.

  Now I'll locate a drive I can fresh-install 8.6 to.  Then I'm moving on the intended task of hooking up a Digidesign nubus expansion chassis with Pro Tools cards and installing all the additional software.

  One thing I discovered during my research about the 9150 is that the /80 and /120 have different minimum OS requirements.  The /80 will work with 7.1.2, but the /120 needs 7.5.  The relative positions of the cache and ROM SIMMs are reversed between them also.  Oddly, the service manual says the /120 is supposed to have 16MB of RAM soldered, but mine counts 8MB, and it has the /120 name silk-screened on the board.  Additionally, there is a note in the service manual about a SCSI controller issue that applies only to the /80:

"System hangs, I/O errors, or "mirrors out of sync" errors resulting from SCSI Bus-intensive activity."  Resolution - "Replace the logic board with part number 661-0993.  (Note: This problem occurs only on the 80 MHz version of the WS 9150 and only during periods of heavy SCSI Bus activity (for example, when using backup programs or disk arrays)."

  I've always been wary of first-revision models because of weird issues that didn't always get documented well or couldn't be remedied without a replacement.  The Rev.1 B&W g3 is a well-known example of another drive controller issue that was fixed in the second revision motherboard.

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#7 2016-02-23 04:59:21

volvo242gt
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From: Duvall, WA
Registered: 2014-05-22
Posts: 406
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Re: 9150/120 weirdness

ClassicHasClass wrote:

All of the 601-based NuBus Power Macs can boot 7.1.2. But it should boot fine from any subsequent OS CD. My 9150 runs 7.6.

Some don't.  Namely the ones introduced after 7.5 was introduced.  Mainly because the enabler required for 7.1.2 witn the PowerPC machines didn't have the correct gestalt IDs for the 6100/66, 7100/80, and the 8100/100.  Even the 8100/110 requires 7.5.  Yet, the 9150 seems to be able to run the older OS.  That said, looks like LEM says only the 9150/80 can run 7.1.2.  The 9150/120 is like the 8100/100 and 110.

-J


68K: Q650 48/1.2G/CD
modern: Mac Pro 2.8GHz 8-core 6GB/500G/DVD-RW, A1150 MBP 2GHz CD, 2GB/80G/DVD-RW
Pre-Mac: ][+, //e
other: iPhone 6s 128GB Space Gray

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#8 2016-02-23 18:07:31

macuserman
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Registered: 2016-02-11
Posts: 11

Re: 9150/120 weirdness

Good stuff here, you've inspired me to take a crack at sorting out mine. I just ordered a DB15 to VGA adapter so I can see where things stand. I might have to pick your brain when it comes in.

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#9 2016-02-28 14:30:50

macuserman
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Registered: 2016-02-11
Posts: 11

Re: 9150/120 weirdness

Do you mind sharing what rom number you found to work/be correct? Mine chimes and turns on but then doesn't display any video and when I try to do command+option+p+r it doesn't reboot or chime a second time. I'm starting to wonder if my rom is bad too.

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#10 2016-02-29 03:56:54

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Re: 9150/120 weirdness

I just checked that original working ROM again.  It has Apple part number 341-0741, although that was the same on all the other ROMs I'd inserted during the testing.  Within System Profiler the ROM version is indicated to be $77D.25F1, and Machine ID is 57.  To be completely clear, this is the ROM I started with that didn't work initially, but now does.  Voodoo, I tell ya!

  I slightly mixed up the sequence of testing in my earlier write-up.  Your machine is doing exactly what mine was initially - mine wouldn't reset PRAM either.  It was only after it sorted itself out and got to the video stage that I could do that.  I ended up resetting the PRAM at that point because of my oversight with not re-installing the expansion RAM versus OS version being booted.  At least you're getting the chime at all, because I wasn't until the first substitute ROM was inserted.

  Whatever the problem was with mine must have been related to corruption of the lowest level of the PRAM, something that isn't always easy to completely reset.  If you have any other ROMs that fit the slot then you might as well try temporarily inserting one or more of them and then switching back to the original one, as I did.  It's entirely possible that a slightly different ROM caused a full reset of all levels of the PRAM in my machine, clearing the broken part of the initialization sequence.

  The only other thing I can suggest is to pull the PRAM battery, drain the power supply by unplugging it and turning the power switch to the start-up position, then leaving the computer to sit for at least ten minutes.  There should be no remnant information stored by that point on any chip on the motherboard, and all capacitors should have been drained by this sequence too.

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#11 2016-02-29 16:14:41

macuserman
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Registered: 2016-02-11
Posts: 11

Re: 9150/120 weirdness

Thanks for the reply, here is where I am now. I tore everything out and started over from scratch and narrowed it down to whenever the cache is installed I get no video and it doesn't try to read the installation media. As soon as I remove it everything is fine, with the exception of one quirk, and perhaps that is my lack of understanding, but sometimes when I turn it on after it chimes i still won't get video, but if I press the bottom of the two buttons on the front it will re-chime and this time it works perfect with video. I can't remember what the buttons are supposed to do anymore so that may be my fault. Top button makes the nasty car crashing noise if you press it, I was just trying all the buttons in my efforts to get things going since I couldn't remember what they did.

The cache chip I have is a 1mb cache I've never had one go bad before, but I suppose they can just like anything else. How much of a handicap is it that I can't run it with the cache I wonder....

Last edited by macuserman (2016-02-29 16:15:43)

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#12 2016-02-29 18:56:35

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Registered: 2015-12-09
Posts: 100

Re: 9150/120 weirdness

Nice progress!  That 1MB cache should be the original part issued with your system, so speed rating of the chips shouldn't be an issue.  It is entirely possible one chip on the SIMM has a bad block in it somewhere.  You could even try switching the relative placement of the ROM and cache SIMMS to see if there's some kind of weird bus timing or termination issue.  Speaking of termination, do you have a PDS terminator installed?  This is considered a necessity if your system has no upgrade card occupying the PDS slot.

  The top button should be the Programmers' Interrupt and the bottom would be Reset.  During certain OS freezes I have to press Reset to get the system to shut down because the key alone in the off position sometimes won't do it.

  Running without any cache is noticeably sluggish, although you wouldn't need it at all if you were running with an accelerator.  Personally, I'm not interested in doing serious work on nubus PPC machines without an accelerator and at minimum a 4MB HPV PDS video card on pass-through to get a practical screen resolution.  Once you've had those you'd be loath to go back.  If you're not going to be working extensively with audio, as I am, or video or graphics editing then you may not care.  You could try to track down a 256k or 512k cache instead since these would have been far more common than the 1MB issued with the 9150/120.

  If you do go for an accelerator, avoid the Sonnet G3/400 and 500MHz units because the bus-doubling inside them tends to cause all sorts of hell with certain software and hardware (or in my case, just about everything I tried with the 500).  The Newertech G3/300MHz or Sonnet G4/360MHz are the maximum to avoid those problems.  Just be certain to get one with the video pass-through cable included.  I've used both of them extensively.

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#13 2016-02-29 20:02:00

macuserman
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Registered: 2016-02-11
Posts: 11

Re: 9150/120 weirdness

I'll have to root around in my stuff and see if I can find any cache SIMMs, so you are saying that the ROM and CACHE slots are interchangeable? I never knew that.

I do have a PDS terminator installed, and I'm sure I have a PDS video card around somewhere.


I'm not overly concerned with the performance, since my main focus is my PowerTower Pro project which I plan to use for running most things since it is compatible with 7.5-10.4 I should be able to run any software I want. I'm mainly working on this computer because you inspired me and I've owned it since 2004 and never seen it boot to a desktop until this week. So that's pretty exciting. Accelerator cards for the nubus based macs seem to be super rare, I used to have one in my 8100/110, but that is long gone I wish I still had it, it was my favorite Power Mac.

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#14 2016-03-02 07:40:23

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Registered: 2015-12-09
Posts: 100

Re: 9150/120 weirdness

The two slots are supposed to be directly wired through in parallel.  The order of installation changed between the two motherboard revisions, possibly because it improved stability.  All I'm saying is it shouldn't hurt anything to reverse them as an experiment.  The keying of the slots is identical.

  One of these days I may give up my Newertech 210MHz.  I still haven't decided because it has the soldered-on integral video pass-through, whereas #2 and #3 of my 300Mhz ones are missing the removable cable that became part of the later version.  I'll be sure to offer this stuff to you guys here if I choose to let go of anything in my stash.

  I'm afraid I personally may have contributed to the accelerator 'shortage'.  The bulk of my collecting occurred years ago when the eBay market for machines and parts of this vintage was more plentiful.  I also had very little prospect of affording any later hardware at the time, so I just went nuts on the nubus stuff.  Feel free to call me a hog, but here is the entire list (as best I can determine) of my nubus PowerPC PDS stuff:

Sonnet:
3 - G3/233 (Does not support PDS video in pass-through slot.)
1 - G3/250 (Does not support PDS video in pass-through slot.)
1 - G3/266 (Does not support PDS video in pass-through slot.)
1 - G3/??? (Not working, likely 2nd revision 266, chip on-board is actually 220 running overclocked - probably why it's dead.)
1 - G3/500
1 - G4/360
2 - flexible video pass-through cable
1 - hard PCB angle adapter - never seen this documented and don't know what it's for.  It's too short in height for a 6100.
3 - video card carrier board

Newertech:
2 - G3/210 low-profile for 6100 (Heatsink hits ROM, probably need to pull cache and move ROM to the right.  Video pass-through is sketchy.)
3 - G3/240 low-profile for 6100 (Heatsink hits ROM, probably need to pull cache and move ROM to the right.  HPV video card seems to work.)
1 - G3/210 with soldered video pass-through cable
1 - G3/240 with soldered video pass-through cable
1 - G3/266 with soldered video pass-through cable
3 - G3/300 - the video pass-through cable is removable on this model - I only have one cable.
2 - video card carrier board

Apple:
3 - AV video card
3 - 2MB HPV video card
3 - 4MB HPV video card
2 - PDS angle adapter with bracket
1 - Nubus angle adapter with bracket
1 - PDS-to-040-PDS angle adapter with bracket and DOS Compatibility Card (This one has a Cyrix DX2/66 chip.)

Power Computing:
1 - 4MB HPV video card with switchable VGA and DB-15 connectors (VGA connector does not require monitor sense pins.)

Nubus Power Macs I own:
6150/66
8150/110
9150/80
9150/120
Radius 81/110
Avid AMP (Rack-mount case, 8100/100 motherboard with Avid custom 4-slot expander bridged off last slot.)

  Most of the slower accelerators came in a bulk lot, which is why I have them at all.  Despite having all this stuff already, I'm still very interested in tracking down a non-Fortissimo Sonnet G3/400 and a Newertech G3/400.  I want to see if either of these functions without all the horrible incompatibilities of the Fortissimo-based Sonnet 400 and 500 units.  I also have mild interest in one of those weird Power Computing models with PCI and nubus slots together.  I have a feeling though that what I would like to run on nubus will fail in that machine in the same way it did in a PCI-to-Nubus Second Wave expansion chassis setup due to the way a particular software package determines what version of its companion hardware is present.  Still curious though because a hybrid system is just so wacky and novel.

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