Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Mac Mini alive again

January wasn’t a great month for me and my 2 Macs, as I managed to get both of them to stop working. First of all, the backlight on my MacBook’s screen stopped working, which I managed to fix after about half an hour’s Googling. Then I found my Mac Mini was refusing to boot but alas was not able to fix it.
The good news is that I have now fixed it. The bad news is that I’m not entirely sure what it was I did that got it to work again. Essentially I took the lid off (easier said than done as it requires using a thin, flexible knife to prize the shell away from the base), poked at it, put the lid back on again and it booted up fine.
I say essentially because there was more to it than that. Because I was receiving the error ‘ALLOC-MEM request too big!’ from OpenFirmware while booting, I first assumed it to be a RAM error, so I took the RAM out and re-seated it, then booted the machine without putting the cover back on. That didn’t work, so I poked at the Bluetooth and Airport aerials to see if that made any difference – again nothing. So I put the lid back on and was about to concede defeat, but decided to see if putting the lid on had made any difference. And it had – the machine booted up, albeit slowly.
The computer is now running, although it does seem slow – that may just be because it always has been slow and I just haven’t used it recently. I haven’t yet restarted it so it may of course be a fluke, but right now all the programs on it seem to be working fine – no unexplained crashes and no grey screens of death as yet.
So if you have the dreaded ‘ALLOC-MEM request too big!’ error, trying taking your Mac apart and check if everything is seated correctly, and then try booting again. It may fix it. Of course, if it doesn’t, it may be indicative of bigger problems so don’t rule out a trip to the Genius Bar or a call to AppleCare.

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