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I am a Tech Provider-subcontractor who receives work orders for national consumer products warranty repairs on Computers, laptops, Servers, Printers, Point-of-Sale Kiosks electronics such as Digital Photo Printers, Credit Card Readers, Scanners, etc. For commercial and residential customers.

Usually, the work order instructions are pretty cut and clear, giving the product manufacturer and model numbers, as well as what the specific problem is and what is expected to resolve the problem. This time in the text field for model it said: "Unknown". Well, usually that is a challenge for me.

I don't want to go into great detail about this particular job that was routed to me.. accept to say it was a residential customer, an end user with an Apple iMac Panther 10.5.3. I do not know much about MACs. (Read that as, " I don't know anything about MACS")

And because of the vague language and work order notes for this project I didnt know it was a MAC til I arrived at the residence.

I will tell you,, this machine was an older model, I think 2001 or 2002,,,, and it was a beauty.. nice to look at... I think it is called Indingo,,, I was immediately fascinated with MACS ..love at first site.. because of the craftmanship, uniqueness and the technology put into the machine.

Anyway, the problem the customer had was with connectivity; could not connect to the internet.
And I, the service technician, was dispatched after phone support went through all the troubleshooting steps when there is a networking issue.

They actually just wanted me to go look at the machine, see what part was needed to correct the problem: nic card, new system board, router or modem, etc. And to supply or order the part myself and they would reimburse me. (The antennae should have went up then, lol)

I did the physical checks; cat5 cable, swapping it, putting it into my laptop to test connection, looking for damage, spills..etc., Network adapter properties, DHCP, driver, pinging,, the works... Diagnosis; most likely a hardware problem.

So, I called MAC support to inquire about part or parts to solve the issue.

Now this is what baffled me. No one could find parts for this model and year. ???????

I was on hold for so long and phone forwarded to different levels,,, I was beginning to wonder. I gave up and escalated the call back to my contractor. Little did I know that is why they dispatched me, because they could not find the part to make resolution to the problem. (I'm laughing here).

A couple of days later, they sent me an email note that they found parts and put them on order to be shipped to the customer's residence and a new work order ticket was made to install for later.

" Found the following part for this serial number per Apple Support: AirPort Card - Part# M7600LL/B and Support for optional 11-Mbps AirPort Card; IEEE 802.11 DSSS compliant "

So, I'm thinking,, hmmm.. when I looked at the Spec sheet for this model, I did not remember seeing anything about "AIRPORT" . I knew the customer did not have wireless. But not knowing about MACs,,, "what did I know'? Maybe it was Airport ready or Capable?

I didn't think about it any longer, because most likely some other tech would get the work order on the new ticket when the part arrived at the customer's residence.

Well, about a week later, this lady, the customer, calls me on the phone and said that the Tech Support called her and said those parts could not be ordered, were not available. She asked me what did it mean? Duh, I thought. Just that.
I told her I would find out if the machine had reached some sort of "non-support" stage or is obsolete. And another thing, she said there is no " replacement of equal value" for the machine. Something that was stated in the extended warranty language, I guess, when the machine could not be fixed, you get another one? So, is the machine THAT old? Obsolete? I cannot imagine that to be the case.

So, any help or information regarding this issue would be appreciated. Calling MAC TECHS, owners, etc.

Again the model is iMAC Panther 10.5.3 Indigo. Actually I was looking forward to opening that baby up after I looked at diagrams and photos of the inside.

p.s. I have been thinking about ownership and been reading all about Leopard.


Thanks in advance for any thoughts , advice, solutions.

One more Post Script: I did tell the customer that she can connect using USB jack on her DSL modem, into the MAC machine. So all is not lost.

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Last Post by Demolition
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I will tell you,, this machine was an older model, I think 2001 or 2002,,,, and it was a beauty.. nice to look at... I think it is called Indingo,,, I was immediately fascinated with MACS ..love at first site.. because of the craftmanship, uniqueness and the technology put into the machine.

Indigo iMacs are part of the "CRT iMac G3" family. There were several revisions made from mid-2000 until late-2001. To figure out which revision it is, you could have a look at this article at Apple's website and try to match up the features with the model.

For more in-depth info, you should run the app called "Apple System Profiler) on the iMac's hard drive. It will be in the "Utilities" folder. Apple System Profiler gives you all the information that you'd ever want to know about both the hardware (including the model number) and software on that particular Mac.

By the way, from what you said about Panther, the customer's iMac is running an older version of Mac OS X 10.3.x. You mentioned 10.5.3, but that hasn't been released, yet (OS X Leopard 10.5.2 is the latest version at the moment), so we can probably assume that it's running 10.3.5.

I did the physical checks; cat5 cable, swapping it, putting it into my laptop to test connection, looking for damage, spills..etc., Network adapter properties, DHCP, driver, pinging,, the works... Diagnosis; most likely a hardware problem.

So, I called MAC support to inquire about part or parts to solve the issue.

Now this is what baffled me. No one could find parts for this model and year. ???????

Yes, probably a hardware problem. Older iMacs sometimes had problems with their Ethernet ports. Nothing can be done to repair them, short of replacing the logic board. Once you figure out which revision of iMac she has, then you can order the correct part.

Apple won't be able to get the part for you because iMac G3s were officially obsoleted several years ago, and Apple stopped carrying repair parts. You'll probably have to find it at a third-party Apple service provider, such as DTT Service or someplace similar.

A couple of days later, they sent me an email note that they found parts and put them on order to be shipped to the customer's residence and a new work order ticket was made to install for later.

" Found the following part for this serial number per Apple Support: AirPort Card - Part# M7600LL/B and Support for optional 11-Mbps AirPort Card; IEEE 802.11 DSSS compliant "

So, I'm thinking,, hmmm.. when I looked at the Spec sheet for this model, I did not remember seeing anything about "AIRPORT" . I knew the customer did not have wireless. But not knowing about MACs,,, "what did I know'? Maybe it was Airport ready or Capable?

Yes, the iMac G3 is AirPort-capable but, as you're already surmised, adding an AirPort Card won't help if she doesn't have wireless internet access. So, I've got to say at this tme that the service people who suggested that are talking out of their asses.

As I mentioned above, the likeliest cause is a bad Ethernet port. You tested the wired connection and it worked okay, right? So, I'm thinking that the problem has to be at the point where the Cat5 cable enters the machine.

Well, about a week later, this lady, the customer, calls me on the phone and said that the Tech Support called her and said those parts could not be ordered, were not available. She asked me what did it mean? Duh, I thought. Just that.
I told her I would find out if the machine had reached some sort of "non-support" stage or is obsolete. And another thing, she said there is no " replacement of equal value" for the machine. Something that was stated in the extended warranty language, I guess, when the machine could not be fixed, you get another one? So, is the machine THAT old? Obsolete? I cannot imagine that to be the case.

Yup, her iMac was deemed obsolete (or possibly "vintage") by Apple a year or two ago. See this Apple support article for more info about that. Having said that, her iMac probably still works fine for her needs, especially if all she's doing is surfing the web, writing e-mails, etc. Back in the day, it was said that the useful life of a Mac was usually twice as long as a Windows PC. This is still reflected in the fact that Macs hold their value much longer than Windows PCs. Just check out eBay to see that in action.

By the way, the AirPort card and other related repair parts were discontinued in 2004. Trying to find one now is costly. They retailed for $99 when new. Nowadays, used cards are fetching $70 on eBay and refurbished ones are being sold for as much as $250 (a search on Google turned up that one!). The average price for a refurb seems to be around the $130-140 mark. That's just insane, but it shows the popularity of these cards even now.

Again the model is iMAC Panther 10.5.3 Indigo. Actually I was looking forward to opening that baby up after I looked at diagrams and photos of the inside.

I know that I probably don't have to say this to you, since you're a repair tech, but it might be useful for the amateurs out there... If you open up an old iMac, then the CRT might have to be discharged before you work inside it. If it discharges into you, it might cause a big scare, but probably not enough to kill you. [Note: I disclaim any responsibility if you touch it anyway and fry yourself]. On the other hand, beware of the low voltage PS. It has capacitors that could still be fully charged (somewhere around the 150-200V range) that are big enough to cause your heart to defibrillate.

p.s. I have been thinking about ownership and been reading all about Leopard.

I think that you'd enjoy using a new Mac. OS X 10.5 Leopard is a phenomenal OS. I bought my parents a new iMac (2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, 20" LCD, 250 GB hard drive, etc.) for their wedding anniversary and they are having a blast with it. Now I'm tempted to buy one for myself!

One more Post Script: I did tell the customer that she can connect using USB jack on her DSL modem, into the MAC machine. So all is not lost.

Sometimes a dead Ethernet port is just the start of a series of cascading failures. Her machine will slowly, but surely, break down further. By that time, she might be in the market for a new iMac, though. No use throwing money at a hopelessly obsolete machine, I figure.

But, if she really wants to stay with that vintage of iMac, then she'd be better off buying another (used) one. I've seen them on my local Craigslist for as little as $25.

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FINALLY an answer!!! You have no idea how thrilled I am to hear from you Demolition!! THANK YOU!!

Now, I have the answer to what I suspected all along, this iMac machine is most likely obsolete and no longer being supported.

Why, why, why couldn't someone from APPLE customer service or elsewhere give out that information?

Furthermore, I do believe this iMac user is due a refund of their SOLICITED, extended warranty. Umhummm, yes, I think there is a year left on a 2yr plan. Do the math as to when support ended.

Eitherway,, your response and your knowledge is so greatly appreciated. I am passing on the information to the user so that she can make a decision about replacement.

I doubt seriously whether she will be purchasing a used Panther 10.3.5 (yes, the 10.5.3 was an error) . However, I may just try to find one to purchase for myself. We shall see...

Again, THANK YOU!!

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