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Problems Installing OSX Lion/Mountain Lion on Mac Mini 2009

Posted on 2014-02-08
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Last Modified: 2014-02-21
Fault Description
Currently running OSX 10.6.8 with no problems. Tried to install Montain Lion. The Install program will do initial file install and restart. Computer will stall after restart at grey screen with Apple logo and turning gear.
(Note: Hitachi 1TB drive is 2 months old).

Actions Taken
1. Reset PRAM and SMC. Reinstall. Fail
.
2. Disk Uiltity - Repair Disk (no errors) / Fix Permisssions. Reinstall  Fail

3. Clean install - Reformat Disk. Install Snow Leopard from Disk and updated to 10.6.8. Reinstall. Fail.

4. Erase disk with Zero Our Data and install Fail

5. Mountain Lion Intsall placed on USB Drive. Tried to boot from USB Drive and from Mountain Lion installed on external drive. Fail.

The symptoms are always the same. Mountain Lion will stall when trying to restart the install or boot from external drive (and Lion for that matter). When startup was set to vebose mode. The process would stop at, and repeat the line
"Firewire (OHC1) Lucent ID 5901 Builtin No valid SelfID for more than 3min after bus reset"
A check of System Profile > Firewire reads
 “Warning:      Unable to list FireWire devices.”

6. In desperation I rang Apple Support who were not able to help but recommended I get a hardware diagnostic done (see attached).

The unit was taken to local Apple Centre for haodware diagnostics. This reported no errors.
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Question by:gimubili
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by:strung
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Are you sure it is a 2009 Mini? System requirements for Mountain Lion are Early 2009 Mini or newer.

http://support.apple.com/kb/ht5444

P.S. Was no attachment to your last post.
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by:strung
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This is going to sound crazy, but if you have anything plugged into your audio port, unplug it. In fact, unplug all external peripherals other than your USB drive:

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/1872178?threadID=1872178
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Author Comment

by:gimubili
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Thanks for your comments

a) Yes I am 100% sure it is a 2009 Mac Mini. It is Model No: A1283. According to MacTracker this was manufactured from October 2009 until June 2010. Mactracker also says it can take the latest OS. I think the unit was purchased in Jan 2010

b) I have already tried installing with no external devices attached.

c) I cut and pasted my diagnostic efforts from the report provided to the Apple Centre. My error, there are no attachments.
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by:strung
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When you say you couldn't boot from USB drive, do you mean an external hard drive or a flash drive? Any possibility of a faulty USB cable?
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by:strung
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I have seen a thread which suggests unplugging the power to the Mac for 10 minutes may fix this problem. Don't know why, but it is worth a try.
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Author Comment

by:gimubili
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For clarification (to not waste yours and my time),

My first Mac was a Mac 512 in 1985 and I have used them continuously ever since. I was an IT consultant for 10 years. It is not often I come across a problem I cannot resolve myself. I have spent many hours on this and I have already dredged the internet for possible solutions. I even asked Apple who could not provide an answer.

I am looking for an "expert" who knows more about the hardware side of Macs than I do.

Unplugging a Mac resets the SMC I think, and yes this has already been done.

I have tried booting from USB flash drives and hard drives… same results.

I have done my research on Apple and other Forums. This has been a waste of my time.
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by:strung
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There was a firmware update for your Mini that might not have appeared in Software Updates. Check to see if it is installed:

http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1237

Secondly, the Apple forums report that doing an SMC reset should fix the error message displayed in System Profiler  “Warning:      Unable to list FireWire devices.”.

The question is, does resetting the SMC clear this warning, only to have it reappear after you try to boot into Mountain Lion?

If resetting the SMC does not clear the warning, you may have a hardware problem. If it does clear it and it reappears after trying to install Mountain Lion, you have have a defective Mountain Lion installer. I would try downloading a fresh copy. Make sure you download it using the Mini in case there is something specific to the Mini that needs to be downloaded.
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by:Peter Loobuyck
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Another approach to check the hard drive is to attach a second disk and install the system onto that disk, then clone the disk to the internal drive.

You may also want to bless the new system. It is only then that it will be bootable:
http://help.bombich.com/kb/troubleshooting/what-makes-a-volume-bootable
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Author Comment

by:gimubili
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Sorry for absence

Thanks for suggestion of Firmware updates however my computer model is not on the list.

All other suggestion have either already been tried or do not account for what has been done. For example, installing Lion and Mountain Lion have the same symptoms therefore it is unlikely the problem is with the Monutain Lion version.

To recap:

a) I have Mac Mini A1283 (Late 2009) thast runs Sonw Leopard without problem. The only error I could find was in Apple Info -> Hardware reporting “Warning:      Unable to list FireWire devices.”

b) I cannot install Mion or Mountain Lion on it. clean or otherwise. Its stalls during startup at the point of checking Firewire.

c) I cannot boot the machine from any external drive running Lion or Mountain Lion (or install to them)

d) Resetting PRAM or SMC does not solve problem or clear Firewire error

e) Harware diagnostics run at an AppleCentre reports no problems

f) I have checked the Apple forums and any other forums I could find for this problem. I have not found any reference to it. I have tried all of their reasonable suggestions and many that amount to superstition (in desperation).

g) My tentative diagnosis already was an "undefined hardware problem". I was hoping the "Experts Exchange" could provide new information or a solution.
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LVL 53

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by:strung
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Isn't this firmware update for your model?

http://support.apple.com/kb/DL888
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by:Peter Loobuyck
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Are you sure you have no problems on the motherboard? Might be your firewire ports are just disabled one way or another. Then you surely get that error message.
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Author Comment

by:gimubili
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Thanks for your responses…

a) There were 2 versions of Model A1283 Early 2009 and Late 2009. The EFI update listed is for the Early 2009 model. To be sure I downloaded this update and tried it. It says it is not needed.

b) I am not sure that there are not motherboard problems and I said as much. I also clearly stated that hardware diagnostics run at the AppleCentre say that there are not.
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Accepted Solution

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gimubili earned 0 total points
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Hello

I have decided to end this question because it has not provided any new information and strategies. Most or all suggestions have already been tested before this question was put forward.

Thnakyou "strung" for your effort
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by:strung
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If you ever get to the bottom of this, please let us know.
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Author Closing Comment

by:gimubili
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All suggestions already been tested by me. No new information or solutions provided.
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by:serialband
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I can only guess that, although your Mac Mini is listed, it isn't actually supported.
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Author Comment

by:gimubili
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Sources such as Apple and MacTracker say that this not the case.

eBay has examples of this model with Moutain Lion installed.
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Expert Comment

by:serialband
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Well, yes.  You might just have the bad one of the model that doesn't work.  Or you have a hardware failure.
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Author Comment

by:gimubili
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Hello

As explained previously an undiagnosed hardware fault was already my current thinking. No-one was able to give any proof or disproof of this except to tell me things I already knew. This is why I closed the question.

Thanks
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