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Diagnostics

Getting Started
Welcome to the Diagnostics course. In this course you will be introduced to Apple Hardware Test, Apple
Service Toolkit, Apple Service Diagnostic and Bluetooth Service Diagnostic tools and how they can be used
effectively in troubleshooting and servicing Mac computers.

Target Audience
This course is intended for technicians who support and service Apple products.

Prerequisite Courses
Basic Computer Terminology
Underlying Technologies
References

Time Required
90 minutes

Required Materials and Equipment


If you do not work at an Apple-Authorized service facility:
Access to a functioning Mac running Mac OS X version 10.4.11 or later, with administrative login
access.
Access to a network that provides Internet access.
Access to an external USB 2.0 hard disk with at least 8 GB or larger capacity, with appropriate USB
cable to connect to a Mac
If you are a technician working at Apple-Authorized service facility:
A Mac computer on which to run diagnostics and the matching Diagnostic. The Mac must be capable
of running Apple Service Diagnostic. To check capability: from Service Source, click the product
family name in the Product Browser list, then click on the specific model name. The Service
Diagnostic download matched specifically to your computer will be listed in the center of the page.
Copy this to your USB hard disk.
Disc image of Apple Service Diagnostic
If you are studying this material via AppleCare Technician Training, you do not need to access Apple Service
Diagnostic.

Course Objectives
Given an Apple Mac computer or device and a stated issue, use the correct Apple diagnostics to
accurately isolate the issue in 3 minutes.
Given a Mac computer, use service and software diagnostic tools to identify an educational opportunity
in 2 minutes.
Given a Mac computer, use software diagnostic tools to correctly isolate an issue in 2 minutes.
Given a Mac computer, use service diagnostic tools to correctly isolate an issue in 2 minutes.
Given a set of instructions and an external drive, configure a known-good diagnostic drive with install
and startup volumes in 25 minutes.
Given a set of instruction and specified equipment, configure a centralized diagnostic system in 25
minutes.
Use hardware service diagnostics to thoroughly verify that a given hardware service repair was
completed correctly in 5 minutes.
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Next: Important Terms

Important Terms and Concepts


Important Terms and Concepts

Important Terms and Concepts


Here are some important terms and concepts associated with Apple diagnostics:

ASD EFI

Apple Service Diagnostic (EFI) runs low-level tests of the computer's hardware directly
and does not require an operating system to run. Running diagnostics within the EFI
environment does have limitations: EFI cannot access and test certain hardware
components that require OS-level drivers to communicate. This is why there is also an
OS version of ASD to run the remaining diagnostic tests that require OS support.

ASD OS

Apple Service Diagnostic (OS) uses Mac OS X to run tests of the parts of the
computer's hardware that EFI tests cannot access. A minimal Mac OS X system is
therefore present to start up the computer and support these tests.

EFI

Extensible Firmware Interface, created by Intel and licensed for use by Apple in Intelbased Mac desktops and portables. EFI represents the interface between Mac OS X and
its BootROM firmware in Intel-based Mac computers, and is roughly analogous to
(although much more advanced than) the 'BIOS' in Windows PCs. Open Firmware was
the interface between Mac OS and its BootROM firmware in PowerPC Mac computers.
EFI is a useful architecture within which to run diagnostics, because no operating
system is required to do so. This means that any failures reported by the diagnostic

could not be caused by any OS issues, and are therefore more reliable indicators of
actual hardware issues.

Disk Image

A disk image file (file extension .dmg) is a file that contains other files and folders.
Disk images are convenient 'containers' that can be used to move files intact from one
computer to another, send them to other people in email, burn the image on a CD or
DVD disc as a backup copy, or restored onto a hard disk.
Bootable diagnostics such as ASD are delivered as disk image files that can be
downloaded, burned / restored and used by certified service technicians.

Restore

The process of reliably copying an entire disk image back to a hard disk partition, using
Disk Utility in Mac OS X. ASD 3S119 and later versions requires its two disk images
to be restored onto a partitioned USB hard disk.
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Next: Course Exercise

Course Exercise
Open this page separately and keep it open while you review the course.
When you finish reviewing a section of the course, complete the exercise for that section before continuing.
In some cases, you will need to use links from this page to locate answers.

Apple Hardware Test


Exercise
In this exercise you will review Knowledge Base articles that pertain to Apple Hardware Test and answer a
series of questions on its features and functions.
1. Access and review Apple Hardware Test : Technical FAQ
2. Access AppleCare Service Source and access and review the Read Me for at least one version of AHT.
3. Access and review Apple Hardware Test: Tests and Error Codes
Using these resources, answer the following questions:

Questions
1. Which of the following items should NOT be connected to a Mac Pro while using Apple Hardware
Test? (Choose all that apply)
SmartMedia reader
USB External Drive
Apple Keyboard
External FireWire Drive
2. How do you use Apple Hardware Test?
3. What is the difference between Quick Test and Extended Test?
4. Which of the following hardware components does Apple Hardware Test check?
AirPort card
keyboard
inverter board
display module
memory
video
5. What does an error code of "mem_X/X" signify?
6. What keyboard command toggles looping mode on and off?
7. You are using AHT to check a Mac Pro (8x) and get a test error code of "4MEM /a /b c". What is the
first step Apple recommends you take?

Apple Service Diagnostic


Exercise
1. Access the diagnostics section of AppleCare Service Source for an Intel-based iMac and MacBook Air.
2. Using the following documentation, as well as this course content, answer the following questions:
ASD Read Me
ASD Test Results
ASD Users Guide
Installing ASD on a USB Drive
Questions

1. How do you boot an ASD optical disc?


2. What two looping options does ASD offer?
3. Describe a known issue regarding ASD tests of VRAM
4. What two steps does Apple recommend you take before starting up from the ASD disc?
5. What is the minimum size required for a USB hard disk to use with ASD?
6. What are the two USB hard disk partition sizes required for use with ASD?
7. Can you use a FireWire hard disk or USB flash 'thumb' drive instead of a USB hard disk to start up the
latest versions of ASD?
8. What keyboard key do you hold down to enter Startup Manager?
9. What is required to perform a full suite of ASD diagnostics on a Mac?

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Next: AHT Overview

Apple Hardware Test (AHT) Overview


Introduction
AHT Versions

Introduction
Apple supplies several diagnostics to both the public and Apple-authorized service technicians. They include:
Apple Hardware Test (AHT) - a diagnostic software that works in Open Firmware or EFI and does
NOT depend on the Mac OS
Apple Service Toolkit (AST) - via NetBoot, provides a quick check of the general components of
Intel-based Mac hardware to streamline troubleshooting and repair.

Apple Service Diagnostic (ASD) - a hardware diagnostic tool supplied to service providers - works in
Open Firmware or EFI and Mac OS X.

AHT Versions
Apples Diagnostics are updated frequently. A correct diagnostic can be located for any Mac using either the
AppleCare name (Model Identifier) for the computer or its' serial number.
These can be found in About This Mac/More Info in the Apple menu. Families of Mac computers compatible
with AHT include:
MacBook/iBook
MacBook Air
iMac/eMac
Mac mini
PowerBook/MacBook Pro
Mac Pro
Power Mac G4 and G5
Xserve (not all models)
Power Mac G4 Cube

Intel-based Mac Computers


Starting with the introduction of Intel-based Mac computers, AHT and Apple Service Diagnostic (ASD),
version numbering changed.
All AHT discs are numbered sequentially starting with the prefix "3A" (e.g. 3A115), and all ASD discs are
numbered sequentially starting with the prefix 3S (e.g. 3S107).
This eliminates confusion between the same versions across different product lines.
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Next: AST Overview

Apple Service Diagnostic (ASD) Overview


Introduction
ASD over USB Hard Disk
ASD Access and Documentation

Introduction
Apple Service Diagnostic (ASD) - is used by Apple-Authorized service facilities to perform low-level tests

on Mac computers. ASD need not rely on the Mac OS in order to check hardware components.
It works within Open Firmware or EFI, but later versions of ASD include additional tests that rely on the Mac
OS. You can choose the general type of test arrays (OF, EFI or Mac OS) depending on what you need tested.

ASD over USB Hard Disk


With the introduction of the MacBook Air in January 2008, ASD was no longer delivered as an image to be
burned onto a DVD, but as a dual image set, designed to be restored onto a partitioned external USB hard
disk using Disk Utility.

Requirements for ASD over USB Hard Disk


Later versions of ASD requires the following system that will be used to restore the ASD EFI and OS disk
images onto an external USB hard disk:
A functioning Mac running Mac OS X version 10.4.11 or later, with administrative login access
An external USB 2.0 hard disk with at least 8 GB or larger capacity, with connecting cables*
Disk Utility (located in /Applications/Utilities)
Appropriate ASD disk image downloaded from AppleCare Service Source
*Important: A USB hard disk is required; later ASD versions are not designed or supported for use with any
other type of media.

ASD Access and Documentation


Service providers access Apple Service Diagnostic downloads from the Disc Images area of AppleCare
Service Source.
ASD documentation is accessible via the same section of Service Source. Access to AppleCare Service
Source is described in the References course. This material is not provided via the AppleCare Technician
Training Service Source site.
All versions of ASD have either a Test Results Guide or a User's Guide. In addition, all versions of ASD
have a Read Me.
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Next: Preparing the USB Hard Disk

Preparing the USB Hard Disk


Requirements
Procedure

Requirements
Later versions of ASD require the following system that will be used to prepare (partition) an external USB
hard disk:
A functioning Mac running Mac OS X version 10.4.11 or later, with administrative login access
An external USB 2.0 hard disk with at least 8 GB or larger capacity, with connecting cables*
Disk Utility (located in /Applications/Utilities)
*Important: A USB hard disk is required; later versions of ASD are not designed or supported for use with
any other type of media.

Procedure
The following steps describe the procedure to use Disk Utility to prepare the external USB hard disk for use
with later versions of ASD.
1. Connect the external USB hard disk to the Mac and verify that it mounts on the Finder desktop.
2. Open Disk Utility (located in /Applications/Utilities) and select the external USB hard disk. In the
example below, an external 80 GB USB hard disk has been selected.

3. Click the Partition tab to partition the hard disk into two volumes as follows (replace '3SXXX' with
whatever version of ASD you are working with, such as 3S132):
- For ASD OS, the partition size must be 7 GB or larger. Name this volume ASD OS 3SXXX.
- For ASD EFI, the partition size must be 1 GB or larger. Name this volume ASD EFI 3SXXX.
To do this, click on the popup menu under Volume Scheme and select 2 Partitions.

Click on each of the two partitions in turn to select each one, then enter each of the above names into
the Name field for each partition. In the example below, the ASD EFI 3S119 partition has been
selected, as indicated by the blue highlight surrounding the partition.
You can drag the dividing line between partitions up and down to resize them to meet the minimum
partition size requirements stated above, or you can simply enter the desired partition size into the 'Size'
field for each partition and both partition sizes will re-adjust accordingly. In the example below, the 80
GB USB hard disk has been partitioned into two equal-sized 40 GB partitions, which obviously meets
the minimal partition size requirements for both partitions.
The Format popup menu should have Mac OS Extended (Journaled) selected for both partitions.

4. Click on the Options... button and select GUID Partition Table as the partition scheme for both
partitions, then click OK.

5. Click Apply in the main Disk Utility window, then click Partition in the confirmation dialog that
appears, to begin the partitioning process. This process should take only a few seconds to complete.
Important: All data will be erased from the disk when you do this.

6. When complete, the external USB hard disk should appear with two partitions with the correct names,
as in the image below. The hard disk is now ready to have the two ASD disk images restored onto its
two partitions.

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Next: Restoring ASD to HD

Restoring ASD onto Hard Disk


Requirements
Procedure

Requirements
Latest versions of ASD require the following system that will be used to restore the ASD EFI and OS disk
images onto an external USB hard disk:
A functioning Mac running Mac OS X version 10.4.11 or later, with administrative login access

An external USB 2.0 hard disk with at least 8 GB or larger capacity, with connecting cables, that has
been partitioned into two partitions with correct names.
Appropriate ASD disk image downloaded from AppleCare Service Source
Disk Utility (located in /Applications/Utilities)

Procedure
The following steps describe the procedure to use Disk Utility to restore the two ASD disk images onto the
external USB hard disk. Our example shows version 3S132 being used, but you may use later versions, such
as 3S135:
1. Download the disk images for the ASD diagnostic. Since these disk images are distributed as multiple
part disk images, make sure all completed downloaded parts are located in the same directory.

2. Connect the external USB hard disk to the Mac (if it isn't already connected) and verify that it mounts
on the Finder desktop.
3. Open Disk Utility (located in /Applications/Utilities).
4. In the Finder, locate and double-click on the first ASD disk image part to mount the image on the
Finder desktop (hint: the image part may be titled _ssps_693-6931-A-001.dmg or something similar,
and may be located on the Finder desktop or in the Downloads folder in Leopard or Snow Leopard).
Note: You only need to double-click on the first image in the group; Finder will automatically combine
all the image parts into a single mounted disk image volume.
Within this mounted disk image are two other disk images: one for EFI titled ASD EFI 3SXXX.dmg,
and one for OS X titled ASD OS 3SXXX.dmg.

5. Double-click on the ASD OS 3XXX.dmg image file inside the primary image file window. The ASD
OS 3XXX image should mount on the desktop, and will also appear in Disk Utility.

Important: The EFI and OS images within the primary image should be mounted before restoring the
images to the USB drive. The images are not compressed and therefore "Scan Image For Restore" will
not work.

6. In Disk Utility, select the mounted ASD OS 3XXX image from the left-hand column, then click on the
Restore tab.
7. For Source, drag the icon for the mounted ASD OS 3SXXX disk image to the Source window.

8. For Destination, drag the icon for the USB volume ASD OS 3SXXX from the left-hand column to the
Destination window. Disk Utility should now look like this:

Important:You should select Erase destination before restoring.


9. Click the Restore button to start the installation, then click the Restore button in the confirmation
dialog that appears, to begin the restoration process. Disk Utility will copy the entire disk image to the
designated partition. This may take a few minutes to complete.
10. Repeat steps 5 through 9 above, except this time use the ASD EFI XXX disk image and restore onto
the ASD EFI 3SXXX partition.
Upon completion of the above steps, you should now have a partitioned, restored USB hard disk that can be
used to boot and run ASD EFI and OS diagnostics.

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Next: Booting ASD from HD

Booting ASD from Hard Disk

Requirements
Procedure

Requirements
Later versions of ASD require the following to start up a Mac and run diagnostics:
A Mac on which you intend to run tests that is supported by a 3SXXX version of ASD. Please refer to
AppleCare Service Source to verify you have the correct ASD version for the product you wish to test.
An external USB 2.0 hard disk with at least 8 GB or larger capacity, with connecting cables, that has
been partitioned into two partitions with correct names, and that has had both ASD disk images
restored onto them.

Procedure
The following steps describe the procedure to boot into either ASD EFI or ASD OS tests using the prepared
external USB hard disk:
1. Before using ASD, ensure the Mac on which you intend to run tests is shut down, and disconnect any
Ethernet, USB and audio cables from it. If you're working with a desktop Mac, leave the USB
keyboard and mouse connected to it.
2. Connect the external USB hard disk containing ASD to an available USB port on the Mac on which
you intend to run tests.
3. Turn on the Mac and immediately hold down the option key on the keyboard as the computer starts up,
to enter Startup Manager.

The computer should display an image like the examples below to indicate that it has entered Startup
Manager. If the computer continues to start up and does not enter Startup Manager, verify your
keyboard is properly connected, and that your external USB hard disk is properly connected and
powered on.
4. To run ASD EFI tests, select the ASD EFI disk icon and press return or click the arrow to continue
booting.

5. To run ASD OS tests, select the ASD OS disk icon and press return or click the arrow to continue
booting.

6. ASD (EFI) should load in 20-30 seconds; ASD (OS) should load in 2-3 minutes. When booting is

completed, a window should appear on-screen, similar to the one below (the example below is from the
ASD OS test window).

7. After running ASD OS or ASD EFI tests, press the Restart button in the main ASD test window to
restart the computer back into the normal startup volume, or hold down the option key to get back to
Startup Manager.
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Next: Running ASD Tests

Running ASD Diagnostic Tests


Requirements
Procedure

Requirements
Later versions of ASD require the following to start up a Mac and run diagnostics:
An external USB 2.0 hard disk with at least 8 GB or larger capacity, with connecting cables, that has
been partitioned into two partitions with correct names, and that has had both ASD disk images

restored onto them.


The Mac on which you intend to run diagnostic tests has been booted into ASD from the USB HD.

Procedure
The following steps describe the procedure to run both ASD EFI and ASD OS tests using the prepared
external USB hard disk:
1. When ASD has completely started, you should see a window appear on-screen, similar to the one
below (the example below is from the ASD OS test window).

2. Follow the steps outlined in the PDF documents that accompanied the ASD disk image for complete
details on how to run the diagnostic tests and how to interpret their results and error messages.
Note: Detailed instructions regarding specific test modules in the ASD environment, or how to use
them, are beyond the scope of this course. Please consult these documents for more information.

3. In order to run a complete suite of diagnostic tests using ASD, you must boot and run all test selections
for both ASD EFI and ASD OS tests, in turn. One suggested procedure to do this is as follows:
a. Boot into the ASD EFI partition on the USB HD, following steps listed in Booting ASD over
Hard Disk.
b. Run all available EFI tests. Assuming all tests pass, go on to step c. If one or more test modules
fail, consult the ASD Test Results Guide to interpret the failure indication and troubleshoot the
failure from that point. Be sure to re-run all tests again after resolving the failure to ensure the
root cause of the issue is resolved and no other issues have appeared.
c. Click the Restart button on the main ASD EFI window to restart the Mac you are testing, then
boot into the ASD OS partition on the USB HD, following steps listed in Booting ASD over
Hard Disk.
d. Run all available OS Stand Alone tests. Assuming all tests pass, then go on to step e. If one or
more test modules fail, consult the ASD Test Results Guide to interpret the failure indication
and troubleshoot the failure from that point. Be sure to re-run all tests again after resolving the
failure to ensure the root cause of the issue is resolved and no other issues have appeared.
e. Switch from Stand Alone tests to User Interactive tests using the popup menu on the main ASD
OS window. Stand Alone tests do not require any additional setup before running tests. User
Interactive tests require additional set up before running tests. A dialog will appear informing the

user as to what steps to perform to set up for each test.


f. Run all available OS User-Interactive tests. Assuming all tests pass, then you have completed a
full suite of ASD diagnostic tests on that Mac. If one or more test modules fail, consult the ASD
Test Results Guide to interpret the failure indication and troubleshoot the failure from that
point. Be sure to re-run all tests again, starting again with ASD EFI tests in step a, after resolving
the failure to ensure the root cause of the issue is resolved and no other issues have appeared.
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Next: Bluetooth Service Diagnostic Overview

Course Exercise Answer Key


Compare your answers to those shown here. Correct answers are in bold.

Apple Hardware Test Questions


1. Which of the following items should NOT be connected to a Mac Pro while using Apple Hardware
Test? (Choose all that apply)
SmartMedia reader
USB External Drive
Apple Keyboard
External FireWire Drive
2. How do you use Apple Hardware Test?
To use the Apple Hardware Test on Intel-based Mac computers, restart your computer while
holding down the D key until the "Loading..." icon appears, then you may release the D key.
Loading will take approximately 45 seconds. The Apple Hardware Test main screen will appear.
Follow the on-screen instructions and recommendations.
3. What is the difference between Quick Test and Extended Test?
Quick Test-- An abbreviated test of the computer's major components. This test should be used
when you don't have time to run the extended tests. The tests take one to three minutes to
complete.
Extended Test--A thorough test of the computer's components. This is the recommended test for
obtaining a complete evaluation of the computer's hardware. The tests take about four to eight
minutes to complete, but could be longer. The length of the test mainly depends upon the amount

of RAM installed in the computer.


4. Which of the following hardware components does Apple Hardware Test check?
AirPort card
keyboard
inverter board
display module
memory
video
5. What does an error code of "mem_X/X" signify?
It signifies that memory should be replaced.
6. What keyboard command toggles looping mode on and off?
Control-L
7. You are using AHT to check a Mac Pro (8x) and get a test error code of "4MEM /a /b c". What is the
first step Apple recommends you take?
If multiple memory modules are installed, remove only one, then retest.

Apple Service Diagnostic Questions


1. How do you boot an ASD optical disc?
Place the ASD disc into the optical drive and start up while depressing the C key on PowerPCbased Mac computers or the D key for Intel-based Mac computers.
2. What two looping options does ASD offer?
number of looping tests and elapsed time of looping tests
3. Describe a known issue regarding ASD tests of VRAM
When testing the Video RAM, the screen display may appear blank or appear to be turned off,
for extended periods of time, depending on how much Video RAM is installed.
4. What two steps does Apple recommend you take before starting up from the ASD disc?
Turn the computer off and on
Check cables, peripherals, and user controls
5. What is the minimum size required for a USB hard disk to use with ASD?
An external USB 2.0 hard disk with at least 8 GB or larger capacity is required for use with ASD.

6. What are the two USB hard disk partition sizes required for use with ASD?
For ASD OS, the partition size must be 7 GB or larger.
For ASD EFI, the partition size must be 1 GB or larger.
7. Can you use a FireWire hard disk or USB flash 'thumb' drive instead of a USB hard disk to start up
ASD?
No. A USB hard disk is required; ASD is not designed or supported for use with this type of
media.
8. What keyboard key do you hold down to enter Startup Manager?
The option key (also known as the 'alt' key)
9. What is required to perform a full suite of ASD diagnostics on a Mac?
In order to run a complete suite of diagnostic tests using ASD, you must boot and run all test
selections for both ASD EFI and ASD OS tests, in turn. The OS tests should include both OS
Stand Alone tests and OS User Interactive tests.

Next: This concludes the Diagnostics course.

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