iMac G5 Fan noise/Apple Battle

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by ekenny, Oct 27, 2005.

  1. ekenny macrumors regular

    ekenny

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    New York
    #1
    I traded a brand new Mac Mini and a Dell 19 inch LCD monitor for a 4-month-old 17-inch revision A iMac G5. The previous owner was fed up with the abnormal fan noise and Apple’s reluctance to fix it. I have owned many computers and a few different Macs. I am familiar with the higher RPMs as the CPU is utilized more, but this was nothing like that. The only words I can think of that accurately describe it is model airplane like, or vacuum cleaner.
    At first I thought I could put up with the sound. About 4 months later, I was so fed up with the sound that I could not take it anymore. This is a log of what has transpired over the past month. On October 7th, 2005, I scheduled an appointment with a Mac Genius and brought the iMac into the Apple store.

    October 7, 2005

    Despite the hundreds of posts I read on the Internet about Rev A iMac G5 fan noise, the so called “Mac Genius” had never heard of it being a problem. From all the reading I did online, and from inspecting the machine, I concluded that it was the CPU fan, which was the noise culprit. We setup my iMac at the Genius Bar and put on iTunes Visualizer. Between the music playing and large groups of people talking in the background, the iMac could barely be heard. I mentioned that I was able to record the sound with the built in microphone, so I clicked on that file and turned the volume up. He assured me that one of his colleagues would have a look at it in a quiet setting and that it should be ready in 7-10 business days.

    Being that the machine was still less than a year old, I decided to go ahead and purchase the Apple Care Protection Plan. I did so and left the store, leaving the iMac behind to be serviced.

    October 20, 2005

    The 9th business day had arrived and my impatience was growing. I called Apple to get the status on the “repair.” The kind lady on the phone did not understand the tech’s notes, but read them to me. They were something along the lines of “… iTunes Visualizer running off of FWD.”

    October 24, 2005

    The 11th business day arrived and I had no patience left. I called the Apple Store directly to speak with someone and find out the status of the repair. Apparently, they had just finished it that day and they forgot to call. I asked what they did to fix the problem. The person on the phone read the tech’s notes: “… reset NVRAM, sound gone …” I thought that was interesting on a few different levels. One, by saying that the sound was gone, they are admitting that there was an abnormal sound in the first place. Two, I had previously tried resetting the NVRAM but that did not solve the problem. Being that it was later in the evening, I said thank you and told them I would pick it up the next day.

    October 25, 2005

    I took the iMac home, hoping that maybe they did something extra and the sound really was gone. I was wrong. I got home from school after 9:00pm that night, so Apple Tech Support was closed. I called the next day.

    October 26, 2005

    I called Apple Tech Support and explained to them that the Apple Store had not successfully repaired my computer, and that I was certain I would need a new CPU fan being that that was where the noise was coming from (bottom left when looking head on). The tech was very polite and said that we should not jump to any conclusions just yet. I explained to him the problem I was having with the noise, and described it to him as resembling a model airplane or a vacuum cleaner. He seemed to have an idea what I was talking about. He had me reset the NVRAM again thinking that would somehow make the fan noise go away. Of course it did not. After about 30 minutes on the phone, he agreed with me that it was the CPU fan that was faulty, and he would have a new one shipped out. I received the package the next day.

    October 27, 2005

    I got home that night from school after 9:00pm and noticed the package had arrived. I was surprised and happy at the same time. I immediately opened up the iMac and the package and was ready to go to work. After opening the box, I had realized there had been a mistake. They did not ship a CPU fan. In the box was a hard drive fan, and the system fan. I was sure the tech on the phone said he was sending the CPU fan. Thinking that maybe he knew what he was doing, I proceeded to replace those two fans. Again, that did not fix the problem. The CPU fan was still as loud as ever. Being that it was late at night, I had no choice but to wait until the next day to call Apple Tech Support again.
     
  2. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #2
    Wow...What a pain!
    Just keep at it, you will eventually get what you want, it may just take a while?
    How hard is it to replace those fans, I thought Apple would have to do it?
     
  3. ekenny thread starter macrumors regular

    ekenny

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    New York
    #3
    heh, what I want is a NEW iMac! Replacing the fans is quite easy, they also ship detailed instructions with the parts. Apple has made it very easy to service this machine (from what Ive seen so far).
     
  4. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #4
    Don't count on it :(
     
  5. wwooden macrumors 68000

    wwooden

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Burlington, VT
    #5
    that is really too bad, I have had to ship two computers back for different repairs and never had a problem with their customer service. Like the poster above, I would just keep at it, and if you do, you may get what you want----a new iMac :).
     
  6. Daveway macrumors 68040

    Daveway

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Location:
    New Orleans / Lafayette, La
    #6
    Your not alone. I'm in the same boat. I've read hundreds of posts about Rev A imacs and fan noise. I've heard everything from the housing to the springs being the problem. all I know is that it sounds like I'm flying an R/C plane rather than using a computer.

    I never really got into the whole replacement thing due to the lack of success stories. since my one year warranty is coming to a close, I think i may give it a shot next week.
     
  7. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #7
    Though I wouldn't count on getting a new iMac (like I said above), I truly believe if you try hard enough, and really work on it, you can get anything you want.
     
  8. Demon Hunter macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    #8
    Best of luck, mate. Be persistent with the Apple Tech staff, and polite but firm. The Apple Store repairs are usually a poor, hastened attempt from my experience.
     
  9. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #9
    And it never hurts to demand a manager/supervisor. They are the ones who can get you a new computer.
     
  10. skubish macrumors 68030

    skubish

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2005
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    #10
    What are you a glutton for punishment?
    You knew it had fan noise before you traded yet you did it anyway.
     
  11. asif786 macrumors 65816

    asif786

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Location:
    London, UK.
    #11
    that doesn't excuse the problem. i think the poster is complaining about apple's incompetence to fix a simple issue.

    i've got the same problem with my rev a. imac - and i'm tempted to just give up. i have 2 months left of my warranty..i don't see why they can't admit they're wrong and replace whatever needs replacing..

    <oh, and p.s. taking it to an apple retail store is useless. sorry to be harsh, but all they seem to like doing is resetting iPods [which is what 90% of the customers come in for>
     
  12. Zoowatch macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    Sheffield, UK
    #12
    i feel really sorry for you.

    i have been thru some of worst experience servicing my PB a year ago too.

    i hope they will offer u a good solution in the end (by replacing it with a new iMac)

    good luck
     
  13. ekenny thread starter macrumors regular

    ekenny

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    New York
    #13
    I knew what I was in for, but thought that it wouldnt be so hard to get a lousy fan replaced.

    Thanks for all your replies, Im going to stay on this and keep you updated. Just for your information, I do not regret the trade I had made. The iMac is significantly faster than the mini, and there is less wire mess.
     
  14. rugonnaeatthat macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #14
    geese what a joke! Keep fighting the MAN mate.

    BTW I've had an eMac and an ipod replaced - both straight away - so I'm sure you are just having a string of bad luck with who you talk to. Good Luck.
     
  15. ekenny thread starter macrumors regular

    ekenny

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    New York
    #15
    Just got off the phone with another apple tech. He read through the cases notes and saw that they had shipped the wrong part. The part I needed was actually included in a new mid plane. He kept asking me to describe the sound, so I said model-airplane-like and vacuum. He was being very rude, saying that "model airplanes dont makes sound." I said, the remote controled ones. He scheduled an on-site repair so they can replace the midplane. Hopefully that will fix the problem (although I am pretty sure the previous owner had already done that).
     
  16. minimac macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2003
    Location:
    NJ
    #16
    I ordered a refurb rev B. iMac 17" right before the rev C. was announced and I immediately had the same fan noise problem. The tech from Applecare heard the noise loud and clear through the phone and instructed me to take it to the store to have it looked at. Well at the store the Genius said that was completely normal and that they are supposed to get loud like that. Of course in the store there is a lot of background noise and masks the noise of what I'm positive is the CPU fan. I was lucky that I had just bought the computer so I was able to return it with a bit of complaining. Last night I just picked up a new Rev. C. and it seems perfectly fine (knock on wood).

    Good luck
     
  17. ekenny thread starter macrumors regular

    ekenny

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    New York
    #17
    The Apple technician arrived right on time at 4:00 pm. I had the buzzing iMac all setup and running in the living room for him. He immediately said, “Yeah, it’s not supposed to make that sound.” He knew replacing the logic board might not fix the problem.
    We later looked at an exploded parts view diagram of the iMac to find the correct part. Apparently, the CPU fan is actually a part of the chassis. After about an hour, the new board was installed, and the problem remained. At first I thought the sound was gone. It had indeed lessened, but was still there. He said he was going to call Apple and order the chassis. The tech was a very nice and understanding person. It looks like the noise problem is coming to an end soon.
     
  18. ekenny thread starter macrumors regular

    ekenny

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    New York
    #18
    The second Apple technician arrived around 10:15 am. He had a little brown box, which looked like it probably contained a fan, and it did. I hoped it was the right one this time. He immediately said that this was a do-it-yourself installation but that he would go ahead and do it for me, as if he was doing me a favor. A few minutes later, I went back to check on him, and he was having some trouble. Apparently, the bracket, which held the fan in place, was not moving and he could not get the fan out. I looked down and saw that the metal piece was bent from him prying at it with a screwdriver. In fear of him damaging anything even further, I told him I would just take it from there.

    He began telling me that his employer wanted him to take some 50-hour class to work on the rack mount servers, but he did not feel like going through all that. He then mentioned that his employer gave him a “white Apple laptop” which he had not even taken out of the box yet. I began to realize that they just sent a regular Joe to replace my fan, not an Apple technician. Before he left, he asked me why I bought an iMac. I don’t think this man knew anything about Apple computers.

    The metal bracket was damaged beyond repair. I had to actually cut it out with heavy-duty wire cutters. I inspected the new fan and noticed that the fan blades were at slightly different angles. I put some rubber spacers around the fan to hold it in place and muffle the noise. It is definitely much quieter now, but for how long? I still hear a faint buzzing which is semi-annoying.
     
  19. mr_matalino macrumors 6502a

    mr_matalino

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #19
    Yeah, that's too bad. At least you can service your iMac. My Rev. C is all sealed off. No more Do-it-yourself on the new iMacs. Only RAM. :confused:
     
  20. yvovandoorn macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 2, 2005
    Location:
    Renton (suburb of Seattle), WA
    #20
    Sorry to hear about your problems. I love Apple products and was one of the people earlier this year that couldn't wait to get a rev B iMac. I don't want to thread hijack, so I just want to add my recent troubles.

    Well my fan has started going in high speed as well. My noise seems to be coming from the top right (from the front) or top left (from the back). Haven't opened up the unit yet but I am getting pretty darn annoyed.

    I have MenuMeters running thus it shows my CPU usage and it hardly ever spikes. The fan just seems to increase the speeds at random times and the only thing that clears it is rebooting the machine.

    Things I have tried:
    Resetting the PRAM
    Resetting the nvram
    and doing the "reset-all" command as well (which supposidly does not clear the PRAM according to websites).
    Problem still exists.

    What is funny that right before my iMac (rev B) started doing this, I found my iMac turned off a few random times. Thought it was the girlfriend suddenly turning it off but conferring with her she denied turning off the mac. I blamed it on the Logitech Control Center as that was the most recent thing installed and removed it and since then it has stopped turning off but the fan noise has become very loud.

    Knowing how tricky OS upgrades can sometime, this started happening before the 10.4.3 upgrade (which I have performed on my Mac).

    Oh and when the fans aren't loud... I hear this squeeking what you can compare to a mouse running in its wheel.

    I don't think its the CPU fan but it definitely is a fan going nuts and its driving me nuts as well.
     
  21. nospleen macrumors 68000

    nospleen

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2002
    Location:
    Texas
    #21
    I am sorry to hear of your problem. I was plagued by problems with my previous imac purchases. I say sell it and buy a REV C. They are very quiet. Hopefully yours will be fixed 100%, but I doubt it. They totally redesigned the new model for a reason. I doubt the only reason was the isight.
     
  22. tremewan macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2005
    #22
    I'm not so sure. Another thread has several complaints of noisy fans on Rev C machines. As I'm just about to take the plunge and buy one as my first ever Mac, I'd like to be convinced that the new iMacs REALLY are quieter. From what I've read so far, I'm still holding back.:eek: :eek: :eek:
     
  23. ryannel2003 macrumors 68000

    ryannel2003

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2005
    Location:
    Greenville, NC
    #23
    That really sucks man. My luck with Apple support (on the iPod end of the line at least), has been pretty decent. I really think they should replace your whole iMac. I mean, the guy who was servicing your iMac had no business to repair it if he didn't know what to do! Anyway, good luck with your iMac! :)
     
  24. nospleen macrumors 68000

    nospleen

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2002
    Location:
    Texas
    #24
    They are sooooo much quieter. You can still hear them, but I mean barely. It has to be a dead quiet room to hear anything.
     
  25. JDOG_ macrumors 6502a

    JDOG_

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2003
    Location:
    Oakland
    #25
    This all spurns from some of the greater problems with AppleCare, mostly how much of a problem they think your problem is and how much it will cost them to fix it. My favorite personal experience with dealing with them was sending my iBook in for some strange hard drive and fan noise, only to have them send it back 15 days later having "Re-Installed the OS."

    It is great to have solid, 1st party support for Apple products, but I've definitely heard some horror stories as well.
     

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