Just about had it with Macs.

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Cindy, Jun 20, 2005.

  1. Cindy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2003
    #1
    This is my third Mac computer. This one which is the eMac 800 MHz PowerPC G4 is only 2 years old and is starting to zap. My second Mac which was an iMac, started to zap (kind of like a spark and screen tries to disappear) and it finally just quit and died. This one started doing that same thing over the winter and I took it to someone to have the dust blown out of it. After that it didn't spark again til last week. Last night I took it apart and blew the dust out myself. It wasn't dusty but I did it anyway. It started to spark/zap again today :(
    I called apple computers and they had no idea what to tell me.
    I have a feeling this one will die soon.
    I'm not sure I'll go with another apple for this reason. I really like the apples if they would last a little longer.
    Has anyone else had this happen to them??
    Cindy
     
  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #2
    The eMac is generally seen as the least reliable Mac but you should still be getting way more life out of it than that.

    Do you put them under any considerable stress or anything?

    You make it sound like they get dust in them or something, where do you keep them? Under a chimney? Don't laugh, a friend of mine keeps his PC in an old fire place and then wonders why he has to replace it every 18 months. :rolleyes:
     
  3. Cindy thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2003
    #3
    No real stress. Just write emails and surf the web. Nothing major. I have my computer on my desk - nothing out of the ordinary. I even keep a bounce sheet on top to keep dust limited. We do live in a dusty area. Lots of hay fields and next door to a horse arena.
    Well, if the eMac is unreliable and it ends up dying and I decide to stay with Macs -- which one would you suggest?
    Cindy
     
  4. BYODKjiM macrumors newbie

    BYODKjiM

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2005
    #4
    Do you have any problems with other electronic devices (TV, stereo tuner, etc.) wearing out? You might have what is known as "dirty" power. This can cause all sorts of otherwise inexplicable problems with electronic equipment. You should always operate a computer with a UPS, not only for protection against power outages but also because it will filter your power against mini spikes.
     
  5. Cindy thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2003
    #5
    We don't have any problems at all with any other devices. TV, stereo etc...
    I have the computer on a protection device called Monster Power made for computers.
     
  6. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2000
    #6
    the only major problem apple has had with computers in a measureable amount were some mid period g3 ibooks which had logic board problems

    while a highly reliable model line can get accolades from every magazine, some individual computers can have problems

    it sounds like you have just been unlucky and apple computers as a whole are more reliable than most pc vendors out there
     
  7. Cooknn macrumors 68020

    Cooknn

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2003
    Location:
    Fort Myers, FL
    #7
    I would try another outlet and possibly another surge protector - although the Monster should be fine. Also, is the power cord replaceable? I would try to find another one of those if it is. It will be black and ugly, but it might be worth a shot.

    If you do decide to go with Windows you won't be happy :( If you can afford a Mac mini that would be one way to stay with OS X if your eMac is indeed on its last leg.
     
  8. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #8
    This is odd. I would recommend an iMac because I think they'd be a bit more reliable in terms of dust but this is your third computer so something's telling me this isn't normal.

    Generally the eMacs are known for their screen unreliability, not anything relating to zapping. Weird.

    Maybe it's all just a result of living in a relatively dusty area.
     
  9. ITASOR macrumors 601

    ITASOR

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Location:
    Oneida, NY
    #9
    Do you have AppleCare? If not GET IT QUICK. If you keep having these problems, you need AppleCare. This was they can look at it and tell you what's wrong. If it's the power supply or something, it might be your electricity. Try it without the Monster, maybe it is malfunctioning. That's the best advice I can give. Your story sounds pretty good, so call apple and tell them, you might get someone in a good mood that decides to make up for it!
     
  10. Cindy thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2003
    #10
    What is apple care? I don't think it's the monster because the last computer wasn't on the monster and it did it. My first computer didn't die -- it was just way out dated and I didn't keep it for very long.
    What exactly is the mini mac? a mini mac wouldn't help me if my eMac quit would it? Doesn't the mini mac hook into a desk mac?? I haven't checked or even looked at one yet.
     
  11. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #11
    Hate to break it to you but Monster sells $20 powerbars for $99 with their name on it - they don't offer any real advantage over other power bars (except the reseller makes more money). My guess is that you have some bad AC power, noise, surges, spikes, brownouts or all of the above. Rest assured that any other brand of computer in the same environment would fail eventually for the same reasons.

    Of course there is always the bell curve -- you may just have been unlucky twice in a row and hit the combination of individual machines and power conditions that meant you are seeing failure earlier than normal. But, zapping/sparking sounds and the screen changing size or disappearing is definitely signs of the power supply / analog board going; and two computers in a row suggests an external cause.

    Now, the repair on an iMac analog board is not overly expensive, something like $169 plus labour, don't know the eMac off the top of my head so the machines are not necessarily throwaways.

    Whatever computer you get, you will want to get a UPS (Uninterruptible or battery-backed-up Power Supply), not a surge suppressor power bar. Choose a UPS that has Automatic Voltage Regulation (AVR) pr power conditioning built in. These ones are better able to deal with under voltage (brownout) and mild surges, because the voltage regulator corrects the power without the battery having to kick in. American Power Conversion is the top name in UPSs

    Applecare is the name Apple gives its extended warranties you can purchase for Macintosh machines.

    The Mac Mini is a (very) small Macintosh computer, It doesn't have a monitor built in like your last two machines, and the power supply is external to the machine (less heat, less expensive to replace). You would need to buy a monitor like a 17" LCD flat panel to go along with the Mini, but you could use the keyboard and mouse off the eMac. The Mini will be about 1.5 - 2 times faster than the eMac. The Mini can import the data (via firewire or via ethernet network - you'll need a cable) from the eMac when you set it up, for ease of migrating.
     
  12. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #12

    Check this out. :)
     
  13. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #13
    I am going to go with a few here and say that it has something to do with your environment or electrical system. To have multiple Macs of different models having the same issue, just does not sound right.
     
  14. Cooknn macrumors 68020

    Cooknn

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2003
    Location:
    Fort Myers, FL
    #14
    Good point. A battery backup (UPS) could actually solve this problem couldn't it?
     
  15. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #15
    Not if the analog board is already damaged. A UPS would greatly reduce the chance of future damge though.
     
  16. Cindy thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2003
    #16
    Ok -- is my computer doomed right now or can I save it by trying to get a UPS device and get the computer onto it?
    Do you know of places that sell these? or is the best place on line? I would like to give that a try before I loose this eMac.
    It is strange that I had 2 computers doing this. It didn't happen in the beginning. Both took a couple of years.
     
  17. ITASOR macrumors 601

    ITASOR

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Location:
    Oneida, NY
    #17
    Yeah good thinking! I didn't think of a UPS, but that would probably be a good way to prevent the problem on any future computers.

    Another thing. Call your electric company. Tell them how much replacing the computers is costing you and that you want them to test the line or leave you with a tester to monitor the readings when the computer "zaps". It won't hurt and they would rather come and look at it then have the problem become widespread in your neighbor hood and cause mass-problems.
     
  18. Cooknn macrumors 68020

    Cooknn

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2003
    Location:
    Fort Myers, FL
    #18
    You can find a good UPS at any Office Depot, CompUSA, Best Buy, etc. If your eMac isn't already damaged this could solve the problem. I'm running an APC Back-UPS XS 800 with my Power Mac G5.
     
  19. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #20
    Not so strange, your experience is consistent with bad power, combined with all in one machines which have the monitor and the computer running off the same power supply. If you had a different computer, you may have seen the monitor burn out before the computer.

    Can you save it? Impossible to guess. It depends how much damage the components have suffered. Is it arcing because it's already damaged, or is it arcing because the voltage is high at that moment? Can't say.

    But: Given the info you have given us, a UPS would be in order whatever you do with the machine - keep, repair or replace.

    You can order a UPS online or through a local computer store who will get it shipped in for you. These things have motorcycle batteries in them and can be ungodly heavy so double check the shipping cost before you order. DON'T choose air shipping...

    Just remember the voltage regulation thing - not all models have it.
    Yahoo doesnt give enough information. Get it from the horse'e mouth then order by model number.

    This one would be good BP280S ($149)http://www.apc.com/resource/include/techspec_index.cfm?base_sku=BP280S

    This one would be skookum BR800RS ($189):
    http://www.apc.com/resource/include/techspec_index.cfm?base_sku=BR800
     
  20. Cindy thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2003
    #21
    oh, ok. We have Office Depot and CompUSA near. I'll go tomorrow. On these, which one would work for my computer?
    http://www.compusa.com/products/products.asp?No=20&N=200082

    Looking at this one: http://www.compusa.com/products/product_info.asp?product_code=282952&pfp=cat3

    Are these things plug in and go or is there some installation required?
     
  21. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Location:
    LaLaLand, CA
    #22
    http://www.apple.com/support/products/

    Buy it now (can be bought any time within the first year of ownership). It's about $170, but cheaper some places. And even cheaper if you're a student or work for the government.
     
  22. Cooknn macrumors 68020

    Cooknn

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    Aug 23, 2003
    Location:
    Fort Myers, FL
    #23
  23. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #24
    This sounds like a high voltage transformer problem, which is very unlikely to have anything to do with the voltage on your line, so it probably can't be cured by line conditioning. All CRT displays are vulnerable to failure due to shorts within the flyback transformer, a critical component that is made notoriously cheaply these days. I've had several CRTs fail from precisely this cause; in fact, it's one big reason I won't own another CRT. You have exactly the symptoms I'd expect from a dying flyback. The good news is it can go on like that for months if not longer before it fails; the bad news is it could fail completely at any moment, and it won't be very inexpensive to replace (at least $100).

    Bring it in to an Apple dealer. They should know what you need the instant they see the symptoms. Better yet, call them first and describe the problem just like you did here. If they can't diagnose the issue over the phone, then call another dealer. Dollars to doughnuts, they will replace your flyback transformer and you'll be back in business.
     
  24. Le Big Mac macrumors 68020

    Le Big Mac

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #25
    For home use, though, does battery life really matter? If you're at your computer, any of them give you enough time to shut down. If you're not there, chances are you don't need to save anything.
     

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