PB started to make humming noise when I tilt it - why?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by blackstone, Jan 29, 2006.

  1. blackstone macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #1
    This morning, I picked up my PB (12" Rev. A) from the breakfast table after having my coffee and carried over to my study (still turned on), when I noticed that it makes a funny humming noise when I tilt it. The humming occurs when I am actually changing the angle of tilt (e.g. going from horizontal to the 60 degree angle necessary to put it on the stand on my desk, or when it tilts a little when I'm walking). However, it stops as soon as I stop changing the angle of tilt (e.g. if I leave it at a 60 degree angle, undisturbed). It does not appear to have any relationship to when the hard drive is accessed -- just when I tilt the computer.

    I checked the status of my hard drive in Disk Utility, and it says the hard drive's SMART status is verified. Also, the hard drive doesn't make the unusual clicking/grinding noises that one would normally associate with hard disk failure. But I'm backing up the hard drive right now, just to be safe.

    Any thoughts on what could be causing the humming noise?
     
  2. Kernow macrumors 65816

    Kernow

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2005
    Location:
    Kingston-Upon-Thames
    #2
    This could be the Sudden Motion Sensor activating - when the PB detects motion, it automatically parks the hard disk head to prevent it crashing into the disk itself as a result. It basically prevents horrible accidents if you drop the laptop, but I didn't realise it made an audible noise. There is a (very brief) description of it on the right hand side of the Apple PowerBook page.

    Some people have put this to fun (if completely pointless) use - see the SMS Spirit Level.
     
  3. blackstone thread starter macrumors regular

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    Washington, DC
    #3
    Hmm, interesting idea. Although I think the Rev. A 12" predates the sudden motion sensor. Wasn't it introduced in the same revision as the double-finger scroll feature?
     
  4. alexhp03 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 15, 2004
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    HOME OF THE BLAZE, MN
    #4
    Hey, It can't be the Sudden Motion Sensor because that technology wasn't introduced unti after the rev. C PowerBooks. I have a 12" rev C. PB and I used to tilt it and hear that same buzzing sound; I believe that was a sign that my hard drive was going to die because it did. I don't think SMART Status always gives you can accurate answer because mine always said "Verified" but it eventually failed and I got it replaced.

    - Alex
     
  5. Macmadant macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 4, 2005
    #5
    it's the optical drive, if you have a cd in there then tilt it, it will make that noise.
     
  6. Counterfit macrumors G3

    Counterfit

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    sitting on your shoulder
    #6
    It's generally a bad idea to move and/or tilt a laptop while it's running.
     
  7. blackstone thread starter macrumors regular

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    Dec 12, 2005
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    Washington, DC
    #7
    Yikes, this is not sounding good.

    Alexhp03: How long did your hard drive last after it starting making the buzzing noise?

    Macmadant: No CD in the drive, so it can't be that.

    Counterfit: Yeah, I know it's not the greatest idea in the world to carry it around without putting it to sleep. But it's mostly only disastrous if you trip on something, and I was only moving from one room to another...
     
  8. macdon401 macrumors 6502

    macdon401

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2005
    #8
    ...the guy say's to his Doctor...."every time I raise my arms above my head and and try and scratch my back I get a severe pain...what should I do...?"
    The Doctor looks at him and say's..."stop doing that and the pain will go away...!" I rest my case...LOL
    R
     
  9. maverick808 macrumors 65816

    maverick808

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    Location:
    Scotland
    #9
    It's the hard-drive that's making the noise. I had my PowerBook for about 18 months altogether (I've just sold it to get a MacBook).

    After about 6 months mine made the same noise whenever I moved or tilted it. I assumed it was one of the fans and since it only made a noise when it was moved it didn't bother me. For about a year I thought it was the fan.

    Then at the start of January my hard-disk broke and so I opened up the machine and replaced it. After I put the new hard-disk I was shocked to find the noise was totally gone. So yeah had been the hard-disk all that time.

    My hard-disk worked for a year after it started making that noise though so I wouldn't panic.
     
  10. blackstone thread starter macrumors regular

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    Dec 12, 2005
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    Washington, DC
    #10
    Ok, thanks for the insight, everyone. Looks like I'll be religious about doing backups for the next six months and keep my eyes peeled for laptop hard drives on sale...
     
  11. AppleMatt macrumors 68000

    AppleMatt

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    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    It's a common problem with a certain range of Toshiba hard-drives. I'd watch out, because it will fail as a result of this. Time to do backups and look around for a replacement. Get a 5400rpm to replace the current drive (4200rpm) so at the very least you'll get an speed boost from this situation.

    AppleMatt
     
  12. atari1356 macrumors 68000

    atari1356

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2004
    #12
    My hard drive makes that noise when tilted too (mine is a faint whirring sound/hum) ... so I generally try not to tilt the PowerBook, and usually put it to sleep if I'm carrying it to another room. I thought it was normal though. I'm pretty sure mine has done it since I bought the machine in May 2004.

    Guess I'll do more frequent backups just in case there's something wrong.
     
  13. Palad1 macrumors 6502a

    Palad1

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    Feb 24, 2004
    Location:
    London, UK
    #13
    Backup now, check your applecare status, and wait for the worst to happen.

    And use your pb on a plane surface. The machine is not designed to run at tilted angles (read somewhere in the manual that came with my pb).

    Cheers,
    Palad1, who suffered from the 'buz while tilted' syndrome, now proud owner of a brand new superdrive & hd for his 15'' PB :D
     
  14. Daedalus256 macrumors 6502

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    Nov 7, 2005
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    #14
    Oh dear. I believe my Pbook is doing the same thing. Does it sound vaguely like a lightsaber? This is a bit worrying.
     
  15. atari1356 macrumors 68000

    atari1356

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2004
    #15
    Yeah, you could describe the sound mine makes that way - so it's probably the same. Going to check my drives SMART status in a few minutes just to see (after I finish doing my backup :D).

    I'm still not too worried about it though. It makes sense that an object which spins so fast would have some gyroscopic effect and generally resist being tilted... so I wasn't surprised by the sound, and assumed it was okay. I'll keep assuming that until it fails on me. :)
     
  16. maverick808 macrumors 65816

    maverick808

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    Scotland
    #16
    Yes, it does sound like a lightsaber. That's a good description of the noise it makes.
     
  17. frenetic macrumors regular

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    Feb 11, 2004
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    #17
    Mine has also made that sound since the beginning. I wouldn't worry about it - I am a religious backuper, so even if the drive would fail (which I don't think it will be doing) it would not be a disaster. If you are really worried about it just close the laptop when you walk around.
     
  18. Lau Guest

    #18
    Mine started doing this a while ago too. It is an older PowerBook, so doesn't have the sudden motion jobbie. I backed everything up in a fit of panic, but it's been ok so far. Still makes the noise though. :( No doubt it's waiting to fail when I am doing my final degree work. :eek:

    Here's a few more threads on the subject that might have other suggestions, although I think the general consensus is that it's either the hard drive or the fan, and it may or may not be serious. :p


    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=159217
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=161176
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=94267
     
  19. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000

    bigbossbmb

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    Location:
    Pasadena/Hollywood
    #19
    My 12" rev A did this as well and like some others on here the hard drive died about 6 months after. Replaced it with a Western Digital WD800VE from newegg and am dissappointed I didn't replace the drive sooner. It is more power efficient, quieter, cooler, as well as being faster. Hopefully it doesn't die on you, but with consitent backups you'll be fine. If it does, then just look at it as an opportunity to upgrade your HD to a better drive! :D
     

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