2009 Mac Mini SuperDrive died, fan issues

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by macmini101, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. macmini101 macrumors newbie

    Dec 14, 2012
    How many people here have had issues with their Mac Minis, especially the superdrive failing? I've googled the issue and it seems to be alarmingly common, especially coinciding with system updates.

    My superdrive has acted very strangely almost every time I have used it, which has been a total of 6-7 times in the 3 years I've owned it. It finally failed completely and does not appear in system profiler. A dvd was stuck in it and I managed to remove it by prying it out on startup as the drive still spins and will take discs.

    The fan also spins at top speed all the time. I ran the Apple Hardware Test and it came back with a 4SNS failure. The computer works otherwise but the noise is unbearable and so many failures in one machine hurts my confidence in Apple. Paying $50 just to talk to support on the phone is outrageous too.
  2. 53x12 macrumors 68000


    Feb 16, 2009
    Have you tried cleaning the inside of the SuperDrive? Not saying that is the cause but have heard some stories where the drive "failed" but really just needed a good cleaning. My late 09 iMac SuperDrive is still going strong after all these years. Knock on wood.
  3. jdryyz macrumors regular


    Jun 12, 2007
    Are you running Snow Leopard, by any chance? I had something similar happen with mine, only it would intermittently spin up the fan. I ended up using one of those Fan Control programs to calm it down.

    The problem disappeared after Mountain Lion was installed.

  4. MattA macrumors 6502


    May 15, 2006
    Orlando, FL

    My early 2009 Mac Mini had an optical drive that 'failed.' I took a credit card with a microfiber cloth wrapped around it, put some 91% isopropyl alcohol on it, stuck it partway in the slot, and worked it back and forth. This removed a bunch of dust and dirt. Stuck a disk in after that, and voila! All workee again.

    It's worth a shot.

    As for the fan issue, you probably have a failed temperature sensor in the unit. There's one on the HDD that can sometimes either come loose from the motherboard or fail altogether. This will cause the fans to spin at full speed. Have you installed anything inside the machine lately?
  5. macmini101 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 14, 2012
    Yes I am running SL 10.6.8. I installed a fan control program too but it's obviously not ideal and it still starts up extremely noisily. I'm a little concerned about it eventually causing problems artificially keeping the fan at a certain speed too.

    This is exactly why I suspected a software issue. I installed an update in the hope that it was a software problem and the superdrive actually did mount and start working again so I thought it was problem solved. When I turned it on again, the superdrive was not showing up and ate a DVD but it did spin.

    I was able to get the DVD out today by sticking an old credit card in the superdrive on startup. It still wouldn't show the drive in system profiler unfortunately.

    I have not opened the case once, no mods or anything. The error in AHT was 4SNS which is definitely some kind of temp sensor problem. Do you think if I were to open it up and reseat the cables or something it would fix it or is it the board? What concerns me is the "coincidental" failure of the superdrive.

    Has anyone had any luck with getting Apple to repair something like this out of warranty? It's crazy that the superdrive would die like that after being used 6 times and if it's a software or update problem, even worse.
  6. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    Apple optical drives are cheaply made with mostly plastic parts. In my experience the so-called Super Drive is the hardware component that is most likely to fail.

    For example, the optical drive in my 2006 iMac failed a few months ago. It had seen little use and it didn't have a bunch of dirt inside, but it died anyway. I had done all my CD ripping on another Mac (which did-in its optical drive...) and I stream all my music from external drives and online. The iMac optical drive had been used maybe a half dozen times. So it goes...

    Be thankful that your Super Drive isn't in a portable Mac or an iMac. Those can be difficult/expensive to replace; you can replace the Mini's optical drive yourself if you are relatively handy with a screwdriver. I would do that if you plan on reselling the Mini or get a USB optical drive for around $40 from Amazon.

    I'm glad that Apple is phasing-out internal optical drives. USB alternatives are inexpensive and easy to replace. The Apple drives are junk. But the external Super Drive comes in a shiny aluminum case so Apple sells a ton of them to people who are taken-in by Apple's "form over function" design ethos...
  7. jaxhunter macrumors regular


    Dec 14, 2012
    If there's an Apple Store near you take it to the Genii. They can run either a quick test right there at the Bar or check it in for a more thorough diagnostic. AHT is nice but the Apple Service Diagnostic is more comprehensive and can identify precisely which sensor has failed. The SuperDrive and hard drive (including the hard drive temperature sensor) are all mounted on an upper frame that connects to a single slot on the logic board failures could be related. ASD would help to identify that.
  8. misfit356tsw macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2007
    My Superdrive started making horrible noises and quit reading. Since it was 2006 Mini I wrote it off as age. Bought a Blu-Ray cleaner for my PS3 and decided to use it on the Mini and after a couple of times through it started working again.

    The fan issue is a whole different story. You have lost a temp sensor. Good luck with your issues and wish I could help more.
  9. jdryyz macrumors regular


    Jun 12, 2007
    Well I had a good run, but my fan is starting to rev up again randomly. I thought it may have been software driven since it appeared to end with the installation of Mountain Lion but it has recently started happening again.

    I looked inside the mini for signs of trouble but found none. It does seem to go away for a while after doing a variation on the SMC reset (I keep it powered off much longer with the cord removed before turning it back on again).

    I just wish I could find the trigger. It makes no sense for the temp to suddenly spike, thus sending the fan into overdrive.

    Could it be that the entire interconnect board is iffy?


    This is where the fan is connected. But, if that were true, I should have the trouble all the time and it shouldn't be short-term curable with the SMC reset.
  10. jdryyz macrumors regular


    Jun 12, 2007
    So has anyone here replaced their interconnect board and solved the fan problem??
  11. sequoiamac macrumors newbie

    May 20, 2014
    I have a late 2009 Mac Mini and have a failed superdrive. I have tried cleaning it, took it apart to clean it and nothing works at all. It's good as dead, ha. Time to buy a internal or external superdrive, whichever is cheaper.
  12. Micky Do macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

    Aug 31, 2012
    An island in the Andaman Sea.
    An external would probably be the most convenient, cheaper….. and you could continue to use it when / if you replace your Mini with a newer model.

    As has been suggested, the optical drive is probably the least reliable component of earlier Macs. It was a good thing to see them become a peripheral.
  13. emeraldringer macrumors member

    May 24, 2009
    I have both a Mac Mini and an iMac, both from 2009. Both have external USB drives due to dead/unreliable superdrives.
  14. sequoiamac macrumors newbie

    May 20, 2014
    Yea was thinking that would be the way to go. I see them for $30 ish on Amazon for a slim SuperDrive.
  15. Corax macrumors 6502


    Apr 27, 2009
    Willemstad - Curaçao
    I've got a Mac Mini Early 2009.
    2GHz C2D, 4GB DDR3 and with superdrive. Mine still works fine!

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