I think my iMac is borken

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by redneon, Feb 27, 2008.

  1. redneon macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2006
    #1
    I've had my iMac for two and a half years (20" Intel Core Duo) without any trouble but it's died a bit and I'm really hoping someone can help.

    About a week ago I was installing the latest Leopard update and rebooted the Mac when it requested it. After half an hour it was still booting and hadn't got back into Leopard so I held down the power button and tried booting it up again. What it then did was boot up to the grey screen with the loading circle, stayed there for about 10 minutes and then rebooted itself. It did this over and over again so I knew something was wrong.

    I booted up from CD and tried to do a disk repair but it said it couldn't repair the disk. So I booted up from TTP and did a full system test which found 69 bad sectors on the disk which it fixed.

    When I then rebooted it did exactly the same as it did after I installed the Leopard update. It started booting MacOS and after half an hour it still hadn't loaded.

    This was when I decided it was time to just wipe the entire hard drive.

    So, I booted up from the Leopard CD and used Disk Utility to erase the entire hard drive (Just the single zeros method) and then tried to carry on with Leopard installation. Installation failed because it said the hard drive wasn't bootable. I assumed this was because I'd partitioned the hard drive incorrectly but it was late and I wanted to get to bed so I just switched it off intending to sort it out the following day.

    Now to the REAL problem.

    I can't boot the Mac at all. When I switch it on I get the "dong!" but the Apple logo doesn't appear. Not even if I hold down "C" to boot from CD (Leopard is in the drive). I even tried holding down the Option key so that I could select my boot volume manually but this didn't work either.

    Please tell me my Mac isn't borken.
     
  2. pcorajr macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2007
    #2
    Is it still coverd under apple care? is so why not have them take a look at it. Hope you get this sorted out.
     
  3. redneon thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 27, 2006
    #3
    Nope. It's not covered.

    If it were just the hard drive I'd get a new one ordered and replace it but the fact that it's not booting into the startup manager is making me think it could be a little more serious.
     
  4. pulsewidth947 macrumors 65816

    pulsewidth947

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Location:
    squarefrog.co.uk
    #4
    If you don't own Apple Care you could still take it to an Apple store and get a genius to look at it. Worst case scenario your hard drive needs replacing, which if you are out of warranty you can do yourself fairly easily. There are a couple of options first though - if you have an external Firewire drive you could try installing to that. Once you've done that you could try running DiskWarrior to repair the internal drive. If that goes well you can clone the drive back over.

    Mind you I think you can boot DiskWarrior from the CD. It's a fantastic piece of software and has helped me in many scrapes at work!

    If you tell us what iMac you own, I'll find you some instructions on replacing the drive.
     
  5. redneon thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 27, 2006
    #5
    I can't boot from CD because I can't get into the startup manager. And I can't install to an external drive because I can't boot from CD :)

    DiskWarrior is good but I tend to prefer TTP, to be honest.
     
  6. pulsewidth947 macrumors 65816

    pulsewidth947

    Joined:
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    #6
    Of course! Sounds like a logic board problem then. We had a student who couldn't get to the startup recently, and she needed to get her logic board replaced.
     
  7. redneon thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 27, 2006
    #7
    That sounds expensive :S
     
  8. tekulvi macrumors member

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    Jan 27, 2008
    Location:
    Rotterdam Junction, NY
    #8
    sounds borken
     
  9. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #9
    Who is your iMac borken? Some cute little iBook?
     
  10. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Takamatsu, Japan
    #10
    Very expensive. I had the exact same machine as yours once upon a time and ended up needing a logic board replacement out of warranty. It cost me close to $500.00 here from Apple in Japan. For some reason I've heard it's much more expensive from Apple in the states.

    If you do in fact need a logic board your best bet might be a company like DT&T whom would charge you $495.00.

    By the way, I got Applecare on my current iMac and I recommend it highly if you ever buy another Mac. You say you've had that machine 2 and a half years but the Intel Core Duo was released in January, 2006. You'd still have about a year left and the cost of a logic board replacement would be $0 plus $0 shipping. :(

    Like I said, I learned the hard way like you though. My iMac was only 6 weeks out of it's 1 year limited warranty when the logic board died. :eek:
     
  11. redneon thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 27, 2006
    #11
    I'm in the UK and we usually get shafted quite heavily when it comes to pricing. They don't call it "rip off Britain" for nothing :)

    To be honest, if it is the logic board that's gone and it's going to cost me £300 (estimate) to get a new one, plus the cost of a hard drive (probably), I might end up just jumping off the Mac bandwagon and building myself a new PC... I can't afford a brand new Mac and for the price of repairing this one I could get a much more powerful PC.
     
  12. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

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    Aug 8, 2007
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    Takamatsu, Japan
    #12
    I hear you. I very nearly left the Apple world myself after my nightmare experience. I mean, 6 weeks out of the warranty and the logic board dies?? It wasn't like I was beating the machine to death.

    But, apparently Steve Jobs has assimilated me so I ended up going back to the well. I do love my 24" aluminum iMac though and feel safe and secure with my AppleCare coverage to August, 2010. Because of the excellent resale value of Macs I sold the repaired Core Duo on auction and was able to cover logic board costs as well as a substantial down payment towards my new machine.

    I wouldn't blame you one bit though if after it turned out you do have a fried logic board that you jumped the Apple ship.
     
  13. pulsewidth947 macrumors 65816

    pulsewidth947

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    squarefrog.co.uk
    #13
    Ouch :( You could always look for a refurb model. Currently they have 20" 2GHz models for £650. Apples refurb system is great.
     
  14. redneon thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2006
    #14
    I've decided I'm going to go out and buy a new hard drive and see if that fixes the problem.

    Before I do this however, something's just sprung to mind which I thought I'd ask first.

    I've still got my Leopard disc in the drive and I can't eject it no matter what I do and I'm wondering if this could be what's causing my problem.

    I've tried all kinds of key combinations on boot to get the disc out, holding the mouse button down, holding the eject key etc. but nothing can get the sodding disc out of the drive.

    If it's the hard drive that's the problem then I'm not fussed because when I replace the hard drive the problem with recrify itself. But if it's the disc that's causing the problem then I could end up buying a hard drive for nothing.

    Also, another thing worth mentioning. I've been trying to reset the NVRAM and PRAM by holding down Command+Option+P+R on boot but it doesn't seem to work. Apparently it's supposed to reboot and I'm supposed to hear two beeps but it never reboots. I've tried holding them down before the dong and after (to the tune of five minutes on a couple of occasions), to no avail.

    EDIT: Another thing to add. I've just left the Mac on the grey screen for about 10 minutes and now I've got an image of a folder with a question mark on it. What does this mean?

    EDIT EDIT: The image of the folder with a question mark has now disappeared and I've got the apple logo with the loading circle but it doesn't seem to be doing anything else...

    EDIT EDIT EDIT: Nope, it appears it is. It's just booted the CD. Sorry for all these edits, by the way =o)
     
  15. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

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    Takamatsu, Japan
    #15
    That really sounds more and more to me like a bad logic board and not the hard disk.

    Are you aware of how awesomely complicated of a job it is to open up an Intel iMac to get at the HD? You're talking about dozens of torx screws, foil, very fragile iSight cables, etc.

    For myself I know I would never get it back together right even if I actually managed to disassemble it. :confused:

    Have a look here.
     
  16. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

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    Aug 8, 2007
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    Takamatsu, Japan
    #16
    Glad to hear it and I hope I'm wrong and that it IS just your HD. :)

    This is for future reference.
     
  17. MacAficionado macrumors 6502

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    An awesome place
    #17
    It's the hard drive. Not the end of the world.

    Replace it yourself and save yourself some cash:cool:
     
  18. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

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    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Takamatsu, Japan
    #18
    Wow, you're good if you can positively diagnose his problems right over the internet just based on his descriptions. :rolleyes:

    As I mentioned above replacing hard disks in Intel iMacs is no easy task. Check the threads in here from those who have tried if you don't believe me.

    I wish the current iMacs were more user-accessible like the non-iSight G5s were.
     
  19. pulsewidth947 macrumors 65816

    pulsewidth947

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    Jan 25, 2005
    Location:
    squarefrog.co.uk
    #19
    Damn - replacing the HD isn't as easy as I thought it would be. I'd definitely go the external route. If you then discover that it's not your HD that's knackered, external drives are always handy to have - for backup or additional storage. If you can boot to CD then you can install to an external.
     
  20. UltraNEO* macrumors 601

    UltraNEO*

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    Location:
    近畿日本
    #20
    Have you tried to reset the PRAM via the keyboard? Cause manually Halting the system can corrupt the PRAM settings. It's fairly easy to do.. Just press and hold Command+Option+P+R right after power-up and wait for the second chime.

    If your getting the normal "bong" sound then your hardware is fine... However, try to remember not to force a power down on your system, it'll cause the HD heads to crash... this will definitely shorten the life and cause it to fail sooner.




    Alternatively....

    If worst comes to worst... And your feeling adventurous you could dismantle the system yourself and replace the drive. Though it won't be a easy feat... but then again, you could learn something... however, learning to serving your own machine is always handy but can be fatal, if your unsure about doing it.

    Assuming you'd like a bash, I found a guide... but i'm not sure is this your mac... If it's the wrong one, let us know and i'll try to find a guide for you.

    http://home.comcast.net/~woojo/DFFA53A0-F23D-4541-9015-481FD3B6532E/iMac_Disassembly.html

    ;)
     
  21. UltraNEO* macrumors 601

    UltraNEO*

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    Location:
    近畿日本
    #21
    This question mark means your Mac can't find a system folder to boot from, this is typical if you've wiped or formatted the drive.

    Sounds like your machine is alive!!

    OK.. Insert the system boot disk, if you've not already done so.
    Press and hold "C" or "Option" for the boot menu.. This should in theory bring up a boot menu. If you have nothing installed on the HD, it should only show the Leopard DVD (or Tiger DVD)

    Select the DVD and try to boot from it.

    OK.. if you need more help just reply to the thread.
     
  22. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #22
    Reset PRAM
    Reset SMU
    You need to do a CLEAN INSTALL or ARCHIVER AND INSTALL, not update.
     
  23. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Takamatsu, Japan
    #23
    The OP said he was having troubles resetting PRAM:

    This was one of the reasons I was thinking potentially bad logic board and not just bad HDD.
     

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