iMac 20", new, kernel panic horror story, need help!

Discussion in 'iMac' started by iMacinAtlanta, Sep 12, 2007.

  1. iMacinAtlanta macrumors newbie

    Sep 12, 2007
    I've been reading this forum for a while, but this is my first time posting. I've got a real Apple support horror story going with my new iMac, 20", that I bought this summer from the online Apple store. Actually I shouldn't say new, it was refurbished, but Apple gives it the same warranty as new, and they say it is guaranteed to be the same as a new one. Now, three months wiser, I know better and will never ever buy a refurbished product, but here's what has happened, if you have any advice for me PLEASE let me know. I'm desparate here.

    Right out of the box, probably the first or second day, the mac started shutting down by itself. This black film would roll down from the top, covering the whole screen, and then a black box in the middle says in several languages to hold down the power button for several seconds to turn off the computer. Of course I had no idea what this was, I've had an iMac for five years before this, and I'm a big fan of Apple products, I didn't suspect that anything was actually wrong with the computer itself.

    The first time this happened, I blamed my kids for bumping the table, crowding around the new computer. The next few times it happened, I blamed my camcorder firewire which I'd left plugged in the back, then I blamed my external hard drive...then it slowly dawned on me (yes I'm really that stupid/patient) that I had a serious problem on my hands.

    This I now know is random kernel panic, which is VERY hard to solve and correct. The kernal panics happen anywhere, in any program, at any time, sometimes a day will pass without one, sometimes they happen 6 times a day. Anything that is unsaved when they happen is lost, otherwise it's just an inconvenience to spend time rebooting.

    Over the months, I've spent many hours on hold with and talking to the Apple Care folks, who've had me run all the internal diagnostics (which always check out fine), plus do an archive and install (and guess what, the machine had a kernel panic right in the middle of the archive and install, which messed up all my files), then I had to bring it to the local Apple Store "Genius" Bar, where they kept it for a week, replaced the memory, and returned it saying it checked out....but of course the kernel panics continued.

    The next suggestion was to do an Erase and Install, which of course is time consuming because you have to backup all your files, then reinstall them piece by piece afterwards. And still the problem continues. Right now they've promised to send someone to my house to replace the logic board, but of course the part is on backorder (!!!) and they can't tell me when it will come in.

    I'm very frustrated at this point. I bought a "new" computer that doesn't work months after they've taken my money, and the attitude at Apple Care seems to be that it is 100% my problem, and it's up to me to fix the thing.

    What would you do if you were in my situation?? Anybody have any suggestions on how I should proceed?
  2. FocusAndEarnIt macrumors 601


    May 29, 2005
    Wait for the person to come and repair your logic board - pain in the ass, but worth it.

    If it continues, demand a replacement.
  3. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040


    Aug 8, 2007
    Takamatsu, Japan
    The logic board replacement should definitely clear up the issue for you. Don't settle for any less and definitely get it done now while your refurb is still in the one year limited warranty. It's the single most expensive component in the system (aside from the display) and the heart of the computer. Replacing it will be almost like getting a new machine.

    I had a logic board go bad in a 20" Core Duo iMac that caused lockups, display glitches and kernel panics. I had to pay the full $450 because I had foolishly not purchased Applecare and it was 6 weeks out of the one year warranty. Once the logic board replacement was done it was like brand new again, stable as can be. I sold it and got my 24" aluminum iMac and will definitely be getting Applecare on this one.
  4. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    Kernel panics are caused either by some seriously dodgy software installed (but that wouldn't be the case with you, since it happened just after unpacking) or a hardware problem. Could be some fault in the processor, in the RAM, in the logic board, anywhere. Well, Apple has to fix it, and replacing the logic board has a good chance of fixing it permanently. If that doesn't help, contact the citizen advice bureau for advice.
  5. iMacinAtlanta thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 12, 2007

    What's frustrating is I think there are so many reasons for kernel panic that they don't seem to be able to figure it out; it's like a game of You Sunk My Battleship, hit or miss, and they keep missing and I'm getting really tired of waiting.

    Where is the citizen advice bureau? On this site?
  6. iMacinAtlanta thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 12, 2007
    I agree on Applecare, it is a good investment. I wish they would handle long drawn out problems a little better. Where did you sell your computer, by the way?
  7. fireworkz macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2007
    :eek: :D
  8. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040


    Aug 8, 2007
    Takamatsu, Japan
    I sold it here in Japan in an online auction and got a very decent price for it. I know it is the case everywhere but particularly in Japan Macs hold their value in resale. But then again considering the $450 logic board I had to buy it wasn't as good a deal as I would have hoped overall.

    Unfortunately, as you know Apple will only offer Applecare on machines purchased new and not refurbs.

    I hope the logic board replacement cures it for you. I think it should.
  9. iMacinAtlanta thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 12, 2007
    Actually Apple does offer Applecare on refurbs, at least if purchased directly through the online Apple Store as mine was. They say even if I go on to sell this imac, the 3-year Apple Care would follow it.

    The latest is that the logic board isn't coming in until the end of the month. Which is a crazy long wait; today my mac had kernel panic about a dozen times, I could barely check email.
  10. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040


    Aug 8, 2007
    Takamatsu, Japan
    Once again talking out of my butt. Thanks for correcting me on this. I could have sworn Apple only offered a one year limited warranty on refurbs. In that case I highly recommend you get it. I am not going to buy mine right away but I will be doing so for sure before the one year warranty on this one ends.
  11. winslayer macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2006
  12. rogov macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2007
    So how long has it been since you logged your first complaint with Apple? End of the month (two weeks) might be considered reasonable if you just started this process, but if this has been going on for weeks with Apple already, I would say enough is enough.

    Explain (politely and tactfully) to the Applecare folks that you have been very patient up until now and the machine has already been taken away once for work, but you need/expect a working computer by now. I would try to get the Applecare people to swap you a different machine, either as a replacement, or a temporary loaner as the other is in the shop. If the Applecare representative isn't responsive, request the supervisor and calmly explain that this is your first Mac and it's already been in shop at least once and it didn't fix the problem. Tell them you think your machine is cursed and you shouldn't be made to suffer for such an extraordinary amount of time. If that still doesn't work, I would suggest going to the Apple store and trying to get the Geniuses, staff, or manager to help you swap the machine.

    I would also start documenting/recording all the instances of the kernel panics. This could be useful either for court or public opinion which I hope doesn't need to go this far. (I have higher expectations of Apple to make this right.) But just in case, start with a written log noting the date/time, what you were doing, and any other possibly relevant information. Also, I suggest getting a camera and take a snapshot with date stamp everytime the system panics (or better yet a video camera that is always recording which captures what you were doing right before the panic). I also believe there is supposed to be a kernel panic log written somewhere on the system. (Hopefully somebody else can say exactly where it is.) I recommend saving the new one every time the system panics. It might contain something obvious to an engineer about what is wrong with the system, which then can be used against Apple if they failed to take notice.

    Assuming Apple doesn't fix the problem, I would suggest looking up your local/state/federal laws about refurbished products to see what your rights are.
  13. dwl017 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 10, 2007
    Murder Capitol DC
    Kernel panics, Apple's well kept ugly secret in my opinion the machine is trash no matter what anyone tells you. Most Apple fans dont like to talk about Kernel Panics in public, it seems to be a type of Cancer for the Mac that really cant be cured. I had Power Mac G4 1.25 Ghz DP cause of death Kernel Panic. I also had a 15" iMac G4 model same cause of death and a 1st generation 20" iMac G5 model same cause of death. All three machines were bought second hand and all three sellers swore on there mothers grave that the problem had been fixed by Apple.
  14. iMacinAtlanta thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 12, 2007
    Yes, good points....

    Thanks, those are good suggestions. Responses to a couple points:

    Yes, there is a log built into the computer that tracks kernel panics (and other events as well) I learned this last week. It is located under the blue apple, then under "about this mac", then "more info", then scroll down to "logs"...lots of information there, none of it helpful to me, but one interesting thing is that there is a one-click SEND button and in seconds the logs can be zapped to the AppleCare help person.

    What's annoying is that the log was (at least I think it was) wiped out when they told me early on (second week of calling) to do first an archive and install (but kernal panic occured during this procedure so the log was actually lost in a jumble of files), and then all activity was lost again a week later when they told me to do an Erase and Install (they only had me backup personal files!). If I had known about the log from day 1, I certainly would have printed it. But it is there now recording the daily kp's and now I know how to send it to Apple.

    This is also my one-month anniversary of calling about this issue. Really that's just awful that it has been this long. :(

    The latest from Apple is that if the new logic board isn't here by next Tues., we will look at "options". Of course not specified. One of those options better be a swap for a new computer.
  15. iMacinAtlanta thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 12, 2007

    Wow, didn't know this. So it affects just a certain small percent, and they hope we keep quiet?

    I'd bet a million bucks that this refurbished mac had the same problem originally and it wasn't fixed in house before they sold it to me. I wonder if there would be some way to track back the serial number? I'm guessing the only person who could do that is Apple, and another million says they won't be checking that out.
  16. Gosh macrumors 6502

    Aug 14, 2006
    I had a Kernel Panic on my Intel iMac - and the logic board was replaced - and it happened again!

    I don't know quite how but I realized that I had previously changed my network settings but had kept the same network name. I gave it a new name and it was fine ever since. Apple never came back with an explaination.

    Kernel Panics are very rare, and I think it's true most people these days don't suffer them but alas the cause can be very elusive and seemingly insignificant. A process of backwards elimination.

    Kernel Panics are the nearest experiance to Windows a Mac user can have!

Share This Page