iMac 233 "Plane Crash" Sounds


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 7, 2002
I have been having a problem recently with my Bondi iMac ...
I'm hoping that the readers of MacRumors may be able to help!

First, the specs:
* iMac G3/233 - Rev. A (with motherboard replacement by Apple - Sept 1998)
* 288 MB RAM - Original 4 GB HD (Vender = WDC)
* OS 8.6 - ROM updated to 1.6
* Original tray load CD-ROM (Mat****a CD-ROM CR-173)
<full name of CD-ROM manufacturer censored out>

Next, the problem:
* Nearly every time the computer boots up (for the past ~month), there is a sound like a plane that's about to crash. I can't figure out if it's the CD-ROM drive or the hard drive, but I believe it's the CD-ROM.
* On occasion, this 1/2 second sound will repeat over and over and over, and the computer won't boot.
* Just about 30 minutes ago, after I pressed the eject button the CD-ROM, the "dive-bomb" sound stopped, but a nasty clicking sound started - it seemed like it was the hard drive. Needless to say I unplugged the computer at this point... I waited 20 minutes, plugged it back in, and it booted up.
* The "dive-bomb" CD-ROM? sound sequence has happened before.

The big questions:
* What the hell is making this noise?
* Has anyone heard of/experienced this problem?
* What should I do?

Thank you for reading this far, and thank you in advance for any responses!


macrumors 65816
Jan 22, 2002
if your hard drive is clicking I would take it in for repair immediately.

thats what happened to my dad's pb before it crapped out


macrumors 68020
Jan 6, 2002
Buffy's bedroom
Three suggestions (in no real order):

1. Have you tried unplugging the CD unit? It's easy to do on those iMacs.

2. Try taking out RAM. Especially if you put RAM in the machine just as the problems started.

3. Boot from your System CD. If you don't hear the sounds, reinstall the system.


macrumors 68030
Aug 1, 2001
Santa Cruz Ca
1. If your HD is clicking, thunking or particularly if it sounds like an old solid-state turn signal....the head may be off the disc which point yer basically screwed for that drive. If you have a local Apple store, take it in for diagnosis.

2. The broken glass noise is indicative of either bad RAM or a serious motherboard/processor level failure.

3. The "Airplane noise" is probably just an unballanced CD. If it occurs with no CD in the drive........... It could be any number of failures.

4. It definitely sounds like your iMac needs either a bullet in the temple or some serious help. Find an apple tech through Apple's 800#:


The average hourly rate (in my area) is $110.00 US/Hr. with a 1 hr minimum.

If you can: Record the noises and verify their playability. Call the Apple tech and play the noises for them. If you immediately get an " Eeew, can I recommend you a vendor?" response.....consider replacing it.


macrumors 68000
Dec 9, 2001
State of Denial
Airplane sound?

Did it sound sort of like a whistle, and after it sounded like it was dive bombing, did it sound like a plane was pulling out of a dive? If so, it may be the monitor rather than the computer. It happened to the monitor that I got with the original Macintosh LC and LCII. The clicking sound is either the CD drive (happens a LOT with MacAddict CDs and) or the hard drive.


macrumors newbie
Mar 25, 2002
I am happy to meet another person who is still using an "A" version Bondi iMac.
Mine made terrifying airplane crashing noises once or twice with certain badly balanced CD's in it's CD rom. This was a known issue and if you think this may be your problem (is it when you have a CD inserted? Always the same CD?) either stop using that CD or delve into the murkier reccesses of iMac updates on Apple's support site as I think there was a firmware patch for this.
The other thing that happened to me was problems with my CD rom as a result of it not being properly replaced after I had the case opened to swap the original hard drive with a 40mB one which changed my life!
The shop fixed the CD rom and it was fine after that.

If it's your hard drive making the noise I would get it swapped for a 40Mb one (36 after formatting). I got one for £100. I have discovered whole Photoshop filters I couldn't use before. The shop transfered the data from my old drive to my new one as part of the deal.
Good luck.


macrumors 6502a
Feb 25, 2002
UK Mac-helpful shop

Sorry I can't offer much help on the iMac front.

But Hypatia, which shop was it that you went to that sold you a new drive and did a data transfer as part of the deal.

I used to work at PC World and I can't imagine anyone there doing it.

I'm interested by this one.


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 7, 2002
Thank you

Thank you all for the great suggestions about my sick iMac... I tried a few things, and the sound seems to have stopped. Of course, I agree that it's probably time to move on to a newer computer! I would really like FireWire, OS X, iTunes, and the other nice new stuff!

I didn't want to open the machine up, but I did try starting up from a CD... the sound didn't appear (thanks beej). When I then started up regularly with the CD in, the sound still didn't appear. When I restarted a third time without the CD in, the sound was still gone. This suggests that it is a CD-ROM drive problem (by the way Hypatia, I made sure the drive firmware is updated with the Apple fix).

I was unable to repeat the hard drive clicking noise (which is a good thing! :)), so I guess the computer is okay for the time being...

But I've realized over the past few years that I really prefer laptops, and for nearly all of my work I use my trusty Powerbook 180. For the Photoshop work I do I prefer using one of my university's G4 towers because the iMac is too slow.

Since the iMac is both (1) too slow for Photoshop and (2) to heavy to carry, my next decision will certainly be... iBook or TiBook! :)


macrumors 68020
May 9, 2001
The last time that happen to me, I had a bunch of elfos playing Top Gun inside my G4. I told them that in my back yard I saw some fairy girl that looks like Tinkerbell... and my computer didn't make any noise after that.


macrumors newbie
Mar 25, 2002
noisy iMacs

Dunepilot it was Albion computors in London. They made a charge for the time it would take which was quite reasonable as it was a long job.
Wouldn't it be a really good idea if Apple support had a bunch of sound files you could listen to of various computor disaster noises with explanations of what caused them? Then you could compare your iMac's sound effect to their files and figure out what the problem is.