iMac Dripping Sound Mystery

Discussion in 'iMac' started by RedElectro, Nov 6, 2013.

  1. RedElectro macrumors regular

    Sep 26, 2010
    United Kingdom
    Hi everyone...
    Someone has got to help me with this... I'm going insane!! :eek:

    My Mid 2010 iMac (Quad Core i7, 16gb Ram, 2TB HD) is making what can only be described as the sound of water dripping every 12 seconds, sometimes every 6. It's very quiet... but you try working with that for any length of time in a quiet room and you'll soon be considering smashing the screen with your face!

    As I type this now the sound is happening exactly every 12 seconds.

    I had AppleCare on the machine which ran out in October... so towards the end of the cover I thought "I'm going to get this sorted" - so went into the store, got a bemused look from a Genius and they took my mac away for (I think it was) three weeks and did the following:

    Replaced the iMac's Power Supply
    Replaced the iMac's Hard Drive
    Replaced the iMac's LED Backlight (screen)

    I brought the Mac back home set it up and thought the noise had gone... but no!!! The following morning "drip" "drip" "drip" :mad:

    So I left it a while and booked another appointment, the Genius told me "everything that could cause this noise has been replaced... there's nothing left to cause it"

    So I said "Well actually, that cannot be true as I'm still getting the noise"

    And he then said that they would replace the LogicBoard as a sign of good will, but he didn't think it would make much difference.

    So they took my iMac for another 2 weeks and:

    Replaced the LogicBoard
    Replaced ALL of the internal Fans

    I got the iMac back home... set it up and wallowed in the bliss of my noiseless machine...




    WTF?!?!?!? :mad::eek::(

    It's back... it's happening right now! What is "The Drip" surely now there IS nothing left that could cause it??? I've even changed the power lead out of desperation!! It's not the speakers because I've connected it to a firewire audio interface and it still does it.

    It's not something to do with my house as I've moved while I've had the problem and it carried on!!

    The sound seems to be coming from somewhere on the lefthand side of the iMac. I'm starting to think now the only solution is to sell it and look for another one??

    Can anyone help?? :(
  2. Tumbleweed666 macrumors 68000


    Mar 20, 2009
    Near London, UK.
    Does the volume control affect it, or is it the same sound level even if volume muted?
  3. xgman macrumors 601


    Aug 6, 2007
    Sounds like maybe some electrical interference. Maybe try a different place in the house as a test? Maybe a clean power filter? I had similar situation but it turned out to be resolved when I got rid of my speakers for a different brand even though they only made that noise in my house and nowhere else.
  4. RedElectro thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 26, 2010
    United Kingdom
    I've just tried that now (embarrassingly for the first time) and it's still the same even when the volume is muted.

    Why does it seem to stop for a few hours after it's been moved and then come back???
  5. Bruno09 macrumors 68020

    Aug 24, 2013
    Far from here
    Is the wifi turned on ?

    12 seconds is the delay between two "Looking for networks"….
  6. RedElectro thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 26, 2010
    United Kingdom
    I will try it plugged in somewhere else. But it did do the same thing in my old house. I suppose that could be a massive coincidence of bad mains in both houses though? :/
  7. RedElectro thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 26, 2010
    United Kingdom
    Bruno09 I REALLY thought you had it there! It seemed as though when I turned the wifi off the dripping sound stopped! And my Goal-Like celebrations where cut short when "Drip"

    It really did seem like the noise had stopped, but there were other ambient sounds around (cat having a wash for one) that was masking things!

    So close!!!
  8. jordanm86 macrumors regular

    Oct 21, 2011
    Possible Hard Drive issue? It could be the needle moving position? Those of you with MacBook's will know that weird noise when you move the machine when in use (I think the needle moves into a certain position during movement to protect the disk)?
  9. RedElectro thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 26, 2010
    United Kingdom
    Thanks for the suggestion, but they replaced the hard drive on the Mac first time I took it to the store.

    I have a very similar iMac in work and have never noticed this kind of noise coming from that one.

  10. B1ueB1aze macrumors member

    Oct 22, 2013
  11. RedElectro thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 26, 2010
    United Kingdom
    B1ueB1aze I think we may be onto something?

    I've been logged on in "Safe Mode" for coming up to an hour and I've not heard the "drip" yet!! I will leave it on overnight and try again in the morning (usually the time I notice it most) and report back! :D
  12. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    If it's not happening in Safe mode, it may be some app you have launching automatically. You can check the following locations for apps that automatically launch on startup and delete any you don't need/want:
    • System Preferences > Users & Groups > yourusername > Login Items (SL and older: System Preferences > Accounts > yourusername > Login Items)
    • In Finder, click Go > Go to Folder > /Library/LaunchAgents
    • In Finder, click Go > Go to Folder > ~/Library/LaunchAgents
    • In Finder, click Go > Go to Folder > /Library/StartupItems
  13. RedElectro thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 26, 2010
    United Kingdom
    Thanks for your help guys.

    I've found these in the following images (See Attachments)

    I don't have Spotify so I don't know why that's there, but the M-Audio stuff is needed.

    Also... I have no idea what that RDUSB**** thing is?!

    Attached Files:

  14. Nuke61 macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2013
    Columbia, SC
    Could it be fan noise, where something inside is periodically getting hit by the fan? If that's a possibility, go here and download the stress tester for OS X:
  15. Arfdog macrumors 6502

    Jan 25, 2013
    It's from an app, and therefore you can mute it, not sure why you said it doesn't go away when muted. There could be a sound from imessages. "Chat Invitation" sound.

    I had a periodic dripping sound from imessages because a friend kept logging off or on.
  16. RedElectro thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 26, 2010
    United Kingdom
    I don't understand it. The sound doesn't seem like it's coming from the speakers... it's too clear!

    Is it possible that something could click (drip sound) inside the machine when running normally, but not when in Safe Mode? Because I have heard the sound when the speakers have been muted and also with a lead plugged into the headphone socket that didn't go anywhere... just to completely cut the signal off.

    It's now the following morning and I'm typing this message without any drip/click (still in Safe Mode).
  17. B1ueB1aze, Nov 6, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2013

    B1ueB1aze macrumors member

    Oct 22, 2013
    Reboot back into a normal boot, and create a new administrator user, logout of your current account and login to the new one and see if the dripping sound continues in this new user account. If it does, I would run the Apple Hardware Test, here are instructions on how to run this test,
  18. RedElectro thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 26, 2010
    United Kingdom
    Ok... I was wrong! :(

    It does make the sound in Safe Boot too! I restarted the machine and even on the white screen with grey apple it started "dripping" then booted up and ran the GPU test mentioned above and sound was happening every 6 seconds!

    Tried the Admin account idea mentioned above... same sound. So rebooted in Safe and it's still there!!

    Could it be a heat related thing? It seems as though it only happens when the machine has been on for a while. That would explain my getting it back from the Apple Store and it seemingly being fixed. Also why they couldn't hear it themselves.

    I'm in safe boot now and it's happening.
  19. alksion macrumors 68000


    Sep 10, 2010
    Los Angeles County
    There has been tons of useful information given to you. While this may not be extremely helpful, at this point, if it were my machine, I'd sell it.

    Might be time to move on. Obviously that's just my opinion and may not be practical for you. I completely understand.
  20. tom vilsack macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

    Nov 20, 2010
    ladner cdn
    Do you have skype?

    If Skype-Preferences-Notifications-Play Sound (change)


    If not that try either carbon copy or superduper,install a external drive and image your system over to external drive...once complete reboot and hold down option key and pick external drive....once external drive is loaded,"eject" internal drive....if drip goes away you will know the new drive they gave you is still the issue.
  21. richard13 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2008
    Mill Creek, WA
    Was the Apple (Genius Bar) guy able to reproduce the sound when they had it? If they did they should be finding out what is causing this rather than swapping out parts left and right.

    If they didn't, the problem may not be with your iMac at all but with something in your environment. Did you put your iMac right back where it was before the repairs? Chances are you have some problem in that room.
  22. dwarnecke11 macrumors 6502

    Nov 29, 2009
    My guess is that the sound you're hearing is the faint "pop" heard 20 seconds or so after a sound stops playing. This is inherent to the sound card design.
  23. macthefork macrumors 6502

    Feb 2, 2013
    I haven't seen this mentioned, so I'll ask... have you checked your System Preferences under Sound, and made sure the "Play User Interface Sounds" box is not checked?

    I know it's obvious, and it shouldn't make sounds if the output is muted, but...
  24. Merode macrumors 6502


    Nov 5, 2013
    Warszawa, Poland
    I wouldn't leave Apple Store until they resolved the issue. I guess I'm stubborn.

    If it's still on warranty, go ahead and try giving it for service again. It's no argument - "we replaced 90% of your computer" if the problem persists. The warranty is about fixing issues not replacing parts in hopes of fixing it.
  25. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    Post a sound file, so we can hear it.

    Perhaps you should consider a Mac Mini.
    They're "drier"....

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