iMac problems - beeping nine times

Discussion in 'iMac' started by NickCG, Nov 28, 2010.

  1. NickCG macrumors newbie

    Aug 27, 2010

    I'm having a problem with my girlfriends iMac.

    The mac in question is a late 2009 27" iMac 2.8Ghz i7, with the stock HD, and graphics options. With 2x 2GB sticks of Apple RAM, and a further 2x 2GB sticks of Kingston RAM.
    The machine was purchased in March, and has worked flawlessly until 10.6.5

    The machine is still in Warrenty, I can take it in if I need to.. but here in Holland that usually means it has to stay in shop for over a week. The closest place to our residence is a long distance and.. yeah, it's just not easy, it really is a last resort.


    When we updated it to 10.6.5, it required a restart. Upon restarting it beeped for a number of minutes before it started restarting itself and beeping numerous times before it loaded the operating system. This was two weeks ago.

    Since then, when she has tried to boot it it has either:
    A) Beeped 9 times, 3 short - 3 long - 3 short;
    B) Booted normally without issue.

    When "A" happened, she's been turning it off and waiting for a few minutes before trying again. If it did not load first time - after a few attempts, it always booted.

    Yesterday I finally had some time to take a look at the problem, and discovered that 9 beeps means there is a hardware issue. Most likely a RAM issue.
    I checked the "About this mac" and "more info.." area's of her computer and saw nothing unusual. The machine recognised every part including all 8GBs of RAM.
    I looked into information regarding faulty firmware and found nothing solid - so I left it alone.

    Today we found that the machine does not boot up at all. Waiting any length of time and trying to boot the machine up again does not result in a successful boot.

    I then took the following steps - and got the following results:

    -I removed all 3rd party RAM, and booted - received the same 9 beeps.
    -Moved the stock Apple RAM into the upper slots - received a single long beep repeatedly. (No RAM detected?)
    -Replaced the Apple RAM in the lower slots (where it has always been) - received the same 9 beeps..

    And thats where I am now. Wondering what options are left for me?

    Can anyone help?

    Thanks a lot for any assistance you can offer.

    Warm regards,
  2. shwc, Nov 28, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2010

    shwc macrumors regular

    Jul 2, 2005
    It looks like your ram may have slipped out of its sockets/died or you have Ram related motherboard issues.

    <Edit: I reread your post. You already checked out the RAM. See below for another possibility>

    From apple support document:
    New World Macs (1999 onward) and Intel-based Macs
    The beep codes were revised in October 1999,[2] and have been the same since. In addition, on some models, the power LED would flash in cadence.
    1 beep = no RAM installed
    2 beeps = incompatible RAM types
    3 beeps = no good banks
    4 beeps = no good boot images in the boot ROM (and/or bad sys config block)
    5 beeps = processor is not usable

    Another possibility is an interrupted firmware update.
    apple imac support document
  3. NickCG, Nov 28, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2010

    NickCG thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 27, 2010
    Thank you for the responses.

    I tried SMC and PRAM resets, neither worked. Thank you for the information though. I also tried some other things on that list, but none worked as I could not get passed the beeping.

    Thanks for the information, my gf thinks she may have interrupted the firmware update.

    I shall attempt using a Firmware Restoration CD. But which one do I choose? None of them list the Late 2009 iMac.
    (I can download the CD and burn it on my machine, so that method works for us)

    Many thanks!

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