Intel i5 27" IMAC Loud Firecracker-Like Noise

Mr. French

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 23, 2012
24
0
Hi Guys,

So I bought a 3.1 Ghz Intel i5 27inch Imac (Mid 2011, 8GB) about a week ago off of eBay (brand new unit). Everything was good up until about a half hour ago- I can't even begin to describe the excruciatingly loud sound that woke me up from my sleep. It literally sounded like a firecracker was going off inside my Imac, and, no joke, I am still scared ******** after waking up. I immediately turned it off, but does anyone know what could have caused the issue? I looked around a bunch online and I have never heard someone having a problem like this. Just my luck- I just gave my laptop to my little sis with the erased HDD today. Ugh.. any help is appreciated. Thank you all.
 

jav6454

macrumors P6
Nov 14, 2007
16,864
1,480
1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
Was the noise coming from the speakers or the machine itself? Is there any smell (burned, or the likes) coming from the machine? Are there any short circuit markings (burning).

Most importantly, is your Mac still under warranty?
 

Mr. French

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 23, 2012
24
0
I am not completely sure if it was coming from the internal speakers or the HDD itself- but I would say it's not the speakers since I would never put it up that high in volume. I don't smell anything burning (currently using a Windows desktop that I have). Yes, it should still be under warranty until next year.
 

sammich

macrumors 601
Sep 26, 2006
4,281
212
Sarcasmville.
I recall once I had left my speakers on and too loud one night before I went to sleep. I also happened to use Colloquy (an IRC client) that I leave on with my computer. Now Colloquy has sound effects for various events such as someone signing in, leaving and getting kicked.

The sound for someone getting kicked is a gun shot.

Someone spamed the channel that night with multiple signins.

It was like a machine gun going off in my room.
 

28Gauge

macrumors 6502
Sep 4, 2011
479
71
DFW
I have nearly the same setup as you and had a similar problem when I got my first iMac last September. My Mac would make this horrifically loud pop sound that would scare the s%$# out of me. At first I couldn't figure out what it was, but then I noticed that it only happened when I was watching the TWiT network via the Mac app store app. It never made that sound at any other time. I could watch the TWiT network via their website without any problems. I uninstalled the TWiT app and I have never had that popping sound again.
 

Mr. French

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 23, 2012
24
0
Can something like this happen if a surge protector isn't present? I plugged my unit directly to the wall outlet...

Anyways I'm planning on bringing it over to Apple tomorrow afternoon regardless. Carrying it is gonna be a pain in the butt though :(
 

hfg

macrumors 68040
Dec 1, 2006
3,566
277
Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
Can something like this happen if a surge protector isn't present? I plugged my unit directly to the wall outlet...

Anyways I'm planning on bringing it over to Apple tomorrow afternoon regardless. Carrying it is gonna be a pain in the butt though :(
Just put it back in the original box ... it has a nice handle for carrying it. ;)
 

28Gauge

macrumors 6502
Sep 4, 2011
479
71
DFW
Can something like this happen if a surge protector isn't present? I plugged my unit directly to the wall outlet...

Anyways I'm planning on bringing it over to Apple tomorrow afternoon regardless. Carrying it is gonna be a pain in the butt though :(
My iMac has always been plugged into a surge protector, so I don't know what the cause might be. As I said before, my iMac only made that pop sound when I was using a particular Mac app store app. Let us know what Apple has to say about this problem.
 

Mr. French

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 23, 2012
24
0
Yeah so Apple just gave me a brand new iMac with a renewed 1-year warranty. The rep said it can be caused by directly plugging it into the wall, but of course I didn't give him any more details. I've had this new unit for a little over a day, and all is good so far. Gotta love Apple customer support. :)
 

Mr. French

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 23, 2012
24
0
... and just when I thought it was over, it happened again, and this time on a brand new iMac. So that makes it clear that it's not the computer that's at fault here. It happened at around the same time (right after midnight), as when it happened the first time. I have the same setup as before; except this time I bought a Belkin surge protector and plugged it into the same outlet. Items that are around the iMac both times that it happened include: touch-sensitive lamp and ATH-M50 headphones. I also upgraded to 8GB of RAM both times. Can it be the outlet that is at fault here? I was using the computer at the time it happened, but I was only using it to talk on Messages.

The thing I don't get is, why wouldn't it be a constant noise? It only happens at specific times, and I am not doing anything unusual during the time it happens...

I hope this is enough info for someone to lend a helping hand. I called Apple again and they just said to bring it back again... I'd rather not do that considering it weighs about 50 lbs (and yes I know the box has handles) :eek:

Thanks guys.
 

forty2j

macrumors 68030
Jul 11, 2008
2,585
2
NJ
Speakers can make that noise if you've got a poor quality electrical line.. e.g. if an AC or something turns on and alters the available voltage.
 

Mr. French

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 23, 2012
24
0
I've had a PC desktop in my house for about 8 years... I've never had a problem with those speakers with the electrical line I have.
 

gmanist1000

macrumors 68030
Sep 22, 2009
2,648
184
Been private messaging with the OP about this problem I had about a year ago. My problem occurred when playing WoW during the summer months, but it hasn't happened recently since I haven't played the game much since then.

The sound is very sudden and almost gives you a heart attack each time it happens, it's VERY loud and doesn't stop until you unplug or hard reset the computer.

My computer is the 3.4GHz Mid-2009 model, 27-inch display with a 1TB HDD at 7200RPM.
 

sainsburys

macrumors regular
Jun 12, 2012
108
0
Poland
Mr. French I think there is problem with your power line. You are saying that you had no problems with 8 years old PC: 8 years old PC consumes less energy than modern iMac. Because iMac consumes more, there is a chance that your power line can't handle such load.

My brothers lives in beautiful but very old apartment house with old electrical installation. He had some broken vacuum cleaner, when he turned it on, vacuum consumed lot of electrical power and because of that other electrical devices had problems and their automatically turn off.

Think about calling some electrical, certified engineer that can check the installation for you. Even more, owner of a house should pay for it - efficient electrical installation is a safer for residents than the broken one. If you are renting house/flat etc. you are no responsible for all that staff hidden in walls. And it's not coincedence when two iMac got broken.
Good luck!
 

Ry.

macrumors member
Oct 6, 2011
50
0
I thought the latest iMacs were pretty energy efficient? Are you sure about this mate?
 

eagandale4114

macrumors 65816
May 20, 2011
1,011
1
I thought the latest iMacs were pretty energy efficient? Are you sure about this mate?
Yes they are energy efficient when compared to a same gen PC counter part. Comparing between generations you may find that as tech increases, power demands increase.
 

Mr. French

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 23, 2012
24
0
I found a perfect audio representation of what this sounds like:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbqjmMWcJVI

Sounds just like that but much louder in my case.

EDIT: My screen doesn't distort like that, however, it does freeze up. I end up manually turning it off every time.
 
Last edited:

mono1980

macrumors 6502
Feb 15, 2005
364
84
Lansing, MI
Yes they are energy efficient when compared to a same gen PC counter part. Comparing between generations you may find that as tech increases, power demands increase.
A new iMac is going to use less power than an 8 year old PC. If it didn't they would never be able to fit it into such a small enclosure, it would produce too much heat.
 

darkplanets

macrumors 6502a
Nov 6, 2009
851
0
I found a perfect audio representation of what this sounds like:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbqjmMWcJVI

Sounds just like that but much louder in my case.

EDIT: My screen doesn't distort like that, however, it does freeze up. I end up manually turning it off every time.
Most certainly not your power I'd say. Power pops are intermittent and immediate, not lasting. If it freezes as well, it's definitely not the power. Bring it back in. Out of curiosity, when you got the new Mac did you restore from a TM backup or was it a fresh start?
 

Mr. French

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 23, 2012
24
0
It was a fresh start, I restored the data from my flash drives. I've never used Time Machine.
 

Mr. French

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 23, 2012
24
0
I just read a post in different forum very similar to yours.
In this case it was bad Ram. Maybe you should try running with only the original RAM installed. Have a look at this and see if its the same
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MB0k4hmSeL8
I will try this and and see what happens.

Would Apple put in a new RAM stick from their shop into the 2nd iMac I received? Or would they just re-use the original stick I had in the 1st iMac? If it's the latter, then there is a good possibility it might be the RAM...

Also does anyone know what brand RAM is factory installed into all Apple products? Just so I know what to look for when opening it up.

Thanks for the input doc.