Intermittent 3 Beep Start Up Chime

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by swingerofbirch, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. swingerofbirch macrumors 68040

    Oct 24, 2003
    The Amalgamated States of Central North America
    My unibody MacBook 2.4 GHZ has had a 3 beep start up issue for a few weeks now that I have noticed. The thing is that since I almost never turn it off I never noticed the issue before. It usually just sleeps. So, I called in to AppleCare and the guy said he thought it was the RAM and that they would send me new RAM. I was going to go on a trip through a town with an Apple Store so I decided to have them do it instead. But then the trip was cancelled, and I kind of forgot about the issue for a week. Just today I had to turn it off to wipe down the screen and keyboard etc. When I turned it back on over the course of an hour I got the 3 beeps non-stop every time I tried turning it on (maybe 20 times or so). But like every other time it eventually turned on.

    So, while this was happening I called AppleCare, and the guy I talked to this time wasn't even sure it was the RAM, but he put me on hold and then said he thought it was (I was letting him hear the beeps over the phone). He wanted me to send it in and said the RAM was not user-serviceable and that I would void the warranty if they sent out the RAM and I installed it myself (which is what I asked for).

    So, I knew he didn't know what he was talking about. However, after hanging up, I did see that it is a somewhat involved process....... I'm kind of wondering whether the RAM was just never seated well; it's the original 4 GB that came with the MacBook.

    The funny thing is besides this issue, I have never had a Mac as stable as this one--no kernel panics at all and it passes the Apple Hardware Test, which leads to my first question:

    1) Does 3 beeps always mean a RAM issue?

    2) Should I just attempt to reseat the RAM first myself?

    3) Should I take it to the closest Apple authorized repair center?

    My instinct says 1) yes 2) no 3) yes, which I guess is why I am writing this post, because the closest repair center is an hour away and it's and old hobby shop basically collecting dust and they won't have the memory and will have to order it and it'll probably end up taking as long as sending the whole thing in! Arggggggg......
  2. BlueRevolution macrumors 603


    Jul 26, 2004
    Montreal, QC
    I believe so, yes.

    Depends. Do you value your warranty?

    I'm a little disappointed to hear that the memory is no longer user-serviceable. I miss the old days where there were little drawings showing the 2- or 3-step process to replace the memory which only required removing a couple of screws.
  3. iToaster macrumors 68000


    May 3, 2007
    In front of my MacBook Pro

    The memory is still user serviceable, it just involves the removal of 8 screws and taking off the whole bottom plate. It won't void the warranty (unless you break something) to replace the RAM yourself and IMO is a little easier than messing with the L-bracket and other nonsense of the older one. Also OP, three beeps is definitely a RAM issue... also, if the sleep light blinks rapidly the RAM is dead or improperly seated.
  4. Hankster macrumors 68020


    Jan 30, 2008
    Washington DC
    I am experiencing the same three second beep issue at the start of my new MacBook, happens about 1 out of 4 start ups. I also get the black screen sometimes when I start up from sleep mode.

    I'm working out changing out the RAM now in hopes to fix this.

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