keyboard backlight buzz and fan noise

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by i hate phones, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. i hate phones macrumors 6502a

    Jul 5, 2010
    Philly Suburbs, PA
    Ok, these forums make me paranoid/anal. I'm just looking for a this is totally normal or not normal response to ease my mind. I keep hearing people talk about their totally silent mbps. (i have the 2011 17"). In a silent room my mbp is never silent. my fans are around 2000 and I hear a soft but definately there whooshing sound. This is my first mac so I don't know what is normal and what is not normal, and it doesn't bother me aside from the fact that people talk like its supposed to be totally silent when the fans are that low (they talk like the fans aren't even on). The noise is right to the left of the trackpad, which i thought is where the harddrive is, but it sounds like a fan noise.

    my other anal question, is that my keyboard backlight when not off or at absolute full brightness makes a buzzing sound. Normal? not normal? It's kind of like when you put a normal light on a dimmer, and when there is not enough current running through (or whatever the technical term would be) it buzzes.

    thanks :)
  2. E to the Pi i macrumors newbie

    Feb 20, 2011
    I hate phones,

    In an absolutely silent room I can hear my fans at idle (2000 RPM), but any background noise makes this nearly impossible to hear. The keyboard backlight buzz is far louder than the fans idiling!

    I have a 2011 15" and I noticed this same (non?)-issue. Also, automatic illumination does not affect the issue. I guess what we are both asking is this:

    "When you have your 2011 MBP with the keyboard partially backlit (The buzzing stops at full brightness or off), do you hear a faint buzzing (Loudest by the Expose (F3) key)?"

    It is most likely nothing to be worried about, but clicking comes from moving parts, and I don't see why there should be moving parts associated with my keyboard backlight.
  3. fra246fafa macrumors newbie

    Apr 7, 2011
    Same problem here

    I have the exact same problem with my MBP. I have a 2011 i7 15inch. The keyboard backlight will bring a high pitch buzzing noise that is unbearable. Especially when I'm in my apartment. I don't have any noise complaints about the fan, but its the pitch of the keyboard backlight that drives me insane.

    I am pretty sure that this is either a design flaw, or a problem with our individual units. I haven't seen to many posts about it, I wonder if we can go in and get an exchange unit.

  4. serg5 macrumors newbie

    Apr 30, 2011
    same issue

    I have the same issue - buzzing sound when keyboard backlight is on - very annoying!

    So I just had to turn backlighting off, sad:(
  5. Chazn macrumors regular

    Mar 25, 2011
    Same problem here.
    The backlit keyboard buzzes like there's a bee being tortured inside the machine.

    I'm surprised this post doesn't have many replies, so i'm guessing not many people are experiencing this problem. Guess it's just us..
  6. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    Wow. I am usually anal about this kind of stuff (I have returned computers due to irritating noises and lights), but I never noticed. Yes. In a totally quiet room I can hear the fan. It is a very low sound, though, and doesn't bother me. In fact, I wouldn't notice it except that I am thinking about it now.

    As for the backlight, I never noticed the sound of the dying bees. I gotta pay more attention. I'll try and see if I can detect these noises later on tonight. Fascinating stuff. Thanks for bringing up the issue!
  7. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    I've been listening for a few hours. My keyboard is apparently a safe haven for bees. No screaming in there.

    The fans run, but no big deal (to my ears). I wonder if there is a difference between individual computers, and perhaps you could get some help from the Apple store.
  8. SlappyWhite macrumors newbie

    Dec 4, 2009
    Just bought a new 15" MBP and noticed the same buzz. I can't really hear it unless I concentrate in on it but it still drives me crazy :) Did you end up doing anything about it?
  9. julioromano macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2011
    Same buzz with 11" Air (2011)

    Hi guys,
    sorry for not having found this thread earlier (I've opened up another one here:

    I definitely can confirm the backlight buzz when on low brightness.
    On the Macbook Air it is far more annoying since there's no spinning hard drive and the fan is much quieter than the buzz.

    I also have a 2010 MBP 15" and after thorough checking I couldn't hear any buzz coming from the keyboard backlight.

    It seems to me it is a 2011 Macbook (Pro/Air) related issue.

    Apple probably changed the design of the DC/DC converter (usually a boost converter) used to drive the LEDs. This converters are switching at a very high frequency but sometimes, depending on the frequency and the kind of inductor used in the circuit, can emit noise in the human audible spectrum.

    It definitely looks like a design flaw, albeit a small one.
  10. julioromano macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2011
    Hello again,
    I've taken the buzzing Macbook Air back to the Apple store.
    Even though I thoroughly explained him the nature of the buzz, the Genius Bar guy couldn't get to hear it (he took the macbook to a quieter room behind the genius bar for testing).

    Nevertheless he kindly asked if I wanted to replace the machine as it was still my right to do so.
    I was a bit sorry to ask for a replacement "on faith", without an Apple technician acknowledging the problem, but in the end I did.

    Once home I started working on the new machine, and I was surprisingly comfortable: no more buzzing into my head.

    After some more investigation:
    If I put the ear really close to the keyboard I can still hear the buzz, but it is definitely less loud than before.
    And when standing regularly in front of the Macbook, the buzz magically damps to a level where it is non noticeable.

    Luckily problem solved.

    Thanks and bye
  11. ShoG macrumors member

    Dec 6, 2011
    Unfortunately my late 2011 mbp has the buzz. I can tell by putting my ear to the left or right corner where the battery level lights are or by the stand by light, and simply go from no backlight to 1 notch, but it goes away at full brightness.

    Fortunately, its impossible to hear even in a dead silent room unless I put my ear right down on the metal.
  12. jon08 macrumors 68000

    Nov 14, 2008
    Hmm, I just noticed this slight buzzing sound for the first time today (and I have had my late-2011 MBP for almost a year now -- must have been because I installed a SSD now and I can now hear anything).

    Anyways, so I figured that the buzzing sound does come from the MBP keyboard backlight. There are 2 ways of making it disappear for me: turn the backlight off, or turn it up to the highest setting.

    Should we be concerned about it? Do most of MBPs have this issue and it is just that most people will not notice it, or what?
  13. webdancer42 macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2013
    Well, five years later, my MBP from 2014 just started the buzzing. It's good to know it isn't fatal.

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