Mid 2010 iMac freeze

rainlover

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 12, 2018
4
0
Hi, can anyone help. My Mac made a series of loud beeps then turned off. Now every time I turn it on I hear this fast clicking sound like a dialling on an old phone? The screen stays white. Cannot boot up the system. the clicking becomes intermittent. I have tried booting into recovery mode. Cannot get access to anything.I bought the machine used about three years ago. I don't have the original disc. It had 6 GB of memory. I have wiped it out a few times with no problems. I had Osx El Capitan installed and had no problems with it. I went on Apple site from another machine and got the original specs. I have supplied a pic. Any advice would be appreciated. shot 1.png
 

mikehalloran

macrumors 68000
Oct 14, 2018
1,600
390
The Sillie Con Valley
Sounds like the hard drive has failed.
Probably so. If the original HDD, it's a wonder that it lasted this long.

If correct, you should be able to boot from an external drive of any kind.

If you cannot test it, time to make the decision: Repair or replace?

Do not put a spinning hard drive back into one of these. A 1TB SSD, bracket, sensor and battery will cost less than $150 (2T bumps the parts to $325). I can put together a parts list. Labor where I live runs $75—$100. You will be amazed how much faster and cooler it will run when done.

It can be done with a few tools and time. The biggest part of the labor is replacing the NV RAM battery which on the back of the motherboard.
 
Last edited:

rainlover

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 12, 2018
4
0
Probably so. If the original HDD, it's a wonder that it lasted this long.

If correct, you should be able to boot from an external drive of any kind.

If you cannot test it, time to make the decision: Repair or replace?

Do not put a spinning hard drive back into one of these. A 1TB SSD, bracket, sensor and battery will cost less than $150 (2T bumps the parts to $325). I can put together a parts list. Labor where I live runs $75—$100. You will be amazed how much faster and cooler it will run when done.

It can be done with a few tools and time. The biggest part of the labor is replacing the NV RAM battery which on the back of the motherboard.
Probably so. If the original HDD, it's a wonder that it lasted this long.

If correct, you should be able to boot from an external drive of any kind.

If you cannot test it, time to make the decision: Repair or replace?

Do not put a spinning hard drive back into one of these. A 1TB SSD, bracket, sensor and battery will cost less than $150 (2T bumps the parts to $325). I can put together a parts list. Labor where I live runs $75—$100. You will be amazed how much faster and cooler it will run when done.

It can be done with a few tools and time. The biggest part of the labor is replacing the NV RAM battery which on the back of the motherboard.
 

rainlover

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 12, 2018
4
0
Probably so. If the original HDD, it's a wonder that it lasted this long.

If correct, you should be able to boot from an external drive of any kind.

If you cannot test it, time to make the decision: Repair or replace?

Do not put a spinning hard drive back into one of these. A 1TB SSD, bracket, sensor and battery will cost less than $150 (2T bumps the parts to $325). I can put together a parts list. Labor where I live runs $75—$100. You will be amazed how much faster and cooler it will run when done.

It can be done with a few tools and time. The biggest part of the labor is replacing the NV RAM battery which on the back of the motherboard.
[doublepost=1542632230][/doublepost]Managed to use internet recovery to get to disk utility. Only the base system, no HD. Had a usb startup pen drive with El Capitan on it. It would allow me to install but nothing to install it too. I assume [as you said] the internal HD is dead now. Can I buy an external HD and use that? I would love to keep this old machine going a bit longer.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,160
5,520
OP wrote:
"Can I buy an external HD and use that? I would love to keep this old machine going a bit longer."

Yes, you can do that, if you don't want to spend the money to have it repaired, or try opening it yourself (although I've never tried it, I understand it's not too difficult to "get into" the iMacs with the removable glass panel). I believe the trickiest part is dealing with the connections to the display panel when you lift it out. You can go to ifixit.com to see what's involved.

Or...
You could buy an external drive and set it up to be the boot drive.

BE ADVISED: since the 2010 iMac has USB2, an external USB2 drive won't boot that fast, but once up-and-running, the Mac will still be usable.

What I would suggest if you'd like to keep it running another year or two, but don't want to open it:
Get a modest-sized USB3 SSD, and set it up to be the boot drive.
Yes, it's still "only USB2", but the SSD -- once booted and running -- should actually feel modestly "snappy", even running over USB2.

You DON'T have to spend much -- I'd suggest a 250 or 500gb drive, perhaps a Samsung t5 or Sandisk Extreme. Don't go overboard, this drive will only be your "lifeboat" until a new Mac sails into the picture.

This will "keep it alive", but more importantly -- when the day comes that you get a new Mac, you can just unplug the external USB3 SSD, take it to your new Mac, and "re-purpose it". It will then run at its FULL speed, and serve you for years to come.
 

mikehalloran

macrumors 68000
Oct 14, 2018
1,600
390
The Sillie Con Valley
I'm typing this from my 2010 iMac.

FireWire and USB 2 are much slower than the internal HDD which is a lot slower than an internal SSD. After OS 10.7, there are sleep issues with both FW and USB on a 2010. So, while you can, no one in their right mind will recommend it.

Yes, it's still "only USB2", but the SSD -- once booted and running -- should actually feel modestly "snappy", even running over USB2.
(Ok, the armchair "experts" who think an iMac should never be opened because they're afraid to may not agree but they are stupid wrong when it comes to a 2010). Booting from USB 2 does not feel "snappy". I have a USB 2 SSD with El Capitan and can boot my 2010 with it any time I want to be reminded of this.

It's time to invest some money. Since the NV RAM battery is now 8 or more years old, time to replace that as well. Call around, get a quote to replace the battery and install an SSD. Get another quote for labor only. If you're handy with tools, consider doing it yourself (this page is misnamed as Intel Macs don't have PRAM).
https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel+21.5-Inch+EMC+2389+PRAM+Battery+Replacement/6292

Replacing the HDD is only a few more steps once you're in there. You need the following:

SSD — many brands but the Samsung 860 EVO one is hard to beat @ $128 1TB with a 5 year warranty. If you want 2T or even 4T, now's your chance.
https://www.amazon.com/Samsung-500GB-Internal-MZ-76E500B-AM/dp/B078DPCY3T/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1542642416&sr=1-1&keywords=860+evo&th=1

Bracket — not absolutely necessary but makes the job easier and provides better cooling $12 https://www.amazon.com/Fenlink-Internal-Hard-Drive-Converter/dp/B01ELRRKW8/ref=sr_1_14?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1542642585&sr=1-14&keywords=2.5+to+3.5+hard+drive+adapter
Without the bracket, use double-stick foam tape to stick the SSD to the foil lining the back. I use the bracket.

Temp sensor. The Apple HDD has a builtin sensor. The fans will roar 100% unless replaced. OWC makes a $40 wiring harness with a sensor but you don't need it. Fortunately, a 2009–10 can use an optical drive sensor taped onto the case $10.
https://www.amazon.com/Eathtek-Replacement-Optical-Sensor-593-1149/dp/B06ZXZZNQB/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1542642755&sr=1-2&keywords=2010+imac+optical+sensor
(Yes you can control the fans manually via an app but then you have to without this sensor and they will roar 100% during startup till the app loads—no thanks!).

NV RAM battery. Apple uses the heat-resistant BR2032 but, once you get that spinning heat pump out of there, a common CR2032 medical battery works perfectly well. Under $4 at any drugstore.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,160
5,520
Mike wrote:
"It's time to invest some money."

It may not be worth it anymore on a 2010 iMac, which is 8 years old goin' on 9.

Probably better to put that $$$ towards a new Mac at this point.
Depends on the owner's financial situation.

I -do- boot and run an old (2006) intel iMac using an external USB2 drive (actually a bare drive mounted in an old USB2/SATA dock). Yes, it's slow to boot, but once running, it's tolerable.

I was just using it yesterday on a recording project. With Cubase it can still handle 30+ acoustic tracks (not all being used at once). I'll do some editing on it later today.