My G4 ... making whirring sounds and smells!

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by kemperg1, Apr 15, 2008.

  1. kemperg1 macrumors newbie

    Apr 15, 2008
    You know that electrical smell ... well that's what is coming from the cabinet in which I have my Mac. It's not pungent or burning, but it's there. It may just be the DSL modem that Verizon recently sent me because that did have an odor like that when we hooked it up.

    Most importantly though, the computer is making a whirring sound, almost like a heavy hum when it's turned on. As it runs it quiets down though. It isn't loud but it is noticeably there and it's been doing it for a long time. I'd say for about a year and nothing bad has happened .. yet.

    I'm just wondering if I should put any more money into it. It needs more RAM to put Tiger on it and run it more efficiently but that shouldn't be a problem. I just wonder if I should abandon ship or stick with it. It's been a great machine and isn't beat up at all. I've rarely used it over the years.

    I'm new to the forums and all so any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
  2. AlexMaximus macrumors 6502a


    Aug 15, 2006
    A400M Base
    Moving Parts...

    Hi and welcome MacRumors !

    In my opinion your sound comes from your cooling fans. Usually the CPU, Graphic and Power Supply fans are building up lots of dust over the years of use. That means they become unballanced, especially when just parts of dust fall off and the rest of it stays on the fan blades.
    If you keep running it, its likely that the product live cycle of your fan will be shortened - meaning you fans may stop working.
    Also with dust build up the internal temperature of you mac builds up.

    My advice: Do a cleaning session, open that thing up, use your vacuum cleaner, a brush, check the cooling fans, check the blades.... Check the fans on the PSU, CPU and Graphic card.
    After that you sound will disappear. Moving parts always wear out first.

    ... and for the summer.. reward your G4 with a cheap and simple PCI slot cooler for all those flawless years of operation....

  3. kemperg1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 15, 2008
    Thanks, I haven't opened that baby up in a while so I'll check it out.

    My wife thinks its going to die soon but I say no, it's still got some life. It just needs some upkeep.

    How much longer, (if taken good care of) can I expect my G4 to last?
  4. AlexMaximus macrumors 6502a


    Aug 15, 2006
    A400M Base
    How long the G4 works ??

    Hm, well usually the first parts that die are the fans. This is usually the most likely scenario why a machine goes to hell. A 5 dollar moving part dies (cooling fan) - your Power supply dies because of overheating and thats the end of the rest of it. The reason is because of the "electro-motor brushes" or bearings that cause the fan to die, they have only a limited lifetime. Heavy dust plays a big role. If the fan doesn't die but you still have big time dust in there, - then the system still could die because of short circuts caused by dust, usually inside the power supply or on places of the mother board that run higher voltage circuts..
    Other then that there are very view other causes in a good engineered system. - The electrolyte capacitors could dry up after decades, but even thats highly unlikely .. (my old Atari 2600 from 82' still works...)

    If you do a good cleaning / vacuum job on your G4 and that surring sound goes away, you should be able to use your G4 for at least for another 3 years.
    However to really make things sure, you could replace the fans with new ones. They have improrved over the years and are less noisy. If you are an engineer you would not have any problems to find good replacements with the right values, sometimes there are even Fan kits for the G4 available.

    depending of what kind of G4 you have ...


    or this:
  5. Firefly2002 macrumors 65816

    Jan 9, 2008

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