Strange noise

Posted by: digger

Strange noise - 01/17/12 01:03 PM

Hope I'm in the right forum.
My iMac (3.06 GHz Intel i3) has been making a very strange noise. It seems to be coming from the right lower side. It's a steady pop,pop,pop. I have to force quit the imac to stop it. It actually woke us up last night, took me a minute to figure it was the computer.
I've brought it in to a Mac store, they kept it over night and not once did it happen. Before I bring it in again, I was wondering if anyone else has had this problem.
When it first started happening it was more of a crackling sound, but the sounds seems different now.
If anyone can offer some help, I would appreciate it.

Thanks,
Deb
Posted by: Jim_

Re: Strange noise - 01/17/12 02:42 PM

Hi Deb, welcome to the forums.

I take it that it makes the noise all of the time? You mentioned "I have to force quit the imac to stop it." You can't shut the machine down when this happens or are you force quitting just the Finder or something?

From what I can see the only thing in the bottom right is the speaker, with a fan above that. The hard drive, power supply and video cards are more towards the middel of the machine. It's possible that the popping noise is being caused by some kind of electrical interference making a noise through the speakers.

Does the noise go away if you unplug everything except the keyboard and mouse? If you have a wireless keyboard and mouse even better, then nothing could be plugged in to test. If it is still making the noise with the keyboard and mouse plugged in, unplug those too, although I don't see how they could cause interference but you never know.

Make sure thre are no phones or other electrical equipment near the computer.

Next thing to try is to see if it is a noise coming from the incoming power, plug the computer directly into the wall bypassing any power strips or surge protectors, have nothing else plugged into the wall socket. If it still makes the noise plug it in at some other place in the house, preferably not on the same circuit as it is now, maybe far away in another room.
Posted by: MacBozo

Re: Strange noise - 01/17/12 02:49 PM

Originally Posted By: Reboot
Hi Deb, welcome to the forums.

I take it that it makes the noise all of the time? You mentioned "I have to force quit the imac to stop it." You can't shut the machine down when this happens or are you force quitting just the Finder or something?

From what I can see the only thing in the bottom right is the speaker, with a fan above that. The hard drive, power supply and video cards are more towards the middel of the machine. It's possible that the popping noise is being caused by some kind of electrical interference making a noise through the speakers.

Does the noise go away if you unplug everything except the keyboard and mouse? If you have a wireless keyboard and mouse even better, then nothing could be plugged in to test. If it is still making the noise with the keyboard and mouse plugged in, unplug those too, although I don't see how they could cause interference but you never know.

Make sure thre are no phones or other electrical equipment near the computer.

Next thing to try is to see if it is a noise coming from the incoming power, plug the computer directly into the wall bypassing any power strips or surge protectors, have nothing else plugged into the wall socket. If it still makes the noise plug it in at some other place in the house, preferably not on the same circuit as it is now, maybe far away in another room.

You read my mind. My MacMini (external speakers) picks up electrical line noise from time to time. Sometimes it's a light switch being switched on or off or, the most annoying, the AC/heat kicking on. I think we had a bad contact on the outside compressor last winter, which caused all kinds of noise on the speakers. It hasn't happened this winter, though.
Posted by: Jim_

Re: Strange noise - 01/17/12 03:08 PM

Originally Posted By: MacBozo
You read my mind.
Yeah, it wasn't pretty either. You should be ashamed at what I saw. grin
Posted by: MacBozo

Re: Strange noise - 01/17/12 03:10 PM

Originally Posted By: Reboot
Originally Posted By: MacBozo
You read my mind.
Yeah, it wasn't pretty either. You should be ashamed at what I saw. grin


Crap! I thought I deleted those! blush
Posted by: digger

Re: Strange noise - 01/18/12 09:00 AM

Thanks for the reply. The "noise" does not happen all the time. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to it, there is no one thing that starts it. At first, I thought it was my external speakers, so, I unplugged that. There is nothing else plugged in, have both the wireless keyboard and mouse.
The last time it happened, was 2:00 am, computer was "sleeping" as was I, and the noise started.
I guess my wording was misleading regarding quitting. When the noise starts, the computer freezes up, I have to manually shut it down with the start button in back of the iMac.
I'll try plugging into a separate outlet. Right now its in a surge protector.

Thanks
Posted by: Jim_

Re: Strange noise - 01/18/12 01:48 PM

Glad to help.

Unless you are having some kind of incoming A/C power issues, noise, surges, drops, bad surge protector, that may be causing it, it seems like it's probably a hardware problem if it happens when it's sleeping and it locks up the machine. Hard telling what it is, first guess is power supply though. Does it run okay other than that?

If you have Apple Care take it back and insist that they find out what is wrong.
Posted by: NucleusG4

Re: Strange noise - 01/18/12 02:09 PM

If you can get a small video clip or audio of the sound so they can hear what it sounds like...
Posted by: NucleusG4

Re: Strange noise - 01/18/12 02:16 PM

Maybe runs some hardware utilities and reset PRAM, etc.. just to be sure...

I'm gonna go with power supply is faulty.
Posted by: digger

Re: Strange noise - 01/19/12 04:45 AM

I do have Apple Care, and will definitely bring it back again. I was hoping to be able to tell them something.
It does have a few other issues that I don't think should be happening. It freezes at least once a day. Occasionally it won't wake-up from sleep. When I put in a cd it takes forever to open, putting a file in the trash can sometimes take much longer than I think it should. Since I got it back, Safari will not work. If I'm lucky the hope page will open, and than nothing, it says application not responding.
If you don't mind I'm going to put a screen shot of the console, you will notice the same line over and over. Any meaning, or typical ??
Sorry for so much info, I just want to be able to say something that makes sense when I take it back.

Posted by: Jim_

Re: Strange noise - 01/19/12 05:10 AM

I can't read the attachment, it's way too small, sorry. What does the repeating line say?

The machine should not be locking up though or having the problems you say. They are probably going to want to wipe it and reinstall clean so you might want to back everything up and try that anyway. After the reinstall do what you can with it before installing anything you can do without. If it locks up after a clean install take it in.

I'd say run memtest to check the RAM just for the heck of it, I can see RAM accounting for the lock ups, but not the popping noises though.
Posted by: MacBozo

Re: Strange noise - 01/19/12 06:22 AM

Originally Posted By: Reboot
I can't read the attachment, it's way too small, sorry. What does the repeating line say?

The machine should not be locking up though or having the problems you say. They are probably going to want to wipe it and reinstall clean so you might want to back everything up and try that anyway. After the reinstall do what you can with it before installing anything you can do without. If it locks up after a clean install take it in.

I'd say run memtest to check the RAM just for the heck of it, I can see RAM accounting for the lock ups, but not the popping noises though.


Some of that sounds like hard drive issues, too. I hope there is a reliable backup.
Posted by: digger

Re: Strange noise - 01/20/12 01:05 PM

Sorry about the image.
This line repeats itself quite a bit...

Can't open input server /Library/InputManagers/Inquisitor

I'm going to run the memtest, and do some additional backup.

One more question while I'm at it. Can I use TimeMachine to back-up to a USB drive ?
What are my options besides an external hard drive ?

Thanks,
I really appreciate all the help.
Posted by: NucleusG4

Re: Strange noise - 01/20/12 01:17 PM

Are you using Adblock for Safari?
Posted by: Jim_

Re: Strange noise - 01/20/12 07:21 PM

Originally Posted By: digger
Sorry about the image.
This line repeats itself quite a bit...

Can't open input server /Library/InputManagers/Inquisitor

I'm going to run the memtest, and do some additional backup.

One more question while I'm at it. Can I use TimeMachine to back-up to a USB drive ?
What are my options besides an external hard drive ?

Thanks,
I really appreciate all the help.
Inquisitor is an add on for Safari, that wouldn't cause problems when it was sleeping. I don't know why it's giving the error other than you didn't fully uninstall it or it's malfunctioning.

The next time it locks up let it sit for a few minutes locked up, then reboot and go to Console. Look for the exact time you rebooted and then go back and see if there's anything useful, errors etc. Also what is the time of the last log before you rebooted, was it when you slept it? Make sure you look in All Messages not just Console Messages.

After thinking about it though, I don't know if Console logs will help since it happens when it's sleeping and no logs are being written then. Also the fact that it locks up when sleeping makes me think hardware, or maybe it's locking up the moment you wake it, in which case it may write a log if it's having a problem when waking.

You can copy and paste parts of the log here, like the stuff just around when you reboot it.

Yes, you can use Time Machine to a thumb drive, but it better be a big one all depending on what you have on the HD, it backs up the whole HD. With the problems you're having I'd strongly recommend keeping a full back often though.
Posted by: digger

Re: Strange noise - 01/21/12 06:57 AM

Yes, I'm using AdBlock.
Posted by: digger

Re: Strange noise - 01/21/12 07:21 AM

I'm confused about the..." Inquisitor is an add on for Safari". I don't use Safari, prefer Chrome, so I don't see why that would be a problem.
Posted by: NucleusG4

Re: Strange noise - 01/21/12 08:07 AM

Inquisitor is for either one and it appears you either have it installed or used to have it installed.
Not sure what it could do with a lockup...I'm just saying that's what your quoted text is telling us thus far.
Posted by: Jim_

Re: Strange noise - 01/21/12 08:33 AM

Originally Posted By: NucleusG4
Inquisitor is for either one and it appears you either have it installed or used to have it installed.
Not sure what it could do with a lockup...I'm just saying that's what your quoted text is telling us thus far.
Right, it doesn't affect anything when sleeping, and he said the noise starts sometimes when it's sleeping so Inquisitor is not causing the lockup. It was just what console was reporting at that moment, that's why I was trying to get him to see if he could see any messages from the time it was locking up, but again that is a slim chance.
Posted by: NucleusG4

Re: Strange noise - 01/21/12 08:51 AM

I would take it in to Apple and ask them to run it for a couple of days to see if they can duplicate the issue.
Pian in the butt to be w/o the computer, but more of a pain trying to figure it out from a lay mans viewpoint.