Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep

So, just over a month into my iMac Core Duo experience, the first (and hopefully the last) hardware issue rears its head.

In the last couple of days I’ve noticed a strange chirping sound in my office occasionally. At first I thought it was birds in the tree outside my window, but then it happened at night. Eventually I narrowed it down to a sound coming out of my Mac.

It’s exactly the same as this sound. Odd that it’s in a completely different type of Mac, but it is definitely that sound. So it sounds like it might be an issue with one of the zillions of fans inside the iMac. It’s only intermittent and varies in volume quite a bit – I’d say I notice it about 1 in every 5 minutes. (It’s just started again as I’m typing this. Ooh, and now it’s gone again already.)

It’s annoying, but I’m not sure if it’s “call AppleCare only for them to tell me to reinstall OS X and then eventually have to send it away for two weeks” annoying. So I’ll probably try and live with it for now. It may be coincidence, but it seems like it might have started since I updated to 10.4.7 on Wednesday. So maybe a future OS update will fix it. (Hey, I can dream can’t I?!)

The ironies here – or perhaps the hidden lessons – are:

  1. If I hadn’t bothered to track down the source I’d have probably just assumed it was some nice birdie outside and would have quite enjoyed the chirping, as opposed to finding it annoying.
  2. For all I know my old rusty Linux box could have had the same chirping problem, but the rest of the PC was so loud I’d never have noticed!

Have you had any similar noise problems with your Mac or PC? How did you solve it (apart from wearing headphones and turning the music up loud!)?

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8 Responses to “Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep”

  1. Gideon Says:

    try resetting the PSU..

    I know the Intel iMac isn’t listed but I believe the procedure is the same as for the G5 isight version.

    http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=301733

  2. mattdoyle Says:

    Thanks Gideon.

    I already tried resetting the SMU yesterday – no dice unfortunately. :( Within an hour or so the squeak was back.

    It’s hard to find the SMU reset instructions for the Intel iMacs. I think the procedure is the same except you don’t do the “holding the power button” bit (and I think you’re supposed to leave it for 15 secs).

    The squeak seems a lot quieter today so maybe it had some effect after all. Will keep you posted…

  3. mattdoyle Says:

    Squeak is still there, though it’s pretty intermittent. Seems to happen more in the afternoons, which makes me think it’s something to do with the Mac getting warm.

    My temporary workaround is to move the Mac as far away from me as physically possible (about 3 feet). I’ll see if this helps when it next starts squeaking!

    I’m loath to send it away for repair as I’ve heard that iMacs often come back with more stuff broken than repaired! :(

  4. antiorario Says:

    My iMac Core Duo 20″ started squeaking today. Did the hardware test, and it squeaked during the memory test.
    I called the local Apple lab and they told me I should have it checked out by them. I thought that before carrying around those 10 kg I would try turning on the air conditioning (it’s been a couple of hot days now – about 28°C inside, 33°C outside – but for some reason I’ve kept the air conditioning off in the office). I don’t know if it’s a coincidence, but the chirping sound seems gone now that the temperature is lower. Who knows, maybe it’ll spare me the hassle of taking the iMac to the lab just to get it back all scratched with a brand new, yet still squeaky fan.

  5. Reality Distortion » Blog Archive » Squeaking Noise: Fixed!!! Says:

    [...] Well after being nearly driven mad by this infuriating squeaking noise for a couple of weeks, I finally fixed it. [...]

  6. mattdoyle Says:

    Thanks for your comment antiorario. I think it probably is temperature related, so if you can keep your environment cool enough then you may be OK as it will prevent the fan starting at all.

    In the end I fixed my fan squeak simply by hitting the back of the Mac! So if you’re desperate and don’t want to send it back to Apple, you could try that as a last option (not recommended unless you don’t mind possibly breaking your mac of course!).

  7. Ricco Says:

    Hi, sorry to bring up an old thread but ten minutes ago I started hearing the squeaking noise (and at first I also assumed it was birds outside). I am 99% certain that this is a temperature related issue. The temperature here in my livingroom has been a bit low (just below t-shirt comfortable) and I fired up the fireplace an hour ago. Now, it’s nice and warm here and the squeaking has started.

    I saw your rap-the-back-of-the-mac-fix in another posting. I think I’ll try to lower the temperature first just to see if that is the problem.

  8. Matt Says:

    Yes that does sound like it’s the fan kicking in. Do let me know if my fix solves it for you – but don’t whack the Mac *too* hard! ;)