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Dustin, Mac Support Specialist
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 13328
Experience:  Over a decade putting the missing byte back into Apple. Also worked in The US Army as A Network Switching Systems Operator/Controller
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Mine is fairly complicated. I have a iMac from 2010 that

Customer Question

Mine is fairly complicated. I have a iMac from 2010 that runs OSX10.6.8. When we came back from the holidays, the screen will not illuminate. The computer worked fine, I have to use a flashlight to see it. Yesterday, I connected a firewall cable between it and my MacBook 2.1, running 10.6.8. I created a new account on the MacBook and transferred our photos and music. Than I tried to transfer over the imac's desktop and left it running while I took my kids to school. When I came back, the laptop was making a clicking noise, iTunes was up and it was frozen. I couldn't get to for equit so I pushed the power key until it quit. When it booted up, it got to the apple icon and stuck. When I detatched the firewall cable from the iMac it shows the folder with the ? And keeps making that clicking noise. I tried resetting the SMC, PRAM, safe restart and using the installation disc it came with. Nothing. Then my iMac, which was running perfectly has the apple icon and running cursor.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mac
Expert:  Dustin replied 1 year ago.

Welcome to, my name is ***** ***** I will do my best to assist you.

Most likely, that clicking sound on your imac is coming from the hard drive.. Thats a sure sign that the hard drive has failed.

The original lumination issue was probably due to the backlight failing. ( when you can only see the screen with a flashlight thats a signature symptom of a failed backlight )

You could probably get the imac working again with a new hard drive, which I could send you the link for. But the big question really, is can we replace the backlight.

And that will depend on the exact model of imac that you have.

So if you want to try repairing the issue, we should try and ascertain what model of imac you have exactly.

As far as the macbook, is it still running well? And was it able to complete the data migration from your old imac via firewire?

Thank you for your patience, and response.

Dustin S.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Dustin, the MacBook is the one that has the clicking sound and now has the flashing ?. The clicking sound occurred when the screen froze after backing up data from my mac pro . I did not get the flashing ? Until the iMac went into the pending Apple icon. When the iMac was working in target mode, the MacBook just showed the apple icon, there was no clicking sound and I was able to boot the MacBook into single user mode. I hope this clarifies the issues. What else can I do to confirm that the MacBook has a crashed hard drive vs software issue. I don't get why it was so much more responsive when it was hooked up to the iMac, while the iMac was in target mode. I want to focus on the MacBook issue first .
After that, I need help to get my iMac from the flashing Apple icon to the sign on page. Thanks
Expert:  Dustin replied 1 year ago.

That does somewhat clarify the issue, but of course brings up more questions.

Are you somewhere where a phone call would be feasible? As phone support would be our best bet as I doubt this is going to be a click this quick fix type of issue.

For that reason, Im going to send an offer for phone support. This is optional~ If you would prefer that we work via written comms only, let me know~

Dustin S.

Senior Technician and Network Switching Systems Operator / Maintainer.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I know the iMac has a backlight issue. I also need to find out how to use an auxiliary screen on it for the next month or so. Both computers are older, so I want to take the less expensive route.
Expert:  Dustin replied 1 year ago.

Lets focus on the macbook first..

As it sounds like theres three devices.. macbook pro, macbook and imac

On the macbook pro.. Lets start with a pram reset

Shut down your Mac.
Locate the following keys on the keyboard: Option, Command (⌘), P, and R. You will need to hold these keys down simultaneously in step 4.
Turn on your Mac.
Immediately press and hold the Option-Command-P-R keys. You must press this key combination before the gray screen appears.

Continue holding the keys down until your Mac restarts, and you hear the startup sound for the second time.
Release the keys.

Then, shut it down , and then start it and immediately hold down the left shift key till you here the startup chime.

release at the chime.. Does this let it start in safe mode? Does it still click.. Does anything at all change?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It stays at the grey screen with the clicking.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I must have done a typo, we do not have a Mac Pro, just the MacBook and the iMac
Expert:  Dustin replied 1 year ago.

My apologies for the delay.. Ive been off shift for a while and have been working for quite some time today.

Ive just seen your reply.

can you try to ascertain where the clicking is coming from.. You dont have any cd's or dvds inserted do you?

Most likely, the sound is coming from the hard drive. If it is, the hard drives going to have to be replaced.. Which isnt overly expensive or difficult to do.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok, it is coming from inside. I think my husband can do this. Can we switch to the iMac then? Is it possible for you to send me a series of things to try to get it out of the apple logo loop? That way we can concentrate your time instead of dragging it out for you.
Expert:  Dustin replied 1 year ago.

Not a problem,, I get in the habit in keeping messages small and concise to make them easier to follow.

But Have no issue writing out a longer list..

First though, since there was a bit of confusion on my part in the beginning, as I thought you had three machines.

Lets discuss the imac.

Does it still have a dim screen?

Is it making any noise?

Visually describe what you see during the apple logo loop..

Thank you~

Dustin S.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok, there is only the MacBook and the iMac. When we came back from the holidays, the computer screen would not stay on. Command, shift and the eject button will turn on the screen on temporarily, but it will flicker out. The longest it has stayed on has been 15-20 seconds. For example, I will use the flashlight to sign on to the iMac and as it turns on, I can see the picture ony screen. Now, when I turn the iMac on, I see the grey screen for about five seconds and then it darkens. I use the flashlight to see that it is on the apple logo and not booting up.
Expert:  Dustin replied 1 year ago.

Thank you.. And could you view this page and use it to locate the exact model number of the imac, so that I can check the exact specs and diagram of the exact machine we are working with..

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
a1224 is the model #
Expert:  Dustin replied 1 year ago.

Thank you.. That narrowed it down to 7 models..

Can you locate a string of characters similar to this, that should be near where you found the model number.

MB324LL/A / MC015LL/A etc

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
There is a IC:4324A-BRCM1036.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
There is also a serial number, do you need that?
Expert:  Dustin replied 1 year ago.

Sorry to be difficult.. Thats the model of the wireless card installed on the machine~ not the machine itself..

But, in lieu of the specific identifier we should be able to work with what we have.

Its definitely a Imac core 2 duo, either early or mid 2008.

You could have a dead pram battery.. Its been long enough it probably needs to be replaced and can cause strange issues like this.

But it could also be other things as well

Lets try a smu reset.. Unplug the imac from power completely, now hold down the power button while plugging it in.. Wait for it to try to turn on.. It should error.

Then unplug it from power, wait one minute..

Plug it in normally.. Then turn it on normally.

If that doesnt work.. Consider replacing the pram battery.. Its a little tough to get to but there are some great guides out there.. And the batteries themselves are pretty cheap. Heres the replacement procedure.

If you cant find one locally.. Heres a compatible battery.

I dont want to go any farther because the symptoms you have are indicative of a pram battery failure.. But it could also be a smc /smu issue which is why I mentioned the power resets..

Since the pram battery is the most likely cause of this issue.. Id feel comfortable if we tried replacing that first ( should the smu / smc reset not work )

Other minor possibilities are the ram chips, or the actual logic board for the machine. But the pram battery is definitely the most likely and probably the root cause of the issues.

Especially since the computer was probably left off for a few days or weeks and with how old the battery already was ( 2008-2016 ) it was definitely past its expected life span.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok, so the pram battery relates to the loss of seeing the screen or having the apple icon pend?
Expert:  Dustin replied 1 year ago.

It definitely relates to screen brightness issues.. And system time and other factors that cause the machine to basically cut off during the boot process.

The screen brightness is really the key factor.. So even if the pram battery doesnt quite fix apple logo issue, it should handle the screen brightness issue.. And thats progress.

keep in mind, theres no time limit on my ability to assist you. As long as you retain your login to justanswer you will be able to reply to me~ So if it turns out we need to do more, we can.

Dustin S.

Senior Technician and Network Switching Systems Operator / Maintainer.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have an older iMac that I can use as an auxiliary screen once I find the right video cord to hook up the two machines. I need to find out how to get it into a functioning state first though.I tried the smu reset twice. The second time it turned on a fan or something inside the computer and it is pretty loud. This occurred after I turned it on with the power button pressed in. I can't see anything on the screen with the flashlight. Should I let it run or power it down and then turn it back on normally?
Expert:  Dustin replied 1 year ago.

power it down

unplug it, and then plug it back in and turn it on normally.

as far as the auzialliary screen.. Is the issue that you need the files off the machine now?

If so, you could try starting the machine in target disk mode, connecting it to another mac by firewire, and you could pull all the files off it.

speaking of which, you could try a repair in single user mode ( if you can see the screen ) heres how

With that being said.. Ive got an early morning so most likely this will be my last reply of the evening.


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