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Mike, Mac Medic
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 8527
Experience:  Over 20 years IT experience with Apple computers in publishing, marketing and design.
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Mac Intel with OSX10.7.1 and the last two times I needed to

Customer Question

Mac Intel with OSX10.7.1 and the last two times I needed to so pen it, it failed. I removed the power plug from the back of the monist and waited 30 seconds, then replugged, and it did start up. This scares me. Carol
JA: What OS X (Operating System, e.g. Sierra, El Capitan, Yosemite, etc.) or iOS are you runninng?
Customer: I believe it is MountaIN LION 10.7.1
JA: Have you installed any updates recently?
Customer: No, I know I need to, but besides being busy, I am not confident about doing it myself and this Mac is way out of warranty.
JA: What troubleshooting have you tried?
Customer: Only unplugging the power card from the back and then restarting.
JA: Anything else you want the Mac expert to know before I connect you?
Customer: Probably the cost of the call, but that's ok
JA: Emailing***@******.*** is the best way to reach customer service.
Customer: Should I do that now?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Mac
Expert:  Bruce Wilner replied 10 months ago.

Good afternoon. It's my pleasure to try to assist you. What's been going no with your Mac? And how long have you owned it?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
A few years. Dates to Mountain Lion.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I thought the answer was ready. I don't have a touch screen so I can't get it on my phone!
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Anyone there?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Expert:  Bruce Wilner replied 10 months ago.

Yes, anyone is here. It takes a few moments for the messages to refresh. This is an extremely busy Web site.

What is the EXACT problem you're encountering now? It isn't clear from what I'm reading in the question/answer panel.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Imac won't open with start button -- have to unplug power cord -- replug power cord -- restart. Happened twice. Third time ok.
Expert:  Bruce Wilner replied 10 months ago.

If you are having sporadic problems powering on, and you notice inconsistent behavior when you plug/unplug the power cord, you likely have a power supply problem.

I see you just posted "third time O.K." I trust you realize that these kinds of situations degenerate; they don't improve. If it's going to start every third time today, it will be starting every sixth time next week.

Power supplies often go bad because power transformers (which change the 120V wall current into the 15V needed by your computer's CMOSFET circuitry) are very cheaply built. They use low-grade magnetic alloys that lose their hysteresis characteristic after being charged/recharged many times. (Remember, when you plug into wall current, the transformer's magnetic core is being charged/uncharged/recharged SIXTY TIMES EACH SECOND.) Presently, the circuits aren't getting enough power to switch on--until the thing cools off or, because of some happenstance, is just above the threshold to turn on.

Expert:  Bruce Wilner replied 10 months ago.

Bear in mind that your computer has its OWN transformer, IN ADDITION TO the one in the charging cord.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
The next step then -- call power supplier and Apple?
Expert:  Bruce Wilner replied 10 months ago.

Did you purchase a maintenance plan when you bought the computer? It's always a good idea to back up a pricey investment like a Mac with a one- or two-year maintenance plan. From what you're saying, the Mac is several years old, and it's way out of warranty!

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I did have Apple Care. Not any longer.
Expert:  Bruce Wilner replied 10 months ago.

It may be worth having the Apple technicians look at the power supply. It is POSSIBLE that a damaged power cord can cause oddball behavior as well. I will assume you have invested in a new power cable and tried that--not to "throw good money after bad," like a mechanic who rebuilds your car piece by piece until it "works better"! Replacing a power supply inside a Macbook should be doable for under $150.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Ok I will call Apple.
Expert:  Bruce Wilner replied 10 months ago.

WARNING: they will go on and on about how the unit is archaic, how the new Mac is so much better, faster, sharper, etc. DON'T fall for that if you are happy with your computer. Plus, it can be a major headache to migrate to a new machine if you've been using this one for years.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Good advice. I love this Mac. Had to sell a car to buy it. Running out of cars. :-)
Expert:  Bruce Wilner replied 10 months ago.

O.K. Forgive me if I check the "Ready to be rated" box. Not trying to pull a fast one. It wasn't exactly rocket science. Good luck!

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Expert:  Bruce Wilner replied 10 months ago.

PCs are much cheaper than Macs, as you know. They're also much shoddier. That's a trade-off, obviously.

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