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iMac 27" Screen goes black repeatedly, but then settles for a while?

52754 Views 154 Replies Latest reply: Mar 31, 2014 6:58 AM by Rixxi RSS
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Stepppy Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Jun 24, 2012 5:44 AM

Hi

 

I have searched and found numerous posts which sound similar to mine, but none seem to be so bad. Its a long post, but I want to make I have given as much information as possible

 

My Energy Saver settings are default 10 minutes for display & computer sleep, but I always find the screen will go black for a period of time before it goes to sleep and normally when I go back to it I press the keyboard or trackpad and the screen comes back to life. However, this time it didn't. I tried everything I could, but in the end I had to hold down the power button until it turned off. Once I restarted it was ok again.

 

I didn't think much of it, but I researched and found lots of people had similar issues, but were mainly on MacBooks. I did find a post where people had set a hot corner to turn the display off, so if the problem happened again they went into the hot corner and then came out of it and the display would come back on. This stops the need for having to force the computer off. I set up a hot corner, just in case it happened to me again and I'm glad I did.

 

In the last couple of weeks the display has been going off at random whilst I have been using it, nothing graphic intensive, just web browsing. Going into my hot corner and coming out of it bought the display back to life thankfully. It was yesterday that things got really bad, to the point that the display was staying on for about 3-4 seconds before going off. Again, going in & out of the hot corner worked, but then it didn't. Initially I thought it maybe some kind of software issue, but when I restarted the grey screen would only show for about 3 seconds and then go black, so I didn't even see the Apple logo. I could hear everything start and it would pause at the logon screen. Going in and out of the hot corner several times finally gave me enough time to login before it went off again.

 

After logging in I got it back only for it to go off again. I tired everything I could to get the screen to come back to life but it didn't want to play. All the time everything was working on the iMac, it wasn't frozen and didn't crash, just no display. I did some research on my iPad and this seems to be a common problem in one form or another, but no one that I could see had it as bad as mine. Some people were saying it was software related, other that it was logic boards, but as I said earlier I think the majority of posts related to MacBooks and not iMacs.

 

This was my first Apple purchase and I feel like a fish out of water as I have always had PC's before and if they went wrong I just fixed it myself, but I don't think this is going to be the case this time.

 

Very late last night I managed to get the display on long enough to run iBoostUp and let it give everything a spring clean. It kept going off whilst it was doing its things, but I did manage to get the display back for long enough to shut it down fully and I left it unplugged over night.

 

It started working fine this morning, but after more reading I have reset SMC and PRAM as that advice seems to be given a lot when people are having problems.

 

I have been using it for roughly a couple of hours and it has just this second gone off for the first time. I did my hot corner trick to get it back, then about 3 sends it went again. Now it seems to be ok again. The only program running is Safari.

 

I am running Lion 10.7.4 with all updates done and I am not running Boot camp for Windows 7 I thought about doing a clean install, but I am not convinced that is going to work and don't want to go through all the hassle of that only to find it still does it! Taking it to Apple worries me, because as its intermittent it may not do it whilst they have it and also I am worried about all my personal data I have on it. Would they wipe the hard drive and would they access my files? I have never had this worry before as any PC problems I just switched problem items myself. The machine will be a year old in a couple of months and I am already thinking the AppleCare Protection Plus is a very good deal and a must have at £139 for two extra years warranty.

 

Any suggestions great fully received.

 

Thank you.

iMac (27-inch Mid 2011), Mac OS X (10.7.4), 12GB RAM 1TB, AMD Radeon HD 6970M
  • jjhaffner Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    We're having identical problems with identical machines. Very frustrating isn't it? The way I get my screen back on is hitting Control+shift+eject buttons all at the same time. This is the keystroke combination to switch montors from internal to external. Sometimes I feel like I'm playing a video game to keep the thing on when it starts shutting off every two seconds.

     

    I'm resigned to making an appointment at the genius bar. What I've read points to the video card. I read a VERY involved message somewhere about a method of flashing a firmware update to the video card BUT it involved having Windows loaded in some fashion and was more time consuming than I am willing to do. But if they (Apple) swap the card, you'll end up with one with the new firmware and problem (supposedly) eliminated.

  • jjhaffner Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    Glad I could help a little.

     

    It's unpredictable. I had a good day on Friday and Saturday, now today it's back doing it again.

  • Dr.Q Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Mine has been doing this more and more for the last two weeks and finally got to the point where it runs for aobut 9 minutes and then quits!

     

    However, it will then go on a spell where it will run for an hour and then something will start not working right, e.g., can't put something into the trash.   I'll try to make it restart and it will crash,

     

    I have also tested it by connecting a firewire cable between the 27"iMac and my 13" MBP with the iMac turned off. Then I turn on the iMac holding down the T key which lets the Hard Drive of the iMac be accessible on the MBP as an external drive.   The iMac will show a screen saver and I can see the files on the iMac Hard drive.  But then it will quit and the connection to it's hard drive from the MBP is lost at the same time.

     

    When the iMac quits, the screen goes black.  Nothing works, although I am waiting now for it to quit again so I can try the 3 button step mentioned above.     However, if I listen very close i can hear the fan running inside and if I press and hold the power button, then I hear a 'clunk' and the fans go off.   It will restart but is very slow in doing it.

     

    Also, one time it quit in the morning when it was cool in my room and it had only been on for 10 minutes.  The bottom of the back of the iMac was still cool to the touch and the top of the case was only slightly warm to my cheek so I don't think this is a heat problem.

     

    Finally, there was a long discussion that evolved into the 15" MBP and concerns about Lion.  I have Lion 10.7.4 (11E53) installed on it, my 24" iMac, my 13" MBP and on this older miniMac.   None of the other 3 have any problems and all work solid.   The 24" iMac is left powered on 24/7 for months at a time and puts itself to sleep when we are away from it but otherwise it is always on and no issues.

     

    I had done the SMC and the PRAM resets to no avail.

     

    I called Apple Service yesterday (6/23/12) and she had me check the HD which came back fine.   While she was trying to get thru the rest of her tests, it failed twice!   She told me to take it to a local Apple repair shop as I am >150 miles from the closest center which for me would be KCMO.

     

    So, Steppy, you are not alone here and I will be sure to let the group know what I find.    The thing I am most concerned about it they will keep it and say they found nothing and I am not interested in working on a computer that can stop without warning!!

     

    C U All

     

    Jim

  • Dr.Q Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    One More note

     

    It just quit after playing internet radio on iTunes for about an hour.   I started copying some files over from it to an external hard drive via the firewire.   Did a 250 MB set of files and all was fine.  Started to open some other files to see if I needed to copy them over and it stopped with a black screen and this time was making a pulsing noise from the interior of the computer.  It's the first time I heard this noise   It was not the internet music still playing. 

     

    (As a complete aside, I was playing the same station on the 13"MBP and it kept playing the music.)

     

    I then cycled the power off and the pulsing noise went away.  I tried it restart and it took a long time to get to a screen but before anything could happen, it stopped and I had to hold the power button to get it to turn off.   I restarted it and it made the chime sound but would not restart (Attempted Twice) and the screen stayed black.

     

    I then pulled the power plug and reinserted it.   It then came up with the white screen for about 5 seconds and then went black.

     

    Maybe it has finally died!!   If so, they should be able to figure out what has happened to it tomorrow when I take it in.

     

    C U all

     

    Jim

  • jjhaffner Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    Here's an update on mine.

     

    I drove 50 minutes to the Genius Bar today and, of course, it would not do the montior shutting off trick while I was in the store and it had been doing it (this very morning) to the point that it was nearly impossible to use. I get to the store and nada. Go figure.

     

    Anyways... the genius gave me a course of actions to try to narrow it down as to the cause and eliminate some possibilities.

     

    First, try making a new user account. If it quits doing the blacking out while using the second account, then it's something tied into the first account.

     

    IF it continues to black out after making a new account, he suggested I reinstall Lion (not wiping the drive, just over existing install and this should leave all my personal settings alone)

     

    If that does not work, he suggested I go into the disk utilities and wipe the drive then do a fresh install of Lion. If I restore anything from a backup to only get non-App files such as docs, pics, music. Manually reinstall all my apps.

     

    And if it STILL continues to do, bring it back into the bar and leave it with them. It could take 1 to 2 weeks to diagnose and fix.

     

    I got home, set the Mac backup and BAM, the screen was blacking out! Why couldn't it have done that at the Apple store?

     

    I'm trying the new user now, I'll keep you posted as to the success on it.

  • Dr.Q Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Hi Steppy and others

     

    Here is the update on my machine.   I took it to the local Mac service center on Monday morning and aafter a few days I called and they told me they had just received the new Logic board and should have it in then or the next day but given the inermittent nature ( Which they had seen fortunately!)  they wanted to burn it in.  On Thursday they called and said that was not the problem and so they were changing out the Video card.

     

    Friday just before closing time they called and said it seemed to be working OK there but for me to pick it up and let them know if there were any problems.

     

     

    I got it home and now have a different problem.   It booted right up and so I started iTunes to let it just play in the background but as soon as I started it, it started pixelating the screen.  within just about a minute I had 7 noticable bands of pixels.  Fortunately I was able to grab my camera and take a screen shot of it.  The music continued playing that song although the time progress bar in iTunes quit updating and I had lost any mouse control.   I had to power it off by the power switch.

     

    I waited awhile and restarted it.  It seemed to work just fine and I played quite a few songs on iTunes and decided maybe that first pixilation was just a fluke.   I tried to start Parallels but found the change in the logic board had messed up my Parallels registration.   While I was looking for the password stuff, I realized the machine was hung up and un responsive to the mouse and keyboard.

     

    I rebooted and started something else but before I got going, the machine again froze with an unresponsive mouse and keyboard so I just shut it down and got it ready to return to them on Monday

     

    An additional note,   In every failure / hung situation, I never lost the screen as I did before  and the mouse cursor would always continue to move, just no response to clicks on it nor any responses to Keyboard inputs.

     

    Sorry for the long story, and even more that I don't have any real news to report - other than the screen is no longer going black!  So maybe part of the issue at hand is the video card.  What else is lurking remains to be seen and I'll let you all know more as soon as they do some more troubleshooting.

     

    C U All

     

    Jim

  • Dr.Q Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Well finally some good news!  The iMac seems to be working fine after they put a 2nd new video card into it.  I've been running it for a day now and no problems and the screen is extremely sharp and clear.

     

    Recall the first time they replaced the video card it wound up with a bad case of pixelitis ( new word I just invented ) and their fix was to just get another card from Apple and replace this one.  It makes me think the video card design may be on the ragged edge or there was a issue with some of the card components.

     

    That's all for now but I hope this has helped some of you in figuring out your issues.

     

    CU

     

    Jim

  • wenfar Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I had a similar problem with mine as well. I've had the iMac for 8 mths. The screen started flickering and then this past tuesday, the left side of the screen went a lot darker than the right side. I called apple and after some troubleshooting (which didn't work) I had to take it in where they replaced the LCD screen.

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