apple imac's not booting up after itunes update..

A customer of mine has an imac and just got an ipad the other day. She was running an update on itunes so she could sync her ipad with it. Well after the update was completed it asked to reboot and it doesn't power on anymore. She told me it makes 3 beeping sound which could mean bad memory (assuming same setup as a pc). she also took it to the apple store and they told her she has a bad logic board and they told her she needs to spend the $800 for a logic board with them. I dont know what the deal is yet.

I do work on apples but they are not one I work with as much as a pc. I need to verify the 3 beeps when the imac is powered on but according to the customer that's all it does. I guess it could be a coincidence that memory went bad at that given time ?  I'd like to think there is some sort of software issue causing all these problems seeing its been working fine until the update for itunes. I guess its just a weird situation overall.

I was wondering if anybody has an ideas or direction I should go towards. I just picked it up and need to set it up on my bench and see what happens. I'm pretty sure I included all the issues so far. Once I attempt to boot it up I will list any other information..

Well thanks for your help and time. I will add a reply soon...
Joel BudITAsked:
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Anthony MellorChartered AccountantCommented:
you said it: 3 beeps = No RAM banks passed memory testing
Anthony MellorChartered AccountantCommented:
could remove and reseat of course.

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nappy_dThere are a 1000 ways to skin the technology cat.Commented:
You can also try resetting the pRAM  Hold CMD(or Apple)+Option+P+R at startup until you hear the startup chimes.  Do this for two or three startup chimes in a row.

Release the keys and let's see if your Mac starts.
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Owen RubinConsultantCommented:
Remember, when ANYTHING goes wrong inside a Mac, Apple's answer is to shotgun it with a new logic board. I would skip that solution.

The error sound is indicating that the RAM is bad. Seems odd that it should "just" go bad, so maybe there is something this person is not telling you. When she presses power, does not NOT hear the usual Mac start-up sound and it goes directly to the three beeps? Or does it boot partway? When do the three beeps happen?

If indeed this is a memory problem, and the resetting PRAM above does not help, and removing and reseating the RAM does not help, there are a few other things to investigate.

First, which iMac is this? imac G5's had a known power supply problem, and the results of that problem if never corrected do indeed lead to both a bad power supply and a damaged mother board. However, that typical failure was to do NOTHING when turned on but turn on the fans.

I would suggest she find an Apple authorized repair center and take it there for a review. These places will typically look for a failed component rather than a shotgun approach. At least she will know what is really wrong.

Good luck.
Joel BudITAuthor Commented:
I haven't had time to sit down and power it on yet but you guys are pushing me in the direction I was thinking.  I am going to try the PRAM first tho cause that is the easiest for me assuming I can get it to go that far. I will leave a reply on here as soon as I fire it up...

Thanks all...
Joel BudITAuthor Commented:
ok, when I power on the machine the screen stays black and it makes 8 beeps total. 3 short 3 long and 2 short. It doesn't appear to power on or anything. Screen just stays black and that's all it does.

nappy_dThere are a 1000 ways to skin the technology cat.Commented:
Time to hit the service centers.  I think as previously suggested you have additional hardware issues.
Joel BudITAuthor Commented:
I cant even tell what kind this is. the mac isn't labeled. I know its an imac everything in one and from what the customer told me it was 2-3 years old. it just keeps beeping over and over it will stop for 20-30 seconds and beep again as if its keeps trying to boot up but the screen just stays doesn't even look like its getting power..
Joel BudITAuthor Commented:
this is a imac 24" 2.4ghz
nappy_dThere are a 1000 ways to skin the technology cat.Commented:
Is it an crt tube iMac or one of the newer flat screens or the one with the screen on an adjustable arm?

In either case take it to the local Apple certified svc ctr for an estimate for repair. If still under warranty great, if not, my be worth ditching and buying a new one. Just be sure to put the hdd into a external case for data retrieval.
Joel BudITAuthor Commented:
replaced memory with known working memory and no dice. also there appears to be one screw on this ? isn't there a reset button on the motherboard I can try to too much of a pain to access ? Apple told this customer a logic board will cost over $700-$800 customer will replace and if so I will see if I can buy it or keep it or whatever if she don't wanna fix it ? How hard are logic boards to replace is all else fails ?

I tried clearing PRAM and also replaced memory and still in same boat ? The only other option may be to take it in but is there anything else we could possible try ?

Thanks everyone for your help, its greatly appreciated...
Joel BudITAuthor Commented:
nappy its a flat screen and adjustable arm. I found a video on youtube on how to disassemble. the apple store told the customer it'll be 7-800 for the logic board. I found them online for like 150-250 but if customer wants to ditch it I will try to see if I can buy it or keep it. Either way I'd like to try and fix it if customer goes elsewhere and I am able to keep it for self I will fix it. This thing looks nice. I know I need a suction cup to take it apart and then behind the screen is everything it doesn't look that hard to disassemble. I just need to figure out what could be the options. I'm guessing the HDD is also inside or behind the screen..I'll have to dig deeper...


Thanks Nappy for all your help...I also have another question open on HP printer which I really need help with, I'm out of ideas and need to figure it out today and hoping a reformat is not the issue.
Joel BudITAuthor Commented:
if it is beeping all these beeps wouldn't it appear the motherboard be ok ? can anyone confirm a reset button on the board itself before I go into this thing ? I'm basically the last line of support for this customer she will not go any further due to pricing and being able to buy a new one for what apple will charge her to fix it.
nappy_dThere are a 1000 ways to skin the technology cat.Commented:
Server reasons for the beep copdes that could lead to bad components on the board also.  I think this article will fix you up.
See here:

For future reference also:
Joel BudITAuthor Commented:
nappy let me try this out and post results...Thanks...
Joel BudITAuthor Commented:
tried FW update no dice. This thing is dead. the screen continues to stay black only. It just don't want work. Apple store told her logic board, I guess that's what it appears to be. good thing is I found them cheaper online. I'm pretty sure this is it for this thing. Idk, what else could be a culprit. We tried everything, resetting memory, new memory, flush PRAM, FW update, all it does is just continue to make beeps and beeps and beeps.

I was really hoping it was something else but who knows....the logic board is the motherboard ? If I order one and replace it I just need to do the logic board and all set. so odd how this could happen after running an itunes update to try and sync an ipad....

I suppose if there is a PRAM button on logic board and try to reset it it wont help. Even tho the board beeps it can still go bad assuming the CPU is ok ? ahhhhhh

ohh well time to price out logic boards next to a miracle...
Owen RubinConsultantCommented:
I suspect it is actually 3 short, 3 long, and 3 short, and you may be missing one or it stops early but that is an SOS response from the motherboard! I guess Apple engineers have a sense of humor?

But according to this document:
what you are hearing is not a regular failure tone.

However, if it were 3 long, 3 short, 3 long, it means: "firmware restoration from CD in process." But you said that did not do it? Hmmm....

All that aside, this really does sound like bad RAM, but it might have been caused by a bad power supply or mother board failure. You can try to put in other memory, but I recommend against it actually, as if the power supply is bad, you could ruin more memory. I would suggest taking the memory out and finding someone or someplace that can test it for you.

OR, I still think an Apple authorized service center (NOT an Apple store) should look at it for you and tell you what is wrong. They will look at more than a shotgun approach to fixing it.

For the record, Apple did a shotgun on my iMac, putting in a new mother board, and it failed 6 weeks later, because, as I suspected, the power supply was bad,  Then I had to fight with them to replace both under a warranty that had just expired. Be aware that JUST a mother board replacement is not always the answer.

Is this thing still under warranty?
Joel BudITAuthor Commented:
no warranty on the imac. I did the new memory and no luck either. I wont add any more memory into it tho. is there a way I can test the power supply like you can test a pc power supply ? See the voltage flowing ? so I guess we have it narrowed down to possibly a bad PSU or board ?

As for FW update when i put the cd in the imac as it was booting the screen just stays black and makes its beeps. I don't even know if the screen is turning on, I see no color just black with beeps. I was holding down the open apple and C key I think that makes it boot to CD and it wouldn't do anything, just spit out the cd eventually. I used toast on a G4 I have around my office to burn it.

as for the beeps I'm positive its 3 short 3 long and 3 short. I can check for a local apple service center and see what they say. I'm pretty much guessing it out of my hands now. I informed the customer we may need a new board but I tried several things and none of them were successful. I told her we may need to look into a board...

thanks orrubin for your input....I'm going to check out that link...
Joel BudITAuthor Commented:
hey as for the FW cd when I burn it, it'll  need to be made a bootable image ? also when i turn on the imac and add the cd into it should i hold down the open apple key + C ? will that make it boot to a cd ?
Owen RubinConsultantCommented:
Yes, the image needs to be bootable. This link:  explains how to make the CD and start the system.

BTW, I believe it is JUST the C key to boot the CD, not Comamnd - C.
Joel BudITAuthor Commented:
I just downloaded and burned 3 FW updates. 2 of them are EFI FW updates 1.1 and 1.4 and the other one is a software update FW. Seeing the customer knows nothing  about her computer, I will try a few of them to see what works. I highly doubt she stayed current with updates. Either or I'll know soon cause if the screen don't power on it's screwed anyhow. The customer wants this
computer back in the morning anyhow. I believe she
is gonna buy a new one and who knows with the old one. I'd lve to take it instead of her tossing it cause I would repair it but I'll be giving it back in morning. Just gonna try the FW for the hell of it... Will post results if
not I give up...

Thanks everyone for input and help, it's much appreciated !!!  
Joel BudITAuthor Commented:
got it working, pulled the bios battery turned it on and let it sit put bios battery back in and booted up. now I need to run the EFI update...
Owen RubinConsultantCommented:
OK, that is something I would not have thought of, because blasting PRAM should have done the same thing, as should have pressing the small red button (if it had one) on the mother board. I thought you did both of those. Otherwise, I should have suggested that. My bad.

Well, happy it is working, and VERY happy you did not follow Apple's "swap out the mother board" because it is often not the case that it is that big a problem. Good catch.
Joel BudITAuthor Commented:
The solution was solved by pulling the CMOS battery powering the apple on and then letting it sit off for a few minutes then putting back in CMOS battery and it powered back on.

All the above solutions were in the right direction and most would of applied...Thanks everyone for help...

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