Late 2009 iMac HD fan?


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I have a 27" late 2009 iMac running High Sierra 10.13.5. Recently the display has begun to blank out as if going into sleep mode. I could momentarily press the power button to get to come back on, but after 2 - 5 seconds it would go out again. I took it to an Apple repair facility and they ran the Apple hardware test which showed the hard drive fan as the problem. Other than that problem it was working great.

My question is; Would it be practical for a non-techie retired mechanical engineer to replace it with a SSD at home? Would that correct the fan problem or is the fan separate from the HD? Any help would be much appreciated.

John
 
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Cory Cooper

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Hello and welcome.

Not sure that the HD fan would cause the display issue...there may be other factors as well. The Apple Service Diagnostic doesn't usually detect a failing LCD panel, if it caused by an intermittent thermal issue. Normally, screen blanking is an issue with the video card or the LCD panel itself. An easy way to test it would be to connect an external display and see if the issue is replicated on it as well. If so, then the video card is the culprit. If not, it's probably the LCD panel.

Replacing the HD with an SSD won't solve the HD fan issue, as they are separate components. You would need to replace the fan as ell. It's not an incredibly hard repair, but it is more involved than most people think, and the iMac isn't a user-serviceable machine. Internal components can easily be damaged if you don't have the proper tools and experience.

Personally, I would't recommend doing the HDD replacement yourself. Now that your iMac is in obsolete/vintage status, Apple cannot perform the repair or get parts any longer. Some third-party Apple Authorized Service Providers can.

I have a friend who was a slightly newer iMac with the same issue, and he ended up simply connecting an external display and using it, instead of replacing the panel.

Hope that helps,

C
 
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Hello and welcome.

Not sure that the HD fan would cause the display issue...there may be other factors as well. The Apple Service Diagnostic doesn't usually detect a failing LCD panel, if it caused by an intermittent thermal issue. Normally, screen blanking is an issue with the video card or the LCD panel itself. An easy way to test it would be to connect an external display and see if the issue is replicated on it as well. If so, then the video card is the culprit. If not, it's probably the LCD panel.

Replacing the HD with an SSD won't solve the HD fan issue, as they are separate components. You would need to replace the fan as ell. It's not an incredibly hard repair, but it is more involved than most people think, and the iMac isn't a user-serviceable machine. Internal components can easily be damaged if you don't have the proper tools and experience.

Personally, I would't recommend doing the HDD replacement yourself. Now that your iMac is in obsolete/vintage status, Apple cannot perform the repair or get parts any longer. Some third-party Apple Authorized Service Providers can.

I have a friend who was a slightly newer iMac with the same issue, and he ended up simply connecting an external display and using it, instead of replacing the panel.

Hope that helps,

C
Thanks very much Cory for your very knowledgeable answer. I’m embarrassed to say that I forgot to include the info that I have a separate monitor connected, and it never had a problem. So it looks like I will forget the idea of self-repair. I like your idea of just using the monitor by itself. I hadn’t considered that possibility. I’m currently using my second iMac., a 21.5” from 2012. It’s much slower than the 27” and I’m addicted to the large screen.

Just a quick second comment. In the process of trying to speed up the 21.5” machine I installed Clean My Mac software and it really did speed up the computer. Maybe, between the two Macs I can delay the large expenditure of a large amount of cash for a new iMac. Now to convince my bookkeeper (my wife ) to shop for a large monitor. Cheaper than a new 27” loaded with goodies.

Thanks again Cory.
 
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Joined
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Hello and welcome.

Not sure that the HD fan would cause the display issue...there may be other factors as well. The Apple Service Diagnostic doesn't usually detect a failing LCD panel, if it caused by an intermittent thermal issue. Normally, screen blanking is an issue with the video card or the LCD panel itself. An easy way to test it would be to connect an external display and see if the issue is replicated on it as well. If so, then the video card is the culprit. If not, it's probably the LCD panel.

Replacing the HD with an SSD won't solve the HD fan issue, as they are separate components. You would need to replace the fan as ell. It's not an incredibly hard repair, but it is more involved than most people think, and the iMac isn't a user-serviceable machine. Internal components can easily be damaged if you don't have the proper tools and experience.

Personally, I would't recommend doing the HDD replacement yourself. Now that your iMac is in obsolete/vintage status, Apple cannot perform the repair or get parts any longer. Some third-party Apple Authorized Service Providers can.

I have a friend who was a slightly newer iMac with the same issue, and he ended up simply connecting an external display and using it, instead of replacing the panel.

Hope that helps,

C
Cory - Another interesting note. I booted up with a monitor connected and everything worked fine for about 5 minutes. Then the displayed failed, but the monitor continues to work fine. The curious response is that when I boot to anything other than a normal boot, i.e., diagnostic, different disk, etc., the display screen seems to function normal while in the light gray color mode. As soon as it gets to a color screen is when it begins the shutdown action. I will now use the monitor as you suggested, but I thought that characteristic was interesting.
 

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