Model A1237 or A1304 / 1.6, 1.8, 1.86, or 2.13 GHz Core 2 Duo processor

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3 beeps on start up

Hi,

On power up, my MacBook Air beeps three times continuously.

beep beep beep (short break) beep beep beep (short break)....

Any ideas.

thanks.

Frustrated!!

Update

I feel really ripped off! I bought the macbook Air 13" shortly after the warranty expired. The thing is practically perfect. Now I come to find out that the ram is bad and there's not a thing I can do about it. I tried to to Hold Command +P+R and still nothing.

JC

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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Hi. What I did was to heat'it up with a hot air solder station. It work well but when I employ hi memory demand applications, the computer stops and when I restart it , the 3 beeps again. The 4 time it happens to me, I messed, because I put to much air in the soldering gun, and one of the memory chips just loose. Pretty bad!!

I'm on it, trying to align the chip correctly again. When it happen, and I can start again I will do 2 activities:

1. Beaked as recommended.

2. Restore Memory frecuently.

by

Try this. I had the dreaded Three Beeps of despair, but sit commenting on this post using the same Mac book Air. Mine turned out to be excessive dust inside the case, which must have been tracking across circuits somewhere.

Be super careful and super clean, earth yourself prior to and during the work.

Remove the back cover of your Mac Book Air. You will need the correct tool for this, cheap enough. Remove the battery. Get the vacuum cleaner out, and find the small attachment for it, and hold it close to, but not touching the components in the Mac. At the same time use a brand new, ultra clean make up brush or photographers lens brush, to dislodge and clean away the years of grot, biscuits and dust. Be careful and slow. Refit the battery and back cover and try to start the machine again. Mine worked a treat and has been for 3 months since the work. Mid 2013 Mac Book Air.

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11 Answers

Chosen Solution

NEWS FLASH for MacBook Air users with 3 Beeps at startup!!!

On a hunch, as I have noticed my MacBook Air has overheated in the past, I opened mine up to check the THERMAL PASTE. Made no sense that DRAM of any sort would fail after 15 months. When I got down to the logic board, I inspected the 8 visible 1 gigabit chips visible. The solder joints appeared pristine. Nothing else appeared burned, fractured, loose or disconnected. I then removed the heatsink I found the thermal paste dried and hardened! I carefully removed all of the old paste and then applied new high quality thermal paste. I then reassembled the machine. Rebooted and NO 3 beeps! Once again, my MacBook Air appears to be working perfectly.

Therefore, if you have recently had a MacBook Air exhibit the 3 beep boot failure, strongly consider checking your thermal paste. WARNING: You should do this ONLY you are an experienced repair person, and only if your computer is already out of warranty.

FYI: I've been building, repairing and modding computers since 1987.

Hope this helps some people,

John

Update (11/28/2010)

UPDATE: THERMAL PASTE

Having now had to do this repair twice, I am beginning to suspect that environmental conditions (temperature, ambient humidity) are directly affecting thermal paste on the Macbook Air (as least the Rev C).

Please let me explain, as I do not think there is anything inherently wrong with this model. Each time I have run into the 3 beep scenario, it has occurred after the MacBook Air has been exposed to extremes in temperature. Specifically, it has been left out in the center console of my 2007 Tundra when it has been very cold (10º F to 20º F). Although this area of the pickup truck should be insulated (you would think, as this console is specifically marketed pitching it as a place to store your notebook computer), it seems to not be so. That and the fact that the MacBook Air is so thin, and there is no real thermal insulator between the case and the logic board. My thinking is that the paste contracts and/or dries out when exposed to extremely cold temperature. If the former is true, then when it warms up it could potentially fail by cracking, or even pulling away from the surface it is adhered to. Likewise this could occur as it contracts, or if it gets dried out. Anyone out there with material science engineering experience with thermal paste, input would be greatly appreciated.

Bottomline is that each time I've had the 3 beep scenario, twice now and after machine being on (sleeping, cover closed), being exposed to a significant temperature drop, when I open it up and replace the paste, it works again. CAUTION: the paste itself is not at all easy to work with, and can make a real mess. It especially loves hydrophillic substances like your fingers. And MORE IMPORTANTLY, if you fail to put the thermal paste on properly, you are in for a potential disaster. Although I think Apple has engineered a fail safe for this by preventing the boot sequence, resulting in the 3 beeps (misleadingly indicating RAM failure), I wouldn't want to be the one finding a fire igniting my Air! Just to respond to the memory seating issue, there is none. As others have pointed out, it is soldered (using SMD -tiny 'surface mount' - chips) to the logic board).

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An interesting solution +

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+ 2 thumbs up! The RAM controller is on the Northbridge/video chip - this is an Intel product. It makes good/perfect sense. Nothing amazing about it. But I bet this answer helps a great many people.

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It worked for me. Bought the screwdrivers and thermal past on Amazon and fixed my computer for lest than $15. Thank you for taking the time to post this. Mac repair shop told me that it was the RAM gone bad. It's worth the time to try the thermal paste fix first.

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Is there a video anywhere on this?

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its a 2013 version

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Most Helpful Answer

I took out the logic board and placed it in the oven on 350 degree F for 8 min. Let it cool for 30 min put the computer back together and it started up with on problems.

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Well, I am surprised. I went through all the answers on this site in order of difficulty, and after cleaning off and replacing the thermal paste with no joy, I ordered a new logic board. Only after I had the old one out did I find I had ordered the wrong version of the logic board. Did not fit. So as a sort of WTF, I went ahead and baked my old one then reassembled things. I needed to do that just so I did not lose parts while hassling a replacement of the replacement board, so what the heck. And it booted up!

So what I take from this is that there may be a number of factors that can cause the 3 beeps, and Apple had a number of small revisions over the life of this model, so don't expect a simple "one answer" fix. I have NO IDEA why baking the logic board would heal the memory, but try it if nothing else works! Thanks, Nikhil!

by

Same for me here.

My MacBook Air mid 2011 with 4 GB RAM would only beep 3 times on booting.

Put the logic board 8 minutes in the oven with 190 degree celsius - was booting again fine afterwards :)

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Any hunches, links, or info on WHY this would work?

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it reflows the solder on components on which it might have cracked - making a good connection again. This is a fun read: http://forums.macrumors.com/threads/took...

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I can add a me too here. Did the thermal paste with no luck. Baked my logic board and it f-ing worked again. So awesome.

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It's a RAM problem, 13" models have 2GB soldered memory and the RAM is not upgradeable or replaceable. 15" and 17" have a 4GB maximum with two slots and you can replace the RAM on those.

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Good answer +

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Hi how i will to fix that problem? what i can do? if the RAM is not replaceable? thanks

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Sergio - Did you review jsheery2's answer above?

He was able to solve his problem by cleaning the old thermal paste and applying fresh paste. If that doesn't do it you'll need to replace your logic board unless you can find someone to reflow/replace the DRAM chips. In any case this is not something you can do your self.

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Dan i will try to fix it of that way, just looked other options less drastic. thanks.

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Based on my working MAC computers, three beeps is related to BAD MEMORY.

I suggest you to replace your RAM with good one and try booting again. Hope this will help!

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Tayamen is right, this points to a RAM problem. But unfortunately the Airs RAM is soldered to the logicboard. You may have to change it. Bummer.

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I have found solution, the problem is so small and funny, unbelievable small.

I had problem few days, totally black screen and only three beeps in intervals, no boot.

And i don't wanna to give a lot of money for nothing so i decided to do everything which i know and to fix it or trow it in a garbage.

I have tried thermal paste, have checked the memory chips on logic board, soldered the new one, but again the same.

The problem was that thermal sensor which is on the small board and glued to the logicboard (i don't know why they do like that) have take apart from it and touching the metal part of cooler and making a short circuit. I had glued back again, put the paste and cooler and, woala, air is on the air again hehe

the location i have marked on picture with red.

the location of thermal sensor

hope you will find this useful.

Greetings from Serbia

Zdravko

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ZDRAVKO's lead me to my solution!

I have a macbook air that most of the time wouldn't boot, the light turned on, but then everything did shut off with a click. I had reassembled the mac when it started doing this. Somehow I figured out that when I did not assemble the heatsink it would boot ok, but ofcourse would get too hot after a while. After even more testing, it turned out that the tiny screw in the middle of the heatsink that holds a V shaped clamp, was the cause. When I had that screw tightened, that macbook air wouldn't boot.

After using the macbook without the clamp fastened I found out that it reached 90+ degrees and did shut off the same way as when it wouldn't boot. With a click and then powered off. Remembering this answer of ZDRAVKO I could conclude that somehow this heatsink screw was interfering with the temperature sensor and causing the macbook to turn of immediately. I couldn't find any case of shortcircuiting, but I did notice that one of the cables of the temperature sensor was routed above a hard square motherboard chip-thingy. When the heatsink was totally fastened, that would get squeeshed there and probably short-circuit or do something else bad. When I put that cable aside it, where it probably belonged, the boot error was solved!!

So, what a coincidence that I read ZDRAVKO's answer! Long live the internetz. :)

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Hello, the picture is missing ohh, I replace the thermal paste, I can't locate by my self the thermal sensor. No pictures in Internet. issue with the 3beeps continue.

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Found the solucion!!!!!

Hold Command+P+R simultaneously and press power button this will seset the parameter REM (PRAM)

Pedro

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Pedro, check the update. That did not work

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I also experienced the 3 beeps with no further computer function. I used the Command + R + P and Powerup method. The Air then started without the beeps but with a blank screen. After several attempts to restart, I used the hold "D" key down with Powerup. I had to hold the "D" key for over 30 seconds, then the computer started as normal. So far it has experienced no further odd behavior.

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relveston, in the update to the question it was said that this solution did not work. Great that it worked for you, good job.

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I got 3 beeps nonstop. So as I read here, I pressed D key and power up simultaneously. The beep stopped and it s working again. Thanks for the tip xx

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PEDRO saved me!! press command + R + P + power !!! it rebooted and now works!!

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Holding down D for about 20-30 seconds -- and power simultaneously -- stopped the beeps. Then I pressed power and it booted right up. My guess is that the mac air overheated from too much video work (was moving large video files around and using iMovie).

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@textractor - thanks a lot. My daughters MacBook was doing the beeping and I did replace the memory but it kept doing it. Your D+power steps made it stop and it's booting ok again. Big thank you!

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Just tried it and it didn't worked :(

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This thread has become a dump for MacAir 3 beep solutions so here's my addition: I worked through the following non-invasive techniques (most listed above) a couple times each and after doing 5) it started booting. Maybe they worked as a combination or maybe it was 5 that did the trick. If none of these had worked I'd have tried the Thermal Paste solution above. However, if non-invasive works, who am I to complain! Hopefully this compilation helps someone!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

UPDATE: This happened to me a second time two months later: I have found a firm fix for my issue now:

1) power off, plug in power cord

2) Hold (left side) command + (left) option + P + R

3) while holding them, tap power and CONTINUE HOLDING the four buttons in 2

4) Computer will make a startup sound, KEEP HOLDING, computer will turn off, KEEP HOLDING, computer will startup again, you can let go only AFTER the second startup or even third startup.

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These are other things I tried the first time around:

1) "Hold Command+P+R simultaneously and press power button" (Pedro above)

2) Technique 1 followed by "hold D and power for 20-30 seconds" (relveston above)

3) "Holding down D for about 20-30 seconds -- and power simultaneously -- Then press power " (textractor above)

4) Perform SMC reset and re-verify

Shut down the computer.

Plug in the MagSafe power adapter to a power source, connecting it to the Mac if its not already connected.

On the built-in keyboard, press the (left side) Shift-Control-Option keys and the power button at the same time.

Release all the keys and the power button at the same time.

Press the power button to turn on the computer.

Note: The LED on the MagSafe power adapter may change states or temporarily turn off when you reset the SMC. (PlotinusVeritas from Apple help forums)

5) Shut down your Mac.

Locate the following keys on the keyboard: Command (⌘), Option, P, and R. You will need to hold these keys down simultaneously in step 4.

Turn on the computer.

Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys before the gray screen appears.

Hold the keys down until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for the second time.

Release the keys. (PlotinusVeritas from Apple help forums)

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Just tried it and it didn't work

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OK, I have an older MacBook air model a1237 that chimes then about 10 seconds later 3 beeps over and over. I pulled the logic board and looked it over with a magnifier several times and it's real clean no parts look bad so I put on new thermal paste and still have 3 beeps BUT I figured out by timing the boot process, turn it on and after it chimes and when the screen lights up push power to turn it back off then hit power a second time and it boots fine. I did this about 20 times and it boots that second time every time. So when I want to use it, hit power, wait for the chime and hit power to turn it off then hit power to boot. Don't know why it works but for this MacBook, it just does. Tried booting with the disk drive out and same thing so it's not a software issue, something with the board but at least I got it to boot. Just FYI, when you power it on and it chimes and as soon as the screen lights up it is approx. 8 seconds and you should see the apple logo.

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Resoldered all the ram chips with flux cleaned with denatured alcohol and blew out any remaining liquid with electronic blower and voila 3 beeps gone video right away and did pram reset 4 times to clear it out and bam all 4gb ram detected

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Do you have any links or pictures or something to describe how exactly you "resoldered the ram chips with flux" (such as which parts did you resolder) and where did you blow out remaining liquid?

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I've had 2 MBA's with the startup problem (3 beeps). After reading all the answers above there are different solutions. Common problem is the memory but it is not always a hardware problem like disturbed connections, etc. In my experience (both MBA's) it had to do with a software problem: Failure with the sleepmode. It's the swapfile which fails in a kind of way. If that fails the MBA won't boot and reacts with 3 beeps. I've tried to startup in all thinkable ways, mentioned above. Sometimes they booted up. If it was a hardware problem they should never boot so it must be something else.

I discovered that when you can make the MBA complete out of power in all components (especially the SMC) it will boot normally. Taking out the logic board or recharge the thermal paste or baking in the oven, all methods make the logic board complete out of power. That cleans the swapfile and takes away the startup problem. After reassembling the MBA's did boot normally without the 3 beeps.

It's my experience and not THE solution but just an opportunity. Good luck and please respond if you have any comment, positive or negative. We can all learn.

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