Released in 1989 by apple computer, discontinued in 1991

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Macintosh SE hisses/whistles when turned on. No video

Hi, All.

I ordered a Macintosh SE from eBay the other day in working condition. As I'm sure you've all experienced before, USPS really doesn't care about your packages, so when I saw the USPS guy throw it off the truck I had a feeling it wasn't going to work... and I was right.

When I connect power and flip the switch, the computer makes a fairly loud hissing/whistling sound. I'm not entirely sure what's causing it. Here's the sound: Video 1

The screen doesn't display anything, it doesn't even seem to be turning on (I haven't felt any static on it afterwards). The first time I turned it on it made a bunch of clicking sounds as well. After trying a few more times, it doesn't make the clicking sounds anymore and it does successfully play the boot chime, although without a screen I'm not sure whether it's actually booting or not. I'm hoping the hard drive still works, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

I took the case off, and I don't see anything that looks specifically broken. There don't appear to be any burst caps, although I wasn't able to remove the logic board, so I couldn't really check that.

Here's some pictures I took with the case off:

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Image 1

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Image 2

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Image 3

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Image 4

And here's some fly-by videos I took of the case, one is with an extra light, one is without:

Video 1

Video 2

And lastly, I recorded a video with the case off while turning it on. I couldn't figure out where the sound was coming from, but when I turned off all of the lights I noticed that the very tip of the picture tube seems to be flickering (only barely visible at the very end).

Power Up Without Case

I'm really hoping I'm able to fix this because I've wanted an SE since I was quite young.

Answer this question I have this problem too

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4 Answers

Bad capacitors will sometimes whistle. I would pull the cover off (to do this you will need a very long torx #15 ) (some come with a case spreader), and see if you can determine if the sound is coming from the power supply or the motherboard. If coming from the motherboard I would use a good light and look every capacitor over very carefully. Your looking for one that is bulging or bowed outwards and/or leaking.

Look for burned areas on the paper covering the power supply.

For more information on fixing it, here's the guy:

This guide will work for you: Macintosh 128K Teardown


OK, the video with sound was not up when I answered. That's the disk drive trying to read a disk. Hold the mouse button down when starting up to eject the disk. Then try another disk to see if it's the disk or the drive. If the disk will not eject, use a paper clip in the hole in the disk drive and manually eject it.

It also appears to have a SCSI hard drive installed and that could also be your sound source, try unplugging the molex power connector to it.

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eweonardspock that sounds like a bad power supply or a bad disk drive. Unplug your disk drive and see if that noise changes. If it does not, check your power supply. Please remember that capacitors maintain a charge for quite some time, keep your fingers away from your CRT and your caps. For now just do a visible exam. The lights at the CRT could just be coming from some dust and debris on the connections. It does not yet look like that's where the trouble is. After all this baby is a few decades old and has probably seen plenty of stuff. BTW I have two of those and love the retro feel. We need to keep these devices going for another few decades. Do not give up on it....

Just to verify what my colleague @mayer is saying. Take some good pictures of just the boards with the caps on the PSU. Again, mind them. They do pack a punch. I am sure you are pretty smart about it, but here is a CRT Safety Guide you do want to read over CRT safety

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Many of the Classic/SE macs I saw in for service years ago would develop cold freeze cracks in the solder of the power supply connector on the analog board. This is the vertical board on the top half that has the connector for the CRT. Look for 4 or 5 large diameter solder joints in a vertical row near the top edge. When they failed, the analog board would make a high frequency hiss/whistle noise. Re-flowing the solder on these joints was a cheap and reliable fix for many machines that crossed my bench back in the 90's.

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fan i think. or could be the floppy trying to turn and the head attempting to seek to the reference point. if the unit was thrown and landed badly, the floppy drive could have loosened a few innards or shifted enough to warp the mount points. the fan may have been damaged, lost some or all of the blades. also, the fans in those things do tend to give up the ghost after YEARS of constant whirling too. fans built with 'permanent bearings' really aren't permanent, the lube dries out eventually. the floppy drives are the same, they wear and the floppy disks themselves can shed oxides that will cause the heads to 'chatter' as it seeks and reads. i've known enough of them to squeal like pet guinea pigs. the capacitors of that era were good solid electrolytics, usually wet electrolytics, but they do fail, and their ratings slowly become dangerously close to failure. heat is their enemy, once they go, they're done for and must be replaced.

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eweonardspock will be eternally grateful.
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