iMac Intel 27". EMC 2309 (Late 2009, Core 2 Duo 3.06 or 3.33 GHz), EMC 2374 (Late 2009, Core i5 2.66 GHz or Core i7 2.8 GHz)

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Caustic smell comes out of ventilation slot!

After a day or two since I first turned on the iMac 27" i7 a week ago, a noticeable strong bad smell started to come out from the left side of the ventilation slot behind the display as you see it from the front, i.e. the right upper corner as you see it from the back; I believe this is where the power adapter is situated. The smell resembles the way brand new iMacs smell but with a much, much stronger smell, from which you get a burning-caustic feeling in your eyes (imagine a very mild tear gas feeling).

Any ideas what it might be, what to do about it and to what extent I should be worried about it would be appreciated very much.

Update

Thanks guys for the prompt answers.

I'm nowhere near an Apple store! The fumes still persist constantly till now, nearly ten days after purchase. Yes, burnt chlorine is a fair mach, I guess. No other problems. Running smoothly from day one.

Here are some temperatures and fan speed that the widget iStat Pro shows:

Temperatures:

HD = 57˚

CPU = 46˚

Ambient = 22˚

GPU Diode = 60˚

GPU Headsink = 60˚

Mem controller = 52˚

Optical Drive = 49˚

Power Supply 2 = 67˚

Fan Speeds:

Optical drive = 1000rpm

Hard drive = 1297rpm

CPU fan = 939rpm

Thanks

Answer this question I have this problem too

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Nothing good is happening. Some electronic component is going to blow shortly. I suggest unplugging and getting to repair facility before the item blows. I would worry that the item that is defective would take out other components then you would have to repair more items or more expensive items. It should still be covered by Applecare, so be sure to call them, maybe they have ideas. But also you get your problem on record in case you need a warranty repair.

The smell is probably a flame retardant in a board or component being charred by an electrical short or over heating component. I know this smell well, in an earlier job we were accelerated aging circuit boards in ovens. As the flame retardant additive degrades in spits off bromine (or chlorine for some additives).

You need to unplug rather than just shut down because the power supply will always be drawing some power when plugged in.

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The closest thing I've had to this is when my Airport Express died. Something inside popped and fried -- the smell was kind of like burnt chlorine, if that makes any sense. Have you had any performance issues?Anything not working that used to work?

In the short term, while you figure out what's going on, I'd highly recommend ensuring you have good air circulation/filtration in the room to get rid of any possibly toxic fumes.

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For what it's worth, here are a couple of threads in which people are complaining of burning smells from their new iMacs. Seems that others are seeing this in conjunction with display flickering/blackout problems.

http://www.ehmac.ca/archive/index.php/t-...

http://discussions.apple.com/message.jsp...

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speaking of the flickering problem, Apple recently released a firmware update for that: http://support.apple.com/kb/TS3181

Not sure if in any way related, but perhaps worth installing if not already

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if it's a very strong smell and you're near an Apple Store, I would bring it in and have them check it out, it doesn't sound normal. is the smell persistent, or has it gone away after a couple days?

I've had a 27" iMac i7 for a couple months and not noticed anything like that, nor have I noticed anything like it with another 27" C2D iMac.

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I wanted to add my story because until the end, my situation was the same. But it ended up differently.

Everything from the initial humming and a slight caustic smell coming from the top left corner of my 2010 iMac made it seem like the power source was failing. When my computer wouldn't turn on, the LEDs confirmed the power source was not working.

Because I haven't worked on computers before, I took it to Apple. Even though iFixit's videos on YouTube were great, I was not comfortable doing it myself. When the Apple tech opened up my computer, they said my computer was really dusty. I mean, the vent slot is pretty wide and probably lets in a lot of dust. The dust was preventing my computer from booting up, not a failed power source. From now on, I'll use the dust cover on my iMac when I'm not using it. I should have been doing this from the beginning. Whoops.

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Charmy will be eternally grateful.
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