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Model A1418 / Late 2013 / 2.7 & 2.9 GHz Core i5 or 3.1 GHz Core i7 Processor

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Smoke Coming Out of Bottom Vent + Electrical "Death" Smell

I just swapped out the OEM hard drive with a SSD for a late 2013 iMac received from someone for my daughter to use. The next day when attempting to power it on (it had been powered on and tested before the incident) she and my son noticed smoke coming out of the bottom vent and it smelled like an electrical fire/burn. I immediately unplugged the unit and moved it somewhere safe. There was no visible flame, and my first thought was that dust (there was a good deal of it vacuumed out when I was performing the repair but probably missed some on under side of logic board, power supply, etc.) got hot and started to burn similar to a bathroom ceiling fan/heater after months of not being used. However, after blowing out the vents with compressed air and also vacuuming them out, the iMac will no longer power on. Do you think this sounds like the power supply simply died, or something more? Please advise.

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@jcrittberg time to take it apart and lets see what scorched. Post some pictures with your QUESTION so that we can see what you see Adding images to an existing question


Thanks for the advice, and I totally agree with your suggestion.

I was hoping to avoid opening the iMac up again just because that process was done so carefully (removed every last speck of adhesive and cleaned with isopropyl alcohol) and was quite time consuming.

I proceeded to attempt to reopen the iMac, but those new adhesive strips were not cutting nearly as easily as the old OEM adhesive. In fact, the little "pizza cutter" tool I bought from the iFixIt store had its wheel snap in half rendering it useless. Instead, I moved on to using the metal jimmy tool from my iFixIt tool kit, and it scratched away some of the black coating from the back of the glass. Worse yet, the screen actually cracked down the left side.

Now my feelings of accomplishment have turned into defeat, and I am buying a late 2015 iMac with Retina display off Craigslist tomorrow so my kids will each have the same machine. In any event, thanks for all the advice and suggestions!


@jcrittberg darn I feel really bad about that. Don't give up on it yet. Right now the worst has happened which was the LCD screen cracking. It's still a good computer and a used display is not to pricey.

Anyhow, best of luck to you and pretty cool that you are going to get matching machines for your kids.


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It definitely sounds like something died. I’m not sure what. HDD to SSD replacement should be fairly straight forward and other than removing the display, swapping out the drive is most of this repair.

This sounds like a you need to open it up and have a look sort of situation. If there was enough heat to make smoke, something will look burned or melted.

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