After last month's report that some resellers actually stopped selling the units to due to such significant failure rates, eMac display issues continue to plague MacFixIt readers - and Apple appears to be largely ignoring the issue.
The defect causes the bottom third or half of the screen to go black, with the rest of image shifting upward and out of the top boundary of the display. Serious static also accompanies the problem, rendering the viewable part of the screen virtually useless.
The "raster shift" problem, as it has been dubbed on a number of discussion boards and in letters to MacFixIt - occurs in anywhere from 15 to 60 percent of in-dealer inventories according to a MacFixIt poll of resellers.
"Raster shift's" latest victim writes:
"I purchased my 800 MHz eMac at the beginning of December and started experiencing problems with the screen moving and shrinking at the beginning of January. When the screen finally went blank a day later at 5 PM, I was in the middle of a project that needed to be finished that evening! [...] I still cannot believe this is happening, this is my third Mac machine in ten years and I have never had a problem before. I have always told anyone who will listen how great Mac's are, but now I feel that this counted for nothing when I talked to Apple Canada about the problem. Apparently, Apple feels there isn't a problem with the eMac's."
MacFixIt contacted Apple a number of times attempting to garner some insight as to any potential course of action that the company had planned in order to appease the customer complaints, which now number in the hundreds. Unfortunately, our requests have gone largely ignored, with re-directions, but never any solid response or acknowledgement of the issue. While Apple is fixing the problem on a case-by-case basis under warranty, some users are still experiencing the problem for weeks before a suitable repair is furnished. In addition, many users had to send their system back several times before gaining proper display functionality. As one reseller puts it:
"The repair procedure is to replace most of the guts of the machine. This procedure takes a 45 minutes to 1 hour. Unfortunately, the replacement parts haven't been much better than the originals. It is not uncommon for Apple to send us a part that will exhibit the exact same problems. What's worse is Apple no longer reimburses service providers for repeat repairs if they send out a defective part."
An Apple discussion thread titled "Is anyone happy with their eMac?" shows that the problem may not be as widespread as indicated by reseller reports, with many users reporting that the eMac is one of the best Macs they have ever purchased. However, the thread is still populated with several comments from readers who have been affected by the raster shift issue. One poster writes that his screen had to be replaced three times before the issue was resolved.
If you have been affected by the raster shift issue, or conversely found the eMac to be problem-free, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.