2012 MBA overheats and fan never leaves 2000 rpm

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by pete483, Aug 18, 2013.

  1. pete483 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2013
    #1
    I have a recently out-of-warranty i5 MBA that overheats and shuts down, especially while charging. I mostly use it for email and web, which is apparently too much for it.

    I downloaded smcFanControl and noticed that the fan never leaves 2000 rpm. The temperature on the CPU cores will tick up until 200F+ and the computer will shutdown, but the fan never increases. I can use the computer just fine if I keep an eye on the temperature and manually increase the fan temperature with smcFanControl, but this is only a stop gap and is annoying to have to do since this is the type of thing that you would think you could, you know, computerize.

    I've done some searching but haven't seen others having this problem. Any suggestions for a permanent fix? The Genius Bar just wants to charge me to replace the logic board, which seems like throwing parts at a problem instead of actually solving it. This is my first Mac and while it was good while it worked, I can just get a new PC for a little more than the price a the logic board.
     
  2. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2012
    #2
    I would...

    1. Run a hardware diagnosis. Option-Boot something.

    2. SMC reset.

    Still no joy?

    3. Restore OSX to factory default.


    No guaranteed but at least FREE.
     
  3. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2007
    Location:
    Sunny Florida
  4. wolfpuppies3 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2012
    Location:
    Virginia, USA
  5. micrors4racer macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2012
    #5
    Try A PRAM/SMC reset then clean install of osx if that doesn't work.
     
  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #6
    PRAM/NVRAM has nothing to do with heat/fan issues. Resetting it will not help. Only resetting the SMC addresses such issues.
     
  7. Queen of Spades macrumors 68030

    Queen of Spades

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    Location:
    The Iron Throne
    #7
    How far out of warranty is it? I'd try to politely but firmly ask that they repair the computer out of courtesy, provided it's like 1-3 months out. Talk to a supervisor if you call Apple Care, or ask for a Manager if you go into an Apple Store. Be nice - people are more willing to help you if you're not a dick - but firm about what you want.

    If it's out of warranty longer than that, research companies that do component level repairs, there are some third party places that will fix specific parts of the computer instead of just putting in a new logic board like Apple does.

    It's unlucky that this happened to your first Mac, but Apple Care on Macs is something you should always get if possible. You have 11+ months to get it if money is an issue at the time of purchase. I know some people are staunchly anti-warranty, and I am too on certain things, but not on Macs.
     
  8. pete483 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2013
    #8
    Mrbobb/micrors4racer, they did all three of the steps and the Genius Bar and sent me home to see if that fixed the problem, which it didn't, although I hadn't zeroed in on the fan never increasing until I played around with it after those steps.

    ZBoater, if I set SMC to max, it spins up to 6500 rpm and cools everything down nicely. As long as I keep an eye on the temperature, I can manually throttle the fan with smcFanControl and everything is fine.

    Wolfpuppies, I said I took it in to the Genius Bar in the initial post . . .

    Queen of Spades, I certainly intend to do that. Now that I have a work around (at least on the Mac side since SMC doesn't work when I boot into Windows) I am definitely not spending money/having no computer when I start school in a couple weeks while waiting for it to be repaired. Seeing as how this problem started during the warrantly period, I imagine a reasonable manager will help me out. We'll see after I head back to the store this weekend. In retrospect, Apple Care would have been a good idea (although I wouldn't have bought a Mac in the first place if I knew it would only last a year), however I feel like paying a premium for a computer should get you a computer that lasts. I also view Apple Care similar to Best Buy's extended warranty (Salesman: this is the best on the market, you should buy it. Cashier: this is a piece of junk, you should buy and extended warrantly). My last PC was a Panasonic Toughbook that was rock solid (if a little heavy) and lasted for 6 years problem free, but was just too slow to upgrade Windows in order to run new Office. Realistically, a Mac probably wasn't the best choice for me since I need Excel a lot and Excel for Mac isn't robust enough, causing me to run Windows which doesn't work perfect on a Mac either.

    I will try to reset the SMC again tonight and report back what happens.
     
  9. Queen of Spades macrumors 68030

    Queen of Spades

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    Location:
    The Iron Throne
    #9
    1) Well, no one knows for sure if a computer is going to break or not, obviously. And things happen. My mother and one of my sisters are Windows users, and I've seen numerous issues on their laptops. It doesn't necessarily mean one is better than the other, sometimes it's just luck of the draw. You get the warranty if you can't afford to be without your computer, or you can't afford to buy a new one should something happen.

    2) I would definitely mention that you're disappointed it broke so soon after the warranty ended, but pro tip - don't do the "I paid a premium for this, it shouldn't have problems" because like I said, things happen with electronics. It wasn't built to fail, obviously, as that costs Apple money and sometimes customers. Talk about how you maybe weren't properly educated about Apple Care as a new Apple customer, but stay away from the entitled customer schtick. It makes you no friends there and they're starting to crack down on it, according to some people I know who still work Apple retail. Being nice but firm will always get you better results, trust me. I worked there through grad school and turning away total a-holes was always a pleasure.

    3) Yeah, a Panasonic Toughbook is an entirely different genre of computer. I'd suggest swapping back to PCs if that's what you're going for. Once the MBA is fixed, you can sell it fairly easily. I'd still suggest a warranty on the next computer you buy, though, especially if like I said, you can't be without one and can't afford to replace if if you roll the dice.

    Good luck.
     
  10. pete483 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2013
    #10
    So I reset the SMC a couple of times to check that that didn't solve the problem. I'm pretty sure the SMC reset (Left side Shift-Control-Option and Power Button and the magsafe LED changed color). No change however, fan still stays at 2000rpm.

    http://www.bmwusa.com/standard/cont...Standard/Content/Innovations/BMWDieselRD.aspx

    This BMW website has been my benchmark for testing overheating. Sure enough, scrolled down the site a bit and no fan increase, temp went above 200F and the computer shut off.

    Queen of Spades, I hear you on the luck of the draw with electronics . . . I may have been lucky with my Panasonic and unlucky with my Mac. Based on a sample size of one, I really can't assess the quality of either.

    I'll head back to the Apple store and will certainly express my disappointment without being whiny or high and mighty. I think I'll try out this technique.

    I've loved the MBA. It's everything the Panasonic wasn't, other than both being solidly built and having a long battery life. If it comes down to investing another $300 in this though, I'll probably just keep it and limp along with need to manually control the fan and get a less expensive PC so at least I have two computers and some redundancy. That Best Buy deal for $899 is tempting though . . .
     
  11. Queen of Spades macrumors 68030

    Queen of Spades

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    Location:
    The Iron Throne
    #11
    Oh yeah, that's a great technique. Also emphasize it's your first Mac. I'm positive they'd want you to have a good experience as a new customer and whatnot. Anyway, fingers crossed they make it right for you.

    Damn, I hadn't seen that deal until you posted it. Not sure if I should be thanking you or cursing you. :)
     
  12. micrors4racer macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2012
    #12
    Doesn't hurt to do both?
     
  13. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #13
    It doesn't hurt to open and close your car door, either, but it has as much effect on the situation as resetting NVRAM. It's more productive to only do things that could actually help, rather than going through useless exercises.

    About NVRAM and PRAM
     
  14. pete483 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2013
    #14
    Went back in to the Genius Bar . . . no dice. Decided that the $280 for a new logic board would be better spent on a mid-range Lenovo (plus I won't be computerless for a week or more). I have found that Windows on bootcamp is okay at best, especially dealing with the lack of a home key, etc. . .

    I can still nurse the OS X side along with SMCfancontrol and I still have to believe that there is a software solution to this problem since the SMC knows what the temperature is and the fan can go up to 6500 rpm. If I figure the problem out, I'll be sure to post it.

    Thanks for the suggestions everyone!
     
  15. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2012
    #15
    Can't SmcFANcontrol takes over the task of automatically regulating the fan? Because that part of the OS seems broken.
     
  16. halledise macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Location:
    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia
    #16
    try the SMC reset without the power cable plugged in
     
  17. pete483 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2013
    #17
    Quick update: I spoke to a friend who used to work at Apple as an engineer on the MacBook Air. He said it sounds like a bad SMC install, which won't be corrected by an SMC reset. I've tried to reinstall the SMC, but it looks like you can only update rather than reinstall the SMC and since I am on the latest version, I can't do anything. I'm going to try to swing back by the Genius Bar and see if they can do this.
     

Share This Page