A tough one- MBP booting up problem.

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Lakelandr, May 6, 2013.

  1. Lakelandr macrumors newbie

    Lakelandr

    Joined:
    May 6, 2013
    Location:
    Key West, FL
    #1
    Ok so here's one that I have searched for a week straight and still not found anything helpful. Here goes.
    I bought my first Macbook in May of 2009. It's one of the late 2008 unibody models, 13.3 inch 2.4 GHz intel and 8gigs RAM, and it came running OS 10.6.3. It worked wonderfully for over three years without one memorable complaint and I am a heavy user of photoshop, iMovie, dreamweaver and many other CPU intensive programs. Plus I can spend 3-8 hrs straight on my Mac working it to its limits for sure. Anyhow, one day I woke up and it wouldn't boot up. Now I'm no stranger to opening things up and having a look for myself. So far, I've replaced the optical drive (for making funny noises like it was dying, previous to this crash), I've replaced the already upgraded hard disk from 250gigs to 500gigs, I replaced the RAM twice, first to upgrade to 8gigs and then back down to 4gigs because I had brand new RAM chips and think I static shorted my 8gig ones playing around with the guts of my Macbook one day. I've taken the logic board out to be thoroughly cleaned, and I replaced the battery with one of the new ones about 7 months ago.
    It was about 2 months ago when it just stopped booting up, and it's a weird story how it started happening. One night I was working away as usual, the next morning it would only boot up to the Apple logo and think about stuff for about 1-2 mins and then it'd shut itself down. I didn't mess much with it at the time other than try other chargers and booting from the Snow Leopard disk I own, but that didn't help any. Now I'm really putting my time into fixing it again. Half the time it doesn't do anything at all when the power button is pushed, the other half of the time it will let me option boot and select the recovery-flash-drive I made out of my Snow Leopard disk and then it starts to let me re-install the OS on the empty 500gig hard disk, but it dies everytime about 45 seconds into the install process. I've tried a custom install to strip down all the stuff I wouldn't need and drastically shorten the install time, but the same thing happens everytime. I've tried booting in safe mode, verbose mode, I zapped the PRAM, I've tried to use the optical drive but it's not being recognized for some weird reason (even though it accepted my disk and makes the normal noises it always does during boot up), and I tried running a hardware test from the recovery-flashdrive I made, but it doesn't do anything when I try that other than shut off like it does in the middle of the OS install. I'm really at my wits end over this now at this point. Recently I read something about people having weird issues with their power adapter having a very dim glow, which I also have about half the time when I plug it in, and that led me to read up a little on the distribution of power from the power board to the rest of the parts inside, but I can't decide if that's my issue or not. I don't really feel like my symptoms match that of a bad power board, but that's why I'm here, to see if anyone's experienced similar issues and was able to fix it. Please help!
    :apple:
     
  2. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Location:
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    #2
    Sounds like this could be a power supply issue...supplies just enough voltage to start, then dying...other possibilities include bad caps etc. I think the power supply would be my first port of call though...if you are handy at fixing things, you should have little trouble replacing it. A new logic board could also be in the mix here too.
     
  3. Lakelandr thread starter macrumors newbie

    Lakelandr

    Joined:
    May 6, 2013
    Location:
    Key West, FL
    #3
    Thanks for the super quick reply, that's awesome. Well this power supply I'm using works flawlessly on my backup Macbook which is an older white model, so I've ruled that out as well. I was very afraid that I'd have to replace the logicboard since that's easily the most expensive part. However, I can't help but wonder how I'm able to boot all the way to the point of disk utility but would need a new logicboard. Is it possible to have hard-to-see malfunctions like that? Also, is there a tool somewhere I could use, perhaps with a professional who really knows what he's doing, that could test my logicboard for faults and tell me difinitively whether or not I need to invest even more into this thing? It's getting to the point that scrapping this thing for parts and saving for one of the pretty new ones is a serious possibility, but I've already invested so much of my time into this, I'd love to be able to fix it. Do you know if the powerboard itself could be responsible for the type of issue I'm having here?
     
  4. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Location:
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    #4

    Trouble with LB related stuff is you need specialist stuff to diagnose...you could look for obvious signs of burning / blown caps, but apart from that it's probably going to need a new one.
     
  5. Lakelandr thread starter macrumors newbie

    Lakelandr

    Joined:
    May 6, 2013
    Location:
    Key West, FL
    #5
    My logic board looks beautiful. Not one single scratch top or bottom. I'd just be super frustrated if I went through all that trouble of purchasing a new logicboard, waiting for it to be delivered, spending a couple hours installing it, and then it not fix my issue. That's why I need to find a way to run some tests on it or something. Hopefully someone will see this thread and have the answer to my shutting down issue. I cant believe that after 3 solid years of A+ performance that my macbook would just all the sudden burn out on its own and be a complete loss. Fingers crossed I guess
     
  6. Lakelandr thread starter macrumors newbie

    Lakelandr

    Joined:
    May 6, 2013
    Location:
    Key West, FL
    #6
    More research updates

    Ok so I've done a lot more work on this macbook and I've succussfully installed OS 10.6.3 on a harddrive, installed that harddrive to the broken macbook and now I'm able to boot it ONLY in Safe Mode. Once I get it booted to Safe Mode I get a little pop up screen every 30 seconds or so asking me if I'm sure if I want to shut down even though I've not pushed the power button. I click cancel and it seems to work just fine. I can transfer files from my Time Machine backup, I can change preferences in System Settings, I can run disk utility without any problems, I've even opened photoshop which I was amazed by, but still, every 20-30 seconds I get that screen asking me if I'm sure if I want to shut down, which I do NOT want to shut down, I'm not pushing the power button, so this leads me to think theres a fault somewhere with the power button or the power board where the electricity comes in and gets distributed across the logicboard. (This is a separate piece from the logicboard itself) Has anyone seen or heard of a problem like this before?
     
  7. seveej macrumors 6502a

    seveej

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2009
    Location:
    Helsinki, Finland
    #7
    I know the feeling...

    If you happen to have the original disks somewhere, you could try Apple Hardware Test / Apple Service Diagnostics. They might be able to help you pinpoint the fault...

    If you do not have the disks, they are on, the AHT/ASD software is running free in the bitspace, if you know where to look.

    Also, considering your later post, that "every 30 seconds it asks whether I want to shut down" - behavior is really weird. Never heard of anything like that. Might be the logic board, might be the DC-in board (http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Installing+MacBook+Unibody+Model+A1278+DC-In+Board/768/1), might even be the power button...

    If AHT/ASD does not help, the safest route is to:
    - get another machine or
    - get a similar model MBAlu with a broken LCD (around 200 €/$) and swap LCD/innards (depending on setup)

    P.S. You say, you can only get it to boot in safe mode, what happens outside safe mode? Have you tried verbose (normal) booting? (See: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1492) If so, you could maybe see which component makes it hang...

    RGDS,
     
  8. Lakelandr thread starter macrumors newbie

    Lakelandr

    Joined:
    May 6, 2013
    Location:
    Key West, FL
    #8
    Well this was somewhat helpful. Unfortunately I don't have the original disks because none came with the machine at all. I purchased a SnowLeopard disk when those came out and updated my OS with that a while back. I've tried using that disk to run AHT, but again unfortunately the optical drive isn't being recognized by the computer for whatever reason (even though its brand new and been replaced since this all started, see my earlier comment about what I did with this part) so what I did was create a USB flash drive recovery disk out of that SnowLeopard disk I have. First of all, I cant get AHT to run at all no matter what I try. It's as though it doesn't exist whatsoever on this SnowLeopard disk or something. So I tried the network AHT, but this macbook wont recognize the airport wifi card either (I'm starting to think I've got the wrong recovery disk or something, like how is it possible for my optical drive AND my airport wifi to not be recognized or usable?). So connecting it to the internet to run a test seems out of the list of options for now until I can get that to work. I've also tried restoring the system from a TimeMachine backup I have on an external HD. That's not working and I'll explain why later in this post. Then I got wise and took a blank internal hard drive I have laying around and I installed this SnowLeopard onto it using my older MacBook A1181, and then took that hard disk and installed it inside my broken Macbook, but I still have all the exact same symptoms. So far, no luck.
    When I try to restore from my TimeMachine backup, I get that "Are you sure you want to shut-down?" message every few moments, UNLESS I am circling the mouse cursor non-stop, which I also found to be bizarre. This means that I'd have to run my finger in circles on the trackpad for hours while the TimeMachine backup installs to the internal hard disk. (This helped me realize that my ability to boot in safe mode was only because I was holding the Shift key during bootup and somehow that prevents the machine from shutting down during boot, soooo, when I hold down the "d" button during startup to try and run AHT, all that seems to be doing is allowing the machine to boot and preventing it from shutting off in the process.) Not really something I want to do (babysit and run my finger in circles over the trackpad for hours), but if that would get my airport and optical drive back in order, I might just have to try it.
    Oh and to answer your question about bootin in verbose, all that does is give me a lot of stuff I don't know how to read on the screen during bootup, and if I let go of the "v" it'll shut itself off after a moment still just like always. Booting outside of safemode seems to just be the same too.
    Man I really hope someone reads this and knows a work around. I read something once about a guy who was able to temporarily disable the thermometer on the logic board so it wouldn't just shut down like mine does, but I'm not able to figure out how to do that. Maybe someone can help me with that and maybe that'll keep my Macbook from shutting down on its own hopefully, and then I could get some work done. Thank you all for your help thus far. I'm really determined to get this thing working again. It's making my hair fall out.
     
  9. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #9
    That's correct; AHT is only on the grey restore DVDs, not on the white SL DVD.
     

Share This Page