Another sad thermal paste application story - SUCCESS!!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by bozz2006, May 17, 2011.

  1. bozz2006, May 17, 2011
    Last edited: May 18, 2011

    bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #1
    Hello all, my old 2008 aluminum Macbook has been running hotter and hotter. It had gotten to the point where it would stick between 180-185 degrees shile browsing the internet (with no flash content) with Mail, Chrom, and itunes running. It was too hot to sit on my lap. So I decided to open her up and put on a clean application of Arctic Silver. I put it all back together and it won't boot up.

    There's no gray apple screen, no chime, no nothin'. The power adaptor works, I believe, because the LED lights up when plugged in to the computer. And the LED battery indicator lights show that the battery is charged. But when I push the power button, absolutely nothing happens. I have tried to reset the SMC with no luck. And as far as I can tell, all the little connectors are properly plugged back in. I get positive feedback when I disconnect them, and then reconnect them. The only two that I'm not sure on are the two small ribbon cables; one for the IR and one for the keyboard. They're tough to tell since they don't snap in. Warranty is long past on the machine.

    Any suggestions before I bring it to a computer repair place?
     
  2. Mal macrumors 603

    Mal

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2002
    Location:
    Orlando
    #2
    The one for the keyboard also connects the power button, so that's likely the issue. It's tricky. Your best bet is to have a plastic spudger tool to push it in, and then lock it down with the tab towards the back side (away from where the cable slides in).

    jW
     
  3. bozz2006 thread starter macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #3
    OK, that makes sense. I'll check it some more. I suppose I just don't have it pushed in there far enough. As I was working with it, I was wondering if that ribbon connector was in there far enough. I was working with a spudger but it didn't get much traction to push with. I'll keep trying though.
     
  4. broad macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2009
    #4
    your best bet is to use a little bit of tape on the ribbon cable itself, guide the end of the cable into the port and then use the tape to pull the cable forward until its all the way in
     
  5. bozz2006 thread starter macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #5
    Looks like that was the problem. I opened things back up, took the brackets off that area and (gently) jammed that connector into the receiver as far as I could. Flipped it over and pushed power; booted right up. That was about two minutes ago, so I'm waiting for it to spontaneously burst into flame! lol. Hopefully she runs a little cooler now. Thanks for the quick response. And by that I mean, thanks for responding so fast, so that I could fix it before my wife got home and I had to tell her I fried the computer!!!
     
  6. Blue Sun macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Location:
    Australia
    #6
    Glad the computer still works :)

    Would you be kind enough to let us know the average temps after the Arctic Silver application?

    Cheers.
     
  7. NickZac macrumors 68000

    NickZac

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    #7
    I'm curious to hear this myself as I have a few older laptops that have been running hotter and are years out of their warranty.
     
  8. Macsavvytech macrumors 6502a

    Macsavvytech

    Joined:
    May 25, 2010
    #8
    Things like this still scare me, luckily for me i keep getting gifted with MBPs with a good application of thermal paste :).

    My computer is idling at ~32C in the tropics that is almost the same temperature as the outside temp. Be interesting in Summer when it gets to 38C ...
     
  9. bozz2006, May 18, 2011
    Last edited: May 18, 2011

    bozz2006 thread starter macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #9
    Here are some initial impressions for you guys on the change along with a few qualifiers.

    First off, I used Arctic Silver, which has a long break-in period before you'll get optimum performance from it. Secondly, this computer is the very first generation of unibody aluminum macbooks. Design-wise, I don't think they had yet gotten to the ideal for heat dissipation. These C2D chips tend to run really hot. Thirdly, I am testing much beta software on this machine which has not yet been optimized, so there is a fairly large amount of system resources being utilized. The machine is working harder than it would have to with retail software. And lastly, this is a second machine for me, and I haven't used it a ton yet, so this is just my impression, but...

    I think that the re-application has helped tremendously. As in the first post I mentioned that just general light-duty use (Mail, itunes, Chrome, Word) would keep the computer running consistently at 180 degrees (82C). Right now I'm typing this message on my 2008 macbook, sitting at my kitchen table. Granted, it is a little cool in this room, but my temps right now are sitting between 128-135 degrees (53-57C). I'd call that a very significant drop in temps.

    Also, this machine really tends to heat up while viewing flash videos like the ones on youtube. In the past, it would heat up to around 190-195 (87-90C) and the fans would go full-on. It would take 8-10 minutes for it to cool down and the fans to spin down.

    I did a test yesterday before the surgery, running through the 480p version of the pirates of the caribbean trailer twice. When i got done, fans were running over 5000rpm and CPU temp was 189 (87C). It took 8 minutes for the fans and temps to go back down to normal. Now, I'm finishing the test run again. Temps have not gone higher than 154 (67C) and the fans are still at their idle speed. And within a handful of seconds, temps are back down to ~130 (54C).

    So even with this initial impression, light usage (which is basically all I use this computer for anyhow) temps have already seen a drop of at least 40 degrees (22C). And heat dissipation is remarkably more rapid than before. Going from a handful of minutes, to a handful of seconds. And remember that these old machines had horrendous battery life. I like to use the computer with full screen brightness and keep my applications and tabs open. I've gone from ~2 hours of battery to ~3 hours of battery. I also have not had a single throttle-back in performance since the surgery either. In the past when things got really hot, the computer would run really slowly until things cooled off. I'm very pleased.
     
  10. kalsta macrumors 68000

    kalsta

    Joined:
    May 17, 2010
    Location:
    Australia
    #10
    I love happy endings to thermal paste application stories. :)
     
  11. maclaptop macrumors 65816

    maclaptop

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2011
    Location:
    Western Hemisphere
    #11
    I am very happy for you. Hearing that the outcome was positive is wonderful.

    This is the only truly serious complaint I have with Apple. One simply shouldn't have to go through this. We pay top prices for what is advertised as a premium product. When in fact, thermal paste application is so poorly done during assembly, we might as well be buying some cheap laptop. Years have gone by and Apple continues to ignore it. That's criminal.

    I love my PowerBooks and MacBook Pro's, but I must admit I've had to go through the same fix it yourself routine, too many times :(
     
  12. bozz2006, May 18, 2011
    Last edited: May 18, 2011

    bozz2006 thread starter macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #12
    Thanks for all the well-wishes everyone. What a difference 40 degrees makes!:D
     
  13. NickZac macrumors 68000

    NickZac

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    #13
    That's a substantial difference...let us know how it goes over the few weeks as I've also read the Arctic has a pretty long break in period as well and that it gets better during this period (IIRC isn't it a few hundred hours of complete thermal cycles?).

    For the current MBPs, I've always been against redoing the thermal paste due to most having a warranty and if a thermal problem exists than it should be fixed by Apple...but for older machines that are having clear heat issues (as in your case), it makes a lot of sense. I have an old Core Duo model that has gotten too hot to use for extended periods so I may give this a go given your success. Thanks for reporting and congrats!
     
  14. Blue Sun macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Location:
    Australia
    #14
    Thanks for getting back to us.

    Its amazing how the early revisions of C2D processors run so much hotter than the later revisions.

    I've had experience with the 2.4GHz C2D found in last years 13" MBP, and that thing idles at around 35 degrees C, and only ever really reaches 50 while using flash.

    It'd be interesting to crack it open and checkout whether they've improved the way in which they apply thermal paste, or whether they've just improved the C2D architecture over time.
     
  15. dagamer34 macrumors 65816

    dagamer34

    Joined:
    May 1, 2007
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #15
    Even the best applied thermal paste will loose its effectiveness. Plus, unless thermal paste is hand applied, there's either too much or too little but rarely just enough. So either the thermal paste becomes an insulator (too much) or it doesn't conduct heat at all (too little).
     

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