Brand new 2018 MacBook Air - 0% battery and fan running

hipnetic

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So I just received a new (but 2018 model) MacBook Air from B&H. I initially tried turning it on without plugging it in and it didn't seem to want to boot up. I figured, well...it *is* a 2018 model, so it's probably been sitting in a box for a long time. So I plug it in using my 2016 MBP 15 85w charger and within a minute, it automatically powers on.

So then I start going through the initial setup screens, but it's super-unresponsive and the fan is running full speed. I figure, ok...it's probably doing some initial setup stuff in the background that is using up the CPU. Eventually I get through the setup screens, but the fan is still running full-force and the computer is still really slow to respond. The battery gauge shows that it's charging but shows 0% and clicking on it shows the message "Condition: Replace Now". WTH?!?

I just powered it down and am going to let it sit and charge for 20 mins and then try powering up again and hope that it starts behaving normally.

Anyone ever see anything like this?
 
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hipnetic

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Based on some Googling I did, I came across these Apple pages:

Basically, it recommends resetting the System Management Controller (SMC).

But so far, my multiple attempts at doing that haven't had any positive impact. I tried starting an online chat with B&H but after asking me to enter a bunch of info, it just went back to a different web page. At this point, I'll probably leave it plugged in and charging overnight to see if it magically decides to start working properly tomorrow. If not, I'll try reaching out to B&H again, but will probably end up having to bring it to the Apple store. :(
 

DeltaMac

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Sounds like the battery was completely flat, out of the box.
I would suggest that you let it charge fully before continuing with setup.
Set it aside to charge for a couple of hours. (use the power adapter that came with your MBAir)
Unplug charger.
Let it sit (not powered on) for about 10 minutes.
Set up while plugged into the charger.
If the battery STILL says "Replace now" after charging - send the MBAir back to B&H (end of story)
 

niji

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Feb 9, 2003
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So I just received a new (but 2018 model) MacBook Air from B&H. I initially tried turning it on without plugging it in and it didn't seem to want to boot up. I figured, well...it *is* a 2018 model, so it's probably been sitting in a box for a long time. So I plug it in using my 2016 MBP 15 85w charger and within a minute, it automatically powers on.

So then I start going through the initial setup screens, but it's super-unresponsive and the fan is running full speed. I figure, ok...it's probably doing some initial setup stuff in the background that is using up the CPU. Eventually I get through the setup screens, but the fan is still running full-force and the computer is still really slow to respond. The battery gauge shows that it's charging but shows 0% and clicking on it shows the message "Condition: Replace Now". WTH?!?

I just powered it down and am going to let it sit and charge for 20 mins and then try powering up again and hope that it starts behaving normally.

Anyone ever see anything like this?
hi
1 initial set up stuff: you are right. it will run hot with fan on maybe for an hour or two. no longer
2 how much RAM? only 8? good luck. will frequently run with fan on. needs 16.
3 normally, out of the box brand new machine needing SMC reset? no, never in a situation with good components.
4 but if it says Replace now. then yr machine was is in fact used/repaired/not new.
sounds like a scam of some sort.
complain a lot to B&H. in fact, apple has a way that resellers/vendors who get caught with old stock impacted by unannounced new launch models can sell it back to apple. B&H didn't do that. they kept on to this for some reason. speculation is that it was not otherwise returnable to apple for some reason. possibly sold once already.
 
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hipnetic

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OK, so just to clear some things up...

The 2018 MBA I just bought has 16GB of RAM. My old MBP 13 has 8GB and I've been running into that limit, but the fan rarely comes on...mostly I notice because I see the spinning circle and have to wait for it to figure things out. Then I start looking for things to close. But I think a part of my problem is that my 256GB storage is also close to its limit and my HD is probably extremely fragmented, so it can't swap to disk efficiently. If I were to totally reformat the drive, I'd bet it would start running pretty well again.

Also, I seriously doubt that this 2018 MBA was ever returned. It came double-boxed, and the outermost cardboard box (brown) had a strip-cardboard seal that I pulled to open that box up. That box had a sticker that had the model # and serial # on it, and looked to be from Apple. Inside that box was the white MBA Air box. It was shrink-wrapped, and upon opening it, everything looked brand new. The laptop was inside the translucent plastic sleeve. Removing it from that, the super-thin parchment paper was between the keyboard and screen. The power cable was tied with those white paper/cardboard things and were sealed, and everything looked completely new. The laptop had no marks, fingerprints, or otherwise. It would have taken a lot of effort for someone at B&H to repackage everything this meticulously. Lastly, I just checked my warranty coverage on Apple's website and it shows an expiration date of a year from yesterday (12/16/2020).

Back to my troubleshooting...last night after trying to reset the SMC several times, and not sure if I was accomplishing anything with that, I continued to try letting it charge for a while, then trying to boot up again. The problem continued: It boots up, and during the login step the fan starts cranking up. I should note that when going through the semi-lengthy initialization step, the fan was running the whole time but the case remained super-cold. Like not warm at all. This continued to be the situation as I tried charging for a while, booting up, using it, upgrading the OS (more on that in a sec), etc. The fan ran full-speed but the case never got remotely warm. So that also seems odd. Meanwhile the battery continues to show 0% with the "Condition: Replace Now" message. Also, at any time while it was booted up, if I unplugged my USB-C cable, the computer would *immediately* shut down. So, it's certainly acting like the battery is not holding *any* charge. Almost like there's no battery at all. More likely, the battery is there and may even be capable of being charged, but there's probably some defect that's causing it to think that the battery is useless and so it's not even *attempting* to recharge it at all.

So one of the Apple support pages suggested upgrading the OS. I don't see how this can help this problem, but I figured, why not. So I went through the process of downloading/upgrading the OS last night. I let it sit for a while, and after a long while it looked like it was still installing and possibly hung. The progress bar wasn't moving. Fan still running full-speed. So I powered it down and powered it back up again. During login, there's a progress bar that was moving slowly. Not sure if it was related to the OS upgrade, or what. That seems to hang as well. Powered it down and booted it up again. Same situation with the progress bar, but eventually I see the desktop and can use it. Again, fan running full-speed, 0% battery, and the computer is running super slow. Activity monitor doesn't seem to show anything getting a ton of activity, but the CPU gauge doesn't seem to be showing movement at all, so it's hard to tell what's going on. I forget to check the OS version to see if the upgrade had finalized (I don't think it has, because I see the same Mojave desktop wallpaper). That's when I also tried unplugging the USB-C cable and it shut down completely.

I then let it stay plugged in overnight and went to bed.

This morning, no improvement. I booted it up, click on my name to login, and the fan cranks up and I get a progress bar that within a couple of minutes seems to be hanging at around the 15% mark.

I guess I'll just have to chalk this one up as a lemon. I'm going to call B&H shortly and see what they're willing to do. I suspect I'll end up bringing it to my Apple store (about 30 mins away) and hoping that turnaround time isn't horrible. Fortunately, I still have my working 2013 MBP 13 and hadn't gotten to the point of even installing any software on the "new" 2018 MBA.
 

hipnetic

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So, I also found a page related to resetting the NVRAM or PRAM and followed that key-sequence during bootup. Then I tried booting up and logging in again. The progress bar made it to about 70% and seemed to hang, but I wasn't certain if it was completely stuck or just really slow. I decided to let it do its thing while I started up a chat session with B&H. They offered to set up an RMA for replacement and told me that they'd cover shipping and I wouldn't be hit with a restocking fee. They also said that if I wanted to get the new one right away (next-day ship for tomorrow) that I could do that, but I'd need to pay for the new one and wait to get refunded for the broken one. I agreed to do that, so we'll see how that goes. I worry a bit that the replacement could have the same issue, if the issue is related to the Lithium Ion batteries "going bad" from sitting around for too long, but if that's the case, I would think they'd get complaints from other customers as well.

While the chat was going on, the progress bar continued to move. Post-chat, the bar is sitting at 100% but nothing has happened for the last 10 minutes (bar at 100%, fan running full speed, case completely cool). I'll let it sit for a few more minutes before powering it down. I just hope that the problem doesn't magically correct itself now that I have a replacement on the way.
 

hipnetic

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Well, I received my 2nd MBA from B&H today. I opened it up and let it sit a while, since it was extra cold from shipment. After a while I plugged it in (with the OOTB charger this time - not my 85w 2016 MBP 15 charger), and let it sit unopen for a while longer. I couldn't be much more patient, so after about an hour, I opened it up and it turned on automatically after a few seconds.

I was off to a worrying start, though, because when it got to the setup screens the fan was running full-blast again. No battery indicator during these setup screens, so....

Then I got to the screen asking me to log into my iCloud account and it gave me an error about being unable to connect to Apple's server. Tried a couple more times, in case I had misspelled my password, but same result, so I skipped that step.

Eventually got through all of that and was greeted with the Mac OS desktop. Clicked on the battery icon on the menu bar and sure enough, I see the same message: "Condition: Replace Now." WTH?!? The battery level shows 0% again, too (no surprise) and the fan is still running full-blast. So I'm sure it's not even trying to charge the battery.

FWIW, I also went into "About this Mac" / "System Report..." and in the Power section, there's a line that states "Charging: No" so that confirms my suspicion that it's not even attempting to recharge the battery.
 
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DeltaMac

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When you plug the charger in, do you see the battery icon in the top menubar change to indicate charging (shows a lightning bolt on the icon)?

With the OOTB charger, are you using the USB-C cable that came in the box?
Try a different USB-C cable.
Double-check there is power on the power receptacle where you plug in your charger.

Should charge in either USB-C port, but be sure to try both. Again, watch for the charging icon in the menubar when you plug in the charger
 

smirking

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@hipnetic, I'm glad you posted this because I'm going through the same issue myself with the 2018 MBA that I ordered from B&H. The exact same thing is happening to me. It's completely dead out of the box and has to be plugged in before it'll do anything and then the fans go full blast and it runs very sluggishly. Oddly enough even though the fans are going full steam, the machine is not the least bit warm.

I suspect that these 2018 MBA units have been in storage for so long that their batteries had lost their charge entirely and litium ion batteries do not like it when they're completely empty. That's a sure way to kill the battery. I don't think any OS update is going to help this situation. I'm leaving mine plugged in to see if it charges overnight.
 

hipnetic

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DeltaMac, the "lightning bolt" on the icon did display, but the battery wasn't actually charging, as indicated by the System Report. I think this proves that that "lightning bolt" doesn't technically mean "charging" but simply an acknowledgement that the charger is plugged in.

I was using the OOTB charger/cable today with this new one. For the first MBA I got from them, I initially used my own 85w 2016 MBP 15 charger/cable and later the OOTB charger/cable. I did not bother trying the other USB-C port. I'm confident that the issues had nothing to do with the charger, cable, or port.

This evening I went to my closest Apple store (about 30 mins away) and they confirmed that the MBA was defective with their test indicating that something was wrong with either the logic board or battery. The rep who ran the tests posited a theory that maybe B&H (or whoever B&H sourced these from) wasn't storing these in an adequately temperature-controlled warehouse. He was just spit-balling, but that actually makes more sense to me than my previous theory that these batteries went bad simply by sitting unused for a year. Or, to be clearer, I think it's more concerning to think that they could go bad simply by sitting unused for a year.

Sadly, the rep told me that turnaround was about 5-7 workdays. I decided to take it back home, with the plan now being to try to get B&H to give me a full refund. I'm concerned, though, that they'll push back and will offer me, at best, either another replacement (not interested), or allow me to get a completely different model. I say this because their website indicates that opened computers cannot be returned for refund, and can only be replaced with the same or equivalent model. At this point, I don't want a replacement from them of the same model, as I don't trust that I won't just get another broken one, and I've already wasted enough of my time on this. And I don't really want to "upgrade" to a MBP 16 from them, because their prices aren't tax-free and aren't currently as good as Adorama (depending on config), so I probably won't be able to get them to adjust their prices to be competitive with the Adorama price.

But we'll see how those conversations go. I'll be starting up another chat session with them tomorrow morning.
- - Post merged: - -

smirking, thank you for replying here with your situation. I'm now hoping that I can leverage your story to help me get a complete refund from them so that I can order a MBP 16 from Adorama (or at least leverage it to get B&H to give me a significant additional discount on a MBP 16 to make it price-competitive with Adorama). Or, if they're stubborn, to possibly get some relief from my credit card company. Worst case, I may have to keep it, get it fixed by Apple, and then do my best to tarnish B&H's reputation via negative reviews, etc.

At this point, I think I've decided that I'd just prefer to move up to a MBP 16, which is something I was already thinking I'd do a couple of weeks ago. But my situation is a bit unique there, and I'm assuming that you want this model MBA. For you, it's probably best to just bring it to the Apple store and have them fix it, even though you may be looking at a week turnaround time right now. At the very least, maybe you can get B&H to give you a credit of some sort for some amount of money. Feel free to leverage my story with your dealings with their customer service, in case they claim that they've never heard about any issues like this.
 
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smirking

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But my situation is a bit unique there, and I'm assuming that you want this model MBA. For you, it's probably best to just bring it to the Apple store and have them fix it, even though you may be looking at a week turnaround time right now.
Yeah, I did want this particular model. It's for my wife and we're actually not in any hurry to get the machine online. Sending it in to Apple for repair wouldn't be a big deal, but I'd much rather have a working unit out of the gate so I've contacted B&H about getting an exchange. That was before I came online and read your post.

I tried resetting the SMC on the MBA. After resetting it, it wouldn't power on at all for a while. What the Apple Store person told you was what I'd suspect on an old stock item. If that's what happened, then I'd be very surprised that an outfit like B&H would be so careless with their inventory. They sell enough electronic items that they certainly know better. That's the kind of thing I expect from no-name eBay battery sellers, not B&H.
 

hipnetic

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FYI, I also posted my experience on a SlickDeals thread about this deal, and someone else recently replied stating that they had the same exact issue, so unless you're that person, it looks like they should now have at least 3 people who have run into this issue. Thread here:


If you're willing to keep yours and have Apple fix it, you may want to bring this up and see if you can get some sort of additional credit from them. I'm waiting for their chat support to go online in about 20 mins and will be trying to get a full refund and then order a MBP from Adorama (mostly same prices, but no sales tax, though B&H has next-day shipping).
 

hipnetic

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Update: I chatted with the rep and they issued me another RMA and assured me (recorded in my chat log) that I won't be charged a restocking fee. So now I just have to decide which configuration of the MBP 16 I want to order from Adorama.
 

smirking

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I sent them an email last night shortly before I wrote my post here. A few hours later I got an RMA label. I'm shipping my MBA back today to exchange with a another one that hopefully isn't dead as well.
 

hipnetic

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I sent them an email last night shortly before I wrote my post here. A few hours later I got an RMA label. I'm shipping my MBA back today to exchange with a another one that hopefully isn't dead as well.
Good luck! I'll be honest, I'm still a little torn. I love the smaller size/weight of the MBA, and a 16GB / 512GB combo is probably all I need RAM/storage-wise. Obviously, the better keyboard and speed of the MBP 16 is nice, but I'm reading a lot of reports of people unhappy with the heat and fan-noise.
 

Ma2k5

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Good luck! I'll be honest, I'm still a little torn. I love the smaller size/weight of the MBA, and a 16GB / 512GB combo is probably all I need RAM/storage-wise. Obviously, the better keyboard and speed of the MBP 16 is nice, but I'm reading a lot of reports of people unhappy with the heat and fan-noise.
It can get hot and noisy compared to the Air (have both) and it is huuuuuge. I think if you don't need the power, it can feel a bit too much for the price?

Also, the 2019 Air keyboard isn't as bad as I thought compared to my experience of Gen 2/3. I actually prefer the MacBook Air now to the Pro in terms of general use. It just feels like "effort" to get out and use the 16" if that makes sense?
 

hipnetic

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It can get hot and noisy compared to the Air (have both) and it is huuuuuge. I think if you don't need the power, it can feel a bit too much for the price?

Also, the 2019 Air keyboard isn't as bad as I thought compared to my experience of Gen 2/3. I actually prefer the MacBook Air now to the Pro in terms of general use. It just feels like "effort" to get out and use the 16" if that makes sense?
Thanks for the reply, I guess. :) I already returned the 2nd defective one and made the decision to purchase a MBP 16 from Adorama. In fact, I got it spec'd out pretty high (2.3 i9 8-core / 32GB / 512GB / 5500M w/8GB). It's due to get delivered tomorrow (12/24). I have mixed feelings out it, which is a sucky feeling to have about something you're spending so much money on.

I do already have a work-supplied 2016 MBP 15 which should only be slightly smaller/lighter than the MBP 16, and I know what you mean about lugging it around. I work out of my home, but I like to use my 2013 MBP 13 in the kitchen (on the counter) and the living room (on my lap, or resting on the arm of my chair), in addition to my home office (which is where my work-supplied MBP 15 stays most of the time).

FWIW, for anyone who was interested in this MBA 13 deal, as of a few days ago, Apple's refurb store had a 2019 MBA 16GB / 512GB for about $1450 or so. More expensive than this 2018 deal, and probably a steeper drop in resale value later than the entry-level MacBook Airs, but if you want more RAM and storage and want the MBA size, it might still be worth considering.
 

jmoore5196

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May 19, 2009
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I had ordered the 2018 MBA from B&H and then called and cancelled my order. I love shopping at B&H, but I kept wondering how these machines had been stored and what battery and OS problems I'd encounter. I finally decided the likely headaches weren't worth the savings involved. Your thread makes me glad I cancelled!

OP: Sorry to hear your tale of woe. Here's hoping you have a great experience with the 16"!
 

smirking

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Well, I never got a second 2018 MBA in exchange from B&H. I asked for an exchange for my defective unit, but they didn't reserve one for me so by the time my return was processed, they didn't have any 2018 MBA units left. Instead of giving me the exchange we agreed upon, they gave me a refund and suggested I buy one of their regular priced 2019 models.

Awesome service B&H.

Oh well. I guess I'll just pick up one from the Apple refurb store later this year.
 

Charadis

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Jul 3, 2010
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I was kinda worried about picking one up as I've read through the SlickDeals thread and noted the battery not charging issue. As my fears were justified, the one I bought had the same issue out of the box. Brand new, sealed in the original boxes, fan was spinning on high from the very start.

Called B&H on Sunday, and they offered an exchange for my gold 16GB 512GB model. Also called AppleCare for solutions, and they recommended going through B&H for an exchange, or they would service/exchange the unit (I assume a refurb at this point).

I've definitely wanted a new Air since they first announced, so I'm kind of at an impasse; take my chances on an exchange if they have any left, or go through Apple. The major thing that bugs me is if the computer is exchanged, the serial will not match the box. If it is repaired (they said SMC chip might also be an issue?), then it will have been opened up, and I don't know how the tech would work on it or handle it, would they scratch it up, too?

And finally, if I go the exchange route with B&H, I run the possibility that the next one would have the same issue, or they might not have any left to exchange. :/

Otherwise, beautiful computer. Super light. Actually love the keyboard, feels "clicky." And I'm excited about having twice as much space as my 256GB 2015 MacBook Pro. I could finally install a Windows partition...if I can get a working unit.
 

smirking

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I've definitely wanted a new Air since they first announced, so I'm kind of at an impasse; take my chances on an exchange if they have any left, or go through Apple. The major thing that bugs me is if the computer is exchanged, the serial will not match the box. If it is repaired (they said SMC chip might also be an issue?), then it will have been opened up, and I don't know how the tech would work on it or handle it, would they scratch it up, too?
If I could go through this again, I'd have avoided going back to B&H and just let Apple handle the repairs to the machine. You'll probably end up with no MBA like me if you go back to B&H.

I had a 2016 MBP serviced under AppleCare. They replaced the topcase (keyboard + battery), lid (display and lid), bottomcase, logic board, TB3 ports, and graphics card. I'm not sure why they replaced so much, but I essentially ended up with a fully refurbished machine that was more new than old. I can't say whether it worked flawlessly as I sold that unit shortly after it came back to me and wasn't able to truly test it out, but from all appearances it seemed to be as good as the original.

I really don't think they're going to give you a banged up case discarded from a previous repair. I always buy a refurb Mac when I have the option and they've always come out of the box looking undistinguishable from a brand new unit.
 

hipnetic

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Charadis, I ended up getting a pretty high-end MBP 16 config, but I do love how small/lightweight the Air is. I would echo smirking's suggestion, which is to bring it to your Apple store to get repaired. Perhaps request that they ship it out for repair, instead of repairing it in-house (in case that gives you a better shot at getting a good-as-new replacement, with no cosmetic issues, and possibly the 2019 keyboard replacement). I would also recommend that you Chat/call B&H and tell them that you're thinking of bringing it to Apple to get repaired, but feel like you should be compensated by them in some way, as you may be able to get an added discount or gift card.
 

smirking

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Perhaps request that they ship it out for repair, instead of repairing it in-house (in case that gives you a better shot at getting a good-as-new replacement, with no cosmetic issues, and possibly the 2019 keyboard replacement).
I don't think there's a choice as to whether they ship it out or repair it in house for a lot of repairs. A battery replacement is going to require a topcase replacement. I don't know if that's ever done in-store. There aren't a lot of reports of laptops getting fixed while they wait on MacRumors. It's almost always an unhappy report of having to be without their laptop for 5-7 days.