Help! MBP A1286 (early 2011) Dead! No Chine, No Screen, No Nothing!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Wretched, Feb 8, 2016.

  1. Wretched macrumors newbie

    Wretched

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2016
    Location:
    napa california
    #1
    Help!

    My son's MBP model A1286 (retina) early 2011 model has suddenly become a perfect brick! I'm new to this forum and trying to help him recover his machine. He's a recent graduate and unemployed guy who needs his lap top. He has little money, so Apple Care is not an option. I found MacRumor searching the internet for advice troubleshooting the problem, and it appears that some of the forum contributors are pretty savvy about things Mac. So here goes. Maybe someone can help us out?

    Everything was working fine. He's been using it daily. He used the machine and put it into sleep mode. It was fully charged using the magnetic connector. Come morning it would not wake up. No response to the power button, nada, nothing at all. Not even a slight whirrr or burp.

    Charge connector glows steady green when connected. Green power indicators on side of machine all light up green. On disconnect of power connector and pressing the little button on the side, the charge indicators will light up - All steady and green, fading after a few moments. So presumably it's not a question of power? Or is this a false indicator?

    In my search of the internet I found out about PRM and SMC reset sequences, i.e. holding down key board combinations while pressing the power button, all of which we have tried, without any detectable change. We have tried holding the power button down with the magcharge disconnected, and then connecting it, and releasing, and then trying the power button. No go. Still dead as a proverbial door nail.

    Back story. About a year ago Apple Care replaced the System Board when the display starting to show color bars, streaking, only booting in low performance mode, and other symptoms of the dreaded, and infamous, Apple GPU problem - the one where the wave soldered board connections begin to separate with the hot running graphics chip. Presumably Apple has improved their replacement system boards relative to the ones originally used, but perhaps that's wishful thinking, eh? I doubt that they replaced the battery at that time, but who knows? If they didn't, then it's original battery and started life in 2011. Who knows how many cycles? Lots to say the least. Oh and we have NOT seen any repeat of the previous problems that attended the System Board failure.

    About myself. I have some experience with other computer systems, both desk and laptop, going back thirty or more years, but not much with Apple products. I have an assortment of basic pc tools, including weird security bits, grounding straps, volt meters and spudgers. I have done a few repairs on other systems that actually worked! And, honestly, some that didn't... But I'm a bit skittish about Apple products - bobby traps and snares for the unwary! So I intend to proceed slowly on this one.

    So far I have four main theories. Any thoughts or suggestions regarding these, including questions regarding my sanity or intelligence, will be taken under sincere and genuine consideration.
    To wit: A) The System board is fried (again!) B) The battery is dead and will no longer source enough power to start the system. This might also involve the charging subsystem giving a false charge reading/indication. C) The keyboard/power button combination is defective and is not activating the system. Frayed cable? D) One of it's extensive set of subsystems is defective, or disconnected, which prevents the Apple post sequence from proceeding.

    Oh, and according to my son, the machine was not subjected to water boarding, drop kicks or other forms of Apple abuse prior to it's giving up the "ghost"...

    Suggestions?
     
  2. KimUsername macrumors member

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    Jan 14, 2016
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #2
  3. zyr123 macrumors 6502

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    May 31, 2009
  4. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Location:
    Auckland
    #4
    TBH it sounds like the battery and power are fine. Most likely is that the system board has died. Apple did not change the systems board design but currently has a free recall program on the 15" due to the GPU issue so my advice would be to take it along to an Apple Service provider and see if they accept it under that program before you try anything else that may void its elgibility.
     
  5. Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Enjoying Better Things
    #5
    Run it round to Apple ASAP and see if it`s another dGPU failure. When Apple replaces the Logic Board, it`s refurbished and they are prone to premature failure for various reasons. As far as I am aware there is no "new" Logic Board design, just the old boards recycled which is never good.

    Be polite and remain firm state clearly that the Notebook has previously had the Logic Board replaced for the same reason (failed dGPU) elevate to management if needs be. The other alternative is to source an independent Mac specialist, equally they maybe able to revive the notebook (at a cost). There is little you can do yourself short of checking that all the connections are firmly in place

    n.b. The extended warranty period ceases mid February 2016, so best not delay.

    Q-6
     
  6. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #6
    Queen 6 is spot on, but it will probably not last so get Apple to fix it and suggest your friend looks at saving for a new computer as it will die eventually and Apple won't fix it again unless it goes within the 3 month repair warranty.
     
  7. Queen6, Feb 9, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016

    Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Enjoying Better Things
    #7
    Given the poor track record of the 15" MacBook Pro with dGPU it certainly should be part of the purchasing process, to consider if the dGPU is absolutely necessary given the random tendency of these systems to catastrophically fail. As long as Apple chooses to run consumer grade silicon at such elevated operating temperatures the likelihood of premature failure will remain to be higher than average dependant on usage/workflow.

    Q-6
     
  8. andreyush macrumors 6502

    andreyush

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2015
    #8
    It's not a retina model.
     
  9. Wretched thread starter macrumors newbie

    Wretched

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2016
    Location:
    napa california
    #9
    My son thinks it is. But I suspect you're correct.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 9, 2016 ---
    Further adventures with Dead Mac Book, Part II.

    First my thanks for all the advice! Or, as Paul Harvey used to say, 'Now here's the rest of the story'...

    After reading the first response from KimUserName, which was the first responder, I checked out the links provided. This was before reading the other comments regarding doing nothing, might be bad system board, and proceeding to a rendezvous with an Apple Genius - the nearest of which is over an hour away in Santa Rosa. Besides we never had Apple Care and the machine is way out of warranty.

    So after reading the provided links I decided to try the battery disconnect procedure. Ifixit had a very informative illustrated procedure for battery unplugging and removal which I followed carefully.

    After disconnecting Battery, waiting a respectable time and cleaning out accumulated dust bunnies, I put everything back together. Pressed the option + power button, but WITHOUT the magsafe charger connected and - arghhh NOTHING. Then I connected the charger and tried again... HURRAH it came to life and booted! All seemed normal. We let her run for awhile with the charger connected. Then we shut it down properly, disconnected the charger, and tried to start her up. Oops NOTHING. Not even a faint click, whirr or beep. Black screen. Connected charger and tried to boot. Again, the silence of the grave. Also tried all the combination keys + power rigmarole with out success. Seems like we're back to the 'brickyard' ...

    We concluded from the foregoing that the system board is working, as well a the keyboard power switch unit, as otherwise it would probably not have booted at all, eh? Or are we merely being overly optimistic?

    Since this is the original battery and is something like 5 years old, our current working hypothesis is DEAD BATTERY. Or, if not "dead", then sufficiently weak as to set off some sort of systems flag or operating system halt status. The assumption being that disconnecting the battery for five or ten minutes was long enough to 'reset' whatever it is and allow the machine to boot.

    Again, it worked perfectly after the battery disconnect/reconnect charger connected, with full graphics, no streaks or video artefacts/defects. Ran for several hours without a burp, until it was intentionally shut down. And this was also the case before this whole problem started - the 'problem' started after being put into a 'sleep' mode, rather than shut down, without it's charger attached, and left overnight. The next morning it appeared to have died in it's "sleep". So I'm betting on the system board being OK...

    I've also encountered reports of taking out the battery entirely, connecting the charger, and seeing if the machine will run in that mode. We haven't tried that. Somehow this seems like it might not be a good idea without fully understanding the design of the power and charging system. Anyways I wouldn't want to run in that mode unless it were absolutely necessary, perhaps to salvage some data or files.

    So perhaps our next step is to replace the battery and see if that does the trick. Are there any considerations regarding choice of battery replacement? OEM? Second source? Or does anyone have another hypothesis regarding the problem? Perhaps a new battery is the wrong choice?

    Again, thanks for the advice and help.
    Cheers!
     
  10. treekram macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2015
    Location:
    Honolulu HI
    #10
    It sounds like the battery is your problem. Have you checked the battery status (press the option key and click on the battery icon in the upper right of the screen) or run the Apple Hardware Test (it would be on the DVD if your computer came with DVD's or press the 'D' key at startup if it didn't). If your battery is the problem, both will likely say it is the problem.

    Getting a new battery from Apple for a 2011 MBP is $129. They will replace it for you. I don't know if they can do it on-site or not. But you will have to give up your computer for some amount of time to get it replaced. You'll have to make a judgement call as to whether $129 is worth it for a machine that has the dGPU issue hanging over it (whether or not they replace the logic board). The better quality batteries are about $20-$30 cheaper. The cheapest are about $20-$30. In comparison, you can get a Apple refurb (newly manufactured) 2012 non-Retina MBP 13" for $829 (4GB RAM, 500GB HDD), which will cost about $125 to upgrade to a 8GB RAM and 250GB SSD (with a new battery!). That's just a point of comparison of the cost of the cheapest nearly-new MBP from Apple vs. a new battery from Apple.

    The Apple battery is the most expensive alternative, but they will replace the battery and repair any damage if you get a defective battery. Not surprisingly, I think the typical experience with non-Apple batteries is related to the cost of the battery and the reputation of the vendor.

    I think you need to quickly make an appointment with the Genius Bar to see if they'll replace the logic board. You should decide before taking it in what you want to do with the battery. If you decide to use a 3rd-party battery, I would probably wait until after the visit with Apple to do so.
     
  11. KimUsername macrumors member

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    Jan 14, 2016
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #11
  12. Wretched thread starter macrumors newbie

    Wretched

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2016
    Location:
    napa california
    #12
    Thanks to everyone for the prompt comments and advice.

    More Ramblings, Dead MBP, Part III

    The System Board in this particular machine has been already replaced by Apple in June/July of last year under their extended warranty program for the classic GPU "problem". After the transplant, this MBP was working flawlessly until the most recent issue. Based on the symptoms I've seen so far, I don't think we currently have a case for another SB replacement - and/or/nor/will/would they repeat the swap performance on the same machine?

    My son has an appointment for Genius Land next Thursday and is willing to drive the 100 miles or so. I guess the current plan is to pay our homage to AG-dom and see what happens. If anything.

    Apple's official website now indicates that for non apple care, out of warranty equipment, they will now charge for "diagnostic" services - in addition to any labor and parts. Since the Apple program for free replacement of the "defective" System Boards, those with the hot graphics chip, will officially end February 27, 2016 (http://www.apple.com/support/macbookpro-videoissues/), and since there remains an outside chance that it might still be a SB/GPU issue, I suppose it MIGHT be worth the trip, even if it only confirmed the diagnosis of Battery Bad - as long as we don't get bilked $$$!!!... :(

    Meanwhile I've been scouring the on line sources of replacement batteries, of which their are many, and comparing reviews and the responses from vendors to those with "problems", relative to replacement and/or refund. Unsurprisingly, the cheap batteries have the most negative reviews and apparently the most problems reported. But apparently some of the name brand battery supplies also seem to deliver a few duds. The "sweet spot" seems to be around 70-90 USD.

    Eventually, I ordered one from Amazon Prime, which has liberal return policies, some form of buyer protection, and quick free delivery - it should be here tomorrow or next. If Apple-dom provides satisfaction I always can/will return 4 full refund 30 days. N.B. many of the 'bargains' seem to be short on actual watt hours and/or QC. CAVEAT EMPTOR!

    But even the ones that should be quality based on price and reputation, judging from the reviews, could/might be dodgey as well... I suspect that ALL batteries such as these, come from a relatively small, single digit, number of "manufacturers" overseas, even the OEM ones. So we shall see what we 'get'.

    There remains some questions and variety of opinion regarding SMC and PRAM initialization, or whatever, with new batteries that I found while looking at new battery installation procedures. There appears to be an active interface between the battery, power management subsystem and the OS? Also lots of chatter about 'training' a new Li-ion battery with deep discharge/charge cycles? Perhaps this is the next stage of the story...

    Hope you all are enjoying reading about our Apple misadventures, and that YOUR systems are long lasting, robust and performing perfectly! Thanks for the advice.

    Stay tuned for 'the rest of the story'...
     

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