Macbook - Only turns on when power button is held down.

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by roasted, Dec 2, 2011.

  1. roasted macrumors member

    Dec 2, 2011
    Hi there. I'm dealing with a problematic Macbook. I believe it's from the 2009 era.

    If I press the power button, the power on it immediately dies off. I can hear the fan power down and eventually, silence. I took it apart and scanned the board rather extensively. I couldn't find anything wrong with it whatsoever. I put it back together. After I got it back together, when I pressed the power button, I absent-mindedly kept holding it down. When it started up, I was happy, but I realized it was not fixed as I was able to repeat this process over and over.

    Press power button - powers up, shuts off immediately.
    Hold power button for 10-15 seconds - powers up and stays consistently running 100%.

    I can only assume we're talking about a hardware issue here, but considering we're able to get the system running full bore with no issues *IF* I hold down the power button, I'm beginning to feel lost in regard to isolating what part it could be?

    I tried to clear the PRAM but it doesn't seem to respond, as I MUST hold down the power button to boot it, and in doing so it doesn't give me the system powerup sound that Macs normally do. I did pull the battery and hold down the power button originally to drain the charge, but that did nothing.

    Any thoughts?
  2. logana macrumors 65816


    Feb 4, 2006
    Probably a faulty power-on switch...

    A new top case should fix that - is this a unibody MacBook or the earlier model (A1181) - they changed around September/October 2009 ?
  3. roasted thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 2, 2011
    I thought about that, however I was skeptical because the power switch (I would think) is a direct on/off piece of hardware. The hardware turns on... it just doesn't STAY turned on unless the switch stays on. I have another Macbook here of the same era, so I'll swap out the top cases and see what happens.
  4. roasted thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 2, 2011
    Top case made no difference. Same issue with the alternative top case...

    So weird. I wonder what it could be?
  5. logana macrumors 65816


    Feb 4, 2006
    Try the other top case - it may not be the actual switch - the ribbon cable that connects the top case to the logic board is fairly fragile and may be damaged internally.

    Let us know what happens - sounds like the A1181 model since changing the top case on a unibody is a job and a half....

    If you look on the logic board near the top case connector you may see a couple of small terminals with PWR between them - the position varies with the processor but normally in the area just below the fan. Short across the terminals with a small screwdriver and that should power-on the board with no top case connected and you can connect a USB keyboard and mouse and see if all is well.
  6. functionchen macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2012
    same problem

    I have a macbook 13' model A1342 (unibody) and somebody accidentally got energy drink on it (carbonated) I realize that if i just press the power button it'll turn on and make the apple sound with the sign come on and then it'll shut off by itself and keep trying to turn on until the battery dies. But if i hold down the power button, it will turn on completely and runs perfect. However the internal keyboard won't work. Now I know as long as I hold down the power button with a clamp and use a USB keyboard my computer is fully functional. I was wondering if it's worth the risk to buy a new top case, replace it, and hope that would solve the problem? I'm a broke college student and really don't have any money to spare so the 75 bucks ( i see that they sell on ebay is a lot of money. help!
  7. huntibia macrumors newbie

    Jun 15, 2012
    Sorry to bring back an old thread, but I have this problem too and I don't know what to do.

    My Macbook White Unibody 6,1 (A1342) started shutting down randomly. It happened for a while and then suddenly it did not turn on again. When I press the power button, the sleep light goes on for a brief moment and then turn off.

    I can only turn on my mac now if I hold the power button for like 5-7 seconds. If I release it earlier, the light goes off. I can even hear the HD turning off when I do this.

    Also, now when I close de lid and open it again, the mac turns off instead of waking up from sleep state.

    I've already done a SMC and PVRAM reset, but nothing worked.

    Any clues?? :confused:
  8. 102020 macrumors newbie

    Sep 4, 2012
    Truly, this is not a Mac problem, we have an IBM x3500 server which just started with the same symptoms last week. It's absolutely a hardware issue, I'm putting in a replacement server for us today to get the system stable again but will be diagnosing to find out if it's an issue with 1 of the 3 possible causes:
    1) bad ground (doubtful)
    2) faulty switch unit (switch itself and/or wiring)
    3) faulty mobo (probably the case)

    will post back with my finding. In my case, I took some duct tape and taped the button down so it stays on...+1 for macgyver!
  9. etiennegignac macrumors newbie

    Oct 16, 2012
    Has this been figured out? I have the same problem on my macbook unibody late 2008.

    New dc-in board didn't fix it.
  10. Brian Y macrumors 68040

    Oct 21, 2012
    On a unibody MB you can test this by disconnecting the top case, and see if it still powers off automatically. To do this, disconnect the top case ribbon cable from the logic board, and then power it on by shorting out the pins on the connector (running a screwdriver along the pins on the top of the top case connector on the logic board usually does the trick).

    If it powers off, its the board. If it stays on, it's the top case.
  11. etiennegignac macrumors newbie

    Oct 16, 2012
    Turns out I replaced the disc drive and it's fine now. I saw other posts too where people were blaming a faulty hard drive.

    So I guess we can assume that the macbook will poweroff should there be a hardware malfunction.
  12. noelable macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2013
    Macbook - Only turns on when power button is held down.

    Possible solution

    This was the most frustrating issue I ever had with my 2.4 Intel Macbook 10.5.8.

    I had exactly the same issue the Macbook would only power on if I held down the power button until reaching the blue screen, if I released anytime prior to the blue screen zip.

    Additionally, once on my Macbook would work perfectly until it went to sleep then it would also power off. After two frustrating days, I found an unbelievable solution and I remain completely gobsmacked. I turned the computer off, I CLOSED THE LID, I unplugged the power, plugged in the power and powered on as normal and everything worked, closing the lid was the trick, i couldn't tell you if it's necessary step to unplug.

  13. Sheridansystems macrumors member

    Aug 27, 2013
    Same issue with MBP 2010 13"

    I bought this MacBook Pro from eBay claiming a liquid spill. When opening the case one liquid patch was red located on the top case. The motherboard liquid pads located under the ram were not affected.
    Symptoms include normal power on for a half of second, during chime the system shuts down. Hold power button for more than five seconds and system powers up normally, occasionally shutting down when waking up from sleep. DC board checks okay. All symptoms remain when disk drives LCD cables are disconnected all excluding top case. I am going to start with the easier listed fixes working to the hardest until I fix this one, and report back my results.
    Thanks for the ideas.
  14. sunsimon macrumors newbie

    Aug 24, 2014

    i have the exact same problem with my MacBook Pro 13'' mid 2010:

    - Power breaks down during startup chime.
    - If i press the power button longer (5 seconds?), it turns on & works perfectly.
    - But after awakening from standby the display is on (&windows show, everythings perfect) for maybe half a second and then power breaks down.

    I have opened my mecbook pro & disconnected almost everything: HDD, DVD, touchpad, keyboard, keyboard backlight, ram, right speaker, display, battery indicator and even the fan, but the issue remains the same. So i assume its a logic board failure :((

    I will go Gravis (german ASP) soon and try if they are willing to repair it for free..

    Otherwise - are they any other hints or solutions? (Even after extensive web searching, thats the only thread i found about this topic,.)

    Best regards from Freiburg/Germany,
  15. iddqd macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2013
    A solution


    Now, the story of it.

    Ok, my macbook pro A1150 started behaving with the same problem after i replaced the screen bezel including the lcd and webcam and webcam cables. I have been in to the problem and was looking to a solution but was nothing seems more productive then this thread on internet.

    Anyway, my situation WAS same. Regular press power button and MBP switches off after a life of 2 seconds. MBP was only running by press and holding PW switch for 5-7 seconds. 5 minutes ago i realised that the webcam was not detected by the system.

    So I long pressed the PW button and MBP started to run with a long disturbing beep which is probably telling me that i run my system on a sort of EMERGENCY mode.

    At that moment i was focused on the changes were made before the problems started.

    My screen bezel was cracked on the hinge so i bought an used one from ebay. The bezel was included with hinges, lcd and screen cable plus antennae cables and one other cable too. It was a good purchase because the cables were in it and fitting my screen on it could be lot easier than re-wiring all the cables.

    Anyway, i put everything but the problem started. I checked the connections over and over again but couldn't figured out the problem. By luck i have managed to start it by long pressing power switch. So this trick brought me here. I have focused on all other things rather than the changes were made.

    Long story short, the problem was caused because of either incompatible or bad webcam cable. First i powered on my MBP by long pressing on PW button. I went to account settings to use webcam but the webcam was not there. It was saying USE A WEBCAM TO CHANGE YOUR PICTURE (or something like that). I unplugged it and MBP now works again.

    Webcam cable is the one with metal connection tip which is coming out from the left bottom side of the screen frame. There is another cable with a plastic tip comes out from the same side of screen bezel and i assume it is the inverter cable as i don't get anything on my screen when i unplugged it even though the MBP seemed powering up.

    Unluckily i throw my previous bezel including the webcam. I actually am not using my webcam so i just unplug it and insulated the tip with a insulation tape and put everything back together.

    My MBP is back on track again.

    Hope this will help someone to figure out their problem.
  16. abdallah.nofal macrumors newbie

    Mar 16, 2015
    solution for holding down 15 seconds to turn on

    it's not a solution to hold down the button for 10 or 15 seconds to run the macbook pro after you open the system you'll find that it starts lagging and hanging alot without a reason i tried to convince my self it's power or something like that on logic board .. but it's not.

    when i started to boot from usb flash to install a new system it runs with one click after that when i started to format the hard disk it turned off i don't know why but when i clicked for 15 seconds... i was able to format the hard disk

    i got a new "rack" or i don't know what's called and removed the HDD from inside and connected it through the usb port ...guess what ... it works fine and faster than connect it inside all the problem with the SATA CABLE.

    just change it and try it costs about 50$ or maybe there's cheap version ... i hope it helps.
  17. sunsimon macrumors newbie

    Aug 24, 2014
    Well, one more story of sudden healing..

    After living with this issue for 15 months(!) it suddenly disappeared a few days ago.

    As stated above i tried almost everything back then:
    .. but never went to an Apple Service Provider. Instead, i just never used standby, but started my macbook in the morning and shut it down in the evening.. (Automatic Standby disabled of course)

    Then, after my laptop not having been to standby i don't know for how long (some months?) a few days i accidentially closed the lid, thus sending the macbook to standby. Later i opened the lid and immediately pressed the power button (as i thought it was off and wanted to turn it on). Then, for my great suprise, it stayed on in the post-standby logon sreen. Since then, the issue is completely gone!

    So maybe give this a try. Maybe it will also remove your stranges issue ever ;)
  18. Ashish Gulati macrumors newbie

    Ashish Gulati

    Aug 25, 2016
    late 2016 and the issue still lives. Apple, wake up.

    Got the same issue about a month back and still struggling. Just for the benefit of many others who might be stuck without a solution, here are the detailed of events leading up to the problem:

    MacBook Air (13-inch, Early 2014)
    Intel Core i5 1.4 GHz
    1. Upgraded from Yosemite to El Capitan
    2. A water spill on the keyboard triggers a protective sleep, but everything is normal after a few mins of drying up.
    3. Almost 2 months after the spill, the m/c started randomly going into sleep almost immediately after a lid-up making it virtually unusable.
    4. About 2 days later, lid sleep-wakeup stops working completely. Mac menu->sleep and power button wakeup works just fine. Mac is usable again with the minor inconvenience.
    5. One month later, it starts running noticeably slower even on almost zero loading. Some investigation reveals load-avgs as high as 250 during system startup and settling down to around 4-5 throughout. 'iostat' points to about 60% cpu hogging by the system(kernel) with user share at single digit values. Activity monitor finally pin-points: kernel_task hogging upto 250% on cpu. (This might be a separate issue, as discussed on various threads, but just mentioning here for completeness. Also, haven't tried the suggestion of removing certain kexts to try fixing this).
    6. In a couple of days, the mac sleeps but does not wakeup to power button press. Long press pwr restarts the mac. Even a clean shutdown needs a long press to start. Start-in-morn-shut-at-night routine the only painful solution.
    7. Interestingly, the mac does wake up on any key press within 19 secs of sleeping. But 20 secs, and it needs a long pwr press restart. Tried the sleepimage removal, etc too to no avail.
    That's where things stand for now. Considering the only rare solutions out of the problem are pure luck, I'm contemplating: genius bar or temple priest..
  19. rohanpit macrumors newbie


    Sep 25, 2016
    i got the same problem you have...
    even i share the device details and water spill scenario,
    i have tried many things even upgarde to sierra, but kernal_task at 250% and long press required to boot..
    have you found any solution or reason??
    hope to see your reply

  20. ApolloBoy macrumors 6502a


    Apr 16, 2015
    San Jose, CA
    There's your problem.

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19 December 2, 2011