MacBook Pro heat causing pain in hands

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by burnt, Aug 21, 2008.

  1. burnt macrumors newbie

    Aug 21, 2008
    I've seen this addressed earlier re the heat the MBP emits from the bottom. Users (including me) have complained that the heat is actually great enough to burn their laps. Appple's reply is that these are not "laptops" but "notebooks," and should not be rested on your lap.

    I accept that and put a pillow or a laptop desk on my lap when using it that way. A bigger problem, though, is that I am getting nerve damage in my thumbs and the pads below them from resting them on the panel below the keyboard while typing. After all day on the computer, I often end up with real pain there from the heat.

    I ran the "temperature monitor" app on my mac to see if it was indeed running hotter than it should be. The hottest temperatures are at about 140 degrees F - which seems pretty hot, but there is no recognized "upper limit." I asked someone at the Apple Store, and he said the computer (at least) was in no danger until it hit much higher temps. What about me?

    I guess my question is, does anyone else have the same issue with hand pain (in addition to lap pain) from the MBP? If so, has anyone gotten any idea from Apple that they recognize this as a problem?
  2. TheVendor macrumors member

    Aug 11, 2008
    Mine gets pretty hot on my lap too (especially when gaming)... I'd suggest that you use SMC Fan Control to keep the temperature down a bit.
  3. pdxflint macrumors 68020


    Aug 25, 2006
    Oregon coast
    I can guarantee that if you rest your MBP on a pillow on your lap it will heat up really, really effectively - due to blocking any airflow from the bottom as well as from the vent on the back. Don't do it if you don't want problems.

    I'm running smcFanControl, and have set several different cooling modes (different fan rpms) that I can instantly switch to depending on the temp displayed (top of screen.) Here are a couple of screen shots.


    smcFanControl menu.jpg

    You can get it here, too. Highly recommended.
  4. isauce macrumors regular


    May 21, 2008
    Coolbook also helps, however it costs $10. However, do get SMCfancontrol. It will help a lot.
  5. anirban macrumors 6502a


    Jan 9, 2007
    Houston, TX
    MBPs do get really hot, but I have not heard of anyone getting nerve damage due to the heat.

    The underside and the area above the function keys do get too hot to touch, but rest of the area shouldn't be painful at all.
  6. burnt thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 21, 2008
    SMC Fan Control

    Thanks for the advice, everyone, especially about the pillow and SMCFanContol. I've installed Fan Control and can feel quite a difference on the wristrest already (setting the sliders about halfway up). Any clues/caveats I should know about this program? I assume running it runs down the battery. Anything else I should be aware of?
  7. J the Ninja macrumors 68000

    Jul 14, 2008
    It's fairly idiot proof. It doesn't let you actually change the fan ramp at all, or set the base speed below the default. You can only raise the base speed, that's it. The only other thing that could really go wrong is that you are pulling more dust through it now. But hey, ifixit has guides for how to do an out-of-warranty cleaning for those heatsinks, and it shouldn't be a big deal anyhow. I've never heard of any computer overheating/failing becuase it's heatsinking got dust-clogged. Don't worry about wearing down the fan bearings, they will last far longer than you'd want to keep a computer for.
  8. cooklah macrumors newbie

    Nov 2, 2008
    caribbean and usa
    MacBook Pro and heat in hands

    I have the same problem .. it feels as if I am getting some very bad energy in my right thumb and lower palm (where both rest on the laptop when I work). This is pretty scary and my right hand feels totally different from the left after an hour or two of using the laptop these days.

    Has anyone approached Apple with this issue?
  9. shush120 macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2009
    I have the same problem but i don't think its the heat!

    i have pain in my hands for days following prolonged use, at first i though it is the heat so i got a cooling pad, which keeps the mac very nice and cold. i do suspect that it is related to high intensity wifi usage, or direct voltage conducted into my hands through the aluminum case. when i use my mac connected to the power adapter with the supplied direct socket adaptor i feel a strong electric current running towards me, since the palm of the hands have thicker skin it is mostly ignored but when my forearm touches it and I'm barefoot i get an actual painful electrocution. i called apple about that and they told me to use the cable adapter to the power adapter. but i feel that this did not solve the problem completely and i am exposed to constant low intensity electrical current. I will look into that and check with medical professionals about it and then contact apple.

    oh and i live in europe using a 240v grids.

    anyone else?
  10. be300test macrumors member

    Nov 7, 2008

    seems to me like its a floating ground, if you rub your forearm on it can you feel it ?

    if so you have a floating ground somwhere on the adapter or in the notebook
  11. lordthistle macrumors 6502

    Feb 29, 2008
    When I used an early 2008 MBP the heat and electricity were very annoying. During summer, I had to put my wrists under cold water every half an hour of usage. Electricity was terrible, too. I used the connector with the ground line without any significant change in the electrical discharges.

    With the Unibody MBP both these problems seem solved. No electricity at all and much cooler temps using the 9400 (with 9600 it is as hot as the early 2008).

    I think you nerve pain in the right hand is not caused by the heat but by the electricity.

  12. nb705 macrumors newbie

    Jan 22, 2008
    Unlike the majority of notebooks, all aluminium Macbooks and Macbook Pros have well grounded cases. This means that any static charge that has built up on you will ground through it, causing shocks.

    Having taken apart and metered several machines, I can say that there should be no appreciable voltage on the casing, if there is, then it is ungrounded or there is a fault with the PSU or DC-DC converter.

    I can also say that having worked a great deal with both low and high voltage systems that a constant, low level DC voltage would not cause the physical issues that you describe. They are more indicative of either heat issues or poor keyboard posture. Even long term exposure to higher power (AC or DC) electricity will not cause the issues you describe.

    I can also say that Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPRS and other Radio Frequency signals will not cause the issues you are describing. There have been no substantiated cases of any ill effects from these technologies.
  13. WindowsTraitor macrumors regular

    Dec 31, 2008
    I took the following pic to show you the reason why (I think at least)


    The sharp edge where the arm rest, can block blood circulation where the arm touches the edge.

    Also the heat transfer is an issue, as well as the wifi and bluetooth.

    Another issue that was not mentioned before, is the vibration (rotation) of the HDD. Although not really noticeable, the frequency generated by the HDD may create some distress in the long run.

    The Unibody maybe better because the edges are not as sharp and I think is thinner.
  14. lordthistle macrumors 6502

    Feb 29, 2008
    Are not as sharp? No no... Go and have a look, you can cut the bread with them...
  15. Marsil macrumors member

    Feb 12, 2009
    I suggest you get at mouse, keyboard and a laptop stand... that should help you "work" ergonomically and keep the laptop cool.
  16. WindowsTraitor macrumors regular

    Dec 31, 2008
    sorry I have not played much with a unibody that much, but by the pictures it looked better.(Or at least that is what I remembered)... I just so the pictures again and they do look pretty sharp....

    Do you guys recommend a bluetooth keyboard/mouse or a wired one?
  17. uicandrew macrumors 6502a

    Jan 19, 2006
    actually the edges of the unibody are sharp and I would actually get a unibody because resting your wrists/hands on the macbook case will flex the case over time, and the unibody is more rigid and durable in that respect.

    if you're cutting off blood circulation, the feeling will be more like "pins and needles" as if your leg or whatnot is asleep.

    you really shouldn't have your hands flexed like that because it is "bad posture" and might cause distress in the long run.

    but i can relate to it being "more comfortable" and "laziness/relaxing"

    i can only suggest using more correct posture and/or using a wrist splint.
  18. macusertn macrumors newbie

    Dec 30, 2009
    macbook pro

    I recently bought a macbook pro and also have an I phone. I love the functionality of both and don't have any issues with heat. However, I do get a really strange sensation in my hands when I touch the metallic part of the laptop or use my cell phone. It can be really quite painful and I get the same sensation in my legs if I use the laptop on my lap. It's very bizarre.

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