Macbook randomly turns off

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by skatederbs, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. skatederbs macrumors newbie

    Dec 4, 2013
    Hi all,
    I have a 2007 white macbook with ios 10.6.8. I know its ancient but I'd like to eek a year or two more out of it if possible. I replaced the hard drive in 2010 and the cd drive hasn't worked in years but other than that I haven't had any problems til recently.

    A couple months ago it started turning off randomly. There doesn't seem to be any pattern to when this happens. Sometimes its plugged into the powercord, sometimes not. Sometimes it will be on for hours before it happens, sometimes it will happen 10 minutes after I turn it on. For a while I couldn't watch video without it turning off a few minutes in. I reset the scm, which didn't seem to make a difference. Then I reset the PRAM, which did seem to help for a little while. For a few weeks after that it only turned off once or twice and I could even watch netflix. But now its back to turning off almost everyday and watching video almost always makes it turn off. I've never had a problem turning it back on after it shuts itself down but occasionally it will shut off again in the first few minutes its on and sometimes this happens 4 to 5 times a day.

    Also, it has been making a lot of whirring noises lately. My brother suggested I might need a new fan but I'm not sure if that is related at all.

    I need my computer for work but this is making it very difficult to get anything done. Any advise would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
  2. WildCard^ macrumors regular

    Oct 11, 2013
    Your device isn't ancient in our eyes. Yesterday we were just talking about how good the 2007-2008s are.

    Best guess is your brother is right, and I think you know it too. Heat is a very common reason for a computer turning off randomly. It does it to save itself from burning out. I imagine you either hear the fan whirring on high a lot, or you hear nothing at all.

    Video is a very difficult thing for computers to do, as it entails a lot of calculations. When the laptop does video, it has to calculate a lot, which burns up more energy, which releases more heat. Generally that is where the fan pushes it out and keeps things moving - but I am guessing your fan is either clogged or not working at all.

    Have it checked out, find a local Apple geek. It's a very simple thing for a technical person to open it up, assess if the fan just needs cleaning or replacement. It is possible that the CPU needs to be re thermal paste'd, but again, technical person would be able to tell you.

    Apple store visit might be fruitful. They sometimes do quick tasks free, diagnosis commonly free.

    Does my assessment of your fan and the heat the system is generating sound true or make sense?
  3. skatederbs thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 4, 2013
    Thanks, that does make since. I guess I wasn't sure that the fan was causing it to shut off because it isn't usually working real hard/making a lot of noise when it turns off. But perhaps thats the problem.
  4. WildCard^ macrumors regular

    Oct 11, 2013
    very very likely. It isn't the fan causing it to shut off. Think of it like when you work out. Your body temp goes up with the extra workload as you metabolize energy. You sweat to cool back down to normal operating temp. If you had a problem to where you couldn't sweat (cool down), your body would eventually go into shock (heat stroke?).

    Laptop is the same. It doesn't want to burn out, so it will shut off, to not let itself cook itself.

    Have someone open it up. Bet you a nickel there is either a sock's worth of lint in there, or the fan isn't even working at all. As you said it's not very noisy, guessing it is the fan is out/blocked. Usually when laptops are ultra-hot, the fan will pump out at an insanely high RPM, I think in the area of 6000RPM. Very loud fan at that rate.

    have it checked out, tell us how it works out.
  5. endlightend macrumors member

    Nov 5, 2013
    Had a late 06 Macbook I just gifted to a friend. This seems to be a very common issue with this generation Macbook, google turns up dozens of hits on the subject. Apple was apparently acknowledging the issue years ago, but there was never a consensus to the cause. From my own reading, I've surmised it was a heat issue as well.

    Taking off the top and blowing the dust out is a great idea. When I took the heatsink off the processor a few weeks ago, I didn't even know what I was looking at, until I understood that it was 6 years worth of dry thermal compound. Wanted a quick fix so I ran to Radio Shack and bought ceramic compound. Friend reports to me shut downs persist randomly. Ordered Arctic Silver, took the Macbook back, opened it up again and used the AS this time. Tried to replicate shut down by maxing out the cores and couldn't. Looks good for the time being.

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