MB Retina late 2013 Caught on Fire

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by thepunisher, Apr 1, 2017.

  1. thepunisher macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2008
    #1
    Couple of questions:
    Firstly has anyone else had their MB Retina 13 late 2013 catch on fire at all?

    I took mine to the Genius bar as the Keyboard / Trackpad had stopped working. The only way to get them working was to reset the PRAM. However, after 20mins or so, they would stop working again. So obviously a hardware fault so I took it to the Genius bar.

    Whilst at the Genius bar, they were performing some hardware checks by running their diagnosis software. Not long into this, the MacBook started smoking on the bench. They had to rush it to a fireproof safe where it had to stay for 48 hrs.

    I filled in some forms and paper work but thats now over 2 weeks ago and no word back. I called up about it but they had no update and just said I had to wait longer.

    Anyone else had similar?
    What was the outcome ?

    The only suggestion from Apple so far when I called to check the status was that if i needed a computer before they finished investigating I could buy a new one or claim on any insurance I may have.

    Interested to hear if this has happened to anyone else?

    Tnx.
     
  2. Sanpete macrumors 68020

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    Nov 17, 2016
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    Utah
    #2
    My 2011 15" used to do that. I heard the stories about the long delays in repairs, so I got an asbestos case for it instead. Also kept a little fire extinguisher handy for the occasional flameout.

    Have you talked to a supervisor? Maybe send an email to Tim Cook. He was a victim of spontaneous human combustion once, so maybe he'll understand.
     
  3. DeltaMac macrumors G3

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
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    Delaware
    #3
    What day is today?
    --- Post Merged, Apr 1, 2017 ---
    I was going along with this one, until the "fireproof safe for 48 hrs"...
    Then, I remembered what day this is.
     
  4. jerryk macrumors 68040

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    SF Bay Area
    #4
    And on that note
     
  5. hallux macrumors 68030

    hallux

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    Apr 25, 2012
    #5
    Maybe so, but one of the steps when dealing with thermal runaway is to place the device in a fireproof box. When there's a fire they really should be dumping sand on it though.
     
  6. DeltaMac macrumors G3

    DeltaMac

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    #6
    Ehh... would that kind of "disposal" also require you to leave it in the box for 48 hours?

    Anyway, good call. I wasn't considering in that post that the battery would still be connected, potentially to break down (not in a good way, either) when seriously overheated.
     
  7. hallux macrumors 68030

    hallux

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    #7
    48 hours may be an abundance of caution on the part of the store, the only guideline from Apple is "minimum 2 hours". Maybe they read or heard "minimum 2 days"? Also, that step is AFTER smothering the device and then letting it cool.
     
  8. thepunisher thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 14, 2008
    #8

    So point taken on the timing of this post. I probably should have waited a day before posting to avoid the April Fools. However, this is a legit situation and apple have contacted my yesterday and are now asking for the power supply as they want to now assess that.

    The whole process is certainly taking a long time which is something I did not think would happen. Normally in past experience Apple have been pretty good with faulty equipment. At least with telling you what is happening or what is not happening.

    At the end of the day I am interested to know if this happens much to others (MacBook catching on fire) or if it is just unlucky. Don't want to get it repaired and then have the possibility it could happen again due to a problematic mac model etc?

    Anyway, if the attachment works, you can see what they have said about it. (Screen shot of the work summary they provided me).
     

    Attached Files:

  9. hallux macrumors 68030

    hallux

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    #9
    Keyboard and trackpad not working and the odor are indicators to me that the battery was swelling and had subsequently burst (or at least vented) when you presented it for service. It escalated quickly from there and ended up catching fire - which is a distinctly possible result with a swelling battery.

    I don't deal with NEARLY as many Macs as my team deals with Dell, Lenovo and HP products. I've heard of several "fire" reports from others on the other manufacturers but I have yet to deal with a similar situation with a Mac. I DID have a Mac with a swelling battery, it was out of warranty so I pulled the battery and transported it to the local Apple store for disposal.
     
  10. Sanpete macrumors 68020

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    Nov 17, 2016
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    Utah
    #10
    Ha, my apologies to the OP! I was sure it was a joke for the same reasons @DeltaMac gave, plus the wording "caught on fire," which seems an exaggeration given the explanation. (Smoke doesn't actually imply fire.)

    To answer the original question, I haven't heard of this with an MBP before, not to the point of smoking.
     
  11. flyinmac macrumors 68040

    flyinmac

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    Sep 2, 2006
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    United States
    #11
    Very unfortunate situation.

    But, here is one angle you can try.

    If I take something to a shop, it is my expectation to get it back in the same condition it was in when I dropped it off, or better condition.

    For example, I had a car that was freshly repainted. Perfect paint.

    I took it to the dealer for an oil change, and they apparently leaned all over the fender and scratched it up.

    So, when I saw the car, I made them repaint the fenders at their expense.

    And on another car, I bought brand new. They chipped the paint during the first service. I made them repaint the whole panel. A filled chip is still less clean than even paint.

    The point is, once they accept the product for repair, they assume liability for it until they return it to you.

    Apparently the machine caught fire. Doesn't matter why. From a customers view, they could have done something that caused the fire. And as such, they should now provide you with a replacement (since you can't fix burning by just painting it).

    If they want to diagnose further, then they can do so once they own the device that got damaged while in their care.

    But, they need to make it right with you, and get a working computer back in your hands.

    If my car caught on fire while the dealer had it, I'd have a rental car the same day and until my car was replaced or completely rebuilt.
     
  12. killawat macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2014
    #12
    Possible that they'll give you a brand new unit. Regardless of its age, it shouldn't catch fire.
     
  13. SDColorado macrumors 68020

    SDColorado

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    Nov 6, 2011
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    Highlands Ranch, CO
    #13
    I am really surprised they haven't replaced it for you and had a better look at it on their own time and own dime. I had a motorcycle that had a major failure and it was replaced by the factory, which collected the old one to tear down and examine the issue further on their own time. That should be impacting you to this degree. Replace it and do whatever they want to study that one on their own time.
     
  14. hallux macrumors 68030

    hallux

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    Apr 25, 2012
    #14
    @flyinmac I have the impression that they never accepted it for repair before it caught fire but that it happened while the OP was visiting the GB for assistance with the KB/TP issue.
     
  15. DeltaMac macrumors G3

    DeltaMac

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    Delaware
    #15
    I agree, this was apparently not any negligence on the part of the store, just a failure that became worse during testing, when part of the testing would involve stress on the logic board, along with the power circuitry/battery.
    And, the shop pretty much verified that there was a problem. Yes, there was a little more drama than a normal test failure, but certainly not unknown for a system to die in a fairly catastrophic manner during testing.

    I bet that @hallux has seen similar failures (with actual flames, not that wimpy smoke that the OP reported) during testing. I know that I have had that happen in the past.
    OP already had a problem - and was allowing the "genius" some "discovery" time. Tough way for it to turn out.

    I also hope that @thepunisher will get a good resolution of that laptop debacle!
     
  16. hallux macrumors 68030

    hallux

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    Apr 25, 2012
    #16
    @DeltaMac I've seen at least one desktop power supply spitting sparks/fire. It wasn't an Apple product but I have seen it.
     
  17. thepunisher thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 14, 2008
    #17

    Yes I'm not questioning anything that the store did. What happened was going to happen to me or whoever happened to be using the machine at the time. The machine was - for some reason - faulty.

    Apple are actually being pretty annoyingly slow in comparison to any other experience I have previously had with them. Typically, someone looks at the machine in store and makes a call on where you stand with them.
    i.e. Weather they tell you to get stuffed and reach for your wallet to buy a new one or weather said item is still covered by warranty.

    Not this time. No one can make any decisions locally at all. Its off to HQ for some engineer to look at.
    No eta on how long this will take or when they will contact me. (They now have the Power supply as well as they asked for it. Fair enough. Makes sense)

    I think this is one of those times when you just have to accept that the best outcome you can hope for is that someone will actually call you back in the coming weeks.

    You have to ask though. Given Apples size and profitability, why they take such time and effort to review and squirm over (what would be a very low % of machines like mine which catch fire) and deliberate further about "is it in warranty" or "is it not in warranty" because it caught fire... is something I don't fully understand. Are profits "that tight"..?

    The 3 in store employees i've had to see twice now and the engineers at HQ (Time / Resources) would surely cost more than say - allowing a local Genius to make a call on (In or out) or warranty.

    I realise things break sometimes. Totally get it.

    But. If i were running a business and my customer was showing me my product in store and it caught on fire. I would realistically be trying to "sort out something" with the customer as soon as possible.

    Certainly not the current Apple approach - "We'll get back to you when we get back to you."
     
  18. Fishrrman, Apr 4, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2017

    Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #18
    I wouldn't be surprised if Apple wants to do some thorough investigating on this particular MacBook (along with the charger) to find out WHY the battery failed and caused the fire.

    So... safe to say you're not getting anything from it back. ;)

    A full replacement is almost certainly forthcoming.

    I recall seeing a web page (with pics) of an MBPro that had a battery fire, only a couple of weeks back:
    https://medium.com/@dourvaris/my-2015-macbook-pro-retina-exploded-119ea5ea9d1f
     
  19. willmtaylor macrumors G3

    willmtaylor

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    #19
    I agree on all counts. Most likely investigating fully and you'll be getting a brand new piece of kit. I wonder if they'll ask you to sign a NDA though.
     
  20. Sanpete macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2016
    Location:
    Utah
    #20
    Yours is the only case I've heard of, so they may be dealing with your kind of case, including its particular cause, for the first time. (Again, there's no evidence your machine caught fire. It made smoke, which isn't the same thing, despite the common saying.)
     
  21. tubeexperience macrumors 68040

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    Feb 17, 2016
    #21
    The battery probably swelled, pushed up against the touchpad, and eventually caught on fire.
     
  22. willmtaylor macrumors G3

    willmtaylor

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  23. thepunisher thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 14, 2008
    #23
    Well I wish I could bring news of some description but its now going on 4.5 weeks and still nothing from Apple with regards to this issue.

    They have my machine and apparently have raised the issue with "engineering"... wherever in the world they live.

    Thats it....

    No word on replacement / warranty or even (sorry - bad luck no warranty for you).

    Nothing...

    Yes I've called and they don't know anything and can't help any further. Whenever something progresses... they say they will call.

    Anyway. Word of warning to anyone else who's Apple computer (I think iPhone experiences might be different) decides to melt, let the smoke out - or similar. It seems that you may be in for a very very long wait and left with absolutely no idea what the way forward is.

    If this happens to you and its your only machine... Your best off buying another computer somewhere to get you through a few months.

    Im not so much upset about the issue that occurred with the machine (Stuff can happen right) - but more so how very very terrible the customer care process is compared to how I thought Apple might handle this situation. It seems customer service in this area is very poor.

    Post sales issues seems to be an extremely low priority with Apple now. This is rather depressing compared to a few years ago when it was really fantastic.


    At some point I will assume Apple will eventually respond. If they do - I'll keep you updated.

    P.S - Surely this is exactly the type of Customer experience Tim Cook would love to hear about. But just how do you get the message to him..??
     
  24. vjobs, Apr 21, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017

    vjobs macrumors regular

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    Nov 23, 2013
    Location:
    Amsterdam, Netherlands
    #24
    This is very remarkable. I don't get why they let you wait for ages.

    A 13" MacBook Pro 2014 of a friend of mine would become unresponsive on keyboard and trackpad once in a while. Even OS X Recovery didn't fix it. Happened 3 times, 3 repairs in a few months (logic board replaced, flex cables replaced, top case replaced). Apple guaranteed that it would be fine now. Guess what, same issue again. Then Apple decided to send the MacBook Pro to Apple Engineering dept. for investigation. They gave him a brand-new 13" MacBook Pro 2016 Touch Bar model with comparable specs so that he didn't have to wait.
     
  25. Mammut macrumors member

    Mammut

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    Location:
    Frankfurt, Germany
    #25
    tcook@apple.com

    Write an e-mail and explain your experiences you've made the last weeks. At least one of his staff members will read it.
     

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