MBP (17-inch Mid 2009) Hard Starting, Sudden Shutdown

iMacC2D

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 24, 2010
621
286
Hi Folks,

This is a question for the board repair professionals. I've recently picked up a MacBook Pro (17-inch Mid 2009) MacBookPro5,2 for nil with some power issues. I tossed it into a cupboard and haven't touched it, but now I have some time to throw at it, I decided to see what I could find out. That and I've seen a few other MacBook Pros of the same size and year come through with exactly the same issue, so now I'm curious.

The issue is simple. Press the power button, light comes on, and then it turns off. Often before the boot chime. Sometimes it will make it past the boot chime, then turn off. Sometimes it will make it to the grey Apple logo and then click - off it goes. The LED on the front turns off suddenly.

Then, maybe after 10-12 tries, it starts, and runs, and it doesn't turn off.

If I attempt to start it purely from battery, there's no chance of starting it. The power adapter has to be connected to even have a shot. But even with the battery disconnected and running purely from the power adapter, it still does the same thing.

Removing power consuming devices from the system, such as disconnecting the hard drive, also allows the machine to start a little more easily, but it still turns off about half the time.

Performed a component isolation, stripped back to a Logic Board, different RAM, different components, different fans, heatsink mounted correctly, new thermal paste, not getting hot - and the issue still occurs. It's somewhere on the Logic Board that it's failing. This we know for sure, so thanks in advance for the suggestions of taking it into Apple, but the Genius Bar won't help me here. This machine and board has never been exposed to liquid, machine has never been dropped.


I thought it was isolated to this machine, but as I said, I've seen a couple more since then with the same symptoms, same year, same model. I believe the Logic Board is an 820-2610-A but admittedly I'm working from a somewhat hazy memory.

Has anyone seen this issue before and was able to isolate it to a particular common component or failure point?

I don't mind probing around with a multimeter but the guidance would be appreciated. The age of the machine is no concern, this isn't mission critical, but mainly for the experience. A working machine at the end wouldn't be bad either, I suppose.


Cheers,
~ iMic.
 
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iMacC2D

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 24, 2010
621
286
A solution for anyone that encounters the same issue. Take the machine to the Genius Bar.

Kidding. Of course.

I need to thank @l.a.rossmann for a recent video he posted that forced me to take another look at this machine. Since posting this thread, the machine stopped turning on entirely. Probing around the MCP 1.05v supply, particularly around the C7771 capacitor revealed that my board was only producing 0.31v instead of the 1.05v required. That capacitor needed to go, perhaps to resolve the issue but if not at the very least before I could continue troubleshooting elsewhere.

Armed with an off-brand temperature controlled soldering iron, I swapped out the capacitor for a 330uF 2.0v Poly-Film capacitor from a spare A1278 13-inch Mid 2012 (820-3115) board with extensive corrosion. It required some creative component fitment, but it eventually went into place without much difficulty.




And it worked. The computer fired without a hitch. It successfully completed a sustained loop in Apple Service Diagnostic, and the MCP is receiving a healthy 1.10v.




This repair was free, only taking around 45 minutes of my Saturday evening to complete. If you include the cost of tools, including the temperature controlled soldering station, flux, solder, basic multimeter and screwdriver set, the total cost would be around $250.00 AUD. Since I can now use these tools for other projects as well, this turned out to be an incredibly good deal.

Now I have some other boards to experiment with, a 2010 15" with graphics switching issues and a bad drive connector that I have already repaired, and a 2014 13" Retina with liquid damage. I'm still terrible at working with schematics and board views, but I'll consider it an ongoing project. Perhaps some day I'll become somewhat half decent at it.
 
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ron1004

macrumors 6502
Feb 6, 2010
329
30
Louisville, KY
Found a 330uF 6.3v on an old desktop video card and installed it with short leads - the voltage was confirmed at 1.1v which got me all exited that its cured, but much to my disappointment, after full assembly there's still no response to the power button.
 
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ron1004

macrumors 6502
Feb 6, 2010
329
30
Louisville, KY
I am happy to report that my wife's MBP is fully functional, and a very big thanks to the @l.a.rossmann and @iMacC2D for sharing their skills and knowledge.

I found the power pads and using them the machine powered up, then I found all the keys on the right side of the keyboard weren't functioning, and found that I did not have the keyboard ribbon cable fully engaged.
After sorting the keyboard ribbon cable, everything works including the power button.
 

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iMacC2D

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 24, 2010
621
286
This is awesome. GOOD JOB!!!

This is also the cause of the 2010 kernel panics. Same cap, same buck regulator for the most part..
Just replaced C9560 on the Mid 2010 board I mentioned earlier this week. It was showing signs of graphics switching issues in addition to intermittent kernel panics and loss of USB connectivity. Turned out to be the problem capacitor, plus fractured solder joints under the HDD connector and fractured joints around the USB ports. All are now resolved.

The 13" Retina MacBook Pro (Mid 2014) with no power was also repaired. Found PPVRTC_G3H was low at 0.18v, with a dead short across the capacitor at position C1910. Removed it during testing and the line returned to 3.34v. Fixed it, and the machine now powers on and passes ASD.

And the 17" still works. Added a small thermal pad between the LVDS MUX and the bottom case for the hell of it. Figured the extra surface area for heat dissipation wouldn't do it any harm.

I still suck at these repairs, just somewhat less than I did this time last month.


I am happy to report that my wife's MBP is fully functional, and a very big thanks to the @l.a.rossmann and @iMacC2D for sharing their skills and knowledge.

I found the power pads and using them the machine powered up, then I found all the keys on the right side of the keyboard weren't functioning, and found that I did not have the keyboard ribbon cable fully engaged.
After sorting the keyboard ribbon cable, everything works including the power button.
That's brilliant. The Genius Bar most likely wouldn't have touched it, and even if they did the repair costs would have been fairly high for a refurbished board that didn't have the C7771 tantalum capacitor addressed, so it would have failed again. This is a much better and far more solid repair, and the price isn't bad either.
 
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Tyke666

macrumors newbie
Nov 14, 2019
19
13
I know this is an old thread but I have a mid 2009 17" MBP and it has exactly the same issues as the OP.
Summary: When cold it will not power up straight away. It usually gets to the grey screen initially, then maybe the apple logo a couple of times before shutting down. Usually, if it gets as far as the progress bar, it will generally start up fine. There are very occasional shutdowns when in use.
Trying to start it from cold using battery only is a complete waste of time with it rarely getting to the gray screen even.

I saw the l.a.rossmann videos on C7771 (and many of his excellent videos since) so I ordered a replacement as it was pretty cheap and the symptoms matched what this capacitor does when faulty. However, when I took the machine apart and tested C7771 I found it was delivering 1.05v as per specification. That disheartened me as I really expected it to be low.

So my question is, is there something else that would cause exactly the same symptoms as a failed C7771? Could C7771 still be failing, even though when I measure it it gives the correct voltage? Could it be a failing solder joint?
Any suggestions would be most welcome. Maybe suggestions on which parts of the board to examine?
Note: I have replaced the disc drive with 2 others that I had around. Also put a new battery in it just in case. Nothing changed.
 

Sedulous

Contributor
Dec 10, 2002
2,463
2,222
I know this is an old thread but I have a mid 2009 17" MBP and it has exactly the same issues as the OP.
Summary: When cold it will not power up straight away. It usually gets to the grey screen initially, then maybe the apple logo a couple of times before shutting down. Usually, if it gets as far as the progress bar, it will generally start up fine. There are very occasional shutdowns when in use.
Trying to start it from cold using battery only is a complete waste of time with it rarely getting to the gray screen even.

I saw the l.a.rossmann videos on C7771 (and many of his excellent videos since) so I ordered a replacement as it was pretty cheap and the symptoms matched what this capacitor does when faulty. However, when I took the machine apart and tested C7771 I found it was delivering 1.05v as per specification. That disheartened me as I really expected it to be low.

So my question is, is there something else that would cause exactly the same symptoms as a failed C7771? Could C7771 still be failing, even though when I measure it it gives the correct voltage? Could it be a failing solder joint?
Any suggestions would be most welcome. Maybe suggestions on which parts of the board to examine?
Note: I have replaced the disc drive with 2 others that I had around. Also put a new battery in it just in case. Nothing changed.
I am really also surprised because these symptoms scream C7771. I have been looking at the boardview for anything else nearby that you could check. Are you certain you measured the voltage from C7771? It goes directly to the CPU from C7771 pad 1 and should be 1.05V (as you noted). If this point is 1.05V then it must be something else that has not been documented.
 

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Tyke666

macrumors newbie
Nov 14, 2019
19
13
I am really also surprised because these symptoms scream C7771. I have been looking at the boardview for anything else nearby that you could check. Are you certain you measured the voltage from C7771? It goes directly to the CPU from C7771 pad 1 and should be 1.05V (as you noted). If this point is 1.05V then it must be something else that has not been documented.
Yeah, I was really careful and did it several times from a nearby screw hole to the positive terminal of the cap. I even confirmed it's number on the board as it it labelled. To be absolutely sure I changed the batteries of my multimeter as they were a little old, but no change.
I agree, I was positive it would read low and was pretty crestfallen. I don't know how capacitors fail. Is it gradual or instantaneous? Could it be just in the process of packing in. I am sorely tempted to just replace C7771 anyway since I bought the replacement in anticipation. The machine is fairly unuseable anyway so what harm could it do (besides my ham-fistedness destroying the board completely :)
 

Sedulous

Contributor
Dec 10, 2002
2,463
2,222
Yeah, I was really careful and did it several times from a nearby screw hole to the positive terminal of the cap. I even confirmed it's number on the board as it it labelled. To be absolutely sure I changed the batteries of my multimeter as they were a little old, but no change.
I agree, I was positive it would read low and was pretty crestfallen. I don't know how capacitors fail. Is it gradual or instantaneous? Could it be just in the process of packing in. I am sorely tempted to just replace C7771 anyway since I bought the replacement in anticipation. The machine is fairly unuseable anyway so what harm could it do (besides my ham-fistedness destroying the board completely :)
There are different kinds of capacitors. Electrolytics can fail catastrophically whereas the tantalum type like the C7771 discussed are known to slowly fail with symptoms increasing over time.

I do not think the problem is failing solder joints. If the cap was not working because of failure to connect to ground pad I would not expect to see the 1.05V on the other pad... or at all if some other component in this circuit were dying. Have you checked what other power rails are doing?
 

Tyke666

macrumors newbie
Nov 14, 2019
19
13
There are different kinds of capacitors. Electrolytics can fail catastrophically whereas the tantalum type like the C7771 discussed are known to slowly fail with symptoms increasing over time.

I do not think the problem is failing solder joints. If the cap was not working because of failure to connect to ground pad I would not expect to see the 1.05V on the other pad... or at all if some other component in this circuit were dying. Have you checked what other power rails are doing?
I know everything I know about C7771 from forums and Youtube unfortunately. I wouldn't have a clue where to put the meter to test other power rails. I don't have the nice interactive schematics and such like and probably wouldn't understand them if I did. But I can follow simple instructions if there is a document that specifically covers checking the power rails.
 
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