Sudden High-Pitched Overheating

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by aidanofjayus, Feb 4, 2016.

  1. aidanofjayus macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2016
    #1
    Hello. I will preface this post with some information. I have a Macbook Pro 15 inch running OS X 10.9.5. I've had the computer since December of 2014.

    The other day, I took my computer out of the bag that I keep it in. It had been in the bag all day, and has been under the conditions it was under before, and I haven't had a problem. It was not exposed to extreme heat or cold. When I took it out of the bag, it was extremely hot, overheating very loudly, and also had a high-pitched sound with the overheating. I opened it up and it displayed just a black screen, so I powered it off. The overheating instantly stopped, and when I started it up again it was acting normally. Ever since this event, however, when it overheats (it usually overheats when I am exporting video files from my recording software) the fans are especially loud, and have that high-pitched buzzing sound along with them.

    If anyone knows what may have gone wrong, or what I should do, please let me know.
    Thanks,
    aidanofjayus
     
  2. chscag macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Fort Worth, Texas
    #2
    It's never a good idea to carry a sleeping MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, etc, in a backpack. It's a dangerous practice because if the machine wakes while it's in the backpack, it will overheat very quickly. Even though a modern Mac will shut itself down when overheating, damage can occur. The noise you're hearing is probably coming from the fan. It might be a good idea to open your MacBook Pro up and check the fan for dirt, fluff, and anything else. You may need a new fan. Good instructions can be found at www.ifixit.com.
     
  3. aidanofjayus thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2016
    #3
    I vacuumed the spot where the air from the fan comes out of the Mac, and that seemed to eliminate the buzzing/humming sound. However, I have still been experiencing unusually loud overheating during light activities. So, I order the correct screwdriver and opened up my Mac. There was a ton of dust in it, so I cleaned it all out, and when it looked brand new and dustless, I closed it back up. I proceeded to start a screen recording and see if it would overheat loudly, and it did.
    Any ideas? Is the fan most likely faulty? What should I do?

    Thanks,
    aidanofjayus
     
  4. cerberusss macrumors 6502a

    cerberusss

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2013
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #4
    Even though you cleaned it, a professional will disconnect and remove those fans, and clean the innards as well. There could be a cloth of dust stuck in there, I've seen what they pull from fans and it's amazing (and disgusting).

    I don't know how old that machine is, but recently I brought a MacBook Pro from 2009 to a repair shop. They cleaned the innards of the fan, and replaced the cooling paste between the CPU and the heat pipes. Perhaps that's an option for you as well. They can replace fans if necessary.
     
  5. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2012
    Location:
    Between the coasts
    #5
    The troubleshooting proceeds on faulty logic, which is, "If the fan is over-speeding, it's fan-related." If the thermostatic systems are working correctly, any condition that generates excessive heat is going to kick the fan into overdrive. A faulty chip, capacitor, temperature sensor, or resistor; a runaway CPU process; heat build-up due to poor ventilation (you've tried to address that one by cleaning), processor-intensive processes....

    The first instance that got your attention was resolved by restarting the computer. That could point to either an over-temperature shut-down, or to a runaway/hung CPU process - most likely a temporary, one-time condition. However, when that temporary condition kicked the fan into high speed, coupled with the amount of dirt inside your machine.... gunk may have been moved around and started impinging on the fan blades. Cleaning can deal with that, but it isn't likely to fix issues that are not dirt-related (and we can't assume that this is dirt-related). You could end up with a silent fan that is still running faster than it ought to.

    As to whether the computer is working hard when you're making a screen recording... Open Activity Monitor and look at CPU activity while you're making that screen recording. Maybe the computer works harder than you think while doing that (sustained video processing activities can place very heavy loads on CPU). Maybe not.

    All too often, people on these forums are simply making stabs in the dark. They have insufficient knowledge of how these systems work, and simply try stuff until they either stumble over a solution, do further damage, or give up. Consider professional assistance.
     
  6. tjwilliams25 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2014
    Location:
    Montana
    #6
    This. If the CPU is under strain, it will kick the fan into overdrive. This happens on MBPs fairly often in my experience. It's not a bad thing, the computer is just trying to keep itself cool and efficient like a dog panting on a summer day. Even when my MBP is completely clean it still goes Mach 5 when I'm doing anything in Photoshop or other intensive apps. Like @ApfelKuchen said, even though screen recording doesn't seem very intensive it totally is. Encoding video on-the-fly is a resource hungry endeavor.

    Also, it's probably not overheating unless the computer shuts itself down.
     
  7. aidanofjayus thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2016
    #7
    Yes, I agree that screen-recording might be an intensive task. However, the reason I am confused is not because the fans are so loud due to what I thought was a light task, it's that they have never beed so loud while screen-recording before the incident I mentioned in the first post. Ever since then, screen-recording has caused the fans to be so loud, but before then they were never like this.

    Unless given further advice or a working solution, I will be seeking professional repair.
     
  8. tjwilliams25 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2014
    Location:
    Montana
    #8
    There's a good possibility that there's something else running in the background, then. As @ApfelKuchen said: open Activity Monitor and see what the usage is. If usage is low and the fans are still kicking into turbo mode, one of the temp sensors could be having an issue. If that turns out to be the case, I would take it to an Apple Store or Certified Apple Technician to have it looked at.
     
  9. aidanofjayus thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2016
    #9
    I tried screen recording and playing Minecraft at the same time. There were only three applications taking up 10% or more CPU. They were Minecraft (averaging 80%), screenflowrecorder (averaging 150%) and WindowServer (averaging 12%). I am aware that these are high numbers, but what might have caused them to increase since "the incident", or did they even increase? Can my computer no longer handle this much CPU usage?

    If I got a Macbook Cooler, would this solve the problem? Is there a way to silence the fans, even with them still running?
     
  10. Goatllama macrumors 6502a

    Goatllama

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2015
    Location:
    Mountaintop Lair
    #10
    Huh. Didn't know that, but it definitely makes sense. Just another 'best practice' to add to the list!

    And yeah, Apple Retail sounds like a good option for repair. Usually less money than you'd think for their repairs.
     
  11. tjwilliams25 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2014
    Location:
    Montana
    #11
    There are quite a few possibilities for this. One could be a recent update that's causing these programs to use more resources. I would say see if a cooler will help your problem, my guess is it probably will. Never try to change the fan speeds or anything like that. You can definitely end up doing damage. There's usually a good reason why they're going into turbo mode, no matter how annoying the sound is.
     
  12. aidanofjayus thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2016
    #12
    I agree. I will look into buying a cooler, and if that doesn't work and all else fails, get it looked at by a professional.
     

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