Model A1297 / 2.66, 2.8, 2.93, or 3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo processor

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MacBook Pro with flickering or dim mag-safe LED. Dead mag-safe board?

Hi all!

I've received an old MacBook Pro 17" (A1297 model) with an i5 @ 2,54 GHz and the GT330M.

The problem with this MacBook is that it most of the time will not power on and when it does, it will power off as soon as it starts to boot (that is, when the circle swish should start spinning).

My symptoms are:

- When connecting the magsafe adapter, the Green LED is very dimly lit, barely visible. At this point the MacBook cannot be powered on and the battery will not charge.

- Sometimes, the magsafe LED lits up Green and starts flickering, these are fractions of a second and continuously goes on like that. What I noticed was the ticking sound coming from the magsafe board inside the MacBook along with the flickering. At this point it will not power on and the battery will not charge.

- And 1 out of 10 times it will power on by itself (or after pressing the power button if the mag-safe LED is just "normally" lit) and the battery will charge, but from there the MacBook will not boot (only to AHT).

What I've done so far:

- Ran the AHT diagnostics, even the extended one, that is showing no problems with the logic board etc.

- Reset SMC

- Reset NVRAM

When booting with one of these options, I get the circle, but after a while powers off as well:

- Trying to boot in Verbose mode

- Trying to boot in Single User mode

- Trying to boot in Safe mode

Regarding the hardware, I've tried:

- Trying different HDD's and even SSD's

- Trying different RAM banks

- Trying different magsafe adapters

From what I think (and what a local tech guy at the Apple store told me) this looks like a dead mag-safe board to me, but I want to be sure about this before buying a replacement item. If this is the case what specific item (number) should I buy?

I don't think the Logic Board is dead in this case, I can get the gray screen with apple logo, USB is working and the fans seem to be running fine. It also detects boot volumes (with Option key pressed) fine.

Any help is greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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Eventually I ended up in the local Apple store to have it researched by their tech guys and received the conclusion that the power button in the chassis is actually faulty. This will be replaced now (including the whole top cover with kb, touchpad etc), so should have a working macbook in about a week :)!

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I'm not sure if the Mag-Safe board in this model is the problem. Apple reconfigures the power circuit across different boards (parts) on the different systems. In some models the logic is mounted on an independent board (left I/O or Mag-Safe board). In this model most of the power circuit is part of the main logic board.

With that said, I would start by cleaning the Mag-Safe contacts on both the power adapter & the system. Does the contacts appear deformed, yes? does the cable mate cleanly, no? If either is true then you do need to replace the Mag-Safe connector which is part of the DC-In board in this model. Heres the IFixIt guide so you can see what it will take to do this Installing MacBook Pro 17" Unibody MagSafe DC-In Board.

If this does not fix things then you'll need either repair or replace the logic board. I suspect the real problem is here. Sorry ;-{

If your up to it how about popping off the bottom cover to inspect the area. Do you see any corrosion or staining near the Mag-Safe connector? If you do you might try cleaning it off but make sure to disconnect the battery first before doing anything! (step 3 in the above guide). Use some Isopropyl alcohol on a Q-Tip and carefully wipe down the area.

Here's a picture of the logic board from the other side so you can see the power circuit which is located at the bottom left corner, Note the four larger switching transistors (four leads on one side and a large lead on the other).

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Hi!

Hmmm, your conclusion is actually quite worrying to me :), if it's the logic board, then this is a no-go to repair regarding the costs, as this is a mid-2010 model with no apple care (it's just been given to me in this state).

Now about the magsafe connector, I've made a picture of the connector, the magsafe board and a picture of a small part of logic board. The magsafe connector does not look that pretty to me, especially if I hold it against my Macbook Air (1,5 years old now), the golden connector pins look pretty worn out to me and it's not that unlikely to me that this may have short-wired something.

Connector:

http://ppl.ug/VqZrj9byybU/

MagSafe board:

http://ppl.ug/3Sac20T1ZW0/

Bit of Logic Board:

http://ppl.ug/q9OI5f9Q0BM/

If it's the capacitors, maybe they can be replaced (not by me in that case, no SMD soldering experience).

Any thoughts regarding the pictures, do I still need to clean them, or can this be judged as "needs replacement"?

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Yes, the Mag-Safe connector doesn't look good. Between the pitting and the dirt within it (the circuit board is coated which is what you see here on the other pic). I would replace it and see if it fixes things maybe you'll be lucky here. Its worth putting in a few bucks in - Replace it and lets see what happens.

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AppleCare ?? It wouldn't matter here as its' not transferable to a different owner. Even still, a 17" is a highly desirable system so you still could replace the logic board and get your money back if you sold it.

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Hmm, I wonder what my chances are, I think the ticking sound when connected comes from one of the 4 regulators, so if replacing the magsafe board does not work, this has to be repaired I think.

Can this MagSafe board create the symptoms I've described, especially the shutdown part? Come to think of it, if the magsafe connection is not good (as is definitely the case here), this also works through the regulators of course.

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A weak contact at the Mag-Safe can cause odd behaviors. Which is why you do need to replace it 1st.

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Jeffrey Langerak will be eternally grateful.
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