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Cpu 100% after liquid spill


After a liquid spill that damaged the keyboard I opened my air, replaced the keyboard, cleaned the whole logic board with isoprophil alchool, changed the thermal compound on the cpu with new artic silver and reset smc and prom.

The air now works again but it is terribly slow. I reinstalled a fresh Lion osx and checked the activity monitor: the cpu load is always above 98% due to kernel threads. Fan spin around 2000 rpms, the dignostic hardware test (pressing 'd' at boot) don't report any hardware issue.

I am going mad.. Can somebody help me in better understanding the issue?

Thank s lot.



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Often you have to run the AHT multiple times in a row to get good results. Fans running high is a default setting for a failed heat sensor. (AHT or a fan app should point out that problem). It's also a default for CPU issues.

Examine the board carefully with a magnifier looking for corrosion you missed or burned swollen components.

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Hi machead3,

thanks a lot for the answer. Fan runs normally, all diagnostic made by me and by an Apple store find no issue. I let the notebook to apple and I just got the obvious answer after 2 days of tests: logic board needs to be replaced.

The logic board seems ok, no signs of corrosion, the macbook runs fine if booted in safe mode. I am really going crazy, It's a pity for me to replace a logic board that has apparently no damages and that just runs slow...

Any ideas?

Thanks a lot



If it "runs fine" in safe mode look at what is removed from preference panes, contextual menu items, and login items all of which are suspended in safe mode. You can try: checking in your console log to see if there's a log entry indicating what may have hung. Crash logs may also provide some info on the matter. While in normal boot opening Applications->Utilities->Activity Monitor:CPU use or Hung Applications might also help.


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I had a similar issue when I replaced the battery on my Macbook Air that had some minor liquid damage. It has to do with a "buggy" kernel extension that throttles your CPU when it thinks there is something wrong. The article is listed below -

Keep in mind that once you run the terminal command to resolve this issue, you'll want to pay close attention to your core temps for a while afterward. Hope this helps (even if it is several months late)

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