Model A1181: 1.83, 2, 2.1, 2.13, 2.16, 2.2, or 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo processor

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2008/Penryn MacBook (A1181) won't boot from battery

I have a 2008 13" (2.4GHz) white MacBook that will only boot from mains power. If you attempt to boot from the battery it's as if it's not connected. Once you get even past the initial chime, you can pull the magsafe and it will run from the battery fine.

Things I've tried so far:

  • Replaced the top case (as I had to replace it anyway, as a result of minor liquid damage)
  • Removed the top case and used the power jumper (no change).
  • Checked battery status (4/5 lights from batt button)
  • Checked magsafe light status (Orange initially, green after a short wait)
  • Ran diagnostics (which only reported 4SNS/1/4000000 Th1H-128.000... - a temperature sensor error, looks irrelevant.)

I'm not usually a Mac user, especially when it comes to fixing the hardware, so if my noobs are showing a bit or if I've missed something obvious do correct me!

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OK, lets start off with a few more useful tools to ID your issue/s. Download the following apps from the Apps Store get a copy of Temperature Gauge and then from this web site get coconutBattery 2.8.

These will allow you to see the thermal sensors & fans as well as the battery sensors and its status.

In addition I would recommend upgrading the SMC services, review this Apple TN EFI & SMC firmware updates for Intel-based Macs.

As to the sensor error this is one that does shut down the system when it over heats! And is likely why you are having troubles here. After installing Temperature Gauge you should be able to verify things.

Review this article on decoding the error message How to invoke & interpret the Apple hardware tests. In your case the error: 4SNS/1/4000000 Th1H-128.000 is - 4SNS System sensor, T for temperature & h Heat pipe (heat sink).

If this is the root issue it is likely an issue of dust build up on the heat sink fins as well as the fan blades. You will need to open the system up and with a soft brush carefully scrub down the logic board, heat sink & fan blades then using some can'ed air blow out the junk. Make sure to follow proper ESD protection here as you don't want to kill your system with static discharge! Also don't blow to hard or long on the fan blades are you can damage the bearings.

Given the age of the system its likely the thermal paste on the heat sink has lost its ability to conduct heat as well as it once did. If your upto it review this IFIXIT guide in taking off the logic board MacBook Core 2 Duo Logic Board Replacement and this guide on refreshing the paste Technique: Applying Thermal Paste.

MacBook Core 2 Duo Logic Board Image


MacBook Core 2 Duo Logic Board Replacement



2 - 3 hours

Electronics Skills Image


How to Apply Thermal Paste



5 - 20 minutes

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Thanks, I wouldn't have a problem following those guides to take the logic board off but I don't want to go poking at that unless I have to. Maybe I'm wrong here but a thermal issue wouldn't be affected by the power source would it? Surely the box would at least spin some fans up or light up somehow before giving up?

I can't actually log in to install anything (it's not my machine, I was just given it to replace the keyboard.)


In this case this sensor is one that does shut down the system if it is over heating.


Did you install the apps I pointed you to? They can help you here ID your problems.


FYI - Still waiting on the login details so not been able to install coconut yet. Will post results when I do.


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Usually this ends up being a bad board.

But what did Coconut Battery tell you? Does it show reasonable numbers and good capacity, and the battery charging up as you would expect? Or does it fail to get a reading and only show you a series of codes? If that is the case, you might want to swap out the battery connector. Actually, it can't hurt to pull the battery connector plug from the board, make sure the connector and the socket are free of corrosion (clean them with 90% alcohol if they have any), and then re-seat the connector. It takes a substantial push into the board, and sometimes not being fully seated will cause issues.

Also, you mention liquid damage, and in lots of cases although corrosion is not visible on top the board, there is some underneath, so if the battery connector tips don't help, you might want to remove the board and look on the underside.

Your DC-in is behaving normally, so it's not the problem. If Coconut Battery shows reasonable numbers and that your battery is charging, I would not generally expect the battery to be the issue, although testing with another (especially if yours is 3rd party) can never hurt. It seems extremely odd to me that the problem would start right after you changed the topcase, and that might point to a loose connection.

But again, the majority of no-start-on-battery cases where it's not the battery connector end up being the board, so I wouldn't get your hopes up too high.

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Use System Profiler or System Information (name depends on version of OS) app. ONce started look under the power line to see how many cycles and the state of your battery.

Briefly at startup there would be the most intense power draw so if the battery is old or abused it can't meet the draw.

If you have never replaced the battery, or, if it's been a while, you may need a replacement.

If this answer is acceptable please remember to return and mark it.

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Thanks, I'll need to get the details to log in and see what I can see as another answer suggested a battery problem too. I wasn't really looking for battery issues as it used to boot off the battery just fine before I replaced the top case. Do you think there's a chance I could have damaged something?


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