Released October 2008 / 2.4, 2.53, 2.66, 2.8 or 2.93 GHz Core 2 Duo Processor

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Start-up issues relating to power & battery

MacBook Pro 15" Core 2 Duo Model A1286 (late 2008)

Problem: Difficult to start-up with-out battery. Machine behavior inconsistent.

Context: The battery does need replacing (it's bloating). Also a few years back (3 or so) my bag slipped from my shoulder and did drop to the (hard) floor creating a dent on the front-right corner over the years it had no apparent effect on using the system. But, I did notice that a screw (back rear-left, kitty-corner to the banged corner) could not be taken out (the threading was somehow shot). Thus, some shock impact was felt at rear-left where the MagSafe connection is located.

Recent history: Battery cover started popping out. Closer examination revealed that the battery was bloating. I was away and worked with the unit, without battery for a week. I got home plugged it with a second power adapter I have and it failed to start; only with the battery in was I able to operate the MBP.

I subsequently found information here (MacBookPro does not power up on AC power or battery. which allowed me to identify the problem with the 2nd adapter (it was a 60W instead of an 85 W). But, in the meantime I did follow Victor Clausson's advice and managed to start on the 2nd power adapter without the battery. Negative bonus: the famous jet fan noise.

Could not use the main adapter (which is the original unit, I believe, but has not indication as to wattage) without the jet engine running. SMC re-set the fan to normal.

a) is there a way to know the wattage of the adapter.

The OS (10.6.8) may be going flaky. The unit will not re-start without battery. Once booted up it will state no batteries available, or will show 0% (it may be discharged having been unused in 6 days). System preference Energy Saver has analogous flaky behavior. boolean 'show battery status in menu bar' would be false. Setting it to true would toggle back to false. After 3-4 tries it stays at true.

b) Could an OS plist file gone awry? Does the battery's condition lead to this behavior?

c) Although I understand running without the battery reduces performance, NONETHELESS how can I do so effectively?

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2 Answers

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Checking the power adapters Wattage can be difficult as Apple uses white print markings on the white case of the adapter. You will find the wattage on the same side as the AC plug slides onto the adapter (silver button side). You will likely need a good strong lamp and a magnifier to read it.

I don't see your issue as an OS or software one at this time so no plist file issue here.

You need to open the system to inspect things as its more likely the DC-in board or the main logic board has a problem. Look for corrosion or burn't parts. Here's the IFIXIT guide to replace the DC-In board: MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008 & Early 2009 DC-In Board Replacement.

I would also check into getting a new battery here as well.

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Helpful. Unmounted. Found no corrosion nor burnt parts. Got a good dusting though! Only managed to re-start using the power pads. However after that I could re-start without the battery. OS now shows battery, if inserted, at 99%. (I still think the OS has some flaky bits, although 10.6 has served me well).

Naturally, will get a new battery!


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The swollen battery will press on the bottom of the trackpad and can make it inoperable. Get it out of your Mac, it can only do you harm. Use the original system installation disk to boot up from and run Disk Utilities and repair your hard drive. Next do the software update to at least 10.6.8.

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