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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Will only start up some of the time, won't sleep

Ok, so here's the problem:

When I first try to power it on, the computer seems basically non-responsive--it shows no outward indication that the power button was even pressed. But, anywhere from 1 minute to 1 hour later, it will try to start up. I can hear the power coming on, but then the sound will stop abruptly, and this will occur several times in rapid succession, after which the computer will sometimes turn on, but other times (and more frequently) will just stop trying completely; then, the whole process will begin anew anywhere from 1 minute to 1 hour later.

Eventually, this entirely chain of events triggered by just the one press of the power button will successfully start up the computer, and then it will work just fine. It continues to function without a problem indefinitely, as long as it doesn't run out of power or attempt to sleep. It can run on the battery or the power adapter, and the battery charges and retains its charge. If the computer runs out of power, however, or if the screen is closed (i.e. if i try to put it into sleep mode), it will not turn back on, and I have to press the power button and hope for it to turn back on again whenever it decides to do so.

I've reset the SMC and PRAM, changed the battery, opened up the computer (no visible signs of water damage) and removed the optical drive (thinking that might have somehow been messing with things electrically), and replaced the hard drive--none of it worked. However, when I put in a different hard drive, it seemed to attenuate the problem; the power button still would not immediately start up the computer, but it would start on its own a few minutes later, and it would do so without the 'attempted-power-on' stuttering.

I'm at a loss for what to do. Might it be an unfixable logic board problem? Should I reinstall the OS? I don't see how that would help, but maybe I'm wrong?

Please help!

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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Jeez, sounds tricky. Have you changed RAM? Once had a really hard to troubleshoot PowerBook G4, where HDD and RAM where both fishy.

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+ well stated question and a welcome challenge

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Wow, that's an odd one. I'm shooting from the hip here (how could I do anything else, with such a strange problem?) but I tend to think it sounds like a sleep mode issue rather than a logic board issue. Some A1181s have a problem that causes them to continually fall asleep, and it sounds like yours may have a variation of that. I would go into the power settings and change your AC adapter and battery power settings to "never" sleep, and see if that gives you any hints. Of course, that doesn't prevent you or other elements from forcing the machine to sleep, but it's something to try.

I've run across two A1181s that booted up, but then immediately fell asleep, and would wake up briefly when the power button was depressed, but then they'd fall asleep again. Both machines were fixed by replacing the topcase, which apparently contains quite a bit more electronics than one would think. I believe there are also various magnets and other gizmos inside the topcase that can occasionally go haywire and cause bizarre issues. Topcases are not usually problematic, but like I said, I have seen it twice. You may want to borrow a topcase, or pick a used one up on eBay for $20, and see if that could be the issue.

If this was an iBook G4, I'd say you might have a reed switch issue, and that the problem could be resolved by removing or replacing the reed switch, but I haven't experimented with that on MacBooks.

Anyway, good luck, and I'm very interested to hear how this turns out!

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+ Very good answer.

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OP could try to remove the top case and start the MB by tripping the two power pads located near the base of the fan and the optical drive socket. if the MB start and boot normally then the top case is the culprit.

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Thanks, that's a good suggestion, but I forgot to mention that I already swapped in another top case, and that didn't help resolve the problem!

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This is kind of a long shot but try removing the battery and see if the problem is gone.

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Thanks, but I already tried that, and no success.

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