MacBook Freezing and restarts

Hi all.

First time posting here to bear with me if I make any mistakes. I'm used to opening up macbooks and working on them. I've owned three macbooks, an imac, and a mac mini over the past seven years so I'm not afraid to repair.

I recently bought a macbook, (not my first), for a steal. The seller told me that it restarted itself when opening certain applications such as final cut so I took the chance and bought it.

I've noticed that it does it when trying to watch a video on youtube, launching certain applications, and other things. It will be working, and then suddenly it completely freezes up, and then after a few seconds, restarts and comes up with the "your computer has restarted because of a problem" line. This would seem to imply a hardware issue or kernel panic.

As for diagnosing the problem, I went through a few options before posting on here. I booted up from a clean install on an external HD just to see if it was either the HD or perhaps the HD Sata cable. The problem still came up.

For some reason, there is only a 4GB stick of ram in one ram slot. That implies an upgrade/modification by someone as apple installs ram in symettry. When moving the ram to the other slot, I was met with three beeps so I think that slot is bad. I tried other Ram sticks in a series of combinations and i'm still left with only the option of one ram slot.

I've reset the PRAM and SMC just to check and they had no effect on the computer freezing.

I did do a AHT on the macbook and was given the error repot: 4SNS/1/0000008 TC0D--124.

I've also been given the crash report from restarting which I can post on here if anyone thinks its useful. Either way, I'd love some help trying to diagnose the problem at least, and then I can get to work on fixing it (the part that I'm good at!).

Thanks!

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Is an i5, right?

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No, it's an i7

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@swlivesley - Sean, is this the original HD in the system or a new drive?

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@danj hey Dan. Yeah it was all with the original HD. I just installed El Capitan on a new HD, verified permissions, and installed that one instead and it's still happening. I'm thinking its the heatsink which may not drawing enough heat from the logic board to the fan. What do you think?

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Deck the Halls
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At this point I don't see this as a heat sink issue but without any hard data its anyones guess.

This series has a known issue with the HD SATA cable. Even though you wouldn't think it. A bad cable can cause both the drive & CPU to work harder causing more heat and cause unexpected crashes, I suspect this is a strong likelihood here. If the system is light on memory and the drive doesn't have much free space on it this can even effect running YouTube vids or other heavy internet function as the drive is often used to spool (cache) the download as it's playing. So you get a double hit here of the CPU is doing heavy graphics and also dealing with a balking drive which is also heating up things.

This SATA cable is quite fragile and if you upgrade the HD you also may find the original cable was not up to supporting SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) drives anyway which is the other shoe to fall here. Your original drive is likely only a SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) drive. Which is why I had asked the question.

So the first thing I would do here is replace the SATA cable following this IFIXIT guide: MacBook Pro 13" Unibody Late 2011 Hard Drive Cable Replacement. As to the part I strongly recommend you go with the newer version of the cable here: MacBook Pro 13" Unibody (Mid 2012) Hard Drive Cable - Apple P/N 923-0104

In addition I would install a good thermal sensor & fan monitoring app like this one: TG Pro it is by far the best one out there. For less than $20 US its worth it!

After installing TP Pro post a screen shot of the main window screen so we can see things. If you enable logging that too could be helpful.

MacBook Pro 13" Unibody (Mid 2012) Hard Drive Cable Image

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Hi Dan. I bypassed the SATA cable by booting from an external HD and still had the same issue. Also, both hard drive's were almost completely empty space wise. Ram is at 4gb.

I'll grab TP Pro, and let you know the temp!

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Hi again guys. Checked the temp and it came back with similar results of around 60-65C. Also, I booted from an external HD and it was doing the same thing, so I don't think it can be the SATA Cable.

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Oh and it doesn't happen when I boot into safe mode.

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It would be helpful to see what TG Pro is showing you how about posting a screenshot of the main window so we can see.

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Have identical problem: Macbook Pro 13 2011, restarts playing video, same AHT error code, works OK in safe mode. Replaced HD cable installed TG Pro but problem persists. Not sure which of Dan's suggestions worked for Sean. Any help appreciated.

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Sounds like overheating issues, download a temp sensor software to verify. Then if it is go around and see if you can replace the thermal paste on the processor and gpu if necessary. If you remove a heatsink you HAVE to reapply, you cant use the old stuff over again.

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Thanks for replying. Just did a check on the macbook, and the CPU temp was at 62 degree's C when it just crashed. Then when I went to click on notification centre, it crashed again. The CPU was 53% idle, and the ram had only 27% in use. Weird! Do you think it could still be the thermal paste?

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is that 62 degrees at idle or were you doing anything?

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That was at idle. I was moving the mouse around and clicking on the CPU monitor but not doing much at all. My macbook air runs at 58C.

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Just to add to the symptoms and diagnosis. I booted into safe mode, and it was fine the whole time. Obviously in safe mode the graphics flicker but beyond that, it was able to play YouTube videos and everything. Would this imply a graphics hardware issue?

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It appears to be the famous graphics issue with 2010 and 2011 macs isn't it?

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From adiem48 with identical problem. TG Pro dropdown:

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TG Pro main window:

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The Platform Controller Hub Die never changes from 43 and wondered if this was cause of error in AHT. The 'Service Battery' disappeared when I tried installing Sierra and the battery lasts for hours with low recharge cycle so can't think this can be cause. Weird 2 virtually identical machines with such identical faults. Thanks for responding. Tony

Update (02/17/2017)

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Tried to get computer more active without freezing. Best I could do. Tony

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Sometimes we throw the pasta at the wall to see what sticks ;-}

In your case with some hard data we can clearly see the system is not pushing it (high water marks - Black lines) If this has been running a good while I would say you have a bad RAM slot or module. See if you can pull one and then see how it goes. Then pull the other. And changes?

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Tried 2 new 4gb crucial memory modules in turn in the upper and lower slots. To my surprise the temperatures bobbed up with some in the yellow region. Unfortunately didn't stop the freezing and restarting playing a video. Appreciated your continued help. Tony

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How about doing a fresh snapshot of TG Pro, but this time stretch out the window so we can see the lower gages (you cut off a few in your first posting).

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Did you note the new high water marks? What is curious here is the heat pipe did not rise as much as it should have. I'm starting to wonder if you have a bad heatsink!

The heatsinks Apple uses are filled with a liquid and if the liquid leaks out so does the effectiveness of the heat pipe drops.

I think thats the direction you'll need to do here is get a replacement heatsink and clean off the old thermal paste and apply a new coat of good paste.

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Thanks, will do. Tony.

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Sean will be eternally grateful.
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