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A1708/EMC 3164 — Released June 2017, this entry-level MacBook Pro retains its traditional function keys (as opposed to the OLED Touch Bar).

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Use a cooling fan as a temporary solution to the T-CON issue

Hello there, community.

I’ve got to the conclusion that the issue of having horizontal lines on my macbook is related to the flexgate/T-CON heating.

When I am working in a cool environment, with below 20 deg Celsius, I have no horizontal lines on the screen, even for hours and hours of usage.

Although when I am in a hotter environment, over 24 deg C, the lines start showing up on the bottom-end of the screen after about 30min of usage, when the peaks of high temperatures start to occur and keep up for more than one minute, around 80~90 deg Celsius.

The lines start building up from the bottom, with a kind of a strong white line at bottom-border of the viewport. Above this crooked line, some pink horizontal lines slowly start building up with a width somewhere about 5mm.

I am thinking about using a cooler pad in order to see if the macbook will not present the issue on an ambient temperature (tropical country, around 25 deg C).

Question 1: Has anyone heard of a successful case of managing to keep the macbook cool enough to prevent the appearance of the lines, acting as a temporarily solution, while we hope that the recall comes sometime soon?

Question 2: Another important question is, even keeping my macbook cool all the time, is there any guarantees that the issue will not continue to build up? The increasing damage, spreading these lines more and more throughout the screen, is related to the opening and closing mechanism, wrecking that cable, or is the heat the issue?

Question 3: If I close the lid of the macbook and connect an external monitor, keyboard and mouse, Could it prevent the display getting more damaged? I personally guess that it would not help as the macbook would still heat up (if I do not use a cooler, or some other solution) and things would get worse, but I would really appreciate your comments on this as well.

As I said above, so far, the lines only appear if I am in a warmer environment. But I wonder what would be the root cause: the movement of opening and closing the lid, stretching the cable + the heat, or just the heat itself.

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2 Answers

Chosen Solution

1 - The best solution I can offer is first replacing the display assembly so you are back to square one! Then the next is to install a good thermal management app like TG Pro

Using TG Pro to kick in sooner will help reducing the heat issue. You’ll want to monitor the thermal load making sure you don’t push the system too hard. Also keep the vent areas clear and clean the fans of the dust/dirt build up every so often.

As far as a recall I don’t see that happening not enough people are experiencing the issue yet and it’s people who push their systems hard that encounter the issue. Apple improved the cooling design in the 16” model so I’m thinking that’s how they see this as an out. Not sure if the 16” model is really any better as the displays design is the same!

2 - Once the parts have broken down you can’t undo the damage. As far as getting worse the more you cook it the more it will degrade (sorry). Keeping the system cool is about all you can do.

3 - An external monitor doesn’t effect the internal display. While the external will show a good image the internal won’t.

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Dead @danj , thanks so much for sparing some of your time here with me!

Comment question 1:

Do you think that we'll see a recall anytime soon? I have been reading about a bunch of people having this issue on the 2017 MBP. I have been monitoring the temperature using intel power gadget and the frustrating smcfancontrol which does not help much as well. When you refer to the improvement, are you talking about the 2020 MBP? That will not help with the 2017 model.

If I change the display, pay this fortune, will they replace the display with the flexgate cable used on the newer models, which I have read that is slightly thicker? Will this permanently solve my issue? I have been reading about some users that have changed the display twice already. I do not use heavy software to push the cooking too high. I read that this defect is also a mechanical issue by opening and closing the lid.

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Comment question 2: I understand that, but I am here trying to find some temporary solution that could help me to use this MBP without exchanging the display right now. For instance, I am using the mbp pro now for 4 hours in a row without showing the lines as I am pumping the fans when the temperature builds and I am on a cold environment(air conditioning). So I wonder if these cooler pads actually manage to cool the heatsink.

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Comment question 3: But won't the heat cook the heatsink anyway, even by using an external monitor? Or this issue only grows while the display is on?

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1- As I said I don't think Apple will offer a recall on their own. It will need a ground swell of people to make it happen.

Just like the keyboard issue Apple dug in their heels trying fix after fix to make the butterfly fly which it just couldn't do. While the 2018/19 keyboard was much better than the 2016 it still had the travel and the clickity-clack of a noisy keyboard which the design could not over come. Which is why the scissor keyboard is back! In the end it cost Apple quite a lot! If they had moved back to the scissor in 2017 model things would have been much better to Apples bottom-line. The T-CON issue is just not as visible an issue (sadly). If Apple does anything it will anther costly recall on this series.

FlexGate is a non-issue with the proper replacement parts.The cable is not thicker its a bit longer 2018 MacBook Pros Try to Solve Flexgate Without Admitting It Exists which explains things. Again, a very different issue than T-CON.

As far as permanently fixing the T-CON issue, I recommend you write an email to big Tim to see what he has to say. Sadly there is no permanent fix as the placement of the T-CON in the Touch Bar & Fn models all have the same design failure which al rotates around Intel's CPU's cooking things. this series was designed for the 10 nm CPU's which still haven't shipped for the class of laptop. Don't confuse 10 gen with 10 nm as thats the game Intel is not playing confusing the mind space!

2 - Have no answer on how to fix this without replacing the display, reducing the temp as you discovered is all there is. Cooler pads don't offer enough cooling. You would need to get someone to create a replacement bottom cover which had an active cooling solution by-passing the air cooler the design has. That is just not practical. And clearly a costly solution! If Intel had shipped the 10 nm CPU's then the about of heat generated would be cut by 40% or more. As the system would be running cooler with the better chip the design would have been able to shed the heat faster than it was creating it. That would have kept the T-CON from over heating.

3 - the computer gets hot the T-CON gets hot, can't over come that with an external monitor. The T-CON is part of the internals displays logic it has no bearing on the external display.

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FYI - I'm not dead yet ;-} "Dead @danj , thanks so much for sparing some of your time here with me!"

As a side note: You'll only see the 15" models with this failure as unlike it the 13" model which don't have the dedicated GPU that pushes the thermal load unlike the 15" models.

So the design was sound if the thermal load was less! That gets back to the Intel CPU running hotter than the design could manage! Or, if Apple hadn't offered the AMD GPU it would have worked as well. Saving the dedicated GPU model for a better cooling design (hence larger case) or if Intel finally shipped the 10 nm chips..

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imho making the A1708 to live longer just because it’s cute makes no sense.

and repairing it make no economical sense anymore. so…

if you still need a working horsy - just remove the display assembly and output video on the external monitor.

yes, i know how radical my solution may sound ))

this way you will protect the display assembly for sure and on the way you will also discover that heat buildup at the top part of the top case is mostly due to the T-CON board itself and not from the backdraft from the heatsink, nor bad thermal design of other parts, nor intel’s fault etc. etc.

added plus is that the ventilation of the main compartment will be much better without a display assembly than with it. if you know that you can reattach you perfectly good monitor in just 20 minutes top, why not?

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This is just nonsense!

A MacBook Pro is not a PC desktop! You can't take stuff off and expect the system to even work in that state! This is very true here as the System Management Control (SMC) won't let you!

Adding ventilation holes won't fix this, just make a mess of your system.

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Dan, you keep forgetting that some people already tested all those solutions. It is a case with one I've provided here. It is tested and working for those who don't want to invest in a normal computer )

and what with you and all those exclamation points?

are you trying to impress me by shouting at me? ))

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No! No-one has done this! It just can't be done with this series of MacBook Pro's.

SMC REQUIRES input from the thermal and voltage sensors within the display and T-CON board. IF not present the system drops down into hardware Safe Mode (run the fans at high RPM as drop the clocking of the CPU to a very low level) and fire off errors which will prevent you to run.

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Again THIS SOLUTION IS TESTED AND IT IS WORKING.

I DID IT.

Broken screen. Tried to shop for the replacement and ended up removing it. I spent 4 month working like that on some video project before moving on to something more practical ))

So no it is not nonsense, there were no SMC related problems etc.etc.

I begin to wonder why do you feel this strange urge to embarrass yourself over and over again?

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@Seff Ka - Take the time to read the schematics, You appear to always make crazy ideas not based on any facts or long term experience.

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