MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008 and...

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

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Fans not kicking on, and other issues

Tea was spilled and the fans sucked it into the machine. Right before it died, the fans were running full bore. When trying to restart, it would show the start up screen (Apple with spinning loop) but after a few second of trying it would go black.

I could start it off the start up disc.

I ran the hardware test which came back clean.

I disassembled the guts of the machine looking for crud. Found a little on a connection. Re-assembled the machine.

It started and worked (I was surprised).

However when shut down again, it would not restart, went back to original behavior.

I zeroed the HD and reinstalled the OS.

It worked. Everything seemed fine.

Used it last night for the first time. We were watching movies off of it which makes it heat up (heavy on the graphics card).

Once it was hot it 'black screened' for a few seconds, by 'waking it' it would come back, then 'black screen' then come back....could have done this all night.

When it wold come back I could tell the fans were not running (it was very hot).

I removed the battery, plugged it in, held down the power button until it started.

Now it will stay awake for ~3 seconds then go to sleep. I can wake it up but it only lasts ~3 and goes to sleep again.

I don't know if the fans wok because it will not stay awake long enough to heat up.

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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+1 for a well written question in the sense that you explained what happened, what you did to try to fix it, and what the current symptoms are!

by Ben Eisenman

More info: Had a chance to run a few more test. Started the machine without the back on, the fans do work. They are just super quiet. The trackpad is not interacting with the desktop but it does with the main menu. During the 1-2 seconds that the machine is awake, I can not click on anything on the desktop. Nothing responds. However I can click on any of the main menu items for the OS and those work fine. This testing is is hard because it only wakes up for 1-2 seconds at a time with 2-5 sleep cycles. Using the Application CD that came with it I ran the Hardware test that come on it (held down the "D" key during start up. The quick test finds no issues. I can not run the long test because there is no touch pad response, so I can not select the larger testing option. Also, I can not book off of the start up disc. It completely ignores it and goes straight to the regular start up cycle...of course it takes few naps along the way. These sleep cycles only kick in after the system seems to find the start up disc. While it may spin for 10 seconds to find the start up disc, once it is found it does not stay awake for more than 2 seconds.

by bmclaughlin

More Findings I found the Ambient Light sensor cable and disconnected it. Restarted the machine. No change in performance. When started, and viewed through projector, I went to System Preferences > Displays. It is not detecting multiple displays. There is no ability to arrange the 'two' displays. Clicking on Detect Displays does not do anything. It still only detects one display. Is is possible that it never detects the display? ...even though the start up Apple/spinning wheel show up? It thinks the top is closed all the time? When a machine that is not broken is started with the top closed, does the display still show the start up Apple and spinning wheel? Is there some switch that tells the machine the top is closed that can be looked at/fixed?

by bmclaughlin

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7 Answers

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I had the same problem with a MacBook "liquid spilled". The unit was always going to sleep but pushing the space bar I was able to wake it up for 2 or 3 seconds then sleep again. Strangely the MacBook was working fine when connected to an external monitor (no sleep issue) but main LCD screen was black (no video, no backlight). After replacing a few parts with no success the logic board was repaired in an Ontario electronic shop (I'm in Canada) for $200.

You may try to take apart the machine and clean the logic board and internal component to avoid corrosion then reinstall and test. If it doesn't work then the logic board is probably bad.

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Try plugging in a external keyboard and mouse to bypass those problems. Also if you can hook up an external monitor that may help with diagnostics. Lemerise is probably right about the logic board but with that well written question we have to keep you around.

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Sorry for the delayed reply - I started to give up. That is a great idea about the external keyboard/mouse/monitor. I will give that a try and report back.

by bmclaughlin

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Thanks for the replies from everyone.

Here is the update.

I used an external keyboard/mouse and monitor. This did work. I can navigate around, click on things, everything seems fine.

Because it has been a while since I worked on this, I zeroed the hard drive & reinstalled the OS so I am starting from a 'clean slate'.

Disconnected the keyboard & monitor, restarted - back to square one.

Upon restart I get the Apple logo with progress wheel. About the time the progress wheel should stop/go-away, the screen goes black.

Anyone have any ideas on this?

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Most certainly your keybord/topcase is dead. Liquid doesn't do them any good and can cause all sorts of weird behaviour. You will have to change it. Apple, in some cases, at least here in Germany, insists to replace the whole upper case. That's not neccesary, you can buy sole keyboards from 3rd party suppliers on eBay and the like. But as you're having trouble with the trackpad you might have to change the lot.

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Update

I'm not very sure about this.. Think that the narcoleptic solutions is less plausible now.. Very good writeup by the way..

When it works with external display all the time, and with the internal at startup I feel that your solution might just lie between the GPU and the internal display.

My logic is that the GPU isn't used before the final phases of the boot (this is an assumption). Then, when the GPU tries to send it's signal to your internal it get some sort of error that causes it to crash. Maybe a short somewhere? A short fits your story about a tea entering the machine...

The reason that it does not crash when it's on the external monitor is that the fault lies after the signal for the external is separated from the signal to the internal.

Then again this logic could be applied to any number of things that is not activated until the final phases of the boot and is not activated when using an external display.

But I can not stress enough that this is very much based on assumptions... Do not shoot me if the problem is something very different... ;)

Not very plausible me thinks

Digging up this thread.

To me thins sound like the narcoleptic MacBook syndrome.

You can read about it here:

http://www.ifixit.com/Answers/View/21756...

When the tea was sucked into the machine it might just shorted out the ambient light sensors.

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I posted my solution to a few similar problems, I'm pasting the same info from my other answer.

Give this a try.

1) open the mbp up and look at the logic board

2) look at the IR/Sleep ribbon cable. (Use iFixit reference guide for logic board installation)

3) Make sure it's plugged in ALL the way. (mine was very loose, nearly unplugged completely)

4) Once the cable is in place, simply reboot :)

This fixed it, so far, seems permanent!

Let me know if it works for you.

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I know it has been a while since I worked on this... We just moved and now that we are settled back in I can get this sorted out.

To set the stage here is the way I would describe a normal start up from a modern Mac laptop.

  1. Press the Power button
  2. The Apple appears with a spinning wheel
  3. The spinning wheel stops
  4. Split second of a blue screen
  5. The desktop appears

My tea-stained laptop

  1. Press the Power button
  2. The Apple appears with a spinning wheel
  3. The spinning wheel stops
  4. Split second of a blue screen
  5. All goes black

I connected the laptop to an external monitor (a projector) and had to restart as it did not recognize the projector.

  1. Press the Power button
  2. The Apple appears with a spinning wheel - through the projector only
  3. The spinning wheel stops - through the projector only
  4. Split second of a blue screen - through the projector only
  5. The desktop appears - through the projector only

The machine works!!

However, only through the projector.

It does not do any type of dual display(ing). Even the start-up items do not show up on the laptop's display.

I believe this is telling me that the laptop display does work as it displays up until showing the desktop.

It is in fact awake and functional once started, as seen through the projector.

So how can I get the laptop display to keep working past the start-up flow?

The link in the post above, regarding the ambient light sensor, mentions replacing or removing this sensor. However they are talking about a different model in that link. Can it still apply? Is it OK to just remove it? This is will not trigger some type of hardware warning/issue?

Thanks

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Updated my answer.

by rousp

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bmclaughlin will be eternally grateful.

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