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Released June 2009 / 2.66, 2.8, or 3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo Processor

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MBP turns off Randomly Without Warning

I've got the same MBP here, same exact problem as these folks MBP turns off Randomly Without Warning Anyone been able to actually nail down the cause and permanently fix the issue?

Or is this possibly something that Apple should legitimately be covering under a recall?

Update (12/02/2016)

I'm on my laptop right now trying to reply to this thread - and it's shutting down on me just the same.

Sometimes I can't get more than 45 seconds after it boots up before it shuts off again. It's quite embarrassing when I go on site to a client and I'm constantly saying "Hold on, gotta boot up again."

I have also reinstalled, reset SMC, done everything I can aside from tear it down and check for any issues ...

Apple also says no problems at all. That's obviously not the case.

Unfortunately there's no diagnostic issues at all. We ran through everything mentioned above (except PRAM reset, see below), not one single anomaly. It's just, when the MBP decides "it's time to die", I can't keep it running for more than probably 2 minutes without it completely shutting off. Typing seems to facilitate the problem, but even when I am using the unit through an SSH session, it still exhibits serious system failures.

Update (12/02/2016)

As noted above, I had not reset the PRAM (only the SMC), so I did that this morning, and I am still waiting to see whether or not that is actually going to provide me with a solution. I only use the MBP when on site with clients. So I will know soon whether or not I have any success with this.

But it gets quite embarrassing in front of clients when I'm like, "Yea, sorry, my $2,000 MBP doesn't work for more than 45-60 seconds at a time. Please excuse me while I reboot. Also, for your recommendation regarding new workstations ... Probably, uh, I want to say Apple but I'm going to go with Dell."

(No, I would never go with Dell, especially if they want Apple. But I embarrass myself, my company, and my Apple products when they perform at an embarrassing level.)

With our MBP from late 2013 (manufactured in 2014), we never had this problem until upgrading to OS 10.10. And since 10.11, and 10.12, it has become progressively worse. At my most recent client meeting I had to hard shutdown my laptop 17 times, lost vital notes from client discussions each time, and this was all within a 75 minute period.

Please reference my previous interactions with Apple regarding an issue I didn't believe was the cause/problem of the consumer, G4 PowerBook Memory lawsuit: Apple has a tendency to blame consumers before they actually acknowledge a problem that was a result of their own engineering deficiencies. Maybe it's to see what they can get away with, or maybe it's that their quality control needs a bit of a refresh. But the bottom line ...

Three years old (my MBP is about 2.8 years old) is not a legitimate period of time for a consumer product to exhibit "normal wear and tear" and become completely unusable. That's just a joke -- barely outside of the hardware warranty ... And I take VERY good care of my hardware.

What are your thoughts?

I'm definitely going to update my post with my results after resetting PRAM, but to be honest, I don't expect that to be a fix. Anyhow, there are attorneys out there drooling from the mouth to sue Apple for the way they treat their customers. I love Apple, and always (probably always) will ... But I'm not one who appreciates getting blamed for their own engineering mistakes.

Sometimes, that extra $0.04 per unit for a bump in quality for a particular metal alloy is really the difference between a product success and product recall.

I love your analogy about the cars. It really is like that. But my poor little laptop is used so rarely, I couldn't see it even needing a tune-up. I'll get the thermal paste and sort that out, as well as the potential dust-bunnies and see how it goes. I ordered the proper screwdriver but they sent me one that was far too small instead of the right size.

Thanks again for your reply, Dan. Have a wonderful weekend.

Update (12/04/2016)

I seem to have spoken too soon about a fix! Typing this from my phone, since the laptop won't stay working long enough to finish a proper sentence.

So back to square one ... Going to get the right size pentalobe screwdriver and check for dust bunnies and reapply thermal compound to the CPU heatsink.

Big issue though, but at least we have a new symptom! When I put it to sleep earlier this morning, the fans stayed on indefinitely (until I hard-powered off). They just kept blowing and blowing - and it was COLD air, not even warm. So overheating seems to be a bit of a long shot at this point.

I'll update again after I have a chance to open it up.


Beantwoord! Bekijk het antwoord Dit probleem heb ik ook

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Can you supply us some diagnostic data that would help. Go to the top Answer there you find a few different URL's to useful tools that can help in locating whats happening here.

Given the age of the system I would recommend doing a good clean and re-doing the thermal paste. Its quite a bit of work as you can see here in this IFIXIT guide: MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Mid 2009 Heat Sink Replacement we're reusing the heat sink only cleaning off the old paste and applying a fresh coat.

As to an Apple recall not likely to happen as this is a vintage system which Apple is not offering service any more (independent repair shops still are and parts are still available). Just like cars older ones need some TLC to keep them running as things do wear out and dry up.


Hey there Dan, thanks for the quick reply!

See my comment of my comment for more info (there is not enough characters allowed.)

Thanks again. This place rocks, by the way. :-)


I don't read legalize that well ;-}

Can you give us a synopsis what it was about. Also do you know the outcome of the lawsuit?

Is this the issue you where facing?: PowerBook/iBook lower RAM slot failure (revisited)

I also remember some people were confused on how the video used part of the RAM (which by the way was the common practice even with the IBM PC world).


The legal deal was back in 2005. Bought the last-generation G4 PowerBook, and after about a year or so, the second memory slot completely stopped working. They kept telling me I had caused the problem.

I think that's it in the link you sent. Apple agreed to issue a global recall of the mainboard without litigation.

It was actually pretty crazy though, because I didn't mean to even get involved in that lawsuit. I just posted on a forum somewhere (just like this), and the attorneys contacted me. And Apple sent me a first generation Intel MacBook Pro instead of just replacing the faulty hardware.

For my current issue, I reset the PRAM yesterday and, oddly enough, it has been working normal - no shutdown! Crossing my fingers it stays like this! :-)

I'm surprised to not really see a "fix" for this problem. Quite a few posts about it, but no actual "Ok, so here's the fix!"

I'll update in a few days as to whether or not I'm still good to go. But it's weird the PRAM may have something to do with it?!


I'm going to "answer" the question, prematurely, as it's been MONTHS since I've been able to use the laptop this long before shutting off. I haven't even been able to get through sending an email or even writing a post on a forum ha ha ...


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For reference from the other Q:

It sounds like you may have multiple problems here:

Now with the better diagnostic software running what is it telling you? Is the battery worn out? Is the charging circuit having problems? Is the temp running high and the fans not working?

Given the age of your system you may need to clean & reapply thermal paste on the CPU & GPU chips heat sink and clean out the dust buildup thats in the system. But for now lets see what the new tools are telling us.

Snap a few screen captures and post them here so we can see whats up.

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why is the title "solved". there's no effin solution!


Joe - Sometimes people discover the issue after finally doing the diagnostic process and just prefer to accept the answer that lead them to the cause.


I have no idea what you just said, Dan.


Joe, I guess you'll need to think about it for a while and how you go through your life leaving things incomplete.


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I cannot say for sure since I don't have it on my bench to test and confirm, but I think your laptop is suffering from one of the following:

- Intermittent backlight unless you are sure the laptop is definitely shutting off completely, not just switching off the light of the screen (flash a light behind the Apple and see if something appears on the screen).

- Intermittent shut off from overheating, needs cleaning and/or new CPU heat compound and/or new heat sink and/or new fan.

- Intermittent power failure due to a board level issue: failure of some component that intake power from main power rail and produce secondary yet critical power rails.

- Intermittent GPU failure in which case it is better to have it replaced as the cost may exceed the cost of a new/used board.

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After getting to the point where my MacBook Pro won't stay powered on for more than a few minutes at a time, I finally broke down and went to the Apple Store. After 6 months of progressively worse and random shutdowns, thousands of dollars in lost time and revenue, and abject, utter frustration . The Genius Bar "guru" ran a bunch of tests, and of course, my computer passed all with flying colors. They told me to leave it and they'd open it up to diagnose further. Finally they told me that one of the screws that holds the heat sink in place has snapped and I need to replace the motherboard! A brand new motherboard when the computer is less than 3 years old and in mint condition? I was floored. I paid almost 2k for this computer, and now have to pay another $600 to fix an obviously faulty part?! I'm beyond livid at Apple and it's BS.

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Well you can have it fixed.

We repair Macs that Apple deems unfixable or even "vintage/obsolote" by refurbishing the boards. When Apple sells you a replacement board, it is usually a refurbished unit.

We offer the same service at half the cost and double the warranty period.

But Apple (and other manufacturers in genera) fight us a lot and try to prevent this for example by restricting access to parts and diagnostic tools except to AASPs which they hold on a very short leash.

If you want to help yourselves and even help the environment since repairing is better than recycling and replacing, support as they try to push for legislation that makes repair easier.


Do you have a shop in New York City? What would be the cost?


There is no solution other than replace the logic board, which apple no longer makes. You now own a paper weight, just like I do. How does one justify buying a new mac for thousands of dollars when they can't provide a rock solid product anymore?? Sad. I love the macbook pro but it's time to look elsewhere for my next computer.


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laz zal eeuwig dankbaar zijn.

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