2 Replies Latest reply: Sep 17, 2009 11:10 AM by sjcharles
sjcharles Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
I am just posting of an experience I had with my family's 13 inch Macbook (Late 2007-3,1)...and hoping perhaps it will save someone else the trouble, concern, worries, and tears that it caused my family. Laptop is working wonderful now...but what was at first going to look like a $700 Logic Board repair turned into a $0.79 fix:

There was an EFI Firmware Update 1.2 that I probably downloaded with an automatic update "sometime"...could be from a year ago. I let Software Update do its thing I am sure...and did not follow instructions...like I am sure many people have done. The Firmware was primed to install...and all I needed to do is hold down the power button for 5 seconds....until a tone sounded or the front light flickered...and it would have installed it at that point. I was probably doing a lot of updates...and I did not read those instructions. My grade school boys wanted to turn on the laptop by pushing the power button...they must have held it down for the 5 seconds or more...which initiated the primed EFI Firmware update. Firmware updates have one rule...DO NOT TURN IT OFF WHILE IT IS UPDATING. Well...it takes a while...all that happens is a gray bar is going across the a gray screen...the boys the hit the power button again during that process...as it was not "coming on right"...and stopped the firmware update part way into the process...essentially....doing a low level brain transplant...and dropping half the brain. The computer could not function then...which was the 9 beeps or the "SOS" beeps...asking for a firmware as the firmware was corrupted.

If you google this "9 beeps or SOS error" you find lots of info that it is a logic board problem...logic board needs replacement...$700 repair cost...just get a new one...answers that scare people (or cause wives to cry...which it did). All I needed to do is to find the CORRECT EFI Firmware CD Restoration image (in my case it was 1.6 for my macbook 3,1), image a CD, put it in the drive, hold the power button down for 5 seconds, and the Firmware was re-installed correctly and brought the computer back to life in the same state it was in just like the Magic Hat placed on Frosty the Snowman's Head. Trying to find out which EFI Firmware CD Restoration Image to download without using the Apple's recommendation to use "the About Computer" recommendation was a chore. I could not get to the "About" function...so I had no idea. This information was hard to find...but after finding receipts and when I bought it...I finally discovered it was a macbook 3,1 (or Late 2007) model.

Problem solved....most recent EFI firmware update is now installed...and it should not happen again...unless a new automatic EFI update is downloaded...and primed (which could happen...but I will be more cautious with automatic software updates)...the series of power button pushes happen again. Just IF YOU EVER SEE A GRAY BAR GOING ACROSS THE SCREEN SLOWLY>>>NEVER TURN OFF THE COMPUTER DURING IT UNTIL IT DONE.

Just wanted to say that both I and the boys made this process happen. It was a freak thing caused by a series of events leading up to it. I can see this setup for disaster happening in many households with school aged children using a family computer.

So...my recommendations for everyone today:

1. Go into the "About" Settings in your Macbook or Mac ala mode, and print all the "More Information" out and put in in safe place. That way you will know your model, know your firmware and more easily be able find which EFI Firmware Restoration CD Image you need (could be 1.0, 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7...who knows when the numbers will stop).

2. Obtain the correct EFI Firmware Restoration CD Image, NOW. Get a $0.79 Blank CD-R and make a EFI Firmware Restoration CD Image CD, NOW...Label it...and put it in a safe place, NOW. You may as well printout how to use the Restoration CD while you are at it.

3. If EVER on a Software Update screen you see the letters "EFI"...Follow every instruction to the letter.

I hope this story saves someone who comes across the same problem days of worry and concern. I am VERY glad I was able to get the problems fixed...but Apple could make this information easier to find.

Macbook 3,1 (Late 2007)
  • JasonFear Level 5 Level 5 (4,935 points)
    Hi sjcharles,

    Happy to hear that you were able to resolve the issue with a firmware restoration CD. Did you ever bring your machine into the Genius Bar? Reason I ask... one of the first things that I use to do when a customer had that issue after an EFI update was run the Firmware Restoration tool from CD before going in the direction of an MLB replacement. I'd say 95% of the time the CD works.

    To add, the EFI updates are not automatically applied like a traditional software update. Say you have a few software updates and an EFI update as well. It'll download them all and then place the updater bundle in your Utilities folder. The EFI update is only applied after you run the updater bundle and force a shut down of the unit (password entry is required). This is also where it informs you on the proper way to run the EFI updater. So there shouldn't be any confusion on the EFI update as it's not automatically applied like a typical software update (which aren't automatic anyway).
  • sjcharles Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Nope...have not been to a Genius Bar. One just a few months ago opened up in Maine...2 hours away...but is closed for this week for renovations.