10 Replies Latest reply: Nov 30, 2009 2:31 PM by S.U.
Dash_Merc Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Let's start at the beginning. A few days ago, I burned a Gparted LiveCD from an .iso. I'm trying to use it to recover a microSD card that does not register as a device in the first place, and I'm out of simpler options.

This morning, before I left for work, I decided I would test my Gparted LiveCD in my MBP, since I had a few spare minutes. I popped the CD in, and turned on my computer, while holding down option/alt. I selected the LiveCD from the BootCamp menu, and it booted just fine. I told it to ignore all hardware profiles and stuff so it wouldn't have any chance of changing any settings and doing damage. It started up alright, showing the Debain desktop and the Gparted program window. I closed the program window, inserted my USB microSD reader, and reopened the window, so as to refresh the list of connected devices. Ten seconds later, my machine just suddenly powered off.

I look over to my power port, and like an idiot, I had left my computer unplugged (preparing to pack it up for work) while I was doing this. I know better than to run live CDs on my MBP without power plugged in, because most of them can't cope with the MBP power hardware out-of-the-box. I flip over my computer and hit the power test button on my battery. It blinks empty, as i suspected it would after an event such as this.

I plugged my computer back in, and prepared to boot it up into OS X, and to eject the live CD. Nothing happened. "Alright," I thought to myself, "I just have to let it sit plugged-in for a while and let the battery gain a slight charge, as usual, before I can turn it back on." So I do. I wait. I tried turning it back on, but nothing happened. At this point, I was bordering on the time I should leave for work, so I packed everything up, and took it with me to the office. I set everything up on my desk, and I started looking up solutions online. I tried all the troubleshooting steps I could find on any of the top-ten forum results in Google. I tried everything I could find related to my problem on the Apple Support pages. I tried to reset the PRAM, I tried to reset the SMC...and I think I'm out of options.

Finally, I come here, asking for help.

Symptoms:

+MagSafe cable light is green when plugged in.

+Battery appears to be at full charge again when pressing battery-test button.

-No noise, lights, or other signs of life emanate from my MBP when I plug it in or try to turn it on.

-None of the status light blinking or anything mentioned associated with PRAM resets or SMC resets occur.

-My sanity is wearing thin, as this computer is literally half of my life; and I will be depending on it soon for my venture into iPhone/Mac programming at work.

Please offer any helpful suggestions you can that don't involve paying Apple $200 for a one-time support call. I just got a job, and I am still recovering from the results of being jobless (building back up to being ahead-of-the-curve, monetarily). I cannot afford paid support or parts replacements, which is why I am here, asking the community, if there's anything that can be done.

Also, how can I get my CD out of my slot-drive? I don't know of any procedure to do this that doesn't involve the computer powering-on as a prerequisite.

Thank you for your time and support.

Best Regards,

Adrian

MB133LL/A, MacBook Pro (Early 2008), 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (Penryn), 2GB RAM, 200GB HDD,, Mac OS X (10.5.8), Serial# W88092M61XR
  • Dash_Merc Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    It's worth noting, I don't care how silly or time-consuming the repair will be, so long as I can do it myself. If I have to leave my battery sitting out for a week or something like that, then I will, so long as it will work. I am willing to take a soldering iron to this thin if that's what it takes. I would just buy a new one and have it "just work," but that's REALLY not an option right now.

    Best Regards,

    Adrian
  • S.U. Level 6 Level 6 (8,360 points)
    Welcome to Apple Discussions!

    Here's a place to start:

    http://support.apple.com/kb/TS1365

    Good luck!
  • Dash_Merc Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thank you for replying.

    http://support.apple.com/kb/TS1365 is the exact list of steps I followed. To the letter. Same URL, too.

    This is why I came here for help, because I actually have exhausted all legitimate support options, afaik. I work in IT support, so I'm familiar with RTFM-worthy moments. I try as hard as I can to avoid putting that same strain on other support people, hoping that karma will, in turn, send some customers who RTFM my way. :P

    I'll give the list a once-over when I get back home (and if it works, I'll be posting a reply from the very computer I can't use at-the-moment :P ), but hopefully somebody comes up with something that all the standard repositories have missed. Maybe I skipped a link? Maybe I used the wrong search terms?

    I've read threads on macrumors.com forums, macosx.com forums, and a whole slew of other forums where I happened across similar problems.

    I do fear, however, that perhaps this time it is fatal, and I have a bad power board or blew a chip or something...but I'm hoping there's something I can do to avoid spending considerable (more than $50) amounts of money for at least a couple more months. I'll front the money for a new soldering iron, if it will do the trick. I'll pay somebody independent $50 to work some mac voodo on it, but if it involves replacement parts of more than that price, I might as well start saving for a new 'book...however using target disk mode to transfer my stuff will be interesting to orchestrate without a computer to be the target disk, to say the least.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Best Regards,

    Adrian
  • S.U. Level 6 Level 6 (8,360 points)
    Just for future reference, here's a link to ifixit if you don't already have it:

    http://www.ifixit.com/

    I am assuming you are out of warranty and don't have access to an Apple Store? If you do have access to an Apple Store, it might be worth a try to make an appointment with a genius and see if you can get a diagnosis. There is no charge for looking.

    What it sounds like is that no power is getting to the logic board. That might point to a problem like a bad left I/O Board or a bad power button. However, I'm not sure how the sequence of events you described would lead to this type of failure. Especially since your power adaptor still seems to be charging your battery.

    Nothing else comes to mind immediately, but I will think about this for a while and post back if something does.

    Sorry not to be able to help more.

    Good luck!
  • Dash_Merc Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I'll give the ifixit repair guide for my machine a look to help me try and diagnose what piece might be in the way, though now that you mention it, I'm totally going to try shorting the power button with a screwdriver to see if perhaps it is the source of my troubles. The idea crossed my mind, but I immediately put it aside. Still, it is definitely worth a try.

    I'll schedule an Apple Store appointment at the local one for this weekend and have a genius peek at it.

    Thank you both for your help so far. I really appreciate your time and thought-cycles.

    Btw, posting this from my phone. Thank the Gods of Tech for mobile Internet. :P

    Best Regards,

    Adrian
  • Dash_Merc Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Just updating my progress log:

    So I'm at work again, taking potshots in my spare time between support tickets.

    I tried bridging the power button pins with a screwdriver. No go.

    I checked the fans to make sure they spun freely and were not blocked or gummed-up. They are clear.

    I unplugged my CD drive to see if maybe it was damaged or shorted somehow. Won't power up with that unplugged, either.

    Maybe it's the LED backlight inverter board? I remember reading about an issue where somebody's inverter board was drawing too much power and their system refused to turn on so as to protect itself...but that was with an older computer and a CCFL backlight. I don't know how the LED boards behave, as they're too "new."

    Maybe my battery is dead? I understand that it has a full charge, or appears to, and that there should be nothing wrong with it, but perhaps the chip inside the battery, or its ID, or something got fried, so it's just not being recognized by the computer proper?

    Maybe I need a new charger? To be honest, I've been using the "wrong" charger for as long as I can remember. I took my charger to the local Apple Store when it first suffered from the frayed wires problem, but they would not replace it. I ended up using my old MacBook charger, since it had a tolerable output. It charges the computer while it's on or off, with one exception: when the battery is at absolute dead, it will charge, but it makes me wait until 10% charge before I can turn the computer back on. Other than that, I have had no problems with it.

    When I ask a Mac Genius at the Apple Store, I'll ask if I can borrow a new battery and charger (just at the counter) to see if those are the source of my problems. And I'll be honest and verbose about the cause of my problem and my investigations, since that's the only way I can get an honest and accurate estimate on what is wrong and how to fix it, if at all.

    I'm looking at the ifixit.com guide right now, going through all the parts that look like they could spell trouble in an issue like this, but it could literally be anything at this point...so I won't leave any stone unturned, if possible. Maybe the really big stones will just get marked with some chalk or something, since they're so heavy, and I'm so lazy. :P

    Thank you for your help so far.
  • S.U. Level 6 Level 6 (8,360 points)
    There should be a couple of pads on the logic board that you can bridge with a screwdriver to start the computer. On mine, they are located near the LVDS cable connector and are labeled PWR BTM and are separated by a white line.

    An 85 watt charger may help, if you have been using a 65 watt charger. Since you are going to the Apple Store, they can use one of their store power adaptors, and I believe that that they can also check out your battery and determine if it has any problems. Batteries do have their own little microprocessor that can get screwed up. The Apple Store may have one of their store batteries they can try.

    They might also be able to determine if the Left I/O Board is OK. It's possible that something has died on it, but I don't know if the board could be repaired or would need to be replaced. Last I checked, it was around $90 on ifixit.

    Post back with what they find. Here's hoping it will be something relatively simple.

    Good luck!
  • Dash_Merc Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thank you for that, I hadn't thought to look elsewhere for the power button pads, assuming they just ran through the keyboard module cable, since the main lines from the power button go directly to the cello cable stuck to the underside of the keyboard module.

    I found mine right next to the corner of my battery bay, surrounded by a white rectangle intersected by the letters PWR.

    I bridged them with the battery and wall adapter plugged in...to no avail.

    It is looking more and more like my most certain prognosis will come from an Apple Store visit. The I/O board came up on ifixit, and in my Googling, as a possible fix point for this problem, as you mentioned, but I don't know how to test it, so I'll save replacement until I get somebody more knowledgeable than me to look at it directly. $90 isn't too bad. I can certainly shovel together some $ for that, if it will keep me running for a few more months to a year.

    I exaggerated earlier. I'm willing to pay for replacement parts, as long as it's not the whole logic board or something ridiculously expensive like that.

    Apple Store, here I come. Please have a battery and 85W adapter for me to test with, though I'd almost be more willing to buy the I/O board than a replacement battery and power cable, since the combined price of those is greater than replacing just one tiny part inside the case. :P

    Thank you, S.U. I'll be sure to post back here with more developments and/or questions.

    Best Regards,

    Adrian
  • Dash_Merc Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I took my beloved MacBook Pro to the Apple Store at OakBrook Center (mall) in OakBrook, IL on Saturday 29 November. I waited around at the store for an hour prior to my scheduled appointment, taking in some of the new games and hardware, thinking about my options if I had to purchase a new computer.

    When the time came for my appointment (actually ten minutes prior), a nice young woman approached me and asked if I was Adrian. I confirmed that yes, in fact, I was, and she proceeded to inquire as to what was ailing my Apple product. I explained the situation in as much detail as was necessary. She took my computer into the back room, and for about 40 minutes, I waited while they performed whatever surgery or diagnostics they needed to.

    I see the young woman leave the back room, brandishing an open MacBook Pro over her head (I no longer wince, as I do the same thing ALL THE TIME), Apple logo glowing. I say "It's alive!" and clasp my hands together, doing a little jumpy-dance in my excitement, completely oblivious to the rest of the store. She sets my computer down on the table next to me, and explains that the battery was not being recognised by the computer, and was only holding a 66% charge anyway, so she replaced it. I asked her how much the replacement would cost me, and she said "Nothing. I liked your Apple logo when I turned it on, so I decided to replace your battery for free."

    Seriously.

    I was floored, and awed, and very thankful. I signed a piece of paper stating that I authorised them to perform service on my computer, and that was that. My customised boot logo got me a free repair, which otherwise would have cost me $80.

    Thank you, Mac Genius, for your kind gesture. I really appreciate it. This is one more reason I keep using Apple products.

    Thank you, Apple Support Discussions, and user S.U. for your help in troubleshooting the problem earlier. I might not have maintained my sanity long enough to make it to the Apple Store with any form of composure, but instead might have arrived haggard, unwashed, and sleep-deprived.

    Thank you. This problem has been solved, and the detailed log is on the Internet for all to see, should anyone happen to have a similar problem in the future.

    In summary: my battery gave up the ghost. Always use the right power adapter for your computer, and always plug in your computer before using any Live CDs. Even better: use Live CDs on the Windows-based computers they were meant for, and save your mac the risk.

    THIS ISSUE HAS BEEN RESOLVED.

    Best Regards,

    Adrian
  • S.U. Level 6 Level 6 (8,360 points)
    AWESOME!! Thanks for posting back--this will be a big help to anyone else that has your issue. And a solid indicator of just how awesome an Apple Store can be!

    Happy computing, and thanks for the star!