Used Macbook is having random shutdowns
My husband bought me a used Macbook for Christmas on eBay. It was from a seller with excellent feedback and arrived almost exactly as described. However... I received it yesterday and while using it, found that it randomly shut down approximately 15 or 20 times over the course of 12 hours or so. It occurred while I was using it with or without the plug. I downloaded a temperature sensing program, and though the computer felt quite hot, the internal temperature never got above 65 degrees Celsius, which my husband said was within a normal range. I also got the error message that "You must restart your computer right now" about 3 times--once while I was trying to run Software Update, and two other times when I was just browsing the web. (Is this a kernel panic? I've literally never seen this before yesterday, and I've used Macs all my life.)
When it shuts down, I can usually hear something coming from the computer--it sounds like the fan is still running. It takes several tries, and usually about 10 or 15 minutes, to get it to start up again. And the sleep light is sometimes on while it's recuperating from a shutdown. I tried to download the firmware update that allegedly fixed these issues, but when I tried to install it, it said that this computer did not need this update. I'm running 10.4.11.
The seller gave a 30-day warranty, and I've contacted them, but I'm wondering what my options are. This computer is well outside its one-year warranty from Apple. I would take it in to an Apple store anyway, but the nearest one is in Jacksonville, 3 hours away. We do have two authorized Apple service providers in town--should I take it in to one of them? Should Apple replace the logic board and heat sink for free, or will I have to pay for it?
This is easily the most frustrating experience I've ever had with an Apple product--even having to have my logic board replaced 3 times in my iBook was less annoying. Please, tell me what I can do!
Your symptoms sure sound like your MB is overheating -- even though your CPU appears to be operating within normal temperature limits. It might not be the CPU that's overheating -- it could be the GPU instead. The fact that you hear a fan right before the lock-up sounds like it's temperature-related.
Try increasing fan speeds with SMC Fan Control, run with increased fan speeds for a while and if that makes a difference. If it does, then we know your problem is temperature-related.
Link: Controlling your Mac’s fan speed with SMC Fan Control (with step by step guide) « David’s logbook
I'm not actually hearing anything right before it locks up, except sometimes the spinning of the CD drive. What I meant is that even when it has shut down, I can hear the fan, or something, still moving. The computer isn't truly off.
This is also occurring even when the computer is asleep. If I close the computer, and then reopen it, to continue what I was doing, it restarts spontaneously and sometimes shuts down again.
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