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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

MacBook Pro just DIED after battery replacement and callibration !


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Doug b

 
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Good thing I have this new Unibody MBP to use. The other one is my wife's though. Here's the story:

Let me preface this story by stating that I bought this particular (15") MacBook Pro in Late 2008 (Summer) in Manhattan, Ny. And now, I'm living in Budapest Hungary. We moved here about four months ago. The first difference I noticed about my MBP is how the aluminum body started to vibrate when I slid my fingers across it, but only when the power was plugged into the mains.

This also happens on my new Unibody. I also noticed that not every single power outlet will have this effect on my MacBooks. Also, I always use a surge protector, which I know is not a line conditioner, but it has always worked well for me like this. Relevant because this vibrating thing never happened in the States.

On to the story. Approximately three weeks ago, the Mac started displaying odd behavior, power wise. Using it on batter power only, displaying about 65% power left, the MacBook would just cut out, die. This happened a couple of times afterward , even after having been charged fully, then run a bit to the point of where it had about 60% power left, and I would do more than one thing at a time app wise, and bam... dead.

From then on, I'd resort to using the mains only, until I had the time to take it to an authorized dealer for a looksie. That looksie was about four days ago at an authorized place, and the diagnosis was that the battery was faulty.

Ok, no problem, we've got Apple care. So they replaced the battery jiffy/spiffy and we were happy as pie. The tech told me to calibrate the battery before using it like normal, and he instructed me as such:

Charge the battery for 12 hours.
After it's charged, use it on battery power until it totally drains and goes to sleep.
After it's asleep, let it rest till drained totally.
Plug in, use as normal.

So I did everything from steps 1-3. On step four however, we didn't use it. Instead, we plugged it in and just let it charge. But as soon as I plugged it in, I had a really bad feeling about what I was seeing. Normally you'd plug an uncharged battery in and you'd then see the red light. Sometimes it would be green for a second, but then turn red as it should.

This time, it simply turned green, and stayed green. I unplugged it and plugged it back in with the same results. Well, perhaps I made the biggest mistake at this point, but we had to leave, and so I just left it in thinking that it would straighten its self out.

Wrong. That was at about 11 am. Came home at about 7 pm. Was still green, but thought that perhaps it was cool. Nope. Wife says: "Oh no." Oh no what... "Oh no." What ?
You get the drift. Took the battery out, put back in, nothing. Took the battery out, plugged in the mains, still......nothing.

Dead as dead. WTHeck ? Unfortunately for us, Budapest is NOT a bustling place for business' on Sunday's *or Saturday's for that matter*, so getting it taken care of isn't an option until Monday.

Until then, I suppose I'm either looking for some consolation that this has happened to someone before and everything turned out cool, or that there's something else I can do etc.. What is great though, is that we have Apple care. Without it, we'd be as dead as the MBP is right now.

Funny thing is that I just recently installed Snow Leopard on it. So no important files are lost. Best/worst case scenario, we get a brand new MacBook Pro. Hey.. I wouldn't complain ! But still, we're a bit miffed/freaked out right now.

Doug
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Oh my. That does not sound too good. Do keep us posted on the outcome. Maybe someone else here with a MBP will chime in.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug b View Post
This also happens on my new Unibody. I also noticed that not every single power outlet will have this effect on my MacBooks. Also, I always use a surge protector, which I know is not a line conditioner, but it has always worked well for me like this. Relevant because this vibrating thing never happened in the States.
I know nothing of electricity beyond grade 9 science so I could be way off here but your move may be the cause. It is possible that a change in voltage (or some sort of electrical power change) between outlets is causing havoc with your MBP?

Vibration that only occurs when you're plugged in doesn't sound good especially when it only happens when you're plugged in and thus, you drawing electricity from an outlet. Now, as I said, I could be way off here so for those who know how electricity works in this case, is this a possibility?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
Oh my. That does not sound too good. Do keep us posted on the outcome. Maybe someone else here with a MBP will chime in.

Will do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vansmith View Post
I know nothing of electricity beyond grade 9 science so I could be way off here but your move may be the cause. It is possible that a change in voltage (or some sort of electrical power change) between outlets is causing havoc with your MBP?

Vibration that only occurs when you're plugged in doesn't sound good especially when it only happens when you're plugged in and thus, you drawing electricity from an outlet. Now, as I said, I could be way off here so for those who know how electricity works in this case, is this a possibility?
I asked the tech in the store about the vibration issue, and he said it was "normal". Two possibilities here. One, is that he doesn't know what he's talking about. I don't think that Apple makes it a pre-requisite for their techs to be certified electrical engineers.

The second possibility is that he didn't quite understand what I meant when I told him about the issue, and he just passed it off with a nod and smile. I'm inclined to think that it's a combination of the two, really.

The first thing I thought when I started using the MacBook Pro's here was that there might be a problem with the input voltage, but since the mag-safe adapter clearly states 100-240v 50-60 Hz, I was inclined to believe that I was being overly cautious and should just trust Apple with this.

The other thing I forgot about though, is that I brought this particular MBP to Hungary last year, which was its first exposure to the different voltage. At my wife's mom's house, the vibration was really, really strong and it bothered me a LOT. I thought there was no way this could be safe.

One other observation, and this is going to be very hard to explain in words:

There is an intermittent sound which is emitted from the MBP. Sounds like it is coming from the left side. Happens while on battery or mains. The best way to describe this sound is that there's a tiny creature in there, with a tiny little ping pong ball, and every couple of minutes, he hits it and it makes a kind of "duhk" or "puc" (the uh is pronounced as look). Yeah, I'm weird.. I know.

All I know is that if it is indeed a power thing, my Unibody is in big trouble ! Guess it's time to man-up on the Apple care for this one too.

Doug


Edit: Just checked this Unibody which is plugged in. Doesn't vibrate in this particular outlet *with surge protector*
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Oddly enough, I had that "vibration" thing too happen on my mda. It only happened when it was plugged in and charging. Tmobile said it was a design fault and had a bad grounding issue...so pretty much, that vibration was static electricity going from the phone to my finger! Good luck, I hope you get everything fixed!
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Thanks mate. I've a feeling that this isn't over. The vibration issue it seems, has a lot to do with grounding and the voltage here in EU. Apparently, I'm not alone:

Google search reveals the shocking truth/boy am I funny

Also seems that using three pronged adapters won't necessarily curtail the voltage issue. The issue is also occurring on random Macs. But of course, regular Macbooks aren't affected due to them being plastic. I guess that rules out a nice new iMac for me then.

It also appears as if Apple is denying that an issue exists, according to several people who have contacted them with the issue, only to be told that they (Apple) weren't aware of any such thing. Yeah..... and I was just born yesterday, on a turnip truck.

Not happy.

Doug
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I'm having some difficulty following the story, so please forgive me if I'm way off track with my reply. I too have a MBP, and it also started to exhibit the "cut out and die" behavior you described. I thought it was the machine, because I switched the battery, and it still did it. But, when I took my machine and batteries (I have 4) in to the Apple store, 2 of my batteries tested as defective. Apple replaced both batteries, and everything is OK now. Perhaps the replacement battery you got is also defective, fooling you into thinking something is wrong with the MBP? Just an idea.
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I only hope that your suggestion rings true for my case here George ! Of course it is possible that the battery is simply defective, but I guess I'm just looking a bit deeper than that at this point. My first line of reasoning is this:

When the tech at the Apple store replaced the battery, wouldn't procedure call for him to actually check that battery before giving it the okay to reside in my MBP ? After all, Apple knows there are battery issues, and as such would likely recommend (or enforce) that any battery swap out follow a standard protocol which includes testing the new battery ?

Now, after having done a lot of reading on teh internetzess', I've come to the conclusion that MacBooks and MacBook Pro's might suffer similar problems, but that the symptoms might be all together different in many different cases. So it's hard to isolate one problem and get an indefinite solution for it. Looking at that Google page I linked to above will show this, if you read enough. A good example to start with would be at Apple Defects and by going to the wiki section. Sheds a lot of light on things.

It even incriminates Apple as far as them ignoring issues or pretending they don't exist. Let's face it, if Apple had to admit to the design faults and manufacturing problems, they'd stand to lose a lot of money. Recalls and redesigning of products would take a big chunk out of their time and pockets. And in this economy, that's a hard bullet to bite down on. Ok, I'm not a business major, and so I'm talking a bit out my patoot, but at least this is what my common sense is telling me.

In any case. I have nothing else to go on but with what I have seen and experienced first hand. It seems logical to me that my original battery went kaput because of something else. Not just out of thin air. I got to thinking about things, and came to this conclusion. (which isn't warranted just yet. My own speculation):

The connection between the battery and the circuit board has somehow been disrupted. After all.. the new battery was working wonderfully when we brought it home. The initial calibration showed this. I had to drain it before recharging, and the thing lasted a pretty decent amount of time while doing some processor intensive tasks. It went all the way down to zero percent power and still didn't go to sleep for at least 5-7 minutes after that.

Was it the static charge that had built up for so long and wasn't able to be discharged ? No idea. But something internally is skrewd to the point of where even without a battery and the mains plugged in, it won't power on. And that's not normal. So I'd say that [simply] ruling out a defective battery is a safe bet. After the battery was totally discharged, it simply didn't charge again. Having it plugged in all day did nothing to it. The mag-safe adapter light just displayed a green light because that's what it does in this particular state, I guess. And not because it was charging anything.

No connection= no charge= no way for the MBP to turn on. But then the question raised is, WHY ? After having it for close to two years now, it just decides to take on this problem out of the blue ? (reminds me of that line from Reservoir Dogs when Nice Guy Eddie is talking about his buddy Vick at the end). So then my only line of reasoning is that it is somehow connected to the grounding/power/vibration issue.

I just wish there was an real Apple store near me, and not just a certified place. Especially now, seeing as how the dude there said that the vibration was totally "normal". That says to me he doesn't know jack cr@p about this and is just talking for the h311 of it.

Doug
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Dropped the MBP off at iStyle Hungary - The Apple Premium Reseller - F?lap again and it's under the knife, as it were. I should hear back from them either tomorrow or the next day. I asked whether or not they'd be able to replace it with another unit should it come to that, and was given an rather unsatisfactory answer. I was told that since I purchased it in the States, I'd have to get another one from there too.

I think I should have brought it to another place. I don't think this guy has a clue. If they're an authorized service dealer, then they have a connection to Apple. There's no way they couldn't just get the authorization from Apple or have Apple send it to their store.

I confirmed this on my way home, as I decided to stop into another Apple store which I had never seen open until today. The dude their told me that "of course" they can get one sent from Apple. Wish I had brought it in to them in the first place.

Doug
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Well, I'll be picking it up tomorrow. Crossing everything on my body which is able to be crossed. *ouch*.

Doug
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I will cross my fingers and toes for you also. Did they say anything or just that it was ready?
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Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
I will cross my fingers and toes for you also. Did they say anything or just that it was ready?
I simply received an emai with nothing more than "your appliance is ready.". My appliance ? So, what… we're dealing with an blender now ? Ok, I'm just being a bit snide (wow, how unusual for moi, eh  ). After all, I'm dealing with Hungarians now.

So I sent a reply asking exactly what you did, but they were already closed. So let's see if I get a reply before I actually go to pick it up. Likely you'll be asleep at that point though.

Doug
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Appliance? Did you take them a Google Chrome OS Netbook?

If that MBP comes back toasting bread, I give up!
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Appliance? Did you take them a Google Chrome OS Netbook?

If that MBP comes back toasting bread, I give up!
Now now, let's not be so hastey mate…. Let's say it comes back with a beer tap, or an fully functional barista, mocha latte and all ?! Better yet, a spout which delicately oozes single malt Glenfiddich at the mere though of a snifter ? How'd that be ?

Right. Better be off to pick that thing up then !

Doug.
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Alright. Here's the e mail I just got from them:

Quote:
Hello Doug,


The logic board was faulty and we replaced it, the battery is not defective for sure.

I started to calibrate the battery last evening so you can pick your machine up at around 16:00.

Thank you for your patience!
I just wonder sometimes, if when a tech can't actually find the cause of a problem, they simply give up and use the excuse of "bad logic board" ?

In any case, I'm still very thankful to have purchased apple care, else I MIGHT be looking at a nice bill. Though, if a logic board really is faulty, I think it should be Apples responsibility, period.

Doug
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