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

HELP: Unibody MacBook Pro Flames Up!


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cpoo

 
Member Since: Jul 27, 2010
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I need some advice on how to deal with Apple:

My MacBook Pro that I purchased on Dec-25, 2009 spontaneously combusted last week. The people who I have spoken to at Apple have told me that it is due to "accidental use" and thus not covered by the warranty. Apple is refusing to replace the laptop or explain to me by what process it has determined the incident to be "accidental use". The guy at the Apple retail store I first brought it to was extremely hostile, took 2 pictures of the laptop, and wrote some notes that I don't have access too. I find this extremely insulting and infuriating. I am always extremely careful with my laptop. In addition, I had noticed that a handful of times over the past few months when the power adapter was plugged in, but the display on the laptop screen indicated that it was not charging. These incidents only lasted a few seconds to minutes, so I never took them seriously. I found out yesterday while doing more reading that this is typical of a defective MagSafe!

Here is what happened: On July, 20, 2010, my MacBook Pro was low on battery charge, I plugged it into the MagSafe connector power supply.
I used the computer for a few minutes while it was plugged in, left my room, came back into the room (this is approx. 10 minutes after I plugged the laptop in), as I was in the room, I hear and see sparks and smoke coming out of where the MagSafe connector is attached to the computer. I quickly unplugged the power adapter and a small flame came
out of the computer that I blew out with my mouth. As you can imagine I was shocked and horrified and took the laptop into an Apple retail store on July, 22, 2010. They informed me that they submitted an 'Safety Escalation Report' and that I will be hearing from someone at Apple. This did not happen. So I contacted 1800-APL-CARE yesterday and was put in touch with Daniel (daniel@apple.com). He informed me that Apple engineers have determined that the sparks/smoke/fire was due to "accidental use" and not covered by Apple warranty.

Since talking to Daniel, I have found several cases on the internet where other people have had almost identical situations to mine -- laptop is left plugged it in, after a while, the laptop caught on fire exactly where the MagSafe connector contacts the computer.
See for example:
Reader's unibody MacBook Pro catches fire!

In this case I cite from another user, Apple replaced the customer's computer at no charge (damages covered by warranty). The only difference between this case and mine is that I unplugged my laptop in time before the flames melted the plastic.

They are having their engineers "reopen the case" but I've had an extremely unpleasant experience at every step of the way so far. You would think that Apple would be willing to take responsibility for a known defect in their product!

Any advice on what I should do next? I am planning on contacting the Better Business Bureau.

Thanks!!
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cpoo

 
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Just an update... I got so fed up that I ended up emailing Steve Jobs just on a whim. Really did not expect much to come from it. Amazingly, I received a call from someone at the 'Executive Office' the next day, saying that he will handle my case. He was very polite and started actually trying to help me, rather than basically just telling me that I'm lying when I told them that I did not drop it or spill water on it. After several weeks (after they requested that I send the computer back to them for their engineers to evaluate potential misuse), Apple finally agreed to replace my computer!!

Although I am in the end satisfied that I got my computer replaced -- the fact that it took 4 weeks, and left me computer-less at work for this whole time, while I had to travel for work, was pretty ridiculous...

In the end, this was a happy ending to a very frustrating and needlessly long story.
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CrimsonRequiem

 
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Nice story, with a good ending. Too bad it took so long to get it resolved.

A MB and a MBP are not a laptop they are notebooks. There is a difference.

死神はリンゴしか食べない。
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dtravis7

 
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A quick question if you do not mind. Did the flame come from the Magic Safe Port itself or the top of the computer. Where did you blow out the flame? Just trying to figure out where the fire originated.

Glad they replaced it for you BTW.

Also be very careful to keep the pins on the Mag Safe plug and jack clean.
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cwa107

 
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Good to hear they made it right.

Just a word of advice... the MagSafe connector at the side of the machine and the connector on the power supply are obviously magnetic. As a result, they WILL attract fine bits of metal and debris. As part of your regular cleaning routine, I highly recommend you inspect the connector both from the adapter and on the side of your computer for debris.

Only one thing will cause an electrical fire - a short. So, it's important to make sure this area is clean to avoid these kinds of problems.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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OLodhi

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrimsonRequiem View Post
Nice story, with a good ending. Too bad it took so long to get it resolved.

A MB and a MBP are not a laptop they are notebooks. There is a difference.
Care to explain the difference? As far as I'm aware there isn't any set definition as to what a Laptop or a Notebook is. In most cases they are pretty much defined as the same thing. Notebooks are generally thinner but lack certain features such as a DVD drive, a full sized keyboard and in some cases wi-fi and bluetooth.

OP: I'm glad that you managed to sort out your little conundrum, I can understand how frustrating it can be when you receive little co-operation from someone you are trying to seek help from.
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dtravis7

 
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Apple even calls them notebooks due to their heat and uncomfortable when in the Lap.

Straight from Apples Macbook and Macbook Pro page..

13-inch MacBook Pro
The high-performance notebook for everyone.
From $1199
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Merkava_4

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrimsonRequiem View Post
A MB and a MBP are not a laptop they are notebooks. There is a difference.
Quote:
Originally Posted by OLodhi View Post
Care to explain the difference?
Yes, I'd like to know the difference too.
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cwa107

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OLodhi View Post
Care to explain the difference? As far as I'm aware there isn't any set definition as to what a Laptop or a Notebook is. In most cases they are pretty much defined as the same thing. Notebooks are generally thinner but lack certain features such as a DVD drive, a full sized keyboard and in some cases wi-fi and bluetooth.

OP: I'm glad that you managed to sort out your little conundrum, I can understand how frustrating it can be when you receive little co-operation from someone you are trying to seek help from.
You're thinking of a "netbook".

The terms "laptop" and "notebook" are generally interchangeable. Most manufacturers have moved to the term notebook due to the propensity for modern machines to run warm.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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OLodhi

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwa107 View Post
You're thinking of a "netbook".

The terms "laptop" and "notebook" are generally interchangeable. Most manufacturers have moved to the term notebook due to the propensity for modern machines to run warm.
No thats not what I was referring to. a Netbook is a severely underpowered device which features an Intel Atom chip and cannot exceed 1.6 GHz (as dictated by Microsoft) and it's only primary objective is to view the web on the go. The screen sizes generally speaking does not exceed 10.1 inches.

Here is my Reference

I don't understand how you can categorize a machine based on how hot it runs? Doesn't seem to make sense to me.
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dtravis7

 
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If you are here just to argue, then please stop it right now.

I gave you a quote off Apples page. APPLE calls them NOTEBOOKS. End of argument.
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cwa107

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
If you are here just to argue, then please stop it right now.

I gave you a quote off Apples page. APPLE calls them NOTEBOOKS. End of argument.
Regardless of the opinion quoted in the Wiki, the terms are merely marketing terms, and there is clearly no concrete definition of either.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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