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"Random" MacBook shutdowns explained?

updated 01:15 pm EDT, Tue September 5, 2006

"Random" MacBook shutdowns

An IT engineer in Munich, Germany claims to have solved the problem of random shutdowns experienced by some MacBook owners. The issue apparently stems from the cable between the heat sensor and the CPU's heat sink, which is reportedly too short. The notebook's heat sink expands during operation, according to the engineer, and comes in contact with the sensor cable melting through the cable's insulation. Once the protective outer layers of the cable melt away, the cable touches the heat sink which causes a short circuit, resulting in an immediate shutdown. As the heat sink cools it contracts and loses contact with the cable, allowing users to once again boot their MacBooks until the processor heats up again. MacBook owners may not have to exchange the motherboard or memory if the discovered phenomenon proves to be the issue causing the random shutdowns.

by MacNN Staff




  1. migs647

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Cool, something simple that ... well... TESTING SHOULD HAVE FOUND. Is it just me or are Apple computers passing QA much easier now days?

  1. macmiser

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Time to market

    Looks like they might be cutting some corners.

  1. ibugv4

    Joined: Dec 1969


    have you ever built..

    have you ever built a product comprised of THOUSANDS of smaller components and had it work flawlessly for more than 15 unites in mass production? Probably not. Didn't Intel design these boards? Was it was Intel's shortsightedness or Apple's?

  1. lamewing

    Joined: Dec 1969


    still a QC issue ibugv4

    Umm, that is what QC is about, to make sure that those problems don't occur. That is part of the responsiblity of designing a product...making sure it does work correctly. Would you be so willing to forgive if you car would keep shutting down while you were on the middle of the interstate at 70mph? I cannot see anyone saying, "Oh that is okay, there are LOTS of parts in my car"

    The mac mobos use intel chips, but that doesn't mean that intel was the company that designed the mobos. If you look at the Apple products they state designed in California, by Apple Computer Inc.

    Also, a short sensor cable is not intel's fault. Apple is ultimately responsible for the problem, but this manufacturing problem could even stem at the factory itself (Asustek, but I doubt it).

  1. mike1627

    Joined: Dec 1969


    it would be nice...

    if this were the fix. I work for an Apple Specialist and have replaced many logic boards to correct the random shutdown issues. I replaced one today and took a closer look at the heatsink and temperature sensor cables only to find no evidence of any melted or exposed wiring.

  1. SoGood

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Where are the photos to back up this claim? I looked at all the linked pages and even the German page, nothing. All just texts. The lack of photos showing the problem makes the claim rather dubious.

  1. jasong

    Joined: Dec 1969


    &*^$%&$ Apple

    If some random guy in Germany says that's the problem, then hey, that's good enough for me. Apple just wants to s**** us all over. This is just like the thermal paste issue. Some guy on the internet said Apple was putting too much on and I have no reason not to believe him. It's just Apple s******* us over again.

    I'm buying a Dell.

  1. Eriamjh

    Joined: Dec 1969


    One possible cause...

    It may explain some shutdowns but not all of them.

    Intermittent failures are very hard to find, especially heat-related ones.

    Let's see some pics..

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969


    hold your horses..

    Pointing fingers at Apple is pretty pointless for intermittent issues. I am quite sure that the original design was fine, and that early QC of that design, as well as first units off the production run did not show this issues - particularly since it would take a while to manifest itself.

    All it would take is for one of the dozens of supply chains involved in the production of the MacBook to make one minor change, i.e. reduce the length of that cable, in one particular batch of deliveries, for the problem to occur -- later.

    This isn't like the issues of the plastic covering the vents on the back of early MacBooks (a clear QC issue, and oversight on the manufacturer's part). Apple is working on this, and will solve it just fine -- of course, testudo may disagree, and blame Apple for everything including bad weather.

  1. dimplemonkey

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I took a Macbook to Apple

    this morning that has these exact symptoms and showed them a printout of this MacNN article with the supporting links. They gave me a new MacBook with no questions asked. Does this smell like Apple's realizing a problem and are immediately doing something about it quietly?

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