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Another A1181

Hello John, and thank you for this section on your website.

I came across you, thanks a post about repair a Macbook A1181...

I'm from Venezuela, and as you might know, we are in a kind of shortage of all. So replacing machine and or repairing them, could be complicated.

This is the macbook from my mother. My mother only used it for web browsing. Nothing more. It was my old machine and I give to her when I buy another one years ago. It was working fine, but a say she told me, she saw a strange green thing in the screen. But things continue normal and one day the computer didn't work.

Since I'm very enthusiast with repairing computers, from the old 512 to more or less minis from 2011, I thought I could see what's going on. And yeah, I'm only 30. It's just a hobby.

Well, the thing it's I would like to buy another one but the country situation don't leave to do so much:
The frontal led turns on, the fan and the hard drive, but nothing more. Sometimes, the machine still 'on' until I disconnect from the wall. others turns off very quickly. I disassembly, clean all, search for corrosion under the mother board. Put direct to sun, but nothing happens.

Due to your experience, I would like to know if you have any idea of what could be the problem. The machine was the black one with 2.2ghz. The battery get inflated, but we notice very quickly, and we take off... even this happen later of the real problem.

I will appreciate a lot any help from you.

Kind regards


  • edited January 2019
    Hi Abel! Thanks for the post!

    Sorry about the situation in Venezuela. I have heard from several people that things are very tough down there...hopefully it will improve before long.

    Is the sleep light on permanently? Or does it come on when you press the power button, and then turn off? If the sleep light turns off, do you see a faint image on the screen when you shine flashlight through the Apple symbol -- a flashing folder?

    If it stays on, I might suspect the memory. First, I would power on with no memory at all and see if that changes the behavior. Let me know if that changes anything. Then, I would power on with memory in one slot. Then take the RAM out of that slot, put it in the other (with the first slot empty), and try powering on again. It's fairly common that a board will be defective in such a way that when a "bad" slot is populated, the computer won't boot, and the sleep light will stay on. But if you remove RAM from the "bad" slot, the computer boots normally.

    It can also be that the RAM is bad, so try one memory module, and then the other, so that you can see any difference and determine if one or the other RAM module is bad.

    When you are testing the computer, I recommend disconnecting all unnecessary components -- hard drive, optical drive, etc. Until the computer powers on and is working, they are unnecessary and just complicate matters. It's also possible that by disconnecting these devices you will determine that one of them is causing the problem (because the computer may start working without it).

    The fact that it stays on for a while sometimes but shuts off quickly at other times sounds like it may be overheating. Sometimes a machine will stay on for a longer period the first time, but at that point it has heated up, so it overheats quickly the next time you power on. When you took out the board, did you by chance take off the heatsync and break the seal on the thermal paste?

    Lastly, I would make sure you're using a good charger. I don't know if you have access to another one. Hopefully the light on the charger is a solid green, and not a flickering green. You were right to remove the swollen battery -- anytime a battery swells up it should be removed immediately.

    Anyway, let me know how all this goes and what you find out, and we can go from there!


  • - I would power on with no memory at all and see if that changes the behavior.
    R : Yes, I disconnect super drive, hd, and take off ram. I used another magsafe. The led keep turned on continuly until i disconnect the charger,

    - Then, I would power on with memory in one slot. Then take the RAM out of that slot, put it in the other (with the first slot empty), and try powering on again.
    R : I tried with both modules, swapping between banks, and without ram, and the behavior was the same. Sometimes, the computer say off more time, others turn off a few seconds later. But happens with both modules in both banks that of one time keep more minutes on, and another, a few ones.

    The charger keep the light green continuly. But I see the screen in fron of a windows and theres no image at all.

    Thanks John!
  • That's too bad...I think you just have a fried board. There's not much more that can be done without resorting to board repair, which I don't do (and which doesn't really make sense on such an old model).

    I have a ton of A1181 boards, so if you e-mail me your address, I'll ship you one!

  • Oh! What a mixed feelings read this! But always good things happens!

    Thank you John!
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