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Punkyclown's picture
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Joined: 2017 Nov 9
Trouble shoot MacBook A1181 Core Duo

Hi all I have 2006 MacBook Core Duo that will not start up. 6 months ago it had a
problem of Shuting itself down. So I bought a new cheap battery for it and that solved
the problem. Now it will not power on, battery in (lights up as charged) or battery out
power connected or not. All that happens when I push the power button is the screen
flashes lightly and the hard drive starts to spin for about a second, then nothing.
If I just hold the power button in the drives repeats the one second spin.
Since the power is in a brick and lights up no problem. And the battery seems
to be charged, where do I look to start trouble shooting this computer?
Any help anyone could offer would be much appreciated.
Thanks
Brad Hansen

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davisdelo's picture
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Joined: 2016 Oct 31

Try resetting the PMU. I’m a bit unsure of how you’d do that on this specific model but if I remember correctly it involves removing the battery and power cord then holding down the power button for something like 10 or 30 seconds. Then re-attach power sources and try to boot.

sfp1954's picture
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Joined: 2013 Dec 29

Sounds like it has been overheating for a long time.
I would take it apart, remove the fan and check for dust blockages.
Plug the keyboard/topcase back in and then try starting it and make sure the fan runs.
You can also see if it will do PMU reset.
With the machine off hold the start button down until you get a long tone.
And or a PRAM reset (command+option+p+r) at startup.

But I think it's probably toast.

24bit's picture
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Joined: 2010 Nov 19

I never had a MacBook 1,1 Brad.
Thinking of my T60, I feel that those T2500, GMA950 rigs were built rather solid.
One issue may be the CCFL, or better the inverter board for lighting the display.
But thats not your problem presumably.
Did you try connecting some secondary display to the Mini-DVI port, only to make sure?

Can you boot your MacBook from DVD or external hard disk?
A cloned HDD of your OS would be best, but not obligatory.

Punkyclown's picture
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Joined: 2017 Nov 9

Guys, Thanks so much for the input... I will take time to go through all of this
and reply back.

Punkyclown's picture
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Joined: 2017 Nov 9

Okay guys, I took the computer apart with the help of iFixit tutorial. And got down to
the main board with the fan and all. The fan seems to turn with no problem and nothing
smelled or anything like that. Still when battery and power supply are connected I get
that flash of the monitor and then the swish click which seems to me to be coming out of
the speakers. If I hold down the power button it just has a rhythm of "swish, click swish, click click.
repeatedly. I do not have the connector to try and put another monitor on it but something seems
to be obviously dead. Any suggestion on how to proceed would be much appreciated but
again thanks for the help so far. PMU for PPC chip SMC for intel but both seem to be about resetting the
power and since I have no power it did not make a sound or seem to work.
Brad Hansen

MacTouch's picture
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Joined: 2016 Mar 19

Hi Brad,

As I was an ex-Apple technician, I can try to help you out. I've take apart a lot of these machines too for maintenance & repairs.

If I hold down the power button it just has a rhythm of "swish, click swish, click click. repeatedly.

That's quite normal as it starts (power on) & shutdown (power off) in a loop when you hold on the power button.

PMU for PPC chip SMC for intel but both seem to be about resetting the
power and since I have no power it did not make a sound or seem to work.

Yes. Resetting the SMC did not make any sound as of course, the power is off. You can't feel it, but it works.

I can suggest you to remove the internal hard disk and try to boot without (no need to take apart the machine for testing) just to see if the display light on without the hard disk plugged. And to know if there is one or more issues. You shoud have a "question mark folder" after a while if it light on.
And I would like to know which brand of hard disk you have too.

sfp1954's picture
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Joined: 2013 Dec 29

Sounds like the hard drive is bad?

24bit's picture
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Joined: 2010 Nov 19

Sounds like the hard drive is bad?

That was my thought too.

Still I would try to boot from another device than the internal HDD first.
Can you boot from an optical drive internal or external?

As you already opened the MacBook and confirmed the fan is not jammed with cluttered dirt,
it may be wise to replace the thermal grease of the heatsink. This will not cure the issue, the cpu was specified for 100℃ at the heat spreader, so I doubt it can be easily fried as long as the fan is turning.

If you can boot your MacBook from DVD at all, I would look for a replacement HDD/SSD.
Many will recommend a small SSD, which is fine of course.
My choice for 10.6 or lower would be a new HDD.

To connect a simple display with VGA input this may be nice to have:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Mini-DVI-to-VGA-Monitor-Video-Adapter-Cable-for...

Punkyclown's picture
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Joined: 2017 Nov 9

Hi Guys, Well I pulled the Hard drive (Seagate 7200 350 gig). So now when I push the power
button all I get is the Swish and no click. Hold it down and it's just swish, swish, swish.
Brad Hansen

os9er's picture
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Joined: 2013 Nov 15

I have a Late 2007 "black" A1181 MacBook, and used to have a Late 2006 "white" model, but neither of those ever malfunctioned as described here... I wish I could help, but, never having encountered the same problem myself, I'm not knowledgeable enough about it... xP

Punkyclown's picture
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Joined: 2017 Nov 9

os9er, Thanks for chipping in anyway. Appreciate the support.
Brad Hansen

MacTouch's picture
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Joined: 2016 Mar 19

Looks like your machine shutdown just after starting. Tell me if not, please. If that's it, I suspect that you have problems with one memory module. Can you unplug the magsafe, remove the battery, then remove one module, then plug the magsafe and try starting ? If you have the same result, then try (swap) with the second module removed... Let me know what happens. Thanks.

Punkyclown's picture
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Joined: 2017 Nov 9

1. Yes, that's what's happening, it seems to be in a loop of start, shut down, almost immediately.
2. Tried your suggestion of swapping ram modules, no result, no change. flashing monitor
(faintly) and then the swish sound. But thanks for the input.
Brad Hansen

MacTouch's picture
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Joined: 2016 Mar 19

You can try also to start without any memory modules. In this case, the MacBook should "bip" three times. If nothing changes again, then, I suppose that the motherboard of your machine detects something too powerful for maintaining the system turned on. Or, you could have a defective component on the motherboard or another connected to. But I hope for you that's not really that... At least, your hard disk is probably safe.