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Released October 2008 / 2.4, 2.53, 2.66, 2.8 or 2.93 GHz Core 2 Duo Processor

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MBP won't power on, but only after being left off overnight.

Looking for some help on a late 2008 MBP 2.53ghz.

Has been working like a champ since new, but has recently developed an issue turning on when left powered down overnight. SMC and PRAM reset has no effect. Battery is in good condition with charge indicator showing fully charged. MagSafe indicator also works as it should. The correct charger is also being used.

The problem only appears on the very first boot after a night powered down where it will show no signs of life other than a green light on the MagSafe and a full charge indicated. Shorting the power switch pads on the motherboard has no effect, eliminating a failed power switch. Getting the laptop to power up seems to be a crapshoot of removing the battery and mains power, letting it sit for a while, then reinstalling battery and power where it will then boot. When this doesn’t work, removing the battery and mains and holding the power button down while plugging in the mains only, seems to bring it to life - with fans going full pelt. Subsequent reboots after this initial process goes without problem, as do reboots after leaving the laptop off for a few hours, it only happens on initial boot after being left powered off overnight. Interestingly -and it may just be coincidental- this seems to have manifested itself after the last Apple Firmware update.

Time for replacement logic board?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Update (04/26/2016)

Quick update.

I have now tested the mainboard with any unnecesary components unplugged: Trackpad, IR/Sleep Sensor, Battery Level Indicator, Airport Card, Optical Drive, Camera, Mic, Express card and Battery. The power on issue still remains. Next step is to remove the main board, give it a good clean and a proper once over.

Ever forward.....

Oh, FWIW Apple Hardware Test shows no problems. Go figure.

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What happens if you put it into sleep mode over night (closing the lid or using the menu option)?


Good question. I'll leave it in sleep mode tonight and report back. Sleep mode works fine at all other times.


Yes, it will wake up fine after being left in sleep mode all night. It will even fire up normally having shut it down and fired it up after leaving it in sleep mode all night. The problem with turning it on only persists after fully shutting it down overnight.


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OK we have the needed clue here! Your HD's spindle motor is failing so when it's cold it won't spin up in the required time window the system is expecting. But once started the first time the second time has a chance of booting up. When we put the system to sleep mode the time window is longer as the OS is already loaded in RAM.

So it's time for a new drive. Depending on how much stuff you have on your drive you could go with either a SSHD hybrid drive which offers a deep SSD cache to speed up starting up and running your OS and offers the deep storage of a traditional HD. Or, you could put in a SSD but the larger the size the more expensive they are, they do hold up better though from the bangs a laptop gets

Update (04/24/2016)

Well you have me scratching my head here a bit ;-}

Being left over night in Sleep Mode and having it work just fine implied the HD (even if it was in the optical drive bay). Are you sure you have the SSD set as the boot up drive?

But, your new note stating you've pulled both drives out and it still fails has me here. That would imply the issue is within the power control logic related to the power switch.

No, I don't think you have a SMC or EFI issue or power system issue here as the power buses are still functional as seen with the test in Sleep Mode over night. This is more to do with how the power switch logic works. It could be as simple as a cold solder joint to a bad cap. Did you get your system wet as some time? Water damage could explain this.

Not sure you need a new logic board just yet. I would take it out and give it a good clean if the system got wet at some point. I use distilled water and then I go over it again with high grade isopropyl alcohol (85% or higher) to act as a drier. Using a soft brush to carefully scrub down the areas that look like they got wet with something. Use a can of can'ed air as well here to blow the wetness of the water and alcohol out. Given the age of the system I would also clean off the old thermal paste and refresh it. I personally like the Arctic products:

You may still need to get someone with micro soldering skills to go over the board and check the power switch circuitry even after the clean.

Immagine Arctic Silver ArctiClean


Arctic Silver ArctiClean


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Thank you for your input, Dan, it's greatly appreciated.

Sadly, I don't think it's the HDD. I've been running an SSD for some time now, with the original HDD relegated to an optical drive bay cage.

The MBP shows absolutely no signs of life if left overnight; no bong, no fans, no backlight, nada, all with a fully charged battery and power adapter connected. Removing both drives and HDD tray doesn't alleviate the problem, it doesn't even boot to the missing OS screen.

I've even tried a new, freshly cloned SSD in there, again, with no sign's of life. Even trying to select an alternate drive to boot from by holding down the option key while attempting to power up doesn't work, it's as dead as a dodo bird.

The only way to get the Macbook to power up is as described in my original post, after which all subsequent starts work fine. Until the next morning that is. I'm guessing it's a problem with the SMC possibly being corrupted, or a power issue in that area?

Scratch head!


Sure is a stumper, that's for sure. I may just do as you have sugested and whip the mainboard out for a clean and some new TIM. It's never had a drop of fluid spilled on it, but 8 years worth of grime can't be doing it any favours. Sure can't make the problem worse ;-) I'll keep the thread updated on the outcome.


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OK. Try this...Turn it off overnight and disconnect the battery then the next morning re-connect the battery and see if you have issues starting it. Instead of having it charge overnight. If it has issues starting then the next night charge the battery fully overnight, then try to start it up. and last but not least remove the battery all together overnight and the next morning start up the computer with-out the battery.

The first is start-up with a cold battery.

The second is start-up with a warm battery.

The last is start-up without the battery.

Which worked better. If it only starts up with out the battery good then I would say your battery is the issue.

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Brian, thanks for chiming in. Appreciated.

Right, I think in a roundabout way I may have already eliminated the battery. I very rarely, if ever, leave it on charge overnight. My daytime use on the charger leaves me with a full battery most of the time. It won't power up in the mornings with a fully charged battery with or without the charger connected. It will also not fire up on wall power only with the battery removed - which it will any other time.

However, the only scenarios which I haven't tried, which you have mentioned, is leaving it on the charger overnight with or without the battery - might be worth a go, but I have a hunch it will be the same result.

The only way to get this to fire up is as per my original post, or to remove all power sources, let it sit for a few minutes, hold the power button for 10 seconds and plug the mains in. After which it will fire up every time without fail.....until the next morning.


Well, it turns out if you leave the fully charged battery out overnight the MPB will fire up as normal when the same battery his replaced in the morning. However, I'm not sure this tells me much as that is essentially the same as leaving the battery IN overnight, then removing it for 5 or so minutes in the morning where it will then also boot as normal. The problem only manifests itself when the battery is left in and powered down overnight.


If you have another battery I would try that one and see what happens. If it does the same thing then it is a system issue. If it doesn't then it is a battery issue.


Hi Keepergoin, Just following up on this. Did you ever happen to fully resolve this issue? Funny thing I have the exact same problem on the same MacBook Pro 5,1 machine (late 2008 15 inch). Its been running like a trooper for 10+ years with no issues, have an SSD boot drive as well, but will not boot up after being shut down all nite with the battery installed. Sleeps fine for days, will restart, and can do a shutdown and start if it sits for an hour or so, otherwise the exact same issue as you posted. Any suggestions?


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Keepergoin sarà eternamente grato.
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