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MBA 13" Late 2010 Intermitted shutdown: overhear or keyboard short?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Hello,
I have a late 2010 MBA which occasionally pops up a dialog box asking "if I want to shut down"  then turns off by itself. I can not interrupt the shutdown sequence. The laptop was bought used, although in great cosmetical shape and with a 256 Samsung SSD. On software side it's running Mountain Lion with all software and firmware updates installed.

Now I know enough to conclude this is some intermittent electrical issue, probably a power button short. What is interesting, the shutdown dialog doesn't appear if I hold the Fn key pressed. Now I literally need to put something heavy on it all the time because the frequency of this issue has increased to many times per minute.

I took the laptop to a private person who specialises in Apple gear here in Vienna and he did some diagnostics, tried running with disconnected internal battery etc.
What we noticed with case open is that the thermal assembly is getting really hot.  He concluded it is most certainly not a keyboard, but thermal issue and recommended renewing thermal paste. However, running temperature monitor I see that idle cpu is 55C degree  hot, with youtube paused about 77C degrees, under load 85-90C degrees.. which is pretty hot, but not extreme (cpu will shutdown at 105) so I am not convinced.

If replacing the grease doesn't cure the problem I'm not sure this person will be able to help me, so I'd rather find someone who has more extensive experience before paying $$. I'm gonna run some kind of memtest overnight, but I don't really expect it to find something. Yes, I got a BSOD a few times, but this started happening after enabling FlleVault encryption and I attributed that to incorrect shutdown.

1. What do you think is the problem? Shall I attempt to get the keyboard cleaned or replace thermal grease? I'm not 100% sure on either option. The 0 and [  keys have been sticky when I got it, the power key however seems perfectly clean.
2. How difficult is it to replace thermal grease on MBA 2010? I did that on Lenovo laptops a few times but have no tools for Apple. Shall I pay 50 EUR for the job or attempt to do it myself?

post #2 of 5
Usually when I see a premature shutdown, it's a battery problem. It would not be surprising for a four year old battery. I didn't see you say what the battery test results were.

You say that the temperatures weren't at levels worthy of alarm, so I don't know if renewing the paste will do the job. iFixit has instructions on what it takes to get into a Mac, I think an Air is going to be an easier job than most Macs. Take a look to see if you think it's worth going in for yourself or not.
Edited by JeffDM - 5/12/13 at 2:53pm
post #3 of 5

Why don't you try running your laptop into your freezer to keep it cold, then you would definitely see if it's a thermal problem or not!

post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yazolight View Post

Why don't you try running your laptop into your freezer to keep it cold, then you would definitely see if it's a thermal problem or not!


Don't say things like that. Someone will take them seriously and try such an experiment, in which case the condensation would potentially fry the logic board.

post #5 of 5

Well actually I've been doing that for some time with my previous computer lol It was running sooooo hot!!! I think if you leave the door open, with air circulation there will be no such kind of problem, isn't it?

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