Mid 2006 / model number A1181 / black or white case / 1.83 or 2.0 GHz Intel Core Duo processor.

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Won't power on with charger or battery

A while back, my Macbook stopped powering on (after going to sleep). There's no boot whatsoever--no fan noise or anything. I took it to the Genius Bar, and they wouldn't touch it because it was "vintage." I replaced it with a Macbook Pro this summer, and it's sat on a shelf since then.

Fast forward to now, and I'd love to get it up and working again for my kids to use for Minecraft and some web-based games. Basically, before I order a new logic board, I'd like to make sure I've exhausted my troubleshooting options.

This is what we've done:

1. Tested it with and without battery. The Magsafe adaptor glows a bright, solid green.

2. Reseated the RAM.

3. Taken the case apart and checked ribbon seatings.

4. We checked the power pads with the multimeter and they weren't getting a reading at all. I cleaned the terminal on outside of the case with rubbing alcohol, and now we're getting 0 and 3.42. (That all being said--it's possible my husband was doing the multimeter wrong.)

5. Bridged the jumper pads to short it and start it up.

It's an A1181, by the way.

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Bridging the pads did or did not work? If that didn't work the logic board is shot. Only you know how much $ you want to put into this machine - maybe you'd be better off parting it out for repair and taking that money along with what you'd spend on a new logic board to purchase a newer gently used MB.

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If you get the green diode on and 3.42 volts on the power pads (one pad is 3.42, the other pad is 0) the logic board has what it need to start up. I would suspect a faulty component connected to the logic that could prevent it to startup. I would disconnect everything connected to the logic board (including the sleep/battery charging board) but keep the magsafe dc in board, the LVDS cable, the inverter cable, the fan connected. Top case must be disconnected too. Then try to bridge the power pads. If the LCD lighten and you get the flashing question mark onscreen then the logic board is good. If not then a logic board component is faulty and you must replace the board. You must be sure that your ram and your magsafe ac adapter are tested good.

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Is there any easy way to test the RAM? I tested the magsafe with a multimeter. I'll try to start it up with everything disconnected. Thanks!

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You should test the ram in another computer that use the same ram.

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Some early A1181s don't have power-on pads at all, and the ones that do are notorious for not working reliably, so I wouldn't consider this to be an absolute sign that your board is dead.

You mention that the laptop stopped powering on after going to sleep...do you get a sleep light when you attempt to power on? If so (and even if not) make sure to try powering on with one RAM slot empty, and then the other empty, in order to test for a bad slot. A1181s are plagued with bad slot issues, and probably 1 in 5 I see that have been left for dead work just fine when the RAM is removed from the bad slot.

Lastly, if you are seeing absolutely no signs of life when you power on, it may be worth trying a different topcase. If your topcase is the newer model with a silver cable (rather than orange) you can disconnect the cable and re-seat it, which will sometimes resolve issues. Unfortunately the orange cable is more intricately connected to the guts of the topcase and no so easy to re-seat.

Finally, if you need an A1181 board, the prices have come down -- you can get the older ones for $60-$80 on eBay, so it's not a repair that should be considered out of the question. Just make sure to replace it with an appropriate model, and the best way to do that is to match the model number that is under the right RAM slot (820-1889-A, 820-2279-A, etc.)

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Thanks! I did try the RAM trick and that didn't work. The topcase had been replaced several years after I bought the computer but it still has the orange cable. I assume you're talking about seating it on the top case end, and not the logic board end. I'll check into that.

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Yes, I am referring to the topcase end of the connection. Since it's the one with the orange cable, you're not going to be able to re-seat it. The newer silver cable only has one connector to the topcase, and it can easily be disconnected and re-connected. As for RAM, it would be extremely unusual that both modules would be bad. Make sure that the RAM modules are clean of the white powder that sometimes exists on the edge of the RAM, and it's always good to spray out the slots with compressed air, because sometimes this substance gets caked up and itself causes the "bad slot" issue. Beyond that, you're probably looking at a bad board, but like I said, due to my experiences with flaky pads, I wouldn't feel 100% comfortable making a diagnosis until I'd tried a different topcase.

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