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2012년 6월 출시 / Core i7 프로세서 Turbo Boost 포함 / 최대 1 GB DDR5 비디오 RAM

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bad crayon/body odor smell coming from keyboard

I have not for the life of me been able to find an answer or a fix for this problem that seems to be a known issue with these models. I am assuming its the type of glue or plastic that they used when manufacturing the laptop because it smells like a cheap plastic outdoor chair that has been sitting in the hot sun. If anyone has any recommendations on how to fix the problem, even if it comes down to replacing a whole part, then I’m totally down! it’s so embarrassing.

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Have you ever changed the battery?

@mayer no :\ it holds a charge just fine though

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Hello Gwen,

Is there any news on this topic?

I am experiencing similiar issues with my mid 2012 macbook pro - MD104LL/A

On top of this issue, my MacBook Pro runs really hot. I created a clean user and it runs about 70°C to 80°C in idle – and I think both problems connect to each other.

So I couldn’t solve it right now, but might have identified the source of bad smell in my case.

I have to say, I already replaced the old thermal paste and my system is cleaned. Sadly this didn’t give the results I was expecting, as temperatures kept beeing hot.

But, I figured out the bad smell might come from the keyboard itself.

In the macbook the CPU and GPU heatpipes run under the bottom of the keyboard with little to no space left. So the bottom of the keypad plastic and electronics is getting really hot as well.

I didn’t take any pictures, but please check out this fine youtube video. There you can see clear marks left from the heatpipes to the black bottom plastic of the keypad. 2012 Macbook Pro 15" A1286 CPU Heat Sink Replacement

I think this is the source of bad smell.

Also in my system, the little silver-colored-patch in the bottom left corner below the logic board is peeling of.

My system has a really bad battery too. So I’m swapping the battery. Maybe it solves the temperature as well.

In the next step I will swap the heatpipes and swap the fans as well. Hopefully this will achieve full cooling again to the MacBook Pro.

Update (08/17/2020)

I’ve fixed the smelling issue with my one. Rather than the plastic that is off-gassing it is the thermal pads below and on top of the memory slots.

They have gone bad and were pretty brittle I’ve removed them and that removed the bad smell as well.

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I can confirm that this is the cause of the bad smell. It appears that the adhesive that was used at the factory smells when it is heated by the RAM. I removed it and the smell is gone. Now here is hoping I do not have any problems now that this has been removed.

did you replace the old thermal pads with new ones? if so where did you get them?

Before finding this post. I actually cleanup inside the 2012 MacBook Pro 13 inch including replacing the thermal paste on heat sink. Still no idea were that burning crayon coming from.

Whenever I'm doing heavy task on 2012 MacBook, I can smell the burning crayon coming from the keyboard of the MacBook.

Even 3 or 5 feet away from the MacBook, I can smell the burning crayon.

So I found this post and instantly removed the black/silver thermal pads near the RAM.

I can confirm that smell is gone and when I was removing the thermal pads, it does have really strong smell of burning crayon.

Hi everyone! I bought a macbook pro mid 2012 and I have the same issue. It smells really bad. I have being searching and I found this post. Do I need to remove the motherboard or the problem can be solve without this operation? I am looking for youtube tutorials and I can't find any witch shows how to remove the black/silver thermal pads near the RAM... Thanks a lot!

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I bought a second hand Mid 2012 MacBook Pro a few months ago. I realized it smelled like a sweaty shirt as soon as I received it. I cleaned it up pretty well on the outside, but it still smelled bad. I read a few comments about this same issue, with apparently no solution, so I kind of assumed I just had to get used to it. But honestly, I couldn’t tolerate it. So when I opened it to replace the HDD for an SSD and upgraded RAM from 4 to 16gb, unfortunately I realized the smell inside was even worst. So I gently cleaned it up with a soft brush. I also removed all the dust from the fan and cleaned the back cover (which was VERY stinky) with a cotton soaked in alcohol gel. Then I left the thing open for a while. It still smelled bad once I closed it, but A LOT less than before. A few weeks later, I opened it up again and cleaned it once more… this time, it remained open for like an hour.

To help this stinky one a little more, I put incense boxes inside the bag I keep it in, so now it smells exactly as I want it to smell. Seriously, I haven’t felt the bad smell again. Now it really feels like it’s a brand new MacBook, and I’m so happy that I finally got rid of the bad smell that I had to share it. Of course, I always make sure to keep the keyboard, the trackpad and every single part of it very clean.

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Sounds like it was stored in a sweaty book/gym bag ;-{

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Sounds like you have something burning inside. Have you opened the system yet? I would start there looking for plastic parts that appear melted. Also look at the components not just on the visible side you’ll really need to take the logic board out. You might as well clean the old thermal paste off and apply a fresh coat.

Follow this guide MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Mid 2012 Logic Board Replacement

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thank you so much for getting back! I had the Genius Bar take a look at it a while back (I hadn’t used it too much until it became our only computer) and they supposedly cleaned it out saying it was very clean actually, but when that didn’t fix the issue I kind of got fed up and debated on just getting a new computer altogether since they were going to charge quite a bit to take a deeper look. So, you think replacing the logic board with new thermal paste should do the trick? It’s not so much of a burning smell.. just some type of cheap degraded plastic from being sunburnt (sounds weird, but that’s exactly how it smells lol)… any recommendations on whether to replace the keyboard or maybe the fan or something toward the back of the computer toward the screen which could be made of a cheaper plastic ? thanks again!

I think you jumped 20 steps here. Lets focus on looking and smelling ;-}

As you are taking the logic board out (not replacing it) to inspect we might as well clean the thermal paste off the CPU and heat sink. Are you up to this? Review the guide fully and then again! You'll use the guide in the reverse order to put things back.

Focus on melted plastic or staining. Compare the pictures here MacBook Pro 15" Unibody (Mid 2012) 2.3 GHz Logic Board to your system do you see something different?



@danj will try!! thank you so much. I'll let you know.

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Dear Gwen and readers.

I agree with the person who solved her problem with bad smell from the notebook keyboard by adding a different smell.

My theory is that, we ourselves add these body odors by touching and breathing/coughing on the keyboard while we work, and the only thing known to be able to kill off these bachteria is ethanol or alcohol.

Even the vapors from normal household alcohol -if kept so that they get in touch with the living organisms, that produce this smell- will kill them.

The foam pads will obtain any odor from whatever come in contact with them, and it is almost impossible to remove the stink again- just think of your silicone or plastic containers that you kept some stew or paté in; It will smell that way forever- no matter what you do. This has nothing to do with bachteria. It is just one of the charateristics of foam and plastic materials.

Only time and other smells will make the odor go away - Or removing the foam pads like some find useful; but this not my first choice.

My case: yesterday, by accident I poured some liquid on my laptop keyboard and when I was cleaning and drying it, I noticed the awfull smell.

My sollution:

I used a soft brush of the kind artists use for painting, and with alcohol I brushed all the keys one by one under and on the sides.

Then I placed a piece of paper, soaked in alcohol, on the keyboard with only a napkin between, but a god insolation on top.

A magazine or paper would suffice. Then closed the lid.

This morning still a little bad smell. But it had gone away about 70 %.

I treated my keyboard again a couple of times during the day today, and now the smell has gone 100 %

Only be carefull. Alcohol will make foam dissolve over time, The foam pads will crumble and dry out, and may become a problem inside the computer.

Mine is an old notebook that I don't want to spent a lot of time or money, having repaired.

I am grateful that YOU ALL helped me solve this problem. Smiles to my unknown friends, sisters and brothers.

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Mind you that if you let any contact for many hours with the keyboard cover using alcohol will be harmful to the plastic. Use insolation and only have alcohol on a piece of cardboard hard that would not touch the cover, ok?

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