Apple Macbook Pro Logic Board Failure

About 3 days ago I began seeing random shutdowns during a game of Team Fortress 2 – It appeared to be heat related but to rule it out I reloaded all the software on the laptop. The problems returned.

I was a bit confused and during some web searches I came across a tool called SMCFanControl which allows direct control of the macbook fans through the SMC chip (which handles all the power related stuff on the mac).

The reccomendations I read said to launch SMC Fan control during an apple session – crank all the fans to the max then reboot into boot camp to keep things cool. I was surprised to see once I launched the tool that both my right and left fans were reading 0 RPM’s. I thought perhaps this is a leopard issue – maybe this tool does work properly with leopard but confirmation with another similar tool showed the same thing. Either I had experienced a huge coincidence and both of my fans died at once or I was seeing the dreaded logic board failure.

Since my macbook pro is no longer under warraty I pulled it apart and observed that indeed the fans weren’t moving. They twitched a bit on boot but then nothing. To test the fans I rigged the 5v current off of my usb port into the red and black connectors on the fan and it spun right up. AARRGH – a new logic board needed – and the best price I can find is $900.

I have been planning a system upgrade for this coming January or Februrary anyhow so investing $900 in a system that is only worth that makes no sense. Luckily the system still function so for the moment I’m operating with an ice pack under it. Still looking for a motherboard replacemet or a motherboard repair shop experienced with these issues. Failing all else I have a plan to solder the fans into the 5v power of one of my usb ports which will keep them running at full blast. May make the fans die sooner but at least I’ll be able to keep using the system a bit longer although that may rule out unpowered devices on that port.

If I go that route I’ll update with a how to here. Wish me Luck!


A funny thing happened – after about 3 weeks of running my laptop on frozen juice canisters and other odd methods of cooling (not a great idea but I make my living on my laptop so can’t go without it) my fans kicked in again.  They ran great for about 2 weeks and then the left fan physically failed . . . . it’s currently running on the right fan and I have to be a bit careful about heat but it’s otherwise operational.  I’m currently trying to source the replacement fan but it’s not a huge rush as I plan to order one of the new macbook pro’s shortly.