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I'm attempting to revive a non-working 15" Core 2 Duo Mac Book Pro purchased early 2007. The laptop suddenly powered off (or so I was told). Attempting to power on gives only a few signs of life.

  • Magsafe lite works when power cord plugged in
  • Hard drive spins up when power button pressed
  • No chime, no back light, no power button light, no fans
  • Holding the power button for 5 seconds will spin-down the hard drive
  • After drive spinds down, hitting power will turn it back on.

Please give me your best suggestions on getting this system booting again.

In attempts to fix, I've reseated the RAM and most internal connections. I'm willing to replace any internal components if economically viable.

Update: a reset of the system mgmt controler brought the fans back online

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Have you tried putting in a fresh battery? –  Philip Regan Oct 29 '10 at 11:17
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In the absence of “chime” there are three things to blame: RAM, GPU or Board/CPU. I know because I had the same problem throughout the years with different Macs (and even Powerbooks). Try removing some RAM and putting some other modules, also remove the battery as suggested by Philip. Using an external display may help identify screen problems too. And finally an Apple Store, even if out of warranty will diagnose the box (sometimes for free, it depends) sometimes for a small fee. Bear in mind they will always go for the brute force route: “you have to replace X,y,Z”, 1000 u$s. Thanks. ;) –  Martín Marconcini Oct 29 '10 at 11:54
    
@Martín: You should make your comment an answer. –  Philip Regan Oct 29 '10 at 17:57
    
@Philip I guess I should have, but I wasn’t really coming up with a “solution”. Will paste it now for the record. –  Martín Marconcini Oct 29 '10 at 18:18
    
@Martín: I'm not sure anyone is going to have a solid answer for this one, but at least the most logical can get voted up. –  Philip Regan Oct 29 '10 at 18:21
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2 Answers

In the absence of “chime” there are three things to blame: RAM, GPU or Board/CPU.

I know because I had the same problem throughout the years with different Macs (and even Powerbooks). Try removing some RAM and putting some other modules, also remove the battery as suggested by Philip in the comments.

Using an external display may help identify screen problems too.

And finally an Apple Store, even if it’s out of warranty, will diagnose the box (sometimes for free, it depends) sometimes for a small fee. Bear in mind they will always go for the brute force route: “you have to replace X,Y,Z”, 1000 u$s. Thanks for Coming, Bye. ;)

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In order of desperation:

  • Press cmd-alt-power for 3 seconds to start it. If you get a chime you're back in business.

  • Reset the pram: Turn on the computer and immediately press cmd-alt-P-R. Keep it pressed until you hear two chimes.

  • Reset the System Management Controller: Unplug power, remove battery, press start button for 5 seconds. Put the power back on, press the power button. You should have a chime or a series of loud beeps.

If nothing works, you have a motherboard issue. Loud beeps indicate a number of issues depending on the number of beeps. A chime and nothing displayed is most likely a display issue.

Reminder: The 'Alt' key, also called option key, is the one with the mark ⎇ and the label 'Alt'. The command key has the mark ⌘ and is labeled 'cmd'.

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alt and cmd are the same button, is that correct? –  Casey Nov 1 '10 at 10:10
    
@Casey Alt and Cmd are not the same button. In a Mac keyboard you have “Ctrl”, “Alt" (often called ‘opt’) and “Cmd” (Command, often called the ‘Apple button’ because it used to have an Apple in old keyboards). The order from left to right is: Ctrl, Alt, Cmd. (note that your Macbook has a “Fn” button on the left that serves as Function to call the F1,2,3,etc. keys. –  Martín Marconcini Nov 1 '10 at 12:47
    
Sorry about the confusion. I called the same key alt and opt in the same answer. I've edited the answer. –  eric Nov 1 '10 at 21:45
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