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I have a MacBook 7,1 (mid 2010) and sometimes it randomly shuts down. This only happens when I am doing something very resource intensive (like gaming). After the shutdown I can use my Mac for "normal" things without any issues, but as soon as I do the same thing as before the shutdown, it will shutdown again.

When checking the console, it says "Previous shutdown cause: -102". The only thing I could find was "Overvoltage shutdown protection", but I wouldn't know why there would be an overvoltage. Disconnecting the charger and using the battery doesn't help.

Resetting the SMC seems to help, but after a month or so the problem starts occurring again. I ran an Apple Hardware Test (both regular and extended version) and it doesn't find any issues. What can be causing this? Is it an issue with the motherboard?

Just to make sure: Is it possible that it's the 6Gbps SSD (Samsung 860 EVO) that I installed (while my Mac officially only supports 3Gbps), somehow messing things up?

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  • Negative shutdown codes are related to hardware. Over voltage is likely a CPU or GPU issue, so yes, the logic board. As far as your drives go, they are backward compatible so a SATA III drive in a SATA II slot will be fine (btw, it's 6Gb/s or 3Gb/s - 3G is something completely different) – Allan Aug 19 '20 at 13:47
  • I know there is backwards compatibility, but I've read about people still having issues with this with certain drives. For example, the OWC SSD's would sometimes give issues with older MacBooks, with even data corruption as a result. – Priv Aug 20 '20 at 11:05
  • Yes, there was corruption, because OWC implemented RAID on the drives (for whatever reason). That’s an OWC issue not a SATA level issue. – Allan Aug 20 '20 at 16:27
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On a ten-year-old laptop with a non-removable battery, I suspect that the battery chemistry has aged to the point that it can't reliably provide an appropriate supply of power. I'm vaguely surprised that it's over voltage protection, but the chemistry of an aging battery is a complex topic.

iFixit indicates that you can get a replacement battery for $95 and that the replacement process is easy (only five steps!). Their guides are generally excellent, and this one looks like no exception. They'll even sell you the weird trilobe screwdriver you need to pull it off.

Even if this doesn't solve your problem, it will almost certainly improve your overall experience with this aging laptop.

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  • The battery is not "non-removable", as I already had to take it out a year ago to adjust the screw in the trackpad. But how can it be the battery if I almost always use my charger? And the weird thing is that the shutdowns only happen if I'm doing more resource-intensive things. – Priv Aug 20 '20 at 11:03
  • By "non-removable", I meant that you have to open up the case to do it; it's inside the unibody. For comparison, my old 2008 MPB (RIP) just had a little latch underneath you could slide which allowed the entire battery to pop right out. – JakeRobb Aug 20 '20 at 13:07
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    I just noticed the battery status says "Maintenance required". Not sure for how long it's been saying that but I can't remember having seen it before. @Allan can this be related to my shutdown issue? – Priv Aug 22 '20 at 12:04
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    @Priv - yes - a faulty battery can cause issues especially if it's not holding a charge and you're doing resource intensive work (i.e. gaming). Over voltage could be that both your system and battery are drawing (requesting) more power than your power supply can deliver – Allan Aug 22 '20 at 17:08
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    @Allan Shutdowns happen both with and without the charger. Anyway, I'll see if I can get a replacement battery. – Priv Aug 22 '20 at 18:10

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