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This started today, and it scares the hell out of me. I thought the shutdowns were random, but I can easily trigger one by just moving the macbook.

They aren't quite shutdowns: the screen goes black, sometimes the leyboard backlight is still on, and the fans sometimes spin up in the dark state. It happened with a video in the background, which stopped.

I had this macbook in repair last year (liquid damage) and they replaced the entire top cover + fan. It wasn't cheap. Does anyone know if there is anything that can be causing this, that does not require an apple "genius" to fix.

P.S. I'm stuck in Armenia, which is at war, and it doesn't have a single AASP. I can't leave the country, I have to work, and I need this machine to work, so in a bit of a pickle.

P. P. S. Resetting the PRAM and SMC (in any conceivable order several times) did not seem to work.

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  • This sounds like a logic board issue - the question is, when this happens, how do you recover? Do you have to restart?
    – Allan
    Oct 29, 2020 at 21:07
  • @Allan, Pretty much. I have to power it off (hold the button down) and then boot. The Apple Hardware diagnostic tool found nothing, as well. Oct 29, 2020 at 21:11
  • I was hoping you wouldn't say that. That's a hard lock up. Try running in Safe Mode by holding Shift while booting. It will prevent 3rd party drivers and kexts from loading so we can see if it's an outside app/driver causing this. If it continues to lock up the next thing I would try I'd a clean install on a USB disk (so you don't have to wipe the drive if you don't have to).
    – Allan
    Oct 29, 2020 at 22:39
  • This happened in recovery, when i moved the laptop. My money is on this being a hardware issue. Oct 30, 2020 at 5:40
  • @Allan, I tried that, and it lasted longer, but still locked up. This time without me having to move the laptop, just leaving it to work on compiling clang. Nov 2, 2020 at 7:43

1 Answer 1

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It turned out to be a hardware issue. One of the connectors was loose. It’s the rossmann group details what exactly happens: briefly it’s the connector near the hinge of the laptop that causes a BSOD, by (I think) sending the LCD power rail straight to the CPU and tripping the protection features. I strongly advise anyone with this issue to promptly fix it, possibly by sending it for service (they won’t replace the LB, just the cable and that’s reasonably priced).

After fixing - no issues whatsoever.

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  • Can you please be more specific about what connector? I have a somewhat similar issue and would like a clue.
    – Robert
    Nov 8, 2020 at 10:46
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    It’s the connector that goes from the GPU into the monitor. The one that MacBooks are famous for having the screen turn off. It turns out that if damaged it can also send the LCD power voltage straight to the CPU... Louis Rossmann mentions it every time he talks about the new MacBooks. Nov 19, 2020 at 15:15
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    @robert it’s the one near the hinge. Nov 19, 2020 at 15:16
  • Thank you for your help!
    – Robert
    Nov 19, 2020 at 21:08

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