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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > MacBook Pro - Grey Screen (Of Death?)

MacBook Pro - Grey Screen (Of Death?)
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Feb 2, 2012, 04:50 PM
 
What a suprise. I was re-installing my Windows 7 boot camp partition, reinstalling all of my PC games, and somewhere in the middle of all of those reboots, I got the grey screen of death.

I tried all of the basics, but I get nothing. Command Option P R, Option, N, C, D, T. None of those keys have any effect at startup. No matter what, I hit the power button, get a startup chime, then they grey screen, then nothing else.

Then I googled around, checked out an Apple KB article. Nothing in there worked. Basically it just said hold shift. No luck.

Then I opened it up and started removing components, HD, Optical Drive etc. But no luck. Still grey screen o' death.

Any other suggestions? Other than letting it sit until the battery is dead, then plugging it in and seeing if it boots THEN.

Also this is a 13" MacBook Pro 320m (2010 model) in absolutely mint condition. I'm out of warranty but considering how I got here, I'll probably take it down to the Apple store if I can't get it running again anyway, just to see what they say.
     
l008com  (op)
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Feb 2, 2012, 04:55 PM
 
It does give me the "no-ram" tone if I boot with on RAM installed at all. That is the only way I've been able to get ANY new kind of behavior out of it at all. Still won't boot when I put the RAM back in though.
     
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Feb 2, 2012, 05:33 PM
 
Did you reset the SMC?
Shut down the computer.
Plug in the MagSafe power adapter to a power source, connecting it to the Mac if its not already connected.
On the built-in keyboard, press the (left side) Shift-Control-Option keys and the power button at the same time.
Release all the keys and the power button at the same time.
Press the power button to turn on the computer.
Note: The LED on the MagSafe power adapter may change states or temporarily turn off when you reset the SMC.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
l008com  (op)
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Feb 2, 2012, 05:38 PM
 
Yep no change. Boots right to grey screen.
     
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Feb 3, 2012, 04:21 AM
 
Checked the LVDS cable is seated properly?
Check if you can get external video.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Feb 3, 2012, 09:04 AM
 
Doesn't the gray screen have the spinning cursor? If so, let it run overnight.

Hold cmd-opt-shift-del while booting to bypass the internal hard drive.

Also consider taking the hard drive out and booting it to Internet Recovery or to your Lion USB recovery stick. That will rule out software corruption. If it won't boot, at least you'll know it's a hardware problem.
     
l008com  (op)
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Feb 3, 2012, 09:32 AM
 
I did not check for external video because I can tell nothing is happening.
I did remove the hard drive, I still couldn't get any booting whatsoever to happen off of any disk. Startup chime, grey screen, and that's it. Also no, no color wheel on the grey screen. Apple has the laptop now, I'm hoping they can work some magic and not have to charge me for a new logic board.
     
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Feb 3, 2012, 04:14 PM
 
I'm assuming you've disconnected any external USB hard drives. I still have the problem where if my external (non-boot even) drives are connected at startup, I get the exact problem you have: gray screen and no gray apple. I still have no explanation for it, but shutting down, disconnecting the drives, and rebooting fixes it.

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l008com  (op)
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Feb 3, 2012, 04:21 PM
 
Apple says it needs a logic board, they're putting a new one in for a flat rate of $300. A good price considering a logic board costs $700 if I was going to repair it myself. Still, it's awfully suspect that a computer goes from perfect condition, to dead, in an instant, all while simply sitting on a desk.
     
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Feb 3, 2012, 04:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by l008com View Post
Still, it's awfully suspect that a computer goes from perfect condition, to dead, in an instant, all while simply sitting on a desk.
Not really. How do you think these failures usually happen? Things wear out. Traces burn out, chips go pop, everything has a shelf life and sadly not everything lasts as long as it should. If you tend to dismantle your equipment yourself, are you ESD safe when you do?

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I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
l008com  (op)
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Feb 10, 2012, 04:23 AM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
...If you tend to dismantle your equipment yourself, are you ESD safe when you do?
I only opened up this particular Mac once, to upgrade it's hard drive. I did not wear an ESD wrist strap when I did it, but I did it the day I bought it, some 18 months ago. If static is what did this Mac in, it would have to have been static from the outside that passed through the highly conductive aluminum enclosure.

ANYWAY

For the curious, I have the Mac back. Seems to be running great (Flash aside). They replaced the logic board and the RAM. I don't think there was a problem with the RAM but Apple is known for getting replacement-part-happy when doing flat rate repairs. Aside from my bitterness about having to pay ~$300 for this, the whole process was quite painless and fast.
     
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Feb 18, 2012, 03:01 AM
 
So I have a new problem... My MacBook Pro, with it's new logic board, get's BURNING hot. Even if I'm just sitting around surfing the web, my fans will rev up to 3000 RPM. This machine used to remain cool to the touch, even COLD to the touch during normal use. And it would only be moderately warm after hours of gaming (via win7). Now, this computer is hot ALL the time. Very hot. Like too hot for your lap hot. I'm still in Florida, but I'm probably going to bring it back to the Apple store when I get home. This computer is cooking itself now, and cooking me in the process.

The following image is showing my temps right now, with nothing going on at all except iTunes playing music, and this thread open in safari. In fact, the computer is so idle, I'll upload a shot of the CPU usage first. There is really nothing going on, and this mac is super hot.



     
l008com  (op)
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Feb 18, 2012, 03:03 AM
 
Of course I never took temperature readings of this MBP before I replaced it's logic board, so I have nothing to compare it to. But if this computer was sitting idle before, and if the battery wasn't charging, you would get slight warmth on the top left corner of the keyboard area, and the rest of the case was very cool.

Also note that above, the hard drive is unmounted and spun-down. The system is booted off a firewire drive.
     
l008com  (op)
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Feb 18, 2012, 03:03 AM
 
AND now that I think about it, I HAVE been having odd system crashes in Windows 7. I just assumed they were due to windows sucking. But they could very well be from the system over heating.
     
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Feb 18, 2012, 07:04 AM
 
Sounds like they may have messed up the heatsink fixation or thermal paste application. I assume that you have checked that you don't have anything else running in the background?
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Feb 18, 2012, 08:00 AM
 
I concur with the heatsink/thermal paste theory. I can't recall if the unibody logic boards come with thermal paste or not but Apple never used to provide very good instructions for applying thermal paste to its engineers.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Apr 1, 2012, 04:33 AM
 
So after about a month of running hot, I finally decided to open'er up. I was hoping to find very little thermal paste, but what I found was what looked like a very appropriate amount of paste. I was kind of sad about this, but figured I might as well clean it up and put some fresh goo down anyway. So I throughly cleaned the processors and heatsinks with rubbing alcohol. I got them spotless. I put down some fresh thermal paste. Then* I reassembled everything, booted it back up. And. Call me crazy, but I swear it is running much cooler. It feels cool to the touch like it used to feel before the repair.

*The first time I applied the paste, I test-fit the heat sink. Then I removed it again to see how much paste squeezed out, and a ton squeezed out. It got all over the place. I then spent another hour cleaning the new paste again, until it was spotless. Then I reapplied new paste again, even more carefully than I did the first time around.
     
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Apr 1, 2012, 05:23 AM
 
My MBP is dying too. It started with the internal HDD losing connection all of a sudden (I countered that with an optibay HDD) and next it would just switch off after I closed the lid. (I have a SSD with LED screen, should wake up in a second)
Of course this is the worst timing (because of my graduation thesis)

Then all of a sudden the mac starts with a grey screen with a progress bar (firmware) then shut down
I couldn't solve it with a firmware cd (not recognized) so I reinstalled the machine. It now has the same sleep-issue but at least it is running..I guess Apple has a new customer for the 15" MBA
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Apr 3, 2012, 02:42 PM
 
If it's a unibody, you can replace the internal HDD cable pretty easily. Might fix the connectivity issue you're having.

The sleep issue could possibly be caused by a broken or malfunctioning reed switch in the display. If that's the case, you're stuck replacing the whole display - IIRC the switch is built into the display on the unibody models. What happens if you put it to sleep from the menu rather than closing the display?
     
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Apr 3, 2012, 06:25 PM
 
hi thanks for thinking along, but sleep from the menu makes no difference. Only the power switch will eventually get it out of sleep mode. I can live with it. Thanks
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Jan 3, 2013, 05:03 AM
 
I just had that gray screen of death on my Macbook Pro 13", mid 2010, and resetting the SMC did it! Thanks!!
     
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Jan 3, 2013, 12:22 PM
 
I haven't had to replace a reed switch since the iBook. The sleep switches in Unibody MacBook Pros are in the lower half anyway, not the screen. I can put mine to sleep by putting anything vaguely magnetic in the correct spot to the right of my trackpad. Even putting my iPhone down on it will send the unit to sleep.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Jan 3, 2013, 12:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
I haven't had to replace a reed switch since the iBook. The sleep switches in Unibody MacBook Pros are in the lower half anyway, not the screen. I can put mine to sleep by putting anything vaguely magnetic in the correct spot to the right of my trackpad. Even putting my iPhone down on it will send the unit to sleep.
I discovered this with my iPhone too. Kind of annoying but whatever.
     
   
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