Sleep Hath Murdered MacBook
August 20, 2018 6:09 PM   Subscribe

Several months ago I was typing away in a comment field on a website in Safari on my early 2015 MacBook, running the version of High Sierra just prior to the current one, when the screen went black just like it would when it went to sleep, or would if I'd ignored the 10% and 5% battery level warnings.

But it was connected to power and charging at the time, and I'm 95% sure there were no warnings. And it was just dead. I could not get it to respond to any key, or combination of keys including the power key. Plugging the power cord in and out evoked no response, and I felt none of the heat from brick or MacBook that would indicate charging. I bought a new power brick and still nothing. I believe I tested the power cord too, but I can't remember how, though I'd bought a power cord along with the brick with the thought that I would return it if the old brick turned out to be bad.

I had a bunch of stuff going on at the time, so I put it aside thinking I'd wait for the battery to discharge a bit if it had been charged and see whether it would heat up when I reconnected the power cord. But it was months before I got back to it (long enough for the battery to discharge completely, I believe) and by then I'd lost the old power cord, so I got out the new one and plugged it in. But before I could walk back out of the room it was in I heard the startup chime (though I had not pressed the power key, as I recall) and it loaded normally and was perfectly functional except that the keyboard backlight was dead.

But I wasn't satisfied with that (you knew hubris would have to come into this tale at some point), so I decided to try the available new version of High Sierra to see if that would fix the keyboard. I came back to look at the screen and I can't remember whether the update had failed and I tried to restart the update and got a box asking for my password, or whether a box asking for the password was waiting for me when I first looked at it.

Either way, the keyboard was dead and I couldn't enter anything in any field, though the trackpad and cursor were fine. When I restarted, the login screen came up but I couldn't enter the passcode. I can open a guest account but the keyboard is dead there, too. And that's where I am now.

One last thing, in the two hours before it went to sleep the first time two unusual events occurred: a compact fluorescent plugged into the same power strip as the brick exploded in a bright blue flash complete with a report and flung shards, and I cleaned gunk from around the top row of keys with a sharpened wooden toothpick which conceivably could have come into contact with delicate circuits below, though I doubt it.

I talked to Apple about it over the phone, and reset the system controller according to instructions on the page they referred me to without result, and I did a bunch of stuff suggested on webpages official and not that I can't give a coherent summary of.

My Genius Bar appointment is for tomorrow night, but if you people have any suggestions at all more plausible than blood sacrifice (which has never worked for me), I will be extremely grateful.
posted by jamjam to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Assuming you're talking about a 12" MacBook, Apple might be able to repair it for free under the "Keyboard Service Program".
posted by Seeking Direction at 6:55 PM on August 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yes, it is the 12" Retina; thanks for the information and for filling out the specification.
posted by jamjam at 7:54 PM on August 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

I don't know anything about your Macbook from personal experience, but unauthorized Apple repair person Louis Rossmann has seen quite a few of them. He has a lot of opinions and is quite vocal about them, but he seems to do good work.

I guess that what I'm saying is that if the Genius Bar can't help, there are other options available.
posted by monopas at 2:36 AM on August 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

Excellent answers, both -- thank you!

I'll mention to the Genius Bar person that I expect my MacBook to be evaluated under the Keyboard Service Program linked by Seeking Direction.
posted by jamjam at 8:24 AM on August 21, 2018

My MacBook was assumed into the Mothership on Tuesday night, and is back tonight fixed free of charge under the auspices of the Keyboard Service Program.

I can't be sure whether they would have fixed it for free if Seeking Direction had not tipped me to invoke the service program, but I strongly suspect not.

Double plus extra good answer, Seeking Direction, and I am very grateful.
posted by jamjam at 7:18 PM on August 24, 2018

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