Question Macbook Pro mid-2014 starts flickering then shut down randomly !!

Nov 1, 2021
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Hi,

I have an issue with my Macbook Pro 15 retina mid-2014. It occurs when the mac is on battery power, out of nowhere, the screen starts flickering and then the laptop shut down completely a few seconds later (sometimes it does not shut down, only the screen flickers but the shut down is more frequent).

I tried everything I read on forums:
  • Restart
  • Update to the latest macOS
  • Disable Automatic Graphics Switching
  • Reset Mac’s SMC
  • Reset NVRAM and PRAM
  • ...
But nothing seems to work. I also change the battery from another macbok pro mid-2014 but I still have the problem. Now, when I'm on battery and the screen starts flickering, I have to hurry and plug the magsafe power to avoid a very annoying shut down.

What's the problem ??
 

BEAUFORD_SAVAGE

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Sep 6, 2020
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Sounds like your computer is overheating. At the age it's at, it's almost certain it's needs to have the dust kitty's removed.
As it is Apple, time to bring it in to have it cleaned. Any other manufacturer you could do it yourself.
 
Nov 1, 2021
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Hi @BEAUFORD_SAVAGE, thanks for your answer.

Well I actually did the clean. I thought it was a problem of overheating too. After cleaning the case and the two fans, I installed TG Pro to monitor the whole stuff. But the issue persists and had nothing to do with overheating (53° to 70° when the computer shuts down). But TG Pro shows now a pretty interesting message "Last shut down - Forced - Possible issue with the memory (RAM)"
 

mrmike16

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Mar 10, 2016
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Hi @BEAUFORD_SAVAGE, thanks for your answer.

Well I actually did the clean. I thought it was a problem of overheating too. After cleaning the case and the two fans, I installed TG Pro to monitor the whole stuff. But the issue persists and had nothing to do with overheating (53° to 70° when the computer shuts down). But TG Pro shows now a pretty interesting message "Last shut down - Forced - Possible issue with the memory (RAM)"
Interesting that it suggests the RAM being the cause when this only happens on battery power. To me it sounds like a battery issue.
I haven't used a MacBook for a long time, but I would think that it has diagnostics for the RAM and battery. If it does, did you try running them?
 
Nov 1, 2021
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Hi @mrmike16

I did run the macOS diagnosis (restart and press D), I have the code ADP000, which is "no problem detected".

And as I said, I suspected the battery also so I replace it with another genuine battery from the same model. It works like a charm but the issue of shut down is still here.
 

BEAUFORD_SAVAGE

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This sound like a thermal intermittent. These can be notoriously hard to trouble shoot. Something I know very well.
But there is one very valuable tool. Freeze spray. like THIS .
They can be purchased on E-Bay for sure, or Amazon right HERE.
I did catch the memory error. If you can run off 1 (or two) stick, easy enough to run one, then the other.
If you need both mem sticks, you could buy one used off EBay, (matching the specs), and run one original and 1 new in each slot,
and see which one fixes it.
Now that I think of it, I did fix a problem just like this with just this method.
-Beauford
 

BEAUFORD_SAVAGE

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Shutdown after it gets to normal running temperature? Or just as soon as it boots up?
I would still consider doing a memory swap.
That and looking over the circuitry (following the circuitry from the battery to the on board regulators)
and see if there are any swollen electrolytic capacitors. A very common failure is electrolytic CAPS going
bad in the switching power supplies. This is true for TV's as well as computers, and anything else that requires
switching power supplies. It may be difficult to see, but if you look carefully, the tops of these caps are rounded, and should be perfectly
flat. If not, they are bad, and could definitely cause your symptoms. For reasons I won't get into, it would even account for why plugging it in keeps it on.
 
Last edited:

BEAUFORD_SAVAGE

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LOOK FOR BAD ELECTROLYTIC BAD CAPS IN THE CIRCUITRY CLOSE TO WHERE THE BATTERY CONNECTS
THE TOPS OF THEM SHOULD BE PERFECTLY FLAT ON TOP. For reasons I won't get into this could also explain why plugging in the computer saves it from failing.
Sorry about all the uppercase up there.

UPDATED CAPS LINK WITH NOTES (CLICK ON PIC) View: https://imgur.com/a/Mcmv4Dv
 
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Reactions: mrmike16
Nov 1, 2021
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I did catch the memory error. If you can run off 1 (or two) stick, easy enough to run one, then the other.
If you need both mem sticks, you could buy one used off EBay, (matching the specs), and run one original and 1 new in each slot,
and see which one fixes it.
Now that I think of it, I did fix a problem just like this with just this method.
-Beauford
Hi @BEAUFORD_SAVAGE

Thanks for your answers.

The tricky thing about the memory is that the RAM is soldered to the motherboard on the retina's Macbooks. So can't do the memory swap.

That and looking over the circuitry (following the circuitry from the battery to the on board regulators)
and see if there are any swollen electrolytic capacitors. A very common failure is electrolytic CAPS going
bad in the switching power supplies. This is true for TV's as well as computers, and anything else that requires
switching power supplies. It may be difficult to see, but if you look carefully, the tops of these caps are rounded, and should be perfectly
flat. If not, they are bad, and could definitely cause your symptoms. For reasons I won't get into, it would even account for why plugging it in keeps it on.
I will check the circuitry and get back to you for more infos.

Again, thanks a lot
 

BEAUFORD_SAVAGE

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Sep 6, 2020
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RE: Memory swap. I understand. As someone who likes to be able to build or at least repair my own computers, I have never owned a Apple/Mac device.
You have to buy every bit of software AND hardware from them, and are generally at their mercy for repairs as well.
The people who like them swear by them, and then there are people like me, who won't touch one.
Trust me when I say I am not belittling you in any way. I just despise the way that company works.
I won't even wear turtle neck shirts/sweaters. lol.

I would say get the freeze spray to test the memory, but if you find it is the RAM. Then you have no option to fix it anyway.
The caps are more likely anyway. We are running out of options fast. Steve Jobs wins again in a rigged game.
 
Nov 1, 2021
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Hi @BEAUFORD_SAVAGE,

I took some pictures of some caps, no one seems odd to me.

View: https://imgur.com/a/I1dc8pd


And I have a big update. After installing windows 10 with Bootcamp and switching to Microsoft OS, the mac stopped flickering and shutting down. So the issue occurs only with macOS and I notice that the flickering starts only when I'm on Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome on fullscreen. As soon as it starts flickering, I switch to the desktop and the problem stops and it starts again as soon as I switch back to one of the Internet navigator.

Another big update is that now, the mac shuts down even if the magsafe power is plugged in.
 

mrmike16

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Mar 10, 2016
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Hi @BEAUFORD_SAVAGE,

I took some pictures of some caps, no one seems odd to me.

View: https://imgur.com/a/I1dc8pd


And I have a big update. After installing windows 10 with Bootcamp and switching to Microsoft OS, the mac stopped flickering and shutting down. So the issue occurs only with macOS and I notice that the flickering starts only when I'm on Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome on fullscreen. As soon as it starts flickering, I switch to the desktop and the problem stops and it starts again as soon as I switch back to one of the Internet navigator.

Another big update is that now, the mac shuts down even if the magsafe power is plugged in.
So it is a software issue, possibly drivers that are fine on Windows 10 but are not fine on Mac OS. Maybe try reinstalling Mac OS?
 
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