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Mid 2010 Model A1278 / 2.4 or 2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo processor

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Mac running slow and fan running at high speed after water spill

I recently spilled water on my computer and did not remove the bottom casing, much less the battery, as I now know I should have.

I am able to start the computer and get to my desktop however at start up the fan immediately begins and the computer loads VERY slowly.

Once completely booted, the same continues. I have turned off all "at start up" settings for all apps.

Here are the stats for my computer from iStatPro and SmartUtility:


CPU: system - 90% +/-


U - 79.92 GB

F - 169.8 GB


Free - 2.45 GB


HD - 85

CPU - 94

Heatsink - 88

Northbridge - 86


Exhaust - 6200 rpm +/-


Health - NAN


Load average: 8.89, 11.86...



Since the computer is not able to run unless hooked up to the charger, I am aware I need to purchase a new battery. My next step is figuring out where I need to start in regards to RAM (I think this is where the issue lies in slowness) and the fans (I'm stumped on this one).

Any and all help would be absolutely wonderful.

Thank you in advance!



Thanks for the suggestions! It was definitely water that was spilled on the computer. Promise. :) I will be cracking this bad boy open this morning to see what going on. Bc it was water, I'm guessing, as Mayer said, there won't be residue but I will definitely take a good look and let you guys know what I find.


after opening the casing there is visible residue on the motherboard. i will be proceeding to clean per ABCellars.


cleaned motherboard and still having issues with slow speeds and constant fan. will be testing RAM.


i tested RAM and still no good. I am in the middle of AHT. I'm thinking there may be an issue with a heat sensor which is kicking up kernel_task CPU usage.


I have reset PRAM and SMC to no avail. I ran the AHT and got the following code:


What does this mean?

I have a kernel_task that is eating up CPU usage (over 170%) with over 60 threads. I have reset the heatsink with thermal paste and made sure all things were connected appropriately on the logicboard.

I have also purchased a new battery to replace the old in case that had an effect on performance and there is still no change.



After replacing the motherboard and seeing no improvement in computer performance, I replaced the airport card. There seems to be some issue with my airport card connection. After completely disconnecting the airport card connection and reverting to using a wifi usb dongle for internet connection, I have had no more kernel panics. While this is only a temporary fix to the problem, I have a running computer that is now kernel panic free and fully functional/portable.

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If you had taken it apart immediately and dried it I would be more inclined to agree with mayer on the water, though not totally. It is the contaminates (ionized minerals, which are salts) that conduct the electricity and do the damage. When you inspect your board you will see how small some of the components are and their connections/pins. Many of the IC pins you really can't inspect for corrosion between them without expensive optics. Flushing and brushing is the cheap and dirty way to remove those things you can't see with your naked eye. Thoroughly cleaning the board as I have suggested is about the only viable solution prior to throwing money at it. From the information you have given your laptop ran fine prior to the spill. Since the spill and you letting it dry it does not. Please read through the water damage tag.


i found something that works for me. it's up there ^ in my revised post under the most recent update (at the bottom)


I too have the exact same problem, except mine was a coffee spill. I will be ordering a new airport card and cable and see if one of them fixes my problem. Will post updates when I get the parts in.


i can say i was having just like the same isssue and i got it fixed by apple https://goo.gl/oaTc3I and lets see if that also works for you .


thanks a lot. Tomorrow I am going to sale my mac and suddenly exact same problem happened. This was my first blog. First try and SOLVED. It is the airport card connector, that was not properly inserted. Thanks a looooot.


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I would open it up, remove the battery. Remove both RAM chips, then, one at a time, reinstall the RAM in each of the slots booting each time and checking the speed. This is to test both the slots and the RAM. Also try starting up from your system installation disk and check the speed to see if the hard drive could be adding to the problem.

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The place to start is dealing with the liquid damage. If you don't have the residues from that cleaned up you are going to chase ghost and really can't actually determine if any parts are bad. Remove all power sources from your laptop. Push the power button for 10 seconds to help dissipate the capacitors. Then let it sit for an hour to ensure the capacitors have lost their charge. Next remove your motherboard and clean both sides of it 90% or better rubbing alcohol or distilled water and a tooth brush. All are obtainable from your Pharmacy. Be liberal with the distilled water or alcohol let it flow underneath the chips to wash away what is under them etc... Dry it off with paper towels and let it sit for a day to dry the parts you can't reach, like under ICs. You can use a hair dryer on no heat or a fan to expedite drying, but still let it sit over night. A guide for removing your motherboard is here. My background is electronics. I am not an Apple guru. Reassemble your laptop give it a try. If this didn't solve your problem do what mayer is asking you to do.

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+ Unless the poster lied and it was something besides water, cleaning with alcohol really doesn't help in this case. Making sure it is dry is absolutely advisable.


If it was something besides water I have a couple of solutions that work. It would make your toes curl if I suggested any of them and 10 others would descend upon me with their swords out to slay the good doctor and have nothing nice to say. Alcohol and a tooth brush will get rid of all visible residues if you are diligent about cleaning the board. Underneath the ICs for non water liquid damage is dependent on the substance. Usually unless only a small quantity of liquid hits the board and doesn't make it under the ICs but you never want to count on that.


cleaned motherboard and did not resolve issue.


I see you have this back together with no change. Do a SMC reset and then a PRAM reset. Instructions follow.


1 Shut down the computer.

2. Plug in the MagSafe power adapter to a power source, connecting it to the Mac if its not already connected.

3. On the built-in keyboard, press the (use left side keys only) Shift-Control-Option keys and the power button at the same time.

4. Release all the keys and the power button at the same time.

5. Press the power button to turn on the computer.


1. Shut down the computer.

2. Locate the following keys on the keyboard: Command, Option, P, and R. You will need to hold these keys down simultaneously in step 4.

3. Turn on the computer.

4. Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys. You must press this key combination before the gray screen appears.

5. Hold the keys down until the computer restarts and you hear the start up sound for the second time.

6. Release the keys.

Please let us know if this changes anything.


This worked for me


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Removing the Webcam cable which also connects the wireless card fixed the issue for me. I would rather have an external wifi for now and get this going. Thanks for the advise.

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Does removing the camera airport cable resolve your battery issue?


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I spilled water on my macbook pro today. Had similar issues - fan running at max and constantly from startup, my screen was flicking between dim and normal, one of the channels on my headphone jack was working at lower volume and the computer was running slow. I opened up the bottom, saw that there was some green corrosion on the motherboard, scrubbed that off with an old toothbrush and now it all seems to be back to normal.

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Try Fan Control!

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Sorry to interrupt the post a little bit. Actually Mac OS X is good at of taking care of itself, if there are performance issues, there are a couple of things you can check:

  • Check your Login Items under System Preferences > Accounts to see what you have automatically launching.Also check /Library/LaunchAgents/ and /Users/yourusername/Library/LaunchAgents/ for items launching at startup
  • Launch Activity Monitor and change "My Processes" at the top to "All Processes". Then see what may be consuming your OS X system resources.
  • Check the System Memory tab at the bottom of Activity Monitor to see if you have excessive "page outs", a sign that you may benefit from more RAM.
  • Check if you are running any poor Mac anti-virus programs as they may take large resouces.

If you don't want to do these manually or the above check still won't help, let this Mac tuneup utility to perform a health check of your Mac and fix relevant issues easily.

Hope this help, best regards.

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^^ & this post wouldn't be complete without a 'virus spreading parasite' making an appearance. Do not,.. DO NOT pay any attention to this maggot!


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I had the same issue and tried all the above. my kernel_task would sometimes go up to 3000 (how?? i don't know)

- ran hardware test: Error code 4SNS/1/C0000008:TN1D--124

Managed to resolve it by changing the trackpad cable. looks like the tea spilled dried on the ribbon making it go haywire. simple solution really but Apple asked me to 400 pounds to fix it...what a sham.

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hello, i have that same error code. but my battery doesnt charge. and my macbook runs very slow. did you have to change something on the logic board? thanks


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