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13" aluminum unibody, 2.0 or 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo processor.

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Laptop goes to sleep and won't wake up halfway through startup

I have a Late 2008 Macbook (2.0ghz model, 160gb hhd, all original other than ram), which up until yesterday was working great. In hopes that I could boost the speed a little I upgraded the ram from (4+1) to (4+2) GB, and started the laptop up, and it registered the new ram and was working fine.

I then went to start up in recovery mode to do a fresh OS reinstall, but instead of holding command-R I held option-R by mistake. The apple logo and boot up progress bar showed up, but then almost at the end of the progress bar the screen went blank, and laptop non-responsive. I did a hard power off and restarted laptop, and now every time I turn it on it does this same thing.

I opened it up and re-plugged in the ram to make sure it was well seated, and it’s possible that it wasn’t all the way in the first time I installed the new 2gb card.

Unplugging and replugging the power cord brings the laptop back awake briefly, but quickly goes black again. It’s not just a screen thing, because typing in password while it’s dark doesn’t register and isn’t there when I can get the screen to come back on.

I have reset PRAM and SMC several times each, with no effect. Laptop will not do a safe startup (hold shift). Laptop DOES give me the option to boot from a different drive when I hold option, but will not boot to recovery partition, or external (usb drive formatted as startup drive) - same thing happens when I try each - get to apple logo and process bar, but everything goes dark right near the end of the progress bar.

Did I fry my logic board by not having RAM inserted all the way? Did holding option-R on startup do something?

Any suggestions for diagnosis or repair would be greatly appreciated!

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Chosen Solution

Do you by any chance have the laptop on a stack of MacBooks? Just this week I had this same problem (boots halfway and then goes to sleep before showing login screen) and found out that it’s due to the magnets on the laptop beneath. Those magnets trigger the sensor on the upper laptop, making it think the lid is closed. Of course, nothing you do will get the screen to wake when the laptop thinks the screen is shut.

Solution: take the laptop off the stack! Worked like a charm for me, let me know if it works for you!

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Thank you for the response! It unfortunately isn't on a stack of macbooks, but a sleep sensor malfunction had occurred to me. Is there any way to test this possibility?

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@aprepair Thank you very much - you set in the right direction. It wasn't an external magnet problem, but I was able to confirm it was a faulty hall effect sleep sensor (part IF160-066-1). Disconnected that and laptop functions normally now, except doesn't sleep when closed, and I lose the attached front power light.

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