gray laptop with connected usb multiport station

MacBook Pro 2016 Ports May be Dying


Well, I suppose it is a long to expect a computer to work, but my MacBook Pro 2016 is five years old and has been super reliable. However, today I plugged it into my trusty CalDigit ThunderBolt 3+ docking station and the CalDigit would not power up. Usually, when I plug it in, the blue light goes on and everything works. But today, everything was black.

Fortunately, I have two of these docking stations, so a quick swap with a working MacBook showed it was all working fine with that one. But here is what I discovered:

  1. It works fine on the left side, but not on the right
  2. Even weirder, on the right side, a regular charger with vanilla Apple 87 watt charger and a vanilla Apple cable will charge on the lower right port, but the Thunderbolt port isn’t recognized there.
  3. And nothing works on the upper right port.

Form my last excellent adventure with crashes due to a Logitech Camera, I discovered that sometimes a simple NVRAM reset can work wonders, so off I go to remember how to do this, useful for all of you as well I think:

  1. First, the obvious stuff from Mac Paw is to make sure that the connectors aren’t frayed and the power is on at the wall (that’s why you check with a good system).
  2. Then run through the various resets of which there are a lot, this is a good collection of resources for this, but with this T1 Intel MacBook, the various commands are to press the power button and then hold the Option-Command and then the P and R keys simultaneously. On my Mac, you will hear it chime twice and the NVRAM/PRAM are reset. This is where the system configuration is kept.
  3. Then you reset the SMC which deals with low level components like battery charging, vidoe modes, sleep and wake and so forth.
  4. Finally, there is a cool built in test that you can run called Apple Diagnostics where you turn on your Mac and press and hold the D key and it comes up with some basic tests. On Apple silicon, you turn you Mac on and hold the power buttong and then you will get a startup options and you click on the Option and then Command-D.

In my case, non of this worked and I sure hope it isn’t a motherboard replacement. I’m somewhat suspecting that since I mainly plug in on that side, I’ve just blown the connector. It could also be that I’m using non-Apple power supplies and something burned out. Hard to tell, but off to the Apple Store I go!

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