2.5 y/o macbook develops random shutdown?

my 2.0 ghz core2duo white macbook has done the random shutdown thing 2 nights in a row, and its never happened before. no warning, no prior indication, it just instantly shuts down. I haven't heard of this developing on an older macbook. Both times the computer was under light load, on battery power and had maybe 20% charge left.
I did see one thread where on old battery may be an alternative cause, so I downloaded the suggested coconutbattery, which tells me my battery has a capacity of 4036 mAH now, as opposed to 5020 when new. I don't know if this is significant but it doesn't seem that 80% of the original battery capacity is too bad.
Does anyone have experience of this happening, or any helpful info for me?? This is a pain as I was hoping to use my macbook for some live music soon... not too confident of that now.
thanks, Simon Gregory

I'm not sure resetting the SMC is good advice, according this article:
It says only to do it very very specific issues, and random shutdown is not one of them. The article specifically warns against doing it as a troubleshooting measure...

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    I picked up a cheap macbook from a secondhand retailer for $300 and it regularly shutdown, froze, restarted as well as the grey kernel panic screen completely random no real pattern. I set about trying to solve the problem swapping ram and hard drive with my identical 2006 macbook (which I had similar problems with last year, fixed that one with a new battery connector cable). The ram and hard drive made no difference so I downloaded istat menus to see if any combination of cpu voltage, current and temperature were causing the random shutdowns. It seemed when the temperature reached certain values the computer would shutdown or freeze(around 30 to 50 degrees). I'd read on other forums about faulty cpu temperature diodes so I reapplied heatsink compound to the cpu heatsink and checked all the wiring for shorts but nothing seemed to solve the problem. I was ready to retire the computer and use it for spares for my other macbook when needed but I pulled the keyboard off one more time and tried something completely radical. This fix requires some forward planning and software installation but it has completely solved my Random shutdowns completely.
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    Ok this is not for the non technical person but it is quite a simple process with the right instructions.
    This first step is very important install the software coolbook($10) and fan control (Free)( not smc fan control). Set up coolbook to operate the cpu at the lowest speed and voltage for both power adapter and battery(1002MHz and .95Volts). Remove the keyboard to access the computer logic board (instructions can be found at iFixit). Remove the four screws and two connectors holding the heatsink to the logicboard and gently lift the heatsink out (very important that you leave the fan screwed in and connected). Close the computer back up if you wish to test just gently connect the keyboard and loosly sit the keyboard back in. Restart and reset the pram immediately. Let the computer boot up and then open system preferences and configure Fan Control to your liking. So far no random shutdowns for over a week (was getting many a day previously.


    http://techpaedia.com/apple/2006/08/27/testing-your-macbook-for-random-shut-down s/
    i encourage yo uto all check that out, im running the test right now, hoping for the best
    for all of you people who know your stuff, could this be bad for my computer?

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    That's very interesting coooldoc. I tried it on my
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    Mac Owners Support Group
    Join Us @ MacOSG.com
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