Author Topic: Fixed my own macbook pro  (Read 1512 times)

marty998

  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 1063
  • Location: Sydney, Oz
Fixed my own macbook pro
« on: November 25, 2012, 03:51:06 AM »
I'm pretty hopeless when it comes to computers. So when I tried to do too many things and move to many large files around in too short a time frame my cute little toy froze up and carked it.

I did what any idiot would do and that is madly try and reset the thing, banging on the power button repeatedly. Obviously it didn't like that, and greeted me with that godforsaken chewed apple on a grey screen with that little circle thing going round and round forever, trying to catch itself like a dog chasing its tail.

I went through the usual set of emotions that one goes through - denial, concern, fear, panic, desperation, despondency (sounds a lot like watching the markets in 08/09), before thinking of options (throw out window, throw in trash, call long lost mate who knows how to steal wireless (as if that would help), call apple and let them charge me a million bucks on my credit card etc). After an hour or 2 of looking at the little piece of crap and thinking "what a fucking expensive paperweight you are" I dug out the instruction manual. It was helpful (check power cable is plugged in, check battery is charged).

Then I started looking at the useful advice. (Command + Option + P + R + power button to reset RAM). The hard drive started making some noises which I thought was good but still no luck so as a last resort I stuck the original software disc in, learned a thing or 2 about disk utility and reloaded the operating system.

Ta da, I can write this post, and I learned how to fix a non-responsive mac. There probably was a better solution, but (a) I figured it out and fixed it myself, and (b) it cost nothing (I consider it a profit to have learned something) which all sounds pretty mustachian.

So for those of you out there who think they are useless with computers there is hope, just don't be afraid to give it a go.



plantingourpennies

  • Magnum
  • ****
  • Posts: 329
  • None.
    • Money, Kittens, Happiness
Re: Fixed my own macbook pro
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2012, 08:20:38 AM »
Congrats Marty!

Pro-tip from somebody who used to fix computers for a living and worked at a apple store. If the macbook is old enough to have a spinning Hard disk (as opposed to a solid-state one), you should consider replacing the HD. The bearings and other moving parts on the drive wear out, decreasing the performance substantially and putting your data at risk of total loss.

I have a 6 year old macbook and it gets a new drive every 2 years-the performance difference is worth the 100$ or so cost.

Best,
Mr. Pop
PlantingOurPennies- Our experience with personal finance.

marty998

  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 1063
  • Location: Sydney, Oz
Re: Fixed my own macbook pro
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2012, 11:43:59 PM »
Thanks for the tip Mr Pop. Mine is only about 18 months old so not sure if it does have a spinning hard drive or not. I don't usually run anything intensive on it, nothing beyond simple excel sheets and the odd game of solitaire so performance is not generally an issue.

However it does tend to do weird things when I connect to the internet. As soon as I get connected and open a blank safari or mozilla window it starts downloading 5-10 MB of data and I'm not quite sure what the files are. Could possibly be operating system related but since I'm on a capped wireless plan of 1.8GB a month (45MB/day) it chews up a fair bit of my usage and is a bit concerning. Any way to stop it? Already done spyware/malware check, and turned off "check for updates" boxes. Tried looking at cache logs but turned up nothing (maybe cos I don't know what to look for?)

hmm needs further investigating me thinks.


mustache brony

  • Stubble
  • *
  • Posts: 33
Re: Fixed my own macbook pro
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2012, 07:15:26 AM »
I wanted to post up a story about how I just fixed my laptop (Dell Inspiron 9300, not a Macbook Pro). Iím still glowing from the success and wanted to share. I used to use the laptop to visit my friends and play computer games at their location with them (so it has a dedicated graphics card and was fairly advanced when I got it used in 2007).

In early Spetember my laptop screen went dark when I booted it up one evening. I had put it into sleep mode and when I woke it up there was no picture on the display. So I restarted it. No fix. I booted it up and down a few times, and could hear the hard drive spinning which said all was not yet lost.

I plugged it into an external monitor which worked, and told me the problem was with the screen, not the graphics card. I then took a step back and looked at the specs for modern games that I would want to play, and slightly into the future to figure out what a replacement would run me. I decided an upgrade in nearly every area (except screen resolution) would be ~$600 on newegg, or $500 during the Labor Day Laptop sale. I was able to resist the siren call of a sale though.

I opened the laptop up (using the service manual available on the manfacturerís website, a computer repair kit (mostly screwdrivers), and a series of cups to put screws in and keep them separate), and removed the screen. Some internet research of the problem told me it was either the power inverter to the screen (so the LED backlight wasnít receiving power) or the LED backlight to the screen (so the screen was receiving power but not lighting up). After an evening of opening up the computer, I found the part number for the inverter, and ordered an identical part on ebay ($5). The part came, didnít fix the problem. Thus I decided, the problem was the screen (new screen $80).

This laptop is a little old in the tooth, so I wasnít ready to go out and pick up a new screen right away. I debated for a few weeks, and got used to living without a laptop, and finally a friend suggested a genius idea. Buy a broken laptop of the same model, with a working screen! It took me a month and a half of ebay sniping to pick up a broken laptop at the price I wanted ($40). It came yesterday, and I switched the screens on the new machine and now I have a working laptop again!

Thanks to Mustachianism, I was able to 1) adjust to not having a laptop, 2) fix my laptop myself with another used machine so as to not create any new waste. Iím not yet advanced enough to take the next step of selling off the repaired laptop and living without one, but I managed to get it repaired for less than a tenth of the cost of buying a new(er) laptop!

BPA

  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 539
Re: Fixed my own macbook pro
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2012, 06:22:35 AM »
Excellent work! 

It is so liberating to DIY.  I'm now selling off computer stuff I thought was no longer any good, but have now managed to fix myself. 

It's very badass to feel more competent than before especially when it either saves you money or puts more in your pocket.

marty998

  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 1063
  • Location: Sydney, Oz
Re: Fixed my own macbook pro
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2012, 12:12:13 AM »
That's an amazing story Brony, well done!

mustachio

  • Stubble
  • *
  • Posts: 12
Re: Fixed my own macbook pro
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2012, 08:18:08 PM »
I had a similar experience with a screen issue (but on a Macbook Pro...weird color shifting) and ended up buying the same model on ebay (I wish it had been only $40!) because it's been such a great computer.  I couldn't quite pinpoint the problem and buying a new screen wasn't guaranteed to work.

I put the hard drive (newish, 500 GB) and extra memory from the busted computer into the immaculate looking "new" computer and was up and running.  I'm keeping the other one around.  It still works and displays fine to an external monitor, so I may find some other use for it or I can use it for parts.  I feel like I own a classic car or something...

I've gotten sort of fearless with repairs because it's better to give it a shot since it's already broken!
« Last Edit: December 05, 2012, 08:20:33 PM by mustachio »