Author Topic: Can this MacBook be saved?  (Read 5542 times)

BrooklineBiker

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 331
Can this MacBook be saved?
« on: October 14, 2014, 08:39:34 PM »
Hi everyone,
I am the owner of an early 2009 13 inch unibody MacBook with 2 GB RAM and 2 GHz Core 2 Duo Processor. I recently attempted to swap out the existing (slow but working) RAM cards for new ones with more memory. Some checking eventually revealed that one of the new cards was likely defective. I decided to simply reinstall the old RAM cards pending the receipt of replacement (new) RAM cards.

The effort to reinstall was a rough one. To get the RAM cards out, I had to first get the battery out. The battery case lock has been barely operable for some time. To get the battery out with delaminating it, I had to open up the computer. I closely tracked the locations of the many screws removed. However, one screw went missing from the back of the computer next to a vent and another screw in the RAM holding case behind the battery compartment simply would not go back in. (Some of the screws appeared stripped on the computer when I attempted to remove them). The computer case cracked in spots during the removal process. (A few screws were not removable from the frame even with a needle nose pliers. That made it a challenge to pry off the top case). That said, I did manage to put the case together again with the old RAM cards in place. Try as I might, I could not get the cards to seat tightly in their slots. (They were in snugly when first removed). When I attempt to restart the computer, I simply get a series of beeps. Sigh. Do I have remaining repair options?  Is the machine dead?
Thanks!

GizmoTX

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1321
Re: Can this MacBook be saved?
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2014, 10:58:33 PM »
A repair/upgrade place I have used several times for Macs, iPod, & iPhone is iResq, located in Kansas. They can assess the repair ability & quote what it will take to get it back into service; you are not obligated to proceed. Their prices are much better than Apple for out of warranty. They will send you a suitable shipping box if you don't have one. See their website for more info. You may want to consider getting your RAM upgrade from them & getting a refund from your original supplier. You do need more than 2 GB.

Greg

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1449
  • Location: Olympia, WA, USA
Re: Can this MacBook be saved?
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2014, 10:05:04 AM »
The RAM cards should seat with little pressure.  I suspect that either they weren't lined up right, or aren't the right size/shape/etc.

While I don't understand the battery release problem, I think the case problems on top of the RAM problems mean it's not worth paying someone to fix.  I'd keep trying myself if I were you.

Try Apple Hardware Test; turn on the computer while holding down the D key as it starts up.  Select your language and follow the instructions.  If there is a hardware problem (like the RAM) it will display a code that will help you diagnose the problem.

Distshore

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 176
  • Age: 40
  • Location: New York
Re: Can this MacBook be saved?
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2014, 03:20:25 PM »
I can't answer directly, but it certainly is possible to repair your own MacBook Pro.  I'm just typing on my mid-2010 15" unibody that I just put back together with a new keypad after idiotically spilling tea all over the keyboard and shorting it out....expensive cup of tea!

Your computer isn't dead; nothing that can't be fixed.  You just need the right tools, parts and resources. 

I found excellent DIY guides for MacBook on iFixit.com; complete teardown guides AND tool recommendations.  Bought a set of screwdrivers for ~$11 on Amazon and went to work, some torx and y heads were needed.  Check iFixit; there is a guide there for your computer model.
When ordering parts (I got mine via ebay, both new and refurb parts), make sure you've checked your model number on the underside of the case so that you order the correct parts. 
There are 2 different 2009 models at least for the 15" MBP, not sure about the 13".

There are also two dedicated websites for replacement parts...one of them is Powerbookmedic.com.  It's more expensive than ebay and amazon, though; but less risk if you're not convinced what parts you need.  You may just need to replace some extra parts eg. a refurb bottom case etc; and buy some more screws.  It's all possible if you're patient and don't mind fiddling over it.

PS next time, put the tiny screws on a piece of scotch tape so you don't lose them.  The keyboard has about 80 microscopic screws in it, so I definitely needed to do this!

BrooklineBiker

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 331
Re: Can this MacBook be saved?
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2014, 08:22:02 PM »
I can't answer directly, but it certainly is possible to repair your own MacBook Pro.  I'm just typing on my mid-2010 15" unibody that I just put back together with a new keypad after idiotically spilling tea all over the keyboard and shorting it out....expensive cup of tea!

Your computer isn't dead; nothing that can't be fixed.  You just need the right tools, parts and resources. 

I found excellent DIY guides for MacBook on iFixit.com; complete teardown guides AND tool recommendations.  Bought a set of screwdrivers for ~$11 on Amazon and went to work, some torx and y heads were needed.  Check iFixit; there is a guide there for your computer model.
When ordering parts (I got mine via ebay, both new and refurb parts), make sure you've checked your model number on the underside of the case so that you order the correct parts. 
There are 2 different 2009 models at least for the 15" MBP, not sure about the 13".

There are also two dedicated websites for replacement parts...one of them is Powerbookmedic.com.  It's more expensive than ebay and amazon, though; but less risk if you're not convinced what parts you need.  You may just need to replace some extra parts eg. a refurb bottom case etc; and buy some more screws.  It's all possible if you're patient and don't mind fiddling over it.

PS next time, put the tiny screws on a piece of scotch tape so you don't lose them.  The keyboard has about 80 microscopic screws in it, so I definitely needed to do this!

Hi Distshore,
I am happy to hear the patient is not dead. Thanks for the recommendation of Powerbookmedic.com. (I used scotch tape to hold the screws but lost 1 anyway. :( ).

BrooklineBiker

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 331
Re: Can this MacBook be saved?
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2014, 08:24:33 PM »
The RAM cards should seat with little pressure.  I suspect that either they weren't lined up right, or aren't the right size/shape/etc.

While I don't understand the battery release problem, I think the case problems on top of the RAM problems mean it's not worth paying someone to fix.  I'd keep trying myself if I were you.

Try Apple Hardware Test; turn on the computer while holding down the D key as it starts up.  Select your language and follow the instructions.  If there is a hardware problem (like the RAM) it will display a code that will help you diagnose the problem.
Hi Greg,
Thanks for the feedback. This is great information and advice. I will try the Apple Hardware test soonest. Hopefully that isolates the problem.

BrooklineBiker

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 331
Re: Can this MacBook be saved?
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2014, 08:26:46 PM »
A repair/upgrade place I have used several times for Macs, iPod, & iPhone is iResq, located in Kansas. They can assess the repair ability & quote what it will take to get it back into service; you are not obligated to proceed. Their prices are much better than Apple for out of warranty. They will send you a suitable shipping box if you don't have one. See their website for more info. You may want to consider getting your RAM upgrade from them & getting a refund from your original supplier. You do need more than 2 GB.
Hi Gizmo,
Thanks for the referral to iResq. I would prefer DIY but it is good to know I have options for repair by a vendor that is cheaper than Apple or the local service provider.

GizmoTX

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1321
Re: Can this MacBook be saved?
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2014, 09:12:07 PM »
I have done a lot of RAM upgrades myself, but the hard drive in a MacBook Pro or opening an iPhone/iPod is where I draw the line. I put the old (functional but too small) HD in an external case for an extra backup drive -- it's portable & you can never have too many.

Cinder

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 468
  • Location: Central PA
Re: Can this MacBook be saved?
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2014, 09:23:22 PM »
When I replaced the hard drive in mine, I used an icecube tray, one cube for each type of screw in order (following directions)... Filled them in reverse to put it back together!

unpolloloco

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 185
Re: Can this MacBook be saved?
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2014, 08:35:07 AM »
That series of beeps is should be a good indicator of what's up.  Search for "2009 Macbook beep codes"

Probably is just a memory stick that's not seated properly.

Also, worst case, sell it on Ebay - there's still significant value in broken Apple hardware.

Sparafusile

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 333
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Indiana, USA
Re: Can this MacBook be saved?
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2014, 08:52:16 AM »
Most likely just a memory module that wasn't installed correctly. Remember, you insert them at a high angle and then press them down until they click:



Here's the link:

http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1651

This is a fairly straightforward procedure. If you have a friend that builds computers you could ask him/her to take a look rather than pay Apple directly. The screws can also be replaced - they are standard sizes.

m8547

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 311
Re: Can this MacBook be saved?
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2014, 05:40:51 PM »
Most reputable aftermarket RAM has a lifetime warranty.

RAM is extremely sensitive to static electricity, or electrostatic discharge (ESD). It can be damaged by a charge that you don't even feel. Ideally you would have proper ESD protection equipment, such as a static dissipative mat, wrist strap, and dissipative smock to wear over your clothes. The mat and wrist strap should be properly grounded to earth ground, and everything should be placed on the mat while you work. If you don't have that, the following tips might help:
-Work on a hard, natural surface like wood or stone. Metal is not good because it conducts too well, and plastic (as well as coatings on some surfaces) build up charge easily.
-Don't wear socks or stand on carpet
-Keep everything at the same electrical potential. Touching metal on the laptop is a good way to do that. With RAM it's difficult because touching it could damage it. The packaging may dissipate enough static that it's safe once you open it. You can keep all these things grounded by touching grounded metal in your house, such as the screw in a light switch, or a water pipe, or standing on an unfinished concrete floor may be good enough.
-Only handle RAM by the edges, and be very careful no to touch the contacts, the chips, or any of the traces that run between them.
-Avoid movements that may create a charge, like walking around or anything that causes your clothing to rub together.
-Wear natural fibers, not synthetic
-Increase the humidity, or don't work if the humidity is extremely low. You can estimate indoor humidity based on the outdoor dewpoint, since indoor temperature is relatively constant and humidity is a function of dew point and temperature. A dew point below freezing means very low humidity, and below 0F i starts to approach the dryness of an airplane (which is very dry).

If the battery is delaminating, put some adhesive in and glue it back together.

The beeping likely means that the RAM is not working or not installed correctly. Apple Hardware Test won't work without RAM.

A few missing screws is probably OK. It has some extra! If you measure them you can probably find replacements online. Calipers are helpful since they are so small.

BrooklineBiker

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 331
Re: Can this MacBook be saved?
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2014, 08:11:59 PM »
Most reputable aftermarket RAM has a lifetime warranty.

RAM is extremely sensitive to static electricity, or electrostatic discharge (ESD). It can be damaged by a charge that you don't even feel. Ideally you would have proper ESD protection equipment, such as a static dissipative mat, wrist strap, and dissipative smock to wear over your clothes. The mat and wrist strap should be properly grounded to earth ground, and everything should be placed on the mat while you work. If you don't have that, the following tips might help:
-Work on a hard, natural surface like wood or stone. Metal is not good because it conducts too well, and plastic (as well as coatings on some surfaces) build up charge easily.
-Don't wear socks or stand on carpet
-Keep everything at the same electrical potential. Touching metal on the laptop is a good way to do that. With RAM it's difficult because touching it could damage it. The packaging may dissipate enough static that it's safe once you open it. You can keep all these things grounded by touching grounded metal in your house, such as the screw in a light switch, or a water pipe, or standing on an unfinished concrete floor may be good enough.
-Only handle RAM by the edges, and be very careful no to touch the contacts, the chips, or any of the traces that run between them.
-Avoid movements that may create a charge, like walking around or anything that causes your clothing to rub together.
-Wear natural fibers, not synthetic
-Increase the humidity, or don't work if the humidity is extremely low. You can estimate indoor humidity based on the outdoor dewpoint, since indoor temperature is relatively constant and humidity is a function of dew point and temperature. A dew point below freezing means very low humidity, and below 0F i starts to approach the dryness of an airplane (which is very dry).

If the battery is delaminating, put some adhesive in and glue it back together.

The beeping likely means that the RAM is not working or not installed correctly. Apple Hardware Test won't work without RAM.

A few missing screws is probably OK. It has some extra! If you measure them you can probably find replacements online. Calipers are helpful since they are so small.
Hi M,
Wow! Thanks for such a detailed, thoughtful response. When I was working on the computer, my daughter (who was grounded) accidentally broke daddy's rule and picked up the RAM cards from the middle, not the edges. I hope that did not kill them.


BrooklineBiker

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 331
Re: Can this MacBook be saved?
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2014, 08:17:34 PM »
Most likely just a memory module that wasn't installed correctly. Remember, you insert them at a high angle and then press them down until they click:



Here's the link:

http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1651

This is a fairly straightforward procedure. If you have a friend that builds computers you could ask him/her to take a look rather than pay Apple directly. The screws can also be replaced - they are standard sizes.
Hi Sparafusile,
Your explanation and diagram may have hit on my problem. I put the cards in straight ahead. I did not press them in from an angle. That would explain why they never clicked. Should all models of MacBook have the RAM inserted from an angle?

BrooklineBiker

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 331
Re: Can this MacBook be saved?
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2014, 08:24:31 PM »
That series of beeps is should be a good indicator of what's up.  Search for "2009 Macbook beep codes"

Probably is just a memory stick that's not seated properly.

Also, worst case, sell it on Ebay - there's still significant value in broken Apple hardware.
Hi unpolloloco,
Thanks for your tips. I googled 2009 Macbook beep codes and learned the following:
The power on self-test runs whenever the computer is turned on after being fully shut down. If a fault is detected during the test, you will not hear a normal startup chime. Instead, the system will beep as explained below.
1 beep = no RAM installed
2 beeps = incompatible RAM types
3 beeps = no good banks
4 beeps = no good boot images in the boot ROM (and/or bad sys config block)
5 beeps = processor is not usable
My next step will be to boot up the computer and count beeps.

zolotiyeruki

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3039
  • Location: State: Denial
Re: Can this MacBook be saved?
« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2014, 05:32:13 AM »
Hi Sparafusile,
Your explanation and diagram may have hit on my problem. I put the cards in straight ahead. I did not press them in from an angle. That would explain why they never clicked. Should all models of MacBook have the RAM inserted from an angle?
Not just MacBooks, but basically *every* laptop has RAM inserted the same way.

scapegote

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 7
Re: Can this MacBook be saved?
« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2014, 07:51:50 AM »
Hi Sparafusile,
Your explanation and diagram may have hit on my problem. I put the cards in straight ahead. I did not press them in from an angle. That would explain why they never clicked. Should all models of MacBook have the RAM inserted from an angle?
Not just MacBooks, but basically *every* laptop has RAM inserted the same way.

Not to be rude, but this isn't true. The main exception is actually older macbooks. Just fwiw.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Zjzv-mJxFY

BrooklineBiker

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 331
Re: Can this MacBook be saved?
« Reply #17 on: October 18, 2014, 07:22:11 PM »
Hi Sparafusile,
Your explanation and diagram may have hit on my problem. I put the cards in straight ahead. I did not press them in from an angle. That would explain why they never clicked. Should all models of MacBook have the RAM inserted from an angle?
Not just MacBooks, but basically *every* laptop has RAM inserted the same way.

Not to be rude, but this isn't true. The main exception is actually older macbooks. Just fwiw.

Hi Scapegote,
Thanks for the YouTube link. The demonstration of the man muscling in the RAM card is very helpful.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Zjzv-mJxFY