My MacBook and my adventures with the genius bar

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Jollins, Sep 5, 2006.

  1. Jollins macrumors regular


    Jun 9, 2006
    I'm trying to reserve judgement on Apple's quality as a whole because every mass-produced product is going to have a few defective units out of the thousands and mistakes happen, but today I dropped my macbook off for repairs for the third time in a month.

    I got the computer in early June. About a week after recieving it, I upgrade the RAM and hard drive, and everything works flawlessly for about the next
    two months. In early August I started getting the now infamous random shutdowns. I go to the genius bar, and speak with the tech there - even though I couldn't replicate the issue in front of him he takes my word for it and sends the unit off to the repair center for a logic board replacement. The genius knows I used non-apple parts but it does not matter to him because the problem occurs with the old RAM and HDD as well.

    Repair #1:

    My computer sits at the repair center for a full week before the parts arrive and the repair is done. Due to weekends and such, I finally get my mac back about two weeks after sending it off. Everything works fine ... for a few days.

    Repair #2:

    The random shut downs begin again with a vengeance after about a week being back. This time the computer shuts down right in front of the genius. He wonders why the repair didn't fix the issue and looks at the repair log.

    Here is what was replaced in repair #1:
    "APP-605-0994 SVC, TOP CASE W APP-603-9857 ASSY, BEZEL, M42 APP-590-5254 PWR CRD, GND AC ADAPTER, NMP, US"

    The genius discovered that the repair center replaced the top case (I had no discoloration but they did anyway) and a whole bunch of other parts except the logic board. They were as surpised as I was, becuase in their defense they did send the correct instructions. I told them that I leave for college in about two weeks, so having to have my computer be sent off again is not okay. Luckily they discovered that they had a spare logic board in store, so they offered to do an in-store repair so I would not have to wait again. Six hours later, I pick up a working macbook and all is good again ... for a few days.

    Repair #3:

    A few days ago I begin to burn a CD-R in iTunes, but I cancel the burn mid-way because the playlist is wrong ... and here is where problem #3 begins. The CD refuses to eject. I attempt to restart the computer, but the computer refuses to begin the shut-down sequence, so I force-restart it. Upon restart, the computer hangs at the blank grey screen. All it does is attempt to read from the CD drive, and no keyboard commands work. Booting from firewire does not work. Putting back in the original Apple RAM and hard drive (which I was too lazy to sell, luckily) did not change anything.

    Earlier today, the genius I was helped by said that because I was using non-apple RAM and Hard drive when the grey screen issue began, it is possible that those parts are the cause despite that the issue persists with different ram and hard drives. As a result, they are going to take the time to discover the source of the problem and then repair it. I leave for college in twelve days and now I'm worried that they will not only get it back to me after I leave, but also that they will bill me if they determine that my replacing of user-replaceable parts caused the problem.

    Any thoughts in general, or thoughts on what to expect?
  2. skubish macrumors 68030


    Feb 2, 2005
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    sorry to hear about your troubles
    Did you are the genius try holding down the eject key during bootup? That works for me when I have a stuck CD.
  3. tobio macrumors regular


    Sep 5, 2004
    I think it's unlikely that replacing the parts yourself caused the problems, unless you were very gung-ho whilst doing it.

    When I was having random crashes in my G4 Powerbook it was down to my lower memory slot. I didn't bother take it into the store because in my experience it's down to luck wether you get someone helpful or some idiot. Instead i just bought a 1Gb chip, stuck it in the good slot and it's been fine ever since - many months now.

    If the genius bar tell you they won't repair your computer, or that its your fault or whatever, you have two choices. 1) elevate it up to their manager (i have never bothered to try this) or 2) make an appointment the next day and speak to someone else. When I did this with the white spots on my powerbook screen the first time I went they said there was nothing they could do, the second day they said of course we will replace it for free, even though it isn't in the serial number range that ever gets white spots.

    In your situation, I would try and insist on a replacement computer. don't try and push for an upgrade, or anything thrown in, just insist that all you care about having is a computer that works. From what I read, apple will keep on fixing your computer "forever", and getting a new for old replacement or upgrade from them is rarer than hen's teeth - but not impossible... My 15" G4 used to be a 12"
  4. generik macrumors 601


    Aug 5, 2005
    This is not really a fault.. have you tried holding down your mouse button when your machine boots up? That *should* eject the disc.
  5. evangelion-01 macrumors regular

    Jul 6, 2006
    hold down mouse and eject button, it will spit it out.... and never put a bootable windows utilities disc on your mac ^_^
  6. generik macrumors 601


    Aug 5, 2005
    But Jollins does have a point here.. Macs really suck big time when it comes to handling scratched discs, from time to time I need to rip a abused CD into digital formats using EAC (on a PC) and while at times it might freeze up the application itself, I have no trouble getting the disc out.

    How would you do it on a Mac?

    First of all the application would freeze, which you will then have to force quit.
    Secondly the drive will continue to click and moan (yes, the cheap drives used in Macs really make that grinding sound, I have no fracking idea why they won't even use normal 5.25" drives in their desktops) even though there is no application controlling it!!!
    Final resort is you'd try to shut it down to stop the drive from killing itself, but sometimes MacOS refuses to shutdown. It doesn't display an error or anything, it closes everything and you see your blank desktop with the spinning circle, but that's it.. it just freezes there.
    Lastly you just gotta hard reset it.

    That is pretty stupid considering all you are trying to do is read from a not so good CD. It doesn't even take viruses and spyware to bring down a Mac (which my PC is surprisingly immune to contrary to pundits here), all you need is a scratched CD.
  7. bill4588 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 2, 2006
    Kennesaw, GA
    that really sucks man and i can totally relate. i had to return two macbooks before getting a "decent" one. and the "genius" i had was so stupid. i gave him the macbook to let him inspect it and he said, "How do you open it? This is my first time dealing with a Macbook." And this was about a month after they were released! :rolleyes:
  8. Jollins thread starter macrumors regular


    Jun 9, 2006
    Nothing would get the CD out or make the computer do anything, other than holding the power key to turn it off again. I tried holding down the mouse button, the eject key, and everything else that is supposed to do something. The boot manager would not start, which means no boot-up key commands would work (which also means I couldn't get into safe mode, reset PRAM, etc).

    Thanks for the sympathies. I asked about a replacement but the tech said that if they did that and the issue came back because if the culprit was my RAM or HDD, they would have wasted a computer.
  9. fatties macrumors regular

    May 21, 2006
    well i have 3rd party ram on my mb and i convinced a product specialist that it was not at fault by running memtest (rember i think its called) 8 times. at that point he agreed that the chance of my ram being the culprit was incredibly slim and approved repairs even though i don't have my original ram sticks.

    i think if you do that and find a test for the hd (i don't know what because i got the ram thing from a macworld article) then you can show the tech that as far as you can prove its not your 3rd party ram or hd acting up... hopefully they will then be more helpful. they just want to push their 'supported products' even the guy on the applecare line admitted that to me.

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