2012 Macbook Pro Broken RAM Clips

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by elixeus, Aug 29, 2013.

  1. elixeus macrumors newbie

    Aug 29, 2013
    So, for my Mom's birthday I bought her some memory. Since she lives out of state, I thought I would walk her through the process of upgrading her memory over Facetime. She was so amazed by the simplicity of how to remove the memory, that she didn't bother to listen to me and wait to put the memory in; instead, rather, she just got overzealous and put the memory in completely unseated. Most would think... oh no problem, just remove it. The problem was it was seated so improperly that the gold contact could be fully seen (and no, she didn't put in the memory backwards. The memory her Macbook takes is, PC3-12800 204-PIN DDR3 1600MHz, same as mine. I bought the Mac version of the crucial memory, 16 GB, that follows the previously mentioned specifications.

    I have put in the memory myself and had no issues what so ever, but I am much more technologically inclined. In fact, I feel awful for even having her go through this process because although she was successful at unjamming the memory, she broke her plastic clips in the process. The bottom slot is fine and still holds 1x8GB module, but the top can't hold the other module because the module although seated properly in not secure without the plastic clips that hold the module down. The computer boots up fine on the one module and I'm sure would boot up fine with the second, but I feel it is too dicey to run a module unsecured rubbing against the aluminum body of the bottom case.

    Sorry for that back history... my question is: the plastic tabs that hold the memory in place, is it a replaceable part, or is it molded onto the logic board. I noticed two screws that either hold that part of the motherboard down, or they serve as a way of replacing those tabs. On one hand, I picture Apple when they designed the system to be evil and follow an archaic design where the clips are permanently affixed to the motherboard. On the other hand, it is perfectly ok for a user to upgrade his or her ram, so long as he or she doesn't harm the computer in the process (even with AppleCare). Thus I would imagine that this is not the first, nor last time this has happened and whether or not this issue is fixable. The logic board is fine, it's just those plastic securing tabs.

    Thanks so much for reading my first post and taking your time to respond!
  2. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Molded to the logic board. Break it and there goes your logic board. Unless you can desolder and resolder a new bracket.
  3. Astroboy907 macrumors 65816


    May 6, 2012
    Spaceball One
    True. Unless to OP is skilled in SMT reworking, or can afford professional repair it's done for.
    OP, how "broken" is the clip? I've heard of people super-glueing and duct-taping broken ram clips to get them to stay... If the basic structure is there you might be able to DIY it. Getting it checked by apple would be a good step before trying anything. I've heard stories around here about generosity with out of warranty or accidental issues. Hope it goes well.
  4. Count Blah macrumors 68040

    Count Blah

    Jan 6, 2004
    US of A
    Ahhh, mothers and their computers - giving tech sons early grey hair since 1985.
  5. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    In this case it isn't SMT soldering the issue, it's THT. RAM slots are usually Through Hole Technology based, which means pins that go into a hole in the motherboard and then wave soldered.

    So, it is now even more difficult since you have to desolder the current setup, actually obtain a part for the logic board and resolder it through a wave solder which is not easy to come along. Not to mention, you might cause shorts.
  6. elixeus thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 29, 2013
    Thanks for all the support and suggestions guys. I really do appreciate you taking the time and thoroughly answering my question.

    Yes, I am not familiar with SMT molding or anything of the sort. Like I had mentioned previously, they are just the clips that hold the RAM in the downward position. So if I can find some thermally-dissipative/electronic friendly foam for the outer stick to hold up against the bottom case of the unibody, then all should be well. It is just that my Mom is a perfectionist and the clips are now bothering her. Once I get access to the computer I'll attempt a very careful DIY fix.

    I have experience in this area with re-piecing together a previous girlfriend's broken laptop that had a dead logic board and re-pieced it together with a broken Macbook off eBay that has a backlight/ballast screen issue. The result was the birth of Frankenbook! Even took advantage and mixed and matched the white and black covers and keys. As far as I know, it still works to this day. However, with that being said, never had my hand at soldering. I will stick to keeping my fix simple, albeit probably not very elegant. I have got an engineering mind a 4 months to think about it, though ;)

    Well said! Haha... I was born in 1985. No grey hairs yet, but I think they're just starting to grow in ;)
  7. raptor402 macrumors 6502

    Jun 30, 2011
    I would advise you go for a stopgap solution rather than bothering to try to replace the Slot, or replace the whole logic board. First of all, check whether the slot is still reading the memory. You mentioned that it just wasn't holding the DIMM in place. If it's reading the memory fine, add some tape/wire/whatever to make sure the memory is in place, and leave it as is. Make note, however, that it will have to be very firm, since loose RAM, especially on a mom's PC, can be hell.

    I hope this helps.

  8. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    That solution might work, but consider it a band-aide solution, not permanent.
  9. vizspurs, Oct 21, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013

    vizspurs macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2013
    Replacement Tab

    Hi elixeus. A very similar issue happened to me on my 2012 15" MBP.
    I was upgrading to 16GB Ram (Corsair Mac Memory) and the plastic tip of the Ram clip broke on the right hand side. This stopped the top level Ram from locking in place. I was annoyed as I've done this many times before and felt that the plastic was way too flimsy. As a makeshift, I added a piece of stiff plastic, screwed under the broken plastic tip and this served as a "Tab" holding the ram in place.

    However, as I have 3 years Warranty - I went to the Apple store hoping that they would rectify this. I thought it would be a quick replacement part. However, I find out the plastic Ram Clip is part of the logic board and not covered by Warranty, I was informed that I would have to pay an extra $500 for a new logic board - which I'm not prepared to do. I was not happy with the way the Genius handled my situation and even sent a letter to the Manager, who in turn, contacted me. I won't go into details, but I will say that after being told by the initial Genius that these parts never break - I am coming across a lot of websites where people have had similar issues with these ram clips. Anyway, even though not very pretty, and most likely will affect the resale value - the tab works very well.
  10. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    Sorry to bump up this old thread but your genius at the Apple store is incorrect. Ram upgrades are a 'user replaceable part" and if you have three year warranty on your MBP, they owe you a new logic board. The clips should not break that easily, anyway.

    This happened to me on the last day of my 3 year Titanium Powerbook warranty and I was so nervous I called Apple to walk me through the upgrade. Newbie then. Yes I broke the ram clip. And Yes Apple put in a new logic board. It was under warranty, I was on the phone with them and was so nervous I broke the clip, but as it is a user serviceable part, it falls under Applecare.

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9 August 29, 2013