A dead SSD and a hot air gun!

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by abhi182, Aug 27, 2016.

  1. abhi182 macrumors newbie


    Apr 24, 2016
    My wife's 2014 macbook Air had been acting up lately and it woke up to the dreaded flashing question mark folder this evening :(
    The only thing that worked was Internet recovery and disk utility couldn't even detect the SSD

    I live in India and like elsewhere, Apple service costs a bomb!
    Called a local Indy who quoted 16K INR (~225 USD) for a replacement SSD

    Since I didn't have anything to lose, I thought of the bake-a-few-hours-in-the-sun fix my dad used to for iffy electronics back in the day
    So I opened up the case, pulled out the SSD and subjected it to a few minutes of TLC from a hot air gun..
    Then let the SSD cool down and put it back in.

    Guess what, the laptop is up & running again!

    Thought of posting it here for posterity's sake and in the hope it helps another kindred soul :)

    PS: I did use a IR thermometer to monitor the temperature of the SSD and stopped the hot air treatment when the board hit around 155C
  2. Shirasaki macrumors 604


    May 16, 2015
    Kinda surprised by your story but.
    Backup all your data immediately and seek for a chance to buy a new laptop.
    I also had a broken SSD just a few months ago. Luckily there are several Apple Store around me. Guess how much the price is? 800+ AUD which is 40k Rupees. And also luckily, I received a free replacement SSD at last.
    So, again, backup your data, immediately.
  3. Relentless Power macrumors Penryn

    Relentless Power

    Jul 12, 2016
    Doesn't seem like something I would do. Probably not the smartest thing with the SSD, even if you are THINK your Monitoring the internal temperature. You have no idea what other damage you could be doing. But then again, it's your Computer.
  4. abhi182 thread starter macrumors newbie


    Apr 24, 2016
    The data is backed up all the time on a NAS ..
    BTW how did you manage to convince the Apple folks to do a free replacement?
    I am not very sure how long this fix would last..

    For what it is worth, the reason this probably worked is this:
    When I opened up the back plate, I realized the SSD was hot to the touch (insufficient cooling/bad batch of SSD/who knows?)
    constant heat has a way of botching up solder contacts - Now normally you would need a SMD reflow machine to try fix such an issue but a hot air gun also does the same in a less controlled manner

    It was a dead SSD for all practical purposes, so there really wasn't any more damage this could do :p
  5. Shirasaki macrumors 604


    May 16, 2015
    I don't remember I do anything. I just say if they charge me 800 bucks for this replacement I would better buy a new machine anyway. Then everything is done without further interaction. Replace time? I send the machine that day morning and receive machine afternoon.
    The only thing they say regarding this replacement is my SSD is within some sort of quality replacement program.
  6. iMetrix macrumors newbie


    Sep 8, 2018
    I am going to try this with a Hair Dryer. I dont own a hot air gun, but im guessing it would be the same, It gets extremely hot after a few minutes on full heat on turbo.
  7. mikeanthony2429 macrumors newbie

    Nov 10, 2018
    Did you try this, if so did it work?
  8. ApolloBoy macrumors 6502a


    Apr 16, 2015
    San Jose, CA
    A hair dryer will not get anywhere near hot enough to melt or even soften solder, you need an actual hot air gun.

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