Breathing Life into a Neglected Machine

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Essenar, May 3, 2014.

  1. Essenar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2008
    #1
    So, a little background:
    I went through financial hardship and don't have the machine in my signature anymore. I had to sell my Retina 13" Pro (Haswell) to pay rent and was ultimately reduced to using a heavy gaming laptop (MSI GX60). I couldn't handle the weight and obnoxious size of the thing so I posted it here and on my college's free and for sale forum as a potential MacBook Trade.

    Ultimately, I got a few lowball offers (The machine is worth $750 at least on Ebay) but finally got an offer I'd at least entertain.

    Mid-2010 Apple MacBook Pro 13" with a cracked LCD plus $320 on top. I priced around and figured I could replace the cracked LCD (I have a heat gun and I used to be a PC technician) for around $75 shipped. So essentially I'd have a Mid-2010 MacBook for roughly $750-cost of trade so around $500. I figured it wasn't a "bad" deal because I do need some extra cash and the machine is more than capable of covering my needs. But man did this screen go through its wars. (I'm going to post pictures).

    In this thread, I will be documenting:
    The initial restoration phase (Going to take her apart, clean up the dust, reapply a thermal paste because it's the Nvidia 320M version).
    The 'spare upgrades' phase (Going to install a 120GB Corsair Force GT SSD, upgrade to 8GB of ram with a spare DDR3 kit I have laying around)
    The 'repair phase' (using my heat gun, removing the cracked glass and replacing it with new glass. I THINK the LCD is fine because I don't see any color issues with it. Any recommendations on how I can check it?

    And I'm going to try to remove the corner dent on the clamshell and buff out all the scratches.

    I only need to use it from now until Late July/Early August when I start working full time so I think it should be sufficient. Anything I should know about these machines other than the heat issue?
     
  2. Essenar thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2008
    #2
    Well, doesn't seem like many care much about this thread, but I'll document what happens anyway just for anyone who's concerned.

    The main issues I had coming to this machine are:
    1) Cracked screen
    2) Very dated hardware in terms of ram and HDD speed
    3) Missing components and neglected care

    So let's get started!

    The first order of business was taking care of the thermals. I had to wait for the LCD glass replacement to come in and while I waited, I figured I would take a look inside the machine.

    [​IMG]

    Wow, that's dirty. But surely it's not so bad underneath the CPU and GPU right?

    [​IMG]

    Okay, that's gonna take some work. But let's clean out the fan! After all, the majority of over heating with laptops is a result of stuff blocking the fan. Didn't know that did ya?

    [​IMG]

    Ew! It's about the size of my thumb. It's no wonder the temperatures were so high before. For reference: I was hitting 90 degrees Celsius on load and idling around 63 degrees.

    [​IMG]

    Isopropyl alcohol will take care of this, I hope. Don't only clean the CPU/GPU. You should also clean the underside of the heatsink. Warning! If you're using a liquid based cleaning agent, make sure it's non conductive and that it dries before you close everything up. Don't just close it and ASSUME it will dry. Things take much longer to dry if they're sealed up.

    After cleaning off the old goop, I applied some Antec Formula 7 Nano Diamond compound. Arctic Silver is the go-to recommend, but from my research, Formula 7 is pretty legit:

    [​IMG]

    And sure enough, my post results are pretty Safari-snappy. I get 51-52 degrees Celsius on idle and as high as 72 degrees Celsius with load. I'm sure the unclogging of the heatsink fan made a difference but it's good to know that at least Formula 7 (Which is available at Fry's and a lot of B&M retailers) works at least just as well.

    Next was the LCD and I have a LOT of information about it.
     
  3. Essenar thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2008
    #3
    In regards to the screen glass:
    The prior owner had seriously damaged the glass. Cracked across the top left corner, a slight inverted dent in the upper left display case. I was worried that the LCD itself was damaged and that I wouldn't be able to replace only the glass. But I took steps to see if it were the LCD and I'll detail those here.

    First: Finding the replacement glass.
    This isn't too difficult. Replacement glass on Amazon is $19.99 with free shipping and it has a ton of positive reviews. While I was at it, I picked up a tool kit that included the T6 and T8 Torx screws.

    The screen came in a cardboard box with a lot of bubble wrap and plastic wrap protecting it. The tool kit was more or less a 6.5 on the "quality" scale but this was more of a "get it done under $30" project so I didn't stress too much about the tools lasting after.

    Step Two: Removal of the old glass...

    Now this was a pain in the freaking BUTT. The videos on YouTube make it seem like it's a walk in the park. I'll save you the trouble. It is NOT a walk in the park. First, if you don't have a heat gun, you're reduced to using a hair dryer as a substitute which works to an extent. The thing is, it doesn't get the adhesive hot enough that you can just pry the screen off. It gets it hot enough that you can wedge a small flat head inside of it and start cracking it. Warning! On YouTube and on some guides, they tell you you can do this without removing the display case. I will tell you right now, that is a TERRIBLE idea. The keyboard keys on these notebooks are NOT very tolerant to high temperatures and the FIRST key to get melted is the Escape key. So take the time and remove the display case from the notebook. While you're doing that, you can clean out dust, replace thermal paste, clean out the fans and do whatever upgrades you need to do.

    [​IMG]

    I didn't want to spend $100 on a heatgun though so it had to do. Eventually, after an hour of heating and playing with it, I finally started to break little pieces of the glass off and eventually...

    [​IMG]

    This process was NOT a joke. I've repaired a lot of stuff in my time and this glass was atrociously difficult to get off. I honestly thought I scratched or damaged the LCD screen. There were a few scuffs but I wanted to make sure I didn't before I applied the new glass. So I thought, "Wow, how can I assemble this thing and check if the screen works without losing the camera bracket and having my laptop look like some junk I found in a dumpster? OH WAIT, I KNOW!"

    [​IMG]

    I slapped electric tape along the rim of the screen. Electric tape is just thick enough that it covers the bezel without leaving too much overlap and I gotta be honest, it doesn't look that bad once installed!

    I plugged everything in, but not before pulling out the Trackpad to dust it off and rub it with alcohol to remove the ghost clicking and dragging. I plugged in the battery, started it up and started praying to the gods.

    [​IMG]

    Sweet! Everything is looking geeewwwwd.

    A few more things I did:
    1) I pulled out the slow, terrible, gross 250GB HDD and threw in my Corsair Force GT 120GB SSD I had laying around.
    2) I threw in an 8GB stick of DDR3-1600 ram I had left over from my MSI gaming rig.

    Now she's running smooth. I think to hide the top case damage and bottom case damage, I'm going to replace the bottom feet with the rubber replacements. I'm going to throw some decals and stickers on the top case and then cover it with a clear Speck case. After that and a keyboard cover, I think she'll be ready to roll with my senior year! :D
     
  4. Marty62 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2010
    Location:
    Berlin formerly London
    #4
    Good work, surprising how much "crap" get's inside isn't it ??

    Looks like the glass was a nightmare, hope you didn't cut yourself !

    Are you leaving the tape on or waiting for new double sided for the inside edge??

    M.
     
  5. TB07-NJ macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Location:
    US of A
    #5
    I see you posted a reply to me on my "looking for RAM" thread.

    Is this MBP you are working on the 2.4GHZ "MID 2010" version?

    So you were able to use DDR3-1600 without issue? That was my concern in my thread. I know PCRAM=MACRAM. Ram is ram. My question was (and you seemed to answer it here) was if the MBP would run with different SPEC'D ram (ie: DDR3-1600 vs DDR3-1066 which is the spec. Most of what I read said it wouldn't and that if it wasn't 1066 it wouldn't boot (or be flaky) especially when 2 X 8GIG sticks were used.
     
  6. joe-h2o macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2012
    #6
    This is a great repair story, and I'm not surprised that the glass was such a pain with only a hairdryer.

    For the record, if you ever need to borrow a heat gun and you are anywhere near a college campus, the chemistry department will have loads of them. We use them all the time for heating glassware etc and its well known that chemistry postgrads are nice to people (we just like interacting with people outside the lab).
     
  7. Richyrich1975 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2009
    #7
    Thought you had a heat gun?... You needed a heat gun, dude!

    Tools for the job and all that, glad you're happy though.
     
  8. Barney63 macrumors 6502a

    Barney63

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Location:
    Bolton, UK.
    #8
    Well done, a good and informative thread.


    Barney
     
  9. Essenar thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2008
    #9
    Zero issues! I have DDR3-1600 in it on one stick, mixed with a 2GB DDR3-1066. It downclocked the 1600 to 1066 and it works great. No issues whatsoever. As long as you're using Mountain Lion or higher (Which, in all honesty, you should be) you will have no problems.
     
  10. jruschme macrumors 6502

    jruschme

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2011
    Location:
    Brick, NJ
    #10
    This should serve as a PSA for cleaning out your laptop fans.

    I've been seeing similar temps on my 13" 2009 and decided to take a look. I'm not feeling brave enough to pull the motherboard and redo the thermal paste, but pulling the fan revealed a chunk similar to yours (albeit a bit smaller). I don't have hard numbers, but it looks like I'm seeing 5-7 degrees C lower temps overall.

    Thanks...
     
  11. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

    Joined:
    May 16, 2013
    Location:
    Kansas, USA
    #11
    Hmm perhaps I should check the fan on my 09 as well... How hard was it to remove and clean?
     
  12. Ian.C macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
    Location:
    Lancashire, UK
    #12
    Great story, with a happy ending... Loved reading that.

    Thanks for sharing....

    I know what you mean about removing the front glass panel.... A complete nightmare....

    Thanks

    Ian
     
  13. Essenar thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2008
    #13
    Yeah, unfortunately, the warping of the top case is causing my new glass to keep "popping out" at the top adhesive strip. So every 15-20 minutes I have to press it back in if I leave it unattended. It's frustrating because I can't 'unwarp' it. The previous owner also repeatedly took the bottom case off but lost screws so it's missing a lot of screws on the bottom case. The trackpad had too much "gunk" underneath so I'm still having issues with my right click releasing before I'm done dragging something. I get a lot of missed drags or incorrect highlighting or unintentional drag/drop of text (instead of highlighting). I end up plugging in a USB mouse a lot which is unfortunate because the trackpad is one of the reasons I came back to a Mac.
     
  14. Barney63 macrumors 6502a

    Barney63

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Location:
    Bolton, UK.
    #14
    Isn't the glass meant to be bonded to the LCD like the iPhones? Would that not solve the issue?


    Barney
     
  15. rgarjr macrumors 603

    rgarjr

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2009
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    #15
    The retinaMBP are sealed like that but not the cMBP.
     
  16. Ian.C macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
    Location:
    Lancashire, UK
    #16
    I used scotch 3m tape to attach my front glass to the frame, hasn't moved since.

    The trackpad problem, I had the same thing, I striped the machine down until I could see the whole of the trackpad from inside and adjusted the tension screw one turn anti clockwise and it fixed the problem, works great now..

    I've just changed the clutch cover on mine, looks great...

    Just wish I could find a lcd back cover as mine has a damaged corner...

    Thanks

    Ian
     
  17. jruschme macrumors 6502

    jruschme

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2011
    Location:
    Brick, NJ
    #17
    Instructions are on iFixit, but, basically, take off the bottom cover, pop off the fan power cable and remove three screws. The fan then lifts out.
     
  18. yinz macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2012
    #18
    Thanks for the post! This was a great story. I don't think i'd be able to stand a huge clunky gaming laptop either. I think you made the right choice moving back to a MacBook Pro. No matter what year, it just seems better. OSX!!
     
  19. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2010
    Location:
    Brasil
    #19
    Good to know it worked, but I'd also like to know if it would work in a 2x8GB DDR3 1600MHz configuration. If so, this would pretty much work on my Mac Mini 2010, which shares the same specs (2.4GHz, 320M, etc).

    Also, if you took these modules from a gaming machine, they're probably high end ones (i.e., have a low CAS latency). If this is the case, there is a risk that popular, higher latency DDR3 1600 modules won't work.
     

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