Buying from eBay

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ladytonya, Feb 7, 2017.

  1. ladytonya macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #1
    My MacBook Pro is dead. It only has a ? In the middle of a file folder when I try to boot it and I have tried every troubleshooting hint I have found to no avail so I'm pretty sure the hard drive is gone plus the battery was already gone anyway. I do not have the money to buy a new one or even an Apple refurb. Mine was an early-2011 model, purchased brand new in July 2011. I see MBs on eBay that are more recent than my MBP for $250 and $300. At this point I have no computer at all and I really need something but I am completely broke. For what I do even an older MacBook would work, I don't think I ever really used the pro to it's full potential. Am I crazy for considering buying a MacBook off eBay?
     
  2. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #2
    Yeah pretty much you can fix the one you have for a couple of hundred dollars, buy an SSD install it and reinstall the OS from online. Voila all fixed and faster than when you bought it. A new battery is a little more difficult but can be found on ifixit.

    This SSD is the cheapest around for a 240gb at the moment.

    https://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-240G...ref=sr_1_4?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1486557725&sr=1-4

    Ifixit has batteries


    https://www.ifixit.com/MacBook-Parts/MacBook-Pro-13-Inch-Unibody-Battery/IF163-019-1
     
  3. ladytonya thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #3
    Oh wow, I didn't think SSD drives were that cheap! Is it an easy install though, and how about the battery? I have done a little hardware installation on PCs like upgrading RAM, adding Ethernet cards way back when, even installed an old school hard drive but it's been years and I do not have the proper tools to do it now. I assume I would need to get a computer specific tool kit to install everything? Also, the the flashing ? Is there a possibility that it's something else

     
  4. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #4
    OP:

    Is yours a 13", or is it a 15"/17"?
    That's important information.

    The flashing "?" means that the computer can't find an OS to boot from.
    That could indicate a failed drive (hardware) or something wrong with the software.
    It doesn't mean "the computer is permanently broken" (other than the drive or OS corruption).

    If you're low on funds, you might replace the internal HDD with an SSD.
    It's cheap and easy to do the drive replacement.
    I'd suggest a Crucial or Sandisk Plus SSD. You DON'T need anything fancy or high-priced. Buy a 240gb instead of 480gb to save $$$$.

    Be sure to use the right tools. The "wrong tools" can cause damage.
    The right tools aren't expensive - a few $ apiece.
    Go to ifixit.com to see what's involved.

    You might also replace the battery.
    Again, relatively cheap and easy to do on that model.
    Again, see ifixit.
    They may have the battery for sale, too.
    You'll need another special tool to do this.

    DON'T be intimidated by the above replacement jobs.
    They are both "screwdriver easy".
    Doing both should breathe new life into the MacBook for at least another 2 years, or longer.

    I'd stick with El Capitan as the OS.
    Avoid Sierra for now.
     
  5. ladytonya thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #5
    Mine is a 13" early-2011 MacBook Pro. I never thought it was permanently broken but thought it would be cost prohibitive to fix. Seeing the info posted by samuelsan was very helpful but I do need to be sure I have the right tools. The videos on ifixit look super easy, I just need to figure out what hardware I need to buy and what tools I need. Thanks!
    --- Post Merged, Feb 8, 2017 ---
    Actually the more I think about it, I want to price an SSD drive, battery and RAM. Of course I will also have to buy a small tool kit to do this properly. My MBP is 100% stock so I think I have 4 GB RAM. If I want to upgrade will I need to buy two sticks? I'm asumjng I currently have 2 sticks of 2 gb. Also to go from stock to SSD hard drive will I need any adapters? Oh, and also I started with whatever the stock OS X version was in July 2011 and have upgraded to everything along the way. At some point I paid for something but then newer ones didn't require payment. Will I just be able to log into my Apple ID and download the OS or will this be complicated? Again, I really appreciate this help! At this point I might need to move this post since it's no longer about buying.
     
  6. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #6
    I would "let the RAM be" for the moment.

    Get the drive and battery fixed first.

    RAM can always be added easily later on.
     
  7. chscag macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Fort Worth, Texas
    #7
    OP: While you're at it, order a SATA cable from ifixit and replace that at the same time as your hard drive. Your MacBook Pro is going on 6 years old and it's a good bet that cable is about to give out. ;)
     
  8. ladytonya thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #8
    Okay, now that I'm searching around a little more there appears to be some less expensive replacement batteries out there. Are these any good or should I steer clear? Is there any advantage to the ones on iFixit over a DIGEO, Anker, etc. battery that are all over Amazon?
     
  9. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

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    Oct 24, 2013
    #9
    Well the ifixit ones are Apple OEM, Anker have a fairly good reputation though. Many other cheap batteries are really rubbish and in some cases dangerous anything under $80 really is too good to be true.

    You will need a no 6 Torx screwdriver should be 2-3 dollars on Amazon. That's about it tools wise apart from some small cross head screwdriver for removing the base plate.

    It is an easy fix but as chscag says there is a high possibility of the SATA cable will flake out during the replacement they are notorious for it for $20 it might be worth replacing it as well.
     
  10. ladytonya thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #10
    Well poo! The Egoway and DIGIO batteries both get better reviews on Amazon than the Anker ones get. Egoway has the most reviews and the most positive reviews, plus I can afford that one plus the hard drive!
     
  11. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

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    Oct 24, 2013
    #11
    Had a quick look at the Amazon reviews (I don't get those batteries in the uk) yes they get a higher star score but the Anker was getting 5-6 hours and the others more like 3-4 hours, they also got great reviews for customer service when there were issues etc. So a quick read through shows anker still the best bet even though it's $65 rather than $45 it's worth $20 I think.

    https://www.amazon.com/Egoway-Repla...cbook+pro+13+battery&psc=1&smid=AFSW1XK2GMECU

    https://www.amazon.com/Anker-Replac...&sr=1-1&keywords=Anker+macbook+pro+13+battery
     
  12. DesertSurfer, Feb 9, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2017

    DesertSurfer macrumors 6502a

    DesertSurfer

    Joined:
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    Between the Sonoran Desert and the Pacific Ocean
    #12
    I updated my early 2011 MacBook Pro with more RAM and an SSD, and it made a world of difference. You can update one stick of RAM, or both. Mine has 12gb total (4 + 8), so you can mix and match if you like. Changing the RAM is very easy! Swapping the HDD for an SSD is a little more complicated, but still easy. I followed OSW tutorials for both and had no issues.

    I found with 8 gb of ram (up from the original 4), I still occasionally filled up the RAM, which leads to slowness and the spinning beach ball. With 12, no problems, but your use case may vary. I also cloned my old HDD to the SSD, but it sounds like you may not be able to do that on yours.
     
  13. smirking macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 31, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #13
    I'd exercise just as much caution buying from Amazon sellers as I would eBay sellers when the items are not well known. A lot of the Amazon sellers are the same as eBay ones and the goods are just as shady. I've bought different types of batteries online and I've had very spotty experiences. I will no longer buy batteries except from well known sellers. Even the ones who are selling you new OEM batteries are not necessarily selling you good batteries.

    They probably are OEM batteries, but there's a difference between OEM batteries that have been tested and verified to be in good working order and OEM batteries that have been fished out of a forgotten warehouse after being in storage for 4 years under unknown conditions. You can easily get a brand new OEM battery that's garbage.

    If money's tight and you can't afford a battery misadventure, I'd hold off on the battery purchase for now and just swap in an SSD for your dead Hard Drive. You can always use your laptop plugged in. My wife has a 2010 MBP and it is very much still rockin after I upgraded it to an SSD a couple of years ago.

    Other World Computing has produced reliable replacement batteries for years. Occasionally they'll make some open box returns available and you can get them for a modest discount. It'll still be pretty expensive, but you can count on those working as advertised.
     
  14. hobowankenobi, Feb 9, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2017

    hobowankenobi macrumors 6502

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    on the land line mr. smith.
    #14
    Typically you get what you pay for on batteries. Beware of very low cost....

    One third party I can recommend is NewerTech/OWC. Have used a few, and they have been as good at the OEM Apple batteries (run time & degradation over time)

    They also have easy-to-config and order RAM and SSDs, plus tools. Perhaps not the cheapest you can find, but no questions about quality, support, or returns.


    ----

    As for eBay....I am sure lots of stuff is fine, and a good price. Problem is, you might get someone off loading damaged, unstable hardware. It can happen anywhere you buy used, but eBay by it's nature of being anonymous makes it too easy for folks to sell damaged goods deceptively. The risk is higher (in my view) that you can end up with someone else's lemon.

    Based on this....I would do the upgrade(s) on my own (known condition) machines first, and go to used if/when it is not cost effective....or if there is a bigger issue (logic board for example)..

    ----

    Last thing: Good advice farther up the thread about replacing the SATA cable. There were a batch of MBPs about this vintage that had bad cables. They would fail for seemingly no particular reason, and mimic a failed HD. Luckily it is easy and cheap to replace.
     
  15. ladytonya thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #15
    What length SATA cable should I buy?
    --- Post Merged, Feb 9, 2017 ---
    And should I buy straight to right angle?
     
  16. hobowankenobi macrumors 6502

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    on the land line mr. smith.
    #16
    You need to buy the specific cable for your machine....not a generic/basic one.
     
  17. ladytonya thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #18
    Just an update - my MacBook Pro is now back up and running, rockin' a new battery, 8 gb RAM upgraded from 4, and a 240 gb SSD hard drive! Woo hoo! All for a total cost of ~$200! I am so grateful for all the excellent advice, thank you all!
     
  18. smirking macrumors 6502a

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    Silicon Valley
    #19
    That's terrific! Where did you end up getting the battery from and for how much?

    Aren't you amazed at how fast your old 2011 is with an SSD drive? I think you'll find that with the upgrade to 8GB RAM and the SSD drive that your 2011 still has plenty of good life in it. I recently moved from a mid-2012 to one of the new 15" 2016's, but for most things the speed improvement is only modest. I'm a developer and I need to run some pretty resource intensive things. If it weren't for the 5K monitor support in the 2016's, I would have hung onto my 2012 for at least another year.
     
  19. ladytonya thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #20
    Yes, the SSD drive is amazing, it's like a brand new computer!

    I ended up with the cheaper battery option, the Egoway from Amazon for $45.99. It's on it's first cycle and registered as being fully charged after about 2 hours. I'll probably cycle it at least once to see what kind of life it gets but it's been plugged in all night because I was downloading updates. I've actually got it updated to Sierra and it's running great, couldn't be happier!

     
  20. smirking macrumors 6502a

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    Silicon Valley
    #21
    What's System Report telling you about the battery's design capacity and current maximum charge? What numbers are you getting?

    If you're not sure how to check this, an easy way is to install something like Coconut Battery:
    http://www.coconut-flavour.com/coconutbattery/
     
  21. ladytonya thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #22
    Full charge capacity is 6215, charge remaining is 5827 right now and I'm at ~94%. I haven't ran it through a cycle yet, my plan is to use it tonight until it dies (if it dies). I haven't been on it all day because I was at work so I still have a ton to do to get it set up the way I like it. Because my last hard drive was dead, I'm starting from scratch setting it up. I'm actually thinking that might be a good thing because I seriously doubt there was nothing on the old hard drive that I don't have saved somewhere else between dropbox, OneDrive and iCloud. So far thought I am really happy with the performance, I have yet to see a beachball which is amazing to me given what I was dealing with before it finally completely died!
     
  22. smirking macrumors 6502a

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    Silicon Valley
    #23
    If you're intentionally trying to discharge it entirely as a way to condition the battery, you don't need to do that. That's not recommended anymore:
    http://www.zdnet.com/article/how-to-get-the-most-from-li-ion-batteries/

    Heat, excessive charging (it's plugged in 100% of the time), and excessive discharging (you always use it to zero) are the worst enemies to your battery's longevity.
     
  23. ladytonya thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #24
    I didn't intentionally discharge it, I know that you don't have to condition a battery any more, I just wanted to see how many hours it would last. I try not to leave it plugged in 100% of the time but I would love to know what the best balance is. As for heat, that's what destroyed the original battery. I attended a wedding in June last year and it was over 100 outside. Being at a wedding I couldn't exactly take my laptop into the church so it was in the car for 3 hours and shortly after that it completely failed. When I switched out the batteries, the old one was visibly damaged. I will never ever leave my MacBook in the car again!
     
  24. smirking macrumors 6502a

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    Silicon Valley
    #25
    Me too. I've done both extremes and had very bad results. I constantly ran down the battery of one of my MBPs in the past and that battery was way down in capacity in just a year. I then never ran the battery in my next one and that battery didn't last two years before it stopped working well. My wife did the same thing with hers and her battery also stopped holding full charge in a couple of years.
     

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