Cannibalising a MBA - worth it?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by dw153, Jul 10, 2017.

  1. dw153 macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2013
    I have a MBA from 2008 with a 1.6GHz C2D. Courtesy of a delightful eBay buyer, it is no longer in a usable condition, having suffered damage from having had something dropped on it. The case is bent and bulging, the trackpad won't respond to any kind of click (even 'tap to click'), but other than that it appears to work OK.

    I was going to just sell it on for spares and repair, but then I wondered about salvaging the bits from it, putting them in a new case and creating a new computer. With an SSD and, say, 4GB RAM it shouldn't run too bad, right?

    Realistically, is this feasible? If it is, is it actually worth doing it?



    (Apologies if this isn't the best forum for this, I was unsure where to post.)
  2. cytefx macrumors member


    Sep 7, 2006
    It may be that the battery has expanded, open the case and see if the battery has got the issue, from my experience this stops the trackpad working, it could be replacing the battery and you are good to use the computer.
  3. Mr_Brightside_@ macrumors 68030


    Sep 23, 2005
    Definitely sounds like an expanded battery. Those guys only have 2GB RAM though, but I added an SSD to one recently and while the ZIF connector was a bit of a pain, it worked great afterward.
  4. dw153 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2013
    Thanks for the replies. The battery was my first thought too, but I reasoned that since it would work without being connected to the mains the battery must be ok. Is my reasoning flawed? (I can't check the condition of the battery at the moment. I had to file a fraud report in order for eBay to process my claim, and I still have to hang on to everything as evidence in case the police decide to investigate the case. Until they tell me they don't want to investigate, I'm not going to open it up.)

    Nevertheless, the case will still be bent even with a new battery. So I return to my original question: would it be feasible to take the components and put them in a new case to create a 'new' computer?
  5. Bart Kela, Jul 10, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2017

    Bart Kela Suspended

    Bart Kela

    Oct 12, 2016
    I gave up tinkering with computer hardware years ago but even when I was doing that sort of stuff, for sure I would not have bothered with a nine-year old computer.

    And what's the point? Do you have a particular objective or are you just trying to see if you can do it? If you lay your hands on enough parts, you will probably end up with something that will boot and run. Would you consider that a noteworthy accomplishment? I wouldn't, which is why I stopped doing this sort of thing.

    Let's say you get it running. Fine, you have a working nine-year old computer. How much use will you get out of it before something else dies? The LCD backlight, WiFi, USB controller, the space bar on the keyboard, one of the USB ports, the trackpad, or myriad other issues.

    You did not bother to post a photo of the device in question and there's really no way anyone here and run diagnostics on the device so we don't know how much other damage there is.

    As a vintage computer, it has little to no value whatsoever. It's not exceedingly old nor rare. Apple made hundreds of thousands of these. Maybe if you find some lightly used parts and clean it up you can stand back a say, "this looks like how it did in 2012." You can give yourself a pat on the back, but how long will your satisfaction last?

    You keep asking if this is feasible. You're probably the best judge of this. It's really up to you to decide how much time/money/effort you want to put into obtaining the necessary parts, cobbling it all together, doing all of the hours of diagnostics and troubleshooting to ensure that everything is working. And the final result? A computer whose street value probably isn't $100, a computer so old that a school probably would no longer accept it as a donation.

    Anyhow, good luck.
  6. Stefan johansson macrumors 65816

    Stefan johansson

    Apr 13, 2017
    If it works,use it,when it finally die,take it to your local recycling central.
  7. iMacC2D, Jul 10, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
  8. dw153 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2013
    Thanks all for taking the time to reply.

    I didn't "bother" to post a photo because I wasn't asking for diagnostics, was I? As far as I can tell, everything works fine, apart from the case being bent and the trackpad not functioning properly -- both of which it seems are linked to the battery.

    I knew this MBA used a 1.8" drive. What I didn't realise was that, if I was putting all the gubbins in a new case, then I couldn't just use a 2.5" or 3.5" drive. Likewise, I didn't know that the RAM was integrated into the logic board. This is exactly what I was getting at with "is this feasible?", so thanks iMacC2D for pointing that out.

    Batteries seem to be either non-existent or expensive, so I shall most likely just sell it on as it is and let somebody else fix it up. I had no use for it as it was anyway (hence I was selling it) -- I didn't know if with an SSD, some more RAM and connected to an external monitor, it might have some more life breathed into it. But apparently not.

    Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it.
  9. Retromac2008 macrumors regular


    Oct 9, 2015
    these are not words used by tech lovers.

    - i used my 2008 Macbook air untill 2017 as my main notebook. It was like new.
    in the same day it had ram failure (3beeps at start) and a hinge broken. No way to repair it.

    if there s a chance to save it, try!
  10. Bart Kela Suspended

    Bart Kela

    Oct 12, 2016
    You are right.

    Some of us here see technology as a tool, a means to an end. I built my own PCs for a while, but stopped doing that in 2002.

    I have other things to do now, like weeding the garden.

  11. Retromac2008 macrumors regular


    Oct 9, 2015
    legit :)

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