Cleaning Motherboard in BlackBook

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by iThinkergoiMac, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

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    #1
    So a co-worker has a black MacBook that his family managed to spill some liquid on. It no longer works properly, of course. He just wants to get a new computer, so he's giving it to me. I'll get all of his data off the HDD for him and then I can keep the MacBook. It's definitely a big step up from my PowerBook in terms of speed and performance (I'll miss the dedicated card and FW800, though).

    I figure it can't hurt to try to clean the motherboard/logic board in the computer to see if I can get it running. Worse comes to worst, I can buy a new logic board for the computer and put it in and be set. Some questions:

    - What's the best way to clean a motherboard? I've seen everything from isopropyl alcohol to distilled water to just a gentle detergent and warm tap water. Any suggestions?
    - What's a good way to tell what model the computer is from the serial number? I will get the actual computer tomorrow, but my co-worker can't remember which model it is. From my research it could be anywhere between the 2 GHz and the 2.4 GHz, though he bought it refurbished from Apple last year so I'm guessing it's the 2.4 GHz model.
    - If the logic board is shot, and it's not the 2.4 GHz model, does anyone know if the 2.4 GHz board can be put in a non-2.4 GHz machine?

    It's not every day one comes across a free Mac, so it's definitely something to put some effort into. Once I max out the RAM and put a new drive in (maybe even an SSD in an optibay) the computer should be quite capable.
     
  2. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #2
    A way to see it's specs it to take out the battery and look on the sticker. It'll say something like Black/2.4/1x2/160/

    Black = it's black
    2.4 = CPU speed
    1x2 = two 1 Gb sticks of ram for a total of 2Gb
    160 = hard drive size

    I think only a similar model logic board will fit.
     
  3. iThinkergoiMac thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #3
    Fast reply! Thanks for the info... that's a bit easier than I expected.

    As to the logic board, I haven't given up yet ;) I got a different logic board in my PBG4 and it worked perfectly, and I'm hoping that this would be possible (really I'm hoping that I can just fix it without a new board). Slim hope, but hope still...
     
  4. iThinkergoiMac thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #4
    Well I've gotten the whole thing completely apart and cleaned. The RAM was in bad shape with relatively heavy corrosion on the contacts of both sticks. Everything else at least appears fine... no corrosion anywhere on the board. In fact, I didn't really even see any liquid damage on the board anywhere, except on the underside of the board. And even that was only a few dots of sticky here and there.

    Amusingly enough, I don't actually have the power cord, but I'm hoping that it was just the RAM that was the issue. Of course, Apple did a poor job (as usual) with the thermal paste... it was all over the processor instead of just on the silver heat dissipation pad...
     
  5. stoveguy macrumors member

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    #5
    previous owner says unit stopped working due to spillage? you see no obvious damage except ram chip corrosion. is this reason unit does not work? keep us posted on progress.
     
  6. iThinkergoiMac thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #6
    Yup, that's exactly it. The RAM chip contacts were almost completely white and I'm positive they weren't getting a good connection. Other than that, there are some random sticky areas that I was able to clean. Fixed the thermal paste too.

    All I'm waiting for now is the power cord to test it with, which I should get at work today. The laptop is back together and I'm burning the 15th (and last) DL DVD backup of the drive so my co-worker can have his data back. I'll know tonight and report back if the computer works or not.

    Compared to taking apart my PowerBook G4, this was in some ways easier and in some ways harder... not sure which I prefer.
     
  7. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #7
    Congrats. I have the 2.4 black MacBook, which I love. But shouldn't it have a 250 gig hard drive? Mine does. I didn't think they made the black 2.4 with anything smaller.
     
  8. logana macrumors 65816

    logana

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    #8
    Apple used a white grease on the RAM chip contacts on most of the Black/White MacBook range. They are quite a tight fit.....

    If it is white then it won't be corrosion - just the normal grease you are seeing.
     
  9. iThinkergoiMac thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #9
    Turns out it's the 2.2 GHz model, hence the 160 GB drive.

    Huh... I had no idea about the grease. Never really heard of that...

    My co-worker forgot the power cord today so I'll have to try it out tomorrow.
     
  10. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #10
    Let us know what happens.
     
  11. iThinkergoiMac thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #11
    So I have the power cord and I plugged it in. First thing I noticed was that it took a while (a few seconds) for the green light on the magsafe connector to come on. First nothing, then extremely dim, then full brightness. When it came on, the sleep light came on as well.

    I pushed the power button and nothing happened. I left it alone for about 15 minutes and tried again, still nothing. Then I held it down and after about 6 seconds the light went off and I could hear the HDD spin down. Now if I push the power button the screen flashes ever so momentarily (no backlight... it's as if the pixels receive power for a brief moment) and the sleep light immediately comes on. It doesn't pulse or anything (I don't know if the MacBooks pulse that light when asleep or not...), it just stays on. I can force it off by holding down the power button or pulling out the plug (the battery apparently holds no charge, or at least it doesn't yet).

    The magsafe connector also doesn't turn any color but green either. I'm not sure how long the computer sat without being used after the spill, though I'm pretty sure it was at least a couple months. Also, the results are the same regardless of whether or not the battery is actually in the computer.

    Any ideas what any of this means? Is the board completely shot? Does it just need time to charge? For now, I'm just going to leave it plugged into the wall and see if giving it power for some time helps. I'm open to any and all suggestions.

    EDIT: Tried an SMC reset and all that happened is what first happened: dim light on the magsafe at first, then full brightness. All other symptoms the same.

    EDIT EDIT: I'll probably take it to an Apple Store tomorrow after work to see what they say, but I doubt I'll pay them $500 or so to replace it. I found this listing on eBay and it seems pretty legit: http://cgi.ebay.com/MacBook-logicboard-motherboard-liquid-spill-repair-225-/270371711744

    Anybody ever done anything with them?
     
  12. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #12
    Take it to the store and let them figure it out. Then when they tell you, politely decline their repairs and go do it yourself. Also check out ifixit.com and see what their prices are for whatever parts you may need.
     
  13. iThinkergoiMac thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #13
    That's what I plan on doing after work tomorrow. I'm thinking it will probably need a logic board replacement... iFixit doesn't have the right board, and if they did it would be around $500. I imagine Apple would replace it for that much, but I guess I'll find out tomorrow.

    Still going to let it charge all night and pray that something happens in the morning.
     
  14. iThinkergoiMac thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #14
    Also, random question: when I go in, should I explain the entire situation or should I just play dumb ("My friend gave me this MacBook and this is all it does...")?

    I feel like if I mention liquid damage they may just tell me it needs a logic board without actually figuring out what the problem is (if it isn't the logic board). But not telling them could make the whole process take much longer than necessary...
     
  15. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

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    #15
    It's probably the logic board and battery. Your buddy didn't mention whether or not he tried to power the laptop on *like almost everybody does* within 72 hours after the spill "just to see if it works" which is the the super nubie mistake of all time .

    Basically, it's totaled. The logic board is so expensive because its the central piece of any mac notebook (many of the non mac notebooks i've been in use modules instead of the 1 giant mobo design but each has it's perks).

    Might as well salvage the shell and screen for parts if those aren't nuked also. Or just sell it entire unit as is making sure you note everything.
     
  16. iThinkergoiMac thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #16
    He was actually in China at the time, so by the time he tried to power it on, it had been sitting for about a month or more. He has no clue if his siblings tried to turn it on in that time or not.

    I could sell it for parts... but I'd prefer to keep the computer. When I buy a new computer it's either going to be a high-end MacBook Pro or iMac... I don't have that kind of money. However, I could certainly use a computer faster than my PowerBook for my video tasks. I can afford to invest a few hundred into replacing the logic board to get a computer that's 4x faster than what I've got now, but I can't afford a completely new computer.
     
  17. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

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    #17
    why not part out the MB and sell of the G4 then scrounge up a few pennies to get a new 13" uMBP to tide you over until you get your dream rig.

    I dunno, I just don't see the point in investing in unreliable out-of-warranty kit. You could have a dead logic board, a dead inverter, a dead battery, a dead component shorting the rest of it out etc. By the time you figure it out you'll have spent enough for a new machine anyway.

    What I have heard is people going to the Apple store with their MBPs when out of warranty and paying a flat fee (I think maybe 300-400 bucks) to have it basically tuned up and checked out. You may want to explore this though I can't attest to it actually being real or not.
     
  18. Fuchal macrumors 68020

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    #18
    If it's still under warranty, your best bet is to say nothing except your boss gave it to you. If they open it and see liquid damage, you're SOL anyway. I think Apple's out-of-warranty / liquid damanged replacement price is $1200, but I may be wrong.
     
  19. iThinkergoiMac thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #19
    Uhhh... seeing as it's a Black MacBook doesn't that make it out of warranty by definition? ;) No AppleCare...

    Selling both computers isn't a bad idea... certainly one I hadn't thought about! I imagine that, optimistically, I could get about $500 for the two computers together, which means I'd have to come up with another $700 or so to make the 13" uMBP. Not possible right now...
     
  20. Cool Runnings macrumors regular

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    #20
    Perfectly normal and you find it on all macbooks. I guess on other modells to...
     
  21. Shanewilliams macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    I just sent my unibody macbook to dttservice.com for repair. i cant speak for their work yet as i dont have it back yet, but the prices cant be beat! id never heard of them but lucked across them searching online. they are apple authorized, so they ahould be on the up and up. logic board repair for your macbook is $250 with free diagnostics and free ups return shipping. http://dttservice.com/macbook.html again, dont hold me to anything if you send your macbook to them and never get it back...lol ill post when i get mine back and let you know for sure...plus, its got a 6 month warranty on the logic board repair.... good luck to you....oh and if anyones heard of this company id like to hear some feedback about them too...
     
  22. iThinkergoiMac thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #22
    Took it to an Apple store yesterday and they told me exactly what I thought they would: it's a dead logic board. The Genius thought it might be RAM, but the RAM checked out. Apple's flat rate for fixing liquid-damaged computers is $800...

    So I guess now I'll be sending it off to either the place I mentioned or the place Shanewilliams suggested...

    Also, @Cool Runnings, I realize it's perfectly normal for the MacBooks, but considering this is my first MacBook I've ever worked with, I guess it's perfectly normal that I've never heard of it before. ;)
     
  23. iThinkergoiMac thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #23
    So I got a call from the place I mailed my MacBook to (Macadamia Mac Repairs in Cali) and they've fixed it! They're going to hold it until Tuesday or so to run diagnostics and make sure nothing odd comes up. So, hopefully, a week from now I'll have a new computer.

    Total cost: $268.24. Cost me $18.24 to ship it out, $225 for the repair, and $25 for them to ship it back.

    The only things wrong with it are that the battery is completely dead, and there are cracks on the edges of the top cover (Apple made those edges so crazy thin). Does anyone know if this computer has the same feature as my PowerBook, where it will sleep without a battery for a couple minutes (so you can change the battery w/o turning it off)? This would give me time to switch to the couch, haha.

    Eventually, I'll be putting a 250 GB drive in it, 6 GB RAM, and a new battery. I usually get all my stuff from NewEgg or OWC. Is there a better place to get the battery?
     
  24. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

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  25. iThinkergoiMac thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #25
    Yup, that's about the size of it. Even if I put all the upgrades I want in (which will cost around $300) it'll still be a steal.
     

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