Firewire port woes

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by aperantos, Feb 27, 2010.

  1. aperantos macrumors member

    Feb 18, 2008
    The Firewire port on my MacBook has stopped working. Nothing responds and when you look in System Profiler with anything connected the Firewire section shows the spinning indicator for a few minutes before claiming it is unable to list devices.

    I have also tried all the usual troubleshooting steps including resetting the SMC.

    But, if I put my thumb under the connected Firewire plug and gently press upwards the port works. It shows in System Profiler and drives mount. I have, of course, tried with different cables to rule that out too.

    It clearly seems to be a physical problem with the port somehow. Does anyone have any ideas of exactly what the problem might be, and how easy it is to fix? Maybe a pin just needs bending outwards, or the port loose and can a clip needs pushing back in. If it is likely to be something relatively simple I am comfortable with fixing it myself, but the laptop is a few years old and not covered by AppleCare so I am wearing of an expensive repair bill.

    I have to visit an Apple Store for another problem anyway (touchpad problems being caused by pressure from a swelling battery) so I will be able to deal with this at the same time. But even if is something only Apple can fix I would still prefer to go in prepared with an idea of the work involved and the cost.

    Many thanks,

  2. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
    If you're out of warranty, it will cost you. Apple won't fix a port, they'll replace the logic board.
  3. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    The port is surface mounted on the logic board. It is only held in place by this mount. So if you are rough with it you can break the solder holding it in place. By pushing it up as you describe you are reconnecting the broken connection.
  4. xlii macrumors 68000


    Sep 19, 2006
    Millis, Massachusetts
    It sounds like what we call a "cold solder joint". I would take it apart. Try to see which pin it is and reflow the solder on it using a soldering iron.
  5. lPHONE macrumors 6502a


    Nov 17, 2009
    real easy fix on white MacBooks- just remove topcase, I/O frame, and plop some solder on the loose pin(s).

    don't worry, you'll have it mastered by the 2nd or 3rd time that port comes loose. ;)
  6. aperantos thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 18, 2008
    Excellent news. Thanks for the soldering suggestions. I will ask Apple about it when I take the machine in for the battery, but if they say it means a whole board as rdowns says then I feel happy turning them down and fixing it myself.

    I have had to break inside the machine before when the fan died anyway. I bought a genuine replacement me a fraction of what I was being quoted by an Apple Service Centre for the same, let alone what they wanted for labour too.



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