Macbook Pro Logic board Failure want to repair it not replace it with soldering.

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by nycmacman, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. nycmacman macrumors newbie

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    Jun 17, 2009
    #1
    Hey guys Ive been getting pretty into macs and can take a macbook pro apart without a guide and put a board in in about 15 minutes now but im looking to get into a different part of it. I cant afford to replace the boards i need to find out how to repair them guides any good sites etc etc. If anyone can help me and they need a repair for anything back to a powerbook g4 or an i book up too a macbook pro ill do it for free. All help will be greatly appreciated. Kyle
     
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #2
    You can't repair them if you don't know what's wrong with them. Even then you probably won't be able to desolder the malfunctioning component or find a suitable replacement if it's a major component.
     
  3. Clete2 macrumors 65816

    Clete2

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    USA
    #3
    Unless you blew a capacitor (which is common on older computers), good luck.

    Capacitors are still not easy to replace, but I would say that they are the easiest to replace.

    You might want to start by finding out what's actually wrong with it.

    Edit: Miles01110: If that "14 People You Meet in the Apple Store" is your article, fantastic job! It's hilarious. I like the commenters who take it seriously and get angry at [the blogger] for it. It's hilarious. :D
     
  4. l.a.rossmann macrumors 65816

    l.a.rossmann

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    #4
    This isn't like replacing a superdrive or a bad keyboard where there is a set procedure you can find on ifixit that works everytime. It requires a few specific skillsets plus some troubleshooting that comes from experience.

    What you are asking is this: "is there a step by step guide that will replace years of electronics education & field experience"

    the answer, coming from someone who slaved over 12-17 hour days repairing consoles and other studio gear at broadcast & recording facilities for three years under experienced people just to be slightly less clueless than he was 3 years ago: no.

    Short of a deep understanding of what causes the failure, and extensive experience with SMD & BGA rework, you are going to make things worse.
    Even if you did know precisely what's wrong and how to fix it, it's not like you can pick up an 851 and tweezers and start grabbing away. There's a worksmanship element to soldering that most people don't get. I didn't get it either, I had it beat into me as 50 yr olds watched my work and decimated it. This was at the macro level. Now you can't tell the difference between my work and a wave soldered joint, but it didn't come from some guide.
     
  5. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #5
    The current state and (recent state) of logic boars is such that its really not feasible for you to diagnose and repair a logic board.

    If you cannot afford a repair why not look on ebay for a the parts, you may be able to find the logic board and affect the repair yourself.
     
  6. nycmacman thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 17, 2009
    #6
    Hey guys, I wasn't necessarily looking for a guide even if someone can point me into the direction of some classes? Im looking to get into it further and really have noting to loose as i get the machines relatively cheap. Ive even heard people talk about starting out on old cell phones and stuff like that. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks Kyle.
     
  7. MacModMachine macrumors 68020

    MacModMachine

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    #7
    well , you cant start with a degree in electrical engineering.

    i have been in the computer repair / electrical engineering field for 7 years and i would never attempt such a repair.

    you need a SMT station to removed and replace surface mount chips.
     
  8. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #8
    Look into getting a soldering certification. That's probably your first step.
     
  9. jtara macrumors 65816

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    Mar 23, 2009
    #9
    It wouldn't be common to have to replace an SMT chip, though.

    Most common would be power-supply components, such as capacitors, transistors, regulators. These would all be fairly beefy components, unlikely to be in SMT packages.

    Also common, I would imagine, would be connectors that got connected with a bit too much force...

    So, you can probably go quite far with just some basic electronics knowledge and lots of practice at replacing parts.

    Get a decent soldering station, and use some de-soldering method. Solder-wick, bulbs, or a fancy de-soldering station. Use a suitable cleaner to remove flux residue - probably the biggest mistake in rework is not doing this.

    Chip resistors and capacitors, and small pin-count surface mount ICs can be removed/replaced with just a basic soldering iron and tweezers. But, again, you're unlikely to need to change these.

    I've no electronics training other than 8 semesters in high school (graduated in 72 - we learned all about tubes!) and one basic logic class in college (Computer Science requirement). I've worked on prototype boards throughout my career, mostly to help with initial check-out of new boards (usually with 1 to n layout errors...). Often had to lift a pin here and there and patch-in some forgotten component. There's really quite a bit you can do with basic tools.

    If you do find you're needing to replace high pin-count surface mount chips, if you have any electronic industry in your area, you can probably find part-timers to help you out, but you will probably need to supply the tools. Every hardware place I've worked seems to have a little old Asian lady (sorry for stereotype, but it is true...) that comes in for a couple of hours when needed (say, to hand-populate a new board).
     
  10. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #10
    Err...wrong. Modern circuit boards are almost 100% populated with SMT or BGA components.

    Capacitors are extremely common SMT packages. Discrete transistors aren't found in any type of package because they aren't used. Regulators...maybe.

    Solder-wicking 0402 packages is next to impossible. Don't even bother. You need a dedicated rework station.
     
  11. l.a.rossmann macrumors 65816

    l.a.rossmann

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    Brooklyn
    #11
    Forget soldering certifications.

    Find a place that does what you want to do and beg them to let you work there for free. Try to learn when you can from the people who work there without being a nuisance. Most technically inclined people like teaching what they know to others, and showing off their tricks and superior ways of doing things.

    Do this at a couple of places until you find people who do **** right. I did it at Avatar when I was 18 years old, and what I learned there will last me a lifetime. It's an amazing feeling to walk into a place with a bunch of people twice your age and still have something to offer that they are clueless about because you went through an experience that educated you properly in both the theory and real world implementation of your newfound skillset in a mission critical environment.

    I am confident there does not exist a proper class on macbook logic board repair.
     
  12. techound1 macrumors 68000

    techound1

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    Mar 3, 2006
    #12
    Let us not forget that Apple has certification training in all this, too. Or pick up some of the apple certification training books at your local big chain bookseller - for $40-ish you can at least get an understanding of the boot process and the troubleshooting techniques that Apple techs use.
     
  13. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #13
    That might get you to the "identification of the problem" step, but wouldn't teach you how to solder.
     
  14. BittenApple macrumors 6502a

    BittenApple

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    Nov 29, 2008
    #14
    Basically it's not feasible at all. Even if you had a tremendous understanding of electrical components on the logic board, it will still be difficult to find what the exact problem is.
     
  15. m85476585 macrumors 65816

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    Feb 26, 2008
    #15
    Identifying the problem is probably the hardest part. I'm studying electrical engineering, and my desktop motherboard refused to boot randomly one day. I carefully inspected it, but there were no components with any visible damage (blown capacitor or something like that). Luckily, it was under warranty, so I mailed it in to have it repaired. When they sent it back, I inspected it again, and I was able to determine that it was the exact same board (based on the pattern of dust and smudges), but I couldn't find where they had done the repair. I couldn't find even a trace of hand soldering.

    My best guess is that it was a BIOS or power regulation problem, based on the complete deadness of the board. A BIOS chip isn't something you can replace yourself since I would guess most BIOS chips are custom-made by BIOS manufacturers or made for a specific motherboard. The motherboard manufacturer probably isn't going to sell you a BIOS chip. For power regulation, the board is so complicated that I wouldn't even know where to begin diagnosing it. The PCB is 4 or 8 layers, so it is almost impossible to figure out where every trace goes, and it would be almost impossible to understand everything without detailed documentation (which the motherboard manufacturer certainly will not provide-- that would let you make your own knockoffs of their product). Even with documentation, it would probably take someone unfamiliar with the design many hours of probing to find the problem.

    Some stuff is repairable by soldering, though. I recently fried a PC power supply by trying to draw too much current from it. I took it apart, and there was one clearly burned trace on the PCB. I bridged it with some wire and the power supply works just fine now. That won't always work, of course. I fried another one, and it had a similar burned trace on the bottom, but when I bridged it with wire, the power supply refused to work properly or put out a stable voltage. I think it was covered under warranty, though. :)

    I have also fixed my iPod Touch when the headphone hack broke. It started playing only karaoke, which happens when one of the contacts in the headphone jack breaks and it only plays the difference between the stereo channels. After a lot of prying to get it open, I soldered in a new headphone jack, and I dremeled a hole in the back case for the cord to come out the bottom.
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=735778
    I think Steve would have a heart attack if he saw my iPod.

    My cellphone's USB jack is starting to get loose from too much use, and it sometimes doesn't charge unless I wiggle the cable. When it gets worse, I plan on putting in a new USB jack, hopefully not sticking out the side if I can find one the same form factor as the original. It might be tough to take apart, though, since the screws are Torx T2 or something smaller than any tools I have.
     
  16. gorn macrumors member

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    Jun 17, 2009
    #16
    I went to school for Electrical Engineering, but before I did I repaired my iBook. The backlight had gone out completely. A pretty common problem on those iBooks was that the back-light would flicker, so someone else had been investigating and measuring the voltages on the connector that went from the logic board to the inverter board. I measured mine and asked him what he thought and he pointed out that one of the lines should be +12V and mine was basically 0. So I soldered a wire going straight from the battery (~11.7V IIRC) to the cable that went to the inverter board, and it worked! But I was really lucky to have a simple problem and someone else that could read good voltages. Also I was lucky I didn't break anything else while in there.

    Visible (So easy to diagnose) problems tend to be in connectors or cables, like DC-in plugs on non-apple laptops, or a cable that gets cut/damaged in the middle. I've done several of that kind of repair.

    If you go to school for EE you'll (hopefully) learn how to design and debug a circuit, but for something as complex as a laptop, it'd be really difficult to debug it without having designed it (Or have documentation from the designers).
     

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