MBA RevA - Stalling Fans & Defective hinges - Warranty

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by mpsruo, Mar 15, 2010.

  1. mpsruo macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2008
    Hello MacRumors Afficionados,

    First of all thank you for any advice. Some background:

    MacbookAir Revision A 1.6ghz 80gb HDD (not SSD)
    Purchased April 15th, 2008. Since I paid with American Express, my warranty is valid for 2 years but similar terms to Apple (no accidental damage, etc.). My American Express warranty expires April 15th next month.

    Looking for some advice, comments, etc.

    This laptop has been great, save for known heating issues, etc. Here are 2 problems I'm having:

    1. The fan stalls
    -About 25% of times that you bring the laptop out of sleep, the fan does not power on. You hear a clicking noise (like it's trying to). I installed SMC fan control is waited for the issue to replicate. Once it did, sure enough RPM's showed "0". When it's stalling like this, tapping the underside of the laptop where the fans on eventually clicks it on and it spins normally (up to 6200RPM)

    -Does anyone know about this problem? Is it common?

    2. Screen Hinge / Flickering LCD
    -I know THIS one is known. Revision A has problems with the hinges. In august of last year, I had my hinge replaced because my screen started flickering off/on and then stopped turning on based on the angle of the open laptop screen.

    -Replacing the hinge + clamshell screen took care of problem

    -Recently (note: a few months since august), my hinges are started to feel "loose' again and I caught the screen flickering once (it's starting again).

    -Should I just go ahead and request my screen to be changed again? I'm worried that If I don't fix it NOW, It'll fall apart again right after the warranty ends.

    -Do other revisions have a different hinge mechanism? Maybe the materials it's made of? Or do all MBA's have this notorious issue. My point with this question is to see if I can request a Revision B or C hinges + screen for my RevA (if the issue has been addressed)

    A few notes about me: Work in IT industry, take very good care of electronics. Laptop is only used indoors, protected in a hard-shell briefcase with protection. No scratches or dents.

    Any advice is appreciated! I plan on keeping this MBA until September and then selling for a MBP (MBA first adopter here, until you've USED a MBA Rev A for videos, you don't know our suffering), but I want to make sure I can sell my MBA as an operating laptop.

  2. jrabbit macrumors member

    Jan 30, 2008
    St. Louis, MO

    My Rev. A MBA has the stalling fans issue as well.

    It seems to be worse when a large heat differential exists -- for example, in winter after travelling with the MBA outside (in bag, but still) and then going inside.

    I recently upgraded the disk in my MBA to a Runcore SSD; in the process I saw a noticeable layer of dust on the fan blades, and took the opportunity to use "canned air" to dust off the logic board and fans. I now do that (through the vents) once a month or two. Seemed to reduce the frequency of stalling.

    If it gets worse, I'll take it in before my AppleCare runs out; I'd also be interested to know how Apple handles this issue. If they replace the cooling unit, do they have to send it off? I'd be at a loss without my MBA...
  3. mpsruo thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2008

    Thanks for the reply. I'll probably be replacing my fans as well. I can't tell you how long it would take to fix, because I am not going through apple. Since I'm going through American Express' extended warranty, I just have to go to a local authorized technician and submit an invoice that technician drafts for you.

    The way it worked for me last time was:

    1. Technician inspected problem, drafted invoice. I sent invoice to Amex

    2. Amex approved, sent out check (1 week for check to arrive). Technician went ahead and ordered the parts

    3. Handed laptop when parts arrived. Repairs are being done

    4. As soon as check arrived, went to pickup laptop & handed check over. Total process took about 2 weeks. I was without a laptop for a bit over 24 hours.

    I'm not sure how AppleCare would handle it. On a side note, for anyone buying a new laptop soon, even if you're paying cash, charge it to your amex! DOUBLES ANY WARRANTY, no matter the manufacturer. American Express' customer service excelled beyond any expectations. I met nothing but friendly and helpful CSR's and didn't have a single issue with their free extended warranty program. Will buy again ; )
  4. xparaparafreakx macrumors 65816

    Jul 29, 2005
    I never heard of the fan stalling. Then again, I open my air to clean it every few weeks.

    I would wait til the end of the month to do anything. It might be possible that a new Air shows up and might just fix and sell the old one for the new one.
  5. mpsruo thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2008
    Hey xpara,

    It's interesting that you have to open the case. I've blown air through the fan ports, but I don't want to open it on my own. It's kind of like a catch-22.

    "Our fans work as long as you clean it. To clean it, you must open the laptop. If you open the laptop, warranty is voided and we will not fix fan issues"

  6. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    Cannot you just take it somewhere for warranty repair? It is under warranty, so shouldn't AMEX pay for it? My AMEX Platinum Card just refunded me the complete cost of a Dell that was dropped a few years ago (was under warranty for accidental damage too I guess?)... and they didn't even want it back. I am guessing it just depends on how much you spend and how many warranty requests you claim. I expected a hassle and to have to take it to an "authorized repair" facility or mail it in, but I was pleasantly surprised. I believe it was only $850, so it wasn't a large claim.

    Maybe you could just call AMEX and ask them what your options are??? You might get a surprise and even a replacement or credit for it.

    Supposedly Apple will fix the MBA hinges even if it's outside of the AppleCare warranty. Maybe you could start at Apple and go from there. If it were my MBA, I would call AMEX and try to get a replacement to a new rev B/C MBA. You will not have severe video problems with a rev B/C with Nvidia.

    Good luck.
  7. mpsruo thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2008
    I'm waiting for a call back from my technician, but I'm going to request just that. All I need is for him to draft an invoice saying the fans, due to design, are insufficient to maintain basic operating temperatures.

    What drives me crazy about the MBA-A is that I don't have to play video to get my laptop to run at 80 degrees (waaaaaaaaaayyyy too hot). I've done tests where all programs are shut down except firefox. I'll be downloading something (actual download, not buffering a video or anything) and trying to surf a basic HTML webpage and that buggers running really hot.

    Has anyone had a MBA successfully REPLACED by apple due to fans, heat, or hinge issues?
  8. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    Many have taken them in and had Apple replace the original with a 2,1 MBA.

    Good luck.
  9. kernkraft macrumors 68020


    Jun 25, 2009
    I also had problems on two first gen Airs with the fans, overheating and hinges. The screens worked great, though. In fact, that was one of the reasons that I kept them that long. Great typing in terms of screen quality and slim body.

    I think it is always wise to give at least one call to Apple or to send an email. Then the credit card company. Or just sell. That's what I did with the loose hinge. Not everybody is so concerned about them as long as they are not so bad.
  10. mpsruo thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2008

    So I spoke to my technician look into my MBA. He said:

    1. The Hinges are indeed looser again. He verified, and the replacement display clamshell he installed for me last august was still the same produced for the MBA 1,1. The same symptoms are happening (loosening of right hinge, begins to click when closing, screen begins to flicker). Replacement is $500 + labor

    2. The heating issue cannot be repaired easily. The stalling fan had to do with sometime that was catching on the hard drive (odd, I know, but it's what I was told).

    Aside from the fans, heating is uncontrollable and the worst he's seen on a laptop in a long time. Fans forced to run 6200RPM are able to keep the MBA under 80 degrees for less than 5 minutes playing low quality video.

    He recommended replacing the logic board complete, as the macbook air has essential components pretty much stuck to that board. Cost: $800 + labor.

    My total invoice comes out to $1721, a shocking $78 less than MSRP paid 2 years ago. Now it's time to wait and see what amex will do, replace or repair? Either way, I'll be a happy guy
  11. miniConvert macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2006
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    Sounds like you'll get a good result, best of luck with that.

    I love my Rev A MBA, but yes, it also had similar problems - I've had a new screen due to the hinge and they replaced the fan, too (was making all sorts of noises). I've just started getting fan noise again but only if the laptop is really cold, i.e. just out the boot of my car. Once it's at room temp it's fine, so it can stay as it is for now.

    I don't have too many problems with video, though. I mean, sure, it gets hot and noises but I just let it do its thing. It calms down quickly enough once I'm done. My colleagues Rev B, however, certainly is far superior :)

    <3 SSD. I use it over my MBP purely due to the perceived performance increase the SSD brings. All future portables I buy will be SSD.
  12. mpsruo thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2008
    I can't agree more. I got a chance to put up a friend's MBA 1,1 (same specs as mine except using SSD) and ran speed tests (open up photoshop, for example). The difference is astounding. I've got a 7200RPM and 10,000 RPM drives on my iMac / external, so I believe the difference there is smaller. But SSD vs 5400 RPM? It's like loading up a geocities website 10 years ago compared to a web 2.0 site : / SSD all the way
  13. Huubster macrumors regular


    Mar 1, 2010
    I used to have that fan stalling problem but was already outside guarantee. Got worse and worse. Then I got all sorts of screeching noises and at a certain point the fan died altogether. I replaced it myself, and no problems ever since.
  14. sevimli macrumors 6502a


    Jun 26, 2007
    What did AMEX for your MBA?

    They replaced it or paid for repair?:confused::confused:

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