My 2009 MacBook Logic board failed - options to proceed and how difficult?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Bailey82, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. Bailey82 macrumors newbie

    Dec 18, 2012
    Scannerz just gave my MacBook logic board a big fat F!

    I upgraded from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion about 3 weeks ago. The system was running short of memory so I upgraded it. The system was running fine for about 2 weeks.

    Yesterday the thing started acting erratic. A lot of spinning beach balls, delays, and then some errors saying files couldn't be read to or from the drive. I figured the drive was going because the system is over 3 years old. I ran Scannerz on it and it indicated a lot of errors and irregularities. I rescanned it in cursory mode, and none of them were repeatable, just showing up all over the place in different regions of the scan. I went through the docs and they implied either an I/O cable was bad, a connection was damaged, or the logic board was bad.

    I tossed on my backup of Snow Leopard that I cloned from the original hard drive because I figured Mountain Lion was to blame and booted from the USB drive with the clone on it. It wasn't. I performed scans on every single port, and errors and irregularities that couldn't be repeated were showing up on every single one of them. I then, for kicks, put a CD into the CD player. Scannerz doesn't test optical drives but I figured surely that will work. No it won't. More spinning beach balls and messages telling me it can't be read. It was working fine 3 days ago.

    I know a lot of people don't like MacBook's, but mine's been great, at least until now. It was working great even with Mountain Lion after the upgrade. The system is a mid-2009 MacBook.

    In my opinion, it's a complete waste to toss this system. The display is too good, the keyboard works great, and it still looks good, plus this type of MacBook still uses the FireWire 400 port and I use that for Time Machine backups.

    I've tried reseating the RAM, it didn't do anything. I shut the system down and put in the old RAM, booted to Snow Leopard, and the problems persist.

    Here are my questions:

    The Scannerz documentation somewhere said something about the Airport card not being seated properly, but when I go to iFixit, it's apparent, at least I think it's apparent, that this isn't a slot type Airport card that the user can easily install or remove. If the cables or connections to the Airport card are bad, could they be causing this problem.

    How about any other connections that can be intermittent, failing or erratic?

    Any type of resets that I could possibly do to get rid of this?

    For any of those that have replaced a logic board on a MacBook, if this really is the culprit, are there any "gotcha's" I need to be aware of?

    As an FYI, I replaced the hard drive on an old iBook @500MHz that I had a long time ago, and I replaced the drive on a 1.33GHz PowerBook about 6 years ago. You have to be careful, but using some of the info on web sites like iFixit it's not that hard. Time consuming, but not that hard. The Intel based MacBook's to me look like they're easier to service than either of those.

    I'm thinking about getting a unit off of eBay that matches mine but has something else wrong with it, like a busted display. I REFUSE to buy a new system. A guy at my office has a 2007 Mac Pro and he can't upgrade to Mountain Lion because his system is "obsoleted." That's ridiculous. If you pay nearly $7,500 for a system it shouldn't be trash just because Apple decides they don't have enough money (sorry for the soap box, but it's true, IMO!)

    Any input is appreciated.
  2. minifridge1138 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2010
    A couple of things.
    1) Take it to the genius bar and let them diagnose it for free. If they decide something is wrong, ask how much a depot repair would cost.

    2) I completely understand your love of the MacBook. They are awesome.

    3) Your soap box. Your friend's 2007 Mac Pro is not trash. Not even close. It is every bit as capable as it was the day it shipped (perhaps more so if he's upgraded it). I agree that it is unfortunate (or unfair, or wrong, etc) that Apple drew the line in the sand where they did for the Mac Pro. I wish all of them could run the latest OS X. But Apple did have to draw the line someplace, or else they'd spend a lot of time trying to make sure the latest software ran on the (relatively) oldest hardware. (sorry for the soap box).
  3. jezzy macrumors member

    Jan 12, 2012
    Montreal, Quebec
    I'd try re-seating the ram or replacing it. ram will absolutely do funny things like that! never know..

    oh and I've purchased a 2009 logic board on eBay recently.. about 200$. look me 10 mins to remove the old one and replace it. actually quite easy on a 2009! a lot cheaper than a new MacBook..
  4. TheBSDGuy macrumors 6502

    Jan 24, 2012
    I would try re-seating the RAM and see if the problem persists. You sound like you already know how to take a unit apart. I took the HD out of an old iBook too and it took me about 2 hours. An experienced tech can do it in about 30 minutes (difference between newbie and experienced). Replacing HDs on MacBooks is child's play by comparison.

    The MacBooks are a LOT easier to service than the iBooks were.

    If reseating the RAM doesn't work, before blaming the logic board I would take a good hard look at the Airport card and its seating as well. I had a 1.33GHz Aluminum PowerBook and periodically, it would just pop partially out. I think when this happened, because the connectors are so close together, some of them might be making contact with the wrong lines.

    Any time the Airport would work its way loose, the system would start acting erratically and then eventually as it worked its way out more, it would lock up the system, finally to the point the unit wouldn't start.

    Scannerz is very good at picking all kinds of problems up. If it turns out to be a logic board that's actually got the problems, you might just want to consider getting a working MacBook on eBay instead of a busted one. If you buy one with a smashed display or something else like that, you never really know how much abuse the thing had, and you probably already know that something like that will be sold as-is. How would you like to go to all the trouble yanking a logic board, swapping it, and then finding out the "new" logic board is as bad or worse than the original.

    2009 MacBooks are selling in the $250-$400 range depending on condition. Some places that sell them online used(not eBay) are selling them with warranties in that range. Then you would have an entire set of spares and keep your MacBook running forever!!! :D
  5. TheBSDGuy macrumors 6502

    Jan 24, 2012
    Out of curiosity, whatever happened to your unit, Bailey...if you're out there???

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