My MacBook Air Screen Replacement experience

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by MrCheeto, Aug 17, 2010.

  1. MrCheeto macrumors 68030

    MrCheeto

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2008
    #1
    Soez, I've gotten my hands on a MacBook Air that needs a new display. The client fell asleep on it and surprisingly did no damage to the lid or bezel, just the panel.

    I ordered a new one from Buy.com for about $100, shipped. When I opened it, it turned out to be the exact model number and was even manufactured around the same date as the MacBook Air itself!

    I got to prodding and prying, careful not to sneeze for fear that half of the components would dissolve into the air like dust.

    Look at the size of this thing! I can say with complete confidence: this is the smallest screw I've ever handled.

    [​IMG]

    Also, I must say, Apple seems to have been a bit more considerate in the application of thermal paste during manufacturing [something that had caused negligible, yet present, thermal anomalies in their other Intel notebooks, prior and for a term afterward. It wasn't necessarily an issue, but it certainly did not reflect Apple's renowned attentiveness] Perhaps they were just being that considerate about the weight of the MacBook Air 0.o

    [​IMG]

    At any rate, the notebook came apart like LEGO's™. Honestly, it was by far the most pleasant teardown I've experienced. On behalf of all technicians that have battered fingers and balding heads, thank you, Johnny Ive, thank you. *single tear*

    But seriously, this thing is built more like those slot-fit balsa models you bought at the toy store, on a whim, as a child.
    Every notebook prior, including Apple's, have been hell to disassemble. I will admit, Apple has always been a bit more sensible in their layouts and so I've stopped working with other brands, all together, but they still had the inherent flaw of having parts attached to a frame attached to a case attached to a lid with yet more parts attached to it. The unibody models are merely parts attached to a frame with a lid.

    Taking the notebook down almost to the bare parts, I finally reached all of the cables and screws necessary to remove the display housing. Afterward, I began to remove the bezel, something that intimidates any person whom attempts it. I must say, it was less-than-dramatic. It only takes patience and sense. Even the rubber gasket was spared.

    [Why, Apple, would you design something like this to be un-dissasemble-able…new word. It just seems irrational that one would have to pay $600 for a $100 part because your designers choose form over practicality, in such cases. Props on making the iPhone 4 easy to access, but really, such ignorance mitigates the advantages of the unibody structure. Don't be so paranoid about visible screws, okey dokey? What next? Are you going to weld and grind-smooth the bottom lid of all Unibody models to hide the final traces of what you seem to consider "flaws?"]

    OK, swapped the displays, perfect. It couldn't have been easier, actually. To be honest, it's less stressful than the original White MacBooks: not having to concern yourself with those tiny plastic fastening bastards, damn those things! I am tired of super glue on my fingers ><

    Tested…bingo! Working just as new and boots just as well.

    [​IMG]

    Let's get that bezel back on. Turning to the super-glue [dammit], I mean cyanoacrylate, I attached the rubber gasket to the back of the bezel. After allowing it to cure, I applied more CA to the magnesium(?) frame inside the lid. Sliding the bottom of the bezel into place, first, I slowly squared the gasket with the sides of the lid and pressed it into place, being sure the pin near the iSight finds its way into the corresponding hole.

    Et voila! A wholly unblemished MacBook Air!

    [​IMG]

    Well, almost…

    The only sign of "entry" is the stubborn lower-right gasket, as the lid does not exhibit any means of securing it in the intended form.

    [​IMG]

    Oh joy! I was sad to see it leave, as it was a joy to type on, with the super-slim and low-profile form. It's the least invasive portable I've ever handled! It feels like it's intended to be carried and placed on your lap, unlike most notebooks, my MacBook Pro included. However, the sluggishness completely mitigates this feature. I'll take snappiness and ports with my lashings, plz, thx chu.

    Well, there she is! A re-screened MacBook Air with intact bezel and gasket. A first, as far as I've encountered. Also, I feel like this could be done without removing the display assembly at all. We'll see, next time ;)
     
  2. Heilage macrumors 68030

    Heilage

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    #2
    Ah, you have experience the joy that is screen replacements on a MacBook Air. With the cracked hinge issue, we have a few a month.

    However, the clamshell design is actually far better than anything else, an LCD replacement constitutes a replacement of the whole display unit, rather than just the panel, a cable or anything like that. Makes everything easier. :)
     
  3. MrCheeto thread starter macrumors 68030

    MrCheeto

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2008
    #3
    I'd sure like if I could have just replaced the assembly. However the clients come to me because they can't afford the $600 lid.

    Though, it was painless enough, and I get to out $100 in my pocket for 10 hours of "work".
     
  4. Jaro65 macrumors 68040

    Jaro65

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #4
    I really enjoyed your writing style! Thanks for sharing.
     
  5. MrCheeto thread starter macrumors 68030

    MrCheeto

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2008
    #5
    Writing style? You mean that I use paragraphs? Bahaha, though I can't help but feel like ize being mocked...again...
     
  6. Heilage macrumors 68030

    Heilage

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    #6
    Out of warranty is a bitch, luckily we have an awesome consumer law in Norway, so a customer can demand a free replacement part insertet up to five years after purchase. :)
     
  7. Synchromesh macrumors 6502a

    Synchromesh

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2009
    Location:
    SF
    #7
    I'm glad you got lucky in getting the bezel off so easy. I took a couple of those displays apart before and every minute of it I wished I could find the lovely engineers and bludgeon them into a bloody pulp for producing this awful $#$@)&%) of a design. This is coming from somebody who took apart quite a few different laptops including various Apple machines.

    Altogether as much as I love the Air (hell, I own one) I must admit it's one of Apple's worst designs. It's far more fragile altogether than any Macbook or Macbook Pro and the fact that earlier models had major problem with hinges as well as heat issues for newer models make it a specific choice for specific people.
     
  8. MrCheeto thread starter macrumors 68030

    MrCheeto

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2008
    #8
    I think you and I know just who those specific people are...

    I can't say the MacBook Air is ONLY for people that walk into Best Buy and demand the most expensive shiny laptop in the store. It has its place for specific applications. For instance; before the iPad, Apple Store concierges stood holding MacBook Air's for hours on end, taking names and checking reservations. They'd have gorilla arm after holding a MacBook or MacBook Pro for one day.

    As well, I could see the light weight of the MacBook Air coming in very handy, considering the number of houses I visit per day, lugging my Pro and bagging and unbagging it. If not for the structural issues and speed tax, the MacBook Air would be perfect for such an application.
     

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