Monday, 17 March 2014

Mac Logic Board cooked (literally)

A long illness

Computers & electronics, sooner to later, fail.  Expect at least three years for a laptop, five is doing well, longer than that is a bonus.
So, when a seven year old MacBook Pro (owned by The Wifelette) failed to start a couple of days ago, I was fearful for the worst.  This Mac has been a loyal, if somewhat temperamental servant and Wifelette was deeply unhappy about it's severe poor health.

Diagnosis

No startup chime, blank/black screen, no response to reset SMC or PRAM.
It's not good Madam.  All signs point to a faulty or broken logic board; this means a few hundred pounds to replace (if we can find one).

The Cure

Whilst Googling around for replacement logic boards, I stumbled upon this post (by a chap called Russell); it seems he (and many others) have been in the situation that Wifelette and I were facing.
The "solution" is, apparently, to cook the logic board.  Literally - put it in the oven at 190C for 7-8 minutes.

REALLY?

Yes, really.

So, with nothing to lose, we began...  It's not the first time I've stripped down a MacBook or indeed, this particular one, but it was the first time I'm removed the logic board.  The iFixIt guide helped a lot - no screws were lost, nothing got broken.
With the logic board stripped out, I can see that the thermal paste on the chips was hard and flaky - not good.


Not to worry - we've got nothing to lose.  After a careful stripdown of plastic clips, tape, foam and any other debris, we're ready to start cooking.


It was all very exciting, right up to the point where the board has been cooking for about five minutes and the smell of hot plastic starts to waft around the kitchen.
Hold your nerve.... it'll be fine.... we've got nothing to lose...

After seven minutes, the board was removed and allowed to cool.  Nothing has melted.  Relief!

With much excitement, we commenced assembly.  Logic board goes in nicely, then removed again, lots of thermal paste applied, then board installed once again.  Connect all the sensor wires, power, install RAM, drop on the keyboard... connect the power cable... press the power button....

Nothing.

Oh.  Shit.  That's annoying.

Wifelette at this point got really rather upset; the finality of her faithful old Mac finally dying coupled with the annoyance of not having a replacement was more than her patience would handle (at after midnight on a Sunday).

Time to take a break.  She steps away whilst I continue to quietly faff about with it.

Remove and reinstall the battery.
Nothing.

Disconnect and reconnect the keyboard.
Nothing.

Re-seat the connectors on the logic board.
Nothing.

At this point I'd pressed the power button so many times, I had no idea whether the Mac was supposed to be on or off.  I wandered off to fix myself a strong rum & coke.

Then I heard it... the startup chime.... YES!  It works!


The old beast lives again...

Note to self: start saving for it's replacement

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Thursday is the new Monday

Today is the first day back at work.  At least, the first day back after new year as I was working all through the Christmas period.

An early start (5am), long commute (three hours) and then a day in a dull corporate office ploughing through thousands of emails and eight conference calls.  Be still my beating heart.

It's also around this time of year that the new year blues appear meaning I start to question what I do, why I do it and thoughts of "there's more to life than this" resurface from the depths of my mind.
I'm certain that there are millions of others doing exactly the same thing, feeling just as worn out and fed up as I do at this time of year.

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel - tomorrow is Friday.  TFFT.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Back from the dead. Sorta.

A few years ago, it was nice (in a narcissistic way) to know that if you Google'd "Lee Blackwell", you'd get to my blog from the front page, usually within the first 5 links.  Either me, or Lee Blackwell the skateboarder or Lee Blackwell the metal sculpture artist.

I committed "blogicide" as "life" was changing and I chose to write off all that history, the thoughts, the nonsense, in a cathartic "I'm starting over" fury of cleansing.

Anyhoo, it's a new year and it's now time (for me, this has nothing to do with you - see earlier comment about narcissism) to begin blogging again.

Twitter is all good and well, but there's not much of a rant that fits into 140 characters.
Google+ is handy, but it seems that it hasn't reached critical mass (yet).

My old blog as hand crafted with proper old skool geek goodness (vi, makefiles, rsync, etc) however, I'm way too lazy to do that sort of nonsense these days.

So, here it is, the new, improved, 20% better than before, Lee Blackwell blog.

This final parting word from my girlfriend, after wrestling the Mac out of my hand...

I'm also talking nonsense

With that, I'll bid you good night.