Or, why I’m almost in tears because I’m typing this on my laptop. I am so fucking happy right now, I can’t even properly explain it. It seems silly from the outside probably, considering I have a mac mini, phone and tablet. But there’s something so different between myself and my MacBook. A more intimate knowledge and comfort, down to the muscle memory of using this same keyboard for six years.
Being able to sit at my kitchen table instead of fucking my back on the couch and squinting to read text on the tv screen that has doubled as a monitor.
4 GB of sweet sweet RAM powering Snow Leopard where all of my applications snap open like bullets.
MacBook, how I missed thee.
Anyway. Here’s what happened.
A few months ago, my baby didn’t want to turn on. The little light on the front would come on, but nothing was happening. I thought maybe I needed a new battery, because I’d never replaced the original, and my laptop is a late 2008 model. In computer years, that’s like an antique.
So I put in a new battery, charged it up to green, and then tried to power it up. No dice.
Heart pounding, I thought maybe it was just the display that had gone. Deep down I knew that wasn’t it, because I couldn’t hear any of the bootup, but I clung to hope and plugged it into the tv.
Still nothing. My dad has an extensive history with computers, and he figured that it was the logic board, which I discovered is around an eight hundred dollar fix. Which is about the price of a shiny new 11-inch MacBook Air complete with SSD. Either way, not in my price range, so I sadly packed my laptop away for further harvesting. I figured that I could pop the ram into my mac mini (also a 2008, with 2 GB of RAM running Lion) and just start using that full time. Maybe upgrade it to Mavericks if it would take.
I procrastinated and hated using the computer/tv for anything other than streaming, tried to replace my laptop with my tablet, which doesn’t really do the trick. I managed to pair my mac keyboard to it (Galaxy Note 8.0) which made writing a hell of a lot easier than a touchscreen keyboard, but it just wasn’t the same. I like Android, I really do, but not for it’s Word Processing. Blarg.
Dad and I kept drooling over MacBooks, both missing ours (the display went on his so it’s hooked up to his TV now too), and I thought there had to be something, anything that I could try to fix this myself, or at least cheaper.
In my search of logic boards online (they aren’t that much cheaper on ebay than from apple), I came across an interesting blog post that made me feel skeptical and hopeful at the same time.
Cooking The Books by Russel Heistuman, in which he removes the logic board from his MacBook Pro (same year and model as mine) and bakes it in the oven. Apparently, cooking the board at 375 degrees for 7.5 minutes will reset the soldering and allow all connections to work again.
According to Russel, this method worked for him, and others that he’d read about before he tried it himself.
I so badly wanted to try this. I sent the above link to my dad and we talked about how crazy these people were, but I thought, what have I got to lose? The thing is fucked anyway, as long as I don’t burn my house down, no harm done if it doesn’t work.
But I put it off. I kept telling myself that I didn’t have time, that I had to set aside too much time because it was a delicate process to take the laptop apart. I know deep down it was that I was afraid it wouldn’t work. And if I didn’t do it, then I could cling to that hope that it would work.
As I was taking my sweet ass time psyching myself up to put my eight hundred dollar piece of equipment into the oven, my dad had an amazing idea based on something he’d read about on his logic board travels. He suggested taking the battery out, plugging it in, and putting it between two pillows and letting it heat up.
I was skeptical that it could be that easy, and also worried about the other hardware inside. What if overheating it like that damaged other parts of the computer? Dad assured me that it would be a fine first step before I decided to take the whole thing apart, so I took to Google to find specifics, like how thick of pillows and how long to do it for.
I came across this post on IFixIt.com, where someone wrapped their MacBook in a quilt upside down and left it for almost two hours. Then they let it cool, and the computer booted up just fine afterwards.
So, I popped the battery out of my baby, plugged her in, and wrapped her up in an arctic fleece blanket on the coffee table. I left a fold so that I could stick my hand in and make sure nothing was actually catching on fire, and then kicked back to play WatchDogs for a while. All told, I probably kept it in it’s bed for about three hours.
I very gently removed it and set it facedown on the coffee table to cool. I stared at it for awhile nervously, then played some more video games for about an hour. I was afraid that it wouldn’t work.
I finally worked up the balls to boot it up, crossed my fingers, and actually let out a cry of excitement when the screen came on. I entered my password and she came on, as if she’d never left!
I quickly backed up all of my extra files that hadn’t been backed up the last time, and did dishes while constantly peeking back into the living room at my working MacBook. My baby is back!! Fuckin A! And I absolutely recommend this to anyone having issues with their logic boards! I’m doing a little dance right now, sitting in my now functional kitchen office. Writing this on my laptop that is working just as well as the day it was born.
Happy sighs. :D