Ode to Macbook Repair

Cory Blog, Hardware, Repair

Hello my name is Cory and I abuse my Macbook Pro.

Yes, admittedly I’ve used my early 2008 macbook pro pretty hard, extending the capabilities of its processor speed and memory, sliding it around on the coffee table, dropping it on its corner, ripping and burning dvds, and, the greatest tragedy, leaving it out around my two kids.

In this story, we reflect on the life of the slot loading drive and its slow decline to death.
I started noticing the drive acting up a few months ago. Sad that I was, I just figured it was from all the dvd work that I was making it do. Then I installed Snow Leopard. Granted it spun and read the installer DVD for a good hour, but giving up the ghost was not what I figured the result would be.

I came across a mac forum where scores of people reportedly were having CD-ROM issues after installing Snow Leopard, but as is typical with most forums, people get on tangents, cursing each other out for misspellings or unclearly describing the issue at hand, thus in the 10-some pages of threads, no solution was reached.

I then turned to cleaning the inside of the drive. First there was compressed air. Then a credit card wrapped in cloth to swipe the inside of the drive- blindly of course- not recommended. Let me say that my drive was dead before this. I would slide a CD in, it would give a small grinding noise and pop right back out. The only solution: buy an external Cd drive (thats mac compatible) or replace the drive. I chose the latter- as it would have better results in the long run.

I found an exact match on ebay for only $85 down- a great deal compared to $130 + shipping elsewhere. Hesitant as anyone would be about dismantling an entire mac laptop (especially one that’s only 3 years old), I planned my evening accordingly, almost, and tackled it straight away using a super awesome repair guide provided for free, with pictures, from Fixit.com. I say “almost” because I took for granted that I had a super small T6 torx screw driver, and I realized this at 8pm. Luckily Lowes had a great set for only $7, buried as it was, I found it with minutes to spare before they closed.

Fixit.com: Repair Guides

Fixit.com: Repair Guides

The process went really well, just as the guide described. However, in the step you see pictured to the right I found the culprit to my dead slot drive. It wasn’t worn out from over use or so dirty that it couldn’t read discs… when I pried up on the back of the drive, a bobby pin fell out! Yes, a ladies bobby pin. My kids get a hold of these in the house and like to stick them in places they shouldn’t go. I just laughed. Needless to say, I swapped out the drive in all about an hour and a half. It was easier than I thought, by far. Now the drive works like new.

Is it strange that I like this stuff?

If you find yourself needing to replace your Mac drive, be sure to find the exact guide for you on Fixit.com and you can also take a look at this blog for an up close look at the drive itself.

Header image from http://www.atoasttothese.com