MacBook Air Hardware Testing


#1

Late night my Wifes 2011 MacBook Air decided it would drop to a screen with nothing but a flashing folder the same/similar to the screen you get when you don’t have a valid boot drive installed. A forced reboot saw it all come back to life without issue so I figured it was just a one off fart. The machine has had a little love over the years, the battery was replaced 12 months ago, the SSD was upgraded to a 480GB OWC Aura 6G SSD in mid 2014 and it’s in very good condition for it’s age.

Today she’s messaged me saying it’s done it again (while sitting open on a table) which leaves me thinking it’s one of three things.

Software
Failing SSD (or loose)
Failing Mainboard

Backups are already in place so that’s not a concern, but I’m looking for someone to check my logic and/or provide alternative ideas for testing before I’m forced to bite the bullet and organise another machine.

OSX First Aid says it’s all OK.
I might open it up and re-seat the SSD and clean out any new dust that’s in there before I do much more.

Next up would be some sort of software check of the SSD itself. Can anyone recommend any tools?
Is there some sort of hardware test that can be otherwise done on the MacBook to test the wider system? Or this is a Genius bar sort of tool?

Assuming all that passes and it’s still happening I will re-install OSX and see if that helps.
Beyond that I could only try the stock SSD and see if that helps.

If all of that fails I suppose it will be time to consider a replacement…


#2

Is there an Apple Hardware Test app out there for this machine that you could try out…? I see Apple have made them a built in feature from 2013…


#3

Go to a torrent site or someone’s Dropbox folder and see if you can find the ASD for this particular model.
http://www.dannydullin.com/apple-service-diagnostic-asd-reference-list/

I used these to fault find a 5,1 Mac Pro of mine.

There was a forum called Advanced Reworks Forums.
If you join and search for Apple Service Diagnostics Vault there is a 810 reply thread. Within that are instructions and links to hosted ASDs.
I downloaded a bunch 2 years ago for the systems I needed. Good luck.
There are 2 versions for each ASD. An EFI and an OS version.


#4

So the hardware test reported nothing, re-seating the OWC SSD didn’t help but in using CCC I noticed that it was spitting some read errors. Swapping it out for the stock 256GB SSD and OSX is re-installed and everything appears to be working as it should.

While I was trying to copy a couple of extra files off the OWC SSD it kept crapping out so it appears it really has died.

We will see how the reduced space goes for now, but without the legacy of iTunes (now that we stream music) it might just be enough.

On a side note, I started looking at what it would cost me to replace it and I found:

MacBook Air 512GB/8GB = $2,050
MacBook Pro (Non touchbar) 512GB/8GB = $2,500
MacBook Pro (Touchbar) 512GB/8GB = $3,000
MacBook Pro (Touchbar) 512GB/16GB = $3,300

The Air is old but has a nicer (non breaking) keyboard.
The Pro (Non Touchbar) has a slower CPU.
The Pro (Touchbar) might as well be upgraded to 16GB of RAM when you’re dropping $3k anyway.

I figured I might as well take a look on the Dark Side to see what was available and saw these couple of options on sale. While I haven’t touched either these particular models, I’m sure the Mac build quality is much better. That said I just got a new Dell at work and it’s not half bad and there really is a hell of a difference in price. On the upside I don’t need to make that choice just now, but it’s not as easy as it used to be.

Dell Inspiron 13.3" 7000: 512GB/16GB/Touch Screen $1,379

Dell Inspiron 13.3 5000: 256GB/8GB/Touch Screen (2in1) $1,359


#5

I’ve seen one of those Aura drives do intermittent boot issues. The one I used also ran super hot. I’d contact OWC - I think they have lifetime warranty on most stuff (certainly on RAM, anyway).


#6

Which version of macOS is it running? I heard that the Aura SSDs have compatibility issues with High Sierra…

Edit: here’s a link that might help - https://blog.macsales.com/42466-a-note-on-high-sierra-compatibility-with-third-party-ssds


#7

Interesting that there are known issues.

Yep, it definitely pretty warm.

This drive was bought for and installed into a 2011 MBA in 2014 so it’s now on the list of machines with known issues. Her laptop has been running High Sierra for a while now without issue too, so it looks like that probably wasn’t the issue.

As for warranty, I’ve gone back to the original paperwork, while the current models come with a lifetime warranty mine seems to say it was only 3 years. I suppose it’s worth the cost of an email to ask the question.


#8

OWC are usually very good - I reckon it’s worth asking the question at least…


#9

Well, I just burnt a DVD.

Why do Apple seem to make simple things so hard in modern OSs (that or it’s me :stuck_out_tongue: ).

OWC have said that the drive is under warranty, but asked me to do a few things first, one of which was to boot a DMG file to check the firmware. Problem is Disk Utility refuses to let me restore the DMG to USB and searching the web doesn’t seem to help. In the end it was just easier to pull the superdrive out of the drawer, blow the dust off the spool of DVDs and burn a disc.

End result, drive is on the current firmware and still dead.


#10

I discovered the other day that a lot of the previously generically supported external optical drives don’t work under High Sierra… Thankfully the Apple one out of a Mac Pro in a Firewire case worked well. :man_shrugging: