DIY Repairs


As someone who loves Macs cos - they just work - and because of their lack of requirement (and indeed, ability) to upgrade (because of the simplicity that comes with such rigidity; the solid lines drawn by Apple, as to what their machines can, or can not do, as compared with “PCs” which, to my mind, tend to be full of vagaries and areas of grey with regard to upgrades - upgrade this, only to find out that no longer works, or is not compatible, or blows up…), I have to admit that I do like opening a computer up now and then… performing an upgrade… replacing faulty bits…

Just swapped over the optical drive in my “new” (early) Intel Mac Mini with one from my older G4 Mini… Yes, it may be a simple job to most… And yes, it did ultimately take me over 90 minutes to perform… blowing out dust along the way… But I did it… old butter fingers me… (I did not have butter on my fingers; honest)

Definitely should never be paid for this stuff though… Both machines now have a few marks from prying them open… Lucky neither were pristine in the first case.




Well done! It is quite satisfying to do an upgrade yourself.

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It is good fun isn’t it. I have always like to tweak though my move to Apple hardware several years back now makes the tweaking a little less common than in my Windows days. Having said that though just last week I placed an order for a second upgrade of RAM for my iMac, perhaps the easiest yet most beneficial tweak to an iMac.
Was a LOT harder to add an SSD to my Mid 2011 iMac as a boot drive and companion drive to an internal 2TB HDD. Removing the glass and screen then working through the layers of components was a bit intimidating at the time. Still a great piece of hardware and though I don’t use it often I do like having the optical drive and I also like the SD slot on the side rather than hidden at the back which is why it’s a keeper for me.

Always good to breathe life back into an older piece of hardware. I just finished swapping out two blown capacitors in a 21.5" monitor that was headed for the bin, 1.5 hours and $1.80 worth of capacitors and I’ve scored myself a free monitor when I was about to fork out $180 for an almost identical one new. It was definitely satisfying to see it power up this afternoon (even if it took 2 attempts because I missed reconnecting a cable)

And I’ve got an SSD coming tomorrow to breathe a little more life into a MacBook Pro I got 2 years back because the owner spilt a cup of coffee on it. :smile:

I’ve always enjoyed doing upgrades and stuff on my Mac, one of the many many reasons why I refused to get a Retina Macbook Pro this year. Already put an SSD + New ram into my replacement 2012 Macbook Pro Non Retina :slight_smile:

[quote=“cosmichobo, post:1, topic:1703”]
Both machines now have a few marks from prying them open…
[/quote]Those older Minis are really hard to get open without leaving marks I’ve found. Maybe I’ve just not found the right tool yet, but I have not only marked every one while opening it (using a spatula, as recommended) but I have found them quite hard to get closed again as well. I have one that lost its voice after being opened and one that just won’t close properly. The newer ones with built in power supply are easier in some ways, but nothing like the old Mac Pros, which are a pleasure to upgrade.


I was a bit hesitate to even mention that I’d marked the cases, thinking - gee, what an amateur that shows me to be… Glad to know I’m not alone. More upsetting to me, was cracking a few plastic “locks” on my TAM… and marks in the edging of my Newton MessagePad… But I guess at the end of the day, in 50 years time when I sell them for x$100,000, a few marks wont matter. :smile:

Perhaps not exactly a fair comparison because I do this for a living, but I do all my own repairs. Almost all of my current daily use machines are systems that were previously faulty or damaged that I purchased, fixed up and returned to service. To share a few:

iMac (27-inch Mid 2011)

This machine’s HDD fan failed and cooked the internal drive to death, and overheated the system in the process. As a result the thermal interface materials were also done as precaution.

  • Replaced Hard Disk Drive
  • Installed OWC HDD Sensor Kit
  • Replaced Thermal Paste on CPU
  • Replaced Thermal Paste and Pads on Graphics Card
  • Repaired HDD Fan
  • Replaced Optical Drive Temp Sensor

MacBook Pro (13-inch Early 2011)

This one was another liquid spill, requiring a replacement keyboard which is a complete strip down. It now looks almost immaculate inside and out.

MacBook Air (13-inch Early 2014)

This one had some corrosion inside it from a water spill. It’s now corrosion-free and looks immaculate inside and out.

  • Replaced Trackpad
  • Replaced IPD Flex Cable
  • Repaired Keyboard (cleaned key matrix, replaced two key lifters)

I make this somewhat of a hobby of mine, albeit one of waning interest. These days I mostly fix machines, keep what I want to use or have as a collectors item, and move on anything else to whoever needs it. I have about 10 completed machines in storage at the moment, a further 3 awaiting completion and a small storage of spare parts for all of them. There’s also something nice about keeping a machine in service as opposed to sending it off to landfill.

iMic, if I had your skills, I’d have jumped at the chance to buy Apple Bits a while ago…

I have only done simple things, like add more RAM, most complex thing I have done is replace the HDD in the new old MacBook with an SSD, but now I need to do the battery, it’s finally really dying. And I am also wanting to replace the HDD in the mini and add an SDD (or two) to that but am terrified of screwing it up so have not done it.

As in the Melbourne based parts reseller? I wasn’t aware they were for sale. I have a reasonable sized shed of spare parts at the moment as it stands that needs to be sorted anyway, let alone handling whatever their inventory contains.

Sometimes I do wish there was a reasonable spare parts distributor or network for Apple machines in Australia, the USA has Powerbook Medic and the like but not all that much here. I have a few machines that I could use some spares for that are getting a bit difficult to source.

Yep… Might be speaking out of turn, and his comment may well have been in jest, but a few years ago when I was picking up a G5 tower from him, he commented that I’d been a customer for a while… Blah blah… Would I like to buy the business? I’d just become redundant and had some reasonable cash behind me, but we’d settled in Geelong, and would’ve meant moving to Melb, or moving the business - If indeed it was genuine…

Yeah, there’s not a lot of options these days…


Working on another one this evening. A little birdie told me about a 2008 MacBook Pro headed for the shredder. The machine appears to work, but the exterior is a little banged up. I’m fairly confident I have a couple of spare cases for this model under my desk at work, I’ll check tomorrow. Tonight though it was all about tearing down the machine, cleaning up the Logic Board and renewing the thermal paste.

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I’m always jealous when people find relatively recent machines that need work to be done! Would love to come across a Macbook Pro from the last 8 or so years that just needs some work done.

On machines that are in warranty, this is all I have done, but for older machines (For example G4 iBooks) I’ve done complete tear downs and rebuilding one laptop out of two. Not confident enough to do it on machines that have much value :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m not confident enough when I have to remove the entire innards of a machine before being able to do whats needed. I probably could but one day will have enough saved to get the local Mac1 guys do it for me

Finished the repair.

Took more than a little as well.

  • Replaced Bottom Case
  • Replaced LCD (Cracked)
  • Replaced Thermal Paste
  • Replaced Keyboard
  • Installed New Battery

Works brilliant now though. Needs a clean and polish but that won’t be difficult.


Where did you buy the battery? I am looking for one for my Macbook (white, mid 2010) but the cost is HUGE and the Macbook just aint worth that much. I paid $450 for it and have already spent another $350 on it… Don’t really want to double that.

Tinkering with the basics is how it all started for me as far back as I can remember…then it grew from there. Just wanting to know how stuff works, how it all fits together & learning along the way. If you do these things enough times, you can get pretty good at it…

It lead me down a career path to where I’m somewhat similar to @iMic where I now fix avionics components for a living.

So yeah, I say just have a go because you won’t no if you can do repairs unless you try…

$99 USD + freight from OWC for a NewerTech replacement battery is one option.