MBP A1226 Logic Board last resort fix for nVidia video chip
I turned mine in to Apple for evaluation. I was told it was indeed affected by a bad nVidia chip, but was also told the serial number on the nVidia chip is out of range for their quality program.
The MBP chimes. The keyboard backlight activates. I can adjust the speaker volume. I can adjust the keyboard backlight brightness. I can eject optical disks.
I'm considering baking the BGA back into place. I have a small toaster oven. I have aluminum foil. I have a heat gun. I even have blue Fun-Tak for protecting certain parts (it was featured in an XBox 360 fix using a heat gun).
I'd love to know the best way to bake the board with respect to:
- proper equipment (kitchen over, heat gun, toaster oven, something else?)
- protecting the other parts on the logic board
- temperature and duration
- cooling procedure
Thanks for reading!
I can confirm Matthew's fix. It worked not only for the MacBook Pro featured in the original posting, but also for another MBP which exhibited similar symptoms.
The originally featured MBP actually failed to chime. I completely wrapped it in a quilt, let it sit upside-down, and played Halo for 1:45. I made a point to disturb the MBP as little as possible as I unwrapped the quilt. Yes, the underside was very hot. I let it cool down on its own. Afterwards, I was able to reset the PRAM (by holding down the power button) and was able to boot up the MBP. Subsequent sessions degraded the video. It went from working perfectly to displaying only the top third of the screen to completely reverting to its previous bad state. One more session in the hot quilt fixed that. The MBP behaves as expected, and the only quirk exhibits itself when the MBP runs without a battery - the Magsafe LED would blink sometimes or not activate at all. So far, I have been able to work around it by inserting a battery.
The second MBP also failed to chime, but I heard a fan, and wrapped it in the quilt (acrylic yarn), heated it up and let it cool naturally. It's essentially back to working order!
Since you got nothing to lose with this board you may try the heat gun method to reflow the BGA. You need to cover the board with two sheets of aluminum foil but before you need to cut a hole to expose the BGA chip. You slowly heat all the board area then concentrate the heat to the BGA. You may put some solder on the chip and when the solder melt on it then you continue to heat a little to be sure that the small solder balls under the chip are melting. Don't heat to much to avoid bridging the solder balls. After it's done don't move the board but let it cool for a while. Maybe you'll have to redo the job until you get a result and maybe you'll ruin the board, it's a guess but good luck and let us know if it worked.
After reading this thread, I came up with a longshot way to solve what seemed to be a bad logic board; I intentionally overheated the computer, while turned upside down.
My MBP 15 A1226 had signs of a bad logic board - the hard disk would sound on, the fan would start up, the MagSafe power indicator light was on, but the computer's 'power indicator light' (the one that normally pulsates when the comp's sleeping) would light up and glow steady, and the screen would remain completely dark and unlit. I tried suggested steps from iFixit, Apple, and macrumors (resetting PRAM, SMC, etc.) and there was no change in the computer's symptoms. This lasted a day.
What seems to have resolved it was this; plugged in the AC power, turned on the computer, closed it, turned it over, then put a folded-up quilt on top of it, and went downstairs and watched Pineapple Express. When I came back to it, I opened it, unplugged it, then turned it off. The power button was extremely hot and the fan was blowing very high. I held it in front of a fan and about a minute later pressed the power button and it booted up like normal.
If you experience more problems, I would take the laptop back to another Apple store, or at least try to get another tech. Apple has become more and more generous recently with replacing these machines as it becomes obvious that the video issues are a massive epidemic. Personally I've taken at least 7-8 machines in, and I've never been rejected when there is a confirmed MacBook Pro GPU issue.
I seem to have fixed my MacBook Pro yesterday, using a small iroda solderpro 50K. It's butane powered and by changing the tip you can make it into a small blowtorch.
Ran the flame just above the chip, moving it around for about 5 minutes. I put a bit of solder on top of the chip to give me an idea of how much heat I was applying. There are little pins protruding through the back of the green, larger part of the chip and I concentrated on those one by one, thinking that they should conduct the heat down to the solder and reflow it.
I was amazed when it worked. I'd been quoted over £300 by a repair company. It may break again but that could happen if I'd have gone with the repair company. Rather I was going to buy a new Mac, so I feel like I've saved myself £1,500.
I've installed smcFanControl to monitor how hot the computer is running. I ran this computer for a long time with poorly lubricated fans. It used to run burning hot so that may have been the reason that it went down originally, but I'm not sure.
I would also try taking the machine to an apple authorized service provider or a different Apple store. They would just need to confirm the issue by running a Graphics Processor Test on the machine to see if it qualifies for repair.
Also Nvidia in a class action lawsuit is offering repairs on certain models of machines with the chip issue. Details are online at:
I had a MacBook Pro 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo that was experiencing similar problems.
1. The screen was physically broken.
2. It powered on but there was no chime, the sleep light would come on but the display remained black. Nothing would get around this, even dismantling it and running it with no screen attached but connected to an external monitor, nor shorting the system reset, solder points on the motherboard.
So, I bought a replacement screen from http://www.laptopscreen.com/ it arrived in about a week, shipped to New Zealand. I dismantled the MacBook Pro and installed the new screen.
After this I was still at problem 2. It booted but the screen wasn't turning on nor was the machine progressing any further into a startup.
Following advice here I wrapped the Macbook Pro up in a blanket and left it for 30 minutes. I unwrapped it and waited a minute and tried to power it on. This worked it chimed and booted. The problem was I still couldn't restart or shutdown the machine as I'd have to repeat the heat up process everytime. So I left it in sleep mode. This became annoying as I wanted to use the laptop as a Lion test machine and rebooting often would be needed.
So, I tried dismantling the laptop and heating up the ATI video chip with a hair dryer for 10minutes as per many other guides and youtube clips. This didn't seem to have any effect. It now wouldn't turn on reliably after being heated up in the blanket and when it did I had graphic corruption on the screen.
At this point I was done with this laptop. So I decided as one last step I'd give the oven solder reflow method a go (as per many other guides for fixing solder reflow problems). As I couldn't be sure what part was actually causing this issue I decided to bake the whole logic board. I removed it from the machine, took all the stickers off, removed the emi foam pads on the ports, took of any kapton tape & plastic covers and put it in the oven at 200c for 9 minutes on balls of tin foil to keep it level. I let it cool with the door open for 5-10 minutes then for another 15-20 on the bench. I was concerned the ambient light sensor might melt as it looked plasticy but it didn't. Some of the solder points looked nice and shiny after removing it form the oven so it was definitely hot enough for some re flowing to occur.
After putting everything back on the logic board and reassembling the laptop, I powered it on. First go it chimed and booted to the Finder, so I tried a restart, that worked. So I tried a Shut Down and power on that worked. I tried a power on from battery 2 hours later, it worked. I just powered it on now, 24 hours later and it's chimed and booted. No graphic corruption either.
So anyone in a similar position I can recommend the oven method. It might not work forever but mine now boots and is usable for now!
we do these graphics reflow repairs in shop here in the UK, I must say that there is no guarantee that 1) the reflow will work, 2) the reflow will last longer then 3 months. We do HP laptop Nvidia chip repairs seemingly all day, with high success, but the MacBook Pro work hasn't been as successful even when using different equipment procedures (heat temp, time of application etc...). If you can get a known working used logic board for a good price (they are about 250 here so around 400 Canadian after the conversion) I would 100 percent recommend that route instead ... oh one other thing, the second answer recommended against doing this repair yourself, i def agree with this, its relatively precise work and even heat on the chip is essential to good reflowing and preventing the board from warping.
Assumed from the other answer you're Canadian, if so hello from another Canadian living in the UK
Hi all! 10/20/2013
I am a Japanese. I translate Japanese into an English sentence by translation software. I am sorry that it is not a correct English sentence. I may not follow a rule by the first contribution, but decide to show courage, and to contribute it.
I show my repair method to everybody. It is unscreened in Japan.
There are two causes not to start.
This repair method has been already shown.
As for the laminated ceramic condenser, deterioration gradually advances. Deterioration has a characteristic becoming faster in the high temperature and humid area.
This laminating ceramic condenser is installed to remove a noise mainly. Economy is lost when I install a lot it, and a PC price rises.
When the deterioration of the laminated ceramic condenser advances, PC movement becomes unstable. Furthermore, a PC does not start when I advance.
In the example "that I did not have any problem until the day before, but did not start the next day", it might rain. When a laminating ceramic condenser becoming the high temperature gets cold, the water-rich air gets inside. Therefore, the capacitance of the laminated ceramic condenser decreases. When capacitance decreases, a CPU does not work normally because a noise becomes big. In other words, it does not start.
The repair due to heat gun is the repair method that is good because the deterioration of the ceramic condenser is improved. However, the PC does not start again several months later.
A radical solution is to add a ceramic condenser to a main board.
I prepare 4-6 condensers of 6.3V100μF.
The noise of the CPU decreases by adding this to a certain place.
The insulation is heat-resistant, and the one side adhesive tape of superior polyimide is necessary for this work.
I can perform the masking such as boards, protection, the insulation easily. The durability temperature in the practical use reaches around 260 degrees Celsius.
The ceramic condenser block use the solder having high melting point. Work becomes easy by using the solder having low melting point when I attach a ceramic condenser block to a main board.
Even other models think that many problems are solved by similar measures.
Poor IC of TPS51120 attached to the bottom of the right fan is more likely to produce the PC of a no power. Only a high engineer can change skill.
Finally there is a request from me.
You purchase new mac, and it is free or is inexpensive and provides it to people who cannot purchase mac where repair ended in, and let's open mac world.
The thing which is not broken is not a product forever. The controlled dissatisfaction promotes the purchase of a new product.
I pray for good luck visiting all of you to see this.
I add a postscript to a sentence 10/22/2013
My repair method only heats GPU.
A thing to set up is a solder flux.
1. I pour a solder flux around GPU.
2. I wait for 2-3 minutes until a solder flux attaches to the whole GPU.
3. Because an extra flux flows out when I make an air blow around GPU, I wipe this off
4. I heat GPU for a heat gun.
5. The temperature of the GPU circumference seems to reach it to around 190-200 degrees Celsius and adjusts the position of heat gun with an infrared thermometer. Because parts of the back side drop when I heat more than 200 degrees Celsius, I am careful.
6. If it becomes 200 degrees Celsius and passes for 30 seconds, I make a heat gun a ventilation mode.
7. I wait to turn off a heat gun, and to fall to normal temperature.
8. I install it again
It is the best method to change GPU. However, I may repair even this method.
I had a similar problem, and a variation on the quilt-method worked for me.
It appeared that the screen stopped working so I tried connecting it to an external monitor and got nothing. No startup chime, resetting PRam didn't seem to work, etc. HDD spun up, power light came on and if you close the lid it pulsed.
I wrapped the bottom half of the machine in aluminum foil (not the screen), taking care to block the fan exhaust.
I plugged in power and a USB mouse so I could wake it up while closed, and closed the lid.
I clicked the mouse & made sure the machine was on (solid power light).
Then I wrapped the whole mess in a microfiber blanket to keep it very warm, and cooked for 2-3 hours.
When I came back, the machine was pretty hot. I let it cool to room temperature, turned it on, and it worked perfectly fine.
I was completely blown away that this worked, and figured I should share my experience. Now I'll take it into a genius bar to see if they will agree to replace the motherboard as a courtesy. They've done this for me on other systems in the past.
I have a similar problem with my Mac and I think I have nothing to lose by trying the method,
Can anybody out there help me with the Apple E-Mail address that I can use to see if they will agree to change me logic boards.
I have two Macs: A1226 and A1229 with similar problems.
I will try the"Deep Heat" method only after I have contacted Apple.
Thanks everybody for your invaluable tips.
NAIROBI. KENYA. AFRICA,
Just to let you guys know... Those repair methods WILL NOT LAST LONG. Any attempts of repair with blow torch or heat gun (god bless those logic boards) are UNACCEPTABLE! You will get you Mac fixed for a short time, but then only replacement will help. It's better to get it to TRUSTED workshop for professional REBALLING or if you looking for permament fix whole NVIDIA chip replacement. BUT IF YOU PLAY WITH HEAT GUN OR BLOW TORCH the repair will be impossible at all... It's funny that you can afford £1500 for a Macbook Pro, but then trying to save £100 for professional repair ruining whole machine. Think twice. You will save money anyway. I have repaired tons of motherboards with NVIDIA/ATI/Inte
I had similar problems (Macbook Pro 2007): the Mac would start but no display. The behavior was random but got to the point that I just could not turn it on. The blanket trick did not work for me - it did not get hot enough or shut down. Apple repair told me to bet a new motherboard. I might as well get a new MacBook. So after it failed again I thought I can't lose much. I need to keep for a few weeks till I am back in Canada where a new one is cheaper than in Europe.So I cooked it in the oven: 90 degrees Celsius for one hour (including heat-up time. I had to use kitchen gloves to get it out. I let it cool off a bit but not enough - too hot to start. I let it cool down completely and voila, it's working again. I don't know how long that will last but I already shut it down once and it came back up which it did not do before.
Word of caution: 90 degrees for one hour may nave been too much.My keyboard melted a bit: the keys look a bit funny and the space bar is not as reliable as before. But it now looks a bit more exotic and I am typing this message on my Macbook-that's progress!
It's just a shame that the Apple product did not last longer than 5 years. Some of my old Dells still work after 10 years - but I also hate them....
So I will get another MacBook Pro and hope I won't get another NVIDIA lemon.
Good luck cooking your own MacBook, Wolfgang
Freunde, die "Bratapple" Technik ist keine Reparatur. Seit dem letzten Eintrag lief das MacBook 2 Wochen ohne Fehler aber ich habe nicht gewagt ihn auszuschalten den vorherige Erfahrung war dass er dann nicht mehr startet. Gestern hat er dann wieder den Geist aufgegeben (Maus war eingefrohren keine Reaktion auf den keyboard). Neustart brachte ihn nicht zurueck.
Also wieder zurueck ins Bratrohr, diesmal nur 70 Grad aber eine Stunde. Nach abkuehlen ging er wieder.Trotzdem
Gruesse vom Apple Koch.
I think some caution is needed with this wrap-in-a-quilt and/or heat gun cure method.
It assumes the cause of the misery lays in the degraded or partly lost connection between the logicboard and the about 2 x 2 inch nVidia board, more specific, some of the leadfree solderballs in the Ball Grid Array (BGA) have failed in one way or another.
By itself, blame on (the) leadfree solderjoints is not far fetched, many electronics manufacturers had and still have to deal with those. One could say, leadfree solder is a quite different cup of tea compared to classic lead solder.
So something wrong with the leadfree solderballs is indeed a possible culprit.
However, it is NOT the only one...
There also came to light an issue with the nVidia chip(s?) itself. There are several GeForce 8600 sub-types or versions.
The nasty and prone to failure cards, were equiped with a 602-chip, the better, or should one say more robust, ones had the 603, anyway NOT a 602.
The 602-chips failed internally, as such the 603 can be seen as the redesigned, improved version of the 602.
This implies, in case of misery and the graphics-chip appears to be a 602, any solder reflow attempt like the wrap-in-a-quilt method and/or reflow and/or reball and/or heat gun or baking will not work.
And let us face it, reballing is a skilled specialists job. One could do it oneself, as long as the proper equipment is at hand.
Apple abandoned the GeForce 8600M-series with 602-chips as soon as it became clear what went wrong and moved tot 603 and later. The Apple logicboards exchanged via the extended warranty program are/were all 603-chip equiped.
With greetings from continental Europe
AMAZING! I have a dead 15 inch MacBook Pro from 2008, where Apple already has replaced the logic board (6 months ago), because of NVIDIA problem, but the machine died again. the warranty on repairs is only 3 months (but why?) - even if the repair means a new logic board. Apple refuses to acknowlege that this second crash of the machine can have anything to do with the GPU. As long as there is no chime, and the screen is black, they cannot run their test, and then the conclusion is damaged motherboard!
I have tried every trick in the book (I am a former Apple service technician) and nothing works. yesterday I pulled out the logic board, wrapped it in foil, with a hole revealing only the GPU. I gave it 10 minutes with a heat gun, with a completely shot-in-the-dark method, with no control over temperature or nothing (the heat gun produces probably arohund 200-300 degress celsius depending on the distance from the object). When I did not dare to expose it to more heat, because I could barely touch the chip briefly, I let it cool. After reassembling it, the machine works like nothing ever happened to it. I hope it lasts!
I have a late 2008 model of MBP and it went dark a few days ago. I can confirm the heat effect works. Took the logic board out, cleaned the thermal paste from the nvidia chip, heated it with hairdryer at close range for 3 minutes twice, re-applied new layer of thermal paste, and assembled the laptop back together. And it now works. Two days and going and all is well so far.
I would like to add my name to the list of people who had a MBP come back to life after the blanket trick. Prior to doing that, I had ripped the machine apart, meticulously cleaned the carpet of crap that was blocking my air vents, cleaned the heat sink/processors and reapplied thermal paste. It was in the blanket for some time, but it kept shutting off, so I had to keep turning it back on. I think it may have been the system realizing it was too toasty, thereby shutting itself down.
I was personally experiencing the no-video, no-POST version of this horror story, so I'm thrilled to say that the blanket got me back up to speed.
Thanks and good luck!
Just a quick update, while (1) taking the machine apart and using the blow-dryer on NVidia chip brought the machine to life initially, it didn't last. In about 2 months time, the blank screen play started again. Repeated (1), and the problem went away the second time.
Though this time I figured I should try to change the logic board and around $300 price from acendtech seemed more reasonable that the $799. Replacement went well and everything appeared to be in order. In about 2 weeks time, the funny flashing RGB pixels started to appear randomly on the screen, and the problem got worse to the point where the screen freeze becomes a fairly regular occurrence. The only recourse at this point is to perform the hard reboot.
Finally, I called it quits on all the tweaking or twiddling. Paid 10% or so return penalty to acendtech and bought myself a mid-2010 Mac for under a gran. It has been 6 months now and I can finally focus on using the Mac then worrying about the fixes.
I love you all mates!
I've plugged it in, turned it on, and put it back in it's PC bag for an hour. After nearly 2 years sleeping mode...it works!!!!
Thank you all...
I've cheered too soon. After 4 days I got the same problem again.
It wouldn't start. I tried the same procedure again, and it worked.
I could even run the hardware test, and it was ok.
After hardware test I chose restarting, but it didn't boot up again.
This time it's even more worse. You can hear just the optical drive and the van running for a view seconds until all turns off again.
Does anyone know, if I can still ask for a free motherboard?
I've bought my Mac in 2008, or even 2009.
And much more important... Did they fix the video chip problem?
Thanks in advance for your answers...
I had a go with a 1200w heat gun (hot air blower) normally used for stripping paint on my nvidia chip. First covering the whole logic board with tin foil -folded many times, then cutting a small square hole in the foil where the nvidia chip is.
i tested the heat gun in the air on lowest setting, and gauged how hot it was with my hand from a distance. At about 50 cm distance it was unbearable after a second or two.
From around 20-30 cm distance i gently heated the whole board from above, moving the air gun over all of the foil. I did this for around 2 mins.
then I focused a bit tighter on the nvidia chip, at around 20 cm, for 3 mins, at which point i could smell the solder a little and then another minute a little closer. So a total of 4 mins at fairly close range to the nvidia chip. I think the key here was that I could smell the solder / electronics when it was 'cooked'. I was VERY scared to over cook it and end up with one big blob of solder underneath. I left the logic board to cool after heating - after reading you mustnt move it. Reassembled it into my A1226 Macbook pro and its working fine. Ive adusted my energy preferences in be powersaving. I hope the fix lasts..time will tell.
hi, i would like to share my experience. my a1220 had the issue with the freezing then black screen and normal OS operating in the background.
My first attemps where with a heat gun. problem appeared again. Betwenn the intervals of working/not working video chip i tried to remove the adi drives and eliminate the screen saver, but no result.
SO tired of disasembling and reasembling i gave a try to matthew´s trick and i would like to confirm it works. I put it under the bed/mattres for 1.45 coonected. When i retrieve it, you should let it cool and charge again since the heat takes away the batt, a start with no problems.
my recomendations to stop the issue from reappering are:
1. use smc fan at max (6000 rpm)
2. avoid reaching 70 celsius. Over 60 its bad already i would say. the more heat cycles it reaches, the more chances it will fail again.
3. have a clean install of the OSX, updated.
4. Use a dark desktop image/simplest preferably black screen saver.
5. runnin as few possible applications at once, dont overload.
6. use a cooling bar, pad (new) or similar underneath so it has an air flow or some material that takes away heat.
7. after using your mac leave it upside down, so when the solder of the chip cool it will stay in its place.
My conclusion is that as the chip is solded underneath, with the forces of gravity and vibrations working against plus the heat makes as said, a perfect storm for the chip to disconnect from the logic board.