MacBook Core Duo Upper Case Cable Replacement

MacBook Core Duo upper case cable replacement.

Replace the cable on your MacBook Core Duo that connects the upper case to the logic board.

Sections
Tools
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Edit Step 1 Battery  ¶ 

  • Use a coin to rotate the battery-locking screw 90 degrees clockwise.

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Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • Lift the battery out of the computer.

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Edit Step 3 Memory Cover  ¶ 

  • Remove the three evenly-spaced Phillips screws from along the rear wall of the battery compartment.

  • The screws are captive to the metal memory cover.

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Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • Lift up on L-shaped memory cover, slide it to the right, and lift it out of the computer.

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Edit Step 5 Upper Case  ¶ 

  • Remove the following 3 screws:

    • One 11 mm Phillips #00 in the middle of the case.

    • Two 14.5 mm Phillips #00.

  • If the screws stick in the case, you can use a magnetized screwdriver to draw them out.

  • The shorter of the three screws goes in the middle.

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Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • Remove the following 3 screws from the rear wall of the battery compartment:

    • Two 3 mm Phillips #00. (A1181 has three 3 mm screws and one 4 mm.)

    • One 4 mm Phillips #00 on the right side.

  • When reinstalling these screws, press gently on the lower case to line up the screw holes.

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Remove the two 6 mm Phillips #00 screws from either side of the right wall of the battery compartment (not the ones closest to the battery connector).

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Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • Remove the four 3 mm indicated Phillips #00 screws from the front wall of the battery compartment. When working from the left, remove the 2nd, 4th, 7th and 9th screw.

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • Remove the following 4 screws from the back of the computer:

    • Two 7 mm shouldered Phillips on the far sides.

    • Two 10.5 mm Phillips toward the center.

    • Do not over-tighten these; you can cause the case to distort.

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • Remove the two 5.2 mm shouldered Phillips #00 screws from the optical side of the computer.

  • It is not necessary to remove the similar screws on the other side of the computer.

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Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • Starting near the display and working around to the front of the computer, pry up on the upper case. It is held with clips on the right above the optical drive. These will release with some firm lifting pressure.

  • Be careful when prying up the upper case. It's very easy to slice open a fingertip and thus provide the blood sacrifice the Mac gods sometimes require of those who insist on doing their own repairs.

  • There's a trackpad and keyboard ribbon connecting the upper case to the logic board, so don't pull the upper case off entirely just yet.

  • If you have trouble getting the clips to release, be careful that you are not prying the plastic top of the upper case away from its metal frame.

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Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • While holding up the upper case, use a spudger to pry up the orange trackpad and keyboard cable from its connector.

  • If you happen to break your upper case cable when removing the upper case, we stock the cable individually and we have a guide that makes replacing it easy.

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Edit Step 13 Upper Case Cable  ¶ 

  • If you have a silver upper case cable, skip to Step 22.

  • If you have a brown upper case cable, follow this and the following steps to replace your upper case cable.

  • Carefully peel the upper case cable off the adhesive securing it to the upper case.

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Edit Step 14  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to carefully peel up the adhesive around the perimeter of the plastic panel stuck to the underside of the trackpad.

  • Remove the panel from the upper case.

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Edit Step 15  ¶ 

  • Use the tip of a spudger or your fingernail to flip up the retaining flap on the upper case cable ZIF socket near the keyboard cable.

  • Be sure you are prying up on the retaining flap, not the socket itself.

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Edit Step 16  ¶ 

  • Gently peel up the section of the upper case cable stuck to the keyboard ribbon cable, being careful not to disturb the keyboard ribbon cable in the process.

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Edit Step 17  ¶ 

  • Pull the top upper case ribbon cable connector out of its socket under the trackpad.

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Edit Step 18  ¶ 

  • Use the tip of a spudger to flip up the retaining flap on the mouse button ribbon cable socket.

  • Be sure you are prying up on the retaining flap, not the socket itself.

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Edit Step 19  ¶ 

  • Pull the mouse button ribbon cable out of its socket.

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Edit Step 20  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to help peel the last portion of the upper case ribbon cable off the adhesive securing it to the underside of the trackpad.

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Edit Step 21  ¶ 

  • Remove the upper case cable from the upper case.

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Edit Step 22  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to carefully peel up the adhesive around the perimeter of the plastic panel stuck to the underside of the trackpad.

  • Remove the panel from the upper case.

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Edit Step 23  ¶ 

  • Carefully peel the upper case cable and the piece of clear tape off the bottom of the upper case.

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Edit Step 24  ¶ 

  • Use the tip of a spudger to flip up the retaining flap on the upper case cable ZIF socket.

  • Be sure you are prying up on the hinged retaining flap, not the socket itself.

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Edit Step 25  ¶ 

  • Pull the upper case cable out of its socket and remove it from the upper case.

To reassemble your device, follow these instructions in reverse order.

For more information, check out the MacBook Core Duo device page.

Required Tools

Spudger

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

Phillips #00 Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

Coin

$2.95 · 1 In stock

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Comments Comments are onturn off

This is a difficult project. It is imperative that you read the entire guide before you proceed. Have a system in place to keep track of the screws so you know what goes where. Budget several hours for this.

jonathan55, · Reply

I found this to be the easiest upgrade I have ever done. New HDD and memory in ten minutes, start to finish. The hardest part was getting the #8 Torx screwdriver. Booted from the OSX disk, formatted the drive, (use the GUID scheme) and we're screaming along.

This is a great guide.

steve52, · Reply

Brilliant guide from you guys. I tackled a cd drive replacement on my Dad's MacBook a little while ago, but my skills were really tested when I accidentally stood on my laptop - new LCD needed. A visit to Ebay (don't forget duties when importing!), and this LCD Display replacement guide are all I needed. Yes it took a while (2-3 hours), but as long as you remember you need to do everything backwards then it's straightforward. I wouldn't have known where to start without this guide so thanks for creating them.

Laurence

lglew, · Reply

The guide is fantastic and the Airport Extreme Card upgrade took me less than an hour to complete. It wasn't very difficult. Some pointers: read the entire guide before undertaking the project; keep the screws from each step separated in labeled containers; buy a spludger if you don't already have one; keep a tweezer handy for the tiny screws; and take your time separating the keyboard from the computer so as to not crack/break the plastic bezel.

bvancott, · Reply

Quote from jonathan55:

This is a difficult project. It is imperative that you read the entire guide before you proceed. Have a system in place to keep track of the screws so you know what goes where. Budget several hours for this.

Nonsense! Even a non-technical person could follow this guide and do the job in 15 minutes. Anyone who's done any work on any kind of computer will be able to do this in 5-10 minutes.

eflyguy, · Reply

Quote from eflyguy:

Nonsense! Even a non-technical person could follow this guide and do the job in 15 minutes. Anyone who's done any work on any kind of computer will be able to do this in 5-10 minutes.

i agree, me and my friend (both) 14, took this underway to clean out the inside of my computer for recreational purposes, piece of cake!

keeganmerom, · Reply

This nontechnical person took about two hours to get the optical drive out and stripped down enough to take it apart and look for fragments of a CD. and then reassemble it. I'm sure other people are faster than me, they usually are, but newbees should set aside the time just in case. Also, jonathan55 is right about those screws, keep track of them and the other in which they come out as there are several different lengths.

adamorth, · Reply

Umm, that's the ORDER in which they came out. Sheesh.

adamorth, · Reply

Great guide. Very easy to follow. I put in a replacement hard drive in less than 30 minutes.

prax5487, · Reply

Extremely useful guide. Just replaced the topcase/trackpad/keyboard assembly in ~15 minutes. I've had a moderate amount of previous experience with computer repairs, but even so, anyone should be able to do this project successfully.

snharris, · Reply

The replacement takes about 10 minutes from start to finish. The longest part is the OS Backup/Restore...

BTW, you might want to know before you begin: if you have a similar size backup hard drive that you originally have in your computer, you should "Restore" the contents of the original hard drive onto it before starting this manual, using the Disk Utility. (Yes it's called Restore. You restore the original to the backup. lol.)

Your other alternative is to get an external enclosure for your SATA Laptop hard drive that has a Firewire port on it.

After the swap, you connect either the backup drive or the original drive in the external enclosure using Firewire, then boot while pressing the Option key. The backup drive will show up (possibly as the only boot option.) (In fact, now that I think about it, you might not even have to press the Option key, since the external drive should be the only boot option unless there is something in your DVD drive...)

Boot to the backup drive, then "Restore" its contents to the new internal hard drive using the Disk Utility. You should be set with your original OS, settings, etc.

ordody, · Reply

Overall I'd say this was easy if you've taken apart any computer-like device before. Total time was a little less than hour for me, and the most difficult part was getting all of the tiny screws back in; fan installation was a breeze.

paul46, · Reply

There is a simpler way of installing the operating system than described in the notes. First do a time machine backup to a new external drive. This will force a total back-up and prevent problems of restoring everything as it was. Follow steps 1-8. Instead of quitting disk utility as described in step 9, go back into disk utility menu and on the very last line you will see the option to restore the operating system and all its files via the time machine option. It was a breeze, and I did not have to deal with steps 10-28

newsletter68, · Reply

Quote from jonathan55:

This is a difficult project. It is imperative that you read the entire guide before you proceed. Have a system in place to keep track of the screws so you know what goes where. Budget several hours for this.

I am so grateful for this website! This is the first time I have opened a computer and the instillation is now done, 45 minutes later.

The key, as many others have written is the organization of the screws. It was very helpful for me to print out the individual pictures of the steps to follow. I then laid the screws, as I took them out, on the printed pictures that I placed on a table.

The key is a little mindfulness...relax... and it is fun! Enjoy!

juztino, · Reply

This is a terrific guide. Thank you very much for providing it.

Some of the screws may be different sizes in different 'books. Keeping them separated, or measuring as you remove them, helps. Also, a few of the rubber spacers, etc are not the same in mine as in the photos, and some connectors also differ. I found it helpful to take notes at each Step when they differed from the picture. A guitar pick helps when trying to get the top case free.

RichR, · Reply

Quote from jonathan55:

This is a difficult project. It is imperative that you read the entire guide before you proceed. Have a system in place to keep track of the screws so you know what goes where. Budget several hours for this.

Not quite sure what this guy is smoking, but he didn't share with the class. The hard drive replacement takes less than 5 minutes and is absolutely within the ability of anyone over the age of 7.

paul9, · Reply

I'm not a super techy guy, but this as much easier than I expected it to be. Just make sure you've got the Torx and mini-screw drivers handy.

BillB, · Reply

The instructions were excellent and the job of removing & replacing the hard-drive went like clockwork. A novice could handle this task easily with modest mechanical skills. Someone previously suggested putting aside several hours to do this..... I disagree as I replaced the HD & both RAM chips in approx. 10 minutes & I was pacing myself. As far as hardware is concerned, I found a total of 7 screws to deal with! You don't have to be too anal to keep track of 7 screws especially when 3 of them are captive in the memory cover. Unless you are mechanically inept, go ahead and do this simple job!

RAIB, · Reply

Quote from jonathan55:

This is a difficult project. It is imperative that you read the entire guide before you proceed. Have a system in place to keep track of the screws so you know what goes where. Budget several hours for this.

Several HOURS?!? It took me 10 minutes.

Scott, · Reply

I just finished this installation, and it went very smoothly. Your instructions were excellent, as were your step-by-step pictures. I couldn't be happier....I saved alot of money because of IFixit, and really appreciate it!

Amy, · Reply

Muchas Grazias, i did the steps to replug the isight cable. And its working again. Maybe doing all the steps was a bit overdressed for my problem. My only tool was a knife. Now only two parts aren´t reassemled: a little screw and a magnet. Thanks a lot again, the camera is working again!

seb, · Reply

This was an easy installation. I am NOT a tech type, just a mom who wants a better hard drive.

I installed the new hard drive into the MacBook and moved the old hard drive into the new housing in less time than it took my husband to put the baby to bed. Yeah, his bedtime routine with her takes longer than mine, but it's still less than half an hour.

I just cleared off part of the dining room table, put down a towel to keep all the parts from rolling around and followed the step-by-step directions provided here. Sooo easy. Almost too easy.

I look forward to my next MacBook repair, and I will absolutely come back to ifixit.com to get the parts and learn how to do it. I'll be here for support on my iPhone and iPods, too.

momside, · Reply

Just did an LCD replacement on a white old model MacBook. Followed this guide to a the letter. IT WORKS! I'm commenting on my fixed mac now. Excellent guide. Things I would suggest are to read through everything first and keep a note of screws labeling etc. you'll be grateful on the return trip. Also watch the routing of the cables when working on the lcd housing and right hand side of the lower laptop. Not only have I fixed my problem. I've realized that customizing macs and doing your own repairs is relatively straight forward if you follow instructions.

This website really empowers the apple product user. Shop around for parts, ebay is a good place to start. I got my screen for £65 (UK).

Final word take your time and if you are replacing LCD screens expect it to take up to 6 hours.

Also if you are replacing Samsung LCD screen it has a test port (on left back) which most replacements do not. Don't worry about it, it is nothing to do with a Mac.

thanks again ifixit.com!

alex Bayly, · Reply

Quote from jonathan55:

This is a difficult project. It is imperative that you read the entire guide before you proceed. Have a system in place to keep track of the screws so you know what goes where. Budget several hours for this.

Best way I've found to keep track of the screws is to use an ice cube tray. Just make sure you don't knock it over by mistake ;P

maccentric, · Reply

thursday: made the order on ifixit.com for ldc, spudger, size 0 screwdriver.

monday: items delivered to my place in NY.

monday night: new LCD installed.

thank you ifixit. parts ordered were perfect LCD crisper than the original one. spudger came in handy. this manual was spot on.

thanks again.

-j

NY, NY.

jose, · Reply

The instructions were more than helpful. Very well written. I just need to be better about following them. It was a easy process, it took me about 20 minutes all together. The only thing I ran across it was putting the keyboard back in place. Make sure it's all line up before you start putting screws back in place.

pdeoliveira, · Reply

Thanks a lot for this guide. It would have been much more difficult without knowing what to do.

When I was done, the LCD backlight flickered somewhat occasionally. The owner said that had not happened before. I cleaned the LCD plug by blowing with a straw into it but the flickering still happened. Dunno if this was related to my work.

darsie, · Reply

Doe's anybody know if its possible to install a second generation logic board with the core 2 duo in the first generation MacBook?

off course I'm looking to upgrade my first gen MacBook 1,1 using the newer generation MacBook logic board, so may be one of you know whether this process is possible...

Thank you :-)

Dudi, · Reply

One note on the fan replacement, or really any MacBook repairs. If you fire your MacBook up and nothing happens but the sleep light is blinking then make sure your memory is seated correctly. I freaked out after installing my new fan but it turns out that all I needed to do was reseat the memory.

jeffbacher, · Reply

THANK YOU for that great guideline! I did it step by step with my iPhone next to the workbench and it went well. One hour to open, one hour to close for me as a complete beginner.

annokluss, · Reply

I found the Phillips #000 screwdriver better suited to this task. Additionally there is an issue with scredriver clearance in the battery compartment. You need a stubby screwdriver or something short to get a good angle on the screws.

cknausen, · Reply

While many guides here are good, this one is way more complex than needed. You can replace the inverter very easily by prising off the plastic bezel around the display, removing the three screws from the hinge cover, then prising off the hinge cover to expose the inverter. That is all that is needed.

geekraver, · Reply

Reference: "prising off the plastic bezel around the display, removing the three screws from the hinge cover, then prising off the hinge cover to expose the inverter. That is all that is needed."

Unfortunately putting it back an shred the cables to the airport card..

Hugh1234567689, · Reply

When putting the laptop back together, consider doing Step 5 before Step 6. The lower case will then line up on its own.

Otherwise, even pushing on the lower case, these screws are %#$#@$ for putting back in place.

IronStrikes, · Reply

Great advice, IronStrikes. I reversed steps 5 and 6, and the screws went in like a charm.

snharris, · Reply

When I reinstalled, I put the screws in the upper holes, which are for the battery cover. If you don't want to back track, be sure to use the lower screw holes at this step.

akinderman, · Reply

on my version the longer screw was in the middle

oliviermolody, · Reply

On my version the 3 mm screw (smaller of the three screws) was in the middle, which differs from the image.

Brian Boudreau, · Reply

loner on the left on mine

RichR, · Reply

The screws are 6.3 mm

Jens Himmelreich, · Reply

Count carefully here. If you don't remove the right ones, you won't be able to separate the keyboard assembly later.

Art Vandelay, · Reply

The srews are 3.3 mm

Jens Himmelreich, · Reply

This screws are shouldered on my MB

Zoltan Paszinger, · Reply

The screws are 5.4 mm

Jens Himmelreich, · Reply

threads are on the tips

Igor Ratmansky, · Reply

I couldn't tighten the screws again. They kept turning. Dunno if the threads were gone or the screws didn't reach them.

darsie, · Reply

Found it necessary to remove the corner one.

Robert Wiggers, · Reply

I had a lot of trouble lifting up the right side. I had to use a great deal of force, and I hesitated for quite some time for fear of snapping the casing.

yowsa, · Reply

Danger Will Robinson!! My upper case did NOT want to come out on the right side. I just trusted to cameronmoll and kept lifting straight up. Finally, it came loose, but it wasn't easy. Meanwhile, while I was dealing with the cable -- just had to pull up a black tab hooked to it -- I somehow managed to chip the front, top edge of the upper case -- the edge farthest from the screen -- in two places, one on the right, one on the left. So, watch that edge, it is thin!

adamorth, · Reply

Regarding the right side, there is a series of 3-4 plastic snap in locks on that side along the optical drive, holding the case down in lieu of screws. It takes serious pressure to remove the snapped in pieces (just lift straight up). You should also make sure to line them up when you put the casing back on. Another picture might help show that portion better

dougyfresh, · Reply

My upper case also came off with a little difficulty. There are some plastic tabs that hold the case down (4 of them). They sorta "pinch" onto 4 little bars that are part of the upper case (note, the bars appear to be metal). I worked my upper case to the left a little and it came out easier. One of the these tabs was really tight. Note: if you do this, one or more of the tabs may stay on the upper case, you'll need to move them back in place before putting the upper case back on (pry it off the upper case with a spudger, or very carefully with a flat screwdriver as to not damage it). It will slide back into a slot on the body.

dmorrison, · Reply

Quote from dougyfresh:

Regarding the right side, there is a series of 3-4 plastic snap in locks on that side along the optical drive, holding the case down in lieu of screws. It takes serious pressure to remove the snapped in pieces (just lift straight up). You should also make sure to line them up when you put the casing back on. Another picture might help show that portion better

Nicholas Stubbs, · Reply

Regarding the right side, I found that the 4 clips slide to the left more easily that pull out. However, the front right has a bar which drops into a slots preventing pulling to the left! So ... gently lift the front right (furthest from the screen), pressing just at the front end of the optical slot to bend the faceplate at that point, then gently rock the face plate back and forwards while pulling left, so the that the four clips slide out of their retainers - presto! Remember to bend the faceplate to reassemble.

Nicholas Stubbs, · Reply

Step 11 really needs a better description. I started undoing the tape that holds the case above the optical drive slot to the metal before I read the comments and realized what I needed to do. Once you start to pull the top case up from the front, you'll reveal enough of an opening to get a spudger all the way under the metal portion of the top case next to the first snap. Once you have the spudger in, it's easy to release the snap without worrying about bending the whole topcase. Just repeat for the remaining three snaps. Once I got this technique down, it really didn't feel like I was doing anything that might damage the case.

chaos215bar2, · Reply

By the way... don't worry if you undo the tape. It will go right back together with a little pressure. I didn't even need to go out and buy some adhesive to fix it.

chaos215bar2, · Reply

I recently replaced the inverter cable. Now the power button doesn't work anymore.. but the keyboard and trackpad still do work. I already replaced the uppercase cable with no success. Does somebody have an answer to this problem?

milanseegers, · Reply

There are 4 plastic locks on the right side which prevent the keyboard from lifting up. They slide out easily if the keyboard is moved to the left. To move the keyboard to the left you first have to release the left and front side. On the left and front side there are metal strips that are snapped in. They should release when you push the metal strips with a spudger towards the center of the computer. We had much trouble releasing one metal snap as we didn't know how to do it.

When you reinstall the keyboard put the plastic bars in the frame at the right side of the case, then snap in the keyboard on the left and front side and finally snap the keyboard into the plastic snaps to the right. Be careful so they don't fall out before you snap them in.

A metal piece fell out of the computer. It was a shielding of a connector on the left side.

A tiny plastic disc (4 mm diameter) with a hole in the middle also fell out. I had little hope to find out where it belonged and it didn't seem too important, so I left it, but kept it in a minigrip bag. Does anyone know what it's for?

darsie, · Reply

Pull straight up on the section above the optical drive. If you slide this section out, you'll have to slide it back in for reassembly, which is harder than pushing vertically.

unthread, · Reply

There are four plastic clips above the CD slot that may come off or stay attached to the uppercase. On reassembly remove them from the upper case and locate the clips into the slots in the frame inside the lower case before lowering the upper case down into position.

James, · Reply

It lifts straight up.

cameronmoll, · Reply

Quote from cameronmoll:

It lifts straight up.

I'd suggest being careful and perhaps having help with step 12, as I have broken the connector piece at the end of the cable by pulling too hard/fast and having the connector stuck in the board and the ribbon dangling without purpose.

Does anybody know of a good way to repair such a ribbon, or am I stuck buying new upper case units?

o2bnited, · Reply

The computer serial number and network IDs are on the underside of the top case (visible in the battery compartment.) In order to prevent misidentification in the future (for instance, while on the phone with Apple tech support), I print the info from the old top case on a sticker and affix it over the label on the new top case.

colleenthompson, · Reply

A lot of top case replacements are due to the front edge being broken by the bumpers on the lid of the MacBook. I stick a couple of felt dots on either side of these bumpers to absorb some of the shock when the lid is slapped shut, to prevent damage to the new top case.

colleenthompson, · Reply

I think that one extra picture should be added here. That is to say, the purpose of using the spudger (which I do suggest you should buy so that you don't risk ruining the orange cable), is to unplug a little connection. Basically your are "popping" it open. Had I known this it would have made th4e process feel a little less risky. In any case the mission was successful... Job completed in 45 minutes and my computer has wireless internet once again!!

juztino, · Reply

Be really careful. The cable comes up really easily.

Nick Cox, · Reply

Do NOT use a spudge!!! Just pull in the tab. Spudge Ruins the cable!

Oliver, · Reply

This seems like a repeat of step 14, but judging by the change in color of the ribbon, I take it this is on the "replacement" uppercase?

Steve Polus, · Reply

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