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2008 MacBook A1181 Penryn - Upper case/keyboard, Max RAM, SSD, OS X 10.6.8

by Tondelayo

My Problem

I had ruined the keyboard by trying to clean it with a dampened cloth and Windex. I found out later to use only distilled water, and a minimum of that on a cloth, wrung-out as much as possible.

Since I had to go in to replace the keyboard [from Amazon], I also decided to max out the RAM to 6GB, using iFixit.com 4GB and 2GB chips [2 bays] and install a 128GB Samsung SSD [also from Amazon] in place of the 160GB hard drive to help improve speed.

My Fix

Following the iFixIt.com guide, everything was straightforward except the HD hookup and initialization. No instructions with iFixIt.com Universal Drive Adapter kit, but looking at connectors I was able to figure out how the kit itself went together and how to hook up ESATA SSD power and USB connections.

After hookup to the kit, I partitioned the SSD with Disk Utility, cloned my old drive with Carbon Copy Cloner via USB 2.0 to the new SSD drive and booted from the new SSD before I installed it inside the case.

Mechanical part of repair was relatively easy, except for handling those tiny #00 Phillips screws.

My Advice

1) Use a clean, uncluttered work table, with area for all removed parts - label everything as it comes out.

2) When installing a new drive, use Disk Utility to partition it first, even if you're only going to have 1 partition - otherwise the drive won't be recognized by the Mac OS X.

3) Have a pencil magnet [for those tiny steel screws] and make labeled sandwich bags for each step in the iFixIt.com sequence.

4) When replacing the upper case/keyboard, some of the screw tab holes may not line up perfectly, but you can use an awl or similar to align tabs with holes so the screws can go in.

5) If you're replacing a part with x number of screw holes, don't tighten them all completely until they are all installed and threading in. Then tighten from the center of an area outward, symmetrically, in steps, to spread the compression equally.