MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Teardown

Teardown

Teardown

Teardowns provide a look inside a device and should not be used as disassembly instructions.

We picked up our new MacBook Pro at the local Apple Store this morning. We practically mugged the Fedex delivery guy on the way in to the building, and we got the first box off the pallet.

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Edit Step 1 MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Teardown  ¶ 

  • The new, 37 percent friendlier-to-squirrels and tree-frogs MacBook Pro box. Yay for pallet density! Oh, and it's heavier than it looks.

  • Follow our updates on twitter.

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Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • Old on the left, new on the right.

  • The keyboard is now more similar to the old MacBook than the previous MacBook Pro. While the unibody case is very cool, this is going to make keyboard repair difficult.

  • That screen isn't just glossy, it's a mirror!

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Edit Step 3  ¶ 

  • New, rounded bottom. And a much darker plastic wireless window.

  • In the box:

  • In an insane move, there is no video adapter included. I don't care if DisplayPort is an industry standard or not, I just paid $2161.92 for a computer that won't plug into any monitor Apple has shipped to date! But Apple is happy to sell you one for $29.00!

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Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • The holes in the speaker grill are significantly smaller, making the upper case surface feel smoother.

  • Oh, that's right. Thanks for reminding us.

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • Ports, left to right:

    • MagSafe Power Port

    • Gigabit Ethernet Port

    • Firewire 800 Port (FW 400 with optional cable)

    • USB Port X2

    • Mini DisplayPort

    • Audio Line-in , Audio Line-out

    • ExpressCard/34 Slot

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Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • Removing the battery cover.

  • Aww, look at the cute little Apple logo.

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Remove one Phillips screw to release the hard drive bracket. The screw is held captive to the bracket.

  • Remove the four T6 screws securing the hard drive.

  • Replacing the hard drive is significantly easier on this machine than the previous MacBook Pro.

  • This machine uses the same, industry standard SATA notebook drives as previous MacBook Pro and MacBook models.

  • Shameless plug: Of course, you can upgrade the hard drive in any Apple laptop. We have free guides for every model that makes hard drive replacement easy.

  • Kudos to Apple for making this easy. Keeping repair costs down is probably the most environmentally friendly thing Apple has done with this machine.

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Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • The first step to opening this machine is removing the bottom plate.

  • Remove the following 8 screws:

  • Let's see what's creating all that torsional rigidity that Jony Ive keeps talking about.

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • We're inside!

  • Disassembling this laptop is reminiscent of the old PowerBook G4 Titanium models, and very similar to the MacBook Air.

  • You remove the bottom plate, and everything is screwed into the upper case. The case is now Apple's custom-machined unibody enclosure.

  • The interior is cleaner and flows together better than the previous Pro.

  • Cable routing from various parts of the case to the logic board is simpler in this than the new MacBook because Apple had more room to play with.

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • Removing the two 1 GB DIMMs. These chips are a new RAM type for Apple, 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM.

  • Apple claims this machine maxes out at 4GB RAM, but the Montevina chipset appears to support up to 8GB.

  • Shameless plug: You can upgrade your existing MacBook or MacBook Pro to 4 GB. We'll also be offering the RAM for the new Unibody machines in the near future.

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Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • We're going to remove the optical drive next.

  • Disconnect these two connectors.

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Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • To free the Superdrive, remove the following 3 screws

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Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • Liberating the optical drive from the confines of this beautiful machine.

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Edit Step 14  ¶ 

  • The optical drive is SATA for the first time. Panasonic model #UJ878A.

  • The superdrive in the last model was ATA, model #UJ857.

  • You can see the different connectors in the middle picture. The new, SATA connector is on top.

  • The rightmost photo is a shot of the new drive label.

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Edit Step 15  ¶ 

  • Pry the two fan connectors up off their sockets on the logic board.

  • Remove the following 6 screws:

    • Three 3.1 mm Philips screws.

    • Three 3.7 mm Philips screws.

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Edit Step 16  ¶ 

  • Removing the two cooling fans.

  • Apple has long used a unique fan design with a high number of fan blades. This allows them to achieve moderate airflow with low RPM. The slower the fan spins, the quieter it is.

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Edit Step 17  ¶ 

  • There are a number of ribbon cables to disconnect from the logic board.

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Edit Step 18  ¶ 

  • Remove the following 11 screws:

  • While our circles make it look like there are a lot of screws, this machine appears to have fewer screws than the previous MacBook Pro. These screws all attach directly to the solid-piece upper case, which should simplify maintenance a bit.

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Edit Step 19  ¶ 

  • Removing the logic board.

  • We're noticing a lot of hardware similarities between the MacBook Air, new Macbook, and this MacBook Pro.

  • Apple has taken their new manufacturing approach to heart, and is using the flexibility it provides to standardize as much of their design as possible.

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Edit Step 20  ¶ 

  • The top of the logic board, with the heatsink still attached.

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Edit Step 21  ¶ 

  • Logic board top with heatsink removed.

  • The large chip on top is the Intel 2.4 GHz Montevina processor. It has 3M L2 cache and a 1066 MHz bus. Markings: 5827B493 SLB4N AV80577P8600

  • The other two large chips are Nvidia graphics chips.

  • We'll post part numbers as we identify them.

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Edit Step 22  ¶ 

  • Logic board bottom.

  • Part numbers:

  • We'd love help identifying parts and chips. If you have any information, let us know: kyle (at) ifixit dot com.

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Edit Step 23  ¶ 

  • Here are the two Nvidia chips! They occupy a significant amount of the logic board. There's no way both of these puppies could fit in a MacBook Air.

  • The first chip is marked 37N3C2 0836B2 PB6623.S03 MCP79MXT-B2. This is the GeForce 9400M, also serving as a northbridge.

  • The second chip is marked U807B034 0827C1 NH7962.01W G96-632-C1. This is the GeForce 9600M GT, which has 32 processor cores and is capable of 120 Gigaflops.

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Edit Step 24  ¶ 

  • Continuing the disassembly, we're going to remove the display assembly.

  • Remove six 6 mm T-6 Torx screws near the hinge.

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Edit Step 25  ¶ 

  • Removing the lower display bezel.

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Edit Step 26  ¶ 

  • Removing the Airport card.

  • Disconnect the antenna connector and the data cable.

  • Remove the two screws.

  • The Bluetooth cable disappears into the display, and our sources tell us that it's sandwiched between the glass and the metal case. This means that if your Bluetooth goes out, you may have to replace the entire display!

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Edit Step 27  ¶ 

  • Airport card (the pink is a thermal pad).

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Edit Step 28  ¶ 

  • The "unibody" upper case assembly.

  • This case assembly includes the keyboard, glass trackpad, and ribbon cables.

  • While the manufacturing of the case is sexy, our sources say that Apple is treating this as a single replaceable part. This means that if you break a key on the keyboard, you'll have to replace the entire upper case. That could get very expensive.

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Edit Step 29  ¶ 

  • In an attempt to save a lot of people a lot of money, we're going to try removing the keyboard from the upper case.

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Edit Step 30  ¶ 

  • The keyboard is secured by lots of tiny black Phillips #000 screws. We're removing ALL of them.

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Edit Step 31  ¶ 

  • OK, we got them all out. There are 56 screws on the keyboard, plus two on the power button.

  • This is looking promising!

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Edit Step 32  ¶ 

  • We got it off! Phew. It took about 15 minutes to remove all the screws.

  • It looks like users may be able to repair their own keyboards after all! Great news for the heavy-handed and spill-prone.

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Edit Step 33  ¶ 

  • Wow! What an incredible machine. We are very impressed by the ease with which the new MacBook Pro came apart. This machine should be a joy to work on.

  • Bottom left: hard drive and battery.

  • Top: Display

  • Center: Logic board, fans, and speakers

  • Bottom-center: subwoofer, optical drive, RAM, and heatsinks.

  • Right: Custom-machined unibody upper case and keyboard.

  • Here's a high resolution image.

  • Looking for more pictures? We've also disassembled the new MacBook.

Required Tools

Anti-Static Wrist Strap

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Spudger

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T6 Torx Screwdriver

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T6 Torx Screwdriver

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T6 Torx Screwdriver

$4.95 · 50+ In stock

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iFixit Lock Pick Set

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Inspection Scope

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Frictionless Ratchet

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Portable Anti-Static Mat

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Comments Comments are onturn off

Can you offer a printable version of this article as a single page?

casemon, · Reply

Quote from casemon:

Can you offer a printable version of this article as a single page?

that would be great

iPhoneGS, · Reply

What is the purpose of the "wireless window" on the back of my 15" unibody?

keb, · Reply

Quote from keb:

What is the purpose of the "wireless window" on the back of my 15" unibody?

Apple calls it a 'clutch cover,' but essentially it is just a cosmetic cover to hide the AirPort card, antenna board, and the hinges housed in the display. It is made of plastic presumably to allow for the passage of signals to/from your AirPort card.

Andrew Bookholt, · Reply

No, it's the beginning of the end for Firewire 400.

Ziggamorph, · Reply

what type hard drive is apple using?

nicole3, · Reply

Is there an available internal USB port connection? Can one be added somewhat easily? I couldn't get a detailed enough view on Photo 20...

sean70, · Reply

Quote from nicole3:

what type hard drive is apple using?

SATA

Brady Cabe, · Reply

Quote from sean70:

Is there an available internal USB port connection? Can one be added somewhat easily? I couldn't get a detailed enough view on Photo 20...

Not that we ran across and Apple does not have any official documentation indicating the presence or lack of internal USB.

Brady Cabe, · Reply

Something is missing from this step. There is a Philips screws that secures the plastic bracket to the hard drive. Need a Philips #00 to remove it. Then remove the 4 Torx-6 screws on the side of the hard drive and re-use them on the new hard drive (if you're replacing the hard drive).

IFlyX5, · Reply

Quote from IFlyX5:

Something is missing from this step. There is a Philips screws that secures the plastic bracket to the hard drive. Need a Philips #00 to remove it. Then remove the 4 Torx-6 screws on the side of the hard drive and re-use them on the new hard drive (if you're replacing the hard drive).

Take a gander at our MacBook Pro 15" Unibody guides for detailed disassembly instructions.

Andrew Bookholt, · Reply

I'm upgrading RAM and have removed all 8 screws but not touched the HD.

The bottom casing refuses to move and feels like there's something else

connected. No info in manual, any ideas?

thedarklord, · Reply

Here's the complete spec on the memory module

http://www.hynix.com/products/computing/...

cosomojon, · Reply

Hi,

somebody already tried 8GB? I saw that the new 17" Unibody has an option for 8GB so I am wondering if it is also possible in the 15" Unibody Pro.

What are the exact specs of the memory module? Is it 1066 6-6-6 or 1066 7-7-7 or the slowest one 1066 8-8-8?

Thanks for the info.

xanthalas, · Reply

Quote from xanthalas:

Hi,

somebody already tried 8GB? I saw that the new 17" Unibody has an option for 8GB so I am wondering if it is also possible in the 15" Unibody Pro.

What are the exact specs of the memory module? Is it 1066 6-6-6 or 1066 7-7-7 or the slowest one 1066 8-8-8?

Thanks for the info.

The original 15" Unibody does not support 8 GB, but later 15" Unibodies do.

Miroslav Djuric, · Reply

Quote from miro:

The original 15" Unibody does not support 8 GB, but later 15" Unibodies do.

Hi miro.

Thanks for your info. How comes? What changed in the models? Starting with which Model of the 15" MacBook Pro 8GB is supported? The one without ExpressCard Slot but with Cardreader or also older models of the 15" MacBook Pro. How can I identifiy if 8GB are supported or not?

looking forward hearing your answer soon.

xanthalas, · Reply

Quote from xanthalas:

Hi miro.

Thanks for your info. How comes? What changed in the models? Starting with which Model of the 15" MacBook Pro 8GB is supported? The one without ExpressCard Slot but with Cardreader or also older models of the 15" MacBook Pro. How can I identifiy if 8GB are supported or not?

looking forward hearing your answer soon.

Nobody knows?

The timing of the memory would also be interesting (CL).

Thanks

xanthalas, · Reply

I tried in my unibody (late2008) and works perfect - the system reconigze all the 2x 4GB memory.

fernando, · Reply

The little ribbon being pried is the optical drive; is the other one the airport/bluetooth/iSight cable? I need to disable these things and am looking for the easiest way to do it. I don't yet have a new 15" Macbook Pro because I need to find out before I order it.

notu, · Reply

Quote from notu:

The little ribbon being pried is the optical drive; is the other one the airport/bluetooth/iSight cable? I need to disable these things and am looking for the easiest way to do it. I don't yet have a new 15" Macbook Pro because I need to find out before I order it.

You are correct. The upper cable is what Apple calls the 'camera cable' (leads to the display) and the lower one is the optical drive cable.

Andrew Bookholt, · Reply

Quote from andrew:

You are correct. The upper cable is what Apple calls the 'camera cable' (leads to the display) and the lower one is the optical drive cable.

Does the same cable also connect to the Bluetooth and WiFi?

notu, · Reply

Quote from notu:

Does the same cable also connect to the Bluetooth and WiFi?

Yes, the cable connects to the camera, AirPort card, and Bluetooth card.

Andrew Bookholt, · Reply

"disconnect those cables"...duh ! HOW ? the "camera cable" does not exactly look like your standard cable insert... how the @^%% do you disconnect this one without breaking it ?

demerdland, · Reply

Quote from demerdland:

"disconnect those cables"...duh ! HOW ? the "camera cable" does not exactly look like your standard cable insert... how the @^%% do you disconnect this one without breaking it ?

Pull the connector toward the optical drive, parallel to the face of the logic board. This page is a teardown, and should not be used for disassembly. Check out our MacBook Pro 15" Unibody page for detailed repair instructions.

Andrew Bookholt, · Reply

Boy, DO NOT disrespect that cable. My BT went out and then when I played with it too much my airport went out. Was scared, but pushing it gently around got it working. Don't pull UP on this cable at all, pull to the left.

Peter Payne, · Reply

Can you please note if this optical drive is 9mm or 11mm high? Wondering if it is possible to replace with a slot-loading Panasonic Blu-Ray drive...

mooner, · Reply

Quote from mooner:

Can you please note if this optical drive is 9mm or 11mm high? Wondering if it is possible to replace with a slot-loading Panasonic Blu-Ray drive...

It's a Panasonic Super Slim which means it's 9.5mm

Therefore the Blu-ray drive doesn't fit.

ranron, · Reply

How do you disconect the connector ?

Pull up, or sideways (towards the fan) ?

Ty :)

elmancho, · Reply

Quote from elmancho:

How do you disconect the connector ?

Pull up, or sideways (towards the fan) ?

Ty :)

I went ahead and edited the step to make it more clear. Thanks for pointing it out!

Andrew Bookholt, · Reply

Can you install a second SSD drive for raid 0 in place of the superdrive.

Not a Mac person yet.

Looking for a fast portable Photoshop processor. One draw back I see to the Macbook is only 256 in the video board. Photoshop wants at least 512 to activate OpenGL and the shader.

sjprg, · Reply

Can you label the connectors as to what they go to? Where I work we have to disable the iSight and in some cases the wireless interfaces.

notu, · Reply

Some of these:

CY8C24794-24L is a SoC with a lot of bus interfaces, a LOT of analog interfaces and CapSense touch capabilities. This chip is very versatile and function cannot be determined by it's typenumber. It might run fanspeed, touchpad, backlight, temp. sensors and lot of other functions I cannot even think up at the moment.

RTL8251CA is the 10M/100M/1G bit ethernet chip.

H5RS5223CFA are the GDDR3 videomemory chips.

ISL6236 is the power supply controller.

roadrunner, · Reply

The 6900M GT is actually smaller than the 9400M.

So wtf gets my correction of that mistake denied for the third time now?

Look at the pictures, dude! The larger chip is the 9400M.

MrUNIMOG, · Reply

There are also two small hinge parts on top of these six screws that need to be taken off. Big step missing here. Disassembling the hinges and separating the display from lower case is complicated procedure that needs more pictures/directions.

twokitties, · Reply

The absolutely crucial step that's missing at step 24 is that you need to open the display by 90 degrees before unscrewing the hinge from the main body!!

Rolf, · Reply

Quote from Rolf:

The absolutely crucial step that's missing at step 24 is that you need to open the display by 90 degrees before unscrewing the hinge from the main body!!

As it says in the intro, this page is a teardown and should not be used for disassembly. Check out our MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008 and Early 2009 device page for detailed repair instructions.

Andrew Bookholt, · Reply

Help!! How does one get from Step 24 to Step 25 and separate the display from the bottom case? Seems to be a lot of info missing here.

twokitties, · Reply

Airport card does NOT appear to be mini-pci express (and thus not easily replaced with a non-broadcom one). Can you confirm? Are the connectors proprietary?

Thanks for your guides!

idk, · Reply

HELP!

How the lower display bezel was removed? Which tools was used?

AlekseyNN, · Reply

this should be added:

"Next remove the clutch cover by sliding it to the side and applying a gentle upward pressure."

blargh, · Reply

The trick is that you need to open the display by 90 degrees before unscrewing the hinge!! That's not at all obvious from picture 24 and caught me out big time.

Rolf, · Reply

To remove the cover you need to slide it to the left about .5" to release it.

Kyle Halwey, · Reply

Where can I buy this airport card?

arclegoman, · Reply

Hello, Is the picture of the lower case assembly is the one that we can buy "as is" on your store ? I mean, nothing missing? I've to change the upper case of my MBP and I'd like to now if I can go to the step 28 and go backward from step 28 to step 1 with my new upper case. Thank you!

antoinemercadal, · Reply

Does anybody know what type of LEDs are used there?

Ankantoiel, · Reply

I have successfully replace my keyboard on my unibody MBP. I purchased the keyboard on ebay. The whole thing took two hours.

SoDigito, · Reply

I am just curious, if I have to reapply the thermal paste after the keyboard is replaced? Thanks!

diezmann,

Hi to all.

I wanted to know if the keyboard was also 13,3 removable by the 56 targeted or if it was welded into a store because I have said it was welded.

Thank you for your reply.

LaurentFrensh, · Reply

How much does the unibody enclosure weigh with the other parts removed?

Trevor Abbott, · Reply

So, can you pop the keys off?

RichDay, · Reply

Quote from RichDay:

So, can you pop the keys off?

no

hti, · Reply

Hi can you get replacement keyboards? What is the part number on the keyboard? are all new 15" keyboards the same?

danielkoene, · Reply

is there any website that sell only the backlid keyboard for the macbook pro?

vaughnescobal, · Reply

Quote from vaughnescobal:

is there any website that sell only the backlid keyboard for the MacBook Pro?

I was unable to find one and ended up replacing the entire case. BTW, I had gone this route before shopping for the replacement -got the backlight panel off and removed all 56 of those screws. I even removed all the keys (using toothpicks and a hemostat), but found the membrane sandwich under the metal frame laminated together. Other than harvesting keys for replacement on another kybd, there's no point breaking it down any further than shown here.

It's a shame, too, cuz a factory new lower case ends up being $250-$280 depending on the source. The kybd alone should've only been about $50.

Brett Deriso, · Reply

Thankyou for this great guide its been a pleasure reading it !!!

Finally I can replace this horrible fan of mine its been driving me crazy for 6 months but I cant let go of my mbp for a week :)))

elmancho, · Reply

i was just wondering: is there anyway to incorporate the keyboard of the previous gen mbp into this one? (maybe some 3rd party product) i loved the way the keys were curved on the mbp and this ones arent. Just wondering.

suburbiansam, · Reply

Quote from suburbiansam:

i was just wondering: is there anyway to incorporate the keyboard of the previous gen mbp into this one? (maybe some 3rd party product) i loved the way the keys were curved on the mbp and this ones arent. Just wondering.

The two keyboards are not compatible, unfortunately. We are not aware of a way to rig the MBP 15" Al keyboard into the MBP 15" Unibody.

Miroslav Djuric, · Reply

Quote from miro:

The two keyboards are not compatible, unfortunately. We are not aware of a way to rig the MBP 15" Al keyboard into the MBP 15" Unibody.

thanks anyway miro. I'll keep brainstorming a way to combine the power of the unibody with the comfort of the mbp.

suburbiansam, · Reply

Wow great site! Top of my list!

Say I spilled beer on the keyboard (for the sake of the argument :)

Apparently, some LEDs have dimmed but don't seem to be off (line going from the F2 to the "v" and everything to its left). I do not know if it's electrical or I can fix it by sweeping something. What's your guess?

amonras, · Reply

Quote from amonras:

Wow great site! Top of my list!

Say I spilled beer on the keyboard (for the sake of the argument :)

Apparently, some LEDs have dimmed but don't seem to be off (line going from the F2 to the "v" and everything to its left). I do not know if it's electrical or I can fix it by sweeping something. What's your guess?

If you're lucky it's some kind of shortcut in the wires. You'd cleanse the keyboard using calcium free water (buy some at your local garage), wash the beer stains off of the keyboard layers and let them dry. Be sure there is no water between the filaments when reattaching the keyboard, you might cause even more severe shortcuts!!

Another possibility is that the beer corroded the wires, in this case you'll probably see the wires on the filaments turned from silverish to grey/black, in this case you need a replacement keyboard or just live with the current situation.

roadrunner, · Reply

Could you mention what the locations of the speakers and the subwoofer are in Macbook Pro?

Deonics, · Reply

Quote from Deonics:

Could you mention what the locations of the speakers and the subwoofer are in Macbook Pro?

Check out our Macbook Pro 15" Unibody page for detailed instructions. We have one guide for the left speaker and one guide for the subwoofer/right speaker (they are in the same housing).

Andrew Bookholt, · Reply

Quote from roadrunner:

If you're lucky it's some kind of shortcut in the wires. You'd cleanse the keyboard using calcium free water (buy some at your local garage), wash the beer stains off of the keyboard layers and let them dry. Be sure there is no water between the filaments when reattaching the keyboard, you might cause even more severe shortcuts!!

Another possibility is that the beer corroded the wires, in this case you'll probably see the wires on the filaments turned from silverish to grey/black, in this case you need a replacement keyboard or just live with the current situation.

How long would you let the keyboard dry for after washing it with the water?

alley, · Reply

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