Model A1181: 1.83, 2, 2.1, 2.13, 2.16, 2.2, or 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo processor

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Do I Need A New Keyboard And Track Pad?

Two weeks ago my computer went nuts while watching a streaming TV show (Chuck). I though it was a problem with Flash since I just updated Safari 4 the day before.

Windows started opening and folders on my desk top were opening by themselves. It stopped eventually.

I restarted it and discovered something. The the cursor was making boxes on the desktop when I moved it around with the track pad. The way I got it to stop was to do a right click thing and select a menu item. That ended the boxes being formed. That behavior was indicative of the button being held down.

This computer, though a laptop, is used as a desktop with an external mouse and keyboard and has been used that way most of the time since it was purchased. I keep it open in clamshell mode about an inch to let the heat escape.

I examined the button by the track pad and it seemed to be sagging in the middle. It didn't move very much the way it did when it was new. It is a shame that with so little use it would be malfunctioning. So I thought that must be the problem.

Days later I needed to restart the computer after the latest Safari 4 security fix and I noticed that now the keyboard isn't working. I had to use the external keyboard to log in.

The computer works just fine using the external keyboard and mouse, but I want the other parts to work too for when I eventually sell it.

Has anyone else had this problem? Is this a common thing? Could the problem be a connection within the computer is loose or is this a piece of hardware gone bad?

In the tear down instructions it shows the track pad and keyboard are one unit that connects by just a single connector. Do the connectors ever get loose? Since the button went bad first it makes me wonder if this is a connection problem. The computer is never jostled. It just sits in one spot on my desk. The only time it gets moved is when I need to connect a camera to it. That is rare.

The instructions seem simple regarding replacing the top. I just need to know if the problem is the top or some other thing. Please let me know what is going on.

Thank you.

Michael J. Beninate

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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This problem is not resolved but the mystery is solved. The reason the track pad button seemed to be sagging in the middle was not because it was sagging. The whole top case was bulging upward and made the track pad button seem to be sagging in the middle.

This computer is used as a desktop with an external mouse and keyboard connected to it. The front bottom edge of the computer is kept elevated a bit so that air can circulate below it and remove heat. This is why I hadn't noticed that the battery was bulging out of the bottom too. The bulging has gotten worse since the original post.

There is nothing wrong with the keyboard, track pad, or track pad button. When I lifted the keyboard and saw the bulging battery I took it to a local authorized repair center and it was removed free of charge. The computer functions normally without the battery pressing against the inner components. Since then I've been using the computer without the battery. Apple says not to do it but the authorized repair center technician said that it is totally safe and that he does it all the time. He's had a Mac Book connected that way for two years without any problem.

Apple refuses to acknowledge that the battery is defective. At the time the problem began the battery was twenty-one months old and had only nineteen charge cycles. I try to remember to unplug it once a month and let it discharge and then recharge it. According to other engineers I've conversed with on some forums, lithium batteries don't need to be cycled yet on the Apple web site they tell people to do that in their battery care post.

Apple technicians on the telephone said that the battery swelling is a safety feature and it just shows that a battery is worn out. It is not an indication that the battery is defective. Can you believe that? I was told that the local repair center can run tests on it and determine if it is defective. The local guy said that he doesn't know of any tests that need to be done on it and he is not interested in helping me get it handled. He seems to be the type of guy that doesn't interact with people very well. He prefers machines. I'll give him one more try.

I live in a small town and I'm lucky that there is even an authorized repair center in town. Apple wanted $300.00 just to look at it. Perhaps they set that price so they can get people to purchase Apple Care in the future. A new battery costs much less. Anybody know where I can buy a slightly used battery?

Are the charge cycles kept in the memory of the computer or within the battery? If that information is kept within the battery I could at least know the quality of the used one before buying it.

Are swollen batteries becoming a common problem? What if that happens on the new unibody models? That would be a real chore to fix.

Thanks for the help.

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The fact that it operates properly with external keyboard and mouse probably means the logic board is good. It looks like you need a new keyboard and trackpad. They come as a unit with the top cover. I am including the part number and install instructions should you decide to replace. If you are anywhere near I would recommend a genius bar for a second opinion. Ralph

http://www.ifixit.com/Mac-Parts/MacBook-...

MacBook Core 2 Duo Upper Case Replacement

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Thank you rj713. I did see the part and instructions a few days ago and was amazed that it seems so simple to replace. I'm really glad I'd heard of ifixit.com before.

Is there a way to tell if there is something wrong with the connector instead of the keyboard and track pad? On another post someone said heat can cause problems with connectors.

My MacBook is kept slightly open when in clam shell mode to let the heat out. I also elevate the front of the laptop so that heat can escape from the bottom. I never hear the fan because my internet radio is always playing through external speakers. So I don't know if the fan comes on too much which would indicate high temperatures.

I would not want to buy the wrong part if the connector is bad. If that is the case (hypothetically speaking) I would need to replace both sides of the connector. I suppose I'll cross that bridge if I get to it. Right now I just need to know how to isolate the problem without buying something I don't need.

Michael J. Beninate

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Since you describe physical damage to the trackpad I tend to believe you need to replace the upper case. Are near anyone who can actually look at the problem for a second opinion? Ralph

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I see your point about damage. Damage seems to strong of a word. This computer has just been sitting on my desk since I got it with the exception of watching movies when it was new. For a while I used it on a tray on my lap to view movies. During any other usage it was stationary. It has been connected to an external monitor and mouse for a long time. No food or liquid has ever been spilled on it.

I wonder if others have experienced such a defect in a button.

I have no techie friends in my small town to offer an opinion and there is no Apple store. The local authorized technicians charge $75/hour. Perhaps I'll just bite the bullet and buy the part and hope it solves the problem.

I still would like some comments on the probability of the connectors being bad.

I'll have some spare money for this repair in late May. I'll close the question after I resolve the problem by either hiring a repair person or doing it myself using the wonderful knowledge of ifixit.com.

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