Mid 2009 Model A1278 / 2.26 or 2.53 GHz Core 2 Duo processor EMC 2326

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airport broken or does it work with an external usb

i got this MacBook Pro recently (late '09 A1278 13" 2.26 GHz)

The previous owner spilled tea over the keyboard. The system powers up and runs fine. Some of the keyboard backlights don't work.

More serious, is the WiFi doesn't show up at all and even with an external USB WiFi stick (that does work fine on any computer and doesnt need AirPort to function) there is still no connection, even to the stick to the Internet.

Is the AirPort card connected to the stick? Normally the AirPort needs to be in "switched off mode" to use the stick.

Is the AirPort card the same part for all A1278 MacBook Pro's?

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I assume using the USB WiFi unit you have no problems connecting to the internet (after disabling the AirPort). If that is correct your AirPort board is in trouble.


hi dan

thanksfor your answere

i tried to connect to the internet with the mentioned usb stick.

i could install the software (says the installation was succesfull) but it doesnt connect then to internet. as well as soon as i disconnect the usb stick and reconnect it the installations starts over again so install it again...tells me the hardware cant be found...i unplug and reconnect - same story happens again.(although the software is properly installed)

it akso shows up in the network window but no connecting possible.

whats also a bit strange is that once i click on the airport icon in the desktop mainwindow (next to the bluetototh and timemachine etc icons) a message shows up saying "wifi : no hardware installed." so obvioulsy the hardware cant be detected by the mac.

is the airportcard linked as well to the usb stick and therefor no internetconnection at all possible?

thanks for any suggestion and help.


Sorry to say you can't use the USB WiFi adapter here to download the OS. You'll need to use a Ethernet cable and connect to a Ethernet hub that then connects to the internet. Or, repair the tea damage and if needed replace the AirPort board. Or, you'll need to use a friends Mac system connecting your MacBook Pro via FireWire to it, then startup your MacBook in target mode. Then you can leverage your friends system to install the OS onto your systems HD.


I wouldn't leave the tea cooking in your system as the acids in it will slowly eat away at things.


thanks dan.

ill try to do as you mentioned in your previous tag to clean the book.

did you mean to reinstall the complete software? It already has been reinstalled after wiping the HD. i wonder if the usb is technically is linked to the airportcard. so internet is therefor not possible?


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Clearly the spilled tea has damaged the keyboard backlight circuit. To start with I would pop off the key caps and with a cotton swab (Q-Tip) and distilled water clean up any visible spillage as you do want to remove it as over time it will cause more damage (acids & sugar in the tea). Follow this YouTub on how to do this How to remove and clean Macbook Pro keyboard keys.

As you clean things up note where the spillage is located as that could be a useful clue when you open the system up to clean the inside.

The next step is to pull off the bottom cover and inspect things again you are looking for the spilled tea. remembering where it was on the keyboard look on the opposite side (bottom) to see if you see any spillage or damage. But before you touch anything make sure to turn off your system and disconnect your systems battery. Depending on what you find you might want to take some good hires pictures and post them here so we can see the damage.

As to the AirPort problem:

I suspect the tea got into the the Clutch cover were the AirPort is located damaging it. Here is the IFIXIT Guide to get to it MacBook Pro 13" Unibody Mid 2009 AirPort & Antenna Replacement. You'll need to see what has been damaged here. Using again distilled water clean down the parts that have tea on it. Let things dry out before you give it a go. Maybe you'll be lucky here. As to replacing the AirPort board you need to use the correct one as Apple makes a few different versions for each series of MacBook Pro's.

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