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Swapping the trackpad between top cases: possible, or Ugly Hack?

Based on Internal keyboard & trackpad quit working. Please help diagnose! it looks like the trackpad and associated electronics from my top case are dead, resulting in the internal keyboard & trackpad not working anymore, while the other components (Bluetooth controller) still work.

So now I'm considering replacing the trackpad and especially its logic board (the one under the battery, to which the keyboard and main board flex cables connect). Ideally I would like to replace just those parts, so I can get a much cheaper cosmetically-damaged replacement top case, and reuse mine (which looks great) instead of having to shell out several $100 for a new (or even used) top case.

Is such a replacement possible? Or would it invariably involve dirty hacks that would leave scars, like sawing the top case and the like?

The trackpad and PCB unit seem to be point-welded (not sure of the term/technique) to the back of the top case, and I've no idea if that can easily be opened and redone...

Thanks for your thoughts, dear iFixers!! Cheers.

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Adding a comment here in the hopes of bumping the post (see latest comment below), so as to not have to post the same question again...

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I did a bit of research into this today. On the little board underneath the trackpad is a chip labelled "CX8024994-2" which i believe is the USB controller for the topcase. A Google search returned nothing, though. Anyway, i took my smallest soldering iron (a 25W Weller with a tiny tip) and a good magnifier and resoldered all the little legs. Hey presto, it works!

You might not have to change anything at all.

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Wow, thanks for the follow-up! :) This could be great news indeed. Could you please clarify: the chip you mention, is that the one on the left on this picture (from the keyboard replacement guide)? On that picture it has another reference, CY8C24794-24(?). Based on a quick glance at the chip on my laptop, I believe I see that same number. I did find a datasheet for it that mentions USB. I would need to get a small soldering iron like you describe (which probably would be a good investment anyway), but before I undertake this: did the system you tried this on show any visible signs of overheating/damage, that led you to focus on this specific chip? What were the symptoms of the system you fixed before fixing it? And last but not least: what exactly do you mean by "resolder"–simply warm up each leg until the solder is liquid, then letting go? Thanks!

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Mine is a 2.16 C2D which is slightly different but the "big" chip on the left is clearly the one. The topcase i tried it one is from a customer machine so i don't know much of the history. As it only affects some MBPs i suspect that sloppy soldering / inferior material is the cause, rather than overheating. I simply warmed up each leg to reflow the solder. I hope it lasts - subject to testing. But on other occasions i had good success with reflowing.

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Awesome. Thanks a lot for the tip!! I just found a 25W Weller for €18 shipped, hopefully that will do the trick :) I will post back with results of course. iFixit FTW!!

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Hi again, well I had a go at reflowing the legs of the USB controller as you described (thanks again for the tip!)... Unfortunately, still no luck. So my best next bet is a used top case, so I can use its controller. Which brings me back to the topic above: is it possible to transplant the controller from one top case to another? It looks like the controller and trackpad are in a metal frame glued to the inside of the top case. Any tips on removing this metal frame (cutter/X-acto?) and reattaching it to the other topcase (adhesive?). Anyone ever done this? It would allow me to get a much cheaper cosmetically-damaged top case to grab its controller/trackpad parts. Thanks!!

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Chris will be eternally grateful.
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