MacBook Pro 17" Unibody Express Card Cage Replacement

Replace your MacBook Pro 17" Unibody's express card cage.

Did your MacBook Pro stop recognizing express cards? Use this guide to replace the express card cage.

Sections

Edit Step 1 Lower Case  ¶ 

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Edit Step 1 Lower Case  ¶ 

  • Remove the following ten screws securing the lower case to the upper case:

    • Three 13.5 mm Phillips screws.

    • Seven 3 mm Phillips screws.

Edit Step 2  ¶ 

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Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • Wedge your fingers between the lower case and the vent, and lift upward to release the clips holding the lower case to the upper case.

  • Remove the lower case.

Edit Step 3 Battery  ¶ 

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Edit Step 3 Battery  ¶ 

  • Whenever working near the logic board, it is always wise to first disconnect the battery to avoid short circuits.

  • If present, grab the plastic tab attached to the battery connector and pull it toward the front edge of the device. For Late-2011 models the battery connector will not have a tab and is simply a plug that inserts straight down into the motherboard--to remove pry the plug straight up.

  • If the plastic tab is missing, use a spudger to pry the connector up from its socket.

  • Pull the tab parallel to the face of the logic board.

Edit Step 4 Right Fan  ¶ 

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Edit Step 4 Right Fan  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to lift the right fan connector out of its socket on the logic board.

  • It is useful to twist the spudger axially from beneath the fan cable wires to release the connector.

  • The fan socket and the fan connector can be seen in the second and third pictures. Be careful not to break the plastic fan socket off the logic board as you use your spudger to lift the fan connector straight up and out of its socket. The layout of the logic board shown in the second picture may look slightly different than your machine but the fan socket is the same.

Edit Step 5  ¶ 

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • Remove the three 3.1 mm Phillips screws securing the right fan to the logic board.

  • In the Late 2011 MacBook Pro 17" Unibody these screws will be T6 Torx.

Edit Step 6  ¶ 

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Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • Remove the right fan from the upper case, minding its cable that may get caught.

Edit Step 7 Logic Board  ¶ 

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Edit Step 7 Logic Board  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to lift the left fan connector out of its socket on the logic board.

  • It is useful to twist the spudger axially from beneath the fan cable wires to release the connector.

Edit Step 8  ¶ 

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Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • Remove the three 3.1 mm Phillips screws securing the left fan to the logic board.

  • Remove the left fan from the upper case, minding its cable that may get caught.

Edit Step 9  ¶ 

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • Use the tip of a spudger or your fingernail to flip up the retaining flap on the keyboard backlight ribbon cable.

  • Be sure you are prying up on the retaining flap, not the socket itself.

  • Pull the keyboard backlight ribbon cable out of its socket.

Edit Step 10  ¶ 

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • Before disconnecting the camera cable, a small plastic retainer stuck to the logic board must first be moved out of the way.

  • Use the tip of a spudger to push the small plastic cable retainer away from the camera cable socket for enough clearance to remove the camera cable.

Edit Step 11  ¶ 

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Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • Pull the camera cable toward the optical drive opening to disconnect it from the logic board.

  • The camera cable socket is very fragile. Do not apply any upward force to this socket, as it may break off the logic board. Pull the camera cable parallel to the face of the logic board.

Edit Step 12  ¶ 

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Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the optical drive connector up and out of its socket on the logic board.

Edit Step 13  ¶ 

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Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to lift the subwoofer & right speaker connector out of its socket on the logic board.

  • Pry up from beneath the wires.

Edit Step 14  ¶ 

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Edit Step 14  ¶ 

  • Use the tip of a spudger or your fingernail to flip up the retaining flap on the IR sensor ribbon cable socket.

  • Be sure you are prying up on the retaining flap, not the socket itself.

  • Pull the IR sensor ribbon cable out of its socket.

Edit Step 15  ¶ 

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Edit Step 15  ¶ 

  • Remove the following four screws:

    • Two 3.5 mm Phillips screws

    • Two 1.6 mm Phillips screws

  • Remove both connector shields from the logic board.

Edit Step 16  ¶ 

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Edit Step 16  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the trackpad connector up and out of its socket on the logic board.

Edit Step 17  ¶ 

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Edit Step 17  ¶ 

  • Use your fingernail to flip up the retaining flap on the keyboard ribbon cable socket.

  • Be sure you are prying up on the retaining flap, not the socket itself.

  • Pull the keyboard ribbon cable out of its socket.

  • For reassembly, it can be helpful to put a small piece of tape on the keyboard ribbon cable (being careful not to stick any to the contacts), to create a small handle. Align the cable with the socket and gently pull with the tape to fully seat it.

Edit Step 18  ¶ 

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Edit Step 18  ¶ 

  • Use your fingernail to flip up the retaining flap on the express card cage ribbon cable socket.

  • Be sure you are prying up on the retaining flap, not the socket itself.

  • Pull the express card cage ribbon cable out of its socket.

Edit Step 19  ¶ 

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Edit Step 19  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to lift the hard drive cable connector up and out of its socket on the logic board.

Edit Step 20  ¶ 

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Edit Step 20  ¶ 

  • Use the tip of a spudger or your fingernail to flip up the retaining flap on the battery indicator cable socket.

  • Be sure you are prying up on the retaining flap, not the socket itself.

  • Pull the battery indicator ribbon cable out of its socket.

Edit Step 21  ¶ 

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Edit Step 21  ¶ 

  • Lift the black plastic flap attached to the display data cable retainer and rotate it toward the DC-In side of the MacBook.

  • Pull the display data cable out of its socket.

  • The display data cable socket is very fragile. Do not lift the connector upward as you disconnect it, as the socket may break off the logic board. Pull the cable parallel to the face of the logic board.

Edit Step 22  ¶ 

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Edit Step 22  ¶ 

  • Remove the following eight screws securing the logic board and DC-In board to the upper case:

    • Six 3.2 mm Phillips screws

    • Two 7.6 mm Phillips screws

Edit Step 23  ¶ 

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Edit Step 23  ¶ 

  • Handle the logic board assembly by its edges only.

  • Lift the logic board assembly from the side nearest the optical drive and lift it away from the upper case.

    • Note that you'll be removing the logic board and DC-in board together.

  • Carefully pull the ports and DC-In board away from the side of the upper case and remove the logic board assembly, minding any cables that may get caught.

Edit Step 24 Express Card Cage  ¶ 

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Edit Step 24 Express Card Cage  ¶ 

  • Remove the two Phillips screws securing the hard drive bracket to the upper case.

  • Both screws are captive to the hard drive bracket.

  • Remove the hard drive bracket from the upper case.

Edit Step 25  ¶ 

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Edit Step 25  ¶ 

  • Peel the hard drive and battery indicator cables off the adhesive securing them to the express card cage.

Edit Step 26  ¶ 

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Edit Step 26  ¶ 

  • Remove the following five screws securing the express card cage to the upper case:

    • Three 2 mm Phillips screws

    • Two 4 mm Phillips screws

Edit Step 27  ¶ 

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Edit Step 27  ¶ 

  • Remove the express card cage from the upper case.

To reassemble your device, follow these instructions in reverse order.

For more information, check out the MacBook Pro 17" Unibody device page.

Required Tools

Spudger

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

Phillips #00 Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

Recommended Tools

54 Bit Driver Kit

$29.95 · 50+ In stock

Pro Magnetic Project Mat

$19.95 · 50+ In stock

Pro Tech Screwdriver Set

$59.95 · 50+ In stock

Anti-Static Project Tray

$4.95 · 50+ In stock

Comments Comments are onturn off

important to reassemble the "lower case" successfully: the threads of the seven 3mm phillips screws are drilled at an angle :-/

mysterioes, · Reply

Very important note; this guide is NOT correct for the Macbook Pro 17" A1297 late '11.

The A1297 has an assembly adjacent to the optical drive, identifiable by 4 antenna connectors, 1 usb cable (with very small connector) and one PCI-e flat cable running across the optical drive.

I did not take pictures, but found one on the web. I'm very new to iFixit and have no idea yet on how to create a guide, but here's the picture showing the assembly on top (this pic only has 3 antenna wires, the A1297 has 4, but at least you'll know what to look for.

- carefully undo all connections and 2 screws

- remove the assembly and flip it over

- again carefully remove the shielding tape

- undo 3 tiny screws

- gently pry the airport card from the assembly (the flat cable will be a bit of a pain)

- reverse process with replacement card.

image can be found here:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/2446...

Remon, · Reply

It helps if you mark the holes where the long screws go so you can easily find them when the time comes to button things up. Also, a little dish or custard cup to hold those tiny screws is essential.

Human, · Reply

I recommend using anti-static protection, i.e., wearing a ground strap, or at least touch metal chassis inside the computer before unplugging cables. Otherwise, you might create an ESD discharge into your RAM and have to replace it like I did!

d68ef792, · Reply

This step is a little difficult in reverse, that is, when re-attaching the battery. It helps to tilt the laptop up so you can see the edge of the board that accepts the plug. It may look like there are two slots for it, it goes in the bigger slot that is further away from the board.

yary hluchan, · Reply

Is this step really necessary? It is not part of the instructions how to replace the HDD in Apple's User Manual of the 2011 17" MBP.

Tobias Hahn, · Reply

As it says in the step: "Whenever working near the logic board, it is always wise to first disconnect the battery to avoid short circuits." It is not required, but it is simple insurance to avoid a $1000+ repair should you accidentally short components on the board with something metal.

Andrew Bookholt,

There was no tab on my model. Battery is affixed to board and screws must be removed.

bhodges2, · Reply

Mine also, and looks as if removing connector could damage motherboard.

Stephen,

* There is no tab on the A1297 (late 2011) model's battery connector. Be careful with the connector, it chips off the edges easily! Otherwise the same as bhodges2 & Stephen's notes.

** (Pleas also include the exact Model and Part numbers like P/N: MD311D/A; Mod.: A1297 in the comments and notes for your MBP)

Pinguman, · Reply

Why are there no guides for the Late 2011 17" MacBook Pro A1297 (2.4GHz i7 quad core, MD311LL/A)??? I just replaced the RAM in mine and discovered that not only is there no tab on the battery connector, but the connector pulls straight up, perpendicular to the logic board, rather than parallel. I almost ripped the wires out of the connector by trying to pull it out parallel to the logic board like this guide instructed! After finally getting it out, my advice to those with the Late 2011 model is to use a spudger to loosen the edges of the connector then lift the connector straight up to get it out safely.

Dave, · Reply

I replaced the display on my late 2011 model and noticed that it was quite different than the tutorial given here so I detailed all the differences to help others with late-2011 models on my blog: http://johnfixesstuff.blogspot.com/2014/...

jmueller,

Needs a better photo to show how the plug is able to come off the socket vertically. In particular, the underside of the plug should be shown.

Alexander Atkins, · Reply

The fan fixing screws on my 17-inch, Mid 2010 MacBook Pro were Torx 6, not Philips 00.

Michael, · Reply

... And the fan fixing screws on my 2009 MBP were *smaller* that the size implied by the tool requirements for this project. I initially tried a Phillips 00 screwdriver but it nearly stripped the screw head. It was necessary to switch to a Phillips 000 bit to actually get two of the screws to move.

rpwl,

The IR sensor cable also connects the Hall Effect switch that detects whether the lid is closed or open (and thus shuts off the display, puts the computer to sleep, wakes it up, etc.) to the logic board.

How do I know? I re-pasted my late 2011 17" MBP and forgot to reconnect it. The machine would not sleep automatically when the lid was closed anymore. Re-connecting the cable fixed it.

Kevin, · Reply

thanks for the info !!!! i got the same problem with sleep because the cable was not properly connected

Chin Soon Cheong,

Thanks for the great guide!

Tip for re-seating the keyboard cable: put a piece of sticky tape on, fold over at the top end, re-seat the connector (carefully!) with a spudger and (gently!) pull the tape 'over' the connector on the logic board until you feel it nudges in fully. Notice the emphasis on "carefully" and "gently"... :)

LeonSteyns, · Reply

It might be easier to remove the ExpressCard ribbon cable in Step 18 by removing the Hard Drive cable first...use your judgment.

David DeAnda, · Reply

The Six 3.2mm screws can in some cases be torx instead of phillips

Finntastic, · Reply

I've got a great idea for keeping the tiny screws safe and also labelled up e.g. these 6+2 screws belong to the logic board - simply use 'Post-It' sticky note upside down on your desk and use the sticky bit to keep the screws from rolling around getting themselves lost :-)

Paul Reddington, · Reply

Beware of the CCFL-connector (verify?) that is still in place on the other side of the logic board! You'll notice, though - just be aware of it. If you gently flip over the logic board (as if it where to 'hinge' over the point where it's still connected), you can put it aside upside-down and remove the connector with a spudger (in general I recommend against fingernails as they deprive your view).

LeonSteyns, · Reply

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