iPad 2’s Headphone Jack

March 15, 2011 Hardware, Site News — Miro

Update: Apple has a patent application, not an actual patent, for the pogo-pin headphone jack design. Also, the graphic referenced in our post is just one representation of the patent, but others exist within the patent application. It looks like the iPad 2’s headphone jack meets the criteria outlined by other representations, and is in fact the patent-pending headphone jack.

There’s been some talk on the intertubes about Apple’s inclusion of a new type of headphone jack in the iPad 2, as shown in Apple’s patent here:

Patent image courtesy of Apple

Given that we already took apart an iPad 2 in the name of science, we felt it was our civic duty to also investigate the headphone jack. Some have speculated that the iPad 2’s pogo-pin headphone jack might make it waterproof. While we haven’t dipped our iPad 2 into any liquid, we’re pretty confident in saying that the jack is not waterproof.

We had seen the “pogo pins” in older Apple devices, and we just happened to have a disassembled 3rd Gen iPod Shuffle to verify. The Shuffle’s jack had the same “pogo pins” inside it, but it was approximately half the size of the iPad 2’s jack. The size disparity makes sense, since the minuscule Shuffle is much more space-constrained than the iPad 2.

On the left: iPad 2 headphone jack; on the right: iPod Shuffle 3rd Gen headphone jack

The 3rd Gen Shuffle headphone jack was also significantly thinner (and consequently, flimsier) than that of the iPad 2: 3.95 mm vs. 4.57 mm. Notice how the perimeter thicknesses of the jacks are visibly different:

Thickness comparison between the iPad 2 and the 3rd Gen Shuffle headphone jacks. iPad 2 jack is on the bottom.

But something didn’t make sense. If the “pogo pins” were supposed to save space by being aligned next to one another, why did the iPad 2 have the ground pin on the opposite side?  To find out the answer, we began some aggressive sanding action. A good amount of time later, we could see all the dirty secrets that lurked within the iPad 2’s jack.

The jack contained three “pogo pins” — the offset ground pin, and two pins for stereo sound output — as well as a standard switch contact for the headphone plug tip (instead of two more pogo pins as described by the patent). But the “pogo pins” were in fact versions of a standard switch contact, not the pogo pins described by the patent picture:

A look inside the iPad 2's headphone jack. Notice that the small pogo pins from the patent picture are missing.

You can get a better idea of how the pogo pins work by looking at the back of the headphone jack. The iPad 2’s jack design, although possibly water-resistant, could not be waterproof. And Apple’s definitely not using the new headphone jack design described in the patent picture.

The back of the iPad 2's headphone jack.

Note that even though the pogo pins in the patent picture are supposed to reduce jack thickness, that’s not really feasible. Just look at the 3rd Gen Shuffle’s headphone jack thickness (3.95 mm)! The thickness is limited by the 3.5 mm headphone plug, not the connection points within the headphone jack. The solution for this problem is to switch to 2.5mm TRS connectors to minimize thickness, but we sincerely hope Apple does not venture down this path. Otherwise they’d force everyone with old iPod/iPhone/aftermarket headphones to purchase a converter to use with their headphones, making the user’s audio setup that much more bulky.

Problems with MB Unibody and MBP Unibody Headphone Jacks

February 16, 2009 Hardware — Kyle Wiens

An issue concerning the headphone jacks of MacBook Unibody and MacBook Pro Unibody recently surfaced. Several Unibody users reported that the connectivity between the headphone jack and plug was fickle, and that a slight jostle of the cord would disengage the headphones and re-engage the speakers. We wanted to see for ourselves how serious this problem really was — after all, we wouldn’t want your co-workers to find out you like Enya, would we?

We rounded up three different headphones for testing, each representing a different level of quality of both sound and build: the low-end iPod earphones; the mid-end Grado SR-60s; and the high-end Shure SE530. The three choices conveniently represented all three types of ‘phones — earphones, headphones, and in-ear monitors — and various levels of cost, ranging from  $15 original Apple earbuds to $445 Shure SE530s.

For this comparison we also rounded up four representative Apple laptops: MacBook Pro 15″ Unibody; MacBook Unibody; MacBook Pro 17″ (non-Unibody); and MacBook Air. The testing was simple — insert each headphone plug into each laptop’s headphone jack until it fits completely (indicated by a distinct “click”); then slowly pull out until the music is transferred to the external speakers. Rinse and repeat several times until the  characteristic of each headphone jack is determined.

Headphone Plug and MacBook Pro Unibody: Unruly buddies...

Headphone Plug and MacBook Pro Unibody: Unruly buddies...

Testing indicated that both Unibody laptops definitely had a problem with prematurely-engaging external speakers, an issue most likely caused by the headphone jacks’ internal designs. Complete insertion of the headphone plug would engage the headphones, as it should. However, a slight (1mm) displacement of the plug would re-engage the external speakers and cut audio to the headphones, regardless of which headphones were used. Interestingly enough, this problem was only evident on the MacBook Unibodies, and did not occur on either the MacBook Pro 17″ or MacBook Air. The headphone plug could be displaced almost twice as much on both machines without any audio-switching problems. There was obviously a threshold where external speakers would be re-engaged, but at that point the plug would be almost completely loose from the jack’s internal holding mechanism that keeps the plug in place. 

So what’s a person to do about this problem? Unfortunately there is no DIY solution, such as soldering another headphone jack in place of the “faulty” one. Most users would not want to mess with screwing up their logic board due to an annoying headphone jack. However, there is a fix that seems to take care of the problem — purchasing an iPhone headphone jack adapter that allows for proper fitment of standard headphone plugs. In this case, the cheapest fix is also the best one. But it’s annoying.

Samsung Galaxy S 4G Teardown

February 23, 2011 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

The Samsung Galaxy S 4G — not to be confused with the Samsung Galaxy S, Galaxy S II, Galaxy Tab, or the Los Angeles Galaxy — is Samsung’s newest smartphone to date. We set out on an interstellar journey to find out just what makes this phone burn from within.

We heard that Samsung used magnesium to create some of the structural components of the Galaxy S 4G. So we lit a part of the phone on fire to verify. It turns out that Samsung tells no lie — their structural framework IS made of magnesium!

Otherwise, the phone is midpack in terms of features as well as repairability (it received a 6 out of 10 score). Contrary to yesterday’s super-repairable Motorola Atrix, the Galaxy S 4G’s LCD is fused to the front panel glass, essentially doubling the repair cost if you drop your phone. You also have to use a heat gun in order to get to the front panel, so it’s not super-easy to perform the repair.

Thankfully a few tidbits redeem the Galaxy S 4G from being utterly unrepairable: swapping out the battery is a cinch, there’s only trusty #00 Phillips screws to deal with, and the phone is generally assembled using connectors that you can carefully disconnect.

Teardown highlights:

  • We found a bummer from the get-go: a fairly noticeable gap between the glass front panel and the outer framework. It’d be less of a concern if a cell phone’s primary home is in the pocket of its user, but we like using our phones.
  • A cool sliding door keeps the micro-USB port lint-free and somewhat redeems the gap between front panel and framework. You can distract your friends with its cool sliding action.
  • Thankfully the rear panel is easily removed, revealing both SIM and microSD card slots, as well as a user-replaceable battery!
  • The 3.7V Li-Ion battery inside the Galaxy S 4G lists a capacity of 6.11 Watt-hours, or 1650 mAh. We’re definitely seeing a trend of increased battery life among the last couple of teardowns. The question is whether that increased capacity will net any increased use time, or if all the extra juice will be sucked up by the phones’ extra processing power.
  • The compact front and rear facing camera assembly has a NEC MC10170 Image Processor cleverly attached right to its ribbon cable.
  • The headphone jack, earpiece speaker, and proximity/ambient light sensors reside on one cable. Seems oddly familiar, given yesterday’s Atrix teardown.
  • Separating the front panel assembly from the rear panel assembly requires loosening the adhesive around the perimeter. That means it’s heat gun time!
  • On the back of the display assembly we found the Atmel mXT 224 touchscreen controller, which provides capacitive multi-touch capabilities. It’s the same controller found in yesterday’s Atrix.
White flash indicates the frame is made of magnesium. Success!

White flash indicates the frame is made of magnesium. Success!

Final layout

Final layout

Motorola Atrix Teardown

February 23, 2011 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

The Motorola Atrix is currently the fastest Android phone on the market, packing an impressive assortment of specs: the Nvidia Tegra 2 CPU/GPU, 1GB of RAM, and all the trimmings that one would expect to find in a flagship phone.

But the story doesn’t end there. This is also the most-repairable smartphone we’ve ever taken apart! The Atrix was definitely designed for repairability on the inside, just waiting for our loving hands to disassemble it piece by piece.

After all was said and done, the Atrix received a 9 out of 10 repairability score: there were no proprietary screws, you could replace the battery just by popping off the back cover, and the LCD wasn’t even fused to the front panel glass! Our only gripe was that the two central ribbon cables were soldered to several components (like the cameras and proximity sensors), making the cables costly to replace.

Teardown highlights:

  • The LCD is not glued to the front panel glass — something we haven’t seen in quite a long time. So the ~85% of people who drop their Atrix and shatter just the glass won’t have to spend their money on also replacing a fully functional LCD!
  • The Atrix’ back cover comes off easily, providing access to the user-serviceable battery and the microSD slot. There’s also instructions on the inside of the back cover showing how to remove the battery and reconnect the cover. We applaud Motorola’s drive to help its users with this procedure.
  • We didn’t encounter any VOID stickers or things of that sort while taking apart the Atrix, making it even more repair-friendly.
  • A dual-LED flash flanks the 5 MP camera (which is capable of shooting 720p HD video). A software update to be released soon will reportedly allow for full 1080p video capture.
  • Big players on the front of the board include:
    • Elpida B8132B1PB. According to Chipworks, the Elpida contains 1 GB DDR2 RAM, but also covers the Nvidia Tegra 2 CPU/GPU residing underneath the package.
    • Qualcomm MDM6200 supporting HSPA+ up to 14.4 Mbps
    • Toshiba 16GB NAND Flash
    • Hynix H8BCSOQG0MMR 2-chip memory MCP
  • Two ribbon cables to rule them all: the first cable connects to the front camera, earpiece speaker, power button assembly, and top microphone; the second attaches the rear camera, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, pressure contacts for the headphone jack, and side volume buttons together. So you’ll have to replace ALL the components attached to that cable if just a single component fails.
  • What a decade can do for cables. We pulled a Parallel ATA cable from an old Dell PC and compared it to one of the Atrix ribbon cables. The PATA cable is 0.66 mm thick, while Atrix’ camera cable measures just 0.17 mm! And they’re routing several components through the same cable!
Final layout

Final layout

Samsung Galaxy Tab Teardown

November 12, 2010 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

The Galaxy Tab’s industrial design shows that Samsung is definitely mimicking Apple. Looking like an unlikely offspring between the iPad and the iPhone 4, the Tab has an iPad-like front fascia as well as a camera-equipped back cover similar to the not-yet-released white iPhone. Even the dock connector very closely mimics Apple’s standard pinout.

But that’s where the similarities stop. Within the Tab lies a Samsung-branded 1 GHz Hummingbird processor instead of Apple’s A4 (although both chips share the same ARM A8 processor architecture). There’s a full gig of RAM, 128 MB of Samsung OneDRAM, and 384 MB of Mobile DDR within the same processor package, in addition to 16GB of SanDisk NAND flash storage. If you’re counting, that’s 1.5 GB of total RAM and RAM-like caches. We expect that with this kind of internal hardware, the Tab should work really well with Android apps. But our twitchy hands took it apart the moment we saw it, so we’ll leave the software side for everyone else to explore.

We gave the Tab a repairability score of 6 out of 10. You have to use some unconventional tools — including a heat gun, guitar picks, and a tri-wing screwdriver — in order to fully disassemble the device. But the battery is replaceable without having to spring for a soldering iron, and other components (such as the headphone jack) disconnect pretty easily once you’re inside.

Teardown highlights:

  • The 3.2 MP rear facing camera with an LED flash is a bit sub-par for a device of this caliber, seeing how much smaller devices (like the original Droid) are packed with 5 MP imagers.
  • Measuring 190.1 x 120.6 x 12.0 mm, the Galaxy Tab is significantly smaller than its competitor (the iPad measures in at 242.8 x 189.7 x 13.4 mm). This allows the Tab to be held in one hand relatively easily, making it a good device for portable commercial applications.
  • Prying off a plastic pad on both sides of the Apple-esque dock connector reveals two tri-wing screws. Tri-wing screws are a pretty low level solution to tamper-proofing a product. We include the bit in our 26 piece and 54 piece bit driver kits.
  • The inner face of the rear case has a heavy strip of EMI shielding where it rests against the processor and memory chips on the motherboard.
  • The rear case’s plastic construction will no doubt aid in wireless reception. Using plastic allowed Samsung to bypass the creative measures used by Apple’s iPad designers to facilitate signal transmission.
  • Nearly half of the Galaxy Tab’s real estate is engulfed by the battery. Weighing in at 81 grams, the battery is about 55% the weight and 60% the capacity of the iPad’s battery. It’s also roughly half the size of the iPad’s battery.
  • The digitizer element was produced by Atmel and is bonded to a Corning Gorilla Glass front panel. Unfortunately, a fair amount of heat gun application is required to remove said front panel.
  • Although the resolution of the Galaxy Tab’s screen (1024×600) is less than the resolution of the iPad (1024 x 768), the Galaxy Tab has a more pixels-per-inch (169 for Galaxy Tab vs 132 for the iPad). 169 ppi is nice, but nowhere near dense enough for us. We vastly prefer the iPhone 4’s 326 ppi retina display.
Removing the battery

Removing the battery

Final layout

Final layout

iPod Nano 6th Generation Teardown

September 9, 2010 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

Despite keeping the same price tag as its predecessor, the new Nano is a bundle of trade-offs. Gone are the days of click wheels, cameras, and video playback. Instead, users get a multi-touch screen, a clip, and a device that’s slightly easier to repair.

Judging by the both the internal and external features of the device, we feel the new Nano is more like a Shuffle with a screen than a Nano with true multi-touch.

Apple is seriously reaching by calling the Nano “multi-touch.” 3M defines multi-touch as the “ability to simultaneously detect and resolve a minimum of 3+ touch points.”

The Nano does not support three touch points. In fact, the only gesture the Nano supports that has two touch points is rotation.

We’ve learned from reliable sources that Apple’s internal documentation suggest support for pinch to zoom, which is not present in this version of the iPod Nano’s software. Was this feature cut at the last minute? Could it be added back in with a software update? Only time will tell.

Teardown highlights:

  • This iPod Nano’s battery only has two wires, one red and one black. All the other iPod Nanos we’ve taken apart have included three battery wires. That third battery wire typically ties into a thermistor, a resistor whose value changes with temperature (a poor man’s thermometer). Presumably the iPod Nano’s battery is small enough and the charge rate is slow enough that overheating is not a concern.
  • The 1.54″, 240 x 240 pixel LCD screen is equipped with multi-touch, although how anyone is supposed to comfortably fit more than one finger on the display is a mystery.
  • The Nano has a 220 pixels-per-inch (PPI) screen, the highest pixel density on an Apple device aside from the iPhone 4 / iPod Touch 4th Gen. That’s almost double the iPad’s paltry 132 PPI density!
  • Pure speculation: The front glass on the Nano sticks up about .3 mm from the outer case. Why, you ask? Presumably due to the thickness of the headphone jack. Apple wanted to keep the device as thin as possible, and the curvature of the edges would have forced the case to be thicker for a completely flush glass panel. A thicker case was ditched in favor of the glass sticking out slightly.
  • Like its cousins — the iPhone 4 and the new iPod Touch — the touchscreen, LCD, and front glass are inseparable.
  • The Nano’s battery has a capacity of 105 mAh, compared to the Shuffle’s 51 mAh. We assume the Nano uses the extra juice to power its display (which the Shuffle lacks).
  • The headphone jack, volume buttons, and sleep/wake button are all found on the same ribbon cable that snakes around the inner perimeter of the Nano. Very efficient!
  • There’s a total of eleven screws in the Nano — quite a hefty amount for such a small device.

Removing the battery

Final layout

iPod Touch 4th Generation Teardown

September 8, 2010 Hardware, Site News, Teardowns — Miro

First, an observation: this thing is thin! So thin that there is literally no room for the 5 MP camera in the iPhone 4.

Second, some news: The 4th Generation iPod Touch’s A4 processor package has the same 256 MB Samsung SDRAM markings found on the iPad’s processor. Many developers will be disappointed that it doesn’t have the 512 MB found in the iPhone 4, but Apple had to keep costs down to hit the $229 price point.

We found several notable improvements from the previous Touch, especially a more repair-friendly front panel that can be easily removed with a heat gun and some careful prying. This is by far the easiest Touch to open, although it’s not completely straightforward once you get inside.

Teardown highlights:

  • This is the easiest iPod Touch we’ve ever cracked open — a bit of glue and two tabs hold the front panel in place. We hoped that the insides would continue to be repair-friendly, but then found that the front glass and LCD panel were permanently fused together. This will prevent dust from getting beneath the glass, but unfortunately will also make repair more expensive.
  • Like all other revisions of the iPod Touch, the battery is soldered to the logic board. This isn’t a surprise given the slim form factor of the iPod, but we wish Apple would make battery replacement easier, especially on a Touch that is now easier to open.
  • Apple did add more space between the battery’s three solder points compared to the 3rd Gen Touch. This should make the soldering job a little easier when replacing the battery, as there’s less chance of accidentally bridging the contacts.
  • The EMI shield is surprisingly heavy, weighing in at 11 grams. The entire iPod Touch is only 101 grams, meaning Apple has devoted more than 10% of the iPod’s weight to this metal EMI shield.
  • Unfortunately, the rear-facing camera is only 960×720 resolution. That’s only about .7 megapixels, compared to 5 megapixels on the iPhone 4. Apple was forced to sacrifice still photo resolution in order to squeeze the camera into the Touch’s slim package. Going forward, we expect Apple to adopt improved micro camera technology as better cameras come to market.
  • For those of you who are wondering, there’s no way the iPhone 4’s rear camera can be installed in the Touch.
  • In a first for the iPod Touch line, the headphone jack is not soldered to the logic board. There’s also a liquid damage indicator on the bottom of the headphone jack, so don’t use your Touch to stir the coffee.
  • This primary antenna is situated near the front glass panel. Its new location eliminates the need for the plastic “window” found on the 3rd generation Touch. There also appears to be a secondary antenna located on the headphone jack.
  • Contrary to Apple’s initial claims on their FaceTime marketing page, the iPod Touch does not have a vibrator. Apple’s website has been updated to remove this claim.

Prying out the logic board

Final layout

Where did the PSP Go teardown go?

October 2, 2009 Hardware — Kyle Wiens

(Or, Sony’s lawyers ate my homework)

We took apart the PSP Go last week. We got early access to a review unit for a couple hours, so we performed our standard teardown procedure: Figure out how to take it apart, shoot a ton of photos documenting the process, and take super-high resolution shots of the circuitry. Once we were done with all the photos, our engineers wrote an analysis of the manufacturing process and circuitry design choices Sony made.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with how the gadget release process works, let me give you a bit of a run-through. Some companies, like Apple, are super-secretive with their new gizmos and almost never provide the press with early access to hardware. Most others (Sony included) always send review units out to reporters and bloggers hoping to get a favorable review written ahead of time. In exchange for the review unit, writers agree not to release their story until a predetermined time, at which point the the ‘embargo’ is lifted. With the PSP Go, Sony set the embargo for Monday the 28th at 9:00AM Eastern.

We released our teardown on Monday. Our hardware analysis left us less-than-impressed with the PSP Go’s value proposition, and we called Sony out for charging more for a device that didn’t add any substantial features and was substantially less serviceable than the previous model. Sony didn’t take very kindly to this, and threatened the news organization that provided us with the device, demanding that we remove the teardown. (Reporters have to agree to a number of terms to get new devices, and it turns out that Sony had included a ‘No disassemble Johnny Five’ clause in their contract.) Although iFixit was under no legal obligation, we temporarily removed our teardown to protect our partner.

The PSP Go is now available through retail channels, and we bought one and redid our teardown with the retail hardware—just to make sure Sony can’t make any more legal claims. I just reposted the teardown.

I wonder if I should remove it...

Why is Sony so close-lipped? We didn’t unveil anything we wouldn’t normally have— we just published it a few days earlier than usual. So what was different this time? Nothing, actually. But, dear reader, I’m going to let you in on a little industry secret: Mass-scale consumer electronics manufacturers hate our teardowns. They hate the idea that you might actually use your device for more than what they tell you to. And they certainly hate the idea of users replacing the batteries in their new devices. (Did you see the ‘Warranty Void if Removed’ sticker on the super easy to replace PSP Go battery? Why would they do that?)

Don’t get me wrong— this isn’t universal to all manufacturers. In fact, some manufacturers have actively worked with us because they want the world to know how awesome their engineers are. Ugobe provided us with a Pleo robotic dinosaur when we were working on the teardown, and promoted our teardown on their homepage. I’ll have an announcement next week from another manufacturer who is so proud of their device they want the world to find out what’s inside.

As a general rule, consumer electronics companies are not interested in consumers doing anything with their devices but consuming them. And that’s a problem. We are living in a throw-away society. Sony, far from being the exception, exemplifies everything that is wrong with the industry. Apple does not want you to replace the battery in your iPod— they’d much rather sell you this year’s model in a shinier package. With a brand-new, soldered-down battery included for your convenience.

iFixit’s mission is to put a stop to this destructive, linear consumption model. We want to help people keep their devices working better, longer. Starting with the PSP Go.

I took this photo of a Sony DVD player at an e-waste dump in Ghana in July

I took this photo of a Sony product at an e-waste dump in Ghana in July

So in addition to rereleasing our teardown of the PSP Go, we took advantage of the last couple days of Sony-induced silence to write some repair manuals for Sony’s new gadget. Repair manuals that Sony would never let you see in a million years, and would stop us from publishing if they had the legal right to do so. Repair manuals that will enable anyone who buys the PSP Go to replace their own battery when it wears out. Or fix their own display. Or repair the headphone jack. Or fix just about anything else that might break on this little game machine.

You have the right to repair your own things. And I promise you that we will do our darndest to make it easy. Regardless of what Sony has to say on the matter.

I’ll have some exciting announcements next week about how we’re working to enable people to fix things. In the meantime, here’s how you take apart Sony’s newest PSP.

Spills that kill

July 31, 2009 Hardware, Repair Stories — Miro

How to prevent spills.

That’s right, people spill. All the time. Even the best of us can be caught off-guard and let something slip. Sometimes the spill is harmless, such as tipping over a glass of water on the counter. Sometimes, however, a MacBook logic board meets its demise.

We’re people, after all, and accidents happen whether we like it or not. Heck, I managed to get a bit of egg white on my old Dell Inspiron “kitchen” computer last weekend. Thankfully the egg white landed on the speakers, which only “work”  when I wiggle the headphone jack (thanks Dell). Other people aren’t as lucky, and they come to our forums asking for help after the spill.

Some notable spills of late, which occurred on all sorts of laptops, phones, music players:

  • Water on laptop that was placed under a window overnight
  • Coffee Patron (didn’t know they even made Coffee Patron)
  • Coffee, sugar, and milk
  • Good old coffee, black
  • Wine
  • Beer
  • Tea
  • Water
  • Egg whites

We’ve had people contact us about giving their iPods/iPhones a good wash in the washing machine or dropping them into the toilet. We even had a soldier from Iraq ask about an iPod that was dropped into 2,000 gallons of jet fuel. The iPod got a new battery and ran fine — but we’re not sure how it smelled after that ordeal.

These are but a few of the liquids people manage to spill. The more pressing question is, however, what to do once the accident has occurred. Unfortunately the answer varies from case to case, depending on the type and amount of liquid, as well as where the liquid lands.

For example, we had a co-worker’s friend accidentally knock over an entire mug of beer on his MacBook. He was obviously at the scene of the accident (compared to leaving your MBP under a window overnight) and so he managed to react quickly. He immediately disconnected the charger and battery, and flipped the MacBook upside down. He let it air dry for a day or two, crossed his fingers, and turned it on. Thankfully nothing was damaged, but he currently has one of the manliest-smelling MacBooks around.

So here’s a few tips in case a spill ever happens to you, whether it’s on a laptop any other electronic product:

  • Don’t panic. Panic just complicates things.
  • Remove power to your device as fast and soon as possible. If that means not saving your blog post, so be it. You can always view the auto-save, but there’s no auto-save function for your logic board.
  • Shake out any liquid as soon as the device is turned off.
  • Let the device dry in a manner that is conducive to getting the liquid out. If it’s a laptop, place it upside-down on a counter and let it relax for a day or two.
  • Possibly disassemble parts of the device to verify that it’s dry, and/or to use a hair dryer to finish the job.
  • Cross your fingers, and turn the device on.

At this point you may or may not still have a functional device, and potentially any component may have been affected. For example, if your MacBook doesn’t turn on, it may be the logic board is fried, or just that a component on the upper case failed. Liquid damage can be one of the worst accidents to have to diagnose, but hopefully the steps above will prevent any major damage from taking place.

Spilled something unique? Want to share? Post a comment and we’ll add you to the list above!

New Guide Site

February 13, 2009 Site News — Kyle Wiens

As you can see, we’ve made some changes around here.

New site design

New site design!

Aside from the redecoration, here’s the highlights:

  • This blog. We’ll be posting hardware tips and tricks, troubleshooting advice, teardowns of new products, and news about new site features. Be sure to follow the RSS feed— we promise to provide useful and pertinent information. Today we posted an analysis of the problems people have been reporting with the new MacBook Unibody headphone jack.
  • Guide notes. We’ve always appreciated useful feedback about our guides from people like you, but sometimes it takes us a little while to integrate your disassembly tips into our instructions. Guide notes provide a platform for you to help share what you’ve learned about while working on your own hardware.
  • Troubleshooting notes. Do you have any additional ideas for diagnosing hardware problems? Do you disagree with us on a diagnosis? Post what you know so other people don’t have to reproduce your knowledge the hard way.
  • Community forum. Brag about your triumph over the gremlins Apple hides inside Macs, or get help from everyone with your current problems.
  • Twitter. Follow us and we’ll follow you.
  • Search. This has been our #1 most requested feature. We’re sorry it took so long. How do you like it? Let us know!
  • New navigation. We’ve added helpful background information about specific devices alongside links to the step-by-step guides and troubleshooting documents. For example, if you browse from Mac to MacBook to MacBook Core Duo, you’ll find that we’ve added a list of possible MacBook Core Duo upgrades, links to other useful information on the net, and some historical information on the hardware. We’ll be adding to this over time.

Our mission is to help you fix things. All of these features are designed to make it easy for you to work on your own hardware. Now go out and fix your Mac!