Component repair of MacBook motherboard
All issues with Apple MacBook laptops can be divided into several major categories. The measures to address these issues that require serious repairs can also be divided into two main categories: component repair and modular repair. In this article, I will try to discuss the advantages of component repair.
What are we dealing with?
The modern trend in electronics is the miniaturization of devices. The size of the circuit board, microchips, and other components are shrinking, while the mounting density is increasing. And Apple has always been a leader in this direction. All of their devices stand out for their compactness and quality of execution.
Practically all the technical "power" of a modern laptop is located on the motherboard.
Many of you are likely familiar with what a motherboard of a modern computer looks like. The motherboard (system board, logic board) of a modern computer is a complex technical device that consists of a multi-layer printed circuit board on which electronic radio components (ERCs) are mounted:
- passive components (resistors, capacitors, transistors, inductors, diodes)
- microchips (power PWMs, various controllers, logic chips, etc.)
- several key microchips in a BGA package (processor, chipset, graphics chip).
The motherboard of a modern MacBook:
- takes up no more than 30% of the available space inside the case.
- The board consists of 7 printed layers.
- Passive components with a size of 1 mm or less are used
All of these facts lead to a significant increase in the complexity and cost of component repair.
The cost of modular repair of a motherboard (i.e. complete replacement of the motherboard) is several times more expensive than the cost of component repair.
What is component repair?
Component repair for a MacBook is a type of repair that involves replacing faulty components on the logic board or repairing the board itself (such as through restoring through-hole vias, contact traces, and pads).
Component repair of the board costs several times cheaper than its replacement
But in complex cases, only an experienced specialist with the use of a microscope and other professional equipment (microsoldering iron, thermal tweezers, hot air rework station, infrared rework station, oscilloscope) can perform such repair. Therefore, it is worth trusting this repair to proven specialists, since the price of an error can cost the replacement of the entire motherboard, which will correspond to a more expensive modular repair.
Component repair will come in handy in the following cases:
- Liquid spill on the motherboard
- Connection of an external device with its own power source
- Mechanical damage (including drops)
- Software updates, backup creation, etc.
- Occurrence of undefined problems
Liquid spills on the motherboard
Most often, people come to us with problems in MacBook laptops related to various liquids getting onto the motherboard.
All liquids, except for distilled water, conduct electric current
If a liquid gets on an electronic board that is under voltage, it can cause a short circuit, which will lead to the burning out of microchips and electronic components on the motherboard. In addition, after the liquid enters, electrochemical corrosion and oxidation reactions begin, which destroy the components of the motherboard.
Tip: If liquid gets into your MacBook, the first thing you need to do is to quickly disconnect the power from the motherboard. To do this, you need to:
- Turn off the laptop;
- Disconnect the power adapter and remove the battery (if possible).
In the latest MacBook models, direct access to the battery is more difficult. To remove the battery, you will need a set of special tools that are not included in standard sets (such as star-shaped nozzles).
After the motherboard of your computer is affected by liquid, we recommend that you contact a specialized computer repair service center. Time is a crucial factor in this case.
Connecting an external device with its own power source
Another common cause of MacBook malfunctions is the connection of third-party devices with their own power source. These devices include active speakers, printers, televisions, etc. The main cause is usually ungrounded 220V electrical outlets.
Tip: To prevent computer malfunctions, it is recommended to connect devices with their own power source after disconnecting them from the electrical network.
Mechanical damage to MacBook (including falls)
If the computer falls, in addition to external mechanical damage, the internal components - including the motherboard - may be affected.
Strong impacts can damage the contacts of microchip mounts, BGA chips or other components. This type of repair is the most difficult, as it is challenging to determine where the break occurred.
Other causes of malfunction can be:
- static discharges
- connect faulty external devices
Tip: If you use a wired LAN connection, it is recommended to disconnect this cable during thunderstorms. This is especially important if you live in the suburbs or rural areas.
Updating software, creating backups, etc.
Updates that can cause serious hardware malfunctions can be divided into two types:
Incorrect EFI firmware update
Symptoms: the computer does not start; the computer turns off after ~5 seconds of being turned on, then turns back on, but there is no image on the screen.
Treatment: requires reprogramming on a EEPROM chip programmer.
Incorrect SMC firmware update
Symptoms: the computer does not start.
Treatment: replacement of the SMC multi-controller (cannot be reprogrammed, only replaced with a removed one from a donor board).
If a problem has occurred but is not identified
It is recommended to first reset the PRAM and SMC.
If that doesn't help, then it's worth checking for the problem in our list of common malfunctions.
If you were unable to solve the problem on your own, you can bring your device to us for a free diagnosis.