Ooops! I Baked It Again. (3rd Time!)

August 9, 2010 by · 8 Comments
Filed under: Apple, Tech 

MacBook Pro Logic Board

In the ongoing saga of trying to keep my MacBook Pro alive long enough to replace it, I just had to bake the logic board again. For those of you that are keeping score or just curious about how many times a MacBook Pro motherboard can be yanked out and baked and put back in and still work again—so far, we’re at three now. The bad news is, where the first bake lasted three months, this last re-bake (or re-fry or whatever) has lasted only one month and four days. So, replacement time is coming on quicker than I was hoping! For details of the logic board baking process I used, read about my first Cooking the Books article or the second, Twice-Baked Motherboard. For the differences I did this time, read on…

One major difference with this time was that I found myself wondering if the actual need to bake the motherboard might not be really necessary and I mused that if maybe the process of breaking it down and putting it back together might be sufficient to restore the system to a working state. This time, I tried an experiment where I just did the tear-down all the way to removing the logic board, and then, rather than baking the board, I just re-assembled the system (just enough screws to hold it in while I tried to boot rather than all of them) and tried to boot. No go. Same initial drive spin-up noise, then momentary flashing white lights on the sleep light indicator near the magnetic latch and no boot.

I was then committed to firing up the oven once again and baking at 375° for 7 min 30 sec. I popped everything back together (after cooling, of course) and to my thankful relief, was greeted with my last open screen in sleep state, from which it restored itself perfectly again. Which reinforces my suspicion that something in the sleep mode is triggering this issue and that I’m still not 100% positive that the issue is just a faulty logic board—its just that baking the board seems to fix it. I am definitely open to anybody’s ideas and I can’t wait until the Apple Store in Spokane finally opens. In the meantime, I’m looking for an excuse to truck over to Seattle.

I guess one good thing out of all this is that I am becoming terribly efficient and quick in being able to tear-down my MBP and put it back together with no lost screws or parts. I can do the whole process in less than an hour now (tear-down, bake, assemble). Hmm, maybe I should think about applying at the Apple Store…

P.S. Feel free to contact me if you want to know how you can help contribute to my MacBook Pro replacement fund. 😉

Comments

8 Responses to “Ooops! I Baked It Again. (3rd Time!)”
  1. Tim Mc says:

    Three times now…wow. I’m thrilled that it keeps working for you. Hopefully this time your “Apple crisp” will work a little longer. Have fun Chef Russell!

  2. Dinah Bright says:

    This is so fascinating! I have just come back from taking my MBP 15in (prchsd 7/07) for a diagnosis. I am so computer illiterate but the term ‘logic board’ was used in the description of the problem (in addition to the $1000.00 repair estimate). I’ve currently decided to get my hard drive moved to an external drive…buy a desk top…check to see if I can possibly get into that nVidia/Apple replacement program. If I can’t get that replacement, I’ll be trying your procedure.
    Anyway…this problem seems to be heat related….What do you think? I’ve noticed that all these laptops get really hot. I wouldn’t wonder that things melt inside them or at least get softened. I have a small wooden box with slats on top so the computer can keep cooler…so i’m wondering if that’s why mines lasted 3 years. And then, when you heat up the board it goes back to it’s original place….What do you think? Has anyone else thought the heat might be a cause?

    • While it may be an issue of heating and cooling that may crack soldered connections, its actually the heat that ultimately fixes in this case as it melts the soldering to refill in any microscopic cracks (at least thats the theory). As far as running hot, its been a pretty established reality that MBPs run hot and they’re well-designed to accommodate that heat. For mine, I actually have mine on a cooling fan unit most of the time. But if it is a heat issue, it only takes one time to do any possible damage. I know in my case, if you were connected to an external monitor and you disconnect and then close your MBP putting it to sleep before the screen reconfigures to just your laptop screen, it will continue to run (heat) even when closed. Not so bad, but if you then take your not-fully-sleeping MBP and put it in a case with no airflow, your system can get extremely hot. However, its hard to pin it on that, because the two times thats happened to me, my system always came back up when opened. The times my system has died, has been when attempting to wake the system from sleep. You’d think if extreme heat was an issue, its also the cure. So, hard to say what’s too hot, if its heating to the point of melting soldering points, ti would be doing the same thing as the oven fix–so not sure.

  3. Dinah Bright says:

    Ok, this is really bazzar. (besides I can’t spell) Before I came onto your site, I had been reading up on the ‘logic board’ problem and there were several different ideas on correcting the problem including putting your computer under a blanket (basicly cooking it…but the whole thing) anyway, again with the heat thing, it made since to me and so I put my laptop under 2 pillows and after about 15 min or so, while I was reading your web site …. well I just now went and got it out….let it cool down some…and it was slow but it is
    working…It’s been down since March this year and never came on. I had originally thought the reason it wasn’t working was because it fell off the couch. But I can’t believe this!!! I really believe it has to do with how these things get so hot. This is just amazing.
    I’m using this computer (desk top Dell Windows XP98) slow as molasses in winter no,
    SLOWER THAN MOLASSES IN WINTER and I live outside Chicago Il….I know how slow molasses run in winter. OK..so I’m listening to my iTunes playing away on my MBP…Can you believe this?
    Some of those other sites mentioned that you turn the computer battery side up when heating it I did. I remembered that when it first went out, sometimes the chime would work and sometimes not.
    Well, I have my iTunes on and my iPhoto slide show going…..IS THIS FOR REAL???
    I’ll let you know if it continues to work….
    Thank you for your inspiration and advice. I also have to thank the internet. and of course Thank God!!! I still can’t believe this!!

  4. Eric Turner says:

    Russell,

    I just found this (and the other 2 blog posts). The reason it comes back from sleep when after you bake it, is because the MBP stores all the RAM data on the hard drive, then shuts down the computer. When you boot it back up, it looks to see if any RAM data on the hard drive, and if there is, loads it and returns you to your previous state. It has nothing to do with the sleep mode, unless while the machine is asleep, it produces heat at a certain solder joint or something like that. It would be interesting to leave the MBP disassembled, and look at it with infrared goggles while it is asleep, to see where the heat is coming from.

    I have a dead MBP in my shop right now, which I am going to bake. It has all the symptoms of the NVidia issue too, but the Apple store here in Spokane says they can’t warranty it. Pretty lame.

    Oh well, time for me to take my own advice and bake it! :)

  5. sereal says:

    hi. i’ve got the same problem with my early 2008 MBP 2.4. it won’t start after the disc sounds, never get into the chime. this is happened for 2nd time now. the first fix only last for 4.5 months. the technician said that the power cable somewhere in the fan stucked and won’t continue to power up the logic. now i try to find out which part on the fan that made the power stuck. anyone have an answer ? im asking here because the techie guy who fix my mbp is moving out to a new place somewhere.

  6. Codewarrior says:

    I’ve got a 17″ MBP, 2.6GHz, 1920×1200. It’s logic board has seen the oven three times now. I’ve had pretty good luck in that the fix has lasted several months between baking.

    This last time I cranked the temp up to 385’F and left it in for almost 20 minutes. Everybody was complaining about the solder smell in the kitchen and I was afraid I might have overdone it. But after putting it back together, it’s working like a champ!

    I can tell when it’s about to go out and require a reflow (baking). The top, left, area of the base gets REALLY hot. Hotter than normal under usual circumstances. The last time it did it, it was almost too hot to touch. At that point, POOF, no more boot. Just the DVD reset sound and white light up front.

    Also, during this repair, I noted that the silver heat sink compound I used last time had become dry and tacky. I’m betting the excessive heat of a MBP ruined it and then the CPU overheated. This time I used White “Super Thermal Grease” from MG Chemicals of Canada (www.mgchemicals.com) catalog number 8615. This is the stuff I put on behind triacs and SCRs (high power transistors) so they conduct heat more efficiently into their heat sinks. It works well for me in my electronics projects. The compound is rated to 302’F.

    So far, she’s running nice and cool! We’ll see how long it lasts.

    Cheers!

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