It’s Officially a Quad-Baked MacBook Pro (4 Times and Counting)

September 23, 2010 by · 25 Comments
Filed under: Apple, Tech 

For those who are keeping track of how many times my MBP has been baked and come back to life, as it stands, the official count is now four. This time, it lasted over one and a half months since the last baking session. I won’t bore you with any new details other than to say, after four successful tries, I’m now committed (like I wasn’t before) to baking the board for as long as it will let me do it. I’m sure that at some point, it will finally give up the ghost, but until then…

Some points to note: it now only takes me about 15 minutes to tear apart the machine (disassemble is probably a gentler way of saying that). It takes a little longer putting it back together because after spending a great deal of time trying to reconnect the only connector that connects to the underside of the board (connecting with me on this?) and then position the board at an angle so that I can get the port side (the other side) to fit through the openings in the case and allow the board to seat properly. I invariably fail to remember that I didn’t connect the battery unit before I went through the convolutions necessary to seat the board. I then remove the board, affix the battery and then go through said convolutional placement of board once more. So, in all, the reassembly takes at least 10 minutes longer for me. However, I’m getting real good at it. Maybe next time, I will remember to affix the battery beforehand.

For those coming to this article for the first time, I have three other posts of the whole MacBook Pro logic board baking ordeals:

Cooking the Books (or Baking my MacBook Pro Logic Board)

Twice-Baked Mother Board (or Refried Logic of my MacBook Pro)

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

Comments

25 Responses to “It’s Officially a Quad-Baked MacBook Pro (4 Times and Counting)”
  1. Johnathan says:

    Russell,
    Thank God for your posts. I was experiencing the same issues you were and took your advice. I baked that logic board until it was golden brown and PRESTO! My MBP runs like a dream. Thanks again, and keep on baking!

  2. Ivan Marsh says:

    Hi noticed that you have baked your computer several times to get it back up and running. I wondered if you have considered actually having your motherboard reballed so that it would stop breaking and you wouldn’t have to bake it every so often. The reballing process actually replaces the solder with new solder and prevents the issue from happening again.

  3. James says:

    Hi Russell,
    Check our the apple support document – http://support.apple.com/kb/TS2377

    Anyone with this problem should try getting apple to replace the logic board under the above, providing it is less than 4 years old

    I have some experience in electronics component approvals and testing.
    I would guess that after reading your experiences in conjunction with the apple support documentation that mentions that Nvidia have a graphics chip packing problem, the following may be happening…..
    (The term ‘packaging’ is the component casing that encapsulates the graphics chip itself.)
    A components heat dissipation performance is dependent on the quality of the encapsulation process and the physical size of the encapsulation. If their are any contaminants or errors in the encapsulation process or design then this can lead to early failure or where hot spots can weaken or damage the internal or PCB connections. I think what is happening is that your graphics chip is unevenly heating where it is affecting the internal or PCB connections, you then bake it, the solder reflows and remakes the connections… works for a while-but still has the fundamental encapsulation/package problem, then fails and you bake it again.. next time you bake, Try obtaining and using high specification heat transfer compound from Farnell or Maplin or RS remember to clean the faces of the graphics chip and its heat sink contact of the old stuff first.
    Alternatively if there are no signs of baking, you might want to try getting apple to repair it under the support document http://support.apple.com/kb/TS2377

    all the best

    here’s the the apple support document in text form…..

    http://support.apple.com/kb/TS2377

    * Last Modified: June 10, 2010
    * Article: TS2377

    Email this article
    Print this page
    Symptoms

    In July 2008, NVIDIA publicly acknowledged a higher than normal failure rate for some of their graphics processors due to a packaging defect. At that same time, NVIDIA assured Apple that Mac computers with these graphics processors were not affected. However, after an Apple-led investigation, Apple has determined that some MacBook Pro computers with the NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics processor may be affected. If the NVIDIA graphics processor in your MacBook Pro has failed, or fails within four years of the original date of purchase, a repair will be done free of charge, even if your MacBook Pro is out of warranty.

    What to look for:

    * Distorted or scrambled video on the computer screen
    * No video on the computer screen (or external display) even though the computer is on

    Specific products affected:

    * MacBook Pro 15-inch and 17-inch models with NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics processors
    o MacBook Pro (17-Inch, 2.4GHz)
    o MacBook Pro (15-Inch, 2.4/2.2GHz)
    o MacBook Pro (Early 2008)
    * These computers were manufactured between approximately May 2007 and September 2008

    Products Affected

    MacBook Pro, models with NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics processor
    Resolution

    If your MacBook Pro is exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above, please take it to an Apple Retail Store or an Apple Authorized Service Provider (AASP) for evaluation, or call your nearest Apple Contact Center. Before visiting the Genius Bar at the Apple Retail Store, please make a reservation (available in some countries only).

    Apple is issuing refunds to customers who may have paid for repairs related to this issue. Please contact Apple for details on the refund process.

    Note: If your MacBook Pro is not experiencing any of these symptoms, you do not need to contact Apple.

    Apple will continue to evaluate the repair data and will provide further repair extensions as needed.

    • While I think your description of what might be happening to the system sounds plausible and even probable, the support issue you refer to does not cover the systems exhibiting the problems that I’ve outlined in my baking experiences. Primarily, in order for Apple to even determine that the system qualifies for this issue is by running a diagnostic test that produces particular error codes—which my system (and many others), even though it technically has the same specifications as the affected systems, cannot do, because they won’t even begin the boot-up process—thus producing no error codes at all and that is not listed as one of the qualifying symptoms for repair/replacement under the Apple/NVidia graphics issue. That’s the whole frustration here. I have had the system tested by certified Apple techs when the issue originally happened and then by Apple at the Spokane Apple Store only after baking it (the store wasn’t open yet when the system first went out), only to find out that after testing, they showed absolutely nothing wrong with the system.
      I am signed-up for the NVidia GPU Litigation class-action suit, but basically, my system will need to die again before March 15, before I can try to qualify for the replacement. It basically needs to be displaying the symptom in order to qualify—right now, it’s humming along, happy as a clam, and I’m relatively happy that I have a working system. Although, it would be nice to not have to pay for its replacement, I can’t complain too much, because I’ve gotten three years out of this machine so far. Thanks for the info.

      • For those interested, although it’s too late to apply if you haven’t already, here is the link to the NVidia GPU Litigation site

      • James says:

        Hi Russell,

        Just to update you regarding my contact with Apple concerning the failed logic graphics board in my Macbook Pro 17 A1261….
        One of the final symptoms was that my Mac-book could not boot either, so was not capable of returning error codes. (the test i used to determine motherboard failure was substitution of hard drive/ram/alternate display)

        The Good News is that…

        **APPLE HAVE REPLACED MY LOGIC/GRAPHICS MAINBOARD FREE OF CHARGE
        under the support document http://support.apple.com/kb/TS2377
        ( normally this repair would cost £418.80 according to the repair invoice.

        FIRST CLASS, SERVICE from APPLE UK + APPLE STORE, METRO CENTRE GATESHEAD

        I contacted Apple UK on Wed 19th with the problem, Apple UK offered an appointment the following day at the nearby Apple-Metro Center , but i opted for Friday 21 and handed my Macbook to the store, who said they expected the replacement parts early the following week.
        By Wed the 26th, Apple, Metro Center were on the phone to say that my Macbook was fixed and ready to be collected.
        while reinstalling my original hard drive i noted that Apple had also done a first class job with reassembly.

        thank you Apple

        James

        • That’s great news. I myself, probably while you were typing your reply, just got done baking my board for the fifth time (good news is it worked yet again). Wish I would have seen your post yesterday though. I went into the Spokane Apple Store for the first time with the MBP while it wasn’t working and had them look at it. Again, no ability to boot meant they couldn’t run any tests to produce any specific error codes. After quickly determining that it wasn’t the RAM, he pronounced the logic board dead. I guess I’m just not hard-nosed enough with these guys (which I’m not sure that would score any points either) but he basically said there was no way to get it covered under the NVidia issue unless it produced the error codes. They say its because NVidia is the one paying for the replacement and they require it. Hmm….

          • James says:

            Hi Russell,
            I would suggest contacting the apple Head office support and getting them to direct you to another store. From experience in computer engineering, i would like to meet the engineer who expects a fried chip to produce an error code-how can a processor process data to generate an error code. Additionally, failure of graphics can cause damage elsewhere, including the supplies ,data lines of the logic board part of the shared pcb..
            Perhaps the store you went to are a bad example of apple and you should try another store – also print out the sheet http://support.apple.com/kb/TS2377 and hand to to the apple staff when you take in your macbook – be polite and ask for you mac to be fixed under the apple support document.

            Just a point – capacitors are highly likely to age prematurely or fail when subjected to high temperatures…try persisting with Apple –
            good luck
            James

          • Yeah–I’m seriously thinking of just heading back to Spokane (70 mi round trip though) but the alternative is driving/flying to next closest Seattle-area Apple Store (400 mi one way!). Not many choices. The only thing is now the MBP is working. The last time I brought it in just to have them test it and the system showed it was running fine.

  4. James says:

    Hi Russell,
    wait till it fails again then
    I would ring mac and try to arrange for it to be shipped to their service center enclosing the service document and shipped back to you when it’s fixed. I wouldn’t bother trying the same store. plus you shouldnt have to travel that distance so shipping is the alternative.

    james.

    • Yeah–we’ll have to wait and see how long we go this time. This time it went for over 4 months. March will be its 3-yr anniversary and that is how long I was planning on using it anyways before getting new system (was drooling over 17″ i7 and the 27″ i7 iMacs today). The bummer is not being able to hand it down confidently. I’m used to just running my old Mac systems into the ground. I even still have an old G4 tower (from 1999!) going with latest Leopard humming along. Painfully slow, but it’s still kicking. I expect to get more than 3 years out of any Mac.

  5. Mars says:

    I have a late 2007 MBP A1229 and, you guessed it, it had/has logic board problems. It still sitting at the AASP right now for over a week, and although I was at first confident it was the nVidia problem (and a free repair) I just spoke with them today and they still haven’t managed to ID the problem as the board can’t even run the troubleshooting thing Apple uses. They’re trying to fix the board so they can get the error code, but … I’m not very confident that will happen now.

    So I went googling and found this solution, with anything but success stories, which really brings me some peace (other than paying $1000 for a refurbished replacement – not happening), and if I’m not terribly mistaken (I wish I am !) I’ll be trying this solution very soon :)

    I just have a quick question, maybe to give me some further peace of mind: that big black-connector thing in the middle of the board, isn’t that plastic ? No possibility of that deforming or anything ? And the board doesn’t deform even slightly after baking ?

    I’ll try the method anyway I’m sure, don’t have anything to lose – it’s basically a question between a very expensive paperweight and a working MBP :/

    Thank you very much for reporting your experiences Mr. Heistuman !

    • The connector in the middle really isn’t that big compared to some of the other connectors. As long as you’re very careful to make sure all the connectors are disconnected before trying to lift the board out–otherwise you might damage their connection on their other ends. The board and the plastics used for the connectors are made to withstand pretty high heat conditions. Not sure if its true of Apple’s boards, but from what I hear, that baking is actually part of the manufacturing process that is used to seat all the components after it has been assembled.

      So, to answer your question, no warping or deforming of the board or connectors. Now the three items that will deform are the foam piece that is attached to the underside of the board to cushion it right around the battery connector–make sure you take this off and make note where to reattach (I used digital camera)–the second is the metal-mesh lined foam pads around the ports–these I do not remove, but am careful when placing the board on baking sheet to not have those on top of the foil balls that I use to lift the board. The third are the two connectors at the top (screen side) of the board that have interior plastic sleeves–those I learned the hard way because I baked them and they deformed. The good news is, while not optimum and up to Apple standards, the board will still secure without them. It would be better to be able to keep them in use.

      Hope that helps.

  6. James says:

    Hi Russell,
    I’ve not been on this site for a while now but just wanted to catch up

    Did you try to have you mac repaired/ MB replaced under the warrenty ?

    I’ve seen quite a lot about the nvidia chips on the web + nvidia’a denials – poor show from Nvidia. I was involved in component testing approvals in the past where one of the worlds biggest component manufacturers had a packaging problem where there FETs could fail under high temperatures- the manufacturer put their hands up and worked with its customers to product recall and reissue. the result is that this manufacturer is still one of the most respected and first choice for components, even more so now as it admitted there was a fault and worked very hard to put it right. – NVidia want to follow this example , as their current attitude of sticking it’s head in the sand is damaging Nvidia’s repetuation.

    all the best
    james

  7. Nes says:

    Hi Russell,

    Guess how I found your site? By googling how many times a mobo can be baked!! Lol!!

    Mine is an HP Pavillion 6875se (Special Edition) with an Intel Core 2 Duo 1.83Ghz processor, 3GB RAM, 300GB HDD and the culprit NVIDIA GPU!! Exactly 3 yrs old. I wasn’t aware of the NVIDIA issue earlier. My screen played up maybe about 4 times in the recent past and I assumed it was because the lappy had got too hot. I’ve had the screen splitting up into about 6 sections a couple times and it would be fine once I turned the lappy back on after cooling it. Then all of a sudden last the weekend before last the screen went black. I already had an external monitor hooked up as well. So I realized it was a display problem since I everything was working fine on the external monitor. So I ended up doing a lot of googling and youtubing. The first method I attempted was to remove the battery and the mains and drain it. And it worked fine maybe for a few hours before it went out again. The 2nd method was blocking the vents and letting it run hot. I was monitoring the temp on the external monitor. I think I let the GPU get upto around +80C or thereabouts and shut it down and let it cool. And that worked.. and I was relieved. Worked over the weekend, but I had to repeat the process. Only 1 repeat worked or was it twice… can’t remember and then it was the split up screen and Vista wouldn’t even boot up and I had nothing on my external monitor either. My next plan was to heat up only the NVIDIA chip like so many seem to be doing… but the only problem was that in my part of the world those small blowtorches are not available. So I tried heating up the chip with a hair dryer. Failed! Now I had the display showing the split screen in different colours!!! I wasn’t sure if I’d done some permanent irreversible damage to it. Kept searching and came across a guy who heated up his chip with a 150W bulb. Since I had access to one of those 150W infra-red heat lights (which is used to relieve muscle aches etc) I thought I’ll give this method a shot. But before I attempted it, I had read enough to know that it had to be capable of heating up the chip to a temp that would cause the solder to melt. So tried heating up a tiny piece of solder placed on a coin under this light. It didn’t melt. So I canned the idea of attempting to heat up the chip with the light. If the solder doesn’t melt, then there isn’t going to be a reflow. I had already watched and read about baking. So this was my last resort. Prepped the board by stripping all the plastics and stuck it in the oven for 10mins that was pre-heated to 210C (about 400F I think). These values were based on what others with an HP have tried successfully and also by users in an ACER forum. After 10mins I turned the oven off and let it cool in the oven with the door first slightly open and then fully open.

    After it had completely cooled, I did a preliminary test just by hooking up the mobo directly to the battery, display and the power panel… so that I wouldn’t waste time putting everything back together only to find out that it wasn’t successful. The bake didn’t work.. and now the screen was totally black from being a split display before the bake. I was convinced that I had ruined the board and any chance of ever getting it to work again. Then a little later I realized that I hadn’t lined the tray with foil and thought maybe that’s probably why it didn’t work. So now I was contemplating a 2nd bake. Which is when I found your site trying to see if anyone else had baked their mobo more than once. Read your posts and everyone else’s experience using your baking parameters. Since you had baked more than once successfully and since your baking parameters were quite different to what I read, I was motivated once again to re-bake my mobo!!! Someone here had posted that he baked his @ 180C for 7mins. So I went with that… but only for the last minute of baking I turned it up to 190C. Mine is a gas oven by the way. Oh I also wrapped up all the ports with 2 layers of foil to protect them like somone else here had posted. I didn’t do it the first time, because when I asked my wife whether the heat get in and stays trapped if foil-wrap she said yes!! So I didn’t do this the first time I baked it.

    Anyway, after the Russell-MOBO-bake (lol!!!!) of my mobo and once it had cooled I did a preliminary test with only the display,mobo, battery and power panel. Prayed to the Lord, crossed my fingers and hit the power button…. and my display came back to life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Praise the Lord!!!! Words cannot describe how I felt man!!!!!!! I was over the moon! Turned it off and on again a few times to make sure it was ok. Re-assembled the lappy and everything seems to be working fine. The only casualties which I believe are the result of my 1st failed bake at a higher temp and for longer… are the LED power indicator which is supposed to come one when the lappy is turned on whether batt or mains and the charging indicator which is supposed to light up when the mains are plugged in. I think I also damaged ribbon cable connector which hooks up to the quick-touch panel because the mute button which is supposed to be orange only when on mute is now permanently orange instead of staying blue when not on mute. The mute/unmute functions work fine though. I can live with that.

    I also did a small mod to increase cooling. I placed a copper coin each on the NVIDIA chip, the CPU and on another chip that was between the two. I generously applied thermal compound on the chips before placing the coins and thermal compound on top of the coins before mounting the lappy heat sink and fan. The size of the coins are about 1cm in diameter.

    My operating temp has now dropped down by 10C. I haven’t still done a full load test with video etc etc with it. I also noticed that my fan doesn’t work at high speed all the time anymore.. this will give me more time on my battery now. I hear it on high speed once in a while now. But it’s not even 24hrs since my lappy has been working again… so lets see how it performs in terms of cooling. But I am extremely happy with a 10C drop straight off the bat.

    Thanks for all the info and for baking your mobo so many times man!!!!! I wouldn’t have bothered with a 2nd attempt otherwise and my lappy would’ve probably been a paperweight or stripped and sold as parts!! My 3 year old notebook now has a new lease of life. Thank you once again and also to all those who have shared their experience here.

    3 cheers for the mobo bakers!!!!! Lol!!!

    • Nes says:

      Lastly 1st bake lasted until y’day. Left it ON without the usual little cooler fan and elevation for circulation underneath. When I came back about 2 hrs later my display was in split sections. So my 1st bake has lasted about 7 months.

      Just finished prepping the board for the bake. Will post back once I finish my 2nd bake.

      This time I will be getting myself a proper lap cooler once I resurrect it and hopefully I wouldn’t need to bake it a 3rd time.

      I’m amazed you’ve baked yours for the 8th time since my last post back in June.

      • Nes says:

        It was successful!! Let’s hope I won’t have to bake it again.

        Summary of the baking process:

        (I covered all the plastic ports, CMOS batt holder and the memory slots with 2 layers of foil. I removed the CPU as well in addition to stripping all other plastic coverings, stickers and wire from the board)

        Pre-heat gas oven @ 180C for 15 mins.
        Bake mobo for 6mins.
        Turn up heat to 190C
        Continue to bake mobo for 1 more minute
        (total baking time is 7mins)
        Turn off the oven
        Apply just a little gentle pressure on the GPU using a cloth folded up so that you don’t burn your hand. This it to make sure the chip gets soldered in nicely.
        Let the mobo continue to rest in the oven with oven door open at about a 30 degree angle
        After a few more mins open oven door completely and let the mobo continue to cool
        Do not move the mobo until it has rested… so that the GPU doesn’t shift away from the solder balls beneath.
        Hook up display, CPU, memory, touchpanel and battery to test if display is working.

        Now I just need to assemble the whole thing.

        I need to go out and buy a good laptop cooling pad and hope that I will not need to bake again.

        So now my notebook is successfully baked twice. 1st bake lasted 7 months and I’m hoping this one will last forever with the cooling pad!!!

  8. James Clavel says:

    I have the same problem and will try this kind of solution. The same symptoms I have with everyone else. There’s not much Apple Service Center here in Davao, Philippines also. The last thing I did with my MacBook Pro was to render an almost an hour video that would take about almost 2-hours @ an average of 70 – 80 Deg C during the render. even I placed it on a laptop cooler. After the render, turned it off and left home… when I got back and turned it on, to my surprise it died on me…. so sad and after a few search I saw your process and might give it a try… nothing more to loose… my mac served me up more than 3-years…. so baking might help or better yet… it might teach me how to really bake… 😀

    thanks for the share!

    • James Clavel says:

      hey russell, really thankful i found your site. I did bake my macbook pro’s logic board… since we don’t have a working oven, i went to a friend’s house just to use their oven and they are really thinking that the idea is so silly… since it’s too late for me to assemble the macbook, i went home after the baking… when the assembly process is done… cross-fingers during turning on…. to my surprise the chime sounded and whala! macbook pro back online again!

      really thankful for the tips. i hope this doesn’t end soon hehehe. – cheers!

  9. John says:

    …Hey Russel found your website Like you I was devastated about my MacBook pro could not get over why this would happen,I also Have a xbox360 and along the same lines it Had a heat sink issue which microsoft kinda did the same recall where they, went by time ,and not the nature of the fix it was called “RRR” “Red Ring Of Death” happens when your play for a period of 5 hours it would give you a black screen or an Error message depending on the way the GPU chip soldering balls loosen,the way you fix that is you actually pull off the GPU heatsink and power it on and when it overheats after few mms you allow it to cool button it back up and your good for a few weeks unless you get a better heat sink which is what microsoft did in the next batch of Xbox360’s this one has a copper extended core on it ,it still did not work that much better unless you also changed the cooling fans inside the unit,I made a video of my fix on youTube same rules apply I removed the few plastic washers and coverings and covered the usb with a sheet of foil baked at 375*F 7mn 30secs reapplied Arctic silver 5 blowout the vents applied fanControl to watch the temps inside , after all is done my macBook pro returned from sleep mode …I think what happens is the Nvidia chip miss leads you to think the macBook is in sleep mode and it continues to run and gets very hot inside and it causes the ball soldering to loosen and crack there for cause system failure ,some where along those terms
    I put my mac to sleep by the menu instead of just closing the lid some how there is an issue with it that way i have been ok no issues since the fix I cheers to you my fellow Mac LOL here is the link to the youTube video

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Odg7_f2L4o “Gimme Back My Mac 3”

    ~John

  10. Dan says:

    Well,
    Baking my apple for the Second time now. Did it originally in July and it lasted for about 4.5 months (about a month ago – been busy).

    Agree tear down is much faster now. I did another mbp in august – my brother had another that he bought at the same time and when this worked on mine, he brought his old one too town and we baked it, too.

    So, this will be my 3rd bake, second on this machine. Still looking at recalling too – since I spent money on some software and had it upgraded to mavericks too.

    Thanks for the posts – very helpful.

    Dan

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