Heptacular!: Seventh MacbookPro Bake Today

August 30, 2011 by · 27 Comments
Filed under: Apple, Tech 

A question I see asked often is, “how many times can a logic board be baked and still be successfully revived?”. One very qualified answer is “at least seven.” The other question usually asked is, “for how long does the bake last?” and to answer that, “at least six months.” At least that’s been my experience. Hopefully, that experience will be coming to an end very shortly. You’ll have to find someone else to provide you with your vicarious techniculinary fixes.

Just as I had been bragging to several people both online and off about how my system has been up and running now for “over” six months (5 days over to be exact), my system decided to not wake up this morning. Bummer. The good news is tear down and bake and rebuild went pretty quick. This time I timed it and it took me almost exactly an hour for the whole process (your time may vary), but I think that’s fairly good. And no screws missing after all these tear-downs and rebuilds too!

This time however, I won’t be pushing my luck anymore. After taking the “hepto-baked” MBP back to the Spokane Apple Store yet again and, yet again, failing to produce the now-coveted Nvidia error code (after I lost count how many attempts the Genius™ tried to produce it [thanks Jason!]), the best they could offer me, yet again, is the $310 repair offer that will hopefully cover anything that might happen to need replacing on my MBP. Other than the fact that it will be like it has been preserved for 3+ years and with 3-year old chip designs and technology, it will be just like having a new MBP and should (hopefully) be good for another 3-5 years.

So, I will be taking it back tomorrow to the Apple Store to submit it to the “depot”. I decided to bring it back home because I’m going to remove the upgraded 500GB drive and put the original 250GB back in it for the service. Even though I have a back-up of the drive, I would have to purchase another drive to restore to–so its easier just putting the 500GB in an enclosure and working from it until I get the system back.

My main concern now, is what replacement system will I be getting. This one will most likely be handed down to my daughter and hopefully its baking days will finally be over.

Stay tuned.



27 Responses to “Heptacular!: Seventh MacbookPro Bake Today”
  1. Hi Russel,
    Following your blog has given me inspiration to try my hand on baking boards!
    I have a Macbook Pro 13″ Unibody A1278 model which has a blank display but connects correctly to an external monitor. It has backlight, sound, everything seems to work but the display. I even bought a new LCD panel but could not get it to work.

    So, i am considering it should go into the oven (the display is dead for over a year now).
    Any suggestions.

    Explore Labs

    • Sounds like you have different symptoms than what most have had before baking. Mainly that usually, the entire logic board has been declared dead. But if yours is actually booting up and displaying on an external monitor, I think I might be hesitant to bake and make sure all possible causes are explored. Have you had a chance to take into an Apple Store or certified Apple repair shop to get their diagnosis?

      • Its out of warranty and so the Apple service centre demands a hefty amount to replace the whole upper body (Aluminium case+iSight+Airport+LCD). Not the motherboard though. That is why i am working from an external monitor.

        • Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner. Now I’m afraid you may have tried to bake your board but based upon your problem description, I am thinking you may have an issue that baking might not help. It sounds like it is in your display connection. Your graphics chip is obviously working as your external monitor is working. Your main processor is working obviously and it looks like you have tried installing a new LCD panel. So, either the install of the LCD was incorrect or there is something wrong in the cabling or connectors. I guess there’s a small chance that it may be the connection on the logic board and that reflowing might help, but I’m not sure I would be so optimistic. Let me know what happens (or already happened).

          • No, I have not done the Reflowing yet. And you are more than right: “Your graphics chip is obviously working as your external monitor is working. Your main processor is working obviously and it looks like you have tried installing a new LCD panel.” And, “I guess there’s a small chance that it may be the connection on the logic board and that reflowing might help.”
            The Cable is also not bad, because the whole upper body connects correctly to my friend’s MBP and works perfectly with the new LCD. The only thing which seems to be causing the problem may be my MotherBoard. Or, the 30-pin LVDS cable I-plex connector on the Motherboard.

            You can find my case history here on the Macrumors forums

        • After reading your forum post too, I think you have identified the actual culprit as the soldered-on video connector on the logic board, but I would still be hesitant to think baking might solve it. If its a case of where you didn’t have anything to lose (like a completely dead board and a high replacement cost) then I would recommend at least trying, but the fact that your system is still working and you’re able to power an external monitor would make me slow to try baking. The good news is that if you do it right (and it already sounds like you’re comfortable breaking apart your system) that it wouldn’t hurt your board and there is a small (perhaps very small) chance that it might work, I would leave it up to your judgement whether you want see if baking would work.

  2. Robert says:

    $310 for changing the logic board in the MBP? That sounds cheap.

    • Are you saying “cheap” as in “that sounds unrealistically low” or “you’d be a fool not to take advantage of that”? It is very cheap considering it’s only $61 more than you would have spent on the AppleCare plan in the first place and now they’re doing it out of warranty. Free is always better but I’ll take cheap as a close second.

      • Robert says:

        Sounded like a good deal. After posting the comment I saw your other articles which gave the explanation on how You got the deal. My MBA died on me 2.9 years after purchase, and of course I didn’t have Apple Care 🙁 The AASP offered to replace the logic board with a new one for ~810 USD (converted from SEK). I now own two MBA’s, one brand new and one successfully baked (with new paste) :). I’m also a bit sceptic about the new logic boards, aren’t they likely a bit old already (hence more error prone than a new-new logic board)?

  3. Jo says:

    Hi Russel,

    I got Macbook Pro 15′ 2008. had exactly same symptom with your last week. I live in Sydney so I took my computer to 2 different stores, heard about NVIDIA free replacement but my Macbook is all dead, they can’t even test whether NVIDIA is faulty. Seen several youtube posting about baking logic board, but your posting did make it easy for me.

    I just want to say thank you for sharing this. I’m a qualified macbook baker now. Follow all your step and can’t believe it works like a charm. Don’t know how long it will stay on but at least i saved $800 for time being. I know it’s time for an upgrade but 3 years old computer need logic board replacement? I’m seriously rethinking about buying another mac.

    Anyway thanks a lot for your tips, i still can’t believe i’m typing this on my clinically dead macbook pro.


  4. Fred says:

    Hello Russel

    I am in need of your help! Or anyone else reading this! Urgent!

    I was able to succesfully bake 2 different macbook pros a few months ago
    one of them lasted 2-3 months, wich is mine.
    I baked it for a second time like 2 to 3 weeks ago

    Now I am experiencing a new problem and I’d like to know if anyone else or yourself experienced it:

    the macbook will turn on normally, but will immeaditely shut down. It’s not the same as the nvidia issue, it will make the regular sounds and led light, but it will shut down before the display even turning on.

    I tried all the common easy solutions, nothing worked. I also noted that the macbook won’t turn on AT ALL if it does not have it battery. The charger has the green light however when plugged in, so i doubt it is the charger’s fault.

    I haven’t been able to find anything useful on the web.

    Please, if you can enlight me with what could be the issue, or solution, or if baking the logic will fix it too, I will be in debt with you for the rest of my life. THANKS

    • Sorry for the delay in answering–don’t know if you may have already found a solution. I’m wondering what your original symptoms were–because from what you’re describing as “not the same as the Nvidia issue” sounds a lot like what the systems that have been successfully baked on these threads have had (including mine). Which would mean baking could be your cure. But I would be concerned about the short times between bakes you are have already had. I would make sure that you have completely cleaned all of the processors (both CPUs and GPU) of their old thermal paste and residue and apply a new quality thermal paste. If you already have and you’re still getting short in-between bake times, I think I would be at a loss to explain what’s going on.

    • vfmonkey says:

      Hi Fred – I don’t know if you’ve already tried baking your macbook after your post, but i’ve experienced the same problem with the immediate shutting down. I’ve baked my macbook pro about 5 times already (mine only last 2-3 weeks sadly), and the last couple of times was the immediate shut-down issue. So I know that baking works for that as well.

      I have no idea why my bakes only lasts a couple of weeks and not months – perhaps I’m baking them too low a temp or not long enough (?). I’ve taken Russell’s instructions (@ 375 degrees for 7.5 minutes), but the oven does cool down as soon as you open it and takes a few minutes to get back up to desired temp, plus my thermometer might be inaccurate. Any thoughts, Russell or anyone else? I’ll bake my mac for as many times as it will let me, but having to do it every 2-3 weeks is quite the nuisance.

      • I’ll assume that you’ve also cleaned off the old paste and applied new thermal paste too–aside from that, I’d maybe see about investing in an oven thermometer. I have successfully “pushed” the temperature myself to 380° to try to compensate for that cool-down–also, make sure you’re oven is fully pre-heated to begin with. Hope those help.

  5. Anthony says:

    Hi Russel
    Well here we go first time baker and very happy,MBP died on me went to the apple store in the UK and was told it was the logic board and to repair would be £420 after I got up off the floor I came back home and thought I’ll fix this but hadn’t a clue until I came across your blog so first bake all went ok turned computer back on and its alive ( mad dance around room) lasted two days then started turning itself off so second bake,this time I rememberd to put thermal paste on chips that I hadn’t done before and 1 month on its still running and very happy bunny,so thank you Russel once again cheers Tony.

  6. Morten Skoett says:

    Second succesful bake here! Just 5 min a go.

    About 6 months on the first.

    Thanks for the recipe!

    So did you let Apple change your board for 300$?


    • Did even better: they replaced it for free! Finally! I’ve been wanting to write a post, but have just been slammed the past two months! Hopefully soon. As for your bake, I’m still waiting to hear if anyone can do better than 6 months–that was my longest bake too.

      • mary says:

        I baked my macbook pro. It worked for two months and then experienced the same problem I see others having. Started to boot, made fast fan sounds, and then dies. After attempting to start it again and again, it no longer does anything at all. I might try another bake.

        I do have a question for you, Russell, about the mac “geniuses”… What argument did you use to finally convince them to replace your logic board for free? Do you have (1) receipt of their diagnosis and (2) receipt of replacement at no charge that I could possibly use as argument that they should replace mine for free too? I feel totally ripped off. My friggin’ ancient Apple IIe is still working without a hitch. I hate Apple’s new engineering–planned obsolescence–they’re becoming real good at that. >:(

  7. Jon Waters says:

    Hey this worked perfectly for me. My 1226 seemed DOA after my wife had been using it for skyping her family in china. I’m guessing long Skype video call, which is probably flash based. The macbookpros get quite hot processing flash, then she would have closed it without shutting down not giving it a chance to cool which probably meant the CPU and Graphics chips got even hotter and cam up stuck from the board.
    Thanks for your great write up, would be fantastic help to ppl like me that didn’t bother to take too many detailed shots to have all your pics you took published here.

    Very happy to have my laptop back.

    Cheers from New Zealand

  8. kh.kong says:

    thanks for the information provided.
    I ran into a problem that after 375 degree and 7:45 minutes later, my charger shows dim green, and power button will not trigger the system to shows any signs of getting power.
    I was wondering if you ever experience anything like that. do you recommend me baking again? (any input is appreciated)

  9. karl says:

    I was afraid I might have to bake. I had horizontal red lines on the screen, red rain, white screen of death, black screen of death on my 2011 MacBook Pro. However it would boot into single user mode. I swapped drives with my Mac Mini. Same problem. I swapped RAMs. Same problem. So it wasn’t the drive or RAM. Connected its internal drive as an external on my mac mini, and used Disk Utility to repair the drive and permissions. Still wouldn’t boot after putting it back. PRAM reset. A safe boot left alone for half an hour gave a black screen. The next boot worked!!! I rebooted 8 times sequentially and now it seems fine!

    I was considering switching to a cheaper laptop and Linux. The scary thing about baking is parts floating on flowing solder moving.

    • karl says:

      Investigating so many web pages on baking, reflowing, there are lots of people who say in the comments that they had to do it again. So it isn’t a permanent solution.

      I have photos of the problem I had. I couldn’t find anything like it using google image search.

  10. Elaine Griffin says:

    Hi guys,
    I am soooo bummed. I back my logic board, followed all the instructions meticulously and the damn thing won’t even turn on now!!! I even ordered the artic silver paste and waited a week for it to arrive and now it just won’t come on. Re opened it to check and all connections were perfect. When you press the power button you hear a faint click near where the magnetic power lead connects to the laptop. After I opened it and check all the connections I tried turning it on again. There was a sound as if it were about to boot up…..just for a second or two……a definite improvement on the first sound but no chime, no flicker on a screen…..nothing. I was definitely having the nvidia chip problem…..had all the classic symptoms…..not waking up after sleep…….or screen not going out of grey mode or desktop becoming all pixilated and stuck. I was using the magic blanket trick for a while which did work once or twice but wanted to do something with a bit more lasting power….YIKES!
    Any ideas or tips PLEASE…..I’m goosed without my MBP,
    All the way from Ireland,

    • JP says:

      Check my post in the original Baking the books article. Is your MagSafe connector dimmed green when plugged in?


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