Sterling Hirsh, a programmer for tech website iFixit, has shared his unbelievable “iFixit” moment. He had been struggling with his constantly heating MacBook Pro for over a year without much success.
He had tried every trick under the sun from buying a laptop stand to blowing the inside with compressed air to no avail. He found himself at his wit’s end the day his laptop died on him.
“I was working on it when the screen suddenly went black. When I powered it off and on again, the power light lit, but I got no boot chime and the screen alternated between glitchy and black — it all screamed that something on the logic board was busted.”
“Probably the water-boiling temperatures had caused the board to flex, knocking solder loose from its ball grid arrays. The likely fix? Reflow it: Heat it up until the balls of solder melt back into their assigned spots,” he continues in his blog.
He was desperate enough to try anything and he did. And guess what? It worked.
Here’s how he accomplished the unthinkable: he took it apart, disconnect some of the parts from the logic board, applied some thermal paste (purchased from a hardware store) placed it on a cookie sheet, and baked it for seven "nerveracking" minutes at 170 degrees C.
And guess what? It worked!
"After it cooled, I reapplied thermal paste, put it all back together, and cheered when it booted. It ran great for the next eight months," Hirsh says.
Till it died again 2 weeks ago. He had tried the mad cure before and wondered if it would work again.
“A friend and I played laptop doctor all day,” he wrote. When the regular soldering didn’t work they decided to put the book back in the oven-and they did.
This time for 7 minutes and 30 seconds with an additional, "60 holes in the bottom case under the fans."
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His genius instincts worked yet again.
“There’s noticeably increased airflow—when I put a piece of paper on the bottom of the computer, it sticks to the case. Its average temperature is down in the 40’s and 50’s, lower than it’s been since before March,” he boasts.
He has every right to boast after achieving such a feat. But it would be good to utter a word or two of caution here. Sterling Hirsh is an expert. He knows the pros and cons of what he is working with. Under no circumstances is it advisable for a layman to try something like this. Keep your laptops and ovens away from each other and seek professional help when needed.
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