I was sat at the airport the other week with very little to do.
I turned on my 13 and a half month old (that’s one and half months out of warranty I believe, around 45 days) MacBook Pro , that I love and has been working perfectly since I purchased it and I couldn’t type in my password when it came to logging in to OSX.
‘No problem’ I thought, ‘a simple reastart should fix this’.
Hmm. Not so. On restart this time, I realised that th Trackpad wasn’t working also.
‘One last try, booting into Windows instead’ was my next thought. Only, holding down the Alt key wasn’t bringing up the boot loader menu!
Suddenly I had a lot to do
- Find an Internet booth at the airport to check for known issues
- Find a local Apple dealership that would be helpful and fix my laptop before I wanted to turn it back on again.
- Write an angry letter to Steve Jobs (Get well soon Steve) about how I felt my two year old loyalty to Apple as a brand had been taken for granted, by providing me with equipment that lasted less time than the reasoning behind me spending £1,500 on the new notebook did with my Bank Manager.
- Decide what I would buy instead of the Mac Pro I had been pricing up for £3500 just that week.
- Wonder how my life would work whilst my Macbook Pro keyboard didn’t.
Blimey, I was busy.
After a flight home fraught with concern, a few minutes ignoring my girlfriend when I arrived home and the meal she cooked ‘because my laptop is broken’ I calmed down and took out the battery.
Anyway, what I found was that there are two small ribbon cables just under the battery in my MacBook Pro (Revision :3,1). The darker orange / brown cable was the one causing trouble.
To discover this I:
- Booted into OSX with a USB keyboard and mouse
- Plugged in the power cable
- Removed the battery
- Whilst pressing the caps lock key on continuously (on the laptop keyboard), I gently pressed the ribbon cable.
Although there was no visual signs of a problem, it seemed as though the ribbon cable had heated up too much and become warped. When pressed down the keyboard functioned perfectly.
The Repair Centre
So, I started looking for a company to repair my Macbook and, I found a local Apple repair center who, after hassling them without any response on a Saturday, fair enough on the weekend I guess, responded at 9.15 on Monday morning, with a price.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t happy about the £250 price tag, ‘because the whole keyboard housing was going to have to be replaced’, which I suspect was Apple, not Amsys’ reasoning, but the response time was the best I could have expected. Well done Amsys.
My (temporary) Fix
Not getting a response until I was back in another country on Monday morning did however leave me with a weekend to work out my own fix.
Before you try this, it is temporary and I’d like my MacBook Pro to be fully functional without the use of Sellotape (Scotch tape, whatever) at some point, as I’m sure you would. I take no responsibility for burnt laps, smoking MacBooks or the smell of burning glue or any other associated issues the fix might cause.
- Get a small piece of sticky tape and roll it up
- With the power on, battery out and machine on:
- Place the Sticky tape onto the ribbon cable whilst pressing the caps lock key to identify that the keyboard is working
- Close the screen and turn over your mack book.
- Replace the battery so that it presses on the sticky tape and ribbon cable
This worked for me, but did take a few attempts, and it is still working after three weeks!
Let me know if you’ve had the same issue please, or if you know of an alternative fix or repair centre!