I’d really recommend doing the dust cleanup every year or so. It’s usually easy enough to remove the bottom cover of any laptop without particularly special screwdrivers.
Desktops (especially the PCs with the case Windows) are a bit easier to understand because you’ll see the clogged intakes and dust buildup much more readily.
One thing I like about mechanical keyboards is that the keys can be removed making cleaning much easier. Six months is a better timeline for keyboard cleaning, these things get _nasty_ especially if you have pets.
"particularly special"? The screwdrivers needed to open up a Macbook are special enough that I've never seen them used for any other object. So are you just glad that Apple didn't decide to create a new screwdriver standard for each Macbook model? :)
My solution: (1) screw Apple, not buying their hardware ever again and (2) use a USB keyboard.
I'd like to find a set that isn't prone to wear, unless that is simply a fact of life. I'm wondering if I was just being too cheap when I bought my first set.
Which renders the whole notion of a "security screw" a joke. So why do companies persist in using them?
This also prevents people from unscrewing their Macbook and messing something up then coming into the store and complaining. If you are willing to go out of your way to get the right screwdriver, you probably know what you are doing inside of the laptop.
Right. Because this happens all the time with laptops that use regular screws, and there is no way to tell if the damage has been caused by someone opening up the machine and destroying something.
There is no good reason for keeping people away from the insides of the computer they paid (a fortune) for, and yet Apple gets away with it.
It's almost like a company using an uncommon electrical plug on their power cable, and expecting everyone to buy an adapter to use it. People would be outraged.
Similarly, the screwdriver bits needed to open a MacBook are readily available from computer repair parts stores.
Seems perfectly analogous to me.
They work great with a power driver, such as you'd want for putting in a deck or fence, so 2-3" deck screws are like my version of duct tape around the house.
True, but I'm not in the habit of randomly picking a laptop off of someone else's desk and disassembling it.
Ideally admins should have chained and locked them, but a weird driver would have reduced the incidence of the problem
One person’s “ploy” is another person’s “essential feature”.
Your logic seems to be that if you can’t open a device with tools available at your local gas station store, it’s user hostile?
And it’s quite egotistical and “in the bubble” to say that opening your devices is something everyone should be able to stumble into. If you applied that logic to everything we own, nobody would have any time to do anything else.
That makes no sense. It is selfish to have a right to open a device you have purchased?
> If you applied that logic to everything we own, nobody would have any time to do anything else.
Having a right to open your own device does not mean you are required to do so nor do you have to spend all your time opening the devices around your house. It is also beneficial in the sense that if you are not willing to open your own device you can go to a third party you trust to open it without requiring the manufacturers permission.
Where I don’t agree is your inference that using a less common but still readily available screw head means you have “no right” to open your device.
Minor inconveniences are not the same as a loss of rights, and it’s astonishing that anyone would try to conflate the two.
> Minor inconveniences are not the same as a loss of rights, and it’s astonishing that anyone would try to conflate the two.
They are not entirely the same, but a world with less standards (that are high quality and open) seems like a better place. I enjoy being able to use USB ubiquitously. If every company had their own screw head standards that seems objectively worse. Apple's product design definitely feels like they want it to be as difficult as possible to open.
Kinda like how companies makes unsubscribing hard, not impossible.
Once you unscrewed it you can replace the screws
People don't do it because are afraid of voiding the warranty or because just don't care
The one I own: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0023QTESS And I have used almost 1/3rd of the bits. I don't think I have ever seen a set more complete than this one.
I'm debating on removing the bottom tray and 3d printing a new one to hold even more bits.
as a thinkpad user, i almost always used any random screwdriver i had around, as long as it fitted.
MBPs have the weird "pentalobe" screws, AIUI.
Even when asking about a part that was no longer available from them, I received a message from them about what to look for on EBay.
I've been using this guy for years:
Currently $18. I haven't come across a device for which this kit didn't have a bit and the driver feels good in the hand. The outer case is hard plastic, but the inner "lining" is soft plastic, unfortunately. I wouldn't mind a similar kit with a better case, or just a carrier that will handle this kit neatly if anyone has suggestions.
Compared to Microsoft? They created a laptop that was impossible to open at all without destroying it.
>According to iFixit, the Surface Laptop isn’t repairable at all. In fact, it got a 0 out of 10 for repairability and was labeled a “glue-filled monstrosity.” The lowest scores previously were a 1 out of 10 for all previous iterations of the Surface Pro
It’s clear that Microsoft never intended for the Surface Laptop to be repaired because it’s a completely sealed device. There aren’t even any screws to take out, so iFixit had to slice the fabric cover open to peel it away from the metal chassis. That’s never going back together. The inner metal shield is also devoid of screws, relying instead upon spot welds and glue. Again, this is probably not going to be reassembled.
The latest generation is actually quite repairable as far as laptops go:
Microsoft are improving in this regard, unlike Apple.
Most people don't have small pen-sized phillips screwdrivers either on hand and would need to purchase one for this case as well.
That's a clear strawman though, unauthorized in this context clearly meant 'not authorized by the manufacturer', it's not the parents that install safety screws to keep the kids out, it's the manufacturers that do it to keep the owners out.
I was also that kid, and now I use computer hardware and software skills daily in a professional capacity. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly agree with you on all points.
I don’t know what reasonable justification there is for doing this for consumer devices generally, from the owner’s perspective. Maybe it makes devices more appealing in a corporate context, for the same reason some secure environments forbid devices with cameras or recording hardware, and also forbid (re-)recordable media. Maybe it reduces loss in the supply chain for the companies to do so. Some credit card payment terminals have tamper-evident designs built-in prevent or deter dumping hardware encryption/decryption keys, firmware, and other kinds of tampering, to reduce fraud and unauthorized access, for the owner’s sake and the networks’ sake. I would like to hear some more or better reasons if anyone has insights into these topics.
It's preferable to have a close relationship with your kids so they don't hide things from you, except things you're better off not knowing. To the point at hand, part of hacking, and life generally, is discretion. I learned not to do something I shouldn't as much from my upbringing, as I learned from my own testing. I was the kid who touched the hot stove after being told not to, as well as the electric fence. It wasn't such much defiance as discovery. I didn't find the potential for harm especially dissuading. I'd rather suffer a little harm in a controlled way than not know something so simple about my constructed environment.
I was kind of a weird kid, now that I think about it. I like to think that I'm not the only one.
Edit: Actually looks like HF breaks links when you direct link so just search for security bits.
Fatal flaw, corona closed the hardware store and everyone is buying from Amazon ;)
Thankfully I had some RJ45 punch down terminators so I could cheat with that. Of course I didn’t have the little plastic 110 punchdown tool to seat the wires...
Apple decided to use T7 security screws instead of just normal T7 torx. Why!? I am not looking for answers to the differences and what makes a security bit different. I am asking a more abstract rhetorical question - Why make it harder for the consumer to take the laptop apart? Especially, if it’s not impossible - just a little bit harder.
I don’t know if that’s absolutely the reason but if they wanted to keep people out they could easily make a custom head that looked like the Apple logo or something. Nintendo has used tri-wing screws for decades because they expressly do want to keep people out of their devices. You can stop get a tri-wing driver but you have to special order it.
It has everything you need to open essentially any computer and iPhones as well, and it's very compact.
Though it's gotten easier to get pentalobe screwdrivers, albeit made of Chinesium.
After changing battery, computer flies again.
I finally let it die over Christmas. Or rather, I planned to power it up one last time, get fully updated on Windows 7, and then power it down forever and yank the HDD out to put in an enclosure. Of course, it chose to die in the middle of updates. Feh.
We glued the other blades back on to tide him over until a replacement arrived, but each day one or two would break off and we'd have to give the laptop a good shake to expel them.
...it's often difficult to know how precise one must be when advising flatmates about compressed air.
...which also means they are a cheap source of refrigerant. Look up "charging A/C with gas duster" if you want to go down a rabbithole...
In my former life debugging signal timing issues on circuit boards I used to use this trick (using those "gas duster" cans upside down) to chill individual components to try to find out where the problem was.
Are there any thermal paste that doesn't degrade? Or minimal degrade within 5 years. We can fix dust with cleaning, we can get to a point where our computing needs could be done fanless ( Current iPad Pro ). But what about thermal paste degradation?
My 3yo notebook could be needing such a treatment. OTOH, I could just buy a new one notebook since there are some interesting things happening in mobile space this year (Renoir and Tiger Lake).
that's true, but I don't do it all the time because it seems the keys are more likely to pop off on their own.
I don't think vacuums are a great idea for electronics.
Is there any truth to the rumors I’ve heard that these cans of compressed air expel things that are detrimental to health (not just nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide)
> [1,1-Difluoroethane, or DFE] is also used as a propellant for aerosol sprays and in gas duster products.
> Because of inhalant abuse, a bitterant is added to some brands; however even this measure is not legally required and has not prevented widespread use of this product as a drug.
> In a DuPont study, rats were exposed to up to 25,000 ppm (67,485 mg m−3) for six hours daily, five days a week for two years. This has become the no-observed-adverse-effect level for this substance. Prolonged exposure to 1,1-difluoroethane has been linked in humans to the development of coronary disease and angina.
My understanding is that this is because a typical compressed air can could not actually withstand the pressured required to hold normal air, compressed.
A gas like propane for your BBQ liquefies at room temp, and once it's liquid you can put a lot of it into a cylinder without increasing the pressure.
That's why compressed air is not used in the spray cans.
Note #2: every breathing computer keeps accumulating dust and requires cleaning every couple of months of years. It is worth it if only to keep the noise down.
Note #3: it is not safe to vacuum the laptop as it can cause static discharge. Technically, even just waving a charged object over a piece of conductor can induce a current and damage susceptible component. The damage might not be immediately apparent and may cause various types of malfunctions. If you have no other way of doing it at the very least ensure it is done in humid environment (over 70% humidity but the more humid the better).
For some reason, pre-fixing “old” in the url makes the website unusable on mobile :-(.
It brings the old design of Reddit on mobile, which was actually trying to be usable, unlike the new design that is user-hostile on purpose in order to frustrate people enough to force them to install Reddit apps.
Mobile is exactly the place where I have to prefix "old" in the URL to avoid getting the horrid redesign, even though my user setting is to opt out and I'm logged in.
That said, I have heard that ESD isn't nearly as big an issue as it's made out to be, particularly the idea of slow damage/damage build-up. I don't know if the ESD thing is akin to an old wives tale with a kernel of truth surrounded in increasing layers of falsehoods; or perhaps something that was once true and is no longer, but persists in the collective memory. On the other hand maybe there's some solid evidence for it. Anyone have any evidence beyond anecdotes?
Most ESD damage is quite insidious in nature. Imagine your laptop start loosing performance or one of your application developing a nasty error when you do some specific operation.
Even elements designed to protect from ESD have their capacity to accept shocks. For example, your phone's USB connector might be protected from ESD but that protection will run out at some point. Repated shocks to the USB connector may reduce life of your phone.
I personally vacuum my devices with a regular vacuum. What I use is metal pipe which is grounded through my hand, strap, ESD mat to real ground.
Source: design engineer for EV company.
1: The compression is most commonly about 70kPa, but varies by manufacturer recommendations. Some manufacturers lately have started to recommend not to compress their cells because they have solved the swelling in other ways.
Think about this, do you think laptop designers designed laptop to expand with the laptop? No, I don't think so. While there might be a tiny bit of space allowance I have never seen a laptop that has been designed to "grow" with its battery.
Not every swollen battery is a bomb that is going to blow, but do you really want to risk it? You have no way of determining whether it is safe to use or not and for this reason you need to treat is as unsafe.
Your 'think about this' asks someone to do this for a living to think about something that they are likely thinking about it every day of their working life.
Yes, laptop designers - and designers of all high density consumer packaged batteries - are designing their cases with battery aging in mind. In fact this is such an important point we explicitly check for it during evaluation of companies that produce such hardware because if this isn't done carefully it is a safety risk.
Laptops aren't designed to 'grow' with their battery, that's just a strawman you made up. The choices are:
- leave the battery some room in the case so that its normal life expansion can be accommodated (the battery enclosure will have to be flexible for this to work properly)
- design the enclosure in such a way that the battery is situated so that it can not expand at all.
Batteries do not actually have to swell and indeed, not every swollen battery is bad, in fact this may well be calculated in during the design phase. So yes, you will 'risk it', it being perfectly ok.
> You have no way of determining whether it is safe to use or not and for this reason you need to treat is as unsafe.
We actually do. It's called materials science and accelerated aging as well as learning from past mistakes. Engineering is the accumulated knowledge of many 1000's of failed experiments coupled with rigorous research into the materials used for engineering themselves, chance is minimized as much as possible.
Again, never, under any circumstances, try to charge a swollen laptop battery.
Even assuming you do know what you are doing, it is still very irresponsible to tell this to people who will have no way to make use of the knowledge safely.
When somebody has their expensive laptop swollen they have incentive to delude themselves it is ok. It is not and it is dangerous. There is no way to tell the reason the battery is swollen and so the thing they should do is to not charge the battery and get it replaced.
Any laptop older than 12 months will have a slightly swollen battery (even if that swelling is accommodated by the case immediately around the battery so you won't see it).
HN stands for 'hacker news', if batteries scare you then don't use them. The same goes for powertools, explosives, household cleaning products, chisels, hammers and so on. Danger is a relative thing. Knowing the head fire marshall of a very large (2 million inhabitants) European city: if you are afraid of fire then you should disconnect all your wall-warts. Those are the cause of a very large number of fires and the best way to deal with them is to switch them all off when you leave your home. Batteries are a very distant second to that and stories of them catching fire are rare enough that they make the news. See also: Samsung and Boeing.
Note that a perfectly good battery can go into thermal runaway in a couple of seconds if mistreated, the amount of energy these pack is very impressive and if that energy is released quickly then the results can be catastrophic, even resulting in the hull-loss of airliners if the combination of circumstances is particularly bad:
"Apple carries out a number of iPhone repairs in-store these days, but there is one fault that stores are forbidden from touching, and that’s swollen batteries.
There’s just too high a risk that these will be accidentally punctured during disassembly or removal, and a video of a DIY attempt at replacing a swollen battery in an iPhone 5s provides a graphic illustration of this…
Reddit user tryagainin47seconds posted a video of a coworker attempting to dismantle an iPhone, which burst into flames. The most likely explanation is that the man punctured the battery.
The battery itself appears to have been third-party[+].
Battery had been replaced by coworker who originally owned the phone and he thinks it was faulty equipment. Battery was swelling up when I charged it and he was taking it apart to see what was going on."
[+] -> this is a pretty important detail and my indicate a battery that was not matched well to the charge circuitry leading to an accelerated degradation and/or outright destruction of the cells.
Which pretty much confirms just about everything I wrote above modulo some edge cases that this particular instance did not cover.
Batteries that have swollen outside their design parameters are a lot more risky than those that have not, and that clearly was the issue here.
And it does not say anywhere in that article that 'swollen batteries are not to be used', though - again - you'd be pretty dumb to use batteries that have a pillow shape indicating significant gas development has occurred which most likely has all kinds of negative effects on the state of the laminations and the batteries' ability to keep a charge. But a battery that has expanded a bit can be perfectly safe to operate assuming it is still within design parameters.
Anyway, I'm done with your name calling, have a really nice day and enjoy your safe life without any Lithium tech. Because swell they will, whether you like it or not.
Some more interesting links for people interested in battery tech:
Given that we have many 100's of billions of them in operation and that there are not that many reports of spontaneous combustion is good proof of that.
Dead batteries are murdered, they don't die of their own accord.
What kills batteries and may cause them to misbehave:
- repeatedly deep discharging
- short circuiting
- deformation of the container
- poor enclosure design
- shock loads (usually in combination with poorly designed mounts such as wrap around straps on heavy batteries)
Other than that you should be perfectly fine. Your concern is appreciated but the misconception is on your end, keep in mind that I do tech DD for a living and I'm quite familiar with the literature regarding battery safety, medical devices and other on the body devices using LiPo and other high density batteries are commonplace now and everybody is trying to work hard to avoid being the next Wakemate.
The examples listed in your linked article are all way past the design limits and obviously there is no point in even attempting to continue to use a battery like that and in fact poses significant risk. But that does not contradict anything I said: high density batteries tend to expand a bit over their design life. If you don't want to accept that that is fine with me, but maybe then you should stop using such batteries altogether.
"As we just found out, LiPo cells can & will swell. It's actually somewhat normal as they age since electrolyte decomposition is occurring all the time. The speed at which it occurs, and if excess O2 or CO2 is released, is based on many factors including how hard you run (discharge) the packs, how fast you charge them, how you store them, their age, the quality of the packs, and of course how much they heat up during use."
Which is a pretty correct summary of the reality of operating such high energy density batteries.
Typical battery chemistry involves a step that may produce some gas and this is perfectly normal. Because gas occupies more volume than the solid the gas came out of the battery geometry will change and because the charge/discharge cycle isn't perfect over time you may have a build up of some gas. This is why the battery 'sleeve' is a bit elastic and very strong. In fact, that's the whole reason they puff up in the first place, if the sleeve were porous or had an overpressure vent then the swelling would not happen. Too much swelling is a sign a battery is end-of-life and should be replaced. As a good rule of thumb: if the battery is outside of its designed space or geometric limit then the swelling is excessive, in other words, if it touches stuff that it would not normally touch when it was still new then it should be discarded.
If you want to be nice to your batteries: keep the charge/discharge cycle between 95 and 50% or so, ensure they are well ventilated, if there is any sign of overheating stop charging, never ever puncture a high density battery and if you ever drop the gear the battery is in inspect the battery before charging it again. Do not short-circuit or overload a battery, they have super low internal resistance and will be more than happy to outgass so fast if you do that the enclosure may blow up, worst case you will induce thermal runaway with all of the consequences that go with it.
I personally vacuum my devices with a regular vacuum. What I use is metal pipe which is grounded through my hand, strap, ESD mat to real ground. You just need to understand ESD a little bit to be able to eliminate the risk.
Basically, you can do one of two things.
1. ensure the potential never builts up between two parts by having the parts directly connected (ideally with high resistance path). This is not ideal, because both objects can built charge together but at least both objects interacting with each other will now not be a problem.
2. ensure parts are referenced to common ground. Again, high resistance path is preferable because it helps reduce large currents. Earth has infinite capacity to take charge from you from practical point of view and so as long as you are grounded and you keep the object in your hand you and the object in your hand will never build charge. The object still needs to be able to at least dissipate the charge (for example made from metal or conductive plastic), and that's why you want metal pipe attached to the vacuum.
(Personal experience, from having cleaned many computers over the years with a vacuum.)
Think about your hand and PCBs as two plates of highly charged capacitor (say couple kV). When the discharge happens it will hit a random component or trace. A lot will depend on what the component or trace is. If the trace is data path between some ICs it is likely going to destroy either of them because it has no other way to flow to equalize with the rest of PCB than through one of the chips at the end of datapath.
For it to cause any damage it must be of high enough energy, which means voltage * current * time. Although the initial charge may be several kV, it quickly drops as it dissipates. Inputs have built-in ESD protection diodes which will serve to dampen the event greatly. The reality is, consumer ICs are not ultra-sensitive to ESD once mounted on a PCB --- and common assumptions may dictate that parts like CPUs are most sensitive, but if you consider the idle power consumption of a CPU ("leakage current"), and the fact that it operates at such a low voltage, you'll realise that the DC resistance is very low. One of the things you learn very near the beginning if you go into laptop repair is that the CPU power rails will look like they're shorted if the CPU is still in the circuit.
I could be mistaken but I do believe you can throw a properly discharged lithium polymer battery in the trash, as there is nothing toxic in them. I don't think many laptops use LiPo though.
I don’t see many people mentioning the amazing reliability of this laptop.
I’ve had a similar experience with MacBook Pro (7 years, only problem was some keys started going bad).
There was a time you could not keep a laptop 7 years without significant component replacement or just having to replace it because it was no longer able to run modern software due to slower cpu, not enough ram (and not upgradable enough)... basically hardware obsolescence.
Now the components last AND the hardware is still fast enough to be useful after 7 years.
What a wonderful world we live in!
A few years ago I thought, if I can get this thing to 10 years, that’s a great deal and I’ll be happy to upgrade. Now it seems like maybe I’ll be able to use it forever? I’ve had to replace one battery and one fan in almost 12 years. The DVD drive does not work anymore, but I don’t use DVDs anymore.
Honestly I think security will be the biggest concern long term. It can’t upgrade the OS anymore and while whatever version of OS X it’s on seems very stable (it never crashes), it’s not getting patches anymore from Apple. Something will come along at some point.
You can usually work out where a product is on that lifecycle by looking at the amount of spare parts available on eBay. They are usually stripped down towards the end of the cycle rather than repaired as the rate of repairs is increasing. This is a good time to sell repairs as you have lots of cheap parts and lots of broken things on the market and no appetite for people to buy complete replacements.
Case in point on the bell curve, my 2018 MBA lasted two weeks before it died.
It's unfortunate it no longer gets software updates and also is plagued by the GPU Kernel Panic issue. Otherwise, I would keep it longer.
Hoping my new 2020 13" can last at least half as long!
I’ve just replaced it with an iPad Pro and will use my desktop for everything else.
If issues with T4x0 from recent-ish years are indeed common, I wonder if the builds are somehow different. I don't abuse my hardware but I haven't been super careful most of the time either.
Except for MagSafe it's a solid design.
Kind of funny though that we are amazed that our stuff is running for 7 years considering my old Toyota lasted 20.
The insulation on the MagSafe side started flaking after some time, leaving blue stuff everywhere. Apple's Geniuses say that it's because I mishandled it, and refuse to cover it.
I extracted a chunk of lint about 1/2 cm thick and the consistency of felt from the fan intake.
After that, the fan didn’t turn on nearly as often, and thermal management during Minecraft was much better.
Always runs like a new machine after that.
 be careful not to damage the fan's teeth
I wrecked a DVR doing this with a Dyson vacuum.
Compressed air or small piece of cotton cloth with rubbing alcohol is the way to clean exposed electronics.
Do it outside.
The best thing is to avoid doing this on cold winter days when static build-up is very rapid, and to avoid touching the guts of the computer with your fingertips near the circuitry until you have grounded the case against your fingers. Easy enough with metal frames, much harder with plastic ones.
I have a Thinkpad that I purchased in early 2014 that is still going strong except for, as in your case, a degraded battery.
My grandparents used to play Freecell on a very early IBM Thinkpad (manufactured in 1993, I think) that I picked up for free in a garage sale in 2001. This machine lasted well into 2005, and probably still works today.
Highly recommend trying them out. These days you can get equivalent performance to Macbook Pros for maybe 60% of the cost.
Limitatations can enable innovation.
I also have a T40p, from 2003-ish, with the same 1400x1050 display. This is an even nicer computer to use in many ways - the keyboard in particular is even better than that in my T60 - but the difference in performance between 2003 and 2006 is striking. It's almost as much as the difference between 2006 and now. The T6x used Intel Core CPUs, but the T4x was still Pentium M days - single core and quite substantially slower. The T4x still has a PATA drive, so it's harder to put in a modern SSD. It's limited to 2G RAM for reasons I can't remember. It's also much less robust - the T60 series has a completely rigid chassis (and my T60 still looks like new) but the earlier T40 would bend if picked up from the front, which would cause both the case and the tracks on the motherboard to crack (the USB sockets stop working first, then everything else).
The T40p is a lovely, lovely computer - in some ways the best one I own - but it's for occasional document-writing only, not really for development any more.
Maybe I should look for a fancier one, if only to pick up the motherboard and CPU from. I imagine they're quite similar in terms of performance, but the extra compatibility would be nice.
I have a T500 Core2Duo T5600 w 4GB RAM sitting in the cupboard. I pulled it out and put an SSD in it and installed Lubuntu, works fine but I have some software licenses I’ve paid for that are only available on MacOS & Windows.
Do you think it would run Windows 10 ok? I’d need to buy a license, but at this stage that might be cheaper than a new / secondhand laptop.
Memory hungry apps like Chrome slow down pretty quick, but the OS itself is snappy.
This is a very good point. I think the user experience, on average, would be quite a bit better if developers weren’t so prone to chasing glitzy new hardware that can “mask” performance problems.
On the other hand, developer’s productivity matters, so I’m not really sure what the right balance is here...
Also, I find that new developers think they would benefit greatly using the fastest machines to learn to program, but then never develop a good sense of algorithmic complexity as everything just screams. On slower machines you can have the opportunity to feel the difference between O(1), O(log n), O(n), O(n^2), etc.
Indeed an early 2014 Thinkpad is my main work development box. It's a T540p with the excellent 3K matte screen. Admittedly I use it like a desktop computer, plugging in a keyboard and mouse (and, now, camera), so there's very little wear and tear, but in my mind it's basically still a new computer.
Add a concurrent video conference - all too frequent these days - and it practically freezes every so often. Only 16G really doesn't help.
Am looking forward to something bigger, soon...
Fortunately most ThinkPads of this era had removable batteries, so this isn't as big of a deal as it would be for most laptops today. I'm currently using an X230 that I bought off eBay as my main personal laptop; it needed a new battery when I got it, but otherwise works great.
From my cold dead hands.
I still semi-frequently use a 2007 consumer-grade Dell that served as my only machine for 4.5 years, and as my primary laptop for another 5. It took six years for it to need a repair other than replacing a battery, and even today I get two hours of life from its latest replacement battery, and can swap in the next-oldest for 75-90 minutes more away from a power outlet.
Apple laptops do tend to last a long time, but if my goal were to buy a laptop I could use forever, I'd buy something else that was more repair-friendly instead.
At some point I expect I will stop getting MacOS updates which will force me to upgrade to a newer model.
With a tweak I was able to get Mojave on it, and another tweak to get Xcode to compile for iOS 13 on it. That should do me for a while, until either the video cable exposed through a hinge breaks, or they can’t get the latest iOS to compile on it. But I’m loathe to get a machine that won’t let me keep it alive the next 10 years.
Intel CPUs haven’t advanced that much since this machine's 2.66x4 i7. The video probably hurts more. It points to a future where we can just expect to put some money into maintaining our computing machinery instead of consuming it like it's a service. But given that John Deere has moved this way, I’m not hopeful that computers will go back that way. Support right-to-repair bills!
Exact same story here. I finally bought a Lenovo last fall after giving up hope that Apple would make a machine I could also get 3TB into. I still use the old MBP for photo management.
2006 had a bad run of MacBooks, so this is not an indictment of Apple equipment in general. But Apple equipment is not universally particularly durable, nor is Apple the only vendor to make durable laptops. They've taken a lot of shortcuts recently, and currently they've set the expected service lifetime of a new MB at around four years.
I was actually surprised how usable the computer still was after all this time, although the thermals suck quite hard. I imagine the 2011 thermal paste is nigh on useless at this point. Granted, I don't use the laptop much these days, but it'd still serve for basic browsing when needed.
It's nice to have things that run well with relatively small changes.
I wonder if the current MBP lineups can last 8 years of constant software development use like this 2012 model.
I had the Apple store replace the screen and battery about a year ago. The screen was suffering from the anti-reflective coating (1) recall, but I missed the repair program window. In every customer support conversation I had leading up to the repair, they would hint at "consumer protection law". This was a clue that if I then said "CONSUMER PROTECTION LAW" they would be forced to do the recall for free even though it was out of date. They ended up giving me the screen and battery for free.
Apple Store failed to identify and fix one issue that plagued me though, which was spontaneous black screen and poweroffs, especially when running on battery below 80%. It seemed like a power issue, or heat issue. I lived with it for two years, lugging a power brick around whenever I moved spots. With the Apple Stores closed due to covid, I contacted a local third party mac repair person. They said they've seen this before, it's a CPU power issue, and if you run a small script to keep the CPU out of really-low-power state it will stop happening (2). And they were right! So if you're experiencing this annoying problem as well, try this python script:
from time import sleep
I've been running this script for 2 weeks now and no freezes. It generates about 6-8% CPU load, so obviously my battery time is suffering, but the alternative (random freezes all day) was so annoying that I'm okay living with this.
Here's  what's worked for me.
I work in metal fabrication, so the MagSafe2 constantly attracted tiny metal particles that follow me around.
I ended up replacing the DC in board, $25 part, then two weeks later it started behaving weird, pulled it apart again and reseated all the cables etc but it completely gave up.
Oh well, 7 solid years at AU$2000 end up costing less than $6 a week.
I’m now split between a new MacBook Air, or a Lenovo or HP with similar specs and screen resolution.
I have some Windows software I’ve paid for, but maybe I just run that in a Windows VM on the Mac..... hmmmm
My late-2013 Macbook Pro has recently started similar behavior. Somewhat randomly the screen will go black, sit like that for a while, then fans speed up for maybe 10 seconds then it eventually turns off. This whole cycle is something like 20 seconds.
Is this similar to what you observed which was fixed in your case by the script?
This is exactly what I was experiencing. Well, to be exact, there were three or four different failure modes. What you described is one of them.
Another was sometimes I close the lid to put it to sleep, and instead the fans would rev to 100% and sit there forever until I held the power button.
I have the script running in a terminal window and haven't had a spontaneous poweroff for 2 weeks now.
I'm in the exact situation - same MacBook, same goal to keep it running, & same screwup missing the reflective coating recall. I think you might have bought the trusty ole thing a new lease on life, cheers!
I mostly use my laptop in sporadic short bursts so battery time is not a huge issue, and the freedom of moving it around without it crashing is huge
My 2017 6S wasn't charging properly. Charge would start, then a few minutes later, sometimes less, it would stop. I found that many times, if I inserted the plug with a bit more force, it would start charging, but later, it would stop. As is common the cable was frayed near the plug, so I replaced the cable. The situation didn't change.
I was at the point of deciding to replace the iPhone, since it was getting dated anyway, when my daughter suggested I clean the plug receptor.... the light bulb went on.
I grabbed a toothpick and started pulling out lint. Like your bellybutton lint. There was a lot of lint. It had become packed into the base of the receptor sufficiently to prevent the plug from making the contacts.
I had carried it in my pocket for 3 years, it likely gathered a few specks of lint each time I put it in there, and then I compacted the lint when I plugged it in next.
Eventually I had to replace it and now I'm stuck with a noisy dusty MBP. I suppose the iPad now fulfills the role of "maintenance free computer".
...but he didn’t need to maintain his MacBook Pro in this video either. It worked fine until the battery degraded and he had to recycle it for that reason. The MacBook also had a battery that would expire after time.
PS air compressors are not a good alternative: they might suffer from internal condensation and emit air that is too moist, that's why it's best to use cans instead.
PPS there are vacuum cleaners specifically designed for electronics. They tend to be pretty expensive. It's OK to use those.
The biggest risk is to reach into the guts and zap a component, that's a much higher chance of incidence than any effect from the air itself, after all, the fan also sucks air through all day long and usually is not grounded.
Make sure you always reach for the frame first before touching anything else in the guts of a computer.
I couldn't get the replacement (didn't know "stain-gate" was a thing).
But, this made me more curious; is there something specific about IPS panel (vs. TN) that I should know? In that link, it seems like that the panel survived but the backlight diffuser layers got ruined. Theoretically, one could replace that...
I ask this because I wonder if you meant the glass-sandwich construction of the panel when you say "inner layers", and some chemistry of the liquid crystals. Or am I assuming too much?
In any case, thanks!
On the first boot it had a lot of moisty look and funky colors. After leaving it rice and under sunlight for some time the moisture has dried but left a dirty stain.
The nasty surprise was dead pixels. There's a grain sized area in mid-bottom left side of the screen, some black, some green colored. I'm not knowledgeable on nuances of different types of display defects but I've tried variety of things like massaging, stuck pixel fixer videos etc. but no dice, I guess they're proper dead.
Except, the GPU drivers are crap and Apple has no intention of fixing them. This shows up as bugs in Firefox and Chrome, the apps that hit the most GPU edge cases, and when I've filed bugs I've basically been told "too old, get a new machine"
Which isn't an unreasonable POV. I'm sure there just are not that many 2014 NVidia MBPs in the world. Apple doesn't care to fix the bugs. Why should the browser teams waste time working around GPU driver bugs for so few users?
And yet, it's really hard to justify spending $3400 for a new MBP when nothing will actually change in my day to day usage.
I also have a 3yr old 1060 Razer gaming laptop. That actually enabled something, VR, to justify spending $$$$ on it. But, getting a current dual GPU MBP gets me nothing that my 2014 MBP doesn't already get me except fixing a few annoying bug livable browser bugs.
Note I have a similar issue with the Razer. Windows won't update to the most reason version and says their are issues with the hardware and maybe some day in the future once the issues are worked around Windows will update. Unfortunately that means I can't use WSL 2 so again, I can spent $3000+ for a 2020 Razer but when I'm done all that will happen is some software bugs will be fixed, my actual day to day usage won't change.
Tech can be really annoying and it's frustrating to be told the solution is spend $7000
I have 2013 MacBook Pro 15, never opened, the battery lasts for 1.5 hours, tends to overheat a bit. Same story. Morally it felt old but it was still good and fast machine for me. I was contemplating of buying 16" but just could not justify throwing away this solidly engineered machine.
During quarantine bought iFixit battery replacement. Disassembled every part, cleaned religiously every area with blower, replaced swollen battery and assembled again. Took 2 hours, works fine, no fan noise, battery lasts for a long time, finally upgraded to Catalina.
Now I have a great laptop and after 7 years of using same machine I felt that I still needed to upgrade something. So I went to buy a desktop PC. It was interesting to assemble a modern PC, try Alyx and Windows 10 with WSL. I no longer need to use Paperspace for SketchUp rendering. After COVID I am planning to leave PC at home and have my MacBook at Office / Co-working.
Not saying this is the best decision, just sharing a different path taken when it came to computer upgrading.
There's nothing worse for electronics than heat. The damage is cumulative but nearly impossible to notice until it's too late.