Repairing Macbooks the Ultrasonic Way
As one of Apple’s trademark products, the MacBook has a wide range of advanced features. The white MacBook operates with a 2.13 GHZ processor and a hard drive capable of 160GB. With a polycarbonated shell, the MacBook is durable for everyday use. This notebook computer has a Firewire port for fast transfer of files and a 13.3” Glossy Widescreen for all video and image applications. Optimum performance of your MacBook is achieved with regular maintenance, including cleaning your printed circuit boards (PCBs) with an ultrasonic cleaner for precise and optimal cleaning.
MacBook units can take a lot of abuse including being left out in the rain, water damage or otherwise rendered inoperable. Unless your MacBook is irreparably damaged, it can most likely be restored to operation in an ultrasonic printed circuit board cleaner. With the same technology used by printed circuit board manufacturers, ultrasonic circuit board cleaning quickly and safely removes contaminants from the delicate components in your MacBook.
Here you will learn:
- How an Ultrasonic PCB Cleaner Works
- How to Select and Set Up your Circuit Board Cleaner
- How to Disassemble, Clean and Reassemble your Macbook
How Ultrasonic PCB Cleaners Work to Restore Your MacBook
Ultrasonic cleaners are used in a wide range of applications to remove virtually any soil or contamination by using the power of cavitation action. This is the term used to describe the implosion of billions of minute bubbles contacting MacBook PCB components and surfaces. The bubbles are created by generator-powered ultrasonic transducers bonded to an ultrasonic cleaning tank and typically operate at an ultrasonic frequency of 37 to 42 kHz (37,000 to 42,000 cycles per second).
When the bubbles implode contaminants are quickly and safely removed from PCB surfaces without damaging delicate parts. So tiny are the bubbles that they penetrate minute cracks, crevices and blind holes that might lodge dried residue, dust and dirt particles. The ultrasonic PCB cleaning system will complete the job in as little as 10 to 15 minutes. And it will do it in an environmentally friendly manner because the ultrasonic circuit board cleaning solution formula is a biodegradable concentrate that minimizes disposal problems.
How to Select and Set Up your MacBook Circuit Board Ultrasonic PCB Cleaner
Ultrasonic PCB cleaners come in a variety of sizes from bench top units to a floor-mounted industrial ultrasonic cleaning machine, so you can select any size you need. Our most popular models for cleaning MacBook circuit boards are the ¾ gallon Elma EH075EL and 1½ gallon Elma EH150EL. You should select an ultrasonic PCB cleaner equipped with a frequency sweep function, such as an Elma model, to prevent damage to sensitive components during cleaning. Choose a model also equipped with a heater to improve the ultra-sonic cleaning process.
Whatever the model and size of ultrasonic circuit board cleaner you use there are steps to take before cleaning begins.
- Fill the ultrasonic cleaner tank to the fill line (or approximately 2/3 full) with ultrasonic cleaning solution such as Elma tec clean A1 diluted 1:20 with water.
- Turn on the ultrasonic cleaner, set the heater to approximately 50°C, and operate for about 30 minutes to drive off cavitation inhibiting entrained air. Degassing is complete when bubbles stop coming to the surface and must be performed every time the tank is filled with fresh circuit board cleaning solution.
How to Disassemble, Clean and Reassemble your MacBook
Step 1: Disassembling your MacBook
To remove the battery of you MacBook, you will need to use a coin and turn it 90° clockwise, to rotate the battery-locking screw. Lift the battery out of the computer and remove the memory cover. This is done by removing the three screws from the rear wall of the battery compartment. These screws are secured to the metal memory cover. You may now slide it to the right and lift the L-shaped memory cover out of the computer.
To remove the upper case, unscrew all three screws forming a triangle. Since the screws stick to the case, you may have to use a magnetized screwdriver to get them out. Remember that the shorter screw goes in the middle.
It is now time to remove three screws found on the rear wall of the battery compartment. Remove the two 6mm screws from either side on the right wall of the battery compartment. The four 3mm indicated screws from the front wall of the battery compartment, must also be removed as well. You must work from the left and remove the 2 nd, 4th, 7th and 9th screw.
Remove four screws located at the back of the computer. There are two on the far side and two found toward the center. Do not overtighten these since your case might be distorted. You may now proceed to remove the two 5.2mm screws from the optical side of the computer.
Start near the display and work your way around the front of the computer to pry up on the upper case. It is held with clips located on the right side and above the optical drive. Use gentle but firm pressure to release these clips.
Remember to be careful when prying up the upper case since you may very easily slice your fingertip open. You cannot pull the upper case off just yet because there is a trackpad and keyboard ribbon connecting the upper case to the circuit board. Be careful not to pry the plastic top of the upper case away from its metal frame if the clips have trouble releasing.
Hold the upper case up and use a spudger to pry up both the orange trackpad and keyboard cable from their respective connectors. You may now disconnect the MagSafe board cable from the circuit board. Next, remove the single screw securing the left speaker to the lower case. Lift the left speaker out of the housing and set it aside
Remove the three screws located near the left frame. Two are located from either end of the left frame and one is located from the middle of the left frame. You may now remove the small black plastic spacer at the bottom of the left frame. Lift the left frame up and out of the computer. Pay very close attention to the thin metal EMI fingers, since they may catch into the frame as you remove the frame.
You may now peel the foil tape located between the fan and the optical drive. Using your spudger, it is time to move the gray display data and black speaker cables to the right. Once you do this, a silver screw securing the fan housing to the lower case will be revealed.
Disconnect the orange ribbon cable from the circuit board. Peel off the small black rubber cover located at the right side of the heat sink. The black fan connector and two white temperature sensor connectors must be disconnected as well.
Remove six screws. One is located on the right side of the fan, one on the left side of the fan and the four secure the heat sink to the lower case. It is now time to hold the heat sink with one hand and the fan with your other hand. You may now gently lift the heat sink and fan assembly out of the computer. Since the fan is attached to the heat sink with just a strip of black felt tape, be sure to remove both parts as a unit.
Now that you have removed the fan and the heat sink, disconnect the two antenna cables from the Airport card and the black inverter cable from the circuit board. You will have to remove two screws found on the left and right side of the Airport card. Grasp the Airport card at the top, slide it toward the screen and finally, out of the computer.
Using a spudger, disconnect the left speaker connector from the circuit board and lift the left speaker out of the computer. Disconnect the display data cable by pulling up on the black plastic pull-tab. In some cases, if there is no pull-tab on the top of the connector, you may use a spudger to disconnect the connector.
The hard drive cable is now revealed from the circuit board. You will have to disconnect this and use a spudger to disconnect two speaker connectors from the circuit board. Disconnect the microphone cable from the circuit board using the spudger as well. You will need to work from side to side, and then slowly wiggle the connector out of its socket until it comes out.
Remove the silver microphone cable from the silver metal clip just above the right RAM slot. Carefully pry the battery connector up with a spudger and disconnect it from the circuit board. There are three screws securing the circuit board to the lower case that have to be removed. You may now lift the circuit board from the right side and slide it up and out of the computer.
Disconnect the PRAM battery cable from the circuit board and remove the PRAM battery from the computer. You will then have to pull back on the metal lever and slide the RAM chip out of the circuit board. Repeat this process for other RAM chips.
You now hold in your hand, your MacBook circuit board.
Congratulations! You have successfully removed your circuit board from your MacBook! You may now proceed with the next step.
Step 2: Cleaning the Printed Circuit Board
Set the PCB ultrasonic cleaner’s thermostat to 50°C and activate the Sweep mode. While the solution is heating, place your PCB in the basket. If you are cleaning more than one at a time take care that they do not touch each other. Once the operating temperature is reached lower the basket into the cleaning solution and set the timer for 10 minutes. Cleaning time depends on the condition of the PCBs and may have to be adjusted.
At the end of the cycle remove the components from the bath. If they are not clean replace them in the bath until the cleaning is complete. Then rinse them in distilled or deionized water to remove all traces of the cleaning solution and avoid water spotting. Dry them with an air blower or warm air dryer.
Safety note: DO NOT reach into an operating ultrasonic bath. Instead remove the basket if you want to inspect or rearrange the parts.
Step 3: Reassembling your MacBook
Pull back the metal lever and slide all possible RAM chips back into the circuit board. Return the PRAM battery to the computer and connect the battery cable as well. Put back the circuit board and slide it into the computer. The three screws securing the circuit board to the lower case must also be returned and tightened. Connect the battery connector to the circuit board.
Return the silver microphone cable from the silver metal clip found just above the right RAM slot. Connect the microphone cable to the circuit board and wiggle the connector into its socket until it slides in. Reconnect the two speaker connectors to the circuit board and return the hard drive cable.
Connect the display data cable by pulling up and connecting the connector. Return the left speaker and reconnect its connector to the circuit board. Return the Airport card and put back the two screws. Reconnect both antenna cables to the Airport card and the black inverter cable to the circuit board.
Return the heat sink and fan assembly to the computer. The six screws to secure the fan and heat sink in place must also be returned. Reconnect the black fan connector as well as the two white temperature sensor connectors. Stick the small black rubber cover located at the right side of the heat sink. You may now connect the orange ribbon cable back to the circuit board.
Return the screw securing the fan housing to the lowercase. Move the gray display data and black speaker cables back to the left. Return the left frame as well as the foil tape located between the fan and the optical drive. There is a small black plastic spacer located at the bottom of the left frame that needs to be screwed. Screw back three screws.
Return the left speaker to the housing and screw the speaker back in place. Connect the MagSafe board cable from the circuit board. You may now return the upper case. Put back the two 5.2mm screws found on the optical side of the computer. You may now return the four screws to the back of the computer as well as the two 6mm screws found on the right wall of the battery compartment. Also, you will have to return the three screws located on the rear wall so that they secure the metal memory cover.
Return the three screws forming a triangle. The three screws secure the memory cover so it is important that these are tightened. Return the L-shaped memory cover to the computer as well as the battery cover. Put back the battery cover over the battery and rotate it 90° counterclockwise to secure the battery.
Admire the piece of work you just put back together.
Voila! Start your device and your MacBook should be good to go.
More Operating Tips
Any contaminants that rise to the surface of the bath should be skimmed off and disposed of properly. When the circuit board cleaning solution becomes discolored or cleaning takes longer it is time to replace it. Drain the tank and dispose of the spent solution according to local regulations. Take the time to remove any material that settled to the bottom of the tank. Clean the tank using a cleaning process recommended by the manufacturer.
Questions: Visit www.iultrasonic.com or Contact the iUltrasonic ultrasonic cleaning experts at 973 821-4400
Disclaimer: This advice is not provided by a licensed technician. Follow at your own risk. We assume no liability for any damages caused by following the advice in this article.
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