18.11.08

MacBook Woe

A week and a half ago the backlight in my computer's LCD decided to crap out. At first the screen began to flicker a lot and after the condition persisted after a reboot I figured something not good was going on. Within a few minutes of the reboot the backlight had gone altogether. The screen itself was undamaged so thanks to the aid of a flashlight application for my iPhone I was able to kludge together a means of getting data backed up to an external drive in preparation for taking the machine in for service work.

The genius at the Regent Street Apple store immediately gave a list of possible diagnoses when I illustrated the problem (the same list of possibilities I knew anyway) and set up a work order to replace the LCD panel and the inverter board (which had been replaced this past June anyway). To be sure he also ordered a replacement main logic board.

The machine was left with Apple on a Friday evening and around noon the following Tuesday I got a phone call to say it was ready to be collected. The exact cause of the problem never was noted (and possibly not discovered) and with all the new hardware it was like getting a new computer (albeit one the same speed and with the same specs as before). I booted up the machine at the store after I'd received it and all seemed well so I went on my way.

After I got back to the flat and began to restore my data I was annoyed to notice the new LCD panel had three stuck pixels near the left side. I wondered how a new, replacement screen that was noticeably inferior to the one it replaced could be given to me, especially after a £956 repair bill (thankfully covered by the warranty). Nevertheless I plowed on with restoring data and using the machine.

After a few hours of use, while the CPU was under fairly heavy load, zap -- the power in the machine died. It was plugged into the wall and also had a battery attached so it struck me as odd the power would just go like that. I was bewildered to say the least but I booted it back up and kept working. Zap. It did it again after another short while. At that point I became annoyed. Ultimately, I kept workig and the issue didn't manifest again.

Come Wednesday I'm using the machine again and zap. The power dies again. For a machine that had just had most of the guts replaced a few days beforehand this thing was really acting up.

Friday comes along and twice more the machine cut out. I went to Apple's web site and eventually booked an appointment to take the machine back on Monday to be looked at. I could have had an appointment for Saturday but the tube connections around the flat were particularly bad this past weekend so I opted to wait, ensuring I didn't tax the machine too heavily.

I took the computer into the store about half past noon and explained the situation, expecting to at least get some resistance from the genius about the situation, chiefly expecting him to declare 3 stuck pixels on an LCD panel is within tolerances, but ultimately had a smooth time of it. The diagnosis of the genius was a heat sensor was at fault or not properly connected (in a new motherboard?? the only way that would be likely is if the installation was pooched, and I shudder to consider that possibility). Nevertheless a new logic board and inverter were ordered in hopes of rectifying the issue. A new LCD panel was also ordered and this time I will make sure to properly check the panel before I leave the store, whenever I pick it up. I was quoted 7 days for turnaround, a standard line, but was told by the genius they prioritize repair work required due to previous faulty repair work. As a result I hope to be reunited with the computer soon but until I get the call I don't know how long I'll be without it this week.

Until then, I have the iPhone to keep me connected to the outside world so at least I'm not without a means of getting news and email.

I just hope this all has a happy ending and that this is the last service work required to get the laptop back in proper working order. Time will tell I suppose, but so far I'm not loving the service work done thus far.

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