Fixing Your Own Computer

April 4, 2012 · 8 comments

in Fix-it, Good Things, Hildie Likes

My MacBook Air is pretty much my best friend. We spend a lot of time together, even when he quit speaking to me a few weeks ago. After reinstalling software, zapping the PRAM and all sorts of miscellaneous tasks, my speakers and headphone jack refused to turn on. The mute button on my computer was grayed out and simply wouldn’t work.

So I combed the internet for answers; always a daunting task. Mostly it was a bunch of people complaining about the same problem and no solutions. Finally I found a guy in Siberia (no joke) who said the sound cable in the MacBook Air is notorious for being rotten. And I could either pay $200 to get it fixed or try to do it myself.

I do not have $200 laying around, so I uttered the dreaded phrase: “how hard could it be?”  I always pick the DIY option even when it’s foolish. It’s in my DNA. Although let’s face it, there is a lot more that can go wrong with fixing a computer than hanging a towel rack.

I found a great online site called ifixit that provides not only computer parts, but marvelous tutorials on how to replace each part that you buy. They also have a huge Q&A forum of various computer problems and how people have fixed them. According to the website, replacing an audio cable is not all that hard. I was a little skeptical since I’m so feeble at computery things that I can’t even get the printer to work half the time.

But I payed $30 for a new audio cable and a spudger (a weird little plastic tool that is incredibly handy when fixing computers) and had them in my nervous little paws within three days.

Mister is getting up there in years so his eyesight is currently in need of bifocals.  Which he doesn’t have. He also doesn’t have dainty little fingers that are just wonderful at getting into little nooks and crannies. So I was left to do the repair myself. I made sure to do it when he wouldn’t be around to breathe over my shoulder and act all expert-y.

Opening up a computer is one of the most daunting things I’ve ever done. I can’t imagine being more stressed if it had been a human being lying on the table in front of me.  There are so many scary little wires and pieces and . . .  stuff! How computers were ever invented, I’ll never know. There was a horrifying moment when I realized one of the teensy, tiny screws was already stripped (thanks Apple repair guys!) but I said a prayer (not kidding) and managed to get it out. Phew!
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

The instruction photos from ifixit were huge and detailed and the entire repair took about 45 minutes. Not including the time it took to find a brighter lamp, dust all the crumbs out of my laptop innards (!) and yell at my kids three times to leave me alone. But the important thing to know is that IT WORKED!  I did it! I fixed my computer!!! I laid its guts out all over my desk, fixed it and put it all back together.

Ifixit is my hero. Next time your computer/ipad/iphone has an ailment, I’d recommend checking the site out (only if your item is out of warrantee, though. If you can get it fixed for free, then do it!). And no, I didn’t get paid a single penny for this. I’m just so thrilled at the idea of fixing my own computers that I wanted to share.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Tiffany April 4, 2012 at 9:44 am

I’m assuming Mister had NO IDEA you were doing this, or he’d be in a coma right now…

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Jill April 4, 2012 at 11:15 am

I am so impressed. Like, super impressed.

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Selwyn aka Kellie April 4, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Wow, give you a DIY job and you move the world! Excellent stuff!

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Stephanie April 5, 2012 at 9:47 am

This is some sort of amazing! I would not have to guts to pry my computer apart. WTG girl!

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Chris April 5, 2012 at 10:29 am

Wow, very impressive, your domesticity level just exploded. ifixit is the best. I fix friends, family, my own computer stuff all the time, and tearing apart an air is not for the faint of heart. Nice Work Hildie!!!

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L. April 5, 2012 at 11:22 am

You simply, utterly ROCK!! I thought *I* was the brave fix-it-girl. What you did makes me quail!

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Charlie Holmberg April 5, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Maybe that site could teach me how to fix the computer on my Mac Book…

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