iMac Mother Board Replacement

Hello everybody!

Today we are working on an iMac. This is a late 2012 iMac 21.5 inch. People love these; they are beautiful. Retina screen – nice screen and awesome to work on. This is an A1418.

What happened with this unit is that it would not give an image. Let’s take a look at the initial problem, no backlight. So the unit would turn on, but no image would show on the screen.

With this unit, the only way to access and take a look at what’s going on is by removing the screen, which is glued with a special double-sided tape. That’s the first challenge right there; you have to be very cautious removing that, if you break the screen on this one, it could be $400 to $500 to replace it. A little too much pressure or anything like that could break that screen.

We’ve had customers come in with broken screens or ripped cables from trying to do it on their own and having issues. So that’s one of the things that we take care of over here, so you don’t have to.

So what happened here is that when we took it apart, we got the motherboard. Visually, we could see some capacitors and just basically some blown out components on the board, so you could see there was a major short on that board.

The first step that we would take there is trying to repair those components. But once we took a look at it in more detail, it was beyond repair. If you fixed one component, another word was short out. Then you have the board itself, which had some damage. We opted for finding a replacement board.

Wow! We had a challenge on this unit here because we went out to find these boards, but you’re not gonna just go and buy a new one. That doesn’t make sense. So the aftermarket for these boards is going to eBay and other used re-sellers. So we reached out, found some good supply on eBay. And so we ordered one. This was a challenge. It came in, installed it of course here. When we do our installations, we want to try to test everything as best possible. But in this scenario, just the way that that unit is configured, you almost got to do the full installation. So that was a little bit of a challenge. So we did, put everything in place at least to get it up and rolling at least tested the board for functionality. And we had a problem with the first board.

These units have two ram memory slots, and one of them was bad. So when we cranked it up with the ram on board, it would give us the dreadful three beeps or three tones. So that right there was a red flag. We further troubleshot the unit and found that it was just one of the two, so we removed one RAM slot and just went back and forth between one of the other found that there was one bad. But then again, that’s no good, so that was a waste of time. We sent that board back and found another vendor, since we already had that bad experience with that vendor, we said, you know, let’s try another vendor ordered one from another vendor. And we had another problem.

Some of these boards that you’re buying out there that we’re buying out there are secondary market. You know, sometimes their boards from like in this scenario, many of those boards you’re gonna be somebody that had one of these units broke the LCD and then probably didn’t make sense to invest. You know, $400 to 500 have been replaced.

Some vendors, even ourselves, we’ll buy something like that and resell it for parts. There’s plenty of people doing that on eBay, so I mean, it’s good in a way because it gives us and everybody else access to parts to be able to fix things versus just throwing them out.

Going back to the second vendor, ordered that part, and that one had a problem as well.

It was a different problem because that one would boot up the ram. Slots were good, but when it would boot up the fans would crank on. Ah, basically 100%. The CPU would go all the way up. It wasn’t just the hard drive sensor, which sometimes causes that if it’s not connected, it wasn’t that because even after shutting down the unit completely, the fan would continue to run. As a matter of fact, when you just plugged in the unit to electricity, the fan would start running even without hitting the power, so the unit had a problem and under-detailed inspection of that board we were able to see that it had been repaired. You could see soldering and things like that. Some of the components had some micro-soldering done and repaired to the board.

Did they test it out fully? Maybe. Maybe Not.

Here we are about one month into this board because we initially tried to do the repair, ordered one board that takes a week to come in. Put it on. We went and took one more shot. Let’s go for three strikes! We ordered the third board and it was a winner. Installed the third board and tested it. RAM is good; fans air good, booted up the unit and finally after about, let’s see if I’ve got the date here. I don’t know if I want to say the date that this came in, that’s gonna make us look bad, but, yeah this has been here for a while.

Problem? You could look at it two different ways. Probably another shop would’ve just thrown in the towel and said, “Sorry Vic! We’re not gonna go through all this trouble to try to get your computer fixed.”

One of the things that I think is good about us or about me or about the store however you want to slice it is that we go the extra mile on this one here, going through three boards. I mean, when you calculate the time invested here just because it was the bad boards, that’s not the customer’s fault. It’s not our fault. It’s just one of those things. We are the ones really eating that time.

We do it because we have a happy customer once he gets that back and that’s the way to build up your business. You know you can’t hit a home run every time. Sometimes you win a couple; sometimes you lose a couple. In the end, if you keep having happy satisfied customers, that’s always the goal. So here we have it.

We got our iMac back up and running. On top of all the problems we had already had, we didn’t have the password for it. It had been a unit that had been so out of commission; they pretty much put it off to the side and forgotten the passwords. That was not a problem, we took care of that by resetting those passwords, and we’ll have another happy customer.

That’s what’s going on here at PC 911!