MacBook Pro 13″ Early 2011 A1278 820-2936

Procurement

Tidy top case

I bought this one on eBay for $180. Its description stated “powers on but battery exploded, destroying the touchpad”. The pictures in the ad clearly illustrated the general poor condition of this MacBook, with the trackpad cracked and bulging out of its housing.

Truth be told, I paid too much for this, but I had another one of these with a whole bunch of missing parts, and it was my intention to create a single working computer by combining the two. Certainly far cheaper than buying all of the missing components separately.

Despite the apparent poor condition, it had RAM, and a 500Gb hard drive. The top case and screen were in very good condition, but unfortunately the bottom case had some engraving from the previous owner (a college somewhere). It also has stickers all over it that look like they’re going to be a complete bastard to remove.

Symptoms

A cracked trackpad, the symptom of a deeper issue!

No real symptoms to speak of. Everything worked. Even the cracked trackpad still functioned perfectly. The only issue was the dead, bloated battery.

And here is the reason why it’s hard for this to be a profitable business model for me. If I add up the cost of the two broken macs, I’ll probably make a loss on this one. But doing this stuff makes me happy, and you can’t put a price on that.

I’ll also end up with a few spare parts that may come in handy for a future repair.

What’s inside?

The bulging battery.

As I removed the bottom case screws, the cover popped off with the pressure of the bulging battery. After removing the battery, I also noticed that the battery indicator light cable was damaged.

Repairs

I pulled out the battery, the logic board, the battery indicator assembly and the trackpad. I replaced the trackpad and battery indicator assembly from my other Mac, and I purchased and installed a brand new Floureon battery (a nice selling point).

Gentrification

Spit and polish.

This laptop really needed a clean. It was covered in a thick grime, as well as a couple of big, permanent stickers. After a bit of soaking, then a few minutes with a plastic scraper the stickers came off. I cleaned all surfaces thoroughly, then replaced the engraved bottom case with a clean one from my spare MacBook. It’s amazing what a difference it made.

Ready for sale!

Sale time!

After running a few tests, the hard drive reported as “failing”, so I replaced it with one I had in stock. I also noticed that the audio in/out socket wasn’t working properly, so I replaced this from a donor. I had a trackpad in my spares pile, but with the new battery and hard drive, this one ended up costing me $280. The final sale price was a little lower less than I had hoped for, but I still managed to make a small profit (as long as we don’t include the cost of the donor Mac!).