Sunday, June 24, 2007

Opening up your MacBook Pro

Disassembling the Apple MacBook Pro is pretty well documented at and kudos to them for their very useful guide.

HOWEVER, there are some undocumented points that are garnered from my own experience opening up my 15 inch 1.83 Ghz MacBook Pro to replace its hard disk with a bigger 160GB model.

First, follow iFixit's guide unscrewing all the screws that they tell you to, and get to the part where you're supposed to take off the top plate (that's what I'll call it - its the piece that has your keyboard). It should look like this:

Then you'll soon find that the the trickiest part is getting the side closest to you, out. iFixit says something like rock it side to side. Well, I found that the left part came off after a little bit of rocking, but the right side and the area above the screen latch button was quite stubborn. After some jostling, where I thought I'll break something along the way, I managed to lift the left part out and somehow slide the right side backwards a little towards the screen and off came the top plate. You gotta pop that connector like they say on iFixit, if you wanna remove it completely.

On closer examination, here's why its such a pain to remove the right side:

Notice the four rectangular holes near the front edge? Good.

Next take a look at this:

This is what's below the top plate. Notice those grey plastic tabs? They actually fit into those rectangular holes. Here's a close up:

You'll notice that these grey plastic tabs can actually pop off. The left most pictured is popped off.

The grey plastic tabs looks like this:

These tabs actually slide into the rectangular holes above the DVD drive like this:

So by actually sliding the right side of the top plate backwards - towards the screen - during removal, these plastic tabs also slid off. When you reassemble, you'll realise that the top plate will pop into these four tabs. Actually there's five - there's one more above the screen latch button.

I guess an alternative would have been to pop off the top plate right off, leaving the grey tabs hopefully still in their respective holes. But because these joints are quite tight, it also leaves me to wonder if the thin ends of the grey plastic tabs will hold it firm enough to remain in the hole, or simply snap.

Anyway, if you do indeed take apart your MacBook Pro - at least you now know why there are parts of the top plate that seem like they ain't coming out - even though you've already taken out all the screws that the guide says.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Opening up and disassembling a Seagate FreeAgent Go 160GB

I cracked open my Seagate FreeAgent Go recently to get to the hard disk that I wanted to stuff into my MacBook Pro. But since there did not seem to be any instructions or tips from folks who have done it ... I just took a deep breathe and went ahead with the surgery.

The Seagate FreeAgent Go doesn't have any screws or the like to hold the thing together. So I simply had to pry it apart.

So here is it disassembled:

You will notice that the top cover simply clips onto the bottom cover. So to open it, note the positions of the 7 plastic clips. 3 on one side and four on the other. I started with the side with 3 clips (left side, as shown on the picture below).

Simply slide something hard (flat head screwdriver? credit card? you will destroy your credit card though) in between the top and bottom cover close to where one the clips are, hear a nasty pop/click, and work through the other two clips. Once one side is out, you can work through the other side.

Once the cover is off, the rest is easy. Just disconnect the red and black cable that controls the light. Next, take the hard disk out, along with the connector. Undo two screws below which hold the circuit board to the hard disk and then disconnect the circuit board from the serial ATA connector.

Yank off the four plastic bumpers at the side of the hard disk - they are simply glued on. Don't get the sticky parts dirty so you can stick them back. There's a screw below each of the bumpers that you will have to undo, and voila, you have your hard disk ready to be put into the notebook!