Macbook Keyboard Rivets

Removing a broken MacBook keyboard

TLDR: can’t remove rivets; glue the new keyboard in with a medium thickness cyanoacrylate

The spilled coffee on my MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012) disabled only one key on the keyboard. Unfortunately, it was the power button. I confirmed that my MacBook Pro wasn’t completely dead by shorting the pads on the system board that I found on insidemylaptop.com.

The top case (which includes the keyboard and trackpad) of the MacBook Pro can be replaced, with new parts on eBay that cost about $100. I also found that the just the keyboard can be purchased on eBay for about $20.

I used iFixit’s MacBook Pro 15″ Retina Display Mid 2012 Upper Case Assembly Replacement guide to disassemble the computer, then found some YouTube videos detailing ripping out the old keyboard.

MacBook Pro Retina keyboard rivets

The problem for me was when I pulled the old keyboard away from the top case, the rivets remained in the case. I later thought that pulling on the keyboard very sharply when I removed it would have pulled the rivets out too.

There were screws included with my replacement keyboard but the now the problem was how to remove the rivets from the top case. I found various solutions that included drilling them out, using a screwdriver and hammer to pry them out and removing the rivets by pulling them out with diagonal flush side cutters. The latter seemed like the best solution, except that I didn’t have that tool.

It then occurred to me that Apple reparability scores were always very low because they glued everything together. So, I decided to glue the keyboard in using a medium cyanoacrylate glue.

Working from one side of the keyboard to the other, I used less than a drop of glue on top of each of the protruding rivets. The glue (use a medium thickness cyanoacrylate) ran down around the rivet and under the keyboard mounting plate, fastening it to the top case. I pressed down on the keyboard for a few seconds to hold it flush with the top case until the glue set.

When I put the computer back together, I felt that gluing the keyboard in worked as well as the screws. Typing on the new keyboard felt completely solid and I saved a lot of effort in not having to remove the rivets.

I Dropped My Macbook Pro

isaligned display, MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012)

I dropped my MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012) on it’s corner. It didn’t cause any internal damage – the computer worked normally – but the the lid (with the display) became misaligned.

Display scraping, MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012)

The misalignment made the lower right corner of the display scrape against the base of the computer whenever the display was opened. I thought if I could loosen the screws that held the display, I could realign the display with the base of the computer.

Loosen 6mm T6 Torx screws , MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012)

I used iFixit’s MacBook Pro 15″ Unibody Mid 2012 Display Replacement (by Andrew Optimus Goldberg (and 5 other contributors) as a guide to remove the lower case and to get to the six 6mm T6 Torx screws holding the display (there are three in each corner).

The repair is fairly straightforward. The only tools that I needed were a Phillips 00 Screwdriver and a T6 Torx Screwdriver.

1. Remove the lower case. (10 Phillips screws)

2. – Note: the links to the following two iFixit links are to illustrate the location of the screws – the screws shouldn’t be removed.

Slightly loosen (do not remove !) all six (three on the left corner and three on the right corner) 6mm T6 Torx screws holding the display to the upper case.

3. Close the lid and move the display so it properly aligned with the computer base (the part that has the keyboard).

4. Tighten the six 6mm T6 Torx screws

5. Reattach the lower case.

Windows Server 2012 on a Macbook

After the failure of an old computer running Windows Server 2003, I setup Windows Server 2012 on a Macbook.

Years ago, I set up a Sony Vaio PCG-Z505HS running Windows Server 2003 at home so I could keep up with Macs and Active Directory. When I recently experienced problems with DHCP and DNS, I discovered that the Vaio had died. There was no LED power indication. My troubleshooting consisted of jiggling the power connector and checking the power supply voltage. When I measured voltage from the AC adaptor, I gave up, using the rationale that it had lived its useful life. The Vaio, with a Pentium 3, 500 MHz CPU, was introduced in January 2000.

Coincidentally, I had a hardware failure in my Macbook (late 2006), so I decided to repurpose it as a domain server using an evaluation version of Windows Server 2012.

The Windows Server 2012 installation was simple using the Server with a GUI mode installation. The Server Manager and configuration tools greatly simplify the setup. With Windows Server 2012 on a Macbook running silicon introduced in 2006 – an Intel® Core™2 Duo Processor T7200 that has Intel® Virtualization Technology (VT-x), the next step is to try virtualization. As a Macbook running OS X, I successfully ran VMware Fusion VMs running Ubuntu and Windows 2000, though I forsee the 3 GB of RAM in the current system will be a limiting factor.

The best part about running an Active Directory domain at home is joining computeres to the domain. The welcome message says, “Welcome to the lower_slobbovia domain.

Macbook in a Mini-ITX Case

Macbook (late 2006), disassembled

My Macbook (Late 2006) has gone through many modifications and operating systems. Recently, it decided to stop responding to keyboard or trackpad input. Instead of trying to replace the trackpad/keyboard cable (which I’ve done once already), I decided to put logic board of the Macbook in a Mini-ITX case and try an evaluation version of Windows Server 2012.

ifixit’s MacBook Core 2 Duo Logic Board Replacement guide was helpful with the disassembly. After removing the logic board, I stripped the bottom case of the remaining parts (SSD, hard disk, speakers, display, etc). The MacBook logic board was short enough to fit in the case with the ports and connectors lining up with the opening for the Mini-ITX backplane.

I thought using the Macbook bottom case would be the best way to mount the system board because the case helps to align the MagSafe connector and the fan/heatsink assembly. I also wouldn’t have to mount other stand-offs in the Mini-ITX case. I used Dremel cut-off wheels to cut down the case bottom. To mount the logic board in the Mini-ITX case, I used double-sided foam tape.

The wiring for the ancillary devices – Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and speakers – were routed around the inside of the new case. The Mini-ITX case came with a bracket to mount 3.5″ hard drives internally but with non-standard headers on the logic board, I abandoned that idea. There was also a power supply, which I removed. I wired the power switch on the front of the case to the trackpad/keyboard connector on the logic board.

Macbook in a Mini-ITX Case

I had already removed the DVD drive when it stopped working in the summer of 2011 and replaced it with an SSD. I used double-sided tape to mount the SSD and the second hard drive to a bracket mounted above the logic board. Eventually, the short cable for the second hard disk failed and when I replaced it, the connector on the logic board failed from too many insertions.

When I first powered it on, it actually worked. The Mini-ITX case is slightly larger than a Mac mini (200 x 225 x 56mm vs 197 x 197 x 36mm) and slightly less attractive but it works. My only regret was breaking the circuit board for the system LED when I was disassembling the case.