Mac Repairs - Frequently Asked Questions

We have been repairing Macintosh computers since 2001. For repairs where the fault is known, we provide many fixed cost services. Pricing for which can be found on the pages specific to each Mac via the top navigation. If you need your Mac repaired but do not know the cause of the fault, we can do an evaluation of the machine for 39 + vat and come back with a quote for a guaranteed fix. 39 + vat is our hourly rate for engineer's time, and any extra time remaining from the evaluation will be counted towards any labour required to fix the Mac. Evaluations generally take around 1 or 2 working days, and the same to fix machines - although it can take longer if we need to order in parts.

We are based on the outskirts of Cambridge - more details here - and need to have machines brought or sent to our workshop. To give you an indication of likely costs for your fault, and also to help you resolve less serious issues that do not require the machine to be sent into us, we have prepared this guide drawn from our extensive real-world experience with Mac faults and repairs.

General Mac Faults

My Mac is running slow

This is about the most common question we get asked. The answer can sometimes be complicated, but by experience it is most likely to stem from one of the below issues.

RAM (aka 'Memory')

As time goes on newer applications and Operating Systems have greater system requirements. As such a machine that is a few years old, running modern software, will feel much slower than it did when new. Granted a percentage of this will be from the aging processor, but it is often due to the amount of RAM (Random Access Memory) which is installed in your computer.

One analogy of a computer is of someone working in an office. The hard drive is the filing cabinet and the processor is whatever you have in your hands. RAM would be your desk. The bigger the desk, the more things it can hold ready for immediate use. If there isn't enough space then you have to walk over to the filing cabinet and swap out the things you need from there, with things you hope you won't need for a while. This takes orders of magnitude of time longer than just picking something up from your desk, and if your desk is much too small for the number of things you are working on, you'll end up spending the vast majority of your time filing rather than working.

Going back to your computer, a typical symptom of not having enough RAM is when you get the spinning wheel cursor in OSX, particularly when switching applications or otherwise doing something that makes the computer need some information it has had to file away to make space. Resolving this issue by fitting more RAM can radically improve performance for a low-cost upgrade.

Generally with RAM it is a case of the more the better. For systems running 10.8, 4GB is kind of a real world minimum (although it will install and run on 2GB), 10.7 is much the same, while 10.6 or 10.5 can work fine with 2GB for light tasks. When trying to resolve a slow computer, installing more ram is a good first step before the more invasive and expensive solutions below. To see the amount of RAM you can install into your system, use our serial number checker (or use the box on the top right hand side of the website) - this will tell you how much RAM you can use (which is often more than advertised by Apple), the correct RAM type, and how much it will cost. For almost every Mac made, RAM is user installable with a maximum complexity of undoing a few screws, and can easily be installed at home (the major exception are Mac minis made prior to the case redesign in June 2010). We can of course install RAM for you if you prefer.

One thing to note - if your machine is running the same Operating System software, and the same application versions as when it was new, and you experience slowdowns that are not related to RAM-intensive web applications, chances are that you may have a different problem. In this instance adding RAM will alleviate the problem somewhat, but often it is a sign of a hard drive that is full or approaching failure - this is covered below.

Hard Drive (aka 'Storage')

Other than RAM the main cause of slow downs is the internal hard drive. Hard drives degrade in performance over time, and can also get filled up to the point where it hinders normal operation. In the office analogy above, you can imagine what happens if there isn't enough space in the filing cabinet to hold all the things you need to swap out from your desk - you might need to make two or more trips juggling your inadequate free space. Mac computer systems need at least 5GB of free space as an absolute bare minimum to prevent serious slowdowns, we here at MacUpgrades suggest leaving 20GB free as a rule of thumb.

So the first thing is to check and see if your drive is full up. To see how much free space you have left, find the hard drive icon on your desktop, then click once on it to highlight it (if you don't have a hard drive icon, you will first need to go to the Finder menu > Preferences > Show Hard Drive on Desktop). Then with it highlighted, press and hold the APPLE (command) key, and tap the 'i' key. An information window for your hard drive will appear with the drive's details, including Capacity (the total size of the drive) and the amount of Free Space. If your drive has much less than 20GB free, the chances are that this is the cause of the problem. You can either delete (and empty the trash) enough data to get up to around 20GB free space, or use our hard drive replacement and cloning services - see installation services.

If you have plenty of free space on your drive and you continue to notice increasing slowdowns and instances of the spinning wheel, which do not appear to be due to lack of RAM, then it is a high likelihood that your hard drive may be developing a fault. Since hard drives are mechanical devices with moving parts, this is one of the most common hardware faults that we see. Fortunately hard drives are relatively inexpensive and on many but not all Macs, relatively easy to install. This area is MacUpgrade's mainstay - we change many many hard drives every day - for those wanting more capacity as well as those which have come to the end of their lives. To see the range of compatible drives for your machine follow this link to enter your serial number (or use the box on the top right hand side of the website). Installation costs vary from £29 + vat to £69 + vat dependent on machine, and for working drives we can clone all your data, applications and settings from the old drive to the new one for an additional £25 + vat.

We offer both rotational hard drives and Solid State Drives (SSDs). Solid state drives are essentially FLASH / RAM based long term storage, which are almost an order of magnitude faster than rotational hard drives, and significantly more reliable. Costs can be seen in the same place as rotational drives.

My computer hangs at the Apple logo with a spinning wheel

This is a common occurrence, and almost certainly a symptom of a hard drive fault. It could be caused by software corruption, but in the vast majority of cases it is a sign that your internal drive has a hardware fault which causes it to be unable to read the data it needs to boot.

Often most of the data on a drive in this condition can still be accessed, but it is likely to degrade further, so if you experience this problem it is advisable to try and backup any important data if you can, either by using target disk mode, or by removing your hard drive and fitting it to one of our hard drive enclosures and using it to backup the data to another machine. See the question "My hard drive is dying, how can I rescue my data" below. You can try repairing your drive with disk utility, but the chances are this will be a temporary fix if it works at all.

Costs to replace a hard drive are very reasonable (providing you have not lost valuable data!). A large number of Apple computers have user replaceable hard drives, so getting your machine up and running again can be done just for the cost of a new hard drive. To see compatible drives enter your serial number in to the box at the top right of the website (or follow this link) or select your machine from the top navigation and find the Internal Hard Drive section.

We can install hard drives/solid state drives into all Apple computers. Our installation costs vary from £15 + vat to £69 + vat depending on model. The serial number checker will tell you our price for your machine.

We can attempt a clone of your data from the old drive to a new one, which may or may not work - depending on the damage to your drive. Cloning costs are £25 + vat for the attempt. We will always return your old drive after installation so you may send it to a data recovery specialist in the event that the clone does not work.

My Mac shows a flashing question mark on start up

Failing to boot and showing a flashing question mark means that your computer cannot find a system to start from. This either means that your software has corrupted, or that your hard drive is dying or has died entirely. You can try and distinguish between the two as follows:

For Macs which shipped with installation disks (ie shipped with OSX 10.6 or earlier)

  1. Find your installation disk.
  2. Insert your installation disk into the computer - if you are unable to eject the CD/DVD drive in the normal manner, you can force an eject by holding down the (left) mouse/trackpad button while turning the machine on.
  3. Turn your Mac off.
  4. Press and keep held down the ALT key (option key) on the keyboard.
  5. Turn the computer on.
  6. When the mouse cursor comes up, you can release the ALT key.
  7. It may take a little while, but you should see a CD icon appear. Click on it to select it, then click the arrow icon which appears.
  8. The computer should now boot from the installation disk.
  9. This is the beginning of the OSX installer. You need to get a little further in, so choose the language and agree to the license agreement.
  10. It will ask you to choose a target location for the installation (and may say that it cannot find one). At this point you can access the menu bar along the top of the screen, go to the Utilities menu and choose "Disk Utility" (on 10.3 and earlier, the Disk Utility option is under the File menu)
  11. When disk utility opens you are looking for an icon for the hard drive, possibly greyed out, to appear on the left hand side:
    1. If no icon appears at all the hard drive has failed.

      Costs to replace a hard drive are very reasonable (providing you have not lost valuable data!). A large number of Apple computers have user replaceable hard drives, so getting your machine up and running again can be done just for the cost of a new hard drive. To see compatible drives enter your serial number in to the box at the top right of the website (or follow this link) or select your machine from the top navigation and find the Internal Hard Drive section.

      We can install hard drives/solid state drives into all Apple computers. Our installation costs vary from £15 + vat to £69 + vat depending on model. The serial number checker will tell you our price for your machine.

      We can attempt a clone of your data from the old drive to a new one, which may or may not work - depending on the damage to your drive. Cloning costs are £25 + vat for the attempt. We will always return your old drive after installation so you may send it to a data recovery specialist in the event that the clone does not work.

    2. If the icon is greyed out, the hard drive is failing and needs to be replaced, see above for the costings.

    3. If the icon appears along with the correct drive name. In this case select the hard drive's name, and choose Disk First Aid from the tabs on the right. Click the Repair Disk button and see what happens. If unfixable errors are reported the hard drive is failing and needs to be replaced, see above for the options. If fixable errors are reported then it is possible that the repair utility will resolve the problem, however in our experience it generally means the drive will fail completely, sooner rather than later. If you plan to keep using it we strongly advise backing up any important data.

For Macs which shipped without an installation disk (ie shipped with 10.7 or later)

  1. Press and keep held down the ALT key (option key) on the keyboard.
  2. Turn the computer on.
  3. When the cursor comes up you can release the ALT key.
  4. We are looking for one or two grey hard drive icons to appear:
    1. If no hard drive icon appears at all the hard drive has failed.

      Costs to replace a hard drive are very reasonable (providing you have not lost valuable data!). A large number of Apple computers have user replaceable hard drives, so getting your machine up and running again can be done just for the cost of a new hard drive. To see compatible drives enter your serial number in to the box at the top right of the website (or follow this link) or select your machine from the top navigation and find the Internal Hard Drive section.

      We can install hard drives/solid state drives into all Apple computers. Our installation costs vary from £15 + vat to £69 + vat depending on model. The serial number checker will tell you our price for your machine.

      We can attempt a clone of your data from the old drive to a new one, which may or may not work - depending on the damage to your drive. Cloning costs are £25 + vat for the attempt. We will always return your old drive after installation so you may send it to a data recovery specialist in the event that the clone does not work.

    2. If one or more icons appear then select the Recovery Partition, and click the arrow underneath. If the machine does not boot then the hard drive has failed (see above for costings).
    3. If the machine boots select Disk Utility. When disk utility opens we are looking for a grey icon to appear on the left hand side.
      1. If the icon is greyed out, the hard drive is failing and needs to be replaced, see above for the costings.
      2. If the icon appears along with the correct drive name. In this case select the hard drive's name, and choose Disk First Aid from the tabs on the right. Click the Repair Disk button and see what happens. If unfixable errors are reported the hard drive is failing and needs to be replaced, see above for the options. If fixable errors are reported then it is possible that the repair utility will resolve the problem, however in our experience it generally means the drive will fail completely, sooner rather than later. If you plan to keep using it we strongly advise backing up any important data.

My hard drive is dying, how can I rescue my data?

This is a question we get asked a lot. How you go about it depends on what machine you have, your technical ability, and whether you have another Mac.

If you have two machines with FireWire then you can use FireWire target disk mode to connect your problematic computer to the working one, and move the data off that way - see details here. The best option is to try and move small specific amounts of data one piece at a time, starting with the most vital first, in order to maximise the chances of recovering what is most important to you.

Another way is to buy an enclosure for your old drive from us (an enclosure is a case which turns an internal drive into an external drive) and remove it from the computer, and try and move the data off onto another drive or computer that way, once again choosing small data sets for the best chance of success.

Another route, if you only have one computer, is to use a donor external hard drive. Boot the machine from the installation media that came with the machine (or using Internet Recovery if it came with 10.7 or later) and install a clean OS to the external drive. Once complete, boot from the external drive and move the data, in small pieces, to the external drive.

While we are not a data recovery specialist, we can help with low level data recovery/cloning attempts when we install a new drive, please contact us for info.

My CD/DVD drive is malfunctioning

Optical drives (CD, DVD, Bluray) can display a number of faults. Some will stop working entirely, others will stop reading and/or stop writing certain types of disks. Since optical drives, like hard drives, are mechanical devices with moving parts, these sorts of issues are not uncommon.

In some cases using a special optical disk cleaning CD can bring them back to life (try Amazon for these) but be certain that if you have a slot loading optical drive (one without a tray that ejects) you get a disk designed for this type of drive. But the chances are the optical drive has or is failing, and will need to be replaced. Approximate cost of repair is £29 - £119 + vat for the part, and £29 - £49 + vat for labour. To see the options for your specific machine, select your machine from the top navigation and find the optical drive section.

I have graphical artifacts on my Mac's display

Graphical artifacts/distortions can be caused by a number of issues, generally either a fault with the Mac's graphics card, the display, or the cabling between them.

The way to tell whether the fault is with the graphics card is simple - test it on another monitor. All modern Mac computers which have built-in displays also have the ability to output video to a second display. Attach an alternative display to the machine, and see if the problem replicates.

If the fault does not replicate then there is a fault with the display or its cabling. For machines that use an external monitor then this generally needs to be replaced. For laptops see the section of this FAQ My laptop's display keeps turning off/going dark for details. iMacs with these symptoms typically would require an LCD replacement - cable faults being much rarer than on laptops.

If the fault replicates then the fault is with your graphics card. If your machine is a Mac Pro, G5 or G4 tower, then the solution is to replace the graphics card. See the relevant page for your machine via the top navigation for compatible cards.

For MacBook Pros in the 2007-2008 range, more specifically those with Nvidia 8600M GT graphics cards, there is a known issue in that they suffer from bad solder joints on the GPU itself (Apple had a, now expired, extended warranty program for these models). This can manifest itself with graphical artifacts, a non-functioning display, or even not turning on at all. We have a specific repair service for these MacBook Pros, details of which can be seen here.

If your machine is an iMac then this can be a serious fault. iMacs with a screen size of 17 or 20" have graphics cards which are not replaceable separate to the logic board, which is very expensive to replace, normally many hundreds of pounds - it is generally not an economic repair.

iMacs with a screen size of 24" (white or aluminium) have faults which Apple has acknowledged with their graphics cards. These are discrete graphics cards, but the part cost is still very expensive for a replacement. Alternatively we have a fixed price reflow repair option, see the page here for details.

iMacs with a screen size of 21.5 / 27" have separate graphics cards, which would need to be replaced in this instance. A replacement card is in the region of £175 - £270 + vat with £78 + vat fitting, but please contact us for options.

I've been told my logic board has failed

The logic board is your Mac's motherboard. It houses all the main components of the machine and their interconnects. Symptoms of a logic board fault can be wide ranging depending on what component(s) have issues, and the seriousness can vary from something as minor as a dead USB port, to a totally non-functional machine.

If the fault is your logic board, it is the most expensive part of your computer to replace. There are no third party replacements for Apple logic boards, and costs can often be more than the machine is worth. However we have had instances where a previous company, perhaps not a Mac specialist, has informed the customer that their logic board has failed, only for us to find out that it is in fact something else. Less scrupulous places can use the logic board failure as excuse for not being able to find the cause of a problem. If your machine has been diagnosed with a logic board fault, why not give us a ring and we will see if we can confirm the diagnosis or suggest alternatives.

We also can sometimes source refurbished logic boards from machines which have failed with another fault, and these can be priced reasonably enough to make a replacement economical enough to consider.

My Mac does not turn on at all

This is a very broad area, and most times we will need to look at the machine in order to diagnose the fault, but here are some suggestions you can try at home that may isolate or even resolve the problem.

  1. Try another AC adapter, mains lead or fuse.
  2. Try removing your computers battery, if it has one, and just running it on mains power.
  3. Try removing and re-seating your memory.
  4. Try resetting the NVRAM/PRAM by holding APPLE (command), ALT (option), P and R on the keyboard when turning the Mac on. Keep the keys held down and let the machine re-start 3 times (if it does) See here for more details.
  5. Try resetting the SMC/PMU. For details on how to do this see here for Intel Macs, here for PowerBooks and iBooks, and here for PowerMacs
  6. Try disconnecting the hard drive and/or optical drive, and try turning the Mac on.

If none of the above work, then we would need to evaluate your machine to give you a cost of repair. If your machine is an iMac or a Mac Pro or PowerMac, it could well be the power supply. Rough costing is £70 - £120 + vat for the part, with labour at £39 - £78 + vat. We do also have some fixed price options - see the machine's specific page from the top navigation.

If your machine is a laptop it could be the dc-in board, for models which have them. These cost around £50 - £100 for the part, with £39 + vat labour. Once again contact us to discuss.

Faults with Mac laptops

I have spilled liquid onto my laptop. HELP!

Ok, don't panic. Do the following, quickly.

  1. Turn the computer off (hold down the power key, and click through any confirmation request) and disconnect mains power
  2. Remove the battery, if that is possible on your model. If it is not, ensure that you have completely shut the machine down.
  3. Get 3-4 pieces of kitchen roll, and put them on top of the keyboard.
  4. Close the laptop (shut the screen lid) with the kitchen roll in place, and turn the machine upside down - closing the lid allows the machine to be placed upside down, which will hopefully allow the liquid to drain.
  5. Bring / send the laptop into us as quickly as possible. We will use ultrasonic cleaning and suitable detergents to remove the liquid and microsoldering techniques to repair and damage.

Or if you don't care about the long term viability, the below is a dirty at home potential solution (NO WARRANTY OR LIABILITY FOR THE BELOW AT ALL)

  1. Disassemble the whole machine
  2. Remove the relevant stickers / pads (to prevent them soaking up cleaning solutions)
  3. Soak the logic board in 99.9% isopropyl alcohol (swish it about) - don't use anything less than 99.9%
  4. Using a toothbrush scrub (gently) the effected areas.
  5. Air dry the board on a dehumidifier
  6. Gently bake the board to dry off all the liquid (120 degrees at most)
  7. Allow the board to cool.
  8. Check the casing and other components for damage / liquid (keyboards tend to hold liquid)
  9. Plug in and take your chances!!!

Liquid in laptops causes problems in a variety of way, dependant somewhat on there where and the how much and type of liquid. The first danger is when the machine is on is that the liquid will touch and short live components and damage them. The longer term issues come when liquid dries out, in the process of drying the liquid evaporates and leave behind the corrosive elements which can corrode contact and damage a circuit.

Of course things like this tend to happen at the worst possible time, and waiting up to a week before trying a machine may mean locking vital data away when it is most needed. There are options here - for example physically removing the drive and using it on another machine via an enclosure. If you are in this position, give us a call and we can go through options with you that will get you access to your data, without the extreme risk of running power through a damp computer.

Please contact us if you would like us to look at a machine with liquid damage.

My laptop's display keeps turning off/going dark

This is another common problem, with two standard causes.

Cabling/Inverter board

Much more prevalent in the white MacBook/iBook/PowerBook ranges of machines, since each hinge on these machines carries separate inverter and LVDS cables, leaving them a risk of wear and tear. But similar problems can occur in newer machines, although more rarely.

Normally (though not always) waggling the screen back and forth will make the symptoms worse. In these instances there are 3 parts that could be at fault, the LVDS cable (which carries the video signal), the Inverter cable (which carries the power for the display) or the Inverter board (which steps up the voltage to drive the display). In some cases more than one part fails, but predominately it is one part plus labour. Costings vary by machine, but each component is approx. £20 - £40 + vat each, with one to one and a half hours to fit - for example, to repair one part in a white MacBook would be £80 + vat in total.

The later, Unibody model, laptops do not have separate cables, and have a more robust design, meaning an LCD fault is a much more likely cause of these symptoms.

LCD Fault

LCD faults can exhibit a range of symptoms, sometimes by displaying lines or graphics distortion, sometimes by going dark randomly (normally caused by the integral back light failing). As determining whether a fault is cabling or LCD related is difficult at home, we normally have to get machines exhibiting these faults in for evaluation before we are able to let you know which item is at fault. We offer fixed prices LCD replacements for many machines, pricing is around £119 + vat - £149 + vat depending on the machine. Please contact us for more details.

My laptop's screen glass has been smashed, but the image underneath seems fine

Another common request for Unibody models, which have a glass panel over the LCD. Normally this is a result of an impact or smash. The Apple authorised route is to replace the whole screen assembly, which costs approximately £300 + vat. We offer a fixed price replacement of the glass panel after removing the old panel with controlled directed heat. Please note that although every effort is made to prevent minor damage to the outer rubber rim, sometimes, due to the nature of smash it may occur. This does not affect the function and is merely cosmetic. If your smash has resulted in damage to your LCD we will contact you once the glass has been removed to discuss your options. To book this service contact us or book it online.

My laptop's screen glass has been smashed, and the image underneath is broken

This is where a more heavy impact has resulted in damage to the LCD as well as the glass. See the above section for details on the glass cost (£89 + vat fixed price). There would be no additional labour for fitting a new panel, only the part cost. Dependent on the machine an LCD panel costs between £80 and £200 + vat. Please contact us for more machine specific costs.

My trackpad has stopped working

We see a lot of these type of problems. Often the trackpad has had a liquid spill or has received an impact, meaning the part needs to be replaced. If none of those apply to you, then one thing it may be worth trying is removing your laptop's battery. The reason? A lot of computer batteries can be prone to swelling - in the case of Apple computers the battery is always directly below the trackpad - if the battery swells even a small amount, it can put pressure to the reverse of the trackpad, meaning the pad does not respond as intended. Simply remove your battery (some later mac laptops require a special 3 prong screwdriver to remove them so it may not be possible at home) and see if the fault still occurs. If it does then simply buying a new battery is all you need to do (we sell a number on our site).

If removing the battery has no effect, then almost certainly the trackpad will need replacing. The costs to do this depend on the machine in question, here are so examples:

White/Black MacBooks with removable (coin-lock) batteries.

These machines have an integral keyboard, trackpad and top case, subsequently the part cost is quite high. The approximate cost of the repair is £100 + vat for the part, and £39 + vat for fitting.

iBooks/PowerBooks

The trackpad on these is integral to the top case, although the keyboard is separate. The approximate cost of the repair is £70 + vat for the part, and £39 + vat for fitting.

Aluminium MacBook Pros

These are the models which have the silver, rather than black, keyboard. The Trackpad is integral to the top case. The approximate cost of the repair is £100 - £170 + vat for the part, and £39 + vat for fitting.

UniBody MacBooks/MacBook Pros

These machines have separate trackpads which can be replaced independently of the top case. The approximate cost of the repair is £60 + vat for the part, and £29 + vat for fitting.

Please contact us to book the repair, or for more information.

Some or all of the keys on my laptop's keyboard have stopped working

A simple and common problem frequently caused by a liquid spill, normally you get a diagonal stretch of keys that stop working. In almost all cases a keyboard replacement is required. The costs to replace depend heavily on the type of machine that it is, as some have separate keyboards while others are an integral component of the top case. Here are some example costings:

White/Black MacBooks with removable (coin-lock) batteries

These machines have an integral keyboard, trackpad and top case, subsequently the part cost is quite high. The approximate cost of the repair is £100 + vat for the part, and £39 + vat for fitting.

iBooks/PowerBooks

The keyboard on these is separate. The approximate cost of the repair is £50 - £80 + vat for the part, and £39 + vat for fitting.

UniBody MacBooks/MacBook Pros

These are deemed by Apple as part of the top case, in theory making the repair about £300. However the keyboard is replaceable separately, although there are a lot of screws (about 100) involved. The approximate cost of the repair is £39 + vat for the part, and £78 + vat for fitting.

Please contact us to book the repair, or for more information.

iMac Faults

My 17" White iMac has lines on its display

This is a very prevalent problem on the early Core Duo and Core 2 Duo 17" Intel iMacs (it does not effect the 20" or higher) which was acknowledged by Apple with an extended warranty scheme which ended in December 2012. This was a manufacturing flaw in the screens made for these machines. As such the part cost (due to very limited availability caused by high demand) is prohibitively expensive, meaning the repair cost is much more than the machine is worth. Unfortunately we cannot help with this fault beyond suggesting attaching a monitor to the machine and using that instead of the built-in display.

Other

Unlikely Repair Successes

We see a lot of very different machines with a lot of different problems coming into MacUpgrades some of which are caused by very unlikely events, below is a selection of them which we hope may help a few people. We at MacUpgrades don't like to be beaten by a non-functioning computer, and make every effort to find the source of the problem, the below are an example.

An iBook G4 with an random shutdown, normally shortly after boot up. This machine had a hard drive replaced by a customer, after installation the machine would normally but not always shutdown within a few seconds of being turned on. Another repair centre had quoted the customer on a logic board replacement of £500. The cause of this problem?

When the customer had re-assembled their computer, they had replaced the top right screw (under the keyboard) with the wrong one - one that was too long - this caused the screw to short out on the airport extreme card when powered on but only when the user put pressure on it by placing their hand in position to use the trackpad. Cost? one hour's labour - £39 + vat.

MacBook Pro Unibody with random shutdown just before login Screen. This machine came in exhibiting what was diagnosed as a power management fault (and customer quoted on a new logic board).

The machine did exhibit PMU symptoms. The machine would turn on as normal, boot through untill just before the login screen was about to show, then it shutdown. RAM and hard drive were eliminated as good, and NVRAM and SMC resets had no effect.

The cause of this problem? A short in the power button's cable - in these machines the power button is attached to the keyboard - no other keys were effected. The cause was discovered by powering the machine on, then disconnecting the keyboard ribbon - the machine would then boot through to the desktop. Solution - new keyboard, cost £78 + vat including parts and labour.

A 2009 Macbook Air with symptoms of a memory failure (no boot, beeping on start up). Since the memory is part of the main board in these machines, a repair of 500 + vat was quoted by Apple. Our engineers disassembled the machine, and reflowed the memory chips using our hot air workstations and IR heating plates. Result: a fully working repaired machine for 85 + vat.