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LanceJ's A1342 MacBook Advisor

I repair A1342 MacBooks, and so I know them quite well.  They can be wonderful machines, even in 2018.  Here is my advice for the diagnosis and repair of the A1342 series of machines.
Brief Overview The A1342 is the only polycarbonate Unibody MacBook.  There are two revisions: late 2009, and mid-2010.  Both revisions share the same parts, except for the logic board's CPU and some other very minor changes.  The machine's general design (and performance) is very similar to the 2010 MacBook Pro. The A1342 series was discontinued in early 2012.
No-Start / Dead Machine This is almost always due to liquid ingress through the keyboard.  Often times water will kill the keyboard, but everything else will be just fine.  The best way to check it out is to remove the back cover and try to start the machine using the jumper pads.

The jumper pads vary by logic board, but there are two small square solder pads near the keyboard connector.  I'll add a photo soon.
Reliability issues / Cra…

Dustbuster Switch Repair

My Dustbuster vacuum - a CHV-1410, gets a lot of use.  We use it several times per day, every day.  It is a workhorse.

Sadly, it was becoming unreliable.  It would be fully charged, and I'd hit the switch and maybe it would begin to start and then stop, or it would lurch and stop - or maybe it would do nothing.
At first I thought it was the battery, but then I found that by carefully wiggling the switch I was sometimes able to get the vacuum to work.  All that on-off action over the months made the switch unreliable.

Instead of throwing away the otherwise perfectly good vacuum, I decided to replace the worn switch.

The one part needed: A $5 Switch I am happy to report that the specific switches used in the Dustbuster are commodity items that are manufactured by many firms and can be purchased on-line for under $5.

There seems to be two types of switches used, based on the charging mechanism:
For the Lithium models (CHV-1410L), I notice that there are only two conductors are attach…

Repairing an HP Pavillion DV6 Motherboard

Here's my procedure on how to remove and replace the logic board of an HP Pavilion DV6.

My model is a DV6-3122US, and many DV6s of the 3000 series are similar.

These machines often fail to start due to a motherboard failure.  With a motherboard failure, upon pressing power the fan will first spin and the power light comes on.  The capslock key will flash white once every 4 seconds, and the f12 key will stay a solid orange, and the screen - although powered up - displays black only.

Although the caps lock "single blink" indicator at boot implies a CPU failure, in my experience it is not due to the CPU itself but the supporting components on the motherboard. The only solid solution is to repair or replace the motherboard.  Replacement boards are readily available.  I bought one and replaced it myself.
Disassembly Procedure NOTE: The screws are different sizes, and its important to reinstall them correctly.  I color-coded the different screws in the photos below and refer t…

Nest Smart Thermostat Stupidity

Smart Thermostats are stupid.  $250 for what amounts to a $30 thermostat with $10 of extra smarts and a $180 display is simply insane.  Then you add the installation costs and security risks and the risk that it will become useless within 15 years and it becomes clear that Smart Thermostats are a very very stupid investment.

I have new approach.  I call it the Better Smart thermostat.  It costs the same as today's inexpensive "dumb" Programmable thermostats, but has 100% of the capabilities of the Nest.

Take today's $30 thermostat and keep it as a regular, simply-programmable thermostat.  It has a temperature sensor, a display, and some relays for turning the systems on and off.  Then add BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) to give it the ability to get hints from an external device.

That's it.  No fancy display.  No special wiring.  No 802.11n.  It uses BLE, so it can use regular AA batteries.

But with BLE on-board, some significant opportunities emerge.  Now the thermo…

Apple-Supplied MacBook Battery Weight Matters

How much should a MacBook battery weigh?  Great question!  I buy a lot of aftermarket batteries for MacBooks, and judging by weight, it is clear that 3rd party batteries are lighter than the originals.

That means that the aftermarket batteries simply cannot provide as much power.
Analysis: There are three parts to a battery:
The housingThe management electronicsThe lithium cells So let's think of everything that makes up a battery except the lithium cells: It seems like a good bet that a genuine Apple battery's housing and electronics has about the same weight as an aftermarket battery.  For argument's sake, let's say that a battery unit weights 100 grams PLUS the weight of the cells.

That implies that a lighter battery has smaller (or fewer) cells!

For example, I have a genuine MacBook battery that weights 364 grams.  My aftermarket battery weighs 270 grams.  Assuming that 100 grams is for non-cell componentry, that means the genuine battery has 264 grams of cells ver…

Repairing a MagSafe Charger's Cord

Apple MacSafe power adapters can get a lot of use, and their cords are quite robust.  But they do fail, leading to no function or poor reliability.

Cats chew on them.  They get wound tightly very often.  They get yanked and tripped over.  And they get pinched by doors and furniture.

All this abuse can ruin the MagSafe cable.  The power brick itself is usually fine, but the cord needs repairing.

In this article, I show how to repair a MagSafe cord.

Here, we see a Magsafe cord with damage.  We're going to make it right again for just a little amount of effort.

A Soldering Iron kit, like this one, including a low-wattage soldering iron, rosin-core Solder, and wire strippersHeat shrink tubingOne Soldering Sleeve, appropriate for 22 or 24 AWG wireHeat gun (optional) Process:

1. Using wire cutters, cut the cable, removing the flawed section.  The flawed area might be obvious due to a tear or a bite mark.

2. Slide a roughly 2 inch piece of heat shrink tubing over one of the wir…

The $18000 cup of coffee

$1 a day is a lot of money.It's $365 a year.Estimating that you pay an average of 15% interest on your credit card, you'll pay $420 a year for that $365 dollar a year cost. Do you pay wage taxes?  Assuming 30% taxes, that means you need to earn $600 in your paycheck to cover that $420 a year financial expense.Adding it all up over ten years, you need $6000 to pay for $1 per day So remember:
the $8 dollar sandwich instead of the $7 sandwich costs you $6000.the $3 coffee instead of the free cup of water costs you $18000.Next Steps

The next step is to start getting cheap.  Stop buying ANY stuff that isn't needed, and skip extra expenses.  Take any savings and pay off  debts.  Once debts are gone, there is a lot more money to spend.