Monday, August 16, 2010


Update: I've had several questions/comments about the fact that it's full of duct tape. I'll just say that at the moment it's still very much a work in progress and the tape works well for holding things in place and is also it also holds the universe together so whatever can do that can't be half bad now can it ;). The motherboard is held in place by screws but that's about it.

Things still left to do:
1) cut a hole in the back for the power switch
2) re-route the bluetooth antenna.
3) lower everything by about 5mm (it's a nice height but can be lower still)
4) route an extension cable for sound
5) re-attach the USB port side
6) secure the trackpad and keyboard in place.
7) general tidy up and neaten things off.

I'd like to be able to keep the keyboard and trackpad separable. Once the fun of this little project is over I'd like to have them usable on my iMac (although I prefer the wired keyboard with the numpad)...after all, it's no longer a laptop. It's a desktop and an underpowered one at that (although according to geekbench  it will give a dual G5 powermac a run for its money...for whatever that's worth). I doubt it will be used much beyond internet/email....maybe as an AppleTV replacement or something but that's about it I'd think.

Oh...and as to why I chose to pull it apart instead of getting it repaired, potentially for free, by Apple? Simply because it was written off so would have been junked anyway and hacking it is more fun then sending it away. I wasn't confident Apple would repair it for free anyway (under the "dodgy macbook air hinge" excuse)...although technically all the pieces 'could' be put back together if I could remember where all the screws go. If Apple want to replace a bucket of parts for free I'm happy to sent it to them :)


  1. Can I ask you, how do you get the macbook air inner hardware to start on an external monitor?

    I changed the hinges because they broke, it was fine for awhile and when I put the bezel back on I apparantly crushed the LCD cable, all that is left is the white screen of death when I turn it on, however on external monitor, nothing shows up...

    Any suggestions what I should do?

  2. I dont think you should keep the keyboard and mouse separable, they are bluetooth capable just make it keep it all together and since the finished product is the size of a portable keyboard, you can always bluetooth connect it to your imac when not used as a desktop.

  3. omi - Not sure. My one has always started on the external monitor from the get go. Although I suspect if you find a way to trip the sensor that identifies if the lid is closed or not you should be right. That or there is another problem and you'll have the white screen of death on an external monitor as well.

    blas - That's a good point :)

  4. I was wondering, as it is right now, you're using the magsafe for power. Did you incorporate the battery in the build? Wouldn't want to be around when you accidentally jank out the magsafe.

  5. stefaan - I did that yesterday :D It turns off real quick.

    The battery is big though...I've thought about it and would like to have some battery power in there if only for maintaining the RTC and PRAM but haven't got that far yet.

  6. I guess it isn't causing you any problems, but you would be surprised how conductive duct tape can be....

  7. omi - If the Air is like my late 2008 Macbook Pro, the laptop lid has to be closed in order for it to output to an external display by default. I learned this when I was using my Macbook Pro with my Samsung LCD via DVI during a time when my proper desktop computer was non-functional. With the Macbook connected via DVI and powered off, I would push the power button and immediately close the lid. This, of course, necessitates the use of an external keyboard and mouse (I used a Microsoft Bluetooth kit, but USB works as well). I thought Bart's answer might have helped, but wanted to offer my personal experience to clarify, if possible.

    Bart - great project, very interesting work you've done thus far! Keep it up, and best of luck!

  8. Thank you Erik & Bart, that worked!!!!

    However, after being stuck in whitescreen with apple logo, I went into single user mode and fsck -fy returned a disk0s2 I/O error... seems like the HD is bananas, but i still think its the LCD cable.... :D

  9. I don't know if this question's been asked or if I have missed something (I have read through your entire project to date).

    Doesn't the keyboard and trackpad need to be kept seperable so that you can change the batteries when they 'eventually' die? (Or are you going to hack them so they are powered from the internal battery & power supply?)

  10. Noorms - keyboard and trackpad are (will be) easily removable.