I had the wonderful opportunity to perform a surgical procedure on my mobile studio this evening, and by mobile studio I mean my trusty Macbook Pro.  A few months ago, my trusty studio took an unfortunate cliff dive off of a shelf with a cable in the left side USB port.  Sadly, the USB cable was no longer attached when I arrived on the scene to render medical assistance, and in its place was the mangled, twisted wreckage of one-time pristine I/O port.  I tried to revive the USB port, but even after bringing out the paddles, it refused to live, so I’ve had to exist with only one functioning USB port on the right side.  Most of the time this is not an issue, but occasionally, like when I’m lying in bed and I wish to have my monitor pre-amp plugged in, I need the left side USB.

I finally decided that it was time to do something about  the dead port so I started searching for a place to repair my wounded studio and I stumbled upon a website called iFixit.  I now love this site.  Not only did they have the replacement part I needed, they also had well photographed, step-by-step instructions on how to fix it myself.  After mulling over the costs for a couple of days, $130 including I/O board, tools, and freight, I decided to take the plunge and attempt open-case surgery on my laptop.  Parts ordered Thursday, and after waiting anxiously all day, parts delivered on Friday.

The kitchen table was already sequestered for random junk, so I decided to create a makeshift M*A*S*H facility on my bed.  I had ample light, a laid out light blue pillow case as a place for equipment and parts, and a quick borrowing of an IVAR shelf from my studio rig made for a solid surgical bed.  Now I wa ready to open up the patient.

Even though I’ve not had any previous reservations about opening up and working on any other computer I’ve owned, I was apprehensive about this one.  A laptop, where every nook and cranny is utilized, is quite different from the seemingly expansive insides of a desktop G3 or even my iMac.  Thankfully the well written instructions from iFixit made the operation a piece of cake.  Apparently, replacing the left I/O board is one of the most time intensive and difficult medical procedures on a MacBook Pro, but moving ahead slowly and deliberately for each step had the entire process done in about one hour, and that was with a couple of pauses to go check NCAA basketball tourney scores. (Go Wolverines and Zags!)

After surgery was complete, I fired up the laptop, started Logic, and plugged a midi controller into the now mended USB port.  I pressed a pad on the controller and the sound of moving electrons emitted from the speakers of my laptop.  Surgery was a success!

I am very happy with my new I/O ports, and even though I won’t be wary of mending my laptop again, I hope I don’t have to.