Noisy MacBook: Mooing gone, but now squeaking

A lot has happened since the last update to my ongoing MacBook saga. I’ll try to make this as brief as possible, but it’s a long story… and still isn’t over.

After taking the MacBook to the Apple Store, the Mac Genius confirmed that it had major internal problems and that I would need to send my MacBook to Apple to have repairs done. He even said that he had a “normal” black MacBook and that his power adapter charged quietly and cool, and that his fan comes on and stays on to cool his MacBook without any mooing. Congrats, buddy.

So, I called Apple and set up the return. They received my MacBook on July 7th. On Tuesday, July 18th, my online repair status still said “Parts on order.” Great. Nearly two weeks and my MacBook is just sitting around waiting on parts. I called Apple Support to see what was up. The woman said she was very sorry and that she was putting me on some sort of priority list where they would locate the parts within 48 hours or they would discuss “other options” with me if they couldn’t find them. She basically said that because of the large amount of MacBook repairs going on right now that parts were scarce.

On Thursday, July 20th, my repair status jumped to “Repair completed” and then “Pending shipment.” Awesome. All of my “unacceptable” comments finally worked. Then this morning at my door, the FedEx man cheerily handed me my MacBook, which was shipped via FedEx Air late last night. I put the iPod news on hold and ripped open the box to once again set up my black beauty. I first looked at a piece of paper with the service details on it. I’m not sure what all they replaced, but it sure looks like a lot. I can make out words like fan, heatsink, 2.0GHz, and (strangely) camera.


But as I triumphantly opened the lid of the MacBook, I heard something I had never heard before. Not a moo this time, but a loud, high-pitched squeak. Ugh. Apparently, the brainiac technician who replaced all the parts didn’t put the case back together correctly or bothered to test the MacBook before shipping it back. Either he tightened something too tight or just didn’t get all the panels to seat correctly. The screen hinge is rubbing against the bottom part of the MacBook every time you open or close it. Or when you just barely adjust the angle of the screen. Or when you’re walking around with the MacBook and the screen moves back and forth a little with each step. Want to hear how annoying it is? Here’s a recording of the squeaking I made. You may have to turn up your volume a bit—I used the poor, built-in mic on my PowerBook to record it.

The good news is that the power adapter is charging without any excess heat (though it’s still making a noise—just not as loud as before) and I’m pretty sure the mooing is completely gone—I actually heard a fan come on and stay on for about 5 minutes (woo hoo!). I now have a super squeaky MacBook that runs correctly. But I can’t stand the noise. And no, I’m not going to try WD-40 or risk taking it apart myself.

Back on the phone with Apple Support today, the woman told me to call my local Apple Store to see if they can fix the squeak in the store so I don’t have to send it back in again. They can’t. They said that MacBooks are a pain to take apart and that they would have to send it off to Apple just like I would (just for a squeaky screen!). So I called back Apple Support and arranged for another pickup. My MacBook should be heading back to Apple either tomorrow or Monday. Hopefully, they’ll fix the squeak and I’ll have an animal noise-free laptop.

So let’s recap: It’s been over month since I bought my MacBook and have still yet to use it as my main machine. It’s felt hotter than the sun, made power adapters noisy and scarily warm, and has sounded like both a cow and a mouse. I’ve tried three power adapters, made two Apple Store trips, called Apple Support 9 times, and will be sending the MacBook in for repairs at least twice. Not cool.

Please don’t think I’m just a whiney consumer. I’m the definition of an Apple fanboy. I have four iPods, three Macs, and a trail of hand-me-down Apple gear that family and friends now cherish. I’ve written about the company nearly every day for four years. I even have a picture of Steve Jobs overlooking me from my office wall. I want the company to succeed. But this is by far the worst experience I’ve ever had with an Apple product. I know I was pretty much asking for problems when I ordered a first-generation model, but come on, it’s 2006. Apple should have this whole building computers thing down after 30 years, right?

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