by Jon, jon@smalldog.com

Apple offers upgrade Kits for Mac Pro, Mac Mini and PowerMac G5 with the requirement that they are to be installed by Apple Authorized service providers only. Some people, including myself (to a point), feel the prohibition against self-installation not entirely necessary. When installing Airport/Bluetooth upgrades on a Mac Pro, even a certified technician like myself can make a mistake.

Mac Pros are selling very well right now, and have the lowest DOA rate of any Apple product in a long time. We keep in stock the AIrport and Bluetooth kits, and install them for free whenever the kit is ordered with a new machine. It was my job last Thursday to install a bluetooth kit into a Mac Pro before it was turned over to UPS. I have performed this install numerous times, and was being a little nonchalant about it…after all, it’s just a card, a cable, and two screws.

All was going well until the magnetized screwdriver lost its grip on the last screw of the install. Some end users performing this install would ignore this lost screw, and use the computer as if nothing happened. What could one little screw do after all? I know better: the consequences of a conductive metal bit banging around the inside of a computer can be dire. I first started fishing for the little metallic monster with a slightly longer screw driver, but was unable to find it. More drastic measures were in order.

As an authorized service provider and a certified desktop technician, I have at my disposal the complete “take aparts” and service manuals for the all Apple computers, and the appropriate electrostatic discharge prevention equipment. The short of it is that I had to almost completely disassemble the computer in order to remove the logic board. The screw was stuck under the logic board.

This is the worst-case scenario, and can happen to anyone. If you attempt to install a part designated as not customer installable, and this happens, it can be costly to have a technician take your whole machine apart to find the lost piece. Further, if you leave the part improperly installed, or have a screw banging around, the repair of resulting failures will not be covered by your warranty!

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