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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

MacBook - Well, looks like I've been hit by the headphone jack issue


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walkerj

 
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So I'm on a trip, and suddenly my sound goes out. Volume control shows a circle with a bar through it, and occasionally if I plug in headphones or external speakers everything comes back, at least for the headphones or external speakers. Otherwise it's intermittent.

There's a red light shining through the headphone jack and after many web searches it would appear that this is a common problem. My Macbook is a circa early 2006 2.0Ghz model. Appointment with the Geniuses at the Apple Store, they see it, try the standard fixes, no joy. So I'm getting a new logic board. This will take four days. Bummer. At least the tech recognized it for what it was and accepted it for fixing no other questions asked. They have the part, but because it's a busy Apple store and they have to tear the machine apart that's how long it will take.

I'm posting this from the backup Mac Mini (PPC, 1.2 Ghz, 512MB RAM.) I took the opportunity to upgrade it from Tiger to Leopard, which did not go well. Had to archive and install since the upgrade resulted in the blue screen. But at least this Mac Mini (PPC though it might be and devoid of all that sweet, sweet, RAM) is equipped with built-in wireless and bluetooth. So my wireless works with it just fine, as do my Apple bluetooth keyboard and mouse. Also the external monitor is just like I was using with my Macbook, with the exception of not having an auxiliary monitor since a Mini doesn't come with any monitor at all.

I guess the moral of the story is have a backup Mac just in case you have to take your notebook in for repair. I have to set some things up on this machine (it was my wife's previous primary computer until I got her a Macbook) but it's nice to still be able to be online, and with Leopard to boot.
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alexknibb

 
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That's a bummer, but at least you've got a backup mac.

When I take my MBP in to get a new Airport card soon, I'll have to use my old PC which arbitrarily crashed about every 15 minutes. Worse than that, though, it runs Windows.

PS. I've not used a Macbook, but I suspect the red light is normal, and is the optical digital output. You probably knew that, but just thought I'd mention it in case loads of people looked in their headphone sockets and freaked out!
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visualpurple

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexknibb View Post
PS. I've not used a Macbook, but I suspect the red light is normal, and is the optical digital output. You probably knew that, but just thought I'd mention it in case loads of people looked in their headphone sockets and freaked out!
Seeing the red light when headphones are not plugged in is NOT normal; it is indicative of this problem. The red light should only come on when headphones are actually plugged in (thus you should never see it).
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alexknibb

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by visualpurple View Post
Seeing the red light when headphones are not plugged in is NOT normal; it is indicative of this problem. The red light should only come on when headphones are actually plugged in (thus you should never see it).
Learn something new every day, that's quite clever actually. Which is just as well, because it's astonishing how much I'm forgetting these days. My CD player runs the red light constantly, so that's why I thought it might be normal, but I suppose that never has to run off batteries.

Thanks for clearing that up!
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walkerj

 
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Yeah, apparently there is a microswitch in there that is triggered by inserting a jack. It gets worn, so when you take your headphones/external speakers out it doesn't switch it off. Hence the red light you shouldn't see because there would be a jack in there. Standard fix is to stick a headphone jack in and out to try to reset the worn switch, which the Genius did. Said he saw it (even though it "fixed" itself right there on the bench, as the red light went out) and that was all he needed. Still waiting for my Macbook, still posting from my backup Mac. Thank the gods for the backup Mac.

Yet another reason why one might want to spring for that Apple Care. It's paid for itself several times over now. Not saying anything about the quality of Macbooks, just that they get used, and things get worn. If you have it it's really nice to be able to go in, have them replace a Really Expensive Part, and keep on rockin'!
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walkerj

 
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Member Since: Feb 13, 2005
Location: New Orleans, LA, USA
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Well, just got back from the Apple Store, and boy was I glad I got that Apple Care. The repair (replace logic board to fix that tiny little headphone jack) would have been $US 890.63 for the part, and $US 135 for the labor for a whopping $US 1025.63! All for a little headphone jack. Jeez, you can get a whole new one refurbed at the same specs for less than that cost!

For me, however, it was only the cost of the gas/tolls to get to the store and back, and a couple of days with the Mac Mini in the meantime. The repair and parts were free!

Between this and a couple of other repairs Apple Care has paid for itself several times over for both my Macbook and my wife's (screen inverter, don't recall how much that would have been but I'm sure it would have been pretty pricey.)

In the meantime I was able to get our spare Mini up to Leopard (bought the family pack; this would be Mac number two) and test that Adobe CS2 works okay with it. This means I can probably work an upgrade in for my wife at some time. Like she cares; she'd be happy using Tiger forever, but sometimes I miss certain things when I have to use her computer for whatever reason (oh, right no Spaces, Dock looks kind of funny, stuff like that.)
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