1 2 Previous Next 17 Replies Latest reply: Apr 24, 2014 2:12 PM by somnio
dymar Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I've been having increasing difficulty getting my MacBook's speaker to work when I remove the headphone jack.

 

The speaker icon goes grey, rendering the speaker 'unavailable.'  So far, I've eventually been able to restore the speaker by jiggling the jack, but the amount of jiggling I have to do before I have success with that is increasing, and I'm expecting to get to a point where it just won't happen.

 

An Apple Store employee I spoke to, and claimed to be familiar with the problem, said that the repair for this involves replacement of the entire logic board.

 

Does anyone know whether that's accurate?

 

If so, are there any other workable fixes for this?

 

I'm not eager to replace an otherwise perfectly functioning logic board just because of a faulty headphone jack connection problem.  (In fact, given my MacBook's vintage, the fact that it's well out of warranty, and the cost of replacing a logic board, I won't even be considering doing that.)

 

Thanks.


MacBook, Mac OS X (10.6.8), 1.83 MHz
  • 1. Re: MacBook speaker disabled when headphone jack is removed
    borgeano Level 2 Level 2 (280 points)

    If you have one of the black/white Macbooks, then yes, the headphone jack is soldered onto the motherboard.

     

    Unfortunately, it sounds like the jack itself is becoming faulty, either due to the wear-and-tear associated with connecting/disconnecting a headphone cable, or due to maybe abnormal stress (very common when the cable is accidentally "pulled" to the sides while connected). Either way, the jack itself is the issue.

     

    A cheaper alternative is to get something like this (there are cheaper alternatives, depends on how fancy you're feeling)

  • 2. Re: MacBook speaker disabled when headphone jack is removed
    dymar Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    borgeano wrote:

     

    If you have one of the black/white Macbooks, then yes, the headphone jack is soldered onto the motherboard.

     

    Unfortunately, it sounds like the jack itself is becoming faulty, either due to the wear-and-tear associated with connecting/disconnecting a headphone cable, or due to maybe abnormal stress (very common when the cable is accidentally "pulled" to the sides while connected). Either way, the jack itself is the issue.

     

    A cheaper alternative is to get something like this (there are cheaper alternatives, depends on how fancy you're feeling)

     

    Thanks, but not sure I understand the value to me of the device your reply linked to.

     

    My problem is loss of the ability to use the built-in speakers when the headphones (i.e., headphone plug) are removed from the headphones jack.

     

    Wouldn't the StarTech device require having an outboard set of speakers (to be plugged in to the adapter)?

     

    Also, why is it apparently not possible to just remove the failing headphone jack and solder a new one to the existing motherboard?

  • 3. Re: MacBook speaker disabled when headphone jack is removed
    borgeano Level 2 Level 2 (280 points)

    Oops, sorry, you're correct. I had flipped the issue backwards in the process of typing the response

     

    You might be able to remove the faulty jack, though not sure if you'll be able to 1) find a like-for-like replacement component, and 2) solder it on the MLB without damaging it or other components (not doubting your soldering skills, but solder points on these boards are very close together, making it necessary to use a precision, low-power solder tip so as not to damage nearby components).

     

    If you want to try something like that, your best bet is probably to go to Ebay or Craigslist to find a non-functional MacBook (preferably something with like a broken screen, and avoid one that has had liquid damage), and try to remove the jack from it, perhaps using other connectors (USB, microphone, etc) as practice first. It might be possible to just buy the component, though with buying a whole board you also get to practice the whole process before doing it on a working computer.

     

    When all is said and done, however, you may have spent a lot more than a set of portable speakers would cost...

     

    Hope this helps, sorry for the grim tone of the post

  • 4. Re: MacBook speaker disabled when headphone jack is removed
    dymar Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    borgeano wrote:

     

    Oops, sorry, you're correct. I had flipped the issue backwards in the process of typing the response

     

    You might be able to remove the faulty jack . . . [etc.]

     

    When all is said and done, however, you may have spent a lot more than a set of portable speakers would cost...

     

    Thanks again.  I was actually referring to a 'fix' that Apple Store technicians would make.  I wouldn't attempt such an operation myself.  I'm, as they say, "not technical."

     

    I was questioning both why such a 'fix' would not be offered -- rather than requiring the entire logic board to be replaced -- and (by implication) a design that requires a major component replacement rather than a 'simple fix.'

  • 5. Re: MacBook speaker disabled when headphone jack is removed
    borgeano Level 2 Level 2 (280 points)

    Understood. Not sure either, but I'm sure it has to do with the fact that Genius Bar appointment have to be kept at 15min or less... If they had to whip out the soldering iron at the counter, that might delay things a bit for everyone else

     

    In all seriousness, though, it's a matter of capabilities. As I mentioned above, soldering a component in a modern Logic Board is no easy task, and the facilities that are able to do such repairs have very specific equipment to aid in the process. On top of that, an audio jack is a relatively "easy" component to fix... "easy" in comparison to, say, troubleshooting which component is making the logic board shut off intermittently, finding the component, and replacing it. Those repairs would take hours to troubleshoot and fix, hours to test, and that's on top of the hours of training required for the technicians ... Etc. It's just not practical. That's why computer technicians (Mac or PC) at 99.9% of common computer repair shops don't solder components, but rather replace boars.

  • 6. Re: MacBook speaker disabled when headphone jack is removed
    noondaywitch Level 6 Level 6 (8,130 points)

    Attempting to solder anything on a modern logic board with normal soldering irons will destroy the board. Components these days are soldered with very local heating by vibrating tips. These are not normally hand-held either - they're part of a toolset.

  • 7. Re: MacBook speaker disabled when headphone jack is removed
    dymar Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks.  Actually, I've never had a Genius Bar appointment repair done 'at the appointment.'  It's always involved leaving the computer.

     

    I may not have correctly understood the remainder of your message, but it appeared to support the notion that customers should have to pay for logic board replacements for simple fixes (such as 'audio output jacks') in order to keep things easy for the technicians (rather than inexpensive for customers).  I can't say I agree with that.

  • 8. Re: MacBook speaker disabled when headphone jack is removed
    Shawn Woods Level 1 Level 1 (135 points)

    dymar-  I know you are looking for a permanent fix, but it doesn't look like that will be too easy.  Myself, I keep a matchstick handy because the wood end is just the right size and works well to move around til you can trigger that red light to go off in the jack. 

     

    Just a thought, although sometimes I get tired of doing it...

  • 9. Re: MacBook speaker disabled when headphone jack is removed
    dymar Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I keep a matchstick handy because the wood end is just the right size and works well to move around til you can trigger that red light to go off in the jack. 

     

    Just a thought, although sometimes I get tired of doing it...

     

    Thanks. For the time being, I can still get the speaker back by jiggling the headphones plug.  But, like you, "sometimes I get tired of doing it".  And the number of jiggles required is unpredictable and seems to be growing.

     

    I had also seen the following remedy, which unfortunately has not worked for me.  Maybe you'll have better luck.  Then you can retire your matchsticks.

     


    Is there a red light coming out of your headphone jack? If so the Mac is stuck in optical audio mode.

    Try plugging in/unplugging headphones or the following longer steps:

    1. Plug your headphones back in.
    2. Play a bit of sound through them (e.g., a song), then stop the sound.
    3. Make sure Preferences is quit.
    4. Launch Preferences and open the Sound pane.
    5. While the Sound pane is open and set to Headphones, pull out the headphone plug from the jack.
    6. It will reset itself to "Internal Speakers" and you are good to go.

     

    URL . . . https://josephhall.org/nqb2/index.php/stuckonmute

  • 10. Re: MacBook speaker disabled when headphone jack is removed
    Shawn Woods Level 1 Level 1 (135 points)

    I have not tried that, but will next time! 

     

    The reason I use the matchstick is because if I use a headphone plug/jack there isn't any room for it to move around and I'm afraid of loosening the jack or damaging something.

  • 11. Re: MacBook speaker disabled when headphone jack is removed
    dymar Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Shawn Woods wrote:

     

    I have not tried that, but will next time! 

     

    The reason I use the matchstick is because if I use a headphone plug/jack there isn't any room for it to move around and I'm afraid of loosening the jack or damaging something.

     

    Post back here if it works for you.  You'd think, from the detailed steps, that it would.  Maybe it's OS version-dependent.

     

    Can you describe how you "move around" the wooden matchstick inside the jack?

     

    That is, how far do you stick it in, and what kind of motion do you use to get the 'red light' to turn off?

     

    I ask because when using the headphone plug to do the same, I've thought it was a matter of getting the plug tip far enough in to do the triggering that turns the red light off.  Your description of using the matchstick, however, seems to suggest that you kind of grind it around inside the jack using more of a circular motion, which makes it appear that the sensor (to get the red light to turn off) isn't directly in-line with the plug.

  • 12. Re: MacBook speaker disabled when headphone jack is removed
    Shawn Woods Level 1 Level 1 (135 points)

    I put the matchstick in all the way without pushing hard against the end.  Then, you are correct that I use a circular motion to trigger it.  It seems like the issue is that one headphone plug I have is a little longer and always gets the optical setting stuck on.  But in short, I push it up against all of the sides and move it around until the red light goes off.  I haven't exactly figured out just where the sensor. 

  • 13. Re: MacBook speaker disabled when headphone jack is removed
    dymar Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Shawn Woods wrote:

     

    I put the matchstick in all the way without pushing hard against the end.  Then, you are correct that I use a circular motion to trigger it.  It seems like the issue is that one headphone plug I have is a little longer and always gets the optical setting stuck on.  But in short, I push it up against all of the sides and move it around until the red light goes off.  I haven't exactly figured out just where the sensor. 

     

    Thanks.  I take it the Joseph Hall method (getting the speaker back solely via Preferences, using the 6 steps mentioned in an earlier post) didn't work for you either?

     

    (Sooner or later the 'matchstick method' seems likely, if not certain, to create its own wear-&-tear problem with the jack.  So a 'software' solution would, if available, be preferable in my opinion.)

  • 14. Re: MacBook speaker disabled when headphone jack is removed
    Shawn Woods Level 1 Level 1 (135 points)

    I did try the 6 step method 2 days ago but it didn't work.  Planning on trying it again later though in case I didn't do it right.  I was in a hurry.  I agree that a software option would be great!

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