Well, yes, of course there were some failures before we started testing. We had 2 people spill beverages into units, had one failure that was the logic board video chip, and some that just got too banged up in field use. Overall I'd say the reliability has been very high.
We'll look at the unit with erratic problems on Monday.
The MacBook Pro that was exhibiting the odd behaviour had managed to work it's way semi-loose from the drive connector. I used an eraser to clean off the contacts on the hard drive's connector because they looked a little oxidized and then plugged it back in. We've re-tested it twice and it's passed with no problems. I'll probably test it just one more time to convince myself the thing is fixed.
The boss said to offer these units up for sale to other employees, and much to my surprise almost all of them are being bought up. Yay!!! Little or no shipping to deal with!!!
Are readers really dying to know what we're selling them for?
The way the prices were figured were as follows:
- The "write off" value of each piece of equipment was obtained. How the accounting/tax department came up with it, I don't know.
- The net cost of labor and parts to bring these units back up to functional state (which wasn't much in most cases) is divided among all the units and added to each write off.
- An estimate for any future labor/parts for 30 days is calculated, averaged out, and then added to the cost.
To the best of my knowledge, that's it. The prices ended up being, I'd guess 20%-30% less than typical prices we see on the web. If we had to advertise, package, and ship these items, and warrant these things, the costs would have gone up quite a bit. I think the idea here isn't to make a profit, it's to break even and get the things out of our list of equipment.
....then again, I'm no accountant.
The Intel units are pretty much gone or spoken for. Some of the PPC units remain, which brings me to my next question:
A long time ago, I remember reading a thread that made mention of altering the PRAM settings to allow PPC units to boot from a USB drive. It would be useful for some of these units if we were able to do this. The questions I'd ask in this regard are:
- Is this applicable to all PPC units or just some, and if only some, which PPC units?
- Do any of the newer PPC units boot from USB without any PRAM changes?
I know I was reading an article on the web some time ago about this, and in that article, which I think I saw about 4 years ago, people seemed to be implementing this with limited success. Some systems could do it, some couldn't (or so it seemed). I can't find that artcie now and the PPC unit are now pretty much long gone.
...some of the newer 1.33GHz units and faster are surprisingly capable, considering their age and the fact they're single core.
If you decide not to do a new thread, here are some links if you haven't already done a Google search on bootable PPC units;
You will notice in one of those links that the writer makes a point that all G5 PowerMacs and iMac's could boot off of a USB port just by holding the "alt" key down during boot and selecting a USB device.
I think the USB problem can be summarized as follows:
- Some, and I mean some PPC units can boot from USB with no modifications just like Intels.
- Some of the later G4 based units can do it with PRAM modifications
- I've personally never seen it work on a G3.
The fact the results vary so radically between systems leads to a lot of sometimes confusing answers on the web. One guy will swear it's impossible because he has a unit like that in 3 above, and another guy will think that guy's a complete idiot because he holds the opt key down as in 1 above and has no problem.
It's implemented inconsistently.
I don't know if you're looking for some sort of "smoking gun" pointing at one particular flaw developing in all uniits or not. The units we tested were all at least reasonably functional when we began. I don't have an inventory of the exact numbers handy, but the units consisted of Mac Mini's, iMacs, MacBook Pro's, MacBooks, PowerBooks, and a few PowerMacs. Units went back through PPC units up to some earlier Core 2 Duo. Only a few Mac Minis had Core Solo processors.
The only units that had any consistent flaws, which quite honestly rendered them as parts donors only were several 2006 17" iMacs which all had bad screens - every single one of them. Most of them started develping problems around 2009-2010 with the screen "gone" usually within months of the detection. Some of the MacBooks seemed to have battery problems, and all of the MacBooks seemed to develop chips in their plastic cases where the protruding plastic that keeps the display off of the keyboard around the perimeter of the display made contact. The plastic seemed brittle.
Aside from that, no standouts. It would take a lot of time to post a line by line inventory of each item and problem on here, so I'm not going to do that. I'm not sure specifically what informantion you're looking for.
We replaced 5 HDs on MacBooks out of about 15 Units. Of those, 3 had real hard drive problems and in the case of the other 2 the buyers decided they wanted a bigger drive. As an FYI the way we sold stuff with bad drives or sketchy drives was to just identify them as such, sell them at a much lower price, and then allow the user to either buy their own or order it through us and we'd install it. These were all plastic MacBooks so the drive installation was a piece of cake. Apple should be doing that with all their systems.
Of the MacBook Pros we found two with suspicious cables, 3 had definite bad sectors on drives, 4 had marginal sectors on them (long, repeatable irregularities). Because HDs are so cheap nowadays if there were signs of the drive having problems we'd just replace it. We didn't try any of the Disk Utility repairs that Scannerz tells you to use. Why risk it? Seriously, we got some replacement drives for as low as $34. There were 22 of these total. We took the SATA cables out of some units with smashed displays (parts donors) to replace the cables and it seemed to work. I was sort of surprised no one wanted to upgrade to an SSD on any of these. One guy did have us put a huge 1TB drive in his system though.
One MacBook Pro was and is exhibiting strange behavior. It just flakes out with a kernel panic once in a rare while. We want to continue to observe this unit, but may toss it it or use it as a parts donor if it gets out of hand. I'd say it's happening almost hourly on average and I suspect it's video related.
With the Aluminum PowerBooks, well....they didn't do so well, but they are a lot older. First let me remind you that these units range from 2003 through 2006 so they're 7 to 10 years old already. About half of them, maybe slightly more, have bad or marginal HDs. Almost all of them had optical drive problems of some sort, ranging from only reading a few types of media to being flat out dead. In this case HD problems might be worth fixing if only because IDE drives seem harder to come by, at least at a reasonable price. A fair number of the 15" units had problems recognizing all the RAM in the system. Battery life is pretty short on all of these units.
I have absolutely no intention of replacing the ODs on 12" aluminum PowerBooks. I'd do it for a 15" unit if someone wants to give me the replacement OD, but I'm not doing it with a 12" unit...that's just too much work. If someone in our company wants to take one and do the work themselves they can have at it. That unit is a servicability nightmare.
It's really a shame too. Although some of those faster Aluminum PowerBooks can't really handle internet video, they're still fast. A 1.33Gz unit can easily handle stuff like e-mail, word processing, and basic photo editing. Considering their low cost and the fact that Leopard still remains reasonably Snow Leopard/Lion/Mountain Lion-like a working unit would be an excellent buy for either a small child or someone wanting to learn how to use a Mac without throwing a lot of money at it.
I've got one of the 1.33G units myself to play with for the time being. I'll probably use Phoenix from the Scannerz package to extract the OS onto a FireWire drive instead of relying on media.
Have you seen any correlation between the longevity of 2.5" drives vs. 3.5" drives. I've asked this question on numerous other forums but have yet to ever get an answer. Common sense tells me the 3.5" drives would long outast their 2.5" counterparts just by the shear mechanical strength in the materials.