New speakers

My personal computer is a mid-2015 15" MacBook Pro. It's straight up jurassic in web developer years, but it still gets the job done with aplomb—and, thanks to Apple's generous update scheme, continues to receive OS updates to this day.

It also comes from before the days of Apple's mania for thinness, which means that most of the internal components are still just screwed down and plugged in. Still, when the speakers started to fail a few months ago, a brief look at iFixit's 43-step speaker replacement guide had me quaking in my nascent tinkerer's boots.

Sam, however, unable to bear the fuzz and distortion every time I tried to watch a video, demanded I buy a pair of replacement speakers (£15 on eBay) and sort it out stat.

One delivery and a whole lot of unscrewing later, we had almost every removable component—short of the battery and the trackpad controller board—out of the top case and spread across our dining table.

Before reassembly, we took a brush to the individual parts to remove as much dust as we could. I think we did a passable job. Then back together the whole kit & kaboodle went, with much sweat & labour, hands gingerly re-seating cables and fastening screws along the way.

Booting it up for the first time, we heard no familiar Mac chime, but then: the Apple logo on the screen, the login page, and then—the desktop. I opened Spotify and played a song: no fuzz, no distortion. The speakers aren't fantastic quality, but they're infinitely better than the ones they replaced. And clearing all the dust has done wonders for heat management—the computer's running a full 10-15°C cooler at idle than it was before.

I'm actually pretty proud of myself. Hitherto I thought of myself as someone who could probably do light tinkering work on computers—who could maybe assemble a tower at a pinch. But I had this computer almost totally apart and got it all back together again with almost no drama. Gives me confidence to sort out anything else that comes up down the line, and at least another couple years of smugly telling people how old my daily driver is.

Tech Tinkering



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