Repair Stories

Marcel Musee’s MacGyvered Mac Mini

Marcel Musee wrote in to tell me about an unconventional repair he made on his Mac Mini—proof that you don’t always need high-tech tools to fix high-tech equipment.

Mac Mini opened up for repair

While upgrading to 8 GB of memory, Marcel accidentally broke one of the retainer clips holding the memory sticks in place. The Mini started beeping five times a minute, apparently to warn him that the memory was misaligned. When he took it to Apple’s Genius Bar, they tried taping the sticks in place, but the beeping continued.

Finally, Marcel removed the memory cards, sanded down the contacts on the cards and their slot with an emory board, and wedged some plumber’s tape into the space. His MacGyvered bracket worked; the annoying beeping stopped!

In the video below, he demonstrates his repair.

RAM retainer clips like this are standard to a lot of devices and are fairly easy to break. If you happen to break one in the process of getting into your device, you might try Marcel’s technique: ensure a smooth connection between the card and your computer by sanding down the contacts, and hold the memory in place with some kind of bracket. Plumber’s tape makes a nice jury-rigged bracket due to its thinness and rigidity, though we have some concerns about using conductive metal—perhaps wrap it in electrical tape.

Do you have any ideas for a better ad hoc bracket? If you do, take photos of your process. We’d love to have a a user-submitted step-by-step guide to help future people with this problem.

Have you made an unconventional repair recently? Tell me about it.