MacBook Pro running hot on Linux?

Managed to get Linux dual booting on an old but high spec’ed MacBook Pro using rEFInd. This was the second time I had Linux on the same machine and i’m still puzzled why the laptop runs cool to touch in macOS but quite warm in Linux.

I had disabled the discrete AMD Radeon GPU which caused display problems in macOS, via nvram.

$ nvram fa4ce28d-b62f-4c99-9cc3-6815686e30f9:gpu-power-prefs=%01%00%00%00

I’ve also reloaded AMDRadeonX3000.kext on login via the following:

$ sudo kextload /System/Library/Extensions-off/AMDRadeonX3000.kext

High Sierra boots up perfectly with the laptop running relatively cool.

But this was not the same for Linux…

I’ve loaded lm-sensors which shows Linux regularly hitting 80+ Celsius while laptop fans spun at 2000 rpm (default speed). Something wrong there, don’t you think?

BTW, I’m monitoring the temperature of CPU cores and the fan speed using sensors

$ watch -n 1 sensors

I decided something needs to be done to bring up the internal fan speed – looking around found tlp.

tlp stands for TLP (duh!) and can be found in many distribution’s repositories. I used this to change the radeon power profile and dpm states by changing the states from default to low.

From /etc/default/tlp

RADEON_POWER_PROFILE_ON_AC=low

RADEON_POWER_PROFILE_ON_BAT=low

RADEON_DPM_STATE_ON_AC=low

RADEON_DPM_STATE_ON_BAT=low

RADEON_DPM_PERF_LEVEL_ON_AC=low

RADEON_DPM_PERF_LEVEL_ON_BAT=low

Followed by restarting tlp with

$ sudo systemctl restart tlp.service

No change to the internal fan speed of 2000 rpm. 🙁

After some googling, I loaded macfanctld.

Right off the bat, sensors started to show the correct fan speed. By pushing additional load (multiple Youtube and Vimeo channels) on the laptop, I can hear the fans working harder and sensors is showing higher internal fan speed.

But this still hadn’t brought the temperature of the MacBook Pro to macOS level of temperature. I’ll continue to update this once i find out why and how.

Gillette ProGlide Repair

I received a Gillette ProGlide which stopped functioning after couple years. Recently it resurfaced after a house clean-up. It had a leaking AAA battery which was removed and disposed off. With the gunky remainder, I squeezed out juice, from a lemon hiding in the fridge, onto a cotton bud then rigorously swabbed until the innards were clean.

It still didn’t power up. 🙁

Then i thought of disassembling the entire device. I found the two metal clips on the blue holder, seen only by removing the end cap. By pushing the two metal clips inwards, the entire motor and switch assembly can now be removed.

Pulled out the entire metal assembly to find the following:

Figure 1. Disassembled ProGlide

The blue pushdown switch in the centre of the PCB is the on-off switch. Sticking in a fresh AAA battery, the motor on top, spun continuously until the switch was depressed again.

So this works!

Reassembling was pretty easy. The ProGlide did not require the two metal clips to be put back into place, as the bulbous end cover held the entire assembly tight. I just made sure the motor and switch assembly could slide into the housing. Rather effortless.

Then tested the razor assembly one last time by pressing the blue switch before covering the hole with the silicone button.

Figure 2. Entire assembly

Razor assembly repaired! 🙂

Updating to Mojave 10.14.4 on an unsupported Apple hardware

I am running 10.14.3 on an unsupported Apple hardware. macOS 10.14.4 update showed up on the App Store Updates for quite a while now. I had the opportunity to update to 10.14.4 rather early this morning before skipping out for training. Popped by the mac couple times and before realising the mac hung after a reboot.

I relied on dosdude1’s Mojave Patcher as this mac hardware was no longer supported by Apple. I somehow skipped checking his page for the latest news on 10.14.4, and this turned around and hit me squarely in the face.

-> Dosdude1’s patcher page indicated the 1.30 patcher tool needs to be installed before updating to 10.14.4. <-

Drats! Training called and I had to leave. I was mulling over this problem and googling to no help – It is very no one tried updating to 10.14.4 WITHOUT dosdude1’s 1.30 patch.

Just not long ago, I bit the bullet and applied the 1.30 patch over the currently non-functioning partition. After 32 minutes and applying the dosdude1’s Post Install drivers, the mac booted up. [Hooray!]

I quickly ran a check and all seemed fine except 10.14.4 was not applied and the mac remained on 10.14.3.

I’ll keep the mac on 10.14.3 until this weekend.

Repairing an unbootable Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro

Updating this blog after a busy weekend. I came into possession of a Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro ultralight which could not boot up. The BIOS showed the stock 256 GB SSD was not recognized – uh oh not a good sign.

Quickly went to Sim Lim to pick up a replacement (and one with a larger space) mSata SSD – Samsung  850 EVO 500 GB and prepared for the operation.

Something at the back of my head was stopping me from replacing the SSD, so I thought to give another spin on the repair bandwagon. After some mucking around, I managed to resuscitate the Y2P, not after downloading a Windows 8.1 ISO (its free to download but you will need to key in a serial number if you are doing a bare metal install) from Microsoft.

The magic is found within the Repair Options -> Command Line in the Windows 8.1 thumbdrive.

c:\> bootrec /FixMbr
c:\> bootrec /FixBoot
c:\> bootrec /RebuildBcd

The Y2P started to boot up normally. I was able to log into the Windows 8.1 desktop.

All’s well.

Expand iPhone storage using a OTG storage device

I saw a colleague using an OTG storage device to transfer a zip file from the Android phone to the laptop. Thought that I could find something similar for the iPhone.

Turns out that you can access Photos and Videos on the iPhone only. Made sense because Apple would be providing base filesystem access which is disallowed by the sandbox.

Sandisk OTG iXpand Flash Drive

Another easy Saturday (wireless mouse cleaning)

Went to the library to study in the morning, followed by lunch at Fortune Centre and coffee at Mellower (hipster joint, I know).

Recrimped 1 x RJ45 cable and researched for a wireless mouse to replace the two I currently have. Both wireless mouse have scrolling problems (missed scrolls)

Just as I was about to hit Pay on the online website, a thought came across. Why don’t I try cleaning the scroll wheel on the mouse? So I gathered the tools:

  1. Screwdriver,
  2. Denatured Alcohol,
  3. Can of compressed air.

Opened up the mouse and removed the scroll wheel assembly. Surprisingly clean, despite it going places and more than 8 years old. (Dangling white connector – I’ve removed the two-wire connector from the base PCB)

Removed the scroll wheel and wiped the wheel slits clean. The slits triggers a counter in mouse programming to keep track on the number of clicks, thereby translating it to scrolls.

Did you note a possible JTAG header where the ribbon ends? 🙂

Cleaning the scroll wheel with Denatured alcohol on cotton buds and a few blast of compressed air helped to remove the minute debris stuck in-between the slits.

Note the white connectors from the outer shell connected back to the base PCB. A quick test after cleaning and saved another $40 under 10 minutes of work.

Very Naise.

Replacing a frayed Apple charging cable – (Part 4)

ATTENTION: Opening the AC adapter means you are voiding the warranty provided by Apple. In case of any accidents, fires or mishap, you will hold me harmless against all liabilities, lawsuits, etc.

Part  1 – Preparation work to open the ac adapter
Part 2 – Work steps to open the ac adapter
Part 3 – Re-soldering the terminals
Part 4 – You are reading Part 4

Aesthetics here means I want to keep it as Appleque as far as I can, even after a good working repair.

Unlike other tinkerers, I’m not in favour of using superglue (cyanoacrylate, err) to glue the two halves together. Instead, I’ll be using a roll of white vinyl electrical tape, easily found in most hardware stores.

Step 1

Inspect the replacement charging cable stopper attached to the ac adapter. Make sure its seated properly between the two halves. Then take care to press the two halves of the ac adapter together to ensure a tight fit.

Step 2

Wrap white electrical tape around the ac adapter as many times as required.

Job done!

Replacing a frayed Apple charging cable – (Part 3)

ATTENTION: Opening the AC adapter means you are voiding the warranty provided by Apple. In case of any accidents, fires or mishap, you will hold me harmless against all liabilities, lawsuits, etc.

Part  1 – Preparation work to open the ac adapter
Part 2 – Work steps to open the ac adapter
Part 3 – You are reading Part 3
Part 4 – Apple aesthetics

Work Steps that I’ve taken

We will desolder the two terminals in this part. The original Apple ac adapter has a green wire soldered to the positive (+) and a black wire soldered to the negative (-).

My replacement charging cable used white colour to denote the positive terminal and black colour to denote the negative terminal.

Step 1

We need to verify the replacement charging cable’s polarity before soldering the replacement cable onto the adapter.

To do so, connect the probes from a multimeter with continuity function or continuity checker to the charging points. You should get a similar pattern to mine (illustrated below)

Now that you have ascertained the polarity. Time to desolder the old charging cable. Let us have a quick recap on the terminals we need to desolder.

Using the soldering iron, heat up each point at a time and remove the flux using the solder sucker / desoldering wick.

You should get this. Two clean circles where the original points were .

You will be able to see this from the underside. Notice there is white gunk surrounding two connectors, you should not see this if you didn’t remove the gunk – and you should not remove this ‘gunk’.

 

Step 2

Soldering the replacement charging cable back on the two terminals.

Step 3

Testing time. But first to put the adapter block back into the casing. Remember to cover the two re-soldered terminals using the orange tape.

Gently slot the adapter block back into the white casing, as shown below. Note there are grooves in the replacement charging cable stopper (flange) that needs to be aligned with the two halves of the plastic casing for a good fit.

 

 

Lets see if it works.

Next to Part 4 for adhering the two halves of the adapter together.

Replacing a frayed Apple charging cable – (Part 2)

ATTENTION: Opening the AC adapter means you are voiding the warranty provided by Apple. In case of any accidents, fires or mishap, you will hold me harmless against all liabilities, lawsuits, etc.

Part  1 – Preparation work to open the ac adapter
Part 2 – You are reading Part 2
Part 3 – Re-soldering the terminals
Part 4 – Apple aesthetics

Work Steps that I’ve taken

Step 1

Disassemble the adapter by opening it with pliers. You will need a bit of strength to open the adapter. DO NOT to whack the adapter against any hard object in hopes the glue will give way. IT WILL NOT.

This is how I opened the casing.

 

This is the aftermath of removing one half of the cover.

The green strips are 3M tape to hold the copper shielding together. Depending on the position of the soldering connectors, you might need to remove the copper block from the white plastic casing.

In my case, the casing opened on the wrong side (the soldering connectors were only accessible from the other half of the casing), so I had to remove the other white casing to get to the connectors.

How would you know which is the correct side? Look for the orange tape.

You will need to remove the orange tape to get to the soldering connectors. Above shows the white casing opened from the wrong side, thats why I had to remove both sides of the casing.

 

Step 2

Before cracking open the other side of the casing, you will need to be careful as the other side will connect to the external connectors.

 

 

By the way, the white gunk appears to be the glue. I’ve gently scraped them away as it’s hindering the adapter refitting into the casing.

Unlatch the copper shielding on the side with the orange tape.

Then you will get to the circuitry after lifting the inner copper shielding. Depending on your soldering skills, a 75 degree bend on the inner copper shielding should be more than sufficient to get to the two soldering points.

Remove the orange tape, it should be out with a slight pull. Do not remove the white gunk blob between the green and black wires.

So we are ready to desolder the two points. The point on the left (green wire beneath) belongs to the positive terminal. The point on the right, leads to a black wire, for a negative terminal.

Continued on Part 3