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Macintosh Portable Disassembly and Cleaning

My Macintosh Portable is in really good shape, as far as coloration anyway. The battery won’t hold a charge and it gets red hot when I charge it. As we all know, you can’t boot a Macintosh Portable with a dead battery. I’ll have to replace or rebuild it. As far as restoration goes, I don’t think I’ll have to retr0brite this machine any time soon. Maybe the keyboard, but that’s all.

The seller stated that the carrying case had a musty smell. Not a problem. I took it with the hopes that some dry cleaning would eliminate any basement-like odors that it might have. I think the seller took it upon himself to mask the smell by spraying it with some cologne or something because it smells like a high school senior on prom night. I’ve had the case airing out for a few days and it still smells like cologne. I don’t know if he sprayed the machine too or if it just picked up the scent from the case during shipping because it too smells like eau de toilette.

Although the machine is in really good shape and appears pretty clean, close inspection reveals that there’s dirt and debris in the hard to reach nooks and crannies.

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I started to wipe the whole thing down with alcohol and tried to get into all the little crevices with a Q-Tip. It’s just going to take way too long and I think it’ll never be as clean as it needs to be to eliminate the cologne smell. Besides, I’m going to have to pop off every key to clean all the sides. They’re pretty dirty.

It has to come apart and be washed in the sink.

Let’s get to it.....

If you remove the rubber feet from the bottom of the machine, you can get in there with a small screwdriver and pop the latches that secure the top assembly that covers the keyboard.

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Once you’ve disengaged the latches from below, you can wiggle the screwdriver around the case and pop the whole keyboard cover off.

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It’ll just lift right out. This is, by the way, how you’d swap the location of the trackball to left side of the keyboard if you were left handed. You could also swap out the trackball for an optional numeric keypad.

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What’s this is see? Rust under the keyboard? Not a good sign. I hope the logicboard is OK. I did manage to get the machine to boot once, so it’s not dead. I think the oxidation is limited to the keyboard.

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Disconnect the trackpad ribbon cable and then lift the entire assembly out from underneath the two gray clips.

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See, this is the kind of dirt you’ll never get at without taking it apart.

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Once the trackpad has been removed, you can take off the plastics by removing the 4 screws from the back.

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Disconnect the keyboard ribbon cable and then lift the entire assembly out from underneath the six gray clips.

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The keyboard will lift right out.

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I’m actually soaking some parts for my Apple Scribe Printer while I’m doing this disassembly. This is probably a good time to pull off that spacebar and throw it in the mix. I made a strong solution, so it should be done in no time. Actually, I’ll do them all.

Man, is it rusty under there!

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There’s no damage underneath.

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A few hours in the sauce and there’s already a very big improvement with the spacebar. I might soak it again, depending on how it looks when I put it all back together.

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Continuing with the disassembly, remove these two screws.

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Remove the caps from the side of the display. There’s two flexible arm-like-things on the underside of them that lock them in place. You have to push them out with a small screwdriver to disengage them.

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Once they’re “unlocked”, they’ll slide right off.

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You can then pull the “keys” out.

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You can them remove the huge chunks of rubber that hinge the display.

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Then disconnect the blue display ribbon and the gray hard drive ribbon.

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The entire display assembly will lift right off.

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Pop these tabs on the bottom.

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And the ones along the top.

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Once the tabs are free, you’ll be able to inch around the whole assembly and separate the two halves. This is a tricky process since the sliding handle is in the way. Be careful not to break any of the tabs in the process.

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Eventually, they’ll come apart.

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Remove the cable from the housing.

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The display is secured to the back panel by two clips. Pop those, and then lift it out from under the two on the bottom.

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Wow, that’s a pretty busy-looking board!

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Since the hard drive cable has already been disconnected, it’ll just lift right out by popping the two tabs that hold it down.

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Underneath the hard drive rests the floppy drive. That too will just lift right out, once the cable is disconnected.

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It’s a Sony MP-F75W-11G. Looks like the Portable reads 1.44M floppies. I don’t think I realized that. Bonus!

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The speaker can also be removed. Disconnect the cable on the left and pop the tab on the right.

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It’ll lift right out.

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All that’s left to do is remove the whole assembly that houses the logicboard. Pop the tab that is in front of where the speaker was.

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Followed by the ones on the right and left.

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The whole logicboard assembly will lift right out.

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Come to think of it, the whole thing probably would have come out without removing the drives and the speaker. Oh well.

Pretty cool underneath. Just like the display, that’s one busy-looking logicboard!

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The two legs that stand from the bottom are used to release the top cover. They are glued to the bottom of the case. Apparently, the glue on the right leg is dried up, as it fell off once I touched it.

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I fixed it with a drop of super glue.

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One thing you’ll notice once you so much as remove the trackball or keyboard, is that the design team etched their signatures into the case. Strange how this practice was abandoned with the SE, to be picked up again with the Portable. As far as I know, no other Macintosh after the Portable has signatures inside the case. Pretty neat.

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That’s it. All disassembled and ready to be washed in the sink.

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I gave them a good scrubbing and laid the parts out to dry.

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Putting the logicboard assembly, the drives, and the keyboard and mouse back together took all of 2 minutes.

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Just don’t forget to put the keyboard spacer in first or you’ll have to take the keyboard and trackball out again to get it in.

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On with the display. Clip the panel back in, remembering to snake the cable behind and out the bottom.

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Align the handle on the back panel.

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Then click the front panel back on and insert the 2 screws.

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I found reattaching the display was better accomplished with the machine on its side. This allowed me to angle the display so that the teeth on the hinges were aligned. Once things are lined up, they’ll slide right in and you can slide the “keys” back in.

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Then slide the caps back on.

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Reattach the display connector.

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Slide the keyboard cover under the display.

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Then lock it down with a few clicks. Don’t forget to put the rubber feet back on underneath.

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Last but not least, put all the keys back.

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I’m really happy with the way the spacebar came out after dipping it for a few hours. Just look at the before and after shots.

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What a nice looking machine. Best of all, I didn’t have to dip the whole case. I did have to reorganize my Macs a little bit to find it a home. For now it’ll remain a display piece until I can get my hands on a battery that works.

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I still have to rid the case of the cologne smell and attach the replacement foot that I ordered, but that’s for another day.