Mac Mini Magically Misplaced Music
October 19, 2008 12:32 PM   Subscribe

Mac Mini Sound Stops Working When I Push The Top of the Case

Last week my Mac Mini (less than 6 months old) broke when I was restarting it. I took it to the SF Apple Store and got the logic board replaced. However, when I took the Mac Mini home there was no sound output device detected. I took it back to the SF Apple Store and they replaced the sound card. I picked it up from the Apple store Friday night.

However, when I got home I sound was only working sometimes. After some testing I can replicate the problem 100%:

The Mac Mini works fine, until you put even the lightest weight on the back right corner of the top of the case. When that part of the case is touched the sound stops working entirely and the only way I can get the sound to start working again is to restart the Mac Mini.

What could the problem be? Should I take it back to the Apple Store for a 3rd time? Can I fix it myself without voiding the Apple Care warranty?

Any help would be appreciated.
posted by chrisalbon to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
OOPs! I mean "back LEFT corner of the top of the case"
posted by chrisalbon at 12:45 PM on October 19, 2008

My suggestion would be to take it back to the Apple Store, and tell them that after the replacements, you suspect there may be a loose connection of some sort. Ask them to look at it. If they still can't solve, I'd try what they suggest one last time, and then email, which is Steve Jobs' supposed email. Whether or not it is, complains send to that address usually do get forwarded on to the executive customer support who will be willing to do more to help you, sometimes offering things as helpful as replacing the entire machine. For an idea of their track record, check The Consumerist.
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:49 PM on October 19, 2008

Emailing Steve Jobs is kinda overkill. Yes, others have gotten problems solved by doing so, but I'd recommend going the more normal channels first. Take it back to the Apple Store and explain the problem. They'll likely repair it again or replace it with another. If you hit a brick wall with the SF Apple Store, try calling 1-800-SOS-APPL and ask to talk to someone in Customer Relations. These are the people who can actually "solve" problems like this. You will have, at this point, demonstrated that you've tried the traditional repair channel and that it, for whatever reason, is not working in your specific case. They will likely escalate the issue, or simply arrange to have you sent a new Mac Mini as a replacement.
posted by at 1:35 PM on October 19, 2008

It sounds like either a loose connection or something in that area of the case shorting the sound card. I'd recommend bringing it back to the Apple Store, as I don't know how easily one can void an Apple Care warranty.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 1:44 PM on October 19, 2008

From your description, there's a short in the sound card. could be a broken solder joint on the headphone output, or the sound card is not seated properly.

Yes, you should take it back to the Apple Store. Trying to fix it yourself might work, but i believe it will void the Applecare warranty.
posted by dubold at 1:57 PM on October 19, 2008

oops. should have previewed. What Great Big Mulp said. I've heard anecdotal reports that replacing Apple RAM with third party stuff, switching out HDs/optical media drives or installing Airport cards will void Applecare, although I think it might depend on where you take the computer in for repair, and who waits on you.
posted by dubold at 2:02 PM on October 19, 2008

You need AppleCare for another 2 and half years. Don't try to do the repair yourself.

From what you described, you should have little difficulty reproducing the problem for the Apple Genius. Help him/her write a specific enough description so that the repair center can reproduce it too.

Once the Genius has agreed that it's failing, politely point out that this is hardware failure #3 for a practically new Mac and that therefore you feel the box requires replacement, not another repair. Most likely they'll feel one more try is appropriate. But it's worth a shot to ask now.

(If this 3rd repair isn't definitive, do push hard for replacement next time. That's when I'd say call/email in earnest until you get satisfaction. Repairing the same problem more than 3 times is commonly where Apple gets more willing to agree that handing you a new box off the shelf is a suitable resolution.)
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 2:59 PM on October 19, 2008

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