GPU Replacement: Early 2008 24″ iMac

October 29th, 2015 - Comments Off on GPU Replacement: Early 2008 24″ iMac

I’ve documented the resources I used to repair my Early 2008 24″ iMac (iMac8,1, EMC 2211). I really need to do a GPU replacement, but I’m going to try some steps before that.

NVIDIA GeForce Fails, Again

The NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GS graphics card (GPU) failed again on this iMac. It doesn’t make sense to put the money into having the GPU professionally replaced given the age of the machine. The iMac is long in the tooth, but otherwise very functional.

Apple Store Not Helpful

In my quest for a GPU Replacement, I went to Apple Store, Portland, Oregon
Aug. 31, 2015 – Took into Apple Store. Vague diagnosis of either the motherboard or the graphics card. No recall on graphics card. No hardware test could be run, which I did not understand.

Waiting for Time and Focus

Since then I’ve been working, in my own slow way, to get this fixed, reading up and watching videos on the process. Mostly, the iMac has been sitting in its box waiting for summer to end and for me to have the time and focus to get it working.

GPU Replacement: Taking It On Myself

In the last week or so, I’ve had it apart, taking the tasks in chunks as time allows. I took out the NVIDIA GeForce 8800GS GPU and reflowed it. Putting it all back together, it didn’t work. I had one LED when I plugged it in, and it went to zero when I hit the power button.

Round Two

Round Two in getting a GPU replacement is more work with the same equipment: I’ll try turning the machine on without the graphics card, relying on the on-board GPU. If that doesn’t work, I’ll try re-reflowing the NVIDIA GPU.


Tried without the old GPU with the same results: One LED diagnostic when I plug it in, then zero when I hit the power button. :-( Not being able to fix this really has me down.


Fixing iMac: Resources for repairing a 24″ iMac

October 21st, 2015 - Comments Off on Fixing iMac: Resources for repairing a 24″ iMac


As I noted, my NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GS GPU has failed on my “Early 2008″ 24” iMac [iMac8,1 / EMC 2211]. I’m going to try to fixing my iMac. Below are some of the fixing iMac resources I used.

1. Reflow Existing Graphics Card

My first step is reflowing the existing graphics card. Reflowing is melting the existing solder in place. Since solder has become lead-free, it’s more brittle. If the solder cracks, simply melting it can create a new electrical connection. Needless to say, reflowing should be a last resort. You should know the graphics card is bad, and that you will be throwing it, or the whole computer, away otherwise. I’ve been warned that reflowing can ruin as often as it saves. Research online has revealed that this can be a relatively low-cost way to restore the GPU and any otherwise functioning computer.

  1. I bought a used toaster oven at a thrift store. I had to read just one warning about potential hazards from heating electronics to convince me that the $15 was worth it. I’ll use the soon-disposable toaster oven outside, thereby not contaminating myself nor my cooking oven.
  2. I got a little kit with (for me) the next level of computer repair equipment.
  3. I ordered heat paste.
  4. I looked at videos online to see what I was getting into.

2. Replacing NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GS Assembly with a New or Refurbished Assembly

Since this is a record and a log, I’m hoping I don’t have to take this step. Will expand if I do take this step, though I imagine it will be easy, having once already disassembled the iMac to remove the defective card.

Resources for Fixing an iMac

iMac 24″ Disassembly

iMac 24″ NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GS GPU Information


iMac Graphics Card Failed, Again

September 16th, 2015 - Comments Off on iMac Graphics Card Failed, Again

My early 2008 iMac is perfectly fine, except the graphics card has failed again. The ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro graphics failed three times. I paid to have it replaced once.
So I asked Apple what’s different.
Case-939 389 471
No replacement program for chip. “Known good card.”
That answer for me is that I should expect the same turnover of hardware with Apple as with the likes of Lenovo or even Dell.

iPhone Orientation Issues fixed with iOS 8.3?

April 13th, 2015 - Comments Off on iPhone Orientation Issues fixed with iOS 8.3?
The screen of an  iPhone orientation issue on a 5S where the message area in landscape and the keyboard in portrait

iPhone 5S with the text/message area in landscape mode and the keyboard in portrait view. Closing app and opening fixed the iPhone orientation issue.

Took this screen shot of iOS 8.2 just a few days ago. Today I read that iOS 8.3 is supposed to fix iPhone orientation issues like this. I’ve gotten them often, so I hope so. Sometimes I can’t get it to rotate back, and other times, only some of the element rotate.
Apple provides this information about iOS 8.3.

Apple USB SuperDrive Incompatible

March 30th, 2015 - Comments Off on Apple USB SuperDrive Incompatible

Since the SuperDrive (built-in optical) drive on my iMac is wonky and my MacBook Pro’s is even wonkier, I got a Apple USB SuperDrive. It doesn’t work on either machine.
Case ID: 772329682
Apparently the Apple USB SuperDrive, which is USB 2.0, is not backward compatible with the Apple USB 2.0 in my iMac and MacBook Pro. Support supposed that it might be the firmware, which means that Apple should be able to fix it, but won’t.

Planned obsolescence? I think so. Every other USB device works with my Apple Macs.
Here’s the link showing compatibility: The web site shows the requirements, but the Apple Store does not.

Goodbye to Apple Mail, hopefully

February 4th, 2015 - Comments Off on Goodbye to Apple Mail, hopefully

Even with the increased stability of Apple Mail (Mac Mail?) with Yosemite and its updates, Apple Mail is still a less-than-stellar mail client.
I’m thinking it’s time to say goodbye to Apple Mail. I’ve wanted to do this in the past, yet no applications seemed strong enough. This time, it looks like there are options.

Nice-to-have email Features

Aside from the basics expected from email solutions, I’d love to have some additional features.

I would love, love, love OmniFocus integration. How many emails are really tasks? For me, many of my messages are tasks, yet it makes no sense for my email client to be a task manager. I can’t remember how long it’s been since I’ve been easily make an email into a task. It probably goes back to my pre-Apple/pre-Mac days. (I think Outlook for Windows had a GTD add-in that allowed me to make an email into a task.)

I also use Evernote, so integration with my mail app would be convenient.

Data Strategy

One of my criteria for all my data (my programs and online interactions) is that I don’t have all my apples on one basket, including Apple’s. Google gets a thin slice of my email traffic, all my contacts, very few of my online documents and the browser information from Chrome. Apple gets a lot because of my iPhone, iMac and MBPro, though I don’t use Contacts, iPhoto, Calendar. I’m not actually sure how much stuff makes it onto iCloud. (Note to self: someday, check how much of my data Apple has access to on iCloud.) Most of my email is through my own domains, but those currently go through Apple Mail, adding to the amount of the data pie that Apple can taste. I barely use Safari, but I am a regular user; it’s my #2 browser.

Alternatives to Apple Mail

I looked at Postbox (one review) and Airmail (one V1.x review). I knew that MS Outlook for Mac was out of the question. Thunderbird seemed old and weak (and web-based?). With IMAP, it’s less of a commitment to switch, but would be nice to not waste my time. I’ve looked a iOS apps, like Brewster and Mailbox, but they don’t have desktop equivalents.


Verizon Texts Delayed

January 13th, 2015 - Comments Off on Verizon Texts Delayed

My Verizon texts delayed to T-Mobile customer. Sent texts (not iMessage) to friend with T-Mobile. They didn’t arrive for a few hours. Verizon says it’s T-Mobile’s fault.

1/20/15 – At some point in trying to resolve this, Verizon said that I have less than ideal coverage (here in inner NE Portland), and that’s why I’ve had so many troubles. At least that ticket report gets me out of my contract.

Frustrating Apple Day

December 31st, 2014 - Comments Off on Frustrating Apple Day

Safari Failure

Filling out paperwork for new agency. Finally had to launch Windows after not being able to get it to work on the required OSX Safari and Adobe Reader combination…on both my MBPro and my iMac.

iCloud Drive Problems

iCloud Drive isn’t syncing. Had to do steps on my MBPro and iMac to get one file to show up. Luckily, I only use it for Text Edit, and I have lots of alternatives. I currently use Copy as my primary cloud sync, as I move away from Dropbox [who brought Condoleezza Rice (who should be investigated for war crimes) onto their board of directors]. I also have SpiderOak, which I don’t use much. I’m sure I have a few other cloud sync systems, but how many does a guy need?

Verizon: Call Waiting Doesn’t Always Work

December 17th, 2014 - Comments Off on Verizon: Call Waiting Doesn’t Always Work

Verizon says that call waiting doesn’t always work on their network.

CDMA and GSM send a different signals, and sometimes it doesn’t work. Verizon says part of the responsibility is Apple’s. The voice network of CDMA. The other functions, like call forwarding, voicemail, are not set up to work all the time.  Verizon ticket #: NRB000007484367.




Verizon Texting Problem, Redux

December 17th, 2014 - Comments Off on Verizon Texting Problem, Redux

Dec. 1 texts didn’t go through. Seen on Dec. 3. From Verizon’s end, they don’t look any different. Putting in a network ticket, NRB000007484367. To Sprint.

1/13/15 – Checked back on another call. Marginal coverage area in the middle of Portland. Indication of delays.