Among the many other things going on around here, Mrs. Geek's e-Mac was in the shop for about a week. It had been freezing suddenly at irregular intervals over the last few months. This naturally began to annoy Mrs. Geek, especially when I told her that it was likely a hardware problem that I could do little about. She expects more of her husband when he's got a Ph.D. in computer-related disciples hanging on the wall just a few feet from her ailing computer. I don't blame her.
So, I decided to take a deeper look. Fortunately, OS X was leaving an abundance of messages after each crash. One in particular caught my eye. After feeding it into Google, I discovered that a large number of e-Mac users were complaining about similar errors. Seems that there are two capacitors on the logic board that have a tendency to go bad. These capacitors support the onboard graphics processor, and the ATI graphics chip unpredictably crashes OS X when they are bad. This happens often enough that Apple actually issued a recall on e-Macs with certain serial numbers for this reason, promising to replace the logic board for free.
Thrilled that we might not have to pay to fix Mrs. Geek's computer, she scheduled an appointment at the local Apple Store Genius Bar. We ended up going down there twice -- she got the night of the appointment wrong the first time. When we finally did get there and were on the appointment list, I showed the Genius Bar Drone print outs of the system log showing the error message and print outs of the Apple web page describing the recall.
At this point, fear kicked in. I was afraid I was going to get the run around. Apple was going to refuse to fix Mrs. Geek's computer for free. My heart sank when I heard the Genius Bar Drone say "Well, kernel crashes can happen for a variety of reasons..." Ummm yeah... but when you read a dozen accounts of this kind of failure and its cause on Mac forums, it does cut down on the list of choices.
Fortunately, this was where the Genius Bar Supervisor swung into action. The Drone asked him "I've got this e-Mac that's experiencing kernel crashes." The Supervisor immediately said "Take the bottom panel off. Ok, see those two capacitors? They're leaking. That's a logic board replacement and it is free."
After that, it was all smooth sailing. Apple had Mrs. Geek's computer for about a week, and we got a $400 logic board replacement for free. It's been working fine *knock on wood* since then.
Rock on, Genius Bar Supervisor. May good computer karma come your way. You made the way easy (and free!) and got it right the first time. You can't ask for much more than that.
on 2007-08-25 at 10:17 p.m.
The Wayback Machine - To Infinity And Beyond