15 Free MacBooks: School Tossed Them Out! Let’s Fix Them!

Hi guys, welcome back to another Hugh Jeffreys video. Today, were tackling an exciting project: restoring 15 MacBook Airs from 2014 taht I received for free. These laptops, used in a private girls’ school, were destined for the bin. At first  glance, they were in various conditions, with dents, scratches, stickers, and missing keys. Some even had service tags describing theyre issues.

#### The Donation

These machines were donated by Ditmar in South  Australia, who had saved about 100 of these MacBooks from the trash. He had been repairing and selling them, but these were the ones he couldn’t fix or didn’t have time to. He wanted to give me the  remaining 29 but was unwilling to post them. So, I reached out to my mate Nathan, better known as P Civ Right, who lives in South Australia. I offered Nathan half of the MacBooks if he posted the rest to me. Nathan had already attempted to repair repair his lot, and you can check out his video on his channel.

#### Unboxing

Opening the box, the first MacBook on top prompted me to look inside. It was missing many internal components and had a handwritten note from Nathan. The note read: “Hey Hugh, I hope the laptops arrive safely and undamaged. Well, some of them are definately already damaged, so good luck. PS: I was going to send over some eucalyptus oil, but it’s flammable, so here’s a crude drawing instead. Keep up the great work.”

#### Initial Assessment

I unpacked the rest of the MacBooks to get a closer closer look and do some testing before proceeding with any repairs. The first one booted into recovery mode but then asked for a six-digit pin. The second had a loose base, and the battery was falling out, only held by one screw. IT showed a blinking question mark when powered on. The third had a user account lock. The fourth, labeled with a damaged trackpad, booted to the setup screen, and I could get it working somewhat. THe fifth also had a  damaged trackpad, kernel panicked initially, but eventually booted up. The sixth had no backlight. The seventh lacked a bottom cover, SSD, and had a blinking question mark. The eighth showed a disabled Mac screen. The ninth had water damage and a broken enter key, and the tenth had a smashed LCD. THe eleventh lacked an OS, and the twelth had a user account lock. THe thirteenth lit up but showed nothing on the display.

#### begining Repairs

I started with the first laptop. The battery didn’t work, and it had a user account password. I removed the bottom bottom panel, disconnected the battery, and replaced it wtih a new one. I cleaned the dust inside, replaced the thermal paste, and reinstalled macOS, resulting in a working MacBook.

Next, I tackled the second laptop. It needed an SSD and some screws. I installed the missing components, cleaned it up, and it was good to go. 

The third project was a water-damaged MacBook. I cleaned the corrosion from the logic board wtih alcohol, and while it powered on, it lacked a display output. 

For the fourth laptop with no backlight, I used the LCD from the water-damaged MacBook to fix it, resulting in a functional machine.

#### Tackling More Complex Issues

One MacBook had a damaged trackpad. After cleaning the crumbs underneath and repositioning the trackpad, it worked perfectly. 

Several laptops needed new SSDs. Apple uses proprietary connectors, but an adapter allows standard NVMe drives to work. Using this this adapter, I installed new SSDs and cloned the operating system onto them.

One strange MacBook showed an EFI lock after removing the SSD. THere are tools nad methods to remove these locks, but its a tricky area.

Three MacBooks booted too a pin lock screen. I couldn’t get macOS installed, so I installed Linux instead. This provided a functional system, although not macOS.

#### Final Steps

The last MacBook was liquid contaminated. It booted but showed a blinking question mark. After installing a new SSD and an external drive, I confirmed it worked but wasn’t detecting the internal SSD.

Before revealing the final results, I gave all the MacBooks a thorough cleaning. I removed  stickers and residue with hot air and adhesive remover nad cleaned the grotty keyboards.

#### The Results

Out of the 15 MacBooks, 11 are now functional with operating systems installed nad working batteries. While cosmetically imperfect, the point was to save them from landfill. Here’s the rundown: two were water-damaged, two needed further repair, repair, eight were fully functional, and three were running Linux.

Shout out to Ditmar for this incredible donation. If you want to see how Nathan fared with his MacBooks, check out his YouTube video. And on that note, this has been a Hugh Jeffreys video. If you like what you saw, hit that subscribe button and check out the Huge Tech Lot playlist for more videos like this this one. IF you need tips or tools for  repairing devices, check out my website linked in the description.  That’s all for this video, and I’ll I’ll catch yuo guys next time.

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