Apple Mac Mini (model A1170) Disassembly Guide


Apple sure know about great design and I'm a fan of this little chap. This particular one is a 1.8GHz Intel Core Duo fellow that's only a month old at the time of writing and has replaced my Windows workstation. In fact, I'd been using Windows for so long (and a bit of Ubuntu lately) that I had fogotton what a joy OSX really is. You simply glide through your tasks with the Apple OS!

But still, it's been 2007 for twelve days and I haven't pulled anything apart yet. Here goes...

Here she is, a model A1176. The blue badge is an asset tag from my workplace so I'd better not cock this up 'cos they'll want it back on my desk on Monday morning with me slaving away over it. Now I'd better mention the usual stuff - these instructions are just a guide based on how I took my particular Mini apart. You follow them at your own risk!

In we go with that trusty tool every I.T. engineer has in their toolbox - a wallpaper scraper! Slide it between the joint where the metal top case joins the white plastic under case. Work on one side, then the other and carefully work the case apart. Lift off the metal casing completely once the internal catches have been released.

And here we are inside. Not much to see at this point as the optical drive covers pretty much everything and will need to be removed for further delving. Undo the six small screws (arrowed) and the optical drive can then be carefully lifted up from the front and pulled forward to remove. Take care when doing this as you don't want to put too much strain on the connecting board that the rear of the optical drive plugs into.

With the optical drive removed we can now get our first glimpse of the 2.5" hard drive...

For further disassembly we first need to remove the board connected to the WiFi antenna as it blocks screwdriver access to a screw that holds the black plastic chassis in place. This is pretty easy though, just use a small flat-blade screwdriver to push the retaining lug out of the way and the board will then lift off its post.

Before we remove any further screws or try to lift out the black chassis, we should undo a couple of cables starting with the optical drive ribbon. Carefully use a small flat-blade screwdriver to ease up each side of the brown clamp that holds the ribbon onto the optical drive board. With the clamp removed the ribbon will easily pull away. Don't try and force anything though as the clamp and ribbon are delicate!

Also undo the 2-pin connector at the front of the computer...

With cables undone and the WiFi antenna moved out of the way we now have access to the four screws at each corner of the black plastic chassis. Undo these screws and the chassis can be removed.

Now we're into the guts of the thing. What we have here is A: Airport card, B: 2x PC2 DDR 5300 memory slots, C: CPU, D: P-RAM (CMOS) Battery (type CR2032). My model had 2x 256MB modules which I changed out for 2x 512MB.

Finally a look at the removed chassis. The hard drive can be removed by unscrewing the two arrowed screws plus two fitted to the underside of the hard drive.

Reassembly is the reverse of disassembly. Just be careful to reconnect all those cables back up and mind you don't trap any wires when refitting the black chassis!


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