Apple AirPort Base Station Repair

By: James Reynolds - Revised: 2006-07-05 devin


Some AirPort Base Stations are failing shortly after a year in use. The probable problem is a pair of capacitors on the logic board. If your serial number falls within PW940XXXXXXX to PW952XXXXXX, you have a bad Base Station. This is an overview of what to do if your Base Station doesn't work.

Try to replace it

First, try to replace the AirPort Base Station, especially if your serial number falls within PW940XXXXXXX to PW952XXXXXX. Apple has recently published a til regarding this.

To contact Apple, call the University of Utah Bookstore or call 1-800-APL-CARE (US).

If Apple doesn't replace it (which would be surprising), then you may want to try or find someone willing to fix it. You might try Tech Superpowers (Apple Authorized Service Provider).

If Apple does replace it, they might replace it with a refurbished Base Station. Read More.

As a side note, one of ours went bad a few months ago. It just went out of warranty, but Apple replaced it anyway. We just had another go bad, and it went out of warranty quite a while ago. So I went ahead and fixed it. Since then, I learned that Apple probably would have replaced it. Oh well.


Basically, I followed the directions found on this website:

I am not going to try to restate the instructions. However, I will give a shortened explanation and a description of what happened when I fixed it.

Shortened Explanation

Basically, Apple put in two capacitors for the power supply that are too weak (but they are small so they fit in the cramp case). Eventually, they overheat and quit working. At first, the base station will restart over and over (the lights keep going through the startup sequence). Then the base station will not start up at all (no lights).

You have to buy 2 replacement capacitors. You must remove the old ones and put the new ones in. Most likely, the capacitors will be much bigger than there is room, so you will need to cut the case or you will just have to not close the case.

My Experience

I got my capacitors at

on 3424 South and Main Street. They didn't have what the repair instructions called for, but I thought what they had was close enough.

I didn't have any solder wick, but I did have a solder sucker (a suction tool). The suction tool didn't work at all because the holes in the circuit board are drilled to the exact size of the capacitor wires. So I spent way too much time trying to get the bad capacitors out. When I did get them out, I couldn't get the new capacitors in because of extra solder. Again, it took me way too much time to get one of the capacitors in. I was pretty afraid that I had ruined the circuit board, but it worked when I got the new capacitors in.

I wanted to put the case back on, so I did a little cutting with some diagonal cutters to make room for the larger capacitors. I had to do a lot more chopping that I wanted to, but...

Finally, I didn't plug the internal cables back in all of the way, so I thought that I had ruined it. But after pushing the power and ethernet in all the way, it now works fine [6 months later, the repaired Base Station still works fine].