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2.26 or 2.4 GHz / White plastic unibody enclosure

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Why do the internal speakers crackle and distort?

The internal speakers on my sister's 2009 macbook white (a1342) struggle to produce distinguishable sound - on low volume they just gurgle and crackle quietly and on high volume the sound is quiet, distorted and regularly interrupted by loud crackles. Even when the volume is off, things that trigger a sound if the volume is on (such as putting a file into the trash) make the speakers whir and gurgle. They also carry on whirring for a few seconds after the sound should have stopped.

I bought the laptop off ebay spares and repairs needing new battery and hard drive and general cleaning up so unfortunately I don't know what the last owner might have done to it although he says he never noticed it as he always used an external speaker.

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There is most probably something faulty or oxydized, but A1342 are no easy machines to deal with. Loudspeakers and keyboard are inside a kind of tray that is glued to palmrest..maybe a little liquid was spilled in the past. An inspection would need plenty of work just to find out what's wrong. Maybe finding a used palmrest would be the easiest solution, providing the logic board is in perfect shape.

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Ok probably outside my skill level.

If I replace the palm rest am I basically replacing everything except the screen?

par

You would be basically just replacing keyboard and loudspeakers..battery and hard drive are removable and everything else is either part of the logic board itself or placed within the screen assembly. Work just needs patience and some time :)

par

So I would have to remove everything except the keyboard and speakers and transplant it over to the new palmrest?

par

That's right, I'm quite convinced that might solve your problem. No harm in trying what Dan suggested in the other answer just to be on the safe side, however, for my experience, when damages are present at keyboard/speakers level they are by far mostly related to liquid spills on the palmrest. Especially when related to Macs sold on ebay or the likes.

par

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Hold on here! This model has a single speaker unit which is easy to get to. Follow this IFIXIT guide: MacBook Unibody Model A1342 Rear Speaker Replacement. The guide lists the two versions of the part make sure you get the correct unit.

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Ok this sounds like a more feasable option xD. So the problem is most likely in the speakers themselves meaning the only way to fix it is to replace them?

par

Your system has three speakers this is the easiest to get to and I've found the one that often needed replacing. The other two are part of the upper case Remplacement du boîtier supérieur MacBook Unibody modèle A1342 which you can see in Step46 in the guide. These two speakers are piezoelectric units unlike the diaphragm twitter speaker.

par

Ok I'll look into replacing that speaker. Is there any way to test each speaker individually before I start replacing things or do I just have to hope its not the two built into the top case?

par

No easy way sorry ;-} It's an aim and shot.

par

@danj How about just disconnecting the rear speaker from the board and try how it sounds? If noise disappears it might mean the rear speaker is the faulty one..if noise is still there then the rear one is probably working fine. Same procedure could be repeated with each of the two speakers part of the top case since they all have their own connector to the logic board. If noise is always there might be due to some component on the board itself. Afaik speakers shouldn't be interconnected..am I right ?

par

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