Running with the top cover off
In the course of replacing the disk on my 17" MBP, I discovered the connector from the top cover with the keyboard/trackpad to the motherboard had cracked.
First question: Does anybody have a good lead on replacement for this cable assembly? It's part number 821-0451-A, the "Trackpad flex cable".
Second: Desperate to use my computer, I figured the only truly critical component from that connector is the power switch - I can use a USB mouse/keyboard. So I traced out the circuit and found which two pins on the connector connect to the power switch. By shorting those pins on the motherboard with a piece of wire, I was able to get the MacBook to come to life.
The Mac boots up just fine, but with one hitch: Since another component on the top cover is the temperature sensor, the MBP apparently thinks it's too warm, and runs with the fans full speed all the time.
Is there any harm in running the machine this way for a few hours at a time? I've put a piece of cardboard where the keyboard normally sits to try and keep the airflow moving across the motherboard. Nothing on the motherboard seems to be getting painfully hot.
I'd like to keep using the machine this way until I can get the trackpad cable assembly replaced.