Soaked motherboard


#1

On Friday I spilled a bottle of 2.0 onto the keyboard of my MacBook Pro. It took five seconds to soak through to the motherboard and for the screen to go dark. Apple has a $750 flat rate to replace any components that need replacing. I’m waiting for an assessment from a local business to see if they would do better.

I’ve already dried out the interior of the computer. There remains a sweet fragrance, which is OK, but still nothing functions. I wouldn’t think Soylent would be particularly corrosive, at least in the short run. Is there any chance the components could be cleaned up rather than replaced? Even though it’s backed up, I’d rather not replace the solid state drive. I think it’s permanently mounted.

I hope no one else has had this experience, but probably someone has. Any ideas?


#2

I’m afraid it’s too late now. What was about to corrode, already did.


#3

Yeah, I think the issue is less one of corrosion and more one of creating electrical connections (via liquid) where there aren’t supposed to be any, thereby frying the circuitry. If it happens again, key is to unplug the machine and pull the battery out as quickly as humanly possible to eliminate sources of electrical current.


#4

^^ This. ^^

You can’t fix it by cleaning it. Damage from liquids can only be avoided if there is no current running through the device (if you spilled on the notebook while it was turned off and kept it off until clean and dry, it would be fine)

I have a rule of not allowing any liquids near a notebook computer at all, but if you don’t want to adhere to such a rule then I’d suggest you invest in one that has a spill-resistant keyboard rather than getting your Macbook fixed. Such designs are becoming pretty common these days, though for some reason Apple hasn’t implemented anything like that yet. Maybe to ensure continued income from repairs?


#5

Thank you

I just got the news that the whole thing is fried. It would cost as much to fix it as to replace it. Fortunately, I’m pretty sure I have everything backed up. If it is even possible to do so, recovering data from the heavily damaged flash storage would cost at least an additional $1,800.

Yep, you are absolutely right. It took only seconds for the machine to die. I’ve got it in my head now. No liquids near the notebook! Not even Soylent. (Would it be better live on Fritos?)

I’ll probably need to get another MacBook, but do you have any suggestions for something more rugged?


#6

Don’t give up, at least not yet.

Disassemble MBP down to individual boards. Buy cheap 90% isopropyl alcohol (at Walmart or pharmacies), enough to be able to submerge components. Gently clean them using soft brush (paint/makeup) while submerged. Don’t leave them soaking, bathe/clean for few minutes, then let them dry.

You don’t need to worry about damage from alcohol (just don’t breathe the fumes).

My shop has recovered number of laptops, Macbooks in particular, from similar spills. Whenever coffee w/creme, baby formula or milk gets through keyboard, the machine appears dead, with goo residue shorting tiny circuits or chip legs.
I’m not saying yours will survive it, just that you shouldn’t get rid of it before alcohol cleanup attempt.


#7

If you consider the computer dead, give this a try. Disassemble the computer entirely, including keyboard and screen. Wash every electronic part and contacts with water (just put it under the water stream), except the screen. If the screen was also reached by the liquid, clean it with a wet piece of cloth. Dry everything with a hairdryer. Assemble back the computer when everything is dry and turn it on. Sometimes the problem is something producing a short circuit, but when you clean it that is over and the system works again.

Edited: I didn’t see the message posted by Spoilet. I always used just water, but he’s right, alcohol also works and it is better because it doesn’t leaves any residue like water.


#8

Yeah, I, uh, sort of dropped my Nexus 5 in a few inches of dirty water once. Turn off, disassemble, clean with isopropyl alcohol (distilled water should work too), dry. It still works* to this day!

*Sometimes the camera disconnects for no reason, but I can live with that.


#9

I’d be wary of submerging either the batteries (assuming they can’t be removed from the MB/case), or the SSD. Both are items which may be relatively well sealed: Enough that all but the external contacts may have remained dry when the Soylent was dumped on them, and also enough that they may take forever to dry completely if anything gets in while they’re submerged.