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Thread: Wet laptop

  1. #1
    Fountainhead Organichu's Avatar
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    Wet laptop

    My laptop was powered on and open when a sugary beverage fell, spilling a solid 8-10 ounces all over the keyboard.

    I powered it down immediately, dried it as best I could, removed all attachable items, and allowed it to try for the recommended time.

    Now that I've attempted to turn it on, it's looking bleak. When I attempt to power it on with battery, I get a power light for a moment or two and then it completely shuts off. When I try a second time, all lights flash for an instant, and then the power light stays on, but nothing occurs.

    When I try it with power cord, not employing the battery, I again get nothing- though the laptop does again maintain the powerlight, suggesting that it does register some electricity.

    Any ideas? I guess I'm willing to accept that it's fried for good, but I figure the power light is at least somewhat promising.
    20 y/o, 6'1", 186 lbs, 14% BF
    bench: 350 deadlift: 560 parallel squat: 465
    total: 1375 @ 186

  2. #2
    DeaTH BeFoRe WeaKNeSs sCaRz*Of*PaiN's Avatar
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    There's no way to tell unless you take it apart. Computer hardware is VERY sensitive, so spilling a beverage over it can render it useless. I would've let it dry for a few days without touching it. How long did you wait before trying to power it on? It really sucks that you did this to your laptop because they're hard enough to upgrade as it is. Perhaps you need to take it into a shop, but that might be pricey. You can easily recover the data off the hard drive, but there's no way to tell where the beverage leaked into unless you take it apart.
    Last edited by sCaRz*Of*PaiN; 02-23-2007 at 01:13 AM.
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  3. #3
    Fountainhead Organichu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sCaRz*Of*PaiN View Post
    There's no way to tell unless you take it apart. Computer hardware is VERY sensitive, so spilling a beverage over it can render it useless. I would've let it dry for a few days without touching it. How long did you wait before trying to power it on? It really sucks that you did this to your laptop because they're hard enough to upgrade as it is. Perhaps you need to take it into a shop, but that might be pricey. You can easily recover the data off the hard drive, but there's no way to tell where the beverage leaked into unless you take it apart.
    It was about 35-40 hours.
    20 y/o, 6'1", 186 lbs, 14% BF
    bench: 350 deadlift: 560 parallel squat: 465
    total: 1375 @ 186

  4. #4
    Breaker of Skulls Guido's Avatar
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    That was a lot to spill on it. Even though it probably completely dried, it's probably gone for good. Like scarz, said, just try to recover your hard drive data from it and give it a proper burial.
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  5. #5
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    8-10 ounces is a lot. It probably seeped in through the case. If it was water, you might have had a chance, but the sugar pretty much kills that. Take out the hard drive and buy a new one.

  6. #6
    Unremarkable Questor's Avatar
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    Before my current job, I did laptop support for three years at a major computer manufactuerer. If you've let it dry for 40 hours already and it's not working, it probably won't ever work. If it had been water, that would be one thing. But soda is another.

    If you have a support line, call them and ask them to walk you through removing all modular devices and resetting the mainboard. If that fails, then it's an out of warranty service to repair.

    Opening the chassis is going to do nothing for you but waste time and result in a laptop that will never be repairable.
    Last edited by Questor; 02-23-2007 at 10:03 AM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member betastas's Avatar
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    You can fix it.

    I had a full glass (16 oz or so) of rye and coke spill all over my laptop. We shut it down, and let it dry a bit. It wouldn't power on once I let it dry, so we decided to fix it. So here's what I did:

    1. Open that thing up. If it's broken now, it's not going to get "more broken".

    2. You're going to need to start taking it apart. Take the keyboard off first (be careful with the ribbon) and then see what you have beneath it. I'm speculating that it'll be a metal plate with a bunch of screws in it (and pop all over the place). Take the plate out and set it aside to clean later.

    3. Now the next part is basically going to be dependent on your laptop model. But here's the gist of it.

    - Your computer isn't working because the sugar in the soda is conductive. The dried sugar has caused shorts throughout your computer that need to be cleaned away. You might have some shorts across the terminals that allow a computer to power up, which is why it isn't working properly. The voltages are all pretty low in a laptop, so it's very likely that the sugar is causing logical errors and preventing bootup. It shouldn't be fried at all, unless you were unlucky enough to somehow create a short between where the power enters the laptop at the back and a critical component within the computer.

    - You need to find all the parts that are covered in sugar and wash them. It's easiest to just remove the whole motherboard from the computer, take out the bios battery and then wash it in a basin. I literally mean, take the motherboard and submerge it in water, then wash all the sugar off it gently. No brillo pads, of course.

    -Submerge the keyboard in water and let it soak for a while. This is pretty important because the keys will have sugar in them and will stick unless you clean them out. Laptop keyboards have little stupid rubber mats that will hold that soda in, so you need to clean it as best you can. I found that submerging it totally in water, then pressing the keys until no more air bubbles came out worked well. The keyboard is the trickiest part to get working because it needs to be meticulously clean and the key connections need to be perfectly dry to work properly. I used a hairdryer and open air drying to dry mine out over two days before all the keys worked 100%.

    - Rinse the motherboard and other components that you washed with deionized water preferably. You're trying to get rid of all the conductive material.

    - Put it all back together. I had a few screws leftover in the end.

    Power it up, see what happens.

    Mine was officially dead for four days, but I fixed it and it worked perfectly after that. I'll warn you about a few things before you start though. You should get some thermal paste to reapply to the video processing unit when you put it back together. When you pull the laptop apart you might find that the sugar got on the thermal paste, so you need to replace it. Secondly, be careful with your screws and components. Try to lay it all out so you remember. I took pictures before and after I took components out, so I would be sure of where they went when I put it back together. Third, Computer hardware is pretty tough. I used a toothbrush to scrub some of the sugar off. Just be certain not to rub off any tracks. Lastly, if you see burnt markings anywhere on your system, you might be SOL. However, I doubt that's the case.

  8. #8
    Wrecker of Homes d'Anconia's Avatar
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    Throw the blowdryer on it for a few hours. For future reference though you shouldn't even have an open glass within a foot of your laptop... just a bad idea in general.
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  9. #9
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    ^ That is ballsy. If you're going to try that, make sure you get any data you need off your hard drive FIRST.

    Oh, and don't use soap in the water.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by d'Anconia View Post
    Throw the blowdryer on it for a few hours.
    For water, yes. It was soda, though. That would just cook the sugar on.

  11. #11
    Wrecker of Homes d'Anconia's Avatar
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    K my bad, it worked for my cell phone when I dropped it into a toilet full of my own urine. I'm assuming my urine isn't very sugary.
    ...........||High School||.....||July '05||.......||January '09||
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    Deadlift........?.....................315x5...............435x5
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    BF%.............?......................12.....................12
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  12. #12
    Back in business WBBIRL's Avatar
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    +1 for washing the board

    When I worked for my uncle (he has an amusement vending route) I would take apart arcade games and remove the motherboards and wash them in water (no soap of course but light scrubbing with a paint brush).

    Revived a $3000+ dollar DDR machine that had some crud on the board. Give er a shot!

  13. #13
    mind/body zen's Avatar
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    I suspect you didn't give it enough time.

    I ruined a laptop once when I spilled beer on it and just set it aside for a day. When I powered it back up, half the keyboard went as well as a few devices.

    Then, when someone at work spilled soda on their notebook, I advices him to wait 3 days before reconnecting the battery and turning it on. And for good measure, we even pointed a small fan to blow directly into the keys for several of those days. Never had a problem with it since.

    The bad news is, once you power it up and start having problems, most of the time, those devices are perminently damaged.
    The good news is, most devices in most notebooks can be purchased from the manufacterers website, and you can replace them yourself if you have a moderate mechanical incling. Some things are accessable from the bottom, while others can be accessed by removing the keyboard.

  14. #14
    Senior Member dblockspky's Avatar
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    Was carrying a laptop in my bag once and it started raining. I was in the rain for maybe a good 5 seconds.. from my car to the house door. But when i got inside the screen would just show white. But I called up dell and they fixed it for free . Warranties are the ****, especially when you're accident prone like me. If you can figure out which part is causing the problme tho than you can probably replace it yourself. Or just take it to somebody in the area.
    Last edited by dblockspky; 02-24-2007 at 09:48 AM.

  15. #15
    Fountainhead Organichu's Avatar
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    Well, it's under what I presume to be a stringent warranty since I got it through school. Hopefully I can get it fixed through them... however, if they don't honor liquid damage I'll try one of the suggestions within.

    If I can't get it sorted- what're thoughts on going to a Mac? haha.
    20 y/o, 6'1", 186 lbs, 14% BF
    bench: 350 deadlift: 560 parallel squat: 465
    total: 1375 @ 186

  16. #16
    Back in business WBBIRL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Organichu View Post
    Well, it's under what I presume to be a stringent warranty since I got it through school. Hopefully I can get it fixed through them... however, if they don't honor liquid damage I'll try one of the suggestions within.

    If I can't get it sorted- what're thoughts on going to a Mac? ha ha.
    Nothing against a mac, but windows xp is what I'll be using for at least the next 2-3 years. I'd love to have a mac book pro, best of both worlds and I really would like to learn MAC OS X as it will be necessary in my future career really or at least a major asset.

    If you know mac then maybe it'd be a welcome change, but I say if why fix whats not broken?

  17. #17
    DeaTH BeFoRe WeaKNeSs sCaRz*Of*PaiN's Avatar
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    Macs have a very easy learning curve. Get a MacBook and you can either run OS X and XP separately (booting into) or run both at the same time (natively).
    "The only easy day was yesterday."

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Organichu View Post
    If I can't get it sorted- what're thoughts on going to a Mac? haha.
    What do you plan on using your computer for?

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