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quantumguy
Jan 20, 2011, 08:16 PM
Hey guys

So I spilled a little coffee on my three day old macbook air - 11"

I quickly shut it off flipped it over and wiped everything
Used a hair dryer and let everything dry off
cleaned the keyboard again and booted it up

Everything works but two keys: comma and period
and "m" is a little sticky

What should I do? I am dreading to go to the apple store -- They will probably replace the top case and would cost me a bunch
Not to mention that would probably void my warranty
And being a poor college student I am broke

Is there any way I can fix it?
I am confortable taking computers apart - I have taken my powerbook apart countless times
My previous computer is a 12" powerbook which is just not usable anymore

Any thoughts/ideas?

Thanks so much!



SandboxGeneral
Jan 20, 2011, 08:20 PM
Being that it was coffee, you probably will have to take it apart carefully, and clean it up. The Apple Store may help you if you ask really nice.

That sucks though, 3 days old and spilled liquid on it already... yikes.

quantumguy
Jan 20, 2011, 08:24 PM
Being that it was coffee, you probably will have to take it apart carefully, and clean it up. The Apple Store may help you if you ask really nice.

That sucks though, 3 days old and spilled liquid on it already... yikes.

I guess worth a shot if I can't get it working by the weekend
Can one take apart the keycaps in these chiclet keyboards?
I tried but don't want to give too much pressure

You can easily take apart keycaps on older keyboards and clean them up

Yeah it's heart breaking and I am the OCD type who takes very good care of my gadgets
Not a single dent in my 5 year old powerbook

quantumguy
Jan 20, 2011, 08:45 PM
any chance that those two keys might magically start working tomorrow?

SandboxGeneral
Jan 20, 2011, 08:49 PM
I'm not sure how to take one apart. The only laptop I've done was my MBP 2,2 (pre-unibody). As for magically working tomorrow? Wait and see. Was there milk/creamer/ or sugar in the coffee?

quantumguy
Jan 20, 2011, 08:51 PM
I'm not sure how to take one apart. The only laptop I've done was my MBP 2,2 (pre-unibody). As for magically working tomorrow? Wait and see. Was there milk/creamer/ or sugar in the coffee?

milk! :(

SandboxGeneral
Jan 20, 2011, 08:58 PM
Yeah, I wouldn't hold out much hope of the keys getting unsticky on their own. But count your blessings that the MBA still works! :)

wordoflife
Jan 20, 2011, 09:00 PM
How much spilt?

lucashungaro
Jan 20, 2011, 09:05 PM
To dry gadgets you can use uncooked rice or silica gel packs (like these: http://www.waterproof-paper.com/cases/silica-gel-packs.shtml).

I would wait a few more days and, if the keys are still not working, go to an Apple Store. You'll probably need to spend some cash, but, well, **** happens.

bmat
Jan 20, 2011, 09:06 PM
the stickiness of the "m" key doesn't sound great, but seems like something that may not be long term and work itself out. The other keys not working seems far worse, and seems that the liquid may have done some real damage -- all speculation of course. It must have been a perfectly unlucky shot, or a decent amount on the top of the computer. My guess is that, if the keys work tomorrow, just be thankful and work away. I wouldn't buy apple care now, though, since the spill will probably be obvious to any tech down the road and will be the basis to deny service.

Sorry about that, irrespective of how many days old it is....

KPOM
Jan 20, 2011, 09:22 PM
Back when RadioShack was Radio Shack, they used to sell electronic equipment cleaning solution. I don't know if they still do. You might try some 91% rubbing alcohol. Dab a little bit onto a cotton ball and try cleaning the keys from above, It might dissolve some of the milk that got stuck in the keys.

See if there is an authorized Apple repair center. They might be a bit more aggressive than an Apple Store.

AlphaDogg
Jan 20, 2011, 09:53 PM
I guess the fact that the OP isn't online, nor has he responded means something bad about his MBA... :eek: If I spilled coffee on my MBA (or actually my MBP, because I do not own a MBA), I would create a forum post and keep checking it.... Even if I do have midterms tomorrow...

quantumguy
Jan 20, 2011, 09:58 PM
Yeah did the hair dryer thingy again but doesn't seem to work

I guess I will just take it to the apple store tomorrow and just tell them I spilled coffee

I am not sure whether the milk b/w the keys is causing the problems or if it actually did short something
The cost of top case alone is $200 bucks from what I found online so I guess I can expect at least double that

Really hoping I get someone nice at the genius bar and would be like: okay just this once I am fixing it for free

KPOM
Jan 20, 2011, 10:09 PM
Horse, barn door, and closed, but in the future if you are concerned about this kind of thing, Square Trade warranties cover accidental damage. However, coverage starts on Day 31, so it wouldn't have helped you here.

quantumguy
Jan 20, 2011, 10:28 PM
Horse, barn door, and closed, but in the future if you are concerned about this kind of thing, Square Trade warranties cover accidental damage. However, coverage starts on Day 31, so it wouldn't have helped you here.

Thanks for the tip

Ran the hardware test didn't give out any errors -- so I am guessing only those two keys got shorted or something

quantumguy
Jan 21, 2011, 02:50 AM
So, I just talked to a friend who had spilled water on his macbook pro and had taken in to Apple for service.

He had the same issue, logic board and other stuff was fine, just some parts of the keyboard messed up. He insisted to Apple to replace the just the top case assembly but Apple was like since its liquid damage they would replace the logic board (~$900!)

So I am confused. What should I do? Should I just go to the Apple Store and politely tell them to just replace the top case? Or just wait for sites like powerbookmedic or ifixit to carry the top case for 11" air (shouldn't they have the parts yet it's been a couple of months already since launch) and then replace it myself and in the mean time I can remap the keys using TextPander?

Or just go to the Apple Store and act dumb and cross my fingers that the liquid damage sensors aren't tripped.

Any thoughts/opinions are welcome.

Xeperu
Jan 21, 2011, 03:28 AM
Right, crazy as it seems, this HAS worked for me on laptops with removable power. (Might be not very useful for the MBA, but still).

I stilled a venti Starbucks over my old MBP. I quicked ripped the battery out. Went into a lab, got half a gallon of demineralised water and completely rinsed out the laptop. It was SOAKED. Let it drip out for 5 minutes and put it in a bag of those moisture absorbent pellets.

The little trooper went on to work for another 2 years before it kicked the can because I forgot to take it of the roof of my car and drove off :(

Scottsdale
Jan 21, 2011, 03:40 AM
Buy a new keyboard on eBay, and a penelobe screwdriver, and fix it yourself.

These things come apart really easily compared to the days of silver-keyed MBPs or worse yet PowerBooks and iBooks.

Don't take it to Apple unless you want your warranty to be voided until you shell out the cash for a new top case. A keyboard
Might set you back $60, and it might take you a couple of hours, but it's a hell of a lot better than the alternatives.

quantumguy
Jan 21, 2011, 03:48 AM
Right, crazy as it seems, this HAS worked for me on laptops with removable power. (Might be not very useful for the MBA, but still).

I stilled a venti Starbucks over my old MBP. I quicked ripped the battery out. Went into a lab, got half a gallon of demineralised water and completely rinsed out the laptop. It was SOAKED. Let it drip out for 5 minutes and put it in a bag of those moisture absorbent pellets.

The little trooper went on to work for another 2 years before it kicked the can because I forgot to take it of the roof of my car and drove off :(

Does sound a little crazy. Since it's only a few days old I think I will hold off on this method.

quantumguy
Jan 21, 2011, 03:53 AM
Buy a new keyboard on eBay, and a penelobe screwdriver, and fix it yourself.

These things come apart really easily compared to the days of silver-keyed MBPs or worse yet PowerBooks and iBooks.

Don't take it to Apple unless you want your warranty to be voided until you shell out the cash for a new top case. A keyboard
Might set you back $60, and it might take you a couple of hours, but it's a hell of a lot better than the alternatives.

Yes, I think that's the more sensible thing to do. But the parts are hard to come by since these airs are kinda new.

And if ifixit guide is anything to go by, the keyboard is integrated into the top case and cannot be removed.
The old macbook air's top case goes for around $200, so I am hoping that's the price I will be looking for.

Anyhow, I guess I learnt my lesson, beverages and computers don't mix (unless ofcourse the keyboard in question is the das ultimate tactile , which I use for my desktop)

Xeperu
Jan 21, 2011, 05:12 AM
Does sound a little crazy. Since it's only a few days old I think I will hold off on this method.

You gotta do it right away before you get crystallisation anyway. Maybe like 5-10 minutes in between max.

Kachadurian
Jan 21, 2011, 08:40 AM
Hey guys

So I spilled a little coffee on my three day old macbook air - 11"

I quickly shut it off flipped it over and wiped everything
Used a hair dryer and let everything dry off
cleaned the keyboard again and booted it up

Everything works but two keys: comma and period
and "m" is a little sticky

Yikes. It's too late for you, but for the next person who has a spill, DO NO USE A HAIR DRYER.

It is maybe the worst thing you can do. It blows the moisture deeper into the components and it will often find it's way beyond the keyboard and into the motherboard. If it does dry it, it leaves the most residue where you don't want it, as you saw, in the keys. Lastly, it can really heat up the internal components while forcing moisture into them.

Don't blow into the spill, Suck it out. The best plan of attack is to use the highest power Vacuum you have with a very small attachment nozzle to suck out as much of the spill as possible. It will get a lot of it out from between keys and keep the moisture from going deep and doing real damage. Then let it sit in a dry place for no less than 24 hours, with the lid open.

Better yet, as I tell my daughter (who killer my beloved 12" PB with coke and a hair dryer) Keep your drinks away from you computer.

klover
Jan 21, 2011, 08:58 AM
Back when RadioShack was Radio Shack, they used to sell electronic equipment cleaning solution. I don't know if they still do. You might try some 91% rubbing alcohol. Dab a little bit onto a cotton ball and try cleaning the keys from above, It might dissolve some of the milk that got stuck in the keys.

See if there is an authorized Apple repair center. They might be a bit more aggressive than an Apple Store.

This has worked for me in the past when repairing laptops. A little rubbing alcohol to loosen things up and then a quick follow-up with a blast of compressed air (from a low angle).

KPOM
Jan 21, 2011, 09:59 AM
Right, crazy as it seems, this HAS worked for me on laptops with removable power. (Might be not very useful for the MBA, but still).

I stilled a venti Starbucks over my old MBP. I quicked ripped the battery out. (

Of course, now that's not so easy with the unibody designs.

CoolSpot
Jan 21, 2011, 10:01 AM
Hey guys

So I spilled a little coffee on my three day old macbook air - 11"

I quickly shut it off flipped it over and wiped everything
Used a hair dryer and let everything dry off
cleaned the keyboard again and booted it up

Everything works but two keys: comma and period
and "m" is a little sticky

What should I do? I am dreading to go to the apple store -- They will probably replace the top case and would cost me a bunch
Not to mention that would probably void my warranty
And being a poor college student I am broke

Is there any way I can fix it?
I am confortable taking computers apart - I have taken my powerbook apart countless times
My previous computer is a 12" powerbook which is just not usable anymore

Any thoughts/ideas?

Thanks so much!

:rolleyes:

JamesMB
Jan 21, 2011, 10:14 AM
Yikes. It's too late for you, but for the next person who has a spill, DO NO USE A HAIR DRYER.

It is maybe the worst thing you can do. It blows the moisture deeper into the components and it will often find it's way beyond the keyboard and into the motherboard. If it does dry it, it leaves the most residue where you don't want it, as you saw, in the keys. Lastly, it can really heat up the internal components while forcing moisture into them.

Don't blow into the spill, Suck it out. The best plan of attack is to use the highest power Vacuum you have with a very small attachment nozzle to suck out as much of the spill as possible. It will get a lot of it out from between keys and keep the moisture from going deep and doing real damage. Then let it sit in a dry place for no less than 24 hours, with the lid open.

Better yet, as I tell my daughter (who killer my beloved 12" PB with coke and a hair dryer) Keep your drinks away from you computer.

Very good advice! Sticky coffee in the keys is one thing, but if you blew any of that anywhere that current is flowing, you are gonna have almost immediate corrosion. If it was my machine, I would take it to Apple, tell them exactly what happened and what I did to dry it out. If any of that got to any of the electrical components, it's only gonna get worse with time.

Synchromesh
Jan 21, 2011, 10:27 AM
There are 2 stages I would go about this, the easy one and the much more difficult one.

Easy one (local surgery):
1. Remove the keys that don't work well or are sticky very carefully (as not to break them off) and wipe everything under them with a q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol thoroughly. Give it a couple of hours before you try it. There is a good chance it will work

2. Major surgery:
Remove the logic board and try cleaning it that way. Honestly speaking I would leave that as last resort as there are lots of ways to bork the board even for fairly experienced people. Even further last resort would be replacing keyboard

Ah, before you do all this make absolutely sure you release static from yourself. Otherwise you will need a whole new machine very quickly.

Photios
Jan 21, 2011, 10:34 AM
Did you by chance purchase the computer with a credit card? Some credit card companies have a policy of replacing your purchase due to accidental damage within the first 90 days of purchase. It's worth exploring and finding out, if you don't know already! ;) I like using the American Express Card just for this reason. Plus, they double the manufacturer's warranty. I had a PowerMac G5 replaced this way, as the logic board fried just before a year was up. They actually refunded my purchase price for the computer!

WildGuess
Jan 21, 2011, 11:37 AM
"Back when RadioShack was Radio Shack, they used to sell electronic equipment cleaning solution."

I still have a can of that stuff! Looks like part # 64-4345. Says safe on most plastics. "For PCB's, keyboards, telephone and fax equipment, battery contacts and remote control keypads." Other obvious flame and contact warnings.
What's in it, you ask?
Dipropylene glycol monomethyl ether, hydrotreated heavy naptha, dipropylene glycol, methyl ether acetate and carbon dioxide.

KPOM
Jan 21, 2011, 12:50 PM
"Back when RadioShack was Radio Shack, they used to sell electronic equipment cleaning solution."

I still have a can of that stuff! Looks like part # 64-4345. Says safe on most plastics. "For PCB's, keyboards, telephone and fax equipment, battery contacts and remote control keypads." Other obvious flame and contact warnings.
What's in it, you ask?
Dipropylene glycol monomethyl ether, hydrotreated heavy naptha, dipropylene glycol, methyl ether acetate and carbon dioxide.

Nice (though the stuff looks nasty). It appears the "Shack" still carries it:

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2102649

hcho3
Jan 21, 2011, 01:50 PM
You can afford another MBA. I am sure. Just taking this as a lesson and stop drinking starbucks so much. Those coffees are so expensive and over priced. People say they cannot afford 1000-1500 dollars laptop, but they are spending 6 dollars every day on coffee? Stop drinking coffee for months and you will be able to afford another MBA. Problem solved.

KPOM
Jan 21, 2011, 02:30 PM
You can afford another MBA. I am sure. Just taking this as a lesson and stop drinking starbucks so much. Those coffees are so expensive and over priced. People say they cannot afford 1000-1500 dollars laptop, but they are spending 6 dollars every day on coffee? Stop drinking coffee for months and you will be able to afford another MBA. Problem solved.

Nowhere did the OP say it was Starbucks. It could have been from the coffee pot.

SwedishBassist
Jan 21, 2011, 02:47 PM
I had a similar experience with my 15" PC laptop, I spilled amaretto over the keyboard and screen. It worked at first, but apparently the liquid reached the battery and broke it, as well as under the screen. Just bad luck...

I have now decided to get an MBA 11" to replace it.

Good luck with you repairs!

hcho3
Jan 21, 2011, 03:05 PM
Nowhere did the OP say it was Starbucks. It could have been from the coffee pot.

I was half kidding, but starbucks are still overpriced. Some coffee nerds always spend 5-6 bucks a day. To me, that 's crazy.

Scottsdale
Jan 21, 2011, 03:59 PM
Yes, I think that's the more sensible thing to do. But the parts are hard to come by since these airs are kinda new.

And if ifixit guide is anything to go by, the keyboard is integrated into the top case and cannot be removed.
The old macbook air's top case goes for around $200, so I am hoping that's the price I will be looking for.

Anyhow, I guess I learnt my lesson, beverages and computers don't mix (unless ofcourse the keyboard in question is the das ultimate tactile , which I use for my desktop)

If buying from Apple, no they don't sell the keyboard separate. Apple doesn't sell the LCD separate from the bezel and lid neither, but that doesn't mean one cannot just repair the LCD. The keyboard does come apart, and you can find them that way from Chinese parts suppliers. Might take a bit of research, but I think you will find your initial assessment incorrect if doing it yourself is an option.

If Apple will replace the top case for $200, I think you would be crazy not to just have them do it. When comparing costs, consider time, tools, and the opportunity costs. If $200 eliminates all your troubles, that is a tiny price to pay considering what could have been much worse.

My cousin had an alcoholic drink spilled onto the table which his closed MBP was sitting on. The drink entered via the vent and damaged the logic and MagSafe boards. Total cost to fix was more than a brand new one for $1199 + tax. It was used sparingly for less than three months... bad things can happen, so a $200 fix is a bargain compared to what could have been far worse.

KPOM
Jan 21, 2011, 05:07 PM
I was half kidding, but starbucks are still overpriced. Some coffee nerds always spend 5-6 bucks a day. To me, that 's crazy.

I figured as much, but the "if you can spend $6 a day on coffee" argument gets thrown around a lot, and not just here.

zenit
Jan 21, 2011, 05:20 PM
did you by any chance buy it using a credit card?

most credit cards nowadays have a 90 day accidental coverage for up to $1000. If I was you i'd look into that. Would be cheapest and safest solution for you.

quantumguy
Jan 21, 2011, 05:35 PM
If Apple will replace the top case for $200, I think you would be crazy not to just have them do it. When comparing costs, consider time, tools, and the opportunity costs. If $200 eliminates all your troubles, that is a tiny price to pay considering what could have been much worse.



True.
My dilemma is if I tell Apple that I spilled coffee, they will probably not just replace the keyboard/top case (even if there is no damage to logic board/battery) and will want to replace the logic board - which is almost as much as a brand new air.

If I don't tell Apple - I might get lucky and they will just replace the top case.
But given that the new air's have as much as 9 humidity sensors (http://www.cultofmac.com/new-macbook-air-has-record-amount-of-moisture-sensors/67303), there I a good chance I don't get lucky.

Did you by chance purchase the computer with a credit card? Some credit card companies have a policy of replacing your purchase due to accidental damage within the first 90 days of purchase. It's worth exploring and finding out, if you don't know already! ;) I like using the American Express Card just for this reason. Plus, they double the manufacturer's warranty. I had a PowerMac G5 replaced this way, as the logic board fried just before a year was up. They actually refunded my purchase price for the computer!

did you by any chance buy it using a credit card?

most credit cards nowadays have a 90 day accidental coverage for up to $1000. If I was you i'd look into that. Would be cheapest and safest solution for you.

No I unfortunately bought it with a debit card. Which offers no bells and whistles whatsoever.
Something to keep in mind next time!

Nice (though the stuff looks nasty). It appears the "Shack" still carries it:

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2102649

Thanks. I might give this a try with q-tip and clean the keys.

In the meantime I have ordered the special Torx T5 pentalobe from ifixit.

quantumguy
Jan 23, 2011, 05:55 AM
UPDATE:

Went in to the Apple Store yesterday, talked to the girl at Genius Bar. I told her I spilled little coffee, quickly powered it down, cleaned it and let it dry. Booted it up and ran the hardware test with no errors.

She told me her story of how she spilled nail polish remover on her MBP once and sympathized. She entered my serial number and other details on her computer and told me that they will be replacing the top case.

I asked her how much would that cost. To my surprise she said they will be replacing it at no charge!!
I asked her if this would void my warranty, she said usually it does, but in my case since the machine is so new she put in her CS code (whatever that is) and it would not void warranty.

I am more than pleased. Apple (as everyone knows) does have great customer service. No wonder they have such loyal customers.

Thank you all, for your responses/tips.

KPOM
Jan 23, 2011, 07:03 AM
Glad everything worked out for you.

bmat
Jan 23, 2011, 08:20 AM
wow, that's great.

JamesMB
Jan 23, 2011, 08:23 AM
Glad you got it sorted out.:D

iPhoneCollector
Jan 23, 2011, 08:26 AM
oh man that hurts. i once spilled some coffee on my own laptop and the "." stopped working. just go to the apple store and let them replace the keyboard.

JamesMB
Jan 23, 2011, 08:47 AM
oh man that hurts. i once spilled some coffee on my own laptop and the "." stopped working. just go to the apple store and let them replace the keyboard.
Five posts up...:rolleyes:He already did; they replaced it for nothing.:)

iPhoneCollector
Jan 23, 2011, 08:49 AM
Five posts up...:rolleyes:He already did; they replaced it for nothing.:)

uh awkward. :(

splashnader
Jan 23, 2011, 09:25 PM
Another happy ending;);)

Now just keep that coffee away from your computer. :D

hcho3
Jan 23, 2011, 09:32 PM
......

You should ask the girl out. Heck... she is an angel.