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View Full Version : Resurrecting a 12" PB after a spill...advice appreciated


geesno6
Apr 20, 2004, 06:39 PM
A little back story: I've come into possession of a 12" PB G4 (1 Ghz) that had lemonade spilled into the keyboard and a few of the ports on the left side. The computer was on when this happened, and it immediately shut off on its own. My brother, the original owner, was told by Apple that the PB was toast and nothing could be done. Lucky for him, his insurance paid for a new one.

Weeks later, for the heck of it, I powered up the computer and to my surprise it booted up. The ports and combo drive are working fine. However, the keyboard and trackpad do not work at all. Also, I've noticed that after powering up the battery then shutting down for the evening, the battery won't hold its charge overnight--it's completely drained by morning. The best I can tell, the PB is still on somehow and drawing power even after I shut down. I can hear whirring noises when I hold my ear to the case.

Anyone know of anything I can try before biting the bullet and taking it in to be repaired? Or am I asking for another miracle on top of it even starting up again? I'm a little short on cash and just want to exhaust my options before plunking down $$$. Sorry for the long post, & thanks in advance.

Krizoitz
Apr 20, 2004, 07:03 PM
A little back story: I've come into possession of a 12" PB G4 (1 Ghz) that had lemonade spilled into the keyboard and a few of the ports on the left side. The computer was on when this happened, and it immediately shut off on its own. My brother, the original owner, was told by Apple that the PB was toast and nothing could be done. Lucky for him, his insurance paid for a new one.

Weeks later, for the heck of it, I powered up the computer and to my surprise it booted up. The ports and combo drive are working fine. However, the keyboard and trackpad do not work at all. Also, I've noticed that after powering up the battery then shutting down for the evening, the battery won't hold its charge overnight--it's completely drained by morning. The best I can tell, the PB is still on somehow and drawing power even after I shut down. I can hear whirring noises when I hold my ear to the case.

Anyone know of anything I can try before biting the bullet and taking it in to be repaired? Or am I asking for another miracle on top of it even starting up again? I'm a little short on cash and just want to exhaust my options before plunking down $$$. Sorry for the long post, & thanks in advance.

The danger with electronics and liquid is that it will short things out when its wet. Once it has dried you shouldn't have a problem unless damage was done while it was on. Unfortunately the lemonade ads a wrinkle. Possibly things are ok, possibly not. Unfortunately it leaves residue after it dries. Make sure the machine is powered off and you should rinse it with pure water. make sure you let it completely dry and it should be fine.

Possibly there were damaged parts and you may be able to isolate them using the Apple Hardware Test CD. If you can try checking a different battery to see if its the battery or the connector where the problem is.

Make sure you are very very careful when cleaning it though. You want NO power going through this thing. Something similar happend to a friend freshman year, we took everything apart and let it dry and then it was fine.

Try contacting a company like MacFixIt and see if they have any more solid advice.

Rod Rod
Apr 20, 2004, 07:55 PM
hi geesno6 .. maybe you've already found it, but this site http://www.macslash.org/articles/03/01/31/1655233.shtml links to a Japanese site with an illustrated take-apart guide: http://www.kodawarisan.com/ug/PowerBook/index.html

Krizoitz, by pure water do you mean non-electrically-conductive water? if so, where's a good place to find it?

geesno6 .. since the warranty's finished maybe you'd like to customize it with a coat of paint? it's something I'd do if I had a warranty-free / "free" PowerBook (something along the lines of what www.colorwarepc.com does). http://www.colorwarepc.com/content.aspx?id=25

jsnuff1
Apr 20, 2004, 08:08 PM
Make sure the machine is powered off and you should rinse it with pure water. make sure you let it completely dry and it should be fine.


watch what you say, an inexperience user might just dunk his PB in a tub and think its alright. When doing this you want to remove everything first and clean the mobo and keyboard in this way seperatly. DO NOT let any water go on the LCD or Hard Drive, that would be a very bad thing. Even though HD seem like they are sealed they are not and if water gets in that, its gone.

geesno6
Apr 20, 2004, 08:10 PM
hi geesno6 .. maybe you've already found it, but this site http://www.macslash.org/articles/03/01/31/1655233.shtml links to a Japanese site with an illustrated take-apart guide: http://www.kodawarisan.com/ug/PowerBook/index.html

Krizoitz, by pure water do you mean non-electrically-conductive water? if so, where's a good place to find it?

geesno6 .. since the warranty's finished maybe you'd like to customize it with a coat of paint? it's something I'd do if I had a warranty-free / "free" PowerBook (something along the lines of what www.colorwarepc.com does). http://www.colorwarepc.com/content.aspx?id=25

Rod Rod- enjoyed the link, but I have to say I'll stick w/ the aluminum finish assuming I can get this baby up and fully functional. I've never owned a portable of any sort, not to mention a PB, so I'll be psyched to look at that sleek silver case every day. Not to go all "fanboy" here, but I worship Macs as design objects as well as computers, so I'd hate to tinker w/ Mr. Ives' work!

dermeister
Apr 20, 2004, 10:43 PM
lol guess you guys frauded your insurance... WOOPS :rolleyes:

excalibur313
Apr 20, 2004, 11:00 PM
you want distilled deionized water. This could be purchased at a food store or pharmacy.

geesno6
Apr 21, 2004, 11:28 AM
lol guess you guys frauded your insurance... WOOPS :rolleyes:

I know it appears that way, but nope. This PB was given up for dead by the Chi. Apple store. They said over and over that it was "fried", with no attempt to check into it or diagnose anything, even when asked several times by my brother if they were sure it was dead. Only after their repeated assurances that he might as well buy a new one did he pursue the insurance route. My brother is a busy guy who needed his computer, and didn't have the time or inclination to tinker with a "project" like me. It was a total surprise that the computer started up weeks later after he gave it to me to play with.

This all may be a moot point anyway, as now last night now the ethernet port wouldn't work and the PB wouldn't charge in sleep mode (kept trying to wake up over and over w/ cover down, wouldn't stay sleeping). I certainly am not going to invest good $$$ in a computer that may keep having issues like this pop up down the road. The original intent was to scrap it for parts; it'd break my heart but that may be what we end up doing.

Long explanation for an off-hand comment, but didn't want anyone to get the wrong idea--nothing unethical going on!

Rod Rod
Apr 21, 2004, 04:27 PM
geesno6, I think you can do it! just take the thing apart very slowly and methodically.. take pictures (you have a digital still camera right) along the way... label everything, keep all the little screws organized too. also, keep us posted about your progress. hopefully it's just a matter of cleaning and drying the sticky stuff.

Abstract
Apr 21, 2004, 05:07 PM
Yeah, I think you can do it as well.

The PB would be a sweet portable if you've never owned a laptop. My rev B 12" PB is my first laptop, as well as my first Mac, and I can't believe that I love using my computer so much. I usually treat my possessions like crap, but I can't even imagine hurting this thing. Its strange, really.

Also, he really didn't have to "RIP OFF" his insurance company. I had my mom put my PB on home insurance before I left to Australia for school. It covers theft and accidental damage for a price of $20 per year, no deductible. I can lose this thang and not pay a dime for a replacement. Hell, it would be upgraded as well. Insurance makes AppleCare look dumb, although I got both. :o

yamabushi
Apr 21, 2004, 06:07 PM
Stop using it right away. Turn it off and unplug the power cord from both the outlet and the Powerbook. Remove the battery. Keep the cord and battery seperate from the Powerbook for the time being.

Ground yourself using a wrist strap or length of wire connected to something grounded. Place the Powerbook on an antistatic mat if you have one. Remove the screws and carefully take it apart.

If there is any lint or dust left in hard to reach areas try using a tubular vacuum attachment to suck it up. Take care to avoid touching the vacuum attachment to the computer parts if possible and don't suck up any screws.

Next clean the interior with rubbing alcohol, not water. A spray bottle works well for this - don't immerse it. You can use cotton swabs to gently scrub some areas if you wish. Leave it open and it should dry in a few minutes. Use more alcohol if it does not appear to be clean. The alcohol should also help to remove any moisture from left over from the lemonade. You can also clean the battery and power cord with alcohol if you wish. After everything is dry you can spray the motherboard with antistatic spray if you have any. Make sure you let everything sit out for several hours until it is completely dry.

Carefully reasssemble the Powerbook using the wrist strap. Replace the battery and power cord. Turn on the computer and hope for the best.

Shorts on the motherboard due to moisture can often be corrected using this method. However, keyboards and touchpads are a bit touchy and you may not be able to fix them. An Apple Tech can replace either for a reasonable fee if necessary. Try using an external keyboard and pointing device while you test it if you can't get one or the other to respond.

Edit: I have personally brought half a dozen computers back from the dead using this method.

geesno6
Apr 21, 2004, 08:01 PM
Stop using it right away. Turn it off and unplug the power cord from both the outlet and the Powerbook. Remove the battery. Keep the cord and battery seperate from the Powerbook for the time being...
...
Edit: I have personally brought half a dozen computers back from the dead using this method.

yamabushi, thanks for the great and detailed advice. This sounds like a good first step to see what I can fix on my own before taking it in for any repairs.

One question: would blowing out the dust with a compressed-air cleaner be as good an option as using a vacuum? The vacuum is the only component I see any trouble coming up with easily.

tjwett
Apr 22, 2004, 03:10 AM
yeah it just may be salvageable. i saw an iBook once that got a milkshake of all things poured all into it and it reacted in a similar way. the owner stripped it down best he could and washed the logic board and let it dry open in front of a fan for over a week. it booted up fine. all he had to replace was the sticky keyboard. i've seen cell phones come back from the dead after taking a swim also. and if you end up with a working machine but the trackpad and keyboard are still dead try
http://www.pbparts.com for some replacements.

good luck!

yamabushi
Apr 23, 2004, 12:11 PM
Many people use compressed air but I think a vacuum is a better choice. Using compressed air poses a few potential problems. First, it is very easy to blow debris into spaces it should not go. Second, it could be unhealthy to breathe in that dust you are blowing around. Finally, compressed air can contain a great deal of moisture. A hose or tube from a household vacuum does not have these problems.