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Old Apr 22, 2010, 02:09 PM   #1
nintendude
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Other misc questions (Corrosion on motherboard)

I sent in my MBA for repair last week to a repair depot, and they say that there is corrosion on the motherboard from liquid damage. The problem with me is that the computer has never had any contact with liquids, especially in the area where the motherboard is. Can anyone show me where the corrosion is on this?

(attached photo is from repair depot)
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Old Apr 22, 2010, 05:52 PM   #2
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Are you joking?

It's the entire section shown in the photo. That computer has been badly damaged. I have never seen one that bad! It is a problematic situation. I am shocked it runs.

Did you buy it refurbished or used maybe? Have you loaned it to anyone?
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Old Apr 22, 2010, 05:57 PM   #3
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No I am not joking, sorry. I haven't really seen corrosion on a motherboard before so didn't know what to expect.

It's never been loaned, and I have never spilled water into it. The motherboard has been repaired by an Apple Store before but even if there is some connection, I doubt I could argue my way through.

It was bought new after they were announced in Feb 2008.

edit/and it's been running since the motherboard repair a few months ago, only issue I've had is with mis-storage of video artifacts (I think thats what the cs rep called it)

Last edited by nintendude; Apr 22, 2010 at 06:04 PM.
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Old Apr 22, 2010, 06:28 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by nintendude View Post
No I am not joking, sorry. I haven't really seen corrosion on a motherboard before so didn't know what to expect.

It's never been loaned, and I have never spilled water into it. The motherboard has been repaired by an Apple Store before but even if there is some connection, I doubt I could argue my way through.

It was bought new after they were announced in Feb 2008.

edit/and it's been running since the motherboard repair a few months ago, only issue I've had is with mis-storage of video artifacts (I think thats what the cs rep called it)
It doesn't look normal. It looks like a glass of orange juice was spilled inside of it. Perhaps it was sitting by a window? Perhaps someone else borrowed it, like a girlfriend, and dumped something in there without telling you. I can understand not wanting to tell you.

See how it looks tacky and there are brown discoloration all over the solder. That really looks like something like orange juice, or something very acidic was spilled on it.

I have a hard time believing it was given to you that way from Apple. I wonder about a third-party repair facility maybe doing something to it? Maybe swapped out the board to blame it on you? Maybe it was the repair tech's own board after ruining his/her own swapped it with yours? Maybe the repair tech spilled a coke on it? It definitely looks extremely abnormal. I remember getting a Dell wet once, and after cleaning it out it looked normal. When a friend spilled a Mai Tai on his Dell, and it was left there for a week or two, before we opened his to clean it up, it looked just like yours. We did get his running again also. If I remember right we used alcohol to clean it up, then we let it fully re-dry for a few weeks with heaters and fans on it.

I am not surprised it works. Especially that spot on the logic board because under it are vents so whatever it is could have entered from the top or bottom. Like say a coke was spilled in a laptop bag... I did that once too. Luckily only $300 worth of accessories were damaged with that one and not the computer.

Good luck with it. It will probably work fine for you. You can always read online the proper solution to clean it all up. I really think we used an alcohol solution of some sort. Just be very careful and ensure to remove the battery first.

Cheers.
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Old Apr 22, 2010, 06:33 PM   #5
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The picture isn't large enough for me to say if there is corrosion or not.

What I can see is that one of the capacitors has been replaced by someone that didn't do a very good soldering job and there is a lot of what looks like fuzz/dust stuck to the board, which means the board wasn't cleaned after the repair and the surface is tacky.

It doesn't always need to be cleaned depending on the type of flux used with the solder. Some fluxes are corrosive and need to be cleaned off the board. Those typically aren't used for repair jobs but mistakes happen.

Some isopropyl alcohol (99.9%) on a cotton swab could clean that up.
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Old Apr 22, 2010, 06:52 PM   #6
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So should I:

1) See if I can get any further by arguing the poorly soldered capacitor and mis-cleaning of the board after prior repair

2) Ask them to send it back and attempt properly cleaning it

3) Pay the $299.95 they are quoting for it (even though I still don't believe any damage was caused by me nor anybody around me)

Any input would be greatly appreciated.
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Old Apr 22, 2010, 10:45 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Arrg View Post
The picture isn't large enough for me to say if there is corrosion or not.

What I can see is that one of the capacitors has been replaced by someone that didn't do a very good soldering job and there is a lot of what looks like fuzz/dust stuck to the board, which means the board wasn't cleaned after the repair and the surface is tacky.

It doesn't always need to be cleaned depending on the type of flux used with the solder. Some fluxes are corrosive and need to be cleaned off the board. Those typically aren't used for repair jobs but mistakes happen.

Some isopropyl alcohol (99.9%) on a cotton swab could clean that up.
Well, you're not seeing what I am seeing then!
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Old Apr 23, 2010, 04:11 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by nintendude View Post
So should I:

1) See if I can get any further by arguing the poorly soldered capacitor and mis-cleaning of the board after prior repair

2) Ask them to send it back and attempt properly cleaning it

3) Pay the $299.95 they are quoting for it (even though I still don't believe any damage was caused by me nor anybody around me)

Any input would be greatly appreciated.
1) You'd be arguing based on onfo given to you by anonymous internet dude. Not sure how far you'd get with that.

2) You can try that if it isn't an expensive option (shipping cost). Make sure the battery is disconnected and stay as static free as possible (no moonwalking in your wool socks). A better closeup of the section would be nice.
http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/MacBook-Air/598/1

3) Sounds like the cost of motherboard swap. Or at least it should be for that price. Check what warranty comes with that option.
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Old Apr 25, 2010, 09:44 PM   #9
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This is what I would do. Step by step:

1. Unplug from AC outlet
2. remove all screws from bottom and place them somewhere safe
3. remove the lid
4. disconnect the battery (no need to take it out, just carefully take the plug from socket on logic board)
5. get some q-tips and rubbing alcohol
6. soak the q-tip in alcohol and *carefully* without applying major force go around the area where it's corroded
7. repeat a few times changing q-tips after every pass

You will see the q-tip getting dirty after each pass. If you do this right you will be able to get rid of most of it. The problem is that at this point it's probably futile but you don't lose much by trying this. It does wonders sometimes.
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Old May 1, 2010, 11:10 AM   #10
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I paid the 300 they quoted me to fix the computer and just got it back today with logic board, display housing, bezel, clutch, clutch, antenna, top case, video display panel, and thermal module replaced. But the issue I had before is still here! Here are screenshots of it. Note all the section of black on the desktop, the lines around open windows, the distorted black section around icons on the finder, and black on the dock itself.

(bookmarks and user name blacked out via Preview)
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Old May 1, 2010, 01:44 PM   #11
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Ok! Make a back up of the MBA and reinstall the OS with the cd's and time machine back up the MBA

Doing this will delete anything bad in the OS. If the problem persists, reinstall the OS only with no back up. Now if the issue is no more then theres something in the user envoriment that was installed that is causing your problem.

follow the steps in the way I outlined and most probably all of your issues will be resolved

REMEMBER its and Erase and install! no archive and install or other options
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Old May 1, 2010, 01:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nintendude View Post
I paid the 300 they quoted me to fix the computer and just got it back today with logic board, display housing, bezel, clutch, clutch, antenna, top case, video display panel, and thermal module replaced. But the issue I had before is still here! Here are screenshots of it. Note all the section of black on the desktop, the lines around open windows, the distorted black section around icons on the finder, and black on the dock itself.

(bookmarks and user name blacked out via Preview)
That could be a corroded cable from the GPU to the display? It actually looks like a bad GPU, but if they replaced the logicboard that gave you a new GPU.

Did you show it to them? Surely they'll fix it...
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Old May 1, 2010, 02:08 PM   #13
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That could be a corroded cable from the GPU to the display? It actually looks like a bad GPU, but if they replaced the logicboard that gave you a new GPU.

Did you show it to them? Surely they'll fix it...
Display cable comes with the display clamshell so they gave him new cables with the warranty repair.
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Old May 1, 2010, 05:59 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Vikz View Post
Display cable comes with the display clamshell so they gave him new cables with the warranty repair.
I really believe it's hardware. If you think it's software related, are you thinking a driver, perhaps?

I wonder if they didn't really fix something... I mean how do they replace all of those parts for $300? The actual cost would be over $1500 for the logicboard and display assembly alone?
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Old May 1, 2010, 09:48 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikz View Post
Ok! Make a back up of the MBA and reinstall the OS with the cd's and time machine back up the MBA

Doing this will delete anything bad in the OS. If the problem persists, reinstall the OS only with no back up. Now if the issue is no more then theres something in the user envoriment that was installed that is causing your problem.

follow the steps in the way I outlined and most probably all of your issues will be resolved

REMEMBER its and Erase and install! no archive and install or other options
I did an erase and install a few months ago when the issue first came up, it was still there afterwards.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottsdale View Post
I really believe it's hardware. If you think it's software related, are you thinking a driver, perhaps?

I wonder if they didn't really fix something... I mean how do they replace all of those parts for $300? The actual cost would be over $1500 for the logicboard and display assembly alone?
Originally, they quoted me about $750 including tax. I talked to someone from the dispatch help desk whom I convinced to re-quote me. The display assembly/hinges were replaced for having a good amount of play.

I left a message to the guy from the dispatch help desk and hopefully will get a reply soon, any other suggestions of what I should do?
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Old May 1, 2010, 10:41 PM   #16
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Do you see the same display artifacts when hooked up to an external display? I would expect yes, but it might be an interesting data point.

Seems interesting that it recurred after they purportedly replaced the mother board.
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Old May 2, 2010, 08:40 AM   #17
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Do you see the same display artifacts when hooked up to an external display? I would expect yes, but it might be an interesting data point.

Seems interesting that it recurred after they purportedly replaced the mother board.
Yes, the issues still happen when hooked up to an external display.
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Old May 2, 2010, 08:52 AM   #18
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Yes, the issues still happen when hooked up to an external display.
That makes me deeply suspicious about having replaced the logic board. Do you see the same behavior in Windows (I saw the Boot Camp drive)? Have you booted it into Windows? It could be that the Windows driver is doing something "bad", but that would be a long shot.

Good luck with this.
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Old May 2, 2010, 10:09 AM   #19
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That makes me deeply suspicious about having replaced the logic board. Do you see the same behavior in Windows (I saw the Boot Camp drive)? Have you booted it into Windows? It could be that the Windows driver is doing something "bad", but that would be a long shot.

Good luck with this.
I can't get the same behavior to happen in Windows.
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Old May 2, 2010, 11:16 AM   #20
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I can't get the same behavior to happen in Windows.
Now that is truly interesting! That points the pendulum of blame at OSX. Maybe a reinstall would be useful. Did this start after an update (say 10.6.2 to 10.6.3)? or did it just all of sudden start happening. Another thing that may or may not make a bit of difference .. are you using a custom color profile? if so, maybe returning to a default one would help.
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Old May 2, 2010, 11:31 AM   #21
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Now that is truly interesting! That points the pendulum of blame at OSX. Maybe a reinstall would be useful. Did this start after an update (say 10.6.2 to 10.6.3)? or did it just all of sudden start happening. Another thing that may or may not make a bit of difference .. are you using a custom color profile? if so, maybe returning to a default one would help.
It started a few months ago, and I had been running 10.6.2 for a bit already. It continued through to 10.6.3.

I'm not using a custom color profile.

I'll try a reinstall again later.

edit/ Got a call back, I'm gonna need to send it in to the repair depot again. The rep said that the repair would be escalated to the senior staff at the repair depot so hopefully, everything will be resolved.

Last edited by nintendude; May 2, 2010 at 04:17 PM.
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Old May 4, 2010, 02:39 PM   #22
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This is going to sound strange but do you have a beta of flash installed. I have seen these black problems on quite a few Air's and most have been solved by removing adobe flash beta.

Worth a try
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Old May 4, 2010, 03:34 PM   #23
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This is going to sound strange but do you have a beta of flash installed. I have seen these black problems on quite a few Air's and most have been solved by removing adobe flash beta.

Worth a try
I'm pretty sure I had one of the recent flash betas installed so that could be it. I already sent the computer off so I can't really try that to see what happens.

Also, here are some more images of weird effects of whatever the issue is.
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Old May 6, 2010, 04:06 PM   #24
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So I got the repaired machine back, and now theres this weird noise coming from the computer. I'm not sure how to describe it, but it's definitely not supposed to be there. In this repair, they replaced the logic board.

Anyways, Apple has decided to replace the machine for a new base model MBA (1.86/120) with the option to upgrade to the 2.13/128 model for another $300. As nice as this is, do you think I have a chance if I ask for this to be replaced with a 13" MBP? The price would be the same (compared to the 1.86 model) but I'm not familiar with Apple's replacement policy if it has to be the same computer type. Input?
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Old May 6, 2010, 05:36 PM   #25
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So I got the repaired machine back, and now theres this weird noise coming from the computer. I'm not sure how to describe it, but it's definitely not supposed to be there. In this repair, they replaced the logic board.

Anyways, Apple has decided to replace the machine for a new base model MBA (1.86/120) with the option to upgrade to the 2.13/128 model for another $300. As nice as this is, do you think I have a chance if I ask for this to be replaced with a 13" MBP? The price would be the same (compared to the 1.86 model) but I'm not familiar with Apple's replacement policy if it has to be the same computer type. Input?
Take your new Air and run! You're very lucky they're offering to replace it at all - I would've thought since they made you pay for the repair that they had voided the warranty due to liquid damage. As for the two models, totally up to you - do you want the faster processor and SSD? I'd think "yes" is the answer you'd like to say, unless the $300 is a huge issue...
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