So I spilled coffee on my Powerbook....any help?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by esbern, May 31, 2006.

  1. esbern macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    #1
    I have a Powerbook G4 bought in the summer of 2003 and have managed to spill coffee on it. The coffee spill happened about a week ago. I drained it out as much as I could, but I was told to not unscrew the computer because warranty would not apply to a computer that had already been opened. The computer does not work anymore. Sometimes it makes a few sounds, and one time the fans started spinning, but otherwise I get no luck.

    I have a little knowledge of computers (more along the lines of pretty good circuitry knowledge), and I would like to get inside of it in order to as much cleaning/draining as possible.

    So I have a few questions.

    1: If I undscrew the thing (I have a 6 sided philips screwdriver to open it) will Apple not accept it anymore? For any more problems?

    2: This is not under warranty, I assume. So are there any recommendations on how I could fix this myself?

    Thanks a lot for all the help you can give me!
     
  2. liketom macrumors 601

    liketom

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    Location:
    Lincoln,UK
    #2
    i do not think water damage would be coverd anyway on any insurance you may have - but worth checking before you go in .

    just make sure you have given the mac plenty of time to dry out and hope for the best really.

    i've killed so many mobile phones due to water(Cough beer)damage
     
  3. California macrumors 68040

    California

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    #3
    I think you got bad advice about not unscrewing the bottom case. As far as I know, this does NOT void the warranty.

    I would open the case, flush with distilled water, scrub out any obvious particles and let dry for a full 24 hours. The fact it is sitting in water does not do it any good.

    OPEN IT UP

    I spilled somethign on to an iBook and I opend up the back case and let it dry. Worked fine.
     
  4. California macrumors 68040

    California

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    #4
    Also I would pull the hard drive and ram and test separately before you write off the PB. Bad advice not to open it u p. It's out of warranty before this, anyway, right?
     
  5. esbern thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    #5
    well its actually still under warranty. i guess tonight i'm going to open it up and clean it up as much as posisble then let it sit fora bit. is there a good guide online to carefully taking apart a powerbook without screwing too much up? I'm not too worried about it, but better safe than sorry.


    thanks!
     
  6. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor

    WildCowboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    #6
    iFixit has guides for servicing various parts of PowerBooks. It will give you a good idea about what to expect when you open it up.

    I would agree that you should open it up and try to flush it out with water. It may too late, as it seems that you tried to turn it on, which may very well have shorted something out. When you spill something into your laptop, you should immediately yank the power cord and pop the battery out. If it's water, make sure it's thoroughly dry before trying to turn it on again. If it's something else, get as much as you can out, flush a bit with water (it's scary to do but better than leaving sugar or other things inside your computer), then let completely dry.
     
  7. PatrickF macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2006
    Location:
    Blighty
    #7
    Most importantly make sure that you pull out the battery and obviously the power supply. There is also a little babycell battery inside the computer that maintains power to the hardware clock. You will also want to try to disconnect this to avoid shorting anything.

    The main problem with coffee is that it will stick like mad, especially if you take sugar with your coffee. I remember a consultant where I worked spillt coffee on his Dell laptop. Cost him quite a bit to have that repaired by Dell.

    Also as far as I'm aware taking apart your computer (so taking off the top as well) will void your warranty. Nothing inside the computer is user servicable, only the RAM (and once upon a time the Airport Extreme). Both these are found underneath the battery.

    As others have said it may be worth checking your contents insurance as you may be covered for accidental damage. I know that my insurance covers me for this.
     
  8. esbern thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    #8

    Hmm.....how do the apple people tell if its been taken apart or not? I may be able to do it carefully enough so that they don't notice and any future problems will not effect the warranty.
     
  9. calebjohnston macrumors 68000

    calebjohnston

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    #9
    They'll inspect all edges for any sign of digging or scraping. Trust me, the chances of you opening it up and them not noticing is probably 1:20,000. There's just too many factors. You're going to miss a few.
     
  10. PatrickF macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2006
    Location:
    Blighty
    #10
    There aren't any seals that need to be broken to get into the case so if you are really careful and do a good job then of course you won't loose your warranty. This same approach would also apply to other appliances of course.

    Chances are though that you'll mess something up and void your warranty.

    Even if you managed to open up the computer it's not going to be an easy job removing all of that coffee from the insides. Sticky substances like that are a nightmare to remove from PCBs.
     
  11. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    #11

    well, if you bought it in the summer of 2003 then the warranty is about to end anyway so why worry about it? (I assume you're still under warranty at this time because you bought the applecare 2 yr extension?)


    besides the issue of them detecting if you have opened up your computer, you'll be faced with the possibility that they'll detect the damage from the liquid spilled inside and that'll void your warranty in itself
     
  12. Nate4747 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 7, 2006
    Location:
    Missouri
    #12
    You should just go ahead and open it if you feel comfortable. Your warranty is almost over so you don't have much to lose.

    About voiding your warranty, if you break something it will be void. BUT, this isn't taking into consideration that you spilling coffee on it has already voided your warranty on the parts that were affected by the spill.

    It's going to be very hard to clean it all the way out, but I'm sure if you try hard enough you can do it. I would recommend checking the CPU, GPU and heatsinks, and replacing the thermal pad on the heatsink with thermal grease because the pad is most likely soaked in coffee and not doing it's job properly. In my experience with an old iBook that a family friend gave to me for repair after spilling soda on it, I found that the RAM was totally fried and that was all that was wrong with it. After replacing the RAM and cleaning the PCB it booted just fine again. You should also try to clean all connections as well by removing all internal cables and using some type of non abrasive cloth.

    Best of luck to you in getting this thing to work again.
     
  13. California macrumors 68040

    California

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    #13
    I've heard the number one thing Apple looks at is residue from water/coffee spills on a laptop, so the liquid on your PB already voided the warranty. Go slow and the above posters had great advice about pulling the battery etc. I heard someone say using old egg crates for their powerbook take apart job is the thing to do.
     
  14. PatrickF macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2006
    Location:
    Blighty
    #14
    And don't forget to have all the instructions either colour printed and/or on another computer screen! Nothing like trying to disassemble a laptop without instructions in front of you :)
     
  15. jtown macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2003
    #15
    You're worried about keeping something you've already lost. Spilling coffee on/in the machine voided your warranty. Opening the unit now won't change a thing. Neither the base warranty nor Applecare covers negligence. Also, assuming you have Applecare, it'll expire right...about...now. 3 years takes you to the summer of 2006. Unless I'm mistaken, it's June 2006.

    And I have to assume you have applecare or you wouldn't be worried about the warranty at all since your base warranty expired in 2004.

    In theory, I suppose you could take the machine to an authorized service center and pay them to fix the damage you've done. That might preserve your applecare coverage. But there's no point. At best, you'd have a few weeks of additional coverage after paying more than the value of the laptop to get it fixed. What's that worth? $10?

    Unless you've got a friend who will fix it for beer, I suggest you consider selling the broken laptop on ebay with an accurate description of its condition and put the proceeds towards buying a new machine. Someone will buy it for parts. A working display with the possibility of other working parts could bring in a few hundred.

    BTW, be careful about homeowners/renters insurance claims. If you make a claim, they may raise your rates next time around. Get a thousand dollar check now, pay a couple hundred bucks more every year for decades. Some will even raise your rates just for asking. A friend had a hot water pipe start leaking inside the house's foundation. Plumbing was checked out and given the green light prior to purchase and it's been several years since she bought the house so you'd think it'd be a no-brainer for an insurance claim. Nope. Her agent advised her that not only would the claim almost certainly be denied, she'd get hit with higher premiums if she make an official inquiry just asking if such a thing would be covered. Not filing the claim. Just asking if it's covered.
     
  16. Cooknn macrumors 68020

    Cooknn

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2003
    Location:
    Fort Myers, FL
    #16
    I spilled Diet Pepsi on an IBM Thinkpad about a week ago on a Friday - it was dead. I had to pull the battery out to get it to turn off. I came in on Sunday and just for the heck of it I plugged it back in and it turned on :eek: Get it super dry and maybe yours will come back to life...
     
  17. mulletman13 macrumors 6502a

    mulletman13

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    Location:
    Los Angeles.
    #17
    Heh, this thread made me think :

    " What kind of klutz spills coffee on their laptop?"

    ... then I remembered I spilled a good portion of Diet Pepsi on an IBM ThinkPad a few years ago.... :)

    In any case, I tried using the laptop a couple of hours after I spilled the Diet Pepsi on it, to get absolutely nothing. Thinking it was a lost cause I let the laptop sit in the corner of my room for a couple of weeks, and for whatever reason when I found it again, I tried turning it on... and it worked flawlessly.

    Hopefully your coffee didnt have any sugar in it -- if it did then that is definately bad news bears :(

    Best of luck!
     
  18. XFce macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    Location:
    California
    #18
    Never ever under any circumstances place liquids refreshments less then 10 feet way from your mac. It’s just not worth it. For example right now I am sitting at my desk I’m thirsty but it takes me less then 30 seconds for me to go into the next room, take a drink, then return back to my desk. Drinking or leaving drinks next to a computer just ain’t worth the risk.
     
  19. California macrumors 68040

    California

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    #19
    One thing that has saved me in the past on powerbook spills, because I cannot be at my computer without water, coffee, tea etc., is I have iSkin keyboard protectors. They keep the keyboard flawless and dustless and protected my old Tibook against one gigantic coffee spill. Nothing got in the machine. Nothing. iSkins are about 20 bucks and worth their weight in gold.

    to OP: keep us posted.
     
  20. disconap macrumors 68000

    disconap

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2005
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #20
    As California said, once you've done what you're going to do WAIT 24 HOURS. Sorry to be repetitive, but that's the most important advice you can give with computers and spills.
     
  21. PatrickF macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2006
    Location:
    Blighty
    #21
    Also if you are going to "wash" out the insides with water make sure that the only water you use is either de-ionised or distilled water! Neither of these should conduct electricity (or much of it at least) and they won't leave any residue once the water dries. Never use tap water, especially if you have "hard" water.
     
  22. runplaysleeprun macrumors 6502a

    runplaysleeprun

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #22
    i spilt sprite on my pb, and the only thing wrong now is the damn sticky spacebar. a whole bunch of keys used to be wonky, but excessive typing seems to have freed them up a bit, only the spacebar remains a problem.
     
  23. Demon Hunter macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    #23
    Proof that Diet Pepsi is evil.
     
  24. Cooknn macrumors 68020

    Cooknn

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2003
    Location:
    Fort Myers, FL
    #24
    At the very least it doesn't like IBM Thinkpads :D Funny thing to add to my story is that I was actually setting up my new MacBook and it was the Apple box that knocked over the Diet Pepsi. I thought it was kind of interesting that the Mac took out the IBM ;)
     
  25. netdog macrumors 603

    netdog

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2006
    Location:
    London

Share This Page