Cleaning a Macbook logic board

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by jw 1, May 31, 2010.

  1. jw 1 macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2008
    #1
    I am considering the purchase of an ultrasonic cleaner to clean my logic board. I am looking at a 170 WATT 2 LITER (0.53 Gallon) DIGITAL ULTRASONIC CLEANER with HEATER. Will this work or should I purchase a more powerfull model and different frequency? OR should I stick with chcemical cleaners, DeoxIT or MG Chemicals 409B Electrosolve????
    Thanks
     
  2. ouimetnick macrumors 68020

    ouimetnick

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    Beverly, Massachusetts
  3. jw 1 thread starter macrumors member

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    May 17, 2008
    #3
    Yes, my son spilled diet coke it and now it's just a fancy paper weight.
     
  4. IMSAI8080 macrumors newbie

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    Feb 2, 2010
    #4
    If the board is dead, then cleaning it may not help. Its likely that some components fried when the coke shorted the board out. Unless you can do component level repairs, I think you are likely to be disappointed.
     
  5. jw 1 thread starter macrumors member

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    May 17, 2008
    #5
    Any suggestions where I might get it repaired?
    Right now the going price on eBay is around $300 for a used one.

    And should ignore the 99% success rate from the repair shops or (logic board repair adds)? After talking to one tech it sounds like all they do is put it in an ultrasonic cleaner. If it works I owe $150, if it doesn't I owe nothing.
     
  6. revbarabbas macrumors regular

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    Apr 27, 2009
    #6
    Um............Apple Store? Or Apple Authorized Reseller? Those are really your only two choices. And they will replace the logic board not clean it...wherever you heard that it is totally bogus.
     
  7. old-wiz macrumors G3

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    Mar 26, 2008
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    West Suburban Boston Ma
    #7
    exactly - they usually do not even try to repair logic boards; a lot of the circuitry is machine assembled and totally not worth it to try to fix manually. A fried logic board usually goes straight into the recycler.

    If you spill something on it while it's powered on, no ultrasonic cleaner is likely to do anything.
     
  8. AndyK macrumors 65816

    AndyK

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    #8
    As others above have said, cleaning it isn't really going to do much use.

    Check out the Apple store or an authorised reseller etc etc..
     
  9. jw 1 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2008
    #9
    OK thanks. I guess I will look to replace the board. Just wish they wrerent so expensive!
    Any suggestion on getting a used one or one pulled from another laptop?
     
  10. Cool Runnings macrumors regular

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    Sweden
    #10
    Why not try to clean it? If it isn't working afterwards, no harm done. If it work, success...
     
  11. jw 1 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2008
    #11
    I have tried to clean it using some of the methods found on the forum however none have worked. The Ultrasonic method was my last choice. I guess it couldn't hurt. If the board is dead then it won't matter. Any suggestion where I might get it cleaned?
     
  12. old-wiz macrumors G3

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    Mar 26, 2008
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    West Suburban Boston Ma
    #12
    I tried to find some ultrasonic cleaners, but what I found mostly was either jewelry cleaners or large industrial machines. the jewelry cleaners are not big enough to do a logic board, and I bet the industrial machines would cost more than a new logic board.
     
  13. eman macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 5, 2007
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    In the great white north
    #13
    You can buy an ultrasonic cleaner on ebay and yes it will cost you more than another logic board.
    You can buy another macbook with a broken LCD and swap the LCD or logic board and sell the excess parts.

    Use high grade rubbing alcohol and clean the logic board. Did you power the macbook up after the spill(before cleaning)? Did you pull the battery immediately after the spill? Did the macbook power off after the spill?
     
  14. jw 1 thread starter macrumors member

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    May 17, 2008
    #14
    Yes, the power was on and by the time my wife told me about it the mac was off. My guess is about 20 minutes. Now all that happens is the screen will flicker and the power light on the front of the computer comes on. It appears to be charging the battery. I had an SSD drive in the laptop and I pray it didn't hurt it! I have all my information backed up but I paid as much for the SSD as I did for the laptop!
     
  15. Synchromesh macrumors 6502a

    Synchromesh

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    Jul 15, 2009
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    SF
    #15
    Whatever that tech told you is very unlikely. I had a deal with a cleaning place and had a few logic boards with various spills laying around. Out of over 10 that I mailed them they were able to fix maybe 1 or 2. And they had many professional tools around including ultrasound.

    If the board is not actually dead you can just clean it with rubbing alcohol (about $1.99 in store). If you do it thoroughly enough there is a chance it will spring back to life. However, if your components are actually fried the only way to repair it is to swap the out. If many are fried, it's a parts board.

    Your best bet is to try it with alcohol and if that doesn't work, find a place that will take your old board as a trade in and give you a discount on a new one. Because even if you do get your old board to work, there is a chance some parts won't work well. Usually everything that has to do with power circuit goes first.
     
  16. l.a.rossmann macrumors 65816

    l.a.rossmann

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    Brooklyn
    #16
    Any ultrasonic cleaner + proper chemicals that will do more good than harm will cost more than your logic board.
     
  17. fluffyx macrumors 6502

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    Oct 25, 2007
    #17
    Unfortunately, there are very few companies who offer reliable liquid damage repair services. We're out there, but if you're able to find a used logic board on eBay for $300, that's certainly beats our price.

    The chances of an ultrasonic cleaner fixing your problem are quite slim. Synchromesh seems to have the right idea from experience, that a small percentage of the boards he sent in were repaired to the point where they would work immediately afterwards, and this says nothing of the long-term reliability of those boards. Very specialized tools are required for proper liquid damage repair, and very few shops have such tools.

    Installing a logic board may not be for the faint of heart, and to do it while keeping the new logic board and the computer safe requires special equipment. But if you end up do it yourself, best of luck!
     
  18. spirochete macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2003
    Location:
    London England
    #18
    Wash your logic board?........

    ........may not be as silly as it sounds:

    Not that you should expect a high success rate, but for the 20 or so boards that I've 'recently' had in with congealed cola etc in them, washing carefully utilising a fine toothbrush or similar, with a final rinse in distilled water, followed by blow-drying them AND leaving for 48hrs to completely dry in a warm dry cupboard, has had some success - about 25 to 30%. A small compressor with a fine jet is very useful for gently blowing the worst of the obvious moisture out awkward spots like cable connectors, memory slots and coils .... (or air can?), prior to air drying.

    To do it properly you have to fully strip the machine and remove the logic and then its cpu heatsinks etc..... you'd be surprised where a tiny bit of goo can hide and carry on causing problems. Thoroughness and not rushing is key to this.

    Don't assume its only the logic board at the root of the problem, - contaminated peripheral cable ends can cause all manner of strange effects.

    Check everything - an illuminated magnifying lens is very useful for spotting small 'nasties' lodged in awkward places.

    ALWAYS be mindful / ultra careful in respect of static damage - earth strap / grounded mat / foil / etc..... even an properly earthed stainless sink should be at zero potential.

    Also remember that the membrane type keyboard used on Macbooks can hang onto liquid for weeks trapped between the plastic membranes. You can't get it out or effectively clean it. The 'goo' eventually congeals, often shorting / rotting the tracks.

    A 'weird' keyboard will often cause a Macbook to auto shutdown or hang during the boot process which can have you looking elsewhere for the fault, - so eliminate it from the process. Try and find a decent keyboard to test OR use an external keyboard, only using its own one to power-up before quickly disconnecting it. Some models have power-up contacts on the logic board which helps get around the start button issue.

    As a working example, 6 months ago I was given an almost new unibody Macbook Pro (about 10 hours use) - written off as completely dead / un-viable repair by Apple after a coffee spill. Stripped completely - everything meticulously washed and cleaned -( 'orrible inside - sticky gunk all over), all allowed to thoroughly dry and carefully re-assembled......... back to life it came!

    It did need a replacement keyboard deck (about 20% of keys were dead), but apart from that its purring along happily - and still is 6 mnths later.

    So..... is washing likely to resurrect your Macbook?......

    Statistically, no, but if you've got nothing else to lose and you feel you are competent and careful enough to do this sort of work, taking your time, not rushing and allowing everything to REALLY dry out, you never know, you seem to stand about a 1 in 4 chance of it coming back to life in a usable fashion...... keyboards excepted - they almost always seem to die permanently, but replacement items seem to be readily available at affordable prices - so that'd be a small price to pay if the Mac was otherwise resurrected.

    Point of note:- keep water well away from early (non-unibody) Macbook displays; experience shows that even a small amount of water / wine / whatever, if allowed to dribble down into the lower edge almost always finds its way up between the display glass via capillary action - ruining the display panel as well - be warned!

    Hard discs should not be immersed - ever - for any reason, but gunk on the circuit board and edge connectors can be cleaned with a moist 'QTip'..... same with opticals and batteries. Use common sense here!

    Hope this helps or inspires someone to get their otherwise dead machine back to life, but I accept no responsibility for what you might do.

    If there's nothing to lose, try it by all means - at your own risk..... you might be the lucky one in the 25% bracket!

    :)

    Regards to all,

    JH
     
  19. jw 1 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2008
    #19
    Woooooooo Hoooooooo. I did it! I was looking at the board one last time before I purchased a new board and I saw some residue that I had missed. I took a Q tip and some alcohol and cleaned the area. For about 15 minutes. I replaced the logic board and WaLa! She is as good as new! Fantastic information from all, I really appreciate it! Especially that last post, very informative. I just hate to give up. Just saved $200!!! What a relief.
    Alcohol and a Q tip. Sure am glad I didn't get that ultra sonic cleaner.

    Thanks to everyone! Love my Mack!
     
  20. spirochete macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2003
    Location:
    London England
    #20
    :)

    There you go............

    One of the lucky 30% (?) - where persistence and attention to detail paid off!

    Pleased your Mac's got a new lease of life.

    JH
     
  21. stoveguy macrumors member

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    Jul 4, 2010
    #21
    2yrs ago we had water damage issues. battery indicator would not indicate proper charge? fixed under warranty. have paperwork somewhere. not sure what they did. so now 1 of our memory slots is failing to see memory. we have never touched memory. not sure if tech removed it to fix unit? i really don't want to touch/clean or inspect memory slot. its hard to inspect slot area since it is concealed so well. tried to blow it out with compressed air. still does not work. would a tech have to remove case cover to get to this area to inspect?
     
  22. spirochete macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2003
    Location:
    London England
    #22
    Surprised it was fixed under warranty - that's normally classed as user-inflicted damage and outside the scope of the guarantee .

    Anyway.........

    Macbook RAM - earlier 13" machines (if this is what we are discussing here), suffered from a 'growth' building up on the SoDimm board's gold contacts which takes the appearance of white mould or fungus.

    Supposedly, its actually due to the flux they used when soldering the boards.

    The build-up can get quite bad - to the point where the 'chip' stops working or being recognised.

    Remove battery:

    Remove RAM/HD cover (thin stainless 'L' shaped strip) by loosening the 3 very small philips screws and withdrawing the cover...

    TWO RAM slots are visible, use eject levers to remove the two sodimm RAM boards, being very mindful of static. Examine the gold-plated edge connectors for white 'crud'.

    If present - clean it off ( a pencil rubber is good ) - ONLY on an anti-static surface.

    Replace and eject sodimms 2 or 3 times to help clean sockets.

    Re-assemble and see if Macbook now recognises RAM.... it often works.

    If not, try to acquire a known good RAM board to substitute for the 'bad' one.

    If that doesn't work its likely you have a dead RAM slot.

    Regards,

    JH
     
  23. stoveguy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2010
    #23
    asked my kid for details. said the battery issue and very minor pop spillage happened at 2 different times and she thought it was not related.

    examine the edge of the sticks of ram or the ram slot on board? i got a new single larger stick of ram and tried it in both slots. only 1 slot can see the memory. i would think cleaning the thin memory slot would be very hard to reach.
     
  24. Synchromesh macrumors 6502a

    Synchromesh

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    SF
    #24
    Congrats to OP. Little miracles do happen with these boards sometimes. :)
     
  25. Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #25
    A chance?

    I've been given this MacBook for repair. Someone spilled a drink (she claimed water) in the upper left corner of the keyboard. The machine boots, but the DC inboard is dead, as is half of the keyboard. Went to replace the top case and DC inboard and saw a lot of buildup on the upper left side of the logic board that leads me to believe it was something more than water that was spilled. After replacing both of the parts the Magsafe was still dead and the new keyboard would power on the machine but couldn't type anything, nor did the trackpad work. I put the old keyboard back and it still works... sort of.

    Now I've disassembled the whole thing and removed the logic board - I attached a picture of the problem area (top left). Any idea as to how I should clean this? Once again, the DC inboard is the only big problem though I didn't test every port on the left side I/O...
     

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