Coffee damaged Macbook Pro Retina

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by sanchopanza, Jan 28, 2015.

  1. sanchopanza macrumors newbie

    Oct 31, 2013
    I was carrying my mac (15" retina late 2013) and thermos at the same bag. A miracle happened and my thermos switched on by itself and 19 oz hot-sugar free-black coffee spilled on my mac. The lid was closed and coffee flowed through holes located under the screen.

    I immediately went to an official Apple Store and they said that every part of my mac was affected by liquid. They suggested me to buy a new mac since replacing affected parts with new ones is more expensive than buying a brand new mac.

    After that, I wanted to try an unofficial Apple service and boom! They made it work under 2 hrs. Technician guy said that he "repaired" my mac's logic board. However, batteries were dead and screen had stains on it. They said that I have to pay for new batteries but I can fix display for free with a hairdryer to make stains go away. They said they tried it before and it worked.
    So, they charged me about 1/10 of a brand new Mac and I ordered new batteries with another 1/10 price of a new Mac.

    However, once I searched online and talked to Apple guys again, I've learned that working machine does not necessarily mean that it'll work forever. Also, even if it works forever, hairdryer thing might not work and I may have to pay for a new screen which costs around 1/4 of a new Mac. Although unofficial service guy have quite a reputation on fixing liquid damaged Macs in here, Istanbul, I have doubts now. Should I cancel the battery order and buy a new Mac or finish what I started by risking another 1/10 (battery) and 1/4 (display)?

    PS: I intentionally avoid giving actual prices since Mac prices are quite different between countries and hence might affect reader's judgement.

  2. close2reality macrumors 6502

    Sep 21, 2012
    I think life happens, and this is a perfect example. I think the overall headache of trying to put all the "puzzle pieces" together to get your Mac running again without any real certainty it will pan out for the better is not a road worth traveling down.

    Bust out the credit card, grab a new MBP, but this time keep your thermos separate from it...

  3. Raunien macrumors 6502

    Aug 3, 2011
    Get a new mac. Learn from your mistakes. The headache and constant worrying about whether your computer will work or not is not worth it.
  4. sanchopanza thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 31, 2013
    Thanks for the replies but I would like to get technical explanations rather than life advices.
  5. close2reality macrumors 6502

    Sep 21, 2012
    You have already visited an apple genius bar, and a service tech who has a built reputation for fixing liquid damaged electronics.

    Sounds like you have already made up your mind on refurbing it, and your fishing for reassurance.
  6. Richdmoore macrumors 68000


    Jul 24, 2007
    Troutdale, OR
    Does it cost more to have them replace the batteries now rather than later? Are they charging for the Hairdryer fix, or did I read correctly that it is something that you need to do?

    Assuming it will not cost a bunch more later to replace the batteries, I would not replace the batteries, use the macbook with ac power for now, and try the hairdryer fix.

    If the hairdryer fix doesn't work, at least you didn't spend money on the batteries. If the hairdryer fix works and everything else on the mac checks fine, then I would go ahead and have them replace the batteries.

    Of course, if you need to replace the screen because the fix didn't work, you are going to have to judge the cost of screen + batteries + increased chance of failure. It is going to come down to if you want to take the chance or not.
  7. MacCubed macrumors 68000


    Apr 26, 2014
    If the logic board was replaced then there wont be problems, maybe screen issues, but if the liquid didn't get there, it shouldn't be a problem. If the logic board was fixed, there could be a problem with the battery connector on the logic board or the SMU chip being damaged, both would result in the possibility of power issues.
  8. sanchopanza thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 31, 2013
    What you are saying makes sense, but they said that it is very dangerous to use on Power without replacing batteries. And hair dryer thing takes some time, like weeks if not months, they say. Therefore I think I have to replace batteries first.
  9. Natzoo macrumors 65816


    Sep 16, 2014
    Not sure where i am
    i feel like just get a new mac. The call is up to u
  10. jwhazel macrumors regular

    Sep 22, 2005
    How about advice as someone who was an ACMT at a large non-apple owned service center for many years?

    Buy a new mac. Recoup a very small portion of the cost by selling the damaged one. It sucks but once liquid hits those rMBP's it's usually game over.

    Battery - How do you actually know the battery is bad? Did the unofficial local guys actually plug a new battery in and verify that was the problem? Or are they just guessing that it's the battery based on the fact it's not detected/charging? Because given your story and symptoms I'm willing to bet its more likely that the charging circuit on your logic board is what fried.

    Screen - once liquid gets in there, it's not coming out. Ever. On top of that, go splash some coffee on a piece of glass or your counter top and put a hair dryer to it, let me know whats left over when the liquid portion is evaporated.

    Not trying to be the bearer of bad news, just trying to lay some experience based advice on you. The facility I worked at that processed anywhere from 300 to 1000 macs per day finally stopped using refurbed parts (parts from vendors who, like your local guy, would take liquid damaged stuff and clean them off and give them a quick test and turn around and sell it) and switched to using genuine Apple supplied parts. These new Apple supplied parts cost probably 10x as much but that facility was actually loosing more money with the refurb parts due to the sheer amount of returns we got on them. Buy a new mac and better thermos.
  11. Richdmoore macrumors 68000


    Jul 24, 2007
    Troutdale, OR
    Than that would be way to much uncertainty for me to try and salvage the computer then. I would get a new one if possible, and try to sell the current one as a water damaged non-working computer.

    This may be a stupid question, but did they tell you the problems with the battery and screen before they charged you to fix the motherboard? It sounds very sketchy (fraud?) if they didn't tell you either all the problems with the laptop first, or at least that there may be additional issues with the screen and battery that they could only discover after they fixed the motherboard.

    Anyway, I wouldn't trust these repair people if they didn't give you all the facts before the motherboard repair, if this is the case. I wouldn't have any more work done by them at all, unless they were honest with you.
  12. simonsi macrumors 601


    Jan 3, 2014
    The refurb is a dice throw, you might get a result, you might not. There is no greater technical explanation, you have exposed electronics to liquid, their lifespan is no a lottery. Only you can decide if you want to play.
  13. iPhone1 macrumors 65816


    Apr 2, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    You may want to see if your insurance company has any kind of computer coverage under either your existing renters insurance policy or homeowners insurance.

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12 January 28, 2015