HELP!! Spilled coffee

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by quantumguy, Jan 20, 2011.

  1. quantumguy macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2011
    Hey guys

    So I spilled a little coffee on my three day old macbook air - 11"

    I quickly shut it off flipped it over and wiped everything
    Used a hair dryer and let everything dry off
    cleaned the keyboard again and booted it up

    Everything works but two keys: comma and period
    and "m" is a little sticky

    What should I do? I am dreading to go to the apple store -- They will probably replace the top case and would cost me a bunch
    Not to mention that would probably void my warranty
    And being a poor college student I am broke

    Is there any way I can fix it?
    I am confortable taking computers apart - I have taken my powerbook apart countless times
    My previous computer is a 12" powerbook which is just not usable anymore

    Any thoughts/ideas?

    Thanks so much!
  2. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus


    Sep 8, 2010
    Being that it was coffee, you probably will have to take it apart carefully, and clean it up. The Apple Store may help you if you ask really nice.

    That sucks though, 3 days old and spilled liquid on it already... yikes.
  3. quantumguy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2011
    I guess worth a shot if I can't get it working by the weekend
    Can one take apart the keycaps in these chiclet keyboards?
    I tried but don't want to give too much pressure

    You can easily take apart keycaps on older keyboards and clean them up

    Yeah it's heart breaking and I am the OCD type who takes very good care of my gadgets
    Not a single dent in my 5 year old powerbook
  4. quantumguy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2011
    any chance that those two keys might magically start working tomorrow?
  5. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus


    Sep 8, 2010
    I'm not sure how to take one apart. The only laptop I've done was my MBP 2,2 (pre-unibody). As for magically working tomorrow? Wait and see. Was there milk/creamer/ or sugar in the coffee?
  6. quantumguy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2011
    milk! :(
  7. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus


    Sep 8, 2010
    Yeah, I wouldn't hold out much hope of the keys getting unsticky on their own. But count your blessings that the MBA still works! :)
  8. lucashungaro macrumors member

    Nov 20, 2010
    São Paulo, Brazil
  9. bmat macrumors 6502

    Nov 24, 2004
    East Coast, USA
    the stickiness of the "m" key doesn't sound great, but seems like something that may not be long term and work itself out. The other keys not working seems far worse, and seems that the liquid may have done some real damage -- all speculation of course. It must have been a perfectly unlucky shot, or a decent amount on the top of the computer. My guess is that, if the keys work tomorrow, just be thankful and work away. I wouldn't buy apple care now, though, since the spill will probably be obvious to any tech down the road and will be the basis to deny service.

    Sorry about that, irrespective of how many days old it is....
  10. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Back when RadioShack was Radio Shack, they used to sell electronic equipment cleaning solution. I don't know if they still do. You might try some 91% rubbing alcohol. Dab a little bit onto a cotton ball and try cleaning the keys from above, It might dissolve some of the milk that got stuck in the keys.

    See if there is an authorized Apple repair center. They might be a bit more aggressive than an Apple Store.
  11. AlphaDogg macrumors 68040


    May 20, 2010
    Boulder, CO
    I guess the fact that the OP isn't online, nor has he responded means something bad about his MBA... :eek: If I spilled coffee on my MBA (or actually my MBP, because I do not own a MBA), I would create a forum post and keep checking it.... Even if I do have midterms tomorrow...
  12. quantumguy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2011
    Yeah did the hair dryer thingy again but doesn't seem to work

    I guess I will just take it to the apple store tomorrow and just tell them I spilled coffee

    I am not sure whether the milk b/w the keys is causing the problems or if it actually did short something
    The cost of top case alone is $200 bucks from what I found online so I guess I can expect at least double that

    Really hoping I get someone nice at the genius bar and would be like: okay just this once I am fixing it for free
  13. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Horse, barn door, and closed, but in the future if you are concerned about this kind of thing, Square Trade warranties cover accidental damage. However, coverage starts on Day 31, so it wouldn't have helped you here.
  14. quantumguy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2011
    Thanks for the tip

    Ran the hardware test didn't give out any errors -- so I am guessing only those two keys got shorted or something
  15. quantumguy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2011
    So, I just talked to a friend who had spilled water on his macbook pro and had taken in to Apple for service.

    He had the same issue, logic board and other stuff was fine, just some parts of the keyboard messed up. He insisted to Apple to replace the just the top case assembly but Apple was like since its liquid damage they would replace the logic board (~$900!)

    So I am confused. What should I do? Should I just go to the Apple Store and politely tell them to just replace the top case? Or just wait for sites like powerbookmedic or ifixit to carry the top case for 11" air (shouldn't they have the parts yet it's been a couple of months already since launch) and then replace it myself and in the mean time I can remap the keys using TextPander?

    Or just go to the Apple Store and act dumb and cross my fingers that the liquid damage sensors aren't tripped.

    Any thoughts/opinions are welcome.
  16. Xeperu macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2010
    Right, crazy as it seems, this HAS worked for me on laptops with removable power. (Might be not very useful for the MBA, but still).

    I stilled a venti Starbucks over my old MBP. I quicked ripped the battery out. Went into a lab, got half a gallon of demineralised water and completely rinsed out the laptop. It was SOAKED. Let it drip out for 5 minutes and put it in a bag of those moisture absorbent pellets.

    The little trooper went on to work for another 2 years before it kicked the can because I forgot to take it of the roof of my car and drove off :(
  17. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    Buy a new keyboard on eBay, and a penelobe screwdriver, and fix it yourself.

    These things come apart really easily compared to the days of silver-keyed MBPs or worse yet PowerBooks and iBooks.

    Don't take it to Apple unless you want your warranty to be voided until you shell out the cash for a new top case. A keyboard
    Might set you back $60, and it might take you a couple of hours, but it's a hell of a lot better than the alternatives.
  18. quantumguy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2011
    Does sound a little crazy. Since it's only a few days old I think I will hold off on this method.
  19. quantumguy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2011
    Yes, I think that's the more sensible thing to do. But the parts are hard to come by since these airs are kinda new.

    And if ifixit guide is anything to go by, the keyboard is integrated into the top case and cannot be removed.
    The old macbook air's top case goes for around $200, so I am hoping that's the price I will be looking for.

    Anyhow, I guess I learnt my lesson, beverages and computers don't mix (unless ofcourse the keyboard in question is the das ultimate tactile , which I use for my desktop)
  20. Xeperu macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2010
    You gotta do it right away before you get crystallisation anyway. Maybe like 5-10 minutes in between max.
  21. Kachadurian macrumors newbie

    Dec 22, 2010
    Traverse City, Michigan
    Yikes. It's too late for you, but for the next person who has a spill, DO NO USE A HAIR DRYER.

    It is maybe the worst thing you can do. It blows the moisture deeper into the components and it will often find it's way beyond the keyboard and into the motherboard. If it does dry it, it leaves the most residue where you don't want it, as you saw, in the keys. Lastly, it can really heat up the internal components while forcing moisture into them.

    Don't blow into the spill, Suck it out. The best plan of attack is to use the highest power Vacuum you have with a very small attachment nozzle to suck out as much of the spill as possible. It will get a lot of it out from between keys and keep the moisture from going deep and doing real damage. Then let it sit in a dry place for no less than 24 hours, with the lid open.

    Better yet, as I tell my daughter (who killer my beloved 12" PB with coke and a hair dryer) Keep your drinks away from you computer.
  22. klover macrumors 6502a

    Jun 7, 2009
    This has worked for me in the past when repairing laptops. A little rubbing alcohol to loosen things up and then a quick follow-up with a blast of compressed air (from a low angle).
  23. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Of course, now that's not so easy with the unibody designs.
  24. CoolSpot macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2004

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