Hot Water Spilled on Macbook

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by MacBuck, May 3, 2010.

  1. MacBuck macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    #1
    So I never thought that this would happen, but two days ago, I accidentally spilled some hot tea/water on my Macbook. :(

    I booted it up and everything works fine, except the keyboard and the trackpad. I can use an external keyboard and trackpad. When booted up, the mouse is in the top left corner and is stuck there.

    Any advice?
     
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #2
    Hot water and or tea on a macbook and 2 days later you powered it on? Not a good idea. Sounds like something shorted, which is what happens when liquids meet electronic devices.

    Take it to Apple and see what they say in terms of what needs to be fixed, buy parts yourself and fix it because it will be 3x cheaper.
     
  3. MacBuck thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    #3
    How long should I have waited?

    As soon as the water was spilled, I turned it off, took out the battery, and left it upside down.

    Like I said, everything else is perfect, besides the keyboard and the trackpad.
     
  4. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #4
    I got water spilled on a MBP I had last year. I disassembled it and made sure everything was dry before reassembling and turning back on. This is what I would recommend anyone in a similar situation do as the warranty is voided anyways. Only by actually seeing that it is dry inside can you be sure.

    You can pick up a new keyboard and trackpad on eBay (depending on the model it can be surprisingly cheap). This has been the lowest cost source for parts I have found. Far less than iFixit on most items. You just need to find the part number and search titles and descriptions with that number.
     
  5. California macrumors 68040

    California

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    #5
    Actually pure water does not conduct electricity. Tea with sugar or milk in it does.

    OP you need to clean out your computer with distilled water and let it sit for a few long days.

    I just fixed a broken mac that had coffee with lots of cream spilled into it this way. And it was broken.

    Distilled water is your friend with liquid accidents. Rubbing alcohol on the sugary parts on a q tip doesn't hurt either.
     
  6. MacBuck thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    #6
    Hmm, well my tea was pretty much just boiled water. No sugar or milk. So I think I'm okay with that.

    So the only way to get my keyboard and trackpad working again would be to replace them?
     
  7. California macrumors 68040

    California

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    #7
    No. Unless you burned some plastic parts in the trackpad, I will lay bets that there is some tea in there that is corrupting things. Take it off, rinse in distilled water, and wait and see.

    Tea does conduct electricity. Pure water does not.

    I mentioned the coffee with cream in it because it had shut down the logic board totally on the mac, which was brought back to life with distilled water.

    Rinse it out first and see if it needs replacement. Unless you feel like spending money rather than your labor plus time on the trackpad.
     
  8. MacBuck thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    #8
    Interesting. I'll check it out.

    Thanks!

    EDIT: What do I take off?
     
  9. upaymeifixit macrumors 6502a

    upaymeifixit

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    #9
    If you're actually going to do this distilled water thing, make sure you take out the battery and do it piece by piece.

    California, how long before the water would ionize? He couldn't actually buy real 100% pure water right? It would still have a "few" ions right? (like enough to make a difference)
     
  10. MacBuck thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    #10
    For now, I'm leaving it turned upside down to dry. I'm thinking that if I leave it to completely dry out, the keyboard and trackpad may come back to life.

    If not, I'll open it up and clean.
     
  11. upaymeifixit macrumors 6502a

    upaymeifixit

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    Feb 13, 2009
  12. MacBuck thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 3, 2010
    #12
    Some people advocate the use of a hair dryer/blower (not on the hot setting) to speed up drying. Would that be safe?
     
  13. upaymeifixit macrumors 6502a

    upaymeifixit

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    Feb 13, 2009
    #13
    So long as it's not too hot. Remember, your computer generally operates in the 120ºF-160ºF range, so you should be safe.
     
  14. OGDaniel macrumors 6502a

    OGDaniel

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2009
    Location:
    Arizona
    #14
    Sorry but i don't think your keyboard and trackpad are coming back at all. If you keep it upside down and off for a couple days everything should be fine. Order new parts to replace the parts the water was directly spilled on and pretty much replacement parts for anything near where the water was spilled on. There are tutorials for keyboard replacement and stuff like that all over the glorious Internet. Good luck dude.
     
  15. BeanieMan macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2010
    #15
    If this distilled water method indeed does have any hope of working, the key to it would be that very little would be left after drying. A few ions i would think would not matter unless it's powered up wet. Be sure to actually purchase distilled water, though. Tap water generally has quite a bit of dissolved minerals.

    However, don't get your hopes too high with trying this. Even a little bit of a short can easily burn out some circuits, even without any visible damage. On the other hand, if all the circuitry is intact, it may actually work. I think some people put custom circuit boards through a thorough wash, followed by baking to get the water out, just to get residual flux off the board after soldering. (but don't bake your keyboard...)
     
  16. arogge macrumors 65816

    arogge

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2002
    Location:
    Tatooine
    #16
    What should I do if I have a "unibody" Apple laptop? Is it easy to replace the keyboard? I tried at a local store and was told that I had to talk to Apple if I wanted the keyboard changed.

    This is why Apple should stop being cheap and make the laptop waterproof. A mobile computer device is not supposed to break if it's exposed to normal weather conditions for outdoors. I got wet again today when it just started raining unexpectedly. Can these latest laptops still not continue operating in a rainstorm? It's not that hard to protect the computer against water intrusion. It just costs money and space, which is a lot better than having a nice paperweight after a scattered shower shorts out the motherboard.
     
  17. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #17
    Not really much space as the seams just need to be sealed (any gasket sealer or appropriate caulk should work). Though the keys may be individual the polymer backing layers and circuit layer are solid sheets which could be sealed against the palm wrest. Heck if you could seal the vents to the casing then to the fans and seal ports the Macbook could conceivably be submersible. Assuming the fans could handle the additional strain of moving water across the cooling fins.
     
  18. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #18
    Moral to the story; keep food, drinks, and coasters as far away from your computing space as possible, especially if it's your computer! You will never spill a liquid on your computer if the two are kept apart.
     
  19. joecool99 Suspended

    joecool99

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    #19
    so you are saying that quite a lot of computers damaged by spill is fixable because it needs to be washed with distilled water ?

    wouldn't rubbing alcohol wash away protective coating on the logic board ?


    ps: where is water damage indicator in the recent intel unibody and non-unibody ?



    pps: also a curiosity, is the logic board from last C2D generation same in terms of dimensions as the i5 / i7 logic board ?
     
  20. MacBuck thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 3, 2010
    #20
    Update: my keyboard and my trackpad have come back to life after cleaning it with some alcohol. :D
     
  21. Gregg2 macrumors 603

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    May 22, 2008
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    Milwaukee, WI
  22. upaymeifixit macrumors 6502a

    upaymeifixit

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    Feb 13, 2009
    #22
    I gotta say, I didn't think it would work, but I'm glad it did.
     
  23. PsyD4Me macrumors 6502a

    PsyD4Me

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    Mar 11, 2009
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    under your bed
    #23

    She's alive, glad it worked out for ya
     
  24. cjmabry macrumors newbie

    cjmabry

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    #24
    Not meaning to hijack this thread, and glad your problem got resolved, but this seems like an approriate topic to ask. Hopefully California will know :p...

    Am I right in thinking this? The only reason water + electronics is not good is because when the water hits the circuits and the device is turned on or is till on the water conducts the electric current and makes it jump across to a place in the circuit it's not supposed to be yet, which causes a short. So if no electric current is running through the device when the water is spilled on it then no harm is done? Say I took the battery out of an iPhone and fully submerged it in water, then waited until it was 100% dry and turned it back on, would it still function fine? Or does the water itself damage the components?
     
  25. g3powerbook boy macrumors member

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    Jan 29, 2010
    #25
    It might be ok.... but what im trying to figure out is why the hell you would want to do that for?
     

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