How can I remove cola residue from RMBP Trackpad?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by 4lexboehm, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. 4lexboehm macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2012
    So the other night, my careless friend spilt a small amount of cola on my Macbook. I turned it off and cleaned it etc. I know that the liquid detectors have probably been set off but the only real problem is that sticky residue has become stuck underneath the trackpad. This makes the click produce loud sound and unreliable clicks. I saw on a forum that people who have had this problem on previous Macbooks would open them and clean off the residue. But, I know that the battery on the 15 inch rmbp is glued in place preventing trackpad access. I live in a part of Australia where there are no apple stores and all servicing is palmed off to 3rd parties that are slow and unreliable so I would rather avoid dealing with them even though it is still in warrenty. The only solution that I could think of was to spray electrical contact cleaner into the trackpad to dislodge the residue. This video demonstrates how it seems to work: However, the correct clicking action is infact only tempory untill the contact cleaner dries and leaves it sticky again. Does anyone have any other suggestions?

    Thank you so much for your help.
  2. mankar4 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 23, 2007
    Shoot man, I wouldn't mess around with spraying something under the trackpad, you could end up bricking a $2K computer because of a sticky trackpad with no recourse. Are the third party people apple certified, ie would using them void your applecare? If you are uncomfortable with them, call apple and get a quote from them, ship/drive it in, and have your friend pay for it.
  3. 4lexboehm thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2012
    I know it was a risk but electrical contact cleaner is a non conductor, inert and leaves nothing behind so I decided to try it. The repairers I'm referring to are apple certified. I guess it's my best bet, the main reason why I don't want to take it there is because it could take weeks and I would be left stranded with nothing to work on.
  4. paulCC macrumors member

    Nov 2, 2012
    I do not want to scare is my story about Coca Cola end electronics....granted, it was 30 years ago, and in Europe, so this might work differently now.

    I was making some money on the side by making audio gear. A friend came back with one of my devices, it broke. They admitted to spilling Coke on it. When I got to the printed circuit board, I saw black traces where copper used to be. A slight scratch with a sharp metal tool revealed that this had consistency of dried black powder. It was no longer conductive. The Coke disolved the copper !

    These were home made, simple PCBs, single layer, so the repair with wires was easy.

    Again - I do not have any knowledge if todays flavours of Coke might do the same.

  5. iLukeJoseph macrumors 6502

    Dec 20, 2011
    I don't know if ECC will actually work or not. And should be pretty safe, as long as you leave a little bit of time to dry (I would probably say overnight just to be safe, but in reality it is probably not more than 5-10 minutes).

    Could also try 99% isopropyl alcohol. I know that should be more than fine from a safety stand point. If I am removing some nasty thermal paste from a CPU, I will generally just toss the whole cpu in a little bowl of 99% for 15-20 seconds.
  6. 4lexboehm thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2012
    Oh good, that is reassuring. I am starting to think that I might attempt to take it an apple repairer for a warranty replacement for some issues that it's had since day one (dead pixels, Graphics card whine and image persistance. Do you think it is possible that a water damage indicator hasn't even been affected from it being such a small quantity of water liquid? And, do you know if ECC or isopropyl alcohol would cause the indicators to change colour? Thank you.
  7. Brian Y macrumors 68040

    Oct 21, 2012
    Given the cost of the machine, I'd take it to Apple and ask them to replace the top case - they *may* even do it for free if you're honest.

    It's almost impossible to clean the trackpad on the RMBP out - to do so you'd have to unglue the battery - which is a task not for the faint hearted.
  8. HoosierNewman macrumors newbie

    Dec 20, 2012
    Charlotte, NC
    One way...

    I have been in electronics for over 30 years and the steps are: The way I do it. Experienced with this.

    Immediately stop using your laptop!
    Disconnect AC adapter
    Disconnect battery

    Disassemble complete unit having only panel in hand.
    With only the panel, and no wires connected to it
    Pour boiling water over trackpad. [212 degrees] this would loosen and cola left between layers. (do this 2x)

    Rinse with 90% isopropyl alcohol (not the 70%!) This mixes with water that may be left behind and aids in evaporation.
    Tap panel against palm of your hands a couple of times to remove any excess water/alcohol. And not damage the base.

    Air dry or set palm rest panel in sunlight for a couple of hours. It should be good as new. (NEVER USE A HEAT GUN or HAIR DRYER) other plastics can be damaged.

    The water that I recommend is AQUAFINA only - other brands such as Dasani have minerals that may be left behind. Of course NON FLAVORED

    Again, this is usally done by a techs, and they would understand the what and whys. So no guarantees are intended.

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