Keys Messed Up from Cleaning

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by TestAcc2016, Aug 29, 2016.

  1. TestAcc2016, Aug 29, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2016

    TestAcc2016 macrumors newbie

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    Aug 29, 2016
    #1
    Hello!

    My mac’s been water damaged with the result being some keys (now only one key) being always pressed, and I was wondering what I should do about it and if the situation will get worse. My mac is a 13” Macbook Air from mid 2012 and currently has OS X 10.9.5.

    Here’s the story. I’ve been wiping my macbook (pretty much the entire mac except the screen) with wet napkins or towels almost on a daily basis for the past 3-4 years to clean it (I’d wipe and dry it with something dry afterwards), especially after using it outside in the library or at school. Two nights ago, after doing my usual cleaning, the letters I was typing became weird symbols like å∂𪨥†∂…å¬. I realized afterwards that the control or option key had been stuck or jammed internally. After a while, I think I was pressing the power key or something when the mac just started restarting randomly, around two to three times. Then it just shut down and would not turn back on. I flipped it upside down with the screen at 90 degrees to the keyboard, put the keyboard onto a table, and put the screen parallel to the table and pointed to the floor (I was trying to let the water out). After a while, it just turned back on and was in safe boot. The next day, I realized that the shift key was stuck now. I had to plug in a keyboard to type in lowercase and get into my regular account, since the password had lower case letters.

    I brought it to the Apple store, and the Genius Bar guy told me pretty much what I already knew, but he also told me that there are problems with the … I seriously don’t remember what he said. But what happened was he tried to get me out of safe boot by plugging in a keyboard into the Mac and typing certain things while booting. It didn’t do a thing, and, because of this, he told me that there were other problems with my mac as the inputs weren’t working, or something like that. I just do not remember what it was he said. He then suggested (and essentially implied that I had better do this) that I send this in for repairs for $755 before tax, totaling at around $850+ after tax. I of course declined.

    Here is the current situation. I used karabiner to disable the left shift key, and I turned on the firmware password to disable safe boot. This solves the pressed shift key problem, except that it’s still pressed until I log in and turn on karabiner. The remaining situation to be dealt with is the power button. Firstly, unlike before, holding it down for a few seconds doesn’t put it to sleep. Second, now when I press control + power, that puts it to sleep. Third, when I am at the log back in screen (waking up from sleep, where you type password), pressing the power key doesn’t put the mac back to sleep. Instead, if I press it multiple times, it will randomly either increase or decrease the brightness, or decrease the keyboard backlight. These aren’t exactly problems, but it suggests that there is still something wrong with the power button.

    Now as it currently is, I’m pretty much fine with my mac. Other than the disabled shift key and the weird effects with the power button, it’s basically normal and functioning like it used to. My main concern is simply that the situation might deteriorate. Maybe the corrosion will get worse, or there’s problems that have yet to surface. As long as it doesn’t get worse, I’ll have it as it is.

    So here are my questions: (1) Should I have the keyboard opened, examined, and cleaned, or should I replace the keys (left shift, control, option, power), or what’s the idea? (2) Will my mac get worse or will this pretty much be as bad as it gets? I suppose maybe this second question can only be answered through an actual examination of the mac. I will have my mac looked over and diagnosed in Simple Mac (third party store in NYC) in a few days, but I was just wondering what you guys think of it just what I’ve said.
     
  2. tubeexperience, Aug 29, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2016

    tubeexperience macrumors 68030

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    Feb 17, 2016
    #2
    The replacement keyboard from eBay costs $16.

    Read the instructions on iFixit.

    The original keyboard is riveted in and slightly tedious to remove, but I am sure you can handle it.

     
  3. TestAcc2016 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 29, 2016
    #3
    Hmm... if it's that cheap then I will definitely consider it. I'm a little afraid of doing the replacing myself because I don't have any experience with dealing with hardware and I'm afraid I might cause a mess or even make things worse. However, if there's even a video showing how to do it, I think it's well worth a try.
     
  4. tubeexperience, Aug 30, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2016

    tubeexperience macrumors 68030

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    #4
  5. TestAcc2016 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 29, 2016
    #5
    I'll be going to Simple Mac for a free diagnostic on Thursday and I'll see what they have to say first before doing anything. Right now though I'm guessing that I most likely will end up having to replace the keyboard, so I will be sure to use the links you've provided when I do eventually do the replacing.

    You mentioned keyboard screws in addition to the keyboard. Would this do the job?
    https://www.amazon.com/MacBook-Keyb...8-1&keywords=macbook+air+keyboard+replacement
     
  6. tubeexperience macrumors 68030

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    Feb 17, 2016
    #6
    Yes, those are indeed the screws.
     
  7. Left4DeadBoy macrumors regular

    Left4DeadBoy

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    Sep 20, 2015
    #7
    hi its not meant for you to clean a Macs keyboard with the system on! With the system off theres no trouble; really there isnt; and instead of any water at all you must refer to a sterile wipe of the kind used in every bathroom cleanup!
     
  8. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #8
    Things like the restart don't happen due to a keyboard issue, unless it's somehow causing a kernel panic. I've never seen that happen. You might inquire why depot repair wasn't offered. I'm not sure it's worth the cost for a 2012 model at this point, but it tends to be around $350 for the macbook pros and might be cheaper for an air (not sure).
     
  9. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #9
    The depot (flat-rate) repair would not be offered. That program is for repairs - factory defects or failures that would ordinarily be covered by warranty, but the unit is past warranty. Accidental damage/liquid spills would not be acceptable for the flat-rate program.
     
  10. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    Aug 5, 2010
    #10
    The OP didn't mention anything about spills. Wiping keys off with a damp napkin isn't likely to cause liquid damage, which is why I suggested this.
     
  11. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

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    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #11
    No, the OP did not use the words "liquid spill' but he did say "wet napkin", not damp. Wet could be interpreted as damp, but could also be dripping.
    Maybe that's why he also said:
     
  12. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

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    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #12
    The OP said "I was trying to let the water out". I don't know how you define "spill", but he clearly felt that he had gotten water inside. :)
     
  13. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #13
    Yeah I guess so, but that just seemed weird to me. I couldn't imagine anyone touching their notebook's keyboard with something that's truly wet rather than just damp.
     
  14. WarDialer macrumors member

    WarDialer

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    Nov 22, 2015
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    #14
    I used to fix laptops for a living. You'd be amazed at how many laptops were sent in that "suddenly stopped working" for no reason whatsoever. Only to be cracked open and me finding corrosion all over the place from a liquid spill.

    I even worked on one laptop that "stopped working for no reason" and it looked really clean outside and inside all the way down on the top side of the motherboard. When i took the MB out and looked on the bottom, there was a big round corrosion/liquid mark on the board. They had apparently cleaned up the thing after spilling mountain dew on it and didn't think to take the MB out and clean there too. Yeah it was a mystery why it "stopped working" all right.
     
  15. TestAcc2016 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 29, 2016
    #15
    Well I was originally gonna put "I was trying to let the water out" in quotes or qualify it in some way, because I didn't think there was really any or at least much water in there anyway. I just figured since I didn't know what else to do, I might as well try it; attempt to let out water in case there really was water. I guess I caused this confusion by not considering that "damp" napkins might be more appropriate than "wet" napkins. But really, even if I said "wet", who would use a dripping wet napkin to wipe their electronics, especially an expensive one? To be fair though, the napkins I used were generally between damp and wet, though never dripping.

    Even though it wasn't a spill I don't think this would be covered by warranty. This seems like a case of water damage by negligence, since I was risking water damage even if it was unlikely with just damp napkins. I guess it's really more a case of subtle water damage, especially when you contrast it to spills or something.

    Well the recent development with my mac's situation is this. The left shift key seems to be normal now, but the power button seems to be sporadically pressed. I know this because the pop up of "sleep, log out, or shut down" (the one you get from pressing the power button for a few seconds) pops up occasionally. Eventually, the mac just started to turn off randomly and quite frequently, and once it turned off, it would turn back on a few seconds later. This was very frustrating...

    However, I was lucky enough to come upon something of a solution, a temporary one. I looked up disabling the keyboard with terminal online, and found this: "sudo kextunload /System/Library/Extensions/AppleUSBTopCase.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AppleUSBTCKeyboard.kext". It disables the keyboard except the power button, and yet the problem has stopped. The power button doesn't quite function like normal though (holding it down doesn't open the "sleep, log out, or shut down" pop up, control + power doesn't put it to sleep), and unfortunately now I have to use an external keyboard to type on my mac.
     

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