MacBook Air will not turn on, worked fine yesterday

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by WetBookAir2011, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. WetBookAir2011, Jan 27, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2013

    WetBookAir2011 macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2013
    I have a 2011 MacBook Air that worked fine yesterday, but today it would not turn on at all. Before going any further, I want to disclose that about 4 months ago a cup of water was spilled on the keyboard. I wiped off the water and submerged the MBA for 3 days in a giant bag of silica gel cat litter to dry out as much of the water as possible. This has worked wonders for me with phones before, so I figured, why not give it a shot. After 3 days, I turned on the computer and it worked without a single issue. This happened about 4 months ago, and in that time the MBA has worked without any issue.

    Today I followed a few different troubleshooting scenarios, including an SMC and PRAM reset, disconnecting all periphery, and connecting/disconnecting two different MagSafes. Initially when I tried to plug in my MagSafe, no light came on, but later a green light came on for a period, and then I unplugged it for a while, and then it turned orange the next time I plugged it in. Now when I plug it in the MagSafe led is orange. I am not an expert in these matters, so after following all the troubleshooting that I could find, I gave up and went to the Apple Store. The Mac genius tried some reset commands, and then took the MBA into the back and opened it up to diagnose it further. In his words, he could not see anything irregular so it was probably the logic board that was dead. After explaining to him that a few months ago some water spilled on it, he said that water damage was the most likely culprit. I know that it is easy and a likely option to point to water damage, but wouldn't he have seen a water damage indicator when he opened the computer? I am always of the opinion that as soon as you mention water damage, a technician stops considering alternatives and tries to gently tell you to buy a new device.

    Is it not strange that the computer has worked for months and now it will not turn on? Is it worth while to take the MBA to a water damage repair specialist that is advertised on Ebay or somewhere else? I see one Ebay listing for $250 with some attractive guarantees. I do not have the proper tool to open the MBA, but I would be willing to buy one if it is a plausible option to repair the matter on my own. I know that the Apple repair for water damage is about $750, and I might be able to find another used MBA for a little less, but I am trying to find out if there are any other options before I make an investment.

    I know this is a long explanation, but from what I see on these forums, it is easier to help someone who provides a full account of the problem. I am happy to provide any other information if it could help someone address my situation. Thanks for taking the time to read my post and if you have any thoughts I would greatly appreciate your suggestions.

    1. What could have caused the MBA to not turn on all of the sudden?
    2. Could it be the MagSafe Board? Is that difficult to repair?
    3. Is it worth while to repair the MBA or should I give up?
    4. Has anyone else had this problem? How did you solve it?
  2. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    First of all lets get the obvious out of the way. WALL OF TEXT!! Ok, now that it is over onto advise.

    Why did you tell the Genius about the water damage?! Just keep quiet and let them repair it. If the indicator didn't show anything is because water most likely didnt reach the real critical parts the water sensor is there to tell if damaged by water.

    Remember, water itself doesn't damage electronics, it is the conductive elements in water that do (causing shorts).

    Second, it could be that corrosion took place in there somewhere not visible.

    Third, let Apple repair. That will reinstate the warranty.
  3. torana355 macrumors 68030

    Dec 8, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    Try to break your post up into paragraphs as its very hard to read. I could not really understand what you want?
  4. WetBookAir2011 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2013
    Let Apple repair

    I suppose I would be happy to let Apple do the repair, but I am hoping for a cheaper solution. For $750, I figure I should just look for a new MBA.

    I never know whether or not it is helpful to mention water damage, because I assume that the technician would benefit from the information, but as I said I think they tend to shut you out after you say that you spilled. I also like to be honest, because I think people tend to treat you with more respect when they are respected. It doesn't always work out.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  5. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Its not trickery. If there is true water damage, the water sensors will show. Anyways, In general, new MBA or not will depend on how much you want to recover the data if you dont have a backup.
  6. WetBookAir2011 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2013
    My Bad

    Sorry, first time posting. I tried to break it up.

    I think what I am looking for is my next direction with this problem.

    Is it worth it to pay for a repair at Apple?
    Are there cheaper repair places that are reputable?
    Should I try to go back to Apple and see if I can find out more from a different technician?
    Could the problem be small enough for me to tackle on my own?
    Should I stop looking into it and start looking for a new/used MBA?
    Are there other tests I can do to find out what is wrong?
  7. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    1. Like I said before, doing it through Apple will give you back your warranty (or if out of warranty, will give you 90 days)

    2. Try ifixit to look for the part you need.

    3. Perhaps, but it may end up being the same result.

    4. No

    5. Depends on your wallet state.

    6. N/A
  8. WetBookAir2011 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2013
    I don't have too much important material on the HD. If nothing else, I will try to remove the HD and salvage what I could from it.

    I am most concerned about cost. I am trying to find out if there is a way to repair the problem without spending much more than $400. I saw on another post that someone has repaired many water damaged MBA by simply replacing the MagSafe board. Is this a difficult operation? Is it worth while? How can I find out if this is the problem?


    Thanks for your patience and assistance.

    With regard to using Apple to repair it, I see the benefit of the new 90 warranty. This is not a bad option. It is going to cost $750, so I see it as a last resort.

    I will check out Ifixit and see what I feel comfortable with. Despite what it may seem, I have had some small amount of experience adding memory and replacing a few small matters on my own. My wallet is very tight, but more importantly I just don't like to give up when I think I can fix something.

    Any thoughts on the MagSafe board as a culprit?
  9. WetBookAir2011, Jan 27, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2013

    WetBookAir2011 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2013

    Thanks for your help. I am still not sure what to do.

    What could could cause the computer to stop turning on?
    Are there any other steps I could try to get it to turn on?
    Are there any indicators if it is the MagSafe board or the logic board that is causing this problem?
    Is it difficult to access the MagSafe board, or is it plausible that I could tackle it with a few tools?
    Has anyone used a technician outside of the Apple store to fix a problem like mine?
    Wouldn't the Mac Genius have seen water damage indicators when he opened the MBA? It seemed odd to me that he didnt notice it until I mentioned that I had spilled water months earlier.
  10. G-Mo macrumors 6502


    Nov 6, 2010
    Auckland, NZ
    In theory it could be the MagSafe board, but, it's unlikely from the situation and symptoms you've described... Only replacing the MagSafe board would confirm.

    Personally, my first troubleshooting step here would be to disconnect the battery from the logic board, and with the power reconnected (solid green light) see if the machine would boot. If it does, it could be a) the battery (replace battery), b) the battery connector on the logic board (replace logic board).

    Following that, it appears to be a logic board issue... corrosion is a nasty beast, it can take days, weeks and even months before the effects of it are exhibited (and the effects can be catastrophic, as you see here!).

    For a cheap solution, you could take the logic board to a computer service centre that does component level repairs, they could possibly determine the damaged component(s) or reflow the board, usually around 1/2 the cost of a logic board replacement.

    I would personally take it to an AASP (not the Apple Store) and have them assess the unit. They have to buy the repair parts from Apple (and mark it up) so, it won't be any cheaper than Apple, however, you get a competent technician examining your machine and if they do the repair the same 90 day warranty on the parts.

    Otherwise, you can always look for parts from the same unit on eBay, etc... and try and buy a used (certified, with returns policy!) logic board that way.

    FWIW, your MacBook Air uses a proprietary Flash Memory stick instead of a traditional hard drive or SSD, so, if you do want to pull it to get data off, you need to get a special case or adapter in order to read it on any other machine (OWC Envoy is one such device).
  11. WetBookAir2011, Jan 27, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2013

    WetBookAir2011 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2013

    Thank you very much for your in depth response. You have clarified many questions for me that had not been addressed.

    After thinking more about it, I don't feel like I am going to take the time to disassemble the MBA to the level required to address the problem appropriately. I think at this point the only question which is left is whether it is more worth while to see if I can find a good deal on a used but possibly newer MBA or if I should go ahead with the repair from the AASP as you suggested. I have a local AASP that I could use, and I suppose I will take it by tomorrow and see what they think. I will still have to weigh the cost of repair versus buying a new used machine.

    Thanks again for your carefully composed reply. You have been very helpful and I am greatful for people who can take time to respond to a luddite like me without a patronizing tone.

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